Posted by: Rael Kalley | March 18, 2017

397. Just pretend.

For a long time we have been told the idea of acting “as if” we have achieved the goals we desire is a sure way of propelling us to the results we want in an accelerated way.

Another way of putting this is to say that if we truly modelled the behaviours we would display if we had achieved our goals, we will reach them much faster.

Cory is a long-time client and he swears the idea of “faking it until you become it” has enabled him to completely re-sculpt all areas of his life in less than three years.

Cory was referred to me as a coaching client and when we first met he described himself as an “uninspired, frustrated, out of shape guy in a dead-end job.”

He further explained that he was seemingly unable to take charge of his life and to manage those things that were causing him the greatest stress and frustration.

He had tried repeatedly to quit smoking but was still going through a pack each day. At 33 he was 45 pounds heavier than he had been at 23 and while he strongly believed he needed to upgrade his education to further his career, he lacked the desire to “spend my evenings in a classroom when all I really want to do is lie on the couch and veg out.”

He had joined a gym two years prior and had not gone back after his third visit.

He was ready to change.

Several months went by and Cory appeared to be making some progress but he felt he was taking one step back for each two steps forward and was not sure if he wanted to continue working with me.

We spent some time talking about the notion of faking it until you make it and something caught fire inside Cory.

I remember watching him disappearing inside his own head as he sat across from me imagining how great his life would be once he achieved everything he had ever wanted and I saw facial expressions I had not seen before.

Cory adopted the idea of faking it until you become it into everything he did. He went back to the gym and every time he was there put himself in the mindset of having and enjoying the state of health, body and energy he had long wished for. He quickly discovered that by working out from that approach he was able to push himself further and faster than he ever had before.

He did the same with each meal he ate and the moment he started telling himself, and acting like, he was a non-smoker was the moment he became one.

He learned how to fill himself with enthusiasm and excitement at the thought of going to school after work. He has now completed an apprenticeship and is well on his way to the career of his dreams.

Cory is a self-described introvert who had always struggled to meet new people, make new friends and build new relationships.

He decided to embrace the same concept in meeting new people and has just celebrated the first anniversary of his relationship with his new girlfriend – his first since his marriage ended seven years ago.

Cory has found that every facet of his life has benefitted be faking it until he becomes it. His perspective has shifted to the point where he now, with certainty, will attempt things he never thought himself capable of before.

And as he proudly pointed out, he doesn’t have to fake it anymore. He is it.

And there is nothing fake about that.

Till we read again.

My wife Gimalle and I were out recently when she ran into a former colleague. They had not seen each other in more than 14 years and the conversation lasted around 20 minutes.

In that time her former colleague informed us of the direction life had taken her, the status of her last two jobs, her travel adventures and her relationship with her most recent and present husband.

At no time, not even for a nanosecond, did she ask Gimalle a single question about what the last 14 years have brought into her life.

She spent the entire 20 minutes talking about herself.

And we have noticed this to be a common trait among so many people we encounter. Their conversation always centres around themselves and we have often wondered if the reason for this is because they believe their lives to be of such fascinating interest to others or simply because they just do not know how to engage others in everyday conversation.

Many years ago, while attending a communication workshop in Vancouver, the speaker informed us that for many people their most favourite topic of discussion is themselves and that if you want to be regarded as a riveting conversationalist, the easiest way to achieve this is by asking people questions about themselves.

Gimalle and I have made it somewhat of a study to notice how many people we engage with whose primary topic of discussion is themselves and whether they engage others by asking questions about them.

And the conclusion we have reached, based purely on our observation, is that they are blissfully unaware the entire conversation is about themselves.

This is not to say that many people’s lives are not filled with captivating stories, it is just that they seem oblivious to the fact most of their conversations are in fact monologues, not dialogues.

And they run the risk, over time, of people purposely avoiding them so as to spend as little time as possible in their company.

If building relationships is important then we need to remember the basis of conversation is two or more people interacting.  Think of a tennis match and as a spectator you are watching the tennis ball going back and forth between the players .

There is a monumental difference between being interesting and being interested. One enables you to share your story with others while the other helps you build relationships.

In other words, if we want to be viewed as purveyors of good conversation, we should ensure the light does not always shine on us, and become skilled at redirecting it to others and listening carefully to what they tell us.

I can’t say I have mastered this skill but I am certainly better than I was thanks to the many gentle jabs I have experienced at the hands of Gimalle when she reminds me to turn the topic away from me.

My grade one teacher, Mrs. Markham, had a favourite saying: She constantly reminded us that there is a reason why we have two ears yet only one mouth.

Back then those sage words were far beyond my level of comprehension, but today, they make perfect sense.

General Schwarzkopf, the ultra-masculine US military legend believed, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Do you think he knew Mrs. Markham?

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | March 4, 2017

395. First, seek resolution.

How do you deal with conflict?

One of the truths about life, regardless of whether it is in our personal environments, workplace or elsewhere, is that conflict will occur. How you manage the conflict will determine whether it was a gift or not.

While few of us actively go out seeking conflict, and many of us endeavour to avoid it, the possibility of conflict showing up is ever present.

I was reminded of this several times in the past few weeks starting with an innocuous incident in a restaurant two weeks ago.

I was having lunch at a sushi restaurant with a friend when the person at the next table angrily summoned the server and told her the miso soup was not to his standard. His actual words were something to the effect, “This soup is cold. Don’t you people know what you doing? Is your chef an idiot? Take it away and kindly bring me a hot bowl of soup.”

His outburst was a simple illustration of how poorly many people deal with conflict.

When faced with conflict we are always presented with three – and only three – choices:

We can accept things the way they are.

We can escalate the matter.

We can exit the relationship.

Accepting things the way they are means just that, we are okay with the status quo. What it does mean is we are not bothered by it, it does not frustrate or annoy us nor will it have a negative impact on us.

What this doesn’t mean is that by remaining outwardly silent we are tearing ourselves apart on the inside.

Over the years I have worked within many organizations  and have met with many people who have chosen to simply “suck it up,” and say or do nothing about the issues that are producing conflict in their lives. Needless to say, their stress levels never take a day off.

The second method of dealing with conflict is to escalate it. This means to take it to a level where earnest attempts will be made at seeking resolution. The preferred way of doing this is to directly approach those who are the cause of the conflict and share your concerns with them.

In most workplaces where I have worked as an outside consultant, this has not been the norm. Instead, normal practice seems to be to talk to everyone other than the person who is the cause of the conflict.

In other words, the method is to talk about people behind the backs, criticize them harshly and somehow (naively) believe that by so doing, their behaviour will change.

It sure would be great if that was how life worked, but sadly, that definitely has not been my experience. Reality dictates that it takes a certain amount of courage to initiate an awkward conversation, and it is always the preferred method if we are serious about seeking resolution.

There are many ways of doing this and perhaps further blogs can be devoted to optimal ways of escalation.

But this blog is really to share the story of how not knowing how best to approach conflict situations can lead to irreversible choices, which possibly could have been avoided, had some additional options been acted upon before taking extreme actions.

I had a chance meeting with “Jane” while waiting for a friend at a local Starbucks. Jane had long worked for a company in which I have completed three projects over several years.  I certainly didn’t know her well but recall on a couple of occasions, engaging in a pleasant conversation in which she had described how much she enjoyed her job.

I had not seen her for a few years when she stopped by my table to say hello.

Jane told me she had quit her job six months earlier because she could no longer deal with a particular person who worked in her department.

This person had joined the company in a supervisory role and Jane reported to her. From the very first day they had, according to Jane, taken a strong dislike to each other which had steadily grown. Jane felt disrespected and unappreciated by her new boss and yet she was hesitant to go and meet with her and discuss how she felt.

Instead, over a one year period she allowed her feelings of distress to grow to the point where she became physically ill, and finally one day she calmly walked into her boss’s office, resigned and walked out.

By coincidence, I happen to know Jane’s former supervisor and called her later that day. I mentioned that I had run into one of her former employees and her response floored me.

She said, “I was so surprised when Jane quit. She was one of the best people I have working for me and I had no idea at all that she was so unhappy at work. I wish she had come to talk to me.”

Jane quit her job rather than engage in an awkward conversation. I’m not sure why she chose not to do so but I do know that her reluctance caused her to make a permanent decision and leave a job she really enjoyed.

There is a moral to the story.  While not all conflicts can be resolved, most can, and almost all situations can be improved when our cards are laid face up on the table with full disclosure made to all.

As a coach, I always encourage my clients to take this approach.  In fact we often spend time rehearsing until they are comfortable in the role they need to play during an awkward conversation.

Exiting a relationship is always an extreme measure and when accepting things the way they are is not an available option, it is always helpful to dig down deep and find the courage to face a difficult situation head-on and do everything possible to bring about peaceful and acceptable coexistence.

As a mediator, I have helped many achieve successful resolution which beat either of the other two options hands down every time.

We are born with some natural capacity, but effectively resolving conflict doesn’t appear to be one of them. If developing better relationships would enhance and bring you a more peaceful existence, let me help you get develop the skills to get there.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 25, 2017

394. Treat me like a family member.

I had an interesting conversation earlier this week with all a lady who asked if I had any advice for how she could deal with her son.

She has a 28-year-old son who lives in his own apartment and she has to go over to his apartment several times each week to make his bed, do the dishes, vacuum and clean every square inch of his home.

On her way over to his place she picks up groceries for him and, seeing as how she is here anyway,  also prepares his meals.

And, she explained, she is frustrated beyond description about his unwillingness to keep his home clean. Nor can she understand why he displays such irresponsibility.

I asked her why she does this for him and her reply was telling: It is because I can’t stand going over there and seeing the mess.”

This lady went on to tell me that she has always considered herself to be a “people pleaser” and believes it is her role in life to do all she can to make the lives of those around her easier in any and every way possible.

She went on to describe how she has had repeated conversations with her son and nothing ever changes.

She asked me what I thought she should do?

I told her I thought she should adopt me.

And Gimalle too.

We would love to have a mom who showed up every day to keep our home sparkling clean, did the dishes, vacuum, shop, cook and then leave quietly with no expectation of reward.

By profession this lady is an accountant and by her own admission, in her spare time, does all the bookkeeping for two businesses owned by relatives and also does the tax returns for all her family members.

She has done this for years. No charge. It is now expected of her.

Oh, and she also does the grocery shopping for her sister who is in an evening bowling league and just doesn’t have time, or energy, to do it for herself.

And she’s exhausted.

I told her I had a brilliant idea for her.

The brilliance of the idea lies in its simplicity: STOP!

Stop everything. Stop cleaning your son’s home, stop doing the bookkeeping for your relatives, stop doing tax returns and teach your sister how to pick up the phone and order pizza.

And then she astounded me with this: “I can’t do that. They depend on me.”

Of course they do. People treat us the way we train them to treat us and this lady has done a marvellous job of training family members to allow her to make their responsibilities hers.

What gets rewarded gets repeated and when we clean the home of someone who will not do it for themselves, we are ensuring they will never clean their homes because we are rewarding them for doing so.

She told me she understands the concept but doesn’t know how her family will manage if she stops her activities.

I asked her what she thought the worst thing that could happen to each of them would be and she told me that her son would live in filth, her relatives would find themselves in trouble with Canada Revenue Agency and her poor sister might have to miss out on a few bowling games.

And my reply was, “So?”

And then she shared the truth with me. She told me that she enjoyed being indispensable as much as she hated it.

I wasn’t really sure how best to help her until I remembered a video put out many years ago by a prominent and internationally acclaimed “psychologist” whose name is probably familiar to most of you.

I found a link to this video and suggested she watch it.

And I have included the link here for you to watch. Some of you may remember that this link appeared at the bottom of the very first blog I wrote all the way back in August 2009.

If this doesn’t help her nothing can.

It always helps me to re-focus every time I watch it and I bet it will give you some much added perspective.


Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 18, 2017

393. I have no idea why you do what you do.

Fifteen to twenty times each year I am asked to mediate in deteriorating and antagonistic relationships. Most often these are workplace related where the destructive impact of a hostile relationship spreads far beyond the people, or groups, involved.

Of course, conflict among people is not new and the factors contributing to conflict are limited only to one’s imagination.

There is however one thread that seems to weave its way through all conflict and perpetuate its continuation.

That thread is a belief held by many that we have the extraordinary ability to read the minds of others and accurately determine their motives for their actions.

We believe we know precisely why people do what they do. We often insert malice into their motives, we form judgements which then becomes the only lens through which we view all their actions.

That lens is most often a harshly critical one which causes us to only expect certain types of behaviours from them.

Here is the kicker: the labels we have attached seldom disappoint us. The exhortation to “seek and ye shall find” becomes our unconscious guiding principle and, as we are earnestly seeking validation of those labels, we easily find them.

My practice, in mediating these types of situations, is to meet individually with each person involved to gain an understanding of the perspective they bring to the situation.

It is common for me to hear statements like, “She gets pleasure out of pushing people around,” “He is power-hungry,” “She does this because she is mean-spirited,” and “I have spoken to my manager and he won’t do anything about it because he doesn’t care about me.”

Whenever we attribute reason, motive and meaning to the actions of others we do so with the certainty that we are right. And yet, let’s be honest, we have absolutely no way of knowing that.

And because we are so certain that we are correct, we narrow our perspective and run the risk of ignoring common ground on which understanding and agreement could be reached.

Whenever I hear that type of motive being offered as explanation for the behaviour of another, I have learned to ask a simple question; “How do you know that?”

I’ve learned not to accept answers like, “It’s obvious” or “Everyone knows that.” In fact, by asking those questions I have often seen people begin to self-examine their reasons for arriving at conclusions and coming to accept that all they may be offering is their opinion and not anything else.

The truth is we have absolutely no knowledge of why anyone does anything. We can never guess the motive – the driving force – behind their actions and by convincing ourselves that we can, we also lessen the possibility of transforming difficult situations.

The guiding principle behind our beliefs is my go-to mantra: “Everything we believe to be true, is true (for us), until it isn’t. In other words, we form our own beliefs and most often they are based on a foundation of opinion and not on fact.

A wise teacher once told me that we can never experience true freedom in our own beings until we are willing to relinquish our ability to judge others.

I would love to report that I have been successful in this endeavour, but I not. Although, I am far less judgemental, the reality is I still have to work on this every day.

Many experiences have taught me I only make my life more difficult when I judge others.

One the best ways to work toward being less judgemental is to abide by the sage words of Dr. Steven Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  While I am not a mind reader, it would seem he had a monumental life living by this practice.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 11, 2017

392. Speak up.

I was both saddened and angered by a story that made the news this week.

The mother of two young, biracial boys took to social media to tell the world of hurtful, racist comments directed at her sons because of the colour of their skin.

In one instance, her son was prevented from entering a washroom by another student who told him that he could not use the facilities because he was black and the washrooms were for the use of white kids only.

What is so troubling about stories like these, which sadly are all too common, is that young children making these comments did not reach these conclusions on their own.

These are learned thought processes and all learning begins somewhere.

I would think a lot of learning takes place around family dinner tables, whether intentional or not. Obviously I have no knowledge of whether this might be true in this case, parents who plant prejudicial and racial thoughts into the heads of their children are teaching them to become as limited in their thinking as they are.

They are also depriving their children of ever experiencing the richness of life offered to those who do not view the world through the myopia of prejudice.

In other words, in my opinion, they, as parents, are abject failures.

It has been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. If this is indeed true, it is time to shine a very bright light on those who believe it to be appropriate, or even amusing, to teach children to judge others based on pigmentation.

A lie believed is not a lie. Racism is not only based on a lie, but is also based on the total absence of logic. It is perpetuated by those whose capacity for clear, intelligent thought is extremely diminished.

In other words, racists are not very bright because it requires an above average level of stupidity to believe it is accurate to assess others, and determine their worth, solely by the colour of their skin.

The damage to these kids can be deep and irreparable. We cannot refute experiences we have had and, I fear, these young boys, by virtue of these encounters, have now had the innocence of their youth yanked away while awakening them to the sad realities of life.

Their father said he had hoped his children would never be subjected to any of the racist comments and actions he has experienced over the course of his life. His sons’ recent experiences at school have unfortunately taught him that, just like other family traditions, racism can be passed from generation to generation.

Renowned statesman, political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

And for much too long, many good people have done just that. Nothing.Far too many of us have stood silently by as others have made racist comments, told bigoted jokes and hurled hurtful xenophobic epithets at others.

I shamefully include myself among those who have remained silent. I did not want to get involved, did not feel it my place to interfere, or perhaps, I was fearful of repercussions my intervention might bring.

And I was wrong.

In my day job as a coach, consultant and trainer I spend a great deal of time talking with clients about the remarkable power behind one word: consequences.

There is no such thing as an action or a behaviour that does not produce a consequence. Consequences increase or decrease the likelihood of a behaviour, or an action being repeated and when something is rewarded it is generally repeated.

When a puppy receives a treat for obeying a command is very likely it will obey the next command in anticipation of another treat.

Rewards do not have to be a material. In the absence of feedback to the contrary, everything is positive reinforcement which means, when we stand silently by while others hurl racist comments, we are now rewarding their behaviour, thus increasing the likelihood it will continue.

By our silence, we are now part of the problem and are training them to keep doing what they are doing.

It is not easy to stand up for what is right., nor is it risk-free. But if we ever hope to live in a world where hatred and bias have been relegated to the annals of history, we must be willing to be a voice for good.

And if we choose to remain silent in the moment, we forfeit our right to voice our opinion later when in the safety of others who share our viewpoints.

The continued spread of racism today is proof positive of what happens when good men do nothing.

We know “you can’t fix stupid,” be perhaps by standing up to it, we can help in silencing it.

I invite you to stand up and do something, however big or small that something might be.

Till we read again.


Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 4, 2017

391. It’s the thought that kills.

The rain of bullets that poured down inside a Mosque in Quebec City did their deadly job with ruthless precision.

They ended six vibrant lives, wounded nineteen others and removed forever the sacred feelings of calm, peace and sanctuary that Canadian houses of worship have always offered their congregants.

Bullets caused the carnage, beliefs pulled the trigger.

We have witnessed a huge outpouring of support and sympathy for Muslim communities across the country, memorial services for the slain were filed to capacity and political leaders were front and center saying all the right things.

Mosques around the country brilliantly opened their doors to all and invited us to visit and get to know them better.

And sadly, nothing will change. It is not if, but when, this happens again.

The next target may be another mosque, or a synagogue or a church or shopping mall and, just like this past Sunday, it will be a thought, not a finger that will pull the trigger.

Whether or not we label these events as acts of terror, they are indisputably driven by hate and until we understand how hate is born and how it grows, we will continue to combat it with the same futile means we are presently employing.

Hate is not formed by facts, it is the result of lies believed; hate is what we believe to be true and is not even slightly influenced by facts.

And a lie believed is no longer a lie, it becomes a fact to those who choose to believe it so.

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Reich Minister of Propaganda, repeatedly said “if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” History has born sad witness t the tragic truth of this statement.

Our leaders will continue to repeat that such acts will not be tolerated, that the full force of the law will be deployed against those who wish us harm and that the guilty will be brought to justice.

They will repeat what we already know: we function on rule of law; religious freedom is enshrined in our constitution; we are a tolerant and caring society.

And their rhetoric will cause absolutely nothing to change.

Their intention is pure but their method is all talk.

The facts they present will do nothing to melt the hate that lives in the heart of the haters.

They will continue to believe what they believe.

Belief is based on emotion and emotion eats logic for lunch every day.

Acts, not facts, will change beliefs and if you wish to end these ever-increasing incidents of senseless, hate-born slaughter then you – yes, you – must get involved.

We collectively, all of us, must stop shaking our heads and continue to say that somebody needs to do something about this.

You and I are that somebody and we each have a role to play.

We need to start by examining our own hearts and look for signs of bias. Would we welcome, with open arms, anyone of any race, religion, colour, creed or culture into our homes and treat, respect and honour them as we do our closest friends and relatives?

If the answer is a resounding NO, and we honestly acknowledge the “facts” as to why we feel that way, we will quickly realize that our facts have, in fact, no basis in fact.

They are beliefs based on emotion.

And it takes acts (action), not facts to change emotion (beliefs).

What is our role? It is to accept, as equals, everyone we encounter. It is to engage with authentic interest all with whom we meet.

It is to seek similarities and respect differences. It is to invite “them” into our homes and to visit them in theirs.

It is not to “treat others as we would want to be treated,” but rather, to treat others as they want to be treated.

It is to suspend our willingness to judge others based on assumption, not knowledge.

And, perhaps, above all, it is to heed the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln who boldly stated, “I do not like that man, I must get to know him better.”

And what better time to start than right now, today.

Remember, everything we believe to be true, is true (for us), until it isn’t.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 28, 2017

390. If you start, finish. Simple.

I finally figured it out.

After years of trying to understand why some do and most don’t, it finally dawned on me. The age-old secret was finally revealed and, the simplicity of its truth makes perfect sense.

I have often wondered why, for so many of us, realizing our goals and sustaining the results often seems like an elusive dream.

Whenever we set out to achieve a new goal we do so brimming with enthusiasm and the feelings of certainty that we will soon be reaping the benefits and enjoying the rewards are goal accomplished.

And yet we don’t.

Time passes, a year goes by and then another and we are still walking around with that extra 20 pounds clinging to us, our finances still in disarray, our education still incomplete, the bad habits long intended to discard still clinging to us and the belief that this time, when we try again, it will be different.

It won’t. And the reason why we want is so glaringly obvious that it took me decades to figure it out.

The catalyst to this revelation was a conversation with a client who was telling me of a workmate who is constantly exploring new ways to get his ever-expanding girth under control.

His most recent foray into weight loss was to sign-up up with a new “revolutionary” clinic that recently opened a few blocks from their office.

His colleague enrolled in the program, paid his initiation fee of several hundred dollars, returned to the office confidently telling all that this time he was absolutely on the right track, only to discover a few short weeks later that this was “not for me.”

By my clients best guess this was his friend’s fifth such attempt over the past two years.

As I listened to his story, the light went on in my head and the secret was finally revealed.

Several times over these past few years we have discussed The Four Rules of Greatness.I first discovered these rules many years ago in a book whose title and author’s name I have long forgotten.

The author wrote of four unbending principles which, if followed relentlessly, would allow abundance to flow into all our lives.

The power behind these rules lies in their simplicity and my clients story caused the fourth rule to burst into my brain into my mind in giant letters.

So here it is, the great secret to why we seldom achieve the goals we set for ourselves and why, many of us, spend a large portion of our lives frustrated and with a growing sense of helplessness.

Are you ready?


Starting is, for many of us, something in which we have developed great expertise. But starting is the easy part. It doesn’t require much effort, discipline or sacrifice.

Nor does it do much by way of producing results.

We start a business, things get tough, we head for the hills. We set out to lose weight, someone brings a pizza to the office, we gag it back and resolve to start again next week. We commit to getting up early and working out before we head off to work, the alarm goes off, we are tired and so we turn over and go back to sleep

There you have it, the secret is out.

If you really want it, you will stick with it. If you don’t, you don’t want it badly enough

Finish what you start. That has to be easier than starting over, and over and over again.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 21, 2017

389. It’s blindingly obvious.

Perhaps you have seen the video clip.

There are two groups of three students. One group is wearing black T-shirts, the other, white ones.

Each group has a basketball and they are passing it back and forth. A narrator’s voice instructs you to count how many times the ball is passed back and forth among the group wearing white T-shirts.

You focus intently and count the number of passes.

The narrator then asks, “How many passes did you count?” He answers the question and then asks “But, did you see the gorilla?”


At some point a person dressed in a gorilla suit walked through the two groups, turned, paused,  faced the camera, beat his chest, turned again and then disappeared off-screen.

This video clip has been shown thousands of time to groups ranging from just a few people to hundreds in a room. Invariably, the results seldom differ; around 50% of viewers, so busy counting the passes, fail to see the gorilla. Most of those were able to correctly count how many times the ball was passed from one white shirt to another.

Their attention is riveted on the ball being passed back and forth.

Of those who did notice the gorilla, few were able to accurately say how many times the ball was passed.

This occurrence – known as in Inattentional Blindness – provides us with a clear illustration of how large a role our attention (focus) plays in our visual perception.

Inattentional Blindness is also a further example of our inability to focus on more than one thing at a time.

This powerful video demonstrates, in an amusingly entertaining way, the role our visual perception plays in filtering out much of what is not occupying our focus even when it is right in front of us.

All our focus is centred on counting the number of times the ball is passed between the players wearing white shirts. We not only fail to see the gorilla, we also unable to simultaneously count the number of times the ball is passed among the black shirts.

And this is how we live our lives, shifting from one object of attention to the next and then the next.

And our take away from this is the strong reminder that energy flows to where our attention goes.

Whatever we are focusing on is drawing almost all of our energy and conscious awareness, offering us a unique opportunity to bring powerful and sustainable change into our very being.

We’ve all had the experience of being so focused on, and engrossed in, something – perhaps a fascinating conversation, or the high drama unfolding in a movie – that we have lost awareness of everything else going on around us.

This happens daily. We arrive at our destination with no memory of the drive itself because we lost ourselves in the memories brought back by that song on the radio.

So, at the end of the day, when you come home from work tired, drained, stressed and with a headache that feels like someone is drilling directly into your brain and all you want to do is collapse on the couch, turn on the TV, open that bag of chips, pour yourself a drink and veg out, it is safe bet that 100% of your focus is on how you feel.

You had begun the day by promising herself you would come home, change and go to the gym.

As long as you allow your focus to remain where it is, you also blinding yourself to how you would feel if you sprang off the couch, gleefully assembled your workout gear, went to the gym and pushed yourself harder than you ever have before.

And yet, if you allow yourself to focus – really focus – on both the immediate and future benefit to you in going to the gym, those feelings of fatigue and stress will rapidly recede and be replaced with excited energy.

Inattentional blindness can also be called attentional focus. What we are focusing on right now is our sole reality in this moment which means we are also blind to everything else.

If you focus for just a few moments you will see (and feel) all the good that can come your way by going to the gym.

And remember to keep your eyes open for the gorilla.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 14, 2017

388. It’s a matter of discipline.


I am a reader and have been a reader for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I can’t remember a single day in my life that has not included an hour or more spent reading.

It is my hobby, my passion, my principal source of entertainment and, arguably, my addiction.

And so, it came as somewhat of a surprise to me recently when a client commented to me she wished she had my discipline for reading.

She had been in my office two weeks earlier and had mentioned the title of a book a friend had suggested she would benefit from reading.

Her comment to me about my discipline for reading came about when I mentioned I had purchased the book, read it and found it to be chock full of interesting ideas.

Discipline is a word that comes up quite frequently in conversations with clients and I would like to share with you my interpretation of what this word means.

Among the many lines used to define the word discipline, includes the following: activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

When people tell me they lack discipline, I assume they mean they are unwilling to stick with a regimen as described above.

The word discipline is an enormously important one as it directly impacts the results we incur in our lives. I would like to introduce to you my definition of that extremely important word.

Discipline means: doing what we know we need to – or must – do at those times when we really don’t want to do it.

It also means not doing what we know we shouldn’t be doing when we really want to do it.

These practices determine with great precision what our odds of success are each time we set out to achieve an objective.

In other words, discipline is the degree to which we do – or don’t – allow our emotions to influence the decisions we make and consequently, the actions we take.

Discipline is about ownership of our emotions.

And it is about how we choose the extent to which the emotions we feel in the present will affect the results we experience in the future.

To the person who loves going to the gym and working out, who can’t wait to get there as often as possible, and who has to force themselves to leave, the word discipline is not applicable anymore than it is to someone like me – a lifelong, committed and passionate reader.

Discipline is about importance –we only do what is important to us in the moment – and we determine what is important simply by how we feel in that moment.

If we truly believe we lack discipline and the lack of discipline that is preventing us from achieving much of what we wish to achieve, then it is time to take a long, hard, cold, clinical look at the extent to which we have conditioned ourselves to allow our future happiness to be determined by our present feelings.

And to remind ourselves that while our emotions may influence our actions, they absolutely do not control them.

When we find ourselves wanting to veg out on the couch rather than going to the gym and working out, we are fully capable of dragging ourselves off the couch and into the gym.

If it’s important enough, you will always find a way, and if not, well, you will always find an excuse.

Till we read again.

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