June 18, 2023

Self-Talk to Build Your Best Life: 9 Tips

"Self-Talk to Build Your Best Life: 9 Tips" from Build Our Best Lives blog

      If you missed my posts about how your thoughts have created your reality, and how you can rewire your mind to change your life, check them out.  You should now understand that, whether you're aware of it or not, the way you talk to yourself determines what you experience in life.  No matter what area of your life you'd like to improve, you can work on changing it by changing your self-talk.

     Here are some tips to help you make the most of your self talk (and your life):

1.   Use affirmations.  Affirmations are statements that, when repeated often, train your brain to move you toward your goals.  (No, this is not a bunch of BS or a waste of time.  This actually works.  There's science behind it.)

     For whatever it is in your life that you'd like to improve, come up with an affirmation to help you get there.  You can start with focusing on one thing, or create multiple affirmations that correspond to different goals.  Keep the following tips in mind when forming your affirmations.

2.   Use the present tense.  This tells the subconscious mind what is happening right now.

     You don't want to say "I'm going to __" or "I will __."  Using the future tense tells the subconscious mind that you're not currently doing it; you'll do it another time.  It doesn't move you.

3.   Affirmations should be easy to remember.  Keep them as short as possible.  Anything that has a rhyme or rhythm to it, or just rolls off the tongue, would be great.  You want them to easily pop into mind when you need them.

4.   Avoid saying "I have to __," "I should __," or "I must __."  Not only do these not move you (as said in tip #2), but they imply you're coming from a place of guilt or pressure, or that you're not in control.  This will kill your energy and hinder you.  Whatever it is you have to do, remember that you GET to do these things. You're lucky to be alive and able to.  You're choosing to do them because you want to improve your life.

5.   Speak in the positive, avoiding negative wordsIf you say "I'm not lazy," the subconscious mind forms an image of laziness.  If you say "I don't procrastinate," the mind sees procrastination.  Tell yourself what you do want:  "I am productive" gives an image of productivity.  "I am strong" gives an image of strength.  You want to form mental images of your goals achieved.

     Wire your brain with the things you want, not with the things you don't want.

6.   Use "I am."  These are widely regarded as the most powerful words you can say.  The subconscious mind will get to work to make these statements true.

7.   Avoid phrasing that sounds way too far-fetched.  If "I am in good shape" feels unrealistic, try something like "I am getting stronger" or  "I exercise regularly."  If "I am successful" feels like a complete lie, you can try "I am making progress" or "I am taking the right steps."  As you improve, you can "upgrade" your affirmations.

8.   Review your affirmations often.  Aim for at least daily.  Reading them or just saying them in your head is great.  Saying them out loud or writing them down is even better.  You can use reminders on your phone, sticky notes around your house, or any method you can think of to remind yourself to repeat your affirmations frequently.  They will soon become your automatic thoughts, and you'll be on your way to reaching your goals.

9.   When you have a thought that works against you, stop yourself, and redirect your thoughts.  If you catch yourself thinking "I'm messy," you can replace it with "I am working toward keeping a cleaner home."  If you catch yourself thinking you're lazy, you can tell yourself "I get things done."

     Review these tips as needed, or to dive deeper into self-talk, check out Shad Helmstetter's What to Say When You Talk to Yourself(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

December 8, 2022

Stuck? This is the Answer

      Quick quote from today's caption on Pinterest (and something I've said before):

     "The answer is always to determine what the next small step is, and then do it."

     Big goals can be overwhelming, especially when we think of everything we have to do to achieve them.  This holds some of us back from taking any action at all.  What is one small thing you can do right now to get closer to achieving yours? (Put your workout clothes on, write one sentence, pull up a list of job openings, Google something you need to Google, whatever it is you need to do.  If nothing comes to mind, then the step you can take right now is to start brainstorming:  What is it that you want to accomplish, and what are the smallest first steps you can take?)

     Each step, no matter how tiny, helps to build momentum that will make the steps after that a bit easier. Small step by small step, the goal that was once intimidating becomes closer to reach. (But don't worry about the big picture right now - just take the small step!)

July 9, 2022

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz: Review & 10 Quotes

Build Our Best Lives blog self-development book review: "The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz: Review & 10 Quotes"

      The Magic of Thinking Big has been my favorite self-development book so far.  It teaches how your thoughts determine what you experience, and how you can shift your mindset to make the most of your life.  It explains what it means to think "big" and guides you to think bigger in different areas of your life.  This book also has great advice about letting go of excuses, overcoming fear, dealing with failure and more.

     The Magic of Thinking Big was enjoyable to read.  It gets to the point quickly.  There's no fluff - just wisdom and practical advice.  There are helpful, real-world examples of how both "big" and "small" thinking have impacted people's lives, and how some have had great outcomes using the tips provided.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
My Favorite Takeaways: 
     Here are some parts of The Magic of Thinking Big that were the most memorable to me personally.  Different parts might be more powerful for you.  We're all on our own unique journeys.  This book is full of gems.

1.   David J. Schwartz describes an experience he had at a training program he conducted.  Each trainee was asked to give a 10-minute talk.  One of them did terrible.  He was shaking, forgot what he was going to say, and gave up after a few minutes of fumbling.  Schwartz then spoke with this trainee and asked him to recall what was going on inside his head immediately before giving his speech.  The trainee admitted that all he could think about was how scared he was and how bad he was going to do.  Schwartz points out that this was that anwer to that man's problem - he convinced himself he was going to fail, so he did.

     The trainee was asked to give another talk at the following session.  This time, Schwartz directed him to give himself a "pep talk" prior to his speech - instead of thinking of how bad he was going to do, he was to spend a few minutes telling himself he was going to do great.  The trainee did, and then he gave an excellent speech the second time around.

2.   David J. Schwartz compares the brain to a "memory bank."  He explains that all your thoughts and experiences are "deposited" into this bank.  When you think things over, make choices, and form opinions, you ask the "teller" in your memory bank what it already knows about the subject at hand.  Schwartz explains that this teller is very reliable.  It will "withdraw" whatever type of information you ask it to.

     He uses this example: 

     If you approach him and say, "Mr. Teller, let me withdraw some thoughts I deposited in the past proving I'm inferior to just about everybody else," he'll say, "Certainly, sir.  Recall how you failed two times previously when you tried this?  Recall what your sixth-grade teacher told you about your inability to accomplish things . . . Recall what you overheard some fellow workers saying about you . . . Recall . . ."
     And on and on Mr. Teller goes, digging out of your brain thought after thought that proves you are inadequate.
     But suppose you visit your memory teller with this request: "Mr. Teller, I face a difficult decision.  Can you supply me with any thoughts which will give me reassurance?"
     And again Mr. Teller says, "Certainly, sir," but this time he delivers thoughts you deposited earlier that say you can succeed.  "Recall the excellent job you did in a similar situation before. . . . Recall how much confidence Mr. Smith placed in you. . . . Recall what your good friends said about you. . . .Recall. . ."

     Schwartz goes on to explain how we can effectively manage this "memory bank" in order to build confidence and find success.

3.   The author describes a man who decided he wanted to start a business.  For a variety of reasons, the time was never "just right" to do so.  Ten years later, he was still working the same job where he was dissatisfied and underpaid.  This book encourages you to take action.

     Some might say The Magic of Thinking Big is a bit repetitive.  The most important concepts are repeated a few times to ensure the reader understands and remembers them, which I found to be beneficial.  You'll only need to read this book once for it to change your life (though you'll probably want to read it again).

     The Magic of Thinking Big was written in 1959 so there are certain things that are outdated, but the lessons in this book are perfectly relevant today.

Who should read this?:
     I'd recommend The Magic of Thinking Big to anyone with a desire to make the most of their life.  This book would be especially helpful for anyone who's interested in starting their own business or who's hesitant to go after their dreams.

Quotes from The Magic of Thinking Big:
1.  "There is nothing magical or mystical about belief.  Belief works this way.  Belief, the 'I'm-positive-I-can' attitude, generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do.  When you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops."

2.  "The number one obstacle on the road to high-level success is the feeling that major accomplishment is beyond reach."

3.  "How big we think determines the size of our accomplishments."

4.  "The fellow who thinks he is inferior, regardless of what his real qualifications may be, is inferior."

5.  "Action cures fear."

6.  "Study the lives of successful people and you'll discover this: all the excuses made by the mediocre fellow could be but aren't made by the successful person.  I have never met nor heard of a highly successful business executive, military officer, salesman, professional person, or leader in any field who could not have found one or more major excuses to hide behind."

7.  "Believing it's impossible to climb high, they do not discover the steps that lead to great heights.  Their behavior remains that of the 'average' person.  But a small number of these young people really believe they will succeed.  They approach their work with the 'I'm-going-to-the-top' attitude.  And with substantial belief they reach the top."

8.  "Believe you can surpass.  Believe you can go beyond.  Those who harbor the second-best attitude are invariably second-best doers.
     Look at it this way.  Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life.  Study the fellow who is shuffling down there in mediocrity.  He believes he is worth little, so he receives little.  He believes he can't do big things, and he doesn't.  He believes he is unimportant, so everything he does has an unimportant mark."

9.  "Let the master thought 'I will succeed' dominate your thinking process.  Thinking success conditions your mind to create plans that produce success."

10.  "Think doubt and fail.
Think victory and succeed."

June 13, 2022

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero: Short Review and 10 Quotes

Blog title picture: Short review of You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, and 10 quotes from this book.

     This was the first self-development book I read.  I always HATED reading.  I went through a phase of watching motivational videos on Youtube, and so many of them would credit self-development books for helping them change their lives, so I wanted to give it a shot.  I've seen so many people rave about You are a Badass, and I thought a book like this would be a good way of dipping my toes in to see if I could actually get into reading.  I was right.  I surprisingly enjoyed this book so much that I went on to read many more of this genre.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

     You are a Badass teaches you to let go of your limiting beliefs so you can create the life of your dreams.  This book takes mindset principles that other self-development books teach, and presents them in an entertaining and easily-digestible way that others don't.  Jen Sincero writes like she's your best friend hitting you with some tough love.  This book is to-the-point and fast-moving.  It has short chapters that are divided into sections, making this the perfect book to pick up and read a couple pages of here and there (though I didn't want to put this down).

Who should read this?: 
     I'll always be honest with you.  Jen Sincero's tone isn't for everyone.  She's direct, a bit aggressive, and quirky.  You'll get a feel for it in the quotes below.  If you're put off by this, or if you're easily offended, you might want to skip this book.  I personally loved the language she uses - it's entertaining and engaging.

     I'd especially recommend this book to anyone who's new to self-development.  It gets you thinking about how your mindset has been holding you back, and inspires you to make a plan to create your best life.

     If you're already well-read in the genre, you won't find original information in You are a Badass, but if her tone is up your alley, you'd probably enjoy this book as a fun boost of motivation.

     I wanted to be fair and include a couple negatives, though I highly recommend You are a Badass to anyone who's interested.  I think this book should have talked more about the effort required for a person to build their dream life.  At times it was a bit woo-woo for my preference.  Jen makes a couple overgeneralizations that I didn't 100% agree with.  There are some run-on sentences.  These things didn't bother me.  This book can definitely help you develop the mindset needed to change your life, regardless.

Quotes from You are a Badass:
1.  "Figure it out.  Don't just hand your life over to your circumstances like a little wuss.  You can take your life wherever you want it to go, so grab it by its nether regions and make doing the things you love a priority."

2.  "You're going to have to let go of old, limiting beliefs and cling to your decision to create the life you desire like your life depends on it.
     Because guess what?  Your life does depend on it."

3.  "So often, we pretend we've made a decision, when what we've really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable."

4.  "This is about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you can't have it.  Or that you don't deserve it.  Or that you're a greedy egomaniacal fathead for wanting more than you already have.  Or listening to what Dad and Aunt Mary think you should be doing."

5.  "When you up-level your idea of what's possible, and decide to really go for it, you open yourself up to the means to accomplish it as well."

6.  "If you want to live a life you've never lived, you have to do things you've never done."

7.  "Because so often when we say we're unqualified for something, what we're really saying is that we're too scared to try it, not that we can't do it."

8.  "But what if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway?  What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought?
     THAT would be living."

9.  "No matter how intimidating your next great leap forward seems at the moment, it will be a pipsqueak when you look back on it someday.  So why wait?  Why not look at it through pipsqueak colored glasses right now?  Envision your challenges from the future, look back on them from a place of victory, and they will lose much of their power to paralyze."

10.  "You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears.  Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around."

     If you've gotten this far and still think this book might be for you... it is.  Get it.  It's a fun read that moves fast and will leave you highly inspired to make the most of your life.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Suggested:  Finding Your Passion,

June 10, 2022

Rewire Your Mind:  How to Change Your Thoughts (and Improve Your Life)

"Rewire Your Mind:  How to Change Your Thoughts (and Improve Your Life)" from Build Our Best Lives blog

     If you haven't seen my previous post - about how your beliefs have been wired into your brain to create the life you live today - check it out here.

    You should now understand how every aspect of your life has been affected by your beliefs.  If there are any areas of your life that you'd like to improve, you need to change the way you think about them.  First, you need to stop telling yourself your old stories.

     Remember this: The things you frequently say to yourself become directions to the subconscious mind.  As discussed in my previous post, the subconscious mind will go to work for you to make those things true. Stop giving it instructions like:

     "I'm not good enough to do that."
     "Today is going to suck."
     "I'm lazy."
     "I could never afford that."
     "I'm unorganized."
     "This is how it has to be."

     Your self talk goes on constantly, whether you pay attention to it or not.  Begin to monitor everything you say to yourself.  You'll start to notice things you've been telling yourself that have been working against you.  It can be quite eye opening to realize just how much you've been holding yourself back.

    The key to reprogramming your mind for success is to replace your old, damaging self-talk with new self-talk that will work in your favor.  When you catch yourself having a thought that works against you, immediately stop yourself and shift your thinking.  Come up with a statement to redirect each of your limiting beliefs, and say it to yourself every time one of those beliefs comes up.  Keep at this, and it'll become a habit.

     For example: If you catch yourself saying "I'm out of shape," stop yourself.  Replace it with something like "I'm in good shape.You don't want to say anything that feels too unrealistic, so if you need to, take it down a notch - in this example, perhaps you'd try "I'm getting healthier."  We'll go over more examples for improving different areas of your life in future posts.

     Changing your self-talk will feel strange at first.  Remember, you interpret everything based on your current beliefs.  Your old self will try to talk you out of it, or make you feel stupid for it, or tell you that it won't work.  Ignore it.

     Take this seriously even if it seems silly.  Don't be put off by the simplicity of it.  This isn't some nonsensical crap for gullible people.  As explained here, your thoughts literally change your brain.  The aim of this isn't to blindly ignore problems - it tackles them at their root.  Changing your self-talk can profoundly change your life.

     The key to reprogramming your brain for success is repetition. The more your brain receives a message, the faster it becomes wired in.  The mind acts on whatever programs it has that are the strongest.  You need to keep feeding your mind the new messages until they become your new automatic thoughts.  As your brain adapts, this will become completely natural.

     With some practice, anyone can change their thoughts to help improve any aspect of their life.  Once you're aware of how your thoughts create your reality, you can finally stop sabotaging yourself.

     Develop the habit of monitoring your thoughts.  Stop programming your brain with your old story, and give your subconscious mind a better set of instructions.  If you want to be successful, think the way a successful person thinks.  If you want to be fit, think like a fit person.  Think in ways that a person who reaches your goals would think, and that's who you'll become.

     As I suggested in my previous post, to learn more about how our minds get programmed, and how we can change our self-talk to help us reach our goals, read What to Say When You Talk to Yourself.  If you'd prefer a very short read - just 90 pages of rather large text - read Self-Talk for Self-Esteem.  It has an emphasis on the way self-talk affects our self-esteem, but it's a great quick introduction to programmed beliefs in general and how we can change our thoughts.

Click to shop on Amazon:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

June 4, 2022

You've Been Programmed: How Your Beliefs Have Created Your Reality

"You've Been Programmed: How Your Beliefs Have Created Your Reality" from Build Our Best Lives Blog

     From the moment you were born, you've been programmed to end up where you are today.  Here's how it happened:

     When you came into this world, your brain started receiving messages from your family, your community, and everything around you.  The messages you heard multiple times became wired in.*  This is what formed your core beliefs about yourself, your abilities, your limits, and the world.  Those beliefs began a chain reaction that has caused your life to look the way it does today.

     Ultimately, your beliefs have influenced every choice you've ever made.  (A person who's heard from a young age that the key to a good life is to go to college and get a corporate job will probably do just that.  Somebody who's always been told that college is only for wealthier families probably won't try to save for it or look into financial assistance.  A person who believes they can make friends easily will talk to a lot of people, and somebody who believes they're unlikeable won't make as much of an effort to connect with others.  Someone who believes they're lazy will act lazy, and someone who believes they're a hard worker will work hard.)  Your thoughts are the cause of every effect in your life.

     Your actions have gotten you results that have further reinforced what you believe.  (The person who believes they're unlikeable who rarely reaches out to people, doesn't make or keep many friends, supporting their belief that people don't enjoy being around them.  The hard worker successfully completes a difficult project, strengthening their belief that they can and should work hard.)  It's also likely that you've attracted like-minded people who have reaffirmed your beliefs.

     When introduced to new ideas, you've been more inclined to accept them if they support what you already believe.  The brain ties new information to what it already knows, and tells you how to feel about it accordingly. Your whole life, you've viewed the world through a filter of your programmed beliefs.

       When something is wired into your brain, your mind goes to work for you to prove it to be true.* (If you believe you're a winner, your brain will come up with a list of things you've done right that prove why, and if you believe you're a loser, you'll come up with a list of things you've done wrong.  If you believe something can be done, you'll learn how to do it, and if you believe it can't, you'll come up with a list of obstacles in your way.) The brain comes up with evidence to support its beliefs, and fixates on it so that it overshadows anything else.

     Basically, the subconscious mind wants to be right.  It will do what it can to make its beliefs a reality.  The stronger your beliefs are, the more you'll be moved in that direction.

     Be aware of this:  Not every message you've been programmed with has been 100% true.  It's likely that even people you look up to have unintentionally provided you with inaccurate programming.  Repeated messages get wired into the brain regardless of whether they're true or false. 

     Most of us have been programmed with at least some beliefs that place limits on what we can do, be, or have.  These are called "limiting beliefs," and they can hold you back from getting what you really want out of life. When you believe you can't do or be or have something, you cut yourself off from achieving it.  (If you don't believe wealth is attainable, you won't bother learning how to become wealthy.  If you don't believe you can be a successful author, you won't publish and promote your books.)

     Take a close look at any area of your life that you aren't completely happy with.  Chances are the problem can be traced back to your beliefs.  Your success or failure at anything is directly tied to your beliefs about it.  People who live lives we admire usually have either been programmed that way, or have learned to change the way their minds are wired.

     The reinforcement of your beliefs is a cycle that continues indefinitely unless your brain is reprogrammed with new messages.  You're unlikely to break the cycle if you don't make it a point to change the way you think.

     The good news is, once you become aware of your limiting beliefs, you can start to change them.  You can reprogram your mind to improve any area of your life.  Imagine the person you'd be if your brain was wired in your favor.  The key to achieving this is to change your thoughts.  I'll explain how to do that in my next post.

     To learn more about how you've been programmed, and how you can change it (and change your life), I recommend reading What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter, PhD.

     For a quick read check out his book Self-Talk for Self-EsteemThere's an emphasis on the way our self-talk affects our self-esteem, but this book is a great introduction to our programmed beliefs and how to change our self-talk, and only takes about an hour to read.

Click to shop on Amazon:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

* See a quick explanation of the science behind this here.

June 3, 2022

The Science Behind How Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

 "The Science Behind How Your Thoughts Create Your Reality" From Build Our Best Lives Blog

     BOBL will be talking a lot about how our thoughts create our realities.  Here's a quick introduction to some functions of the brain that help explain this:

     Neuroplasticity:  This is the brain's ability to rewire itself in response to what it experiences.  Our thoughts and our actions stimulate specific neural pathways in the brain.  When those actions and thoughts are repeated, the associated neural pathways grow, and their function improves.  This is a reason we get better at things with practice.
     Neuroplasticity helps to explain how your mindset shapes your reality:  Your thoughts literally change your brain.

     The Reticular Activating System (RAS):  The RAS is a network of nerves in the brainstem that serves a few functions.  One thing it does is control our ability to focus.  It would be impossible and unnecessary for us to give attention to every single sight or sound streaming into our brains at any given time.  The RAS filters out the vast majority of outside stimuli.  It stops us from processing every little thing around us, so we can focus on what's most important.
     Your thoughts tell your RAS what's important and what isn't.
The RAS decides what to let in and what to filter out accordingly.
     Here's a commonly used example of the RAS in action:  When you're shopping for a new car and decide on a model you want, you start to notice that model on the road left and right.  There aren't more of them out there than there were before, you've just told your RAS to start noticing them.
     In this way, your thoughts determine what you experience. It's one of the reasons things like self-talk, affirmations, and visualization actually work.  It's why "what you focus on expands." If you have your mind set on an important goal, your RAS will help you become aware of opportunities, information and resources to help you achieve it.

     This is only a small portion of the science behind all of this.  We'll discuss much more in future posts.

Suggested: Rewire Your Mind:  How to Change Your Thoughts (and Improve Your Life),
You've Been Programmed: How Your Beliefs Have Created Your Reality

June 2, 2022

Self-Development (32 Quotes)

32 Quotes About Self Development from Build Our Best Lives Blog

1.  "Those who seek a better life must first become a better person."
- Jim Rohn

2.  "Let us strive to improve ourselves, for we cannot remain stationary; one either progresses or retrogrades."
- Marie Anne de Vichy

3.  "Personal growth is not a matter of learning new information but of unlearning old limits."
- Alan Cohen

4.  "Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound."
- James Allen

5.  "The key to personal development lies in your daily routine."
- Idowu Koyenikan

6.  "You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. If you want to reach your goals and fulfill your potential, become intentional about your personal growth. It will change your life."
- Jim Rohn

7.  "Live your life as if you were already the outstanding person that you intend to be sometime in the future."
- Brian Tracy

8.  "There is no limit to self-improvement.  When you ask yourself, 'How can I do better?' sound answers will appear."
- David J. Schwartz (The Magic of Thinking Big)

9.  "Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you."
- Robin Sharma

10.  "If you are under the impression you have already perfected yourself, you will never rise to the heights you are no doubt capable of."
- Kazuo Ishiguro

11.  "Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement.”
- Baltasar Gracian

12.  "First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."
- Epictetus

13.  "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."
- Tony Robbins 

14.  "Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

15.  "Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."
- Brian Tracy

16.  "Growth and comfort do not coexist."
- Ginni Rometty

17.  "More men have become great through practice than by nature."
- Democritus

18.  "No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself."
- Madonna

19.  "If a tree’s strength is judged while it is still a seed, it is mistaken as weak."
- Idowu Koyenikan

20.  "Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today."
- Tim Fargo

21.  "The best investment you can make is in yourself."
- Warren Buffett

22.  "Set a goal so big that you can't achieve it until you grow into the person who can."
- Zig Ziglar 

23.  "Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune."
- Jim Rohn

24.  "I tell people everywhere I go that my success began the day I started focusing on developing who I am as a person."
- Eric Thomas

25.  "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
- Benjamin Franklin

26.  "You make the world a better place by making yourself a better person."
- Scott Sorrell

27.  "Let him who would move the world first move himself."
- Socrates

28.  "Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results."
- Robin Sharma

29.  "He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate."
- Henry David Thoreau

30.  "The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action."
- John Dewey

31.  "Human beings cannot remain stagnant - we are either growing or dying.  We are either getting better or getting worse."
- Steve Siebold

32.  "Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

See more quotes by topic here.

April 26, 2022

Early Days of BOBL

     I apologize for not being active.  Posts will be much more consistent in the future.

     Naturally, there are still parts of the blog that make me cringe.  I'll be making improvements over time.  For now, I just wanted to keep things simple, and hopefully easy-to-navigate.

     As expected, being a new blogger (with a full time nursing job) is kinda rough:  It takes a ton of time, and I have little to show for it.  People don't "get" it.  Imposter syndrome.  I'm expecting these things to change, though, and I'm feeling pretty good about the future of BOBL.

     Join us on instagram if you're not already @buildourbestlives.

February 20, 2022

Are Your Dreams Worth It?

     Just a blurb from yesterday's instagram post:

     Are your dreams worth the sacrifices required to get there?

     It's a personal decision.  I suggest thinking this over in order to set realistic goals.  Most of our desires require a sacrifice of time, money, and/or energy.

     Personally, I believe it will be worth it to make some sacrifices over the next couple years so that I can live the rest of my life the way I really want to.  Yes, if I found out I had a week left to live I'd have some regrets.  I'd also have regrets if I live a long life, but didn't plan for an awesome future.

     Ultimately, it's kind of a gamble:  Nobody knows how long they're going to live, so nobody knows the "right" way to divvy up their time, money, and energy.

     I'm banking on living a long time.  You might not agree, and of course, wherever you stand is okay.  Plan accordingly!

Suggested:  Finding Your Passion,

January 7, 2022

Poem: Time Is Everything

Poem: "Time is yours / to seize your dreams / or disgracefully discard / as though your hours / aren't everything / you are"

For more A.E.Long poetry, follow @poetryael on instagram.

December 19, 2021

Finding Your Passion

"Finding Your Passion" Blog post from Build Our Best Lives

      BOBL encourages you to build a life full of passion. While some people know exactly what that looks like to them, others aren't quite sure, and some even stress over the idea of "finding their passion." This post is for anyone who would like some insight on the subject.

     Let's start with what your passion isn't: It doesn't have to be just one clear-cut thing; maybe you thrive by doing a little bit of everything. It doesn't have to be lifelong; it can be ever-changing. It doesn't have to be unique, trendy, or impressive.

     Here are some questions to help you decide what to create more of in your life. Your answers will be similar for most of these - I wanted to ask in a few ways since different things resonate with different people. Hopefully some of these will work for you:

     •  If you knew you'd be successful at anything, and you never had to worry about money, time, obligations, judgement, fear, or anything else, what would you do? 

     •  What are you doing when you're at your happiest? What do you get excited about or love to talk about? What makes you feel alive?

     •  What were your childhood dreams? I know you didn't know much of the world at the time, but in turn, you were less conditioned by it - you were just you. What did you love to do? Is there anything you've always been drawn to?

     •  What do you find yourself fully engaged in, causing you to lose track of time? When do you feel the most aligned, like your truest self? What do you feel pulled to? What feels "right"?

     •  How do you want to feel? (e.g., excited, relaxed, free, proud, etc.) What would make you feel that way?

     •  Would your goals be the same if nobody could know about your accomplishments? Would your desires be the same if nobody could find out about them?

     Make sure you're being honest with yourself. It doesn't matter what looks cool on the outside, or what you think should make you happy - it's whatever truly makes you feel the most alive. It doesn't have to sound good to anybody but you.

     If nothing comes to mind for most of these questions, you might need to experience some new things. Perhaps spend some time trying different activities, meeting new people, traveling, and/or learning - get to know more of the world. It's okay if it takes trial and error to discover what you truly love. Nobody comes out of the womb with life all figured out.

December 16, 2021

What Is Success?

     The meaning of success is often debated but I'm going to keep it very, very simple:

     Success = a desired outcome.

     So, success is whatever it means to you.  It looks different for everybody.
     I'll guess that since you're here, you have a desire to build a fulfilling life.  This blog isn't about becoming someone you're not. It's about living a life of passion and becoming your best, happiest, most authentic YOU.  I'm not pushing "big" dreams on you.  Perhaps a simple life with loved ones is your true calling.  I just want you to know that you're not limited to living any certain way... and that if the bigger things are what you truly desire, you should go for them!

Suggested:  Finding Your Passion,

December 15, 2021

Poem: The Spark


Poem: "... that divine fire / often dimmed and buried / but never burns out / and never loses its power / to light your way"

     For more A.E.Long poetry, follow @poetryael on instagram.

December 6, 2021

Your Thoughts Create

     Take note of what you think about throughout your day.  Not just when you're "feeling motivated," but your DOMINANT thoughts.

     You might catch yourself repeatedly thinking of how lazy, or unlucky, or broke, or out of shape you are, or of all the reasons you believe you can't do whatever it is you truly desire to do.

     That's what you're welcoming into your life.  Your dominant thoughts have led you to where you are, and will take you wherever you go.

     Your thoughts can take you to success or to failure, to happiness or to sadness, to mediocrity or to the life of your dreams.  It starts with taking charge of your mindset.  Try to keep in mind that your thoughts create your reality.

December 5, 2021

"This Is How It Has To Be."

     "It wouldn't work."
     "I'm not good enough."
     "I could never afford that."
     "I can't..." etc.

     If these are the things you keep telling yourself, YOU'RE MAKING THEM TRUE. 

     You simply won't take the steps to achieve something if you don't believe it's possible in the first place.  This just might be the only thing stopping you from getting what you truly want out of life.

     You get what you look for.

     Your subconscious mind doesn't argue with you.  Whether you tell it something good or bad, true or untrue, it goes to work for you to find confirmation of what you already believe.  (The best part, for a major skeptic like myself, is that there is SCIENCE behind this!)

     If you're looking for reasons you can't do something, you'll find them - there are flaws in everything, and there will always be obstacles.  Anyone can easily find an excuse.  That's what most people do.  If you focus on what's possible for you instead, you'll find opportunities.  That's what successful people do.

Poem: Soul Fire

Poem:  "so sad it is / when we forget / the things that set / our souls afire" by A.E.Long on instagram as poetryael

For more A.E.Long poetry, follow @poetryael on instagram.

Poem: The Fallen Fellow

Poem:  "... the fallen fellow / denied his dreams / and followed his fears / for fifty years / those fears were in his head"

For more A.E.Long poetry, follow @poetryael on instagram.

Poem: Dare To Dream

A.E.Long Poem:  dare to / hold your dreams / more dearly / than your fears / you are here / for your dreams / after all

For more A.E.Long poetry, follow @poetryael on instagram.

July 31, 2021

Poem: Tomorrow

A.E.Long poem: "tomorrow" is / the greatest / enemy / and thief / of our todays

For more A.E.Long poetry, follow @poetryael on instagram.