The Chair and the Floor (Gratitude and Appreciation) reprint

redchair

(this is a reprint of mine. one of my favorite distinctions and I’ve yet to come up with a better example than the one in this article)

 

Every year about this time I like to share a distinction between gratitude and appreciation. I do so because I believe the thoughts you choose to think determine what you create down the line. In short, the most efficient way to create more of what you really want is to develop the awareness of how your thoughts really feel, and then consistently choosing the ones that feel better.

So this distinction is not mere wordplay, but rather a gateway for super-practical mindset that can dramatically improve the quality of your life.

While discussing this point during my last Very Cool Life live event, one of the attendees, Jacob, was not seeing eye to eye with me. Our conversation led to a concrete example that I am inspired to share here.

When I assert that you can do better than gratitude, it’s not usual to experience the kind of pushback Jacob offered. Most everyone holds a positive association with the idea of gratitude, and in the larger scheme of things, it is a fine thought. To some, suggesting that you can do better than gratitude is like saying you want to tinker with grandma’s famous apple pie recipe…

Why fix it if it ain’t broke? Why change now after years of tradition? And hell, just about everybody loves it…

Well, for starters, you may want to upgrade for the simple reason that we now know better. We evolve. We learn new stuff and discover more efficient ways to get better outcomes all the time.

Sticking with my analogy for a minute, I am suggesting that when you decide to upgrade to an Appreciation pie, you will enjoy even more baked deliciousness (what you really want), without ingesting any more of grandma’s secret ingredient – the artery-clogging, trans-fat-laden shortening (what you can do without).

Okay, back to Jacob and our discussion…

“Jacob, tell me something you’re grateful for, right now,” I began.

“My chair!” he replied with enthusiasm.

“Good. So what thoughts of gratitude does your chair evoke?” I asked.

Jacob replied immediately. “My chair keeps me from having to sit on the floor!”

Oh how perfect, I thought to myself… Better than any example I could think of…

“So Jacob, you said you were grateful for the chair, right?” I asked rhetorically.

“Well, yeah…” he said.

“Then why are you talking about the floor?” I added.

Jacob thought quietly for a moment as the words lingered in the room.

“Well, I don’t want to sit on the hard floor, of course. And this chair keeps me from having to sit on the floor, so I am grateful for that,” he said.

So perfect, I thought…

“Do you notice as you focused on thoughts of gratitude, you unconsciously and immediately began focusing on what you DON’T want?” I asked.

Watching Jacob’s face, I could see the new idea starting to beginning to take hold. New, better ideas often take some time to penetrate a long-held belief.

To complete the distinction, I asked him to tell me what he appreciated about his chair.

While this would seem like a very simple question, the answer requires a change of focus from thoughts of gratitude. And unless you’re in the habit of generating lists of appreciation, it’s likely not your dominant response.

Jacob scrunched his forehead, and while he caught himself from reflexively talking about the floor again, he remained unable to connect to thoughts of appreciation.

To clarify, I asked the question in a slightly different way…

“What specific aspects of this chair do you really like, right in this moment?”

He nodded. “Oh. Well, it’s pretty comfortable,” he offered.

“What else?” I asked.

“The lumbar support is pretty good,” he added, “And I like the firmness of the seat… The swivel lets me turn to the sides easily to see who’s talking in the room.”

He was rolling. Fantastic.

“Okay now, here’s the whole enchilada… How do these thoughts – the thoughts about what you like about the chair – feel compared to thoughts about sitting on the floor?” I asked. “Do they feel better or worse?”

“Better.”

(As he said the word, I imagined myself saying, “No more questions, your honor,” and triumphantly walking back to my lawyer seat to the jury’s applause. But I digress…)

When you think thoughts that feel better, you create better outcomes. This is the simple Law of the Universe. And don’t you want to create better outcomes? Of course you do…

However, in order to leverage this Law of the Universe, you’re required to pay attention to the feelings generated by your thoughts.

This is the catch. This is where most people drift.

Jacob had no clue that his thoughts of gratitude connected him to unwanted thoughts and feelings. Most people don’t, because we’re all trained to have such positive connotations with the word gratitude.

Now it’s worth mentioning, that people sometimes use the words gratitude and appreciation interchangeably. Fair enough and again, the point is not one regarding word choice, so if you’re married to the term “gratitude” and notice that in your practice, you focus solely on the wanted aspects of things, great. That’s the takeaway here.

That said, in my years of studying this and talking to people like Jacob, I’ve noticed that when sharing thoughts of gratitude or thankfulness, 85% of people end up unconsciously focusing on thoughts of “the floor.”

It usually goes something like “I am so thankful for (this thing in my life).” And the very next unspoken thought is “Thank God (that unwanted thing) is not in my life.”

The chair. And then the floor.

The wanted. And then the unwanted.

See what happens when you decide get off the see-saw and just appreciate the chair.

You’ll feel the difference.

Get in the practice of appreciation, and in a short time, you’ll see the difference.

 

Have a wonderfully relaxing holiday…

 


The Most Valuable Thing I Never Learned in 20 Years of School

It was a winter day in Syracuse, NY in 1997. I was 28 years old.

I walked out of the office building back to my cold car — hell, I practically skipped to the car. Before turning on the ignition (and the heat), I basked in everything that had just unfolded over the past two hours.

I did it.

I’d met with a man I’d never met before (we had mutual friends), I did my best to explain what I had to offer as a coach, and he said yes. He gave me a check for the first month, $300.

Just writing about it now gives me goosebumps because these were the first dollars I remember creating.

Now to be clear, I’d been making money since my first paper route at 11 years old. I knew I could make money. I knew I could do things — things I did not necessary want to do (like getting up to deliver 77 newspapers in a blizzard at 5AM) — that I could get paid for. That’s making money…

In fact, my entire formal education seemed geared to re-enforcing how I could be successful at making money with a simple formula:

Compete + Win + Get Picked = Get Paid.

I did my best to play by these rules for as long as I could, but eventually what I perceived to be the tragic flaw in this system led me to drop out.

I always had to wait for someone to choose me.

And for most of my life, no matter how hard I worked or how well I did on the metric-of-the-day, I did not get picked. I’ve been rejected from 20 universities, every adult job I wanted, dozens of book agents and publishers, and lots of respectable coaching groups.

Like an aching tooth, the pressure to achieve, the pressure to win the competition, the pressure to get picked, never let up. Even though I never fit into the system very well, I played the game as best I could for one simple reason.

No one ever told me there was another game I could play besides Compete + Win + Get Picked = Get Paid.

In 20 years of school, no one ever told me that I could create my own money if I wanted to. No one ever told me that I create something that I wanted to create and have money be part of that equation. And no, my parents never said a word about it either…

I’m not writing this to blame anyone. I’m not writing it to convince anyone. I’m not writing it to rage against the machine. I’m writing it because this is something I want to share with my kids (and anyone else who’s interested).

Because for me, learning that I had the power to create money meant that I was forever free. That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever worry about money, but it does mean that I don’t spend very much of my precious time selling off pieces of myself for it. I know that whole approach to be optional.

Part of the inspiration for sharing this comes from listening to a recent Howard Stern interview with actor Jason Bateman. Howard was asking Jason what it was like for him, mentally and fiscally, after having so much success at a young age and then such a long lull…

Wasn’t he afraid of running out of money during those years?

Paraphrasing, Jason said that he never felt afraid even as his bank account dwindled,  because he had learned that he could create a buck at such early age. He knew that more money was always out there, just waiting for him to call it, and listening to his words, you could hear a wonderful confidence in his voice as he spoke.

He went on to contrast his experience with some of his friends — kids who’d been given large sums of money by their parents — who still lived in a deep fear of losing everything because they’d never built the same confidence that comes with learning to create your own money.

Since that first check, people have said yes to something I’ve created thousands of times. Every time I get an e-mail with the subject “New Order” I cannot open it fast enough to see which one of my creations someone wanted to experience. In fact, I stare at those e-mails with the same wonder I stared at that first check. I tend to let them pile up in my inbox, in no hurry to delete them.

It’s just such a delightful feeling, one that has allowed me to live my life on my own terms, that I’d have to say that learning that I can create money is the single most valuable thing I’ve ever learned.

In closing, I was going to say that “if I can do it, anyone can do it…” but that’s not true. If you want to be the creator of money in your life, first you’d have to be drawn to such an idea. You’d have to have the desire. Lots of people can’t wrap their heads around the idea or just aren’t interested, and hey, that’s cool….

Second, you have to believe that it’s all possible. More important, you’d have to believe that you’re possible, that you’re worth whatever you desire and that money will come to you, just because you want it. Again, to some this would reek of fantasy, but to that I say something is only fantasy when you don’t believe it.

And believing it, when you’ve been told such a different story for so long, well, that’s the hard part.

For my children, I plan on making “believing it” the easy part. And then what they do, what they discover to be most valuable thing they learn that no one every taught them, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

 


Taking a Stand For Your Wealth

This is the view I had in Vermont where the recordings were created.

This is the view I had in Vermont where the recordings were created.

Registration for the Instant Wealth micro-program ends today.

Here’s the complete day 4 conversation for you to check out, Take a Stand For Your Wealth.

If you resonate with the words being offered, I hope to connect with you in the program…

Details and registration below.

 

INSTANT WEALTH: HAVING THE WEALTH YOU REALLY WANT, NOW.

Every day for 5 days you will gain access series of conversations to guide you through the process of Instant Wealth. These conversations are channelled from a Law of Attraction perspective and you can listen/download at your convenience.

The topics include:

Day 1:  The Metaphysics of Manifesting Wealth: Why You Can’t Have it Later

Day 2: Defining Wealth for Yourself: Making Wealth Real for You. 

Day 3: Now Means Now

Day4: Take a Stand For Your Wealth

Day 5: This is All Easier Than You Think: Hell, You Can Even Give Up Completely 

 

* SUPER-COOL BONUS:

* LIVE 90-MINUTE COACHING WORKSHOP ON INSTANT WEALTH

 

WHAT YOU GET

1) You get access to all the INSTANT WEALTH daily conversations (over an hour of leading edge material, spread over 5 days)

2) You get to join the live 90-minute coaching workshop where you are free to ask ANY question you have (worth the price of admission alone)

 

WHEN 

All recordings will be in your inbox each day. You can listen whenever you like and the recordings may be downloaded.

The live coaching workshop will be held (and recorded) on Friday, November 7th at NOON EST.

 

WHY

Join this series if you are ready to have your wealth, now. The feelings you can expect include from connecting to this material? Freedom, Relief, Clarity, Ease, and True Wealth.

This series is not about fixing money problems. Just the opposite in fact. These conversations are about connecting to the feeling of the wealth that surrounds you and having it now. Listen to the sample for the vibe…

HOW

To gain access to all the coaching materials and the live coaching call, just register now and the first recording will be sent you immediately. (In fact, I send you access to all the recordings right away. You can listen/download whenever you like).

The Instant Wealth series is just $50. That’s it.

(The coaching session alone would normally be much more than that…)

To REGISTER and get started immediately, just use this link (click this sentence). 

 

Registration closes November 3rd, 2014

 


Instant Wealth: Having the Wealth You Really Want, Right Now

 

Empty lot. (photo by Dave Cowles)

Empty lot. (photo by Dave Cowles)

My friend Dave posted the photo above to his Facebook page. His lone car in the lot means he’s got the beach to himself where the solitude and the view are priceless. I enjoy seeing Dave’s photos because I have a deep affection for empty parking lots myself.

While I love to go skiing, I really don’t like crowds. I don’t like the feeling of competing for space in the parking lot or the lodge. I don’t like waiting in lines. I don’t like dodging skiers on crowded slopes. The more people that are involved, usually the work-to-fun-ratio skews too far in an unwanted direction for me.

So I ski when the parking lot is empty. Midweek. Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays (or whenever there’s a storm). Occasionally, I’ll ski on a weekend to go with a friend, and while it’s still fun, I find it a significantly less enjoyable experience for all the practical reasons I just mentioned, but there’s something more…

When I arrive at the mountain and see so few cars in the parking lot, I feel wealthy. In that moment, I am in tune with my personal feeling of wealth. For me, while I certainly like big numbers in my account or a fan of green bills in my money clip, there’s really not a lot of juice in those ideas for me.

Having money is very cool indeed, yet I find that the greatest aspect of having money is that it can buy me some of what I really love — freedom! So for me, wealth feels like freedom. Wealth feels big, open, beautiful vistas and space. Wealth feels like being in charge of what I do and when I do it. Wealth feels like empty parking lots where I have the mountain and the day to myself.

True Wealth for me: The ski lodge on a Wednesday.

I mention all of this for a couple reasons. First, the desire for more wealth is among the top 3 desires for most people. And yet, the reason why most people live apart from this desire is that they’ve never taken the time to define what wealth really feels like for themselves.

By default, we tend to equate being wealthy with having lots of money, shiny things, or perhaps some degree of fame. While it’s perfectly cool to decide you want any or all of those things, it’s worth taking a moment to ask yourself why you want that those things. What is it for? What do you think having it will buy you? And specifically, how would having that thing you associate with wealth make you feel?

As I said, the real reason for my desires around money are my beliefs around the freedom it will bring. So this brings me to my second point. When you identify what wealth really feels like to you (and it could be anything from taking a day off to greet an empty parking lot somewhere, to sitting on the couch watching your favorite show on TV, to drinking expensive champagne at a fine restaurant in Paris), you can begin to experience and amplify living a wealthy life, now.

You can stop waiting for all those imaginary dominos to fall in to place. You don’t have keep trying to answer a question you don’t have the answer to (“How do I get this money that I think will allow me to feel the way I want to feel?”). You can stop striving to get to some place that never seems to arrive.

You can simply decide to have your wealth, now.

And here’s the kicker… When you start living your wealthy life now — you consciously allow yourself to have the experience that connects you to wealth, now — you will naturally draw and create more of those experiences into your life. When you allow the feeling of wealth into your life, that feeling gets naturally amplified over time. You expand your own capacity and desire for wealth. This is the Law of Attraction in action. Keep in mind that the Law cuts both ways. The more you deny yourself in this moment, the more you deny yourself in the next.

So if you’re ready to allow your wealth now, you’ll need to identify what this feels like to you. Like a fingerprint, your feeling of wealth will be a vibration unique to you.

Once you know what it feels like, in order to have it now, you’re going to have to cultivate and allow that feeling. That usually means taking a few minutes to place yourself in the middle of your desires by imagining them. That may mean breaking an old routine and being selfish enough that you allow yourself to have something that you know feels good to you. In short, you need to decide to say yes to yourself and quit putting off your desires into the future.

It’s worth mentioning that for quite some time, I’d feel a tinge of guilt after “indulging” in a weekday on the slopes. On my ride home from the mountain, I’d start to see all the other people who spent the day at work, “being productive,” and here I was, playing all day. I’d start entertain an internal debate as to whether I deserved to have so much wealth in my life. In those moments, I learned to catch myself and make the simple decision that yes I did deserve it, just because I wanted it and I was willing to stand for what I wanted, now. 

So here’s what I know. Over the years, by saying YES to my desire and being in those empty parking lots, I’m delighted to say that I’ve experienced nothing but an amplification of wealth in my life. By allowing things that feeling good now in my life, more and more things that feel good (including money) get created around me. I’ve never been wealthier or happier in my life than I am today. And I know for sure that the “later” that most people are waiting for is a grand illusion.

If you notice that the idea I share here feels expansive to you in any way —  that you can have the wealth you really want, now — then you very well may want to take the time to identify what true wealth feels like to you and just allow yourself to bask in that feeling now. The more you connect to this feeling, the more you live it, the more you’ll see that the wealth you’ve been wanting has been waiting for you to say yes to it all along.

 

* * *

If you’re attracted to this idea and you’re ready to experience your own version of true wealth now, please consider joining me in my new Law of Attraction mini-program, inspired by my love for empty parking lots and open vistas.

 

INSTANT WEALTH: HAVING THE WEALTH YOU REALLY WANT, NOW.

Every day for 5 days you will gain access series of conversations to guide you through the process of Instant Wealth. These conversations are channelled from a Law of Attraction perspective and you can listen/download at your convenience.

The topics include:

Day 1:  The Metaphysics of Manifesting Wealth: Why You Can’t Have it Later

Day 2: Defining Wealth for Yourself: Making Wealth Real for You

Day 3: Now Means Now

Day4: Take a Stand For Your Wealth

Day 5: This is All Easier Than You Think: Hell, You Can Even Give Up Completely 

 

* SUPER-COOL BONUS:

* LIVE 90-MINUTE COACHING WORKSHOP ON INSTANT WEALTH

 

WHAT YOU GET

1) You get access to all the INSTANT WEALTH daily conversations (over an hour of leading edge material, spread over 5 days)

2) You get to join the live 90-minute coaching workshop where you are free to ask ANY question you have (worth the price of admission alone)

 

WHEN 

All recordings will be in your inbox each day. You can listen whenever you like and the recordings may be downloaded.

The live coaching workshop will be held (and recorded) on Friday, November 7th at NOON EST.

 

WHY

Join this series if you are ready to have your wealth, now. The feelings you can expect include from connecting to this material? Freedom, Relief, Clarity, Ease, and True Wealth.

This series is not about fixing money problems. Just the opposite in fact. These conversations are about connecting to the feeling of the wealth that surrounds you and having it now. Listen to the sample for the vibe…

 

SAMPLE CONVERSATION

This is the first 5 minutes

 

 HOW

To gain access to all the coaching materials and the live coaching call, just register now and the first recording will be sent you immediately. (In fact, I send you access to all the recordings right away. You can listen/download whenever you like).

The Instant Wealth series is just $50. That’s it.

(The coaching session alone would normally be much more than that…)

To register and get started immediately, just use this link (click this sentence). 

 

Registration closes November 3rd, 2014

 

Hope to connect with you soon,

Drew

 

P.S. If you have questions, just send me an e-mail… drew@verycoollife.com or comment below.


44 things I’ve learned over the past 44 years

IMG_0009

Every year about this time, I have a birthday…

This year, as I turn 45, I felt inspired to reflect on some things I’d learned over the past 44 years…

Here’s the list, one thought for every year…

***

1. Keep yourself fit. Use your body. Get outdoors and do stuff. No one gives a rat’s ass whether you have abs, but why not have a strong enough body to explore the adventures of the world?

2. Competition is fine when you’re feeling the need to prove your worth. But when you realize your worth is incalculable, the whole idea of competing for your identity starts to feel a bit silly.

3. There is no right way to live a life. I like my way the best, but it ain’t for everybody. When you’re happy, your way is the right way.

4. The best thing about losing your hair when you’re a young man is that you don’t have to worry about it later. Your vanity gets stripped away and it forces you to develop an inner confidence early on. Or not.

5. The only expert you need to listen to, on anything, is you. But you’ve got to really know yourself, first.

6. Eat what you want to eat. Drink what you want to drink. Smoke what you want to smoke. But whatever you choose, revel in your decision. Enjoy your choice. Bask in it. The problems come when you start second-guessing yourself and listening to the noise.

7. So yeah, alignment is everything. That’s the theory of everything, right there. No need to keep looking for the Holy Grail. It’s always been right at your feet.

8. Death is not the enemy. Death is life. If you can’t deal with death, you’re cut off from some part of life.

9. If a friend loses someone, show up for them. Be present at a wake. No one likes going, (that’s the dumbest excuse ever…) Ask how your friend is doing. At the very least make a call. Talk about it. Of course it’s awkward and there are no magic words. But just do your best. The person who lost someone will remember that you did. And if you didn’t.

10. You cannot convince anyone of anything. You can offer a perspective, but that’s it. Whether someone else can hear you is none of your business. Even then, words do not teach. Only experience teaches.

11. Vehemently siding with one political party doesn’t make you smart. It doesn’t make you right. It just makes you a person who gets angry a lot. It’s a wonderful thing to give up because the people you’re rooting for? They’re not exactly geniuses…

12. Learn to play a song you like on an instrument. It opens something up within you.

13. The more freedom you allow yourself, the more freedom you will want. It never stops and once you start, you cannot go back.

14. Everything and everyone is helping you. Always. Even when they are disguised as problems or assholes.

15. Money comes to me a lot easier when I stop trying to figure out how to make more of it.

16. I’ve learned more practical, life-changing stuff from studying the metaphysics of creation than any other subject. And it’s not even close. Makes all those Dean’s Lists and the Ph.D rather irrelevant to the bigger idea of living well.

18. Few things are as satisfying to complete as a job done with your hands.

19. Grow something from a seed. You will fall in love.

20. Your friends will disappoint you from time to time. They are not you, and their priorities will not always match yours. Accept that. Accept them as they accept you when you disappoint them. But if it happens all the time, let go and move on.

21. If you feel like your parents wronged you in some way, get over it. They were just people like all of us and holding that shit is toxic.

22. People? I really like people. I just don’t want to live around them.

23. If something isn’t working, instead of doubling down of your efforts, the best thing you can do is walk away for a while.

24. You know if you’re with the right person. You can bullshit yourself all you want, trying to convince yourself. But you know whether it’s right or not. And if you’re not, respect yourself enough to get out. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.

25. The rules? They were meant to keep you coloring inside the lines. But if you never dare to step out, you’ll never know what you’re really made of…

26. Life’s become much better when you see yourself of the creator of all of it. ALL. OF. IT.  But it’s always easier to blame.

27. When you want something, just say YES. Just allow yourself to say YES. Decide to have it. Give up the hows, the whens, and the whys… Just say Phucket! and see what happens.

28. Life requires minimal planning. (The world pressures you to plan, of course, because it fits with some selfish interest of theirs.) Instead, just pack some rain gear, be flexible on the itinerary and the destination and you’ll have a much better time.

29. We’ve been trained to worship at the altar of complexity. But life can be really simple if you decide that you want it to be.

30. The purpose of your life is to have fun. Period. That’s it. But yeah, that kind of clarity is too simple for some…

31. Busy is the perfect place for people to hide out from their true desires.

32. If you need time for yourself, take it. No one else can give it to you, so stop blaming someone else and just take it. It’s good for everybody.

33. A man wants his woman to bring lightness in to his life. Lightness.

34. Knowing who you are and being that unique person? That’s what’s sexy.

35. If you express your appreciation for your man, he will do most anything for you. Happily.

36. You don’t need to be looking around for a fight, of course. But you shouldn’t be afraid of one, either.

37. It’s perfectly okay to give up. In fact, I think it’s the most underutilized strategy of all time.

38. The most valuable thing my dad ever did for me was to take me into the woods. All he had to do was expose me to the natural world and then I ran with it. And I think, that’s really a parent’s job… to expose your kids to stuff. What they do from there is what they do from there.

39. Most people fear making a wrong decision. But indecision is much more crippling. So decide and stand by your decision.

40. It’s easy to allow the thoughts and creations you like. But the magic resides in allowing the thoughts and creations you don’t like. That’s true allowing. And true allowing is freedom. You’ll need to practice this one…

41. The world will be just fine if you just go and take a nice nap for yourself.

42. If there’s someone you envy because you think they’ve got it better than you, it’s only because you haven’t got a chance to see behind the curtain. As my brother Ned would say, “Everybody’s fucked up in their own special way.” And someone’s looking at you, thinking you have it all, too. Tend your own garden.

43. One of the things I admire most about my son is that he doesn’t listen to me. He does what he wants. And I think my job —  my toughest job —  is to not break that out of him.

44. You can’t wait for your ship to come in. You’ve at least got to get your ass down to the harbor.

* * *