Making Friends with Fear: Embracing Your Fear During Challenging Times

As we move through the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the same emotion: Fear.

You may have heard that embracing your fear helps you get through challenges, but how do you go about making friends with your fears?


We’re feeling fearful about the state of the world. We’re worried about our jobs. We’re concerned about our health and the health of our loved ones. We may be concerned about the fact that we’re single and stuck at home, trying to date on Zoom. We may fear for the company we work for—will we have a job? What about that raise or promotion we were aiming for in a few months?

These fears are very real and valid. But when we talk about fear, we have a choice. We can choose to embrace fear and lean into our emotions, using them to propel us forward to action, or we can choose to crumble under the weight of our fear and allow it to paralyze us.


Fear can often hold us down or hold us back—but did you know that fear can also be your friend? In our latest Wright Now webinar, Wright Foundation co-founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Wright talks about the critical role fear plays in our lives.

Watch the webinar now.


Fear and Our Transformational Development

When we talk about embracing fear and making fear into a friend, we’re looking at the emotion in terms of human development. As we develop emotionally, we move through different stages. As a child, we feel excitement and fear. Our challenge is to learn to trust, engage, and work with our fear as we grow.

As we get older, we may either learn to indulge in fear and live our lives sequestered away in terror or go into denial about our fear.


Both denial and overindulgence are mistaken approaches to fear. Our fear is our source of aliveness—it’s neither an emotion to ignore or to hide inside.


Fear also contains a powerful message. Our feelings of anxiety come up when we face mortality. Many of us have a fear of death. We hear people say, “I’m not afraid,” but feeling afraid isn’t always negative. Look at walking around downtown Chicago. On a busy day, you may need to cross the road. What do you do? You press the button and wait for the light. You don’t typically wander into traffic. You may look down the street and charge across if you see a break. It’s your fear that’s telling you not to jump in front of the car. Fear is really our friend.

Fear also tells us how to navigate in social situations. It helps us pick up on cues from others in our sphere. We may notice someone is upset, or someone is angry. We may fear rejection from our social group–being left out. These fears are rooted in our need to survive.

Archeologists can see the first signs of humans coming together in ancient bodies that show signs of healing bones. Why? Because when people were on their own, a broken bone could mean death. If someone broke their leg, they wouldn’t be able to hunt or survive. When people started to come together in social groups, they would care for each other until they recovered. If someone broke a leg, their group gave them food, shelter, and water. Belonging to a group was critical to our very survival.

Similarly, fear protected us. If we heard a noise in the jungle, fear kept us from exploring the sound further. We didn’t charge towards an angry lion or bear. Fear told us to hide, and fear became self-preservation. Fear kept us safe and helped us evolve.

Zone-In to Your Fear

We all tend to protect ourselves from fear. For many of us, hunkering down on your couch, watching the entire Star Wars series can feel like we’re practicing self-care. There’s nothing wrong with watching a movie, of course, but when we’re feeling fear, we want it to motivate us into action.

It’s a better idea to allow ourselves to feel the emotion and figure out what action we can take. Can we reach out to people? If you’re worried about your job, can you use this time to imagine where you’d like to take your career in the future?

When people are afraid, they often deny themselves the challenges of learning and growing—especially at work. Instead, they take up music, they work on their hobbies, they draw and take up art. Of course, this makes them feel great! There’s nothing to be afraid of when you’re playing the notes you want to hear or drawing the pictures you wish to—but you aren’t putting yourself out there!

In meetings, you see people zone out and start doodling in the margins of their notes. Often, it’s when they’re feeling an emotion like fear. They don’t want to face the feeling, so they disengage. They’re afraid to speak up, they’re worried, or feel like they had an idea shot down by someone. Rather than engaging and confronting the issue, they allow fear to take over, and they zone out.

Right now, it’s especially frightening in the business world. A friend of mine is the Chief Operating Officer of her company. She’s facing some unprecedented challenges—she’s never let people go or put them on furlough. Financial decisions are going on in the company that she wasn’t part of. Her fear was causing her to become frozen. She was fearful, hurt, and angry.

But once she tapped into those feelings, she realized, “I’m mad and afraid, but this is what I need to do. I need to go in and fight for my people. I need to get as engaged in the company as possible.” Now is the time to work harder and to make yourself indispensable. How can you do even more and fight even harder for your job?

We Need Our Emotions—Even Fear—Now More than Ever

Our emotions help us interact with others using compassion and empathy. We need our hurt. We need our fear, and we need our anger. These emotions help us engage and step up. They help propel us toward involvement.


We’re in a time of uncertainty, and with that ambiguity comes a lot of fear. But when we really feel those fears, we can turn them into motivation. What can you do this moment to take effective action?


The goal isn’t to “overcome your fear” or turn it off. It’s to feel it and ride it forward. When you talk to athletes, performers, or public speakers, they’ll tell you that they don’t try to turn off their sense of fear. They understand that you can’t turn it off or “overcome” it. You ride it. You use that fear and accompanying adrenaline to bring you energy and aliveness. Let it motivate you into effective action.

So, if you’re feeling fear today as you read the news or get an email from your boss, decide to take action. What can you do right now to choose to move forward? You can either choose to shut down—to become small, frozen, and to shrink down—or to empower yourself and keep going.

Reach out to your friends that inspire you—those who are motivated and who are taking action in their own lives. Identify what you can do right now, today, to keep yourself moving forward.

We exercise our control of the choices we make from moment to moment. Who we are today is a compilation of all the decisions we have made and all the moments we have ever lived. Right now, we have a choice—we can move forward with our fear.

In our Foundation, we have fears, too. We’re a nonprofit organization that relies on donations, which have, of course, slowed down. Classes have shifted to an online-only format. None of us know exactly what the future will look like. But as a group, we’ve decided to choose moving forward even with our fear. We know that our materials need to reach the broadest possible audience to help them get through this time. So we’ve offered all kinds of resources, free seminars, and webinars online through our Wright Now site. We’ve chosen to offer them for free right now because we know people need our message.

If you’re looking for ways to learn, grow, and lean into your fear, please be my guest and explore some of the resources we have to offer. Go forward, even in fear, and ignite your world as you discover the emergence of your next, most-radiant self.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Self-Quarantine and Getting Over Our Differences in Close Quarters

The Coronavirus outbreak has been an unprecedented experience for us all. We may find ourselves juggling our roles all at once and under one roof—parent, spouse, employee, ad-hoc teacher, and more. 

Getting along in self-quarantine is a big challenge. Even if we get along well in normal circumstances, close quarters can be difficult.

 


It’s no wonder many of us are feeling overwhelmed, out-of-sorts, and at odds with each other in our households. None of us have lived through this kind of global pandemic before, and no playbook tells us how to cope—moreover, how to thrive—in these circumstances.

But the skills we use to thrive in our “regular” lives can be successfully employed and used as tools in our brave new world as well.

How to Deal with All These Guidelines (Even When They’re Frustrating)

Even the closest people have personality differences. Even though I am the one who drives us toward order, in the time of Corona, Judith is way more fastidious than I am. In fact, sometimes, it drives me nuts! Sure I keep distance, but I’m not as extreme on distance as Judith. I don’t worry at the level she does. She says I am like a puppy dog around other people, and she is not wrong.

But when I reframe the way I’m looking at Judith’s feelings right now, I realize that her health challenges put her more at risk for the virus and illness in general. She has to be careful to stay safe. It helps her feel secure and eases her sense of fear.

I may find washing my hands thirty times a day or donning a mask a bit stupid at first, but the truth is, I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for Judith because I love her. I’m also doing it to protect others who I don’t even know. I’m wearing the mask to avoid bringing my germs into a setting, and it’s actually an act of love and compassion for all the people I may affect.


When we reframe our situation not as restrictive, but as an act of kindness, solidarity, and caring for those around us, the restrictions and guidelines don’t seem as annoying, ridiculous, or frustrating. We may find we want to take action to protect others, even more urgently than before.


What a beautiful act of kindness it is when we wear a mask to protect a stranger’s health. What a sign of caring for our fellow man when we see empty parks, quiet streets, and shuttered buildings. It’s a thing of beauty to see everyone coming together with care, concern, and appreciation for each other.

Those who are teaching their children may realize a greater appreciation for the role that teachers play in our lives. When we pick up a food order to go, we may feel our hearts swell with gratitude for those who cooked and prepared the food. We may think of the supply chain workers—all those who contributed to getting food to our plate.

A few years ago, author A.J. Jacobs set out to thank everyone who contributed to his morning cup of coffee. What initially began as an opportunity to thank a few people turned into a journey of gratitude where he thanked over 1,000 people who had contributed in some way to the coffee. From the farmer who grew the beans, to the manufacturer of the paper cup, to those who roasted, shipped, and poured the coffee, it was a staggering number of people.

Many of us don’t find those moments of appreciation as often when life is moving along like usual. We forget all the contribution that goes into the details of our lives. We may forget the incredible influence that each of us has and the profound ways each action impacts another.

People are frightened right now. They see loved ones face illness; they may face illness themselves, not to mention the economic toil and impact of the situation. We may feel helpless, but this allows us to realize how each little action creates a ripple effect. When we hold empathy and gratitude, we start viewing all these micro-actions as kind and generous. This reframing helps us realize why we’re showing caring by being careful right now.

Unsettled at Home

With the social distancing guidelines and encouragement to shelter in place, our homes may feel like less of a sanctuary and more like a punishment. During this time, it’s essential to focus on self-compassion and care for others as well. Find ways to reach out with our hearts instead of with our arms.

Since we can’t connect physically with those outside of our house, we can find impactful ways to engage and be present through technology. Scheduling Facetime or Zoom with coworkers, friends, and others can help us feel connected. Enjoy a dinner party with friends over video conferencing, for example.


We can also shift our intention to using this time to connect more deeply with our partner or children. It’s hard when we’re working from home and managing schoolwork.  Our schedule may feel like a blur and there are no date nights or playdates.


What if we shift the idea of a date night to staying in and spending intentional and purpose-driven time together? Rather than watching another TV show (as we scroll through our phone), what if we sat together over dinner with no distractions and talked? Or what if we read a book with our partner? What if we used this time to discover new aspects of each other and our relationship?

What if we sat up play dates with our own kids? What if we made time to enjoy a game together, to have a conversation about something important, or to explore a topic together as we learn? Our children are still engaging with their schools online, talking to teachers and classmates over email. What if we help them to connect with their friends and family members? We can use this time to spend one-on-one time with our kids and learn something new about them as well.

If we look at ways to nourish and help each other, we can reframe the schooling and even the cleaning and cooking as opportunities to serve our loved ones. How can we form a partnership in purpose? What can we do to come out of our time in isolation, stronger, more connected, and more deeply engaged than ever before?

The Learning Experience of Our Situation

Dealing with a global pandemic isn’t something any of us have a playbook to handle. We haven’t been through these circumstances before. We may be spending more time at home than we have in years. Our routines are altered; we’re adapting our work and juggling multiple tasks to get through this time.

In addition to thinking of the Coronavirus outbreak as a chance to learn about family and loved ones, we can also learn more about ourselves. How are we finding ways to be more conscious and find fulfillment during this time? How are we finding ways to emerge from this experience with new insights and ideas about who we are and how we rise to the occasion?


We are more influential and powerful than we may realize. Our fears and feelings of inadequacy during this time may paralyze us. Still, we can also find the opportunity to embrace our sense of aliveness and tap into our personal power.


Those of us who are sheltering at home alone have an excellent opportunity to stay in contact with ourselves. Tap into a sense of self-efficacy—set the intention we will make it through this situation. We can handle this situation and get through it. We can use this time to learn and grow and work toward a better world. We will persevere.

If you’re looking for learning opportunities we have many of our courses available online for FREE during this time. Please visit Wright Now to explore the options. We will also be offering a series of web-based events. I hope you consider joining us to learn more about yourself and your world!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Like this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: The Secret to Letting Go of Fear By Embracing It and Riding Aliveness

Right now, there’s no way around it—we are all feeling fear. These feelings are natural, normal, healthy, and even expected.

Right now, we’re feeling afraid—a normal reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic, but there are ways to let go of our fear.


We’re facing an unprecedented situation, where our whole world has been upended. None of us has seen a global pandemic of this proportion before. We don’t know how the Coronavirus outbreak will play out.

Compounding these fears are job loss, economic insecurity, concerns about our health and safety as well as the health and safety of our loved ones. We’re watching helplessly as we see disturbing scenes on the news and read upsetting accounts of the disease. Combined with a loss of connection with our loved ones, many of us are feeling frightened and alone. Isolation is difficult—even painful for many of us—as we’re told to practice social distancing.

So, thinking of ways we need to “let go of fear” may be the wrong way of framing the idea. We don’t need to let go of our emotions; we should allow ourselves to feel them fully. What we can do is learn to take our fear and channel it toward our sense of aliveness. We can use our fear to propel us forward.

Believe You Will Prevail

In the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill never lost his certainty that the British would prevail. The bombing was constant. Some nights, 400 tons of bombs were dropped on London. It would have been easy to fall into doubt and complete despair. Many did, but not Sir Winston.

Although he had no idea how they would win, and the situation seemed hopeless, Churchill still believed that they would come out of the battle. He never wavered—he knew they would get through. In fact, he prepared the British to defend their homeland. He kept them fighting mad and ready for anything—including the devastation of many of their homes.


We can apply this Churchill mindset to our own lives in this experience. Setting our intention, ‘We will make it through this challenging time, no matter what!’ This attitude is just as important today as it was then.


Believe that with no sign of relief as things seem to get worse, we will make it through this pandemic. This experience will change us. It will impact the entire world. Determine that you will learn and grow. You will come out of it different than you went in, but you will prevail.

This self-belief that we can handle the situation is called self-efficacy. We can all channel and even increase our sense of self-efficacy at this time. Self-efficacy doesn’t mean that we feel no fear, or that we feel confident, or unshakeable.

We might be scared to death. We might not know how we are going to do it. We may shake and tremble, but we can intend to get through this. We can decide that we will use this time to learn, to grow, to innovate, to support each other, and partner in new ways—always knowing that we WILL come out on the other side even though we have no idea how.

Keeping Our Human Connections

Another lesson we can take from Churchill’s example during the Battle of Britain is that being there for people makes a huge difference. This is especially important when we all want to “do” something. Instead, simply being in the moment and offering our presence is equally powerful.

During the battle, some of the most impoverished areas of London were hit the hardest. These people had nothing left. Churchill knew there was nothing he could do to change what had happened. But he drove immediately to these hardest-hit areas anyway, and his presence made a huge difference to those people whose entire world had been crushed.

As he walked through the rows of houses that looked as though a giant had stomped them, his eyes welled up with tears. People saw this expression of emotion and said, “He really cares about us. He loves our people.” It meant so much to the British, and his simple act of human expression carried many of them through the time.

Our sense of caring for others is truly a gift we have abundantly to give. We may not know what to do—in fact, no one knows what to do in this new situation. We might not have a job for our friend who lost their livelihood, we might not be able to spend birthdays with our loved ones, and we might have had to cancel our plans. But we can still be there for each other. We can express interest, listen, and reassure our friends and loved ones Our care and attention are gifts. Asking what they can do helps invite them to ride the fear into new action.

None of us are sure about our navigation through this time, but we creatively engage in all kinds of new activities, knowing that we will get through it. We will move toward a better world with deeper connections. We’re going to preserver, transform, and grow.

Finding Serenity in the Fear

I am struck by the poignancy and relevance of Niebuhr’s serenity prayer popularized by AA. See if it doesn’t help you in what we’re living through right now. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s entirely appropriate to feel afraid right now. There are a lot of terrified people. It’s a horrifying situation, but we can learn to use our fear. Ask ourselves, “What are we afraid of?”


We can use the words of the serenity prayer to guide us—”What can I control right now? What can’t I control?” Then focus on those pieces that we can manage at the moment.


Our fear lets us know that we’re alive. Fear is actually an incredible gift. It’s part of our survival system. Years ago, our fear told us not to go into the jungle or to avoid a particular cave where predators dwelt. Fear kept us safe from harm and helped us react to and assess threatening situations. Today, fear continues to help us assess certain conditions, but sometimes our fear can run rampant or seem outsized for the current environment.

It’s not that fear (or any emotion—sadness, hurt, anger) should be avoided. As we often remind our *, there are no “bad emotions.” Our emotions are powerful. They guide us and protect us. But some of us have developed the skill to harness these emotions and use them to best effect. This is emotional intelligence.

We can take a lesson from watching how young children feel emotions. When they feel scared, they might tremble, cry, or yell, but they will usually reach out for reassurance and safety. When they’re angry, hurt, or sad, they allow themselves to feel those feelings fully. They express them and then they move once the fear has led to safety, the hurt has led to healing, and the anger has helped us get away from hurt and danger or to even acquire some desired outcome. Emotions are designed to complete themselves in effective action, not to be repressed.

As adults, we often shy away from our emotions and tamp them down. We tell ourselves that certain feelings aren’t appropriate, “Men don’t cry,” or, “I need to be strong.” But as we teach our students, one of the keys to navigating our emotions is to learn how we can name it to tame it.

In other words, once we identify our emotions and feelings, they lose some of their power over us. In fact, neuroscience research shows that when we name our feelings–when we say I am sad, or angry or afraid–it soothes our emotional center a bit. It brings the seat of consciousness, our frontal lobe online so we are better able to think and deal with the situations triggering our emotions. It’s not just the insight or awareness of our feelings that makes the difference; it makes us more able to cope and to deal with our feelings. We can say, “I’m feeling afraid, and that’s okay,” and allow ourselves to feel the emotions fully without getting paralyzed by our fear. We then take appropriate rational, emotion informed, action.

Rather than dwelling in the fear and allowing it to hold us back, we can embrace the aliveness that accompanies our emotions. We can feel the sense of aliveness that fear invokes, but not allow the fear to overwhelm us.


This sense of aliveness can help us connect with each other. It helps us connect with our inner selves. Our sense of aliveness is more critical than ever right now. We can choose to be alive and engaged rather than fearful and shut down.


Our aliveness motivates us to see others, touch others, and reach out. Our aliveness drives us to connect. Dwelling in fear and isolation is a problem and can have a profound impact on our psyche. Instead, reframe the idea of isolation—just because we’re isolating doesn’t mean we need to be isolated.

We have a voice to reach out and connect. We can soothe and comfort others with our presence, empathy, and understanding, while simultaneously soothing and calming ourselves. Our human connection is crucial, especially today. As we connect with others, we connect with ourselves. Connecting creates more than a sense of security in this much needed in this crisis. It opens the pathways for creative solutions.

We’re All Yearning for Security

When we’re afraid, we’re really yearning for a sense of security. Unfortunately, right now, we aren’t going to get the security that comes from knowing how this will all play out. We don’t know that it will work out immediately. We don’t know the impact or the toll it will take on the world.

What we do know is that security comes from our connection with others, especially those who care about us. These secure attachment figures in our lives bring us comfort and peace. We arrive at more creative, generative solutions.

By continuing to focus on our deep essential connections with others, we will feel a sense of security and possibility. Yes, we all need the physical connection of touch, but we can’t do that right now. We can still be kind and compassionate to ourselves. We can hug a pet, a pillow, or a stuffed animal. We can snuggle under a heavy blanket and soak in the sense of bodily comfort that is so critical right now. Our coaches are inviting people to close their eyes and imagine the coach’s arms wrapped around them, and for many, it is very comforting. We can be kind to ourselves and seek the uplifting things that help us feel better, safer, and bring us a sense of purpose. If nothing else, the purpose to reach out, affirm our mutual existence, and find new ways of being and doing.

People are losing a lot right now, and that loss causes insecurity. We’re all afraid at some level, even terrified. People are losing businesses, jobs, and houses. We may have loved ones who are ill, who are older, and who are vulnerable. It’s not our job to fix it—in fact, we can’t fix it, but we can express care and concern. We aren’t alone. We are all in this together. We can join others in the sense of global concern and spread peace and understanding.

Fear lets us know we’re alive. We can choose to become frozen by fear, or we can choose to embrace the aliveness and use it to keep us moving forward. Set your intention and practice self-efficacy. It’s a tough but worthy challenge for our lives today.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Find Meditation Boring? Meditation Tips & Advice to Help

Meditation has been one of the most useful tools for me in terms of concentration, focus, and bringing a sense of wellbeing to my life.

Do you find meditation boring? Here are meditation tips to get your monkey mind back on track and get the most out of your practice.


Whenever I share how useful meditation has been for me with a group, I inevitably hear, “but meditation is boring,” or “I can’t sit still and meditate for that long.”

Here’s why meditation is so useful. Follow my meditation advice to help you get your practice back on track.

Is Meditation Boring?

If you find meditation boring, you must be bored with yourself.

After all, meditation distills our focus and concentration to the very essence of ourselves. There’s no other time when we are quite literally entirely in our own head. Often those who complain of “boredom” are really experiencing fear, and anger turned inward. When you’re inside your mind, are you afraid to face yourself? Are you angry at yourself because you aren’t doing meditation “right” or you don’t understand your aim?

When we explore these feelings, we realize boredom isn’t actually boredom.


We’re likely uncomfortable with the realizations and discoveries that come from meditation. We’re looking to the outside world as a source of distraction and a temporary salve. We don’t want to spend time in our own minds.


I hear the same sentiment about soft addictions like TV, shopping, over-eating, and scrolling through Facebook. “I watch Netflix because I’m bored,” or “I go on social media to break up my day.” Once again, we’re often seeking a distraction to bring us back to our comfort zone.

As we remind our students, the most significant leaps in terms of growth and insight occur when we get OUT of our comfort zone. We have to stretch ourselves to explore areas that are challenging, uncomfortable, or even painful. Yet, it is through these growing pains that we make the most progress.

So the next time you complain of “boredom” or think “meditation is boring,” ask yourself what underlying emotions you’re really experiencing. People who are stretching to transform themselves, learning, growing, and breaking out of their comfort zones are rarely (if ever) bored!

Mantra Meditation

For me, mantra meditation is my preferred method of meditation. I don’t subscribe to guided imagery. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done quite a bit of guided imagery meditation, and it’s been useful at certain points in my life. For example, I’ve used guided imagery when I was healing from surgery. But overall, it’s simply not part of my daily practice.

Mantra meditation works very well for me. I go to a quiet place and I repeat my mantra. Of course, my monkey mind (our distracting thoughts and self-talk) kicks in almost immediately, and I lose track of my mantra. Part of the beauty of meditation is learning how to get your thoughts back online—to quiet your monkey mind and bring your meditation back on track.

I love taking this mini-vacation from my regular thinking patterns. Meditation is truly wonderful for me. It helps me gain clarity, and it increases my focus and productivity. During the most productive time in my life, I was meditating for hours each day. It may sound counter-intuitive, but once you can clear the mental chatter, you’ll feel amazed at the results.

Mindfulness vs. Meditation

I hear a lot of people refer to mindfulness and meditation interchangeably. People may talk about their mindfulness practice or becoming more mindful in the context of meditation.

It’s important to note that mindfulness isn’t meditation. It’s a term that gained popularity from Buddhism. One of the biggest proponents of mindfulness is Eckhart Tolle. He sees mindfulness as a cosmic overview—a method of bringing peaceful, spiritual energy into our lives. Now, we can undoubtedly intertwine mindfulness with our meditation practice, but they are two distinct concepts.


Mindfulness is being here and now. It’s about engaging with others and becoming ever more present with others in each interaction. Mindfulness is vitally essential to our wellbeing. Presence and engagement stem from mindfulness.


For us at the Wright Foundation, mindfulness is a dynamic adventure of living a full life. One can be mindful without ever meditating, and one can regularly meditate but fail to live a mindful life. Mindfulness is a component of our aliveness and flow—the vibrancy and engagement we bring into each and every day.

So, if you are hoping to increase the mindfulness in your life, meditation may or may not be part of your toolkit. Meditation IS, however, useful practice and something that can help us gain insight into ourselves and our emotions. Meditationand particularly mantra meditationshouldn’t feel like a chore, but rather an opportunity to explore your innermost self.

For more on personal growth, please visit the Wright Foundation. Don’t miss the exciting classes we have available online at Wright Now! These courses are designed to help you discover more about yourself as you move toward the life you want to lead!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Like this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Get What You Want: Take This Challenge!

Do you ever feel like the world doesn’t want to give you what you want? Do you wish you knew how to get what you want in almost any situation?

Wondering how to get what you want? The secret to getting what you want and need is simple; here's how to get your needs met.


I’m here to tell you that the reason why you don’t get what you want is that you hold the key mistaken belief that the universe doesn’t want to give you what you want.

Fortunately, you aren’t alone in this mistaken belief. In fact, it’s the plague of many who work in sales, donation solicitation, and who struggle with the art of persuasion. Here’s how to overcome this idea and start getting what you want!

The Parable of the Jack

When you’re trying to get what you want, do you set yourself up with a mindset for success or failure?

To illustrate this point, I want to share the jack story initially told by comedian Danny Thomas. This story is a perfect example of how we get in the way with our mindset.

A traveling salesman is driving around on a desolate back road one night when he hears a thump. He realizes he, unfortunately, has a blown a tire. He gets out, gets in the trunk, and checks for a jack—but there’s nothing there.

He sighs to himself and decides he’s going to need to go on foot to the service station he passed a few miles back. Frustrated and tired, he starts walking down the road. As he walks, along his feet hurt, he’s annoyed with himself, and he starts talking to himself about the situation.

“I can’t believe this has happened! How much is this guy going to charge me for a jack rental at the service station? A couple of bucks?”

But then he thinks about it, “Well, it’s pretty late, so he’s probably going to charge me a fee because it’s after-hours. So, what, now I’m looking at $10? $15? You know, he’s probably like my brother-in-law—out to squeeze an extra buck out of any situation. He’ll know I have nowhere else to go for the jack. He’ll probably try to swindle me because I’m at his mercy. I’ll bet he’s going to charge me $20!”

As he walks along, he’s more and more frustrated. “I can’t believe this guy’s going to rip me off. That’s the trouble with car problems—those repair guys will always push you for an extra buck. I bet the guys a total jerk. Out here in the middle of nowhere, he’ll probably do anything to milk another dollar off a stranger!”

Finally, he gets to the service station. He opens the door, and as the bell chimes, the owner behind the counter smiles and nods. “What can I do for you tonight, buddy?”

The salesman looks at him with disgust. “You have some nerve! Take your stinking jack and shove it!”

As you can see, there’s a lot of truth in this humorous parable. How many of us end up getting in our own way with negative self-talk and mistaken beliefs? We may tell ourselves a whole scenario in our heads before we ever reach the service station to ask for what we want. By the time we’ve worked up the situation, we know there’s NO WAY someone’s going to give us what we want. We set ourselves up for failure and get stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Getting What You Want: Ask!

When we’ve worked with people during the Year of More and in our sales and career programs, we often give out assignments. This is referred to as the assignment way of living—each day, taking on a new task that stretches us beyond our comfort zone and gets us to push past these limiting and mistaken beliefs.

In one assignment, our students need to go out, ask for, and get things. Our students often experience a great deal of fear and discomfort during these asks, but they go through it anyway. They’re amazed to discover people WANT to give them stuff.

It’s always delightful to watch students’ fear transition to fun and excitement as they carry out this activity. We’ve had students get free coffee, desserts, services, even refrigerators, and cars! It’s surprising to people because they carry this limiting belief that the world is a cruel and withholding place. They believe the world wants to get more than it gives. As they’re out there getting tangible and intangible things, they’re always amazed as this belief shifts.


The skill isn’t just to “get things” but to identify what you want, to ask for it, and to know how to establish a rapport with others.


One of the essential skills we teach our students is how to develop a high-quality rapport with others. It’s not only the ask, but the way you ask that makes an impact.

Start by identifying what it is you want. Now, of course, most of us want a lot of things. Not every item we want is going to bring us happiness and fulfillment. In fact, most items we think we want aren’t REALLY what we actually need in our lives.

That said, for this experiment, think of whatever you’d like. If you want a cup of coffee, challenge yourself. Go up to someone and ask if they would get you a cup of coffee. Don’t build it up in your mind (remember the parable of the jack). Don’t tell yourself, “they’ll probably think I’m a weirdo for asking this,” or, “they probably don’t like me and don’t want to answer my request.”

Instead, see what happens if you ask with the belief the world wants to give you what you want.

When you get your cup of coffee (or quarter, or a hug, or assistance carrying a bag…), keep the momentum going. What else can you get? Ask your coworkers for a favor. Ask someone to take you to lunch. Ask your waitress if you can get a piece of pie or a discount on your meal. Ask, ask, ask!

More importantly, believe the world is going to hear your request and say yes!

I’d love to hear how this challenge goes, so please comment or send us an email and let us know what happened when you decided to ask for what you wanted!

For more ways to get what you need from life, visit the Wright Foundation. Many of our courses are available online at Wright Now. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and move toward a life of fulfillment and satisfaction.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Are Power Blockers Getting in Your Way?

Identifying power blockers and learning how to work through them will move you closer to what you want.

Are you getting in your own way? Identifying power blockers and learning how to work through them will move you closer to what you want.


You are alive (or you wouldn’t be reading this). Life flows through each of us freely and gives us power. It may flow through us effectively or ineffectively, but we are agents of our own lives.

We all want certain things in life. We have yearnings we wish to fulfill—deep, universal longings of our heart that move us closer to satisfaction.

Yet, there are many times when we stand in our own way. By identifying power blockers, we become aware of how we’re reacting to the world unconsciously, rather than consciously acting as agents of our lives.

Understanding the Common Power Blockers

As the Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you can get what you need.

Identifying our power blockers will help us get what we really need (which may or may not align with those things we think we want). But first, we must understand what power blockers are.

Think of the ways where we block our own way. How do you stand in the way of getting the life you want?

Falling into the Drama Triangle

One common way we give away our power is by taking the position of the victim. When you put yourself in the victim role, you’re choosing powerlessness. You are handing someone else the control and power over your situation.

In the drama triangle, there are three roles: the victim, the rescuer, and the persecutor. Those drawn to the drama triangle often alternate between the three positions. We see this in family dynamics, in situations within the workplace, and of course, within our day-to-day lives.

Each role within the triangle is passing on responsibility. The positions are reactive and destructive, moving us away from what we want, rather than toward what we want. Whether you’re passing off your responsibility as the victim, blaming or shaming as the persecutor, or swooping in as the rescuer to do work that’s not yours, you’re shifting the power.


The drama triangle is a negative pattern where we choose powerlessness over a situation, rather than empowering ourselves to change.


Choosing Blame, Shame, and Justification

Another way we hand off power is by blame, shame, and justification. We’ve all seen this phenomenon play out in our lives, whether it’s at the office or home. Blame, shame, and justification closely align with the drama triangle. Each time you take the role of victim, rescuer, or persecutor and choose to justify your behavior, blame it on others, or shame someone, you are choosing to stay stuck in your situation.

If we want empowerment, we look at any given situation and take responsibility. We walk in and ask, “What needs to change, to bring me the outcome, I desire?” and then we design and align the system to bring us what we want.

When you blame, you are giving away responsibility. Suddenly you are a victim of circumstance. You are powerless to change because everything is under someone else’s control.

Similarly, shaming yourself, beating yourself up, and feeling embarrassed keeps you stuck. When you walk out of a situation and go, “I’m such an idiot. I’m so humiliated!” You aren’t identifying how you could change the circumstances; you’re simply staying in a state where you have no control.

Justification has a similar effect. When we make excuses, rationalize, and defend ourselves, we’re only guaranteeing we won’t change (and will continue our behavior). Justification means we admit we made a mistake, but it’s okay. “It’s not really a mistake.” Thus, we’re doomed to repeat the pattern.


Power comes from learning and exhibiting a willingness to change. When we act on these power blockers, we’re handing off our ability to learn from our mistakes.


Stinking Thinking

Do you catch yourself thinking, “If only I…” or “She always…” or “I’m too…?” Stinking thinking appears as truth, but instead, it’s us giving validity to our limiting thoughts, excuses, and negative thinking patterns.

Stinking thinking is the opposite of powerful thinking. When we fall into these patterns, we reinforce this line of thinking, and it becomes habitual. When we get down and begin trading our positive thoughts for negative ones, we can’t experience insight.

In fact, we may even look to situations to reinforce the negative thinking and self-fulfilling prophecies we’re creating. We might fear someone’s reaction. We hesitate because we’re projecting their resistance. We assume they’re going to act a certain way before it even happens. By going in with the assumption, we operate in such a way that we elicit exactly the response we fear.

We walk into the room and notice someone looks unhappy. We immediately assume it’s something we did. We begin on the defensive. We’re already assuming the worst.

Power Blockers and Limiting Beliefs

There are many different ways to work around our power blockers. It begins by identifying these power zappers before we act on them. When we identify power blockers, we shift our thinking in a more empowered direction.

There are a lot of different ways around our power blockers. But first, we must recognize them. They have to do with limiting beliefs. These mistaken and limiting beliefs are formed in our early attachment experiences and create our view about ourselves and the world around us. These beliefs limit our manifestation of personal power, spawn stinking thinking, suck us into the drama triangle, and move us to blame, shame, and justification.

When we act on our mistaken beliefs, we are unconsciously reacting to the world around us, rather than consciously creating the life we want. When we notice ourselves relying on power blockers, a little alarm should go off in our head. We’re handing off our personal power.

Power blockers are always an instance of “me getting in my own way.” I know when I experience them, I almost always track them back to a limiting belief. On our website, you’ll find a Stinking Thinking template that will help you take apart how you get in your own way.

When we shift our thinking from believing the world is self-centered and will only give us one unit of benefit from every ten units we offer, we start to give too much and expect too little. Instead, we can shift our thinking to realize the world has infinite amounts to give us. We can get what we want and what we need, as long as we stop standing in our own way.

For more ways to find empowerment, please visit the Wright Foundation. Many of our courses are available online at Wright Now. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and move toward a life of fulfillment and satisfaction.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Featured image via RawPixel.

How to Engage with Others and Build Lasting Connections

How do we build stronger, lasting connections with people? People come and go in our lives, but here’s how to make deeper connections.

How do we build stronger, lasting connections with people? People come and go in our lives, but here’s how to make deeper connections.


I have a good friend who’s a Presbyterian leader. He and I barely ever get together, but those times when we do, our conversations are always energizing and exciting because we’ve built a lasting connection.

Many of us have friends we rarely see, but when we do, we share a bond. Maybe you have a great deal in common, or perhaps you share one significant commonality but are otherwise quite different. These people come and go in our lives, but they’re important. You may value the relationship even though you don’t hang out regularly.

Years ago, we would keep in touch with occasional letters, a get-together when we were in town, or perhaps a lunch once in a while. These days, we’re probably connected on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another spot on social media.

But are these relationships really lasting? How do we foster our important relationships and turn them into lasting connections?

Sharing Common Ideals

My Presbyterian friend and I click because we share common ideals. I met him when I was hoping to get him interested in our transformational leadership program. He came to lunch with me, grilled me on theology, and we instantly got into higher purpose discussions.

Not only did I pass his substance test in leadership after our conversation, but we found out we connected around theology and a general higher purpose. Ever since then, he and I cross paths whenever we find an opportunity. I often introduce him to people he might want to network with, and he will do the same for me.

Now, the truth is, he and I aren’t best friends. In fact, we barely ever get together. But when we do, those times are about a higher purpose. He’s busy with his life, and I’m busy with mine, but we have a lasting relationship and connection.


Building lasting connections with others isn’t about friendship for the sake of adding another number to your “friends list” on social media. If we want to build relationships that nourish us, we need to find how we align with others.


Not every relationship fits in the category of “lasting connection” either. We may know many people who we grew up with, shared college experiences, or jobs with. Those people are more of our everyday acquaintances. We may click and share commonalities (especially when our experiences intersect), but we may not share a deep, lifelong bond or a lasting connection.

Research tells us there are many reasons to cultivate relationships in our lives at all levels and in all circles. When people speak to a stranger on the train, for example, they report having a better experience on their commute. When we build up our connections with the people we pass on a day-to-day basis, like the barista at our local coffee shop, the doorman in our building, or the waiter at our favorite lunch spot, the connections can lead to eventual friendship. These lose social connections are essential to our wellbeing (and may turn into stronger ties down the road).

Craving a Lasting Connection

You may think, “Well, that’s great. I interact with a lot of people regularly, but I don’t have a lot of deeper friendships or close relationships.” The question then becomes: what are you doing to develop lasting relationships with others?

If you want to build more lasting connections than you’re developing now, it’s a lot easier if you align your life to a higher purpose. As you discover your sense of purpose, you will naturally attract and draw in others who share your ideals.

Most of us are very reason-oriented in getting together with others, even socially. We need to gather for an event, a seminar, a meeting, a dinner date.  Did you raise your kids together? Are you neighbors? Do the kids play hockey together? When your kids finish hockey, your lasting connection depends on what you shared while you were sitting in the stands, watching your kids on the ice.

You’ll often hear of businesspeople who want to build a lasting connection with a potential client. So what do they do? They take them to a nice dinner or a social event. They spend time with them and get to know them.

It calls back to a scene in the film, “The Big Kahuna” with Danny DeVito. In the movie, DeVito’s character, a businessman, is discussing a missed opportunity with his young protégé. He tells him the man who they missed (the “big kahuna”) was a very good friend of his.


“Is it because I’ve known him for a long time? Well, there are many people I’ve known for a very long time.” He explains that most of them he doesn’t trust, or he could take or leave because they don’t matter to him. “But Larry,” he explains, “matters very much. The reason being, I can trust him. I know I can trust him. He’s honest.”

His colleague asks if he’s honest or just blunt. DeVito’s character goes on to explain, “There are a lot of people who are blunt but not honest, but Larry isn’t one of those. Larry is an honest man.” He explains it doesn’t matter what you’re preaching or selling. “If you want to talk to someone honestly as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are, just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore, it’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being; you’re a marketing rep.”

He goes on to say honesty is born of character and making mistakes. If you don’t have regrets, you can’t have character. “It’s when you see the folly in something you’ve done, and you wish you could do it over, but you know you can’t because it’s too late. So you pick that thing up, and you carry it with you to remind you that life goes on. The world will spin without you. It really doesn’t matter in the end. Then you’ll attain character because honesty will reach out from the inside and tattoo itself on your face.”

This is a great monologue; I highly recommend checking out the whole film. There’s a powerful message there. So many of us want deeper engagement. We crave lasting connections with others, but we’re afraid to put ourselves out there. We’re afraid to be honest and share with others because we don’t allow ourselves the vulnerability of getting personal.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal

There’s a basic skill to how deeply you connect when you meet people. Some people hesitate or feel self-conscious. You might worry about what the other person thinks of you. You might be entrenched in the social norms and mores you were raised with. Perhaps you aren’t comfortable talking to strangers; you worry you’re too much, or not enough.

When we hold back, it’s often an indication there’s something within we need to work on. Explore where your fear is stemming and why you’re afraid. Challenge yourself to test the waters. What if you strike up a new conversation with someone in the elevator? So it feels awkward at first. So what? If you want to build a lasting connection with others, it begins with a conversation.


If you really want to connect with new people, find out what matters to them. What matters to you? Share that information. Can you find a way to contribute to their lives? Where does the Venn diagram of your purpose align?


In a professional setting, you might feel like you can’t connect completely because talking about your purpose feels too personal, but the truth is people are people. We all have yearnings and beliefs. We all have a purpose. Even in a business setting, businesspeople are just that—people.

You might not immediately share your purpose with others, but you can find out what they’re about and how they think about what they do. What is the big why that drives them? Is it a career? A church? A committee or board they serve?

As Danny DeVito’s character said in the film, you must earn the right to ask others what their big why is with authenticity and honesty. You earn the right to connect with others by being interested in them as people first and foremost. As you express your interest, the substance begins to develop in your relationship, and you earn the right to ask about their bigger whys.

It’s by this openness and honesty we develop durable relationships and build lasting connections. Whether you see each other occasionally or all the time, you will forge a lifelong bond if you connect over the higher purpose that drives you.

For more ways to build greater connections, visit us at the Wright Foundation. Don’t miss our upcoming networking opportunities where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. Start living your best life today!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Magical Solutions to Happiness: Getting What You Really Need

 

Are you looking for a magical solution to happiness? Do you think, if you just had the right job, dated the right person, or had the right amount of money, your life would be so much better?

Are you looking for instant happiness? Here’s why magical solutions don’t bring us long term joy or satisfaction.


What do you think makes you truly happy? Your career? Your talent? Doing something creative?

Many of you are seeking magical solutions to a very objective problem. The answer isn’t in a new job, a better boss, a bigger house, or another tangible item. It’s not about losing weight, writing a novel, or running a marathon. It’s not even about achieving your big goals.

The real answer to happiness and the magic solution to life’s problems isn’t in finding an answer or way to ‘fix” our problems. The magical solution is within each of us, right now, today.

Does Achieving Your Dreams Bring Fulfillment?

I had a friend who was a multi-millionaire. He was massively successful, running a Fortune 400 company. He had a massive $14,000,000 house in Aspen, which he sold right before I was about to visit. He bought an even bigger home, previously owned by Cher. He was making millions and millions of dollars per year. This guy seemed to have it all.

We’re sitting there in Cher’s mansion, talking, and he kept bringing up this woman he knew that was a former Playboy bunny. She was gorgeous. She married a very wealthy guy. He happened to have a mansion just up the hill that was just a little bigger than my friend’s place.

So there sits this wealthy guy with a private jet, magazine covers, cars, all kinds of riches. What is he fixating on? The woman he doesn’t have and the mansion he doesn’t own. All he could think was how, if he could have what the guy up the hill had, it would be a magical solution to make his life complete.


I’ve coached people with incredible wealth, and yet, so many of them just keep wishing for more and more. They think if they only had what the other guy has, they’d be truly happy. Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting more. But what do you want more of?


I’ve also talked to many young people who are in jobs they don’t love. I always hear, “I want a job with more excitement,” or “I want a job around people,” or, “I want a job that lets me creatively express myself.” But the truth is, no matter if we have our dream job, our dream car, our dream house, or our dream girlfriend, we won’t feel fulfilled. We have to make the meaning wherever we are.

The fact of the matter is, we’re terrible affect forecasters. What we think will make us happy, doesn’t actually make us happy. Whenever we’re wishing for something more and hoping it is the answer to our problems, we’re almost always wrong.

How many people think that marriage makes us happier? It does for about the first year and a half or so, but then the happiness levels go back to where they were before the honeymoon.

What about education? Learning is great, and college is a wonderful experience, but if education made us happy, why would so many college students be so miserable? In fact, many young people say college was one of the least happy times in their life.

I hear from people who move to Chicago from Florida or California. They always say, “I’ve got to get back to where it’s warm.” Their unhappiness is the weather’s fault. But the truth is, if they lived in Florida or California, it was too hot, traffic was terrible, and so on.

The big house isolates you. The new job creates a burst of happiness, and then you realize you’re still dealing with the same work drama from the last office. Wherever you go, nothing you do seems to satisfy you. That’s because we’re looking for magical solutions.

Why We Shift the Blame for Our Unhappiness

It’s hard to accept that the real cause of our unhappiness is us. It’s so much easier to look at a situation you can change—your job, another person in your life, your financial circumstances.

But when we’re continually looking ahead and wishing for the next great solution to our problems. We’re missing out on the happiness available to us in the here and now.

As we discuss in our More Life Training weekends, we need to understand that our meaning comes from being present in the moment. It comes from building our social and emotional intelligence, so we can recognize where we’re letting happiness escape us. Real happiness comes with full engagement in the adventure of life! It’s the willingness to be hurt. It’s the ability to put ourselves out there. It’s wanting to express our feelings, to engage and connect with others. It means learning and growing, so we become increasingly happy with who we are, and celebrate who we’re becoming.


There is a lot of research out there on personal growth, meaning, and purpose. We’re starting to see that purpose is showing up in all kinds of publications nowadays. But the real question is, how do we address the magic? How do we harness the real magical solution of purpose?


Your mind has three spheres of consideration. You look at your present state of what’s in my life now, your pathway of the road ahead, and your ideal state of what you believe will make you satisfied and happy. Most people look for a magical solution to a problem in their present state, but they haven’t identified the most logical pathway or the ideal state toward which they are going. They confuse the ideal state with the reason why they want something done. The ideal state is actually an abstraction that informs the pathways to pick.

There’s something they teach us in meditation and yoga called our monkey mind. Our mind and line of thinking generally aren’t linear. It speeds up. It jumps around. Some of us act like it’s linear, and we identify those people as having an Analyzer personality-type. Others line of thinking is clearly circular, and we call them Energizers. Some of us are covertly circular in our thinking, which is the Regulator personality type, and others are living in everyone else’s circle as Cooperators.

No matter what direction our mind tends to go, the truth is we often get in this state where our mind plays tricks on us. We have thoughts that spiral and spin and don’t have directionality. What we have to learn how to do is to harness your mind and get to a present state. To do this, we must identify what we’re feeling. What is our present state, and what is our ideal state? What is our real purpose?

Why Do We Stick Around When We’re Unhappy?

When we haven’t identified our purpose that goes toward our ideal state, we may find we spin our wheels but never really move forward.

If you’re unhappy at work, what is the foundation? Are you afraid that you are going to lose your job? But if you’re not happy, why are you afraid of losing it?

If you’re unfulfilled in your relationships, what is causing that feeling? Are you closing yourself off to the truth, or missing out on the intimacy of honesty? Are you waiting for your partner to “make” you happy, instead of realizing you are responsible for your satisfaction?

Our purpose truly brings us toward an ideal state, not just in our own lives, but as part of the world around us. We want a world that works for everyone—healthcare, education, sustenance, infrastructure that supports the most loving, sustainable life on the planet. When you look at the world in the present state, you see everyone has their pathways, but very few people think of an ideal state that’s not reactive but is creative instead.

Two-thirds of humanity spend their lives avoiding losing things, rather than working toward gaining what they want. Depending on the statistics, that number can go as high as 85%. This phenomenon is called loss aversion. Your present state is that you’re afraid of losing your job. The way past the fear is to either have the worst-case occur or to get past it.

We can treat it like weightlifting. Each time you workout, you get a little stronger and stronger. You’re moving in a gradual plan toward your ideal state. This might mean starting to ask questions of your boss. It might mean speaking up in meetings. Do what you can do to become a collaborator whose opinion is valued. Figure out ways to find the meaning in your work, rather than expecting your work to hand you the meaning.

Rather than seeking a magical solution to our problems, we can start to discover that the solution is really within us. It’s not magic. It’s simple. We stop relying on what we “think” will bring us happiness, or what’s easy and safe. Instead, we work on finding fulfillment and purpose in our present state.

For more on discovering satisfaction and fulfillment, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. Don’t miss our special downloadable courses available now at a special introductory price.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

 

“Women Are Confusing.” “Men Are Confusing.”
Understanding the Opposite Sex

We hear people complain in the dating world all the time—why are women so confusing?! Or why are all men so hard to deal with?

Wondering what your date really wants? If you think women are confusing or men are hard to understand, you may want to explore your perspective.


Before we explore what’s wrong with the people you’re dating, it’s time to take a step back and explore yourself. What are you bringing to the table? What preconceived ideas and notions are you walking into dates with?

More importantly, are you using an honest approach to dating? It’s incredible how much honesty clears up a lot of the confusion about your dating partner.

Getting Down to the Truth

Everyone walks into a date putting their best foot forward. After all, the idea is to seduce someone—to trick them into falling for you, right?

While this is what society tells us is the norm, successful dating and relationships are built on honesty, not on tricks and deceptions. For many people, it comes back to the fairytale romances we’ve seen played out again and again on the big screen.

We may think there’s the perfect person out there for us, right? Then when we find them, we must somehow “trick” them into falling for us. Anyone who’s watched romantic comedy movies knows how silly and outlandish these ideas get. The girl wakes up from a coma, only to realize Mr. Right was the one driving the car that caused her accident. The guy thinks he’s applying for a job, but it’s really an elaborate scheme to find the perfect man…and so on.

It’s not that these films are bad, per se (some of them certainly are terrible), but they paint a false narrative of what it’s like to fall in love with someone.


When we fall in love, or even “like” with another person, it’s because we see who they truly are. Similarly, we feel like they know and accept us for who we really are.


This connection requires honesty and deep engagement. It requires us to take the filter off our photos and get real with our dates. Sound scary? What are you afraid of?!

Why We Find Each Other So Confusing

One of the reasons men and women find each other so confusing is because we’re judging each other based on our own value set. We all have our own opinions about men and women, dating, and relationships we’ve formed over the years. Moreover, we hold limiting views of the opposite sex.

So we hear over and over, “women are confusing,” or “I can’t read what men want.”

This becomes particularly interesting in dating relationships because men don’t know how to get to know a woman, and women don’t know how to get to know men. We may pick a partner based not on who they are or what we want, but with a hope that we will change or mold them into the complete and total partner we desire.

So, where do these expectations and confusing feelings originate? Well, people grow up with certain ideas based on their family situation. People may come from a background where their mother did all the emotional labor in the house. They may have been raised by a father who was aloof or distant.

These ideas stem from early childhood, and they are challenging to overcome. Even if we were raised in a very progressive environment, and even if we think we don’t subscribe to the traditional idea of gender roles, there are still ideas we’ve learned from society, our parents, and the world around us.

Dear Old Mom and Dad

Many people hold certain ideas about gender based on their relationship with Mom and Dad. If Mom was overly involved, you might think women are controlling, overbearing, or intimidating. Similarly, if Dad was absent or aloof, you may think you need to work for men’s affection. You may feel like you’re always trying to win-over acceptance.

Other people come from families who don’t fit the stereotypical gender roles (which accounts for over half the population today). If you were raised with a single parent, a stay-at-home dad, or by your grandparents, you may have a completely different idea of gender role models.

These relationships are deeply embedded and tough to navigate. They’re rarely straightforward or clear-cut.


Many people haven’t begun to explore where their ideas about the opposite sex came from. They don’t examine the ways they unconsciously reinforce these ideas with each interaction.


As a result, you’re left with a choice—create your own culture, your own connections, and your own models, or redo what your parents did.

Now, of course, there are generally variations in our roles. When Judith and I got together, I was the superior housekeeper. I liked everything neat and put away, and Judith was simply not driven that way. She’d lived with a live-in maid for much of her childhood. So for her, organizing wasn’t the norm. In fact, one of our earliest big fights was about how to store and organize things in the house.

But whether you come from traditional roles or completely different backgrounds, you can work together to express your needs and get honest with each other. Learn to embrace the rules of engagement, communicate your needs, and engage in conflict that leads toward a true partnership.

So, where do you begin? The first steps start with sorting out your beliefs about women and men. We often have our Year of More students participate in an exercise where they write down their beliefs and ideas about the opposite sex. These can be obvious or obscure. They can be completely accurate or blatantly false. If they think it, they write it down (even if it’s harsh).

Once these ideas are out on paper, they’re able to examine them a bit more closely. Where do these ideas come from? If you think women are manipulative, for example, where does the idea stem from? Was there a manipulative woman in your life?

The insights from this activity are often quite profound. Students realize we’re all carrying baggage into our relationships and preconceived notions. These gender-based ideas affect our relationships at work, our dating lives, and more.

After exploring them, we start to find instances where we can turn the idea on its head.

The Worst-Case Scenario

Whether you’re dating or looking to better connect with your partner, the best path is through honesty and building intimate engagement. Express your feelings. Don’t hold back!

Imagine going into a date completely honest and open about what you want. What if you told your date exactly what you were looking for? What if you were clear about what you wanted to order for dinner (not worrying about spinach in your teeth or wearing a lobster bib)? What if you decided to tell the truth about your debt, your car, your job, your nine cats?

Do you think your date might run away?


The truth is, eventually, as you build real intimacy, you’ll need to reveal who you are and the truths about your life. Putting them out there and upfront, only ensures your connection is built on solid ground.


This isn’t an easy challenge. Most of us have been lying for so long that we do it without a second thought. We put a spin on our career, our personality quirks, and our flaws. This isn’t because we’re trying to hide them from the other person as much as we’re afraid to reveal certain truths to ourselves.

Even in our long-term relationships, we might hide our feelings. The confusion we experience comes from our attempts to “figure out” our relationships rather than merely being who we need to be. Instead of trying to please your partner or turn yourself into the ideal, simply be yourself.

The truth is everyone has flaws. There’s no “Mr. Perfect” out there. There’s no “Ms. Right,” either. Each person you date will have different traits and different passions. They will have yearnings. They’ll bring along their beliefs about themselves and the world around them.

So why not cut to the chase? Why not adopt an utterly forthcoming approach to your dates. Even more importantly, why not ask the great big questions?!

What does your date dream about? What do they yearn for? What are their aspirations and goals? What are their fears? When we think of getting intimate on the first date, we think of sex, but emotional intimacy is far more challenging and rewarding.

Once you get “real” with your date, you may find them far less confusing. As you explore who they are, you may start to appreciate your similarities as well as your differences!

For more ways to connect with others, visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. Don’t miss our special downloadable courses available now at a special introductory price.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Let’s All Embrace Truth in the New Year

 

Do you know how to embrace truth in your life? You may think, “Sure! I’m always honest.”

In a world where everyone lies, what would happen if we all resolved to embrace truth in the new year? Here’s how to live your truth.


As I often point out to our students at the Wright Foundation, everyone lies. In fact, we may get so used to bending the truth that we don’t even recognize when we’re lying. Think of the last time you were late somewhere. What did you say?

“Traffic was crazy,” or,” Sorry, I got held up at the office.”

Are those statements really truthful, though? If you had left ahead of time, would you be late? If you valued the meeting enough, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to get there on time, come hell or high water?

The thought of responding, “I didn’t care enough to get here on time,” or, “I knew you’d wait, and I don’t value your time very much,” sounds almost laughable and harsh, right? But isn’t it the truth?

Are Your Pants on Fire?

Now, it’s not only about punctuality and showing up when you say you’re going to. There are many instances when nearly everyone lies. Think you’re the exception? Think again.

As I tell our students during More Life Training, anyone who tells you they aren’t a liar is demonstrating that they’re an unconscious liar. In fact, they may not even realize it. They may genuinely believe what they’re saying. They don’t consider the excuses or justifications to be lies. After all, don’t we all tell white lies? Little lies? Half-truths?


If we could all relax and recognize we’re all lying—get honest with ourselves first and foremost—we may stop doing it.


On average, people lie about seven times an hour. We’re lied to around 200 times a day. College students lie in about 50% of their talks with their parents. 80% of people lie on their resumes. 41% of college students lie to get a job. 70% of doctors lie to insurance companies. 71% of people keep secrets from their spouse. Everyone lies when they go on dates. (I often cringe when I think of the ways I tried to look good to Judith when we started dating.)

Think about it. The last time someone asked you what you thought of their presentation; you probably said, “It was terrific!” But was it?

Or the last time someone asked, “how was your weekend,” what was your response? “It was fine,” or “It was good.” Or perhaps you say something humorous, “Not long enough!”

Chances are, you don’t say your weekend was mediocre, lonely, dull, or unmemorable. You didn’t admit to binge-watching Netflix, skipping the shower, or eating a pint of ice cream.

In fact, we’ve become so used to these little lies that it’s actually jarring when someone gives us an honest answer. When we ask someone how they are and they tell us the truth, we may feel taken aback and startled. We don’t know how to respond. We’re so used to the canned, go-to answers we expect.

The result is we’re all milling around, telling others these half-truths and questioning the validity of our true feelings. We may have had a crappy weekend. We might think the presentation stunk. We may not be having a good day.

On the flip side, we may suppress our urge to get too exuberant with our answers, as well. When someone asks us how we’re doing, we rarely reply, “Spectacular!” Again, it feels almost comical to respond with such enthusiasm, right? But by not sharing our truth, we’re diminishing our joy. We’re putting our true feelings aside to offer up an answer we’ve deemed normal or acceptable.

Why Do We Lie?

The real question is, why do we lie so much?

The short answer is because we’re so used to it, we do it automatically. We’re wandering around unconscious (or half-conscious), and we actually believe what we’re saying. Why do we believe these lies? We have what Freud called an ego ideal. We call it a false self—the way we want the world to perceive and see us.

Each of us has what’s called the accepted self and the denied self. We tell lies to cover up our denied self and present our preferred or idealized image to others (as well as ourselves). Another way to think of it is a narcissistic image—it’s the image we want to see in the mirror. We lie to manage perception.


We may lie to get what we want. We lie to avoid what we don’t want, like criticism and conflict. We lie to make ourselves feel better, and we lie to make those around us feel better too.


We may believe gossip over facts. In fact, we may believe a lie and the circumstances around a lie so adamantly, we refuse to see even the most obvious truths.

One of my heroes, Will Schutz, Ph.D., wrote a book called The Truth Option. He says, “To be truthful and honest is a fascinating adventure. I find it a task of extraordinary difficulty. A lifetime of learning not to speak the truth, combined with a real difficulty in knowing what, in fact, is true of me, makes living the truth a formidable challenge. The rewards are remarkable. I find I must relearn over and over again how really effective truthful living is, but virtually every time I am honest with myself and others, I end up feeling exhilarated. Some of the body tensions that keep me from being fully open let go. I feel a little freer and lighter and breathe a little deeper.”

He goes on to say, “Approaching a person with the intention of really being honest often reminds me of taking a cold shower. The anticipation is frightening. The initial impact shocking, and the outcome refreshing, cleansing, and invigorating.”


What will it take for us to step into the cold shower of truth? How do we start living honestly and openly?


It begins by acknowledging the truth to ourselves and accepting what we’re afraid of. Maybe it’s rejection, loneliness, embarrassment, intimacy, or something else that frightens us. So we build up insulation by offering the answers we think others want to hear, and the answers we want to give and hear ourselves.

When I was growing up, my father and uncle got into a huge fight (I was about five-years-old). This was a real knock-down, drag-out battle. I remember my father had a black eye the next day, but the situation was never mentioned or discussed. My mom, sister, and I were aware something had transpired, but we all pretended everything was status quo.

I’ve talked to so many people who have similar stories with their families. Whether it’s an incident that was never discussed, a family secret, or unexpressed feelings, many of us learn, we should sweep these situations and feelings under the rug and move forward.

I often share this story during our More Life Training, and people always come up to me after and tell me how much they appreciate my sharing the truth. They often relate very similar experiences.

Truth Comes from Accepting Flaws

We’re all human beings, and we’re all flawed. It’s perfectly okay. Not one person is without flaws. So imagine what life would be like if we could all identify and accept those flaws. How much more would we learn and grow, from looking at who we truly are, rather than who we’re not?

As I work with my coaching clients, we often look at a particular goal they want to achieve. It seems many people quickly identify their big goal but can’t pinpoint what exactly the goal will do for them. They want wealth so they have freedom, but they already have all the freedom in the world if only they’d step forward and take advantage of it. They want respect and affection. They want to be liked by others. But they don’t realize liking and respecting yourself comes at a much lower cost.

Judith has an exercise when she works with people where she has them express what they want rapid-fire, and they go through “want, want, want.” Then she has them express what they really YEARN for. Yearning is to be seen, to be known, to be acknowledged to be affirmed. We explore how yearnings are deeper than wants—the longings of our soul. People often see their yearnings as something distant that they must strive for.


Our yearnings are available all the time. We don’t need to prove or accomplish anything to receive the affirmation we need. It’s there for us to reach out and accept. Often, it’s ourselves keeping us from getting the affirmation we’re longing for.


We serve students from all different backgrounds and faiths. One quote that resonates with all students is from Fr. Gregory Elder. He tells us we all yearn to see the unconditional love of Jesus (or God, or the universe, if you prefer). The only thing keeping us from feeling the loving, adoring, accepting glance is that we’re afraid to look into those loving eyes because we have already judged ourselves and thought that the loving God was the one judging us.

No matter your faith, you can see how we often long for acceptance and love from the world around us, but we block the love, believing we’re unworthy. By our very humanity, we’re worthy.

So, how do we start to look at ourselves as worthy? How do we embrace the truth and get the love and truth we deserve?

It starts by discovering and committing to truth. Challenge yourself to answer truthfully the next time you are asked a question, results be damned. If someone asks what you think, what you want, or how you are, tell them the honest answer.

Stop lying to yourself. Acknowledge you are worthy of the truth and express the truth in all situations.

Moreover, listen to the feedback of others—even the difficult truths you don’t want to hear. That’s one of the biggest struggles we all have. There are truths others offer that we don’t want to hear. Sometimes these are positive attributes we may not believe. Other times, they may be truths we’d prefer to ignore.

Truth isn’t frightening. It simply is the reality. The sooner we embrace the truth, the sooner we will feel free to live in harmony with our true selves. Let’s all resolve to embrace truth in the new year!

For more on living your best life, please visit the Wright Foundation. Please join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll learn more truths about yourself and others. Go forth and ignite your world!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Like this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.