Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work

Positive Thinking, Wild Spirits Coaching

Wait, what? Isn’t positive thinking the cure-all prescribed by countless self-help books and Coaches, including myself?
 

Not quite. Focusing on the positive is indeed beneficial. However, it can be actively harmful to believe that you can change your life by positive thinking only. If you’ve ever done any Coaching with me, you’ll know that mindset is just one of the factors which need to be in place. The same goes for all areas of life.
 

I see the attraction of a formula like: “All it takes is positive thinking”. Humans like simple truths. It’s like someone is offering to solve all your problems at the push of a button.
 

What if I showed you a slightly more complex, but still simple formula that actually works, instead?
 
 

 
 

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1. The framework of positive thinking

 

Many people either don’t bother with this step, because they think it’s not important, or they get stuck in doing this but nothing else. I challenge you to fall into neither of these groups and realise that this is a critical step – there’s a reason why it comes first – but it’ll only give you the results you wish for if you continue with the next steps afterwards.
 

The framework is what you could call the mind’s work. You need to get clear on what it is you want, and put your intention into writing. It’s where goals come into play.
 

Say you need more money. Your goal will be a certain amount of extra cash earned by a certain date (it’s important to give specifics. Vague goals like “more money” don’t work). It might also be to save a particular amount each month.
 

If your goal is to attract the partner of your dreams, state what you want from the relationship. I don’t recommend describing your ideal partner beyond a few general characteristics like kindness and honesty, because love famously often looks quite different from what we were expecting.
 

The most important part of this step is to put your goal into writing. Be as specific as you can and add a deadline to it.
 
 

2. Lighting the fuse

 

Now that you know exactly what it is you’re striving for, you’ve got to kindle a flame underneath your goal. This is where emotions come in. If your goal is only rational and resides in your brain, it won’t do you much good. Incidentally, this is why positive thinking alone doesn’t do much good! If it’s only in your head, you’ll have trouble manifesting your goal in the real world, because the world consists of more than just your rational mind.
 

Ways of getting excited about your goal include to daydream about it, share it with your best friend, go and look at the end result (for instance, if you want a house, you could drive around and look for houses which match your dream, or browse real-estate websites).
 

Infuse some fun and passion into this; the idea is to get fired up whenever you think of your goal! Don’t think that this is silly or inappropriate; emotion is what manifests things. If you are looking for a new job, you may not want to arrive at the interview giggling, but you do want to have a good laugh beforehand so you’ll arrive looking happy, relaxed, and confident.
 

Be playful and creative with this. Whatever you can think of – as long as it works, go for it! And if you have trouble coming up with anything, you may want to consider some Passions Priority Coaching.
 
 

3. Buckling down

 

This is the part most people don’t want to do. It’s what suspiciously looks like work, and often is. You could call it the physical part of making things happen.
 

Quite simply, you need to take action, and it should be focused and consistent. It may seem obvious, but think about it: How many people fall down here? How many times have you made plans in your mind and not followed through? Everyone is guilty of this every now and then.
 

The way to avoid your goals dissolving into thin air here, is to keep working on the first two areas, in the shape of regularly reviewing your goals and making adjustments where needed, and finding your joy and passion for them. This will keep you motivated to put in the actual work.
 

It might not be as easy as simple positive thinking, but it’s definitely not complicated! If you keep the three steps in mind, you’ll be able to pinpoint any issues faster and move past them.

NLP Hacks To Transform Your Life

NLP: Wild Spirits Coaching

I had tears streaming down my face, so painful was the memory of the argument. The gentle voice of my NLP Coach told me it was okay, that I was in a safe space… And then she told me to take myself out of the scene that I had recreated in so much detail, and to view it as a mere spectator instead. Gradually, as she guided me through further stages of the process, my tears dried. When the session ended, I felt a profound sense of relief and peace. I’ve been able to remember that argument without feeling any emotional upset ever since.
 

Some people claim that “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” (NLP) is basically manipulation or mind control. In reality, NLP simply makes use of the way our brains work. These mechanics are happening anyway, and all NLP does is to make us more conscious of them, so we can get rid of negative patterns, communicate more successfully, and even re-shape our lives.
 

Used correctly, NLP is a very powerful tool. In the following, I’ll give you a few easy to learn techniques.
 
 






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NLP to silence your inner critic

 

A lot of us are struggling with a nagging inner voice that pipes up at the most inconvenient times. “You’re such a clutz!” it chides when you stub a toe, or: “You’re useless. You’ll never get that job,” whilst you are writing an application.
 

Next time your inner critic makes itself heard, try and tune in to their voice. Whose voice does it speak in? Is it your own voice, or the voice of a parent or teacher from your childhood? Could it be that critical “friend” you used to hang out with in college?
 

Ask yourself where the voice is located. Is it in your ears, your chest, or somewhere else?
 

Now start playing with you inner critic’s voice. If it’s usually in your head, try and move it to your right foot instead. Make it sound like Donald Duck or Mr Bean, make it ridiculous or very childish.
 

This may sound silly, but it’s actually an excellent way of silencing an inner critic. Even if the voice doesn’t go away, if you do this exercise regularly, you’ll be much less inclined to take it very seriously or let it affect you.
 
 

Anchoring

 

Anchoring is a technique that allows you to access a desired emotion at will. Try happiness: Start by imagining a time when you were very happy, and then replay the situation in your mind in great detail. Tune up the colours, the sounds, the scents – every detail – until the happiness you feel is a clear 10 on a scale of 1-10. At that moment, touch your left earlobe between your thumb and forefinger (or circle your wrist with your other hand’s fingers, or any kind of touch that you’d not normally perform).
 

Repeat this exercise at least once daily for about a week, and you’ll notice you feel happy just by touching your earlobe with your thumb and forefinger, without having to go through the entire sequence of visualising the happy memory anymore. To maintain the anchor, simply perform the touch every time you feel particularly happy.
 
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Nerves/Anxiety

 

To calm your nerves or anxiety, you can employ a technique called reframing. Say you have an important test or exam coming up and the mere thought of it makes you break out in cold sweat. Every time this happens, shift your focus from the scary exam to how you’ll feel once you’ve completed the exam successfully. See yourself holding the diploma. Look forward to the exam as your doorway to what you want.
 

This one can be great fun! You can also use it for dating. If you’re nervous on a date, simply visualise actually being in the relationship you hope to get to (provided that’s truly what you want!). See yourself with your date, taking strolls together, having a romantic picnic – if you are cheeky enough, you can even imagine the two of you having steamy sex. Trust me, it’ll put a sparkle in your eyes and a glow on your cheeks, relax you and bring out your best self.

[bctt tweet=”NLP is a lot like taming your brain to work in your favour instead of against you.”]

Obviously, you can also try anchoring a feeling of calm and relaxation. These techinques all have various uses, so be creative and play around with them! NLP is a lot like taming your brain to work in your favour instead of against you. In many cases, the processes work very fast, which makes it very rewarding to study NLP. Experiment a little, and have fun.

Want The Simple Life? Stop Hustling.

Live your dreams: The simple life

Every now and then, a post goes around Social Media that pretty much everyone can agree on. It praises the “simple life”, reading by the window, going for walks after the rain… It gets shared widely and makes people sigh wistfully.
 

Ironically, those of us who share these types of posts, are often people who work all hours or juggle a family with countless social obligations. I include myself in this: As a multi-passionate, I used to be involved in way too many things. Individually, each activity was meaningful and fun, and I loved the people I met through them, but overall my schedule was exhausting.
 

You see the disconnect, don’t you? I’m the first person who’ll tell you to live your dreams – it’s what my Coaching is all about – but to do that, you need to eliminate everything from your life which doesn’t fit the vision.
 

[bctt tweet=”To live your dream, you need to eliminate everything from your life which doesn’t fit the vision.”]

I’d like to take you on a journey of creation. Are you game?
 
 

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Time for dreams

 

This is the fun part. Put on your tinfoil hat and get comfortable, and then close your eyes (well – it might be a good idea to finish reading the next paragraph first!). Then imagine that magically, money or social obligations no longer play a role in your life. You are enjoying the incredible luxury of doing exactly what you choose every single day.
 

Picture “A day in the life” for yourself. Spend at least 10 minutes on this and imagine every last detail. What does your house look like? Who else lives there, if anyone? Where do you live? What do the surroundings look like? What’s the weather on this particular day? How do you wake up in the morning, and what do you do? How do you spend all the beautiful hours of your day?
 

A few questions to consider:
 

  • Do you work? If so, what is your work? How much time do you spend on it and how does it make you feel?
  • Do you make art? Craft? Create? Pursue your passion or multiple passions?
  • Do you exercise? Play?
  • Do you travel? If so, where to?

These are just a few prompts to get you going! Go ahead and dream up a perfect day in your perfect life. If possible, write down your vision; written dreams are particularly powerful.
 
 

Reality check: A “simple life”?

 

Once you’re done dreaming, it’s time to reconcile this vision with your reality. It may seem impossible at first, but don’t dismiss it too quickly. First, take the following steps:
 

  • Think or read back over your dream day. What was the overall atmosphere in it? What did you feel (happiness, content, love, gratitude…)? Be specific and write down these feelings.
  • Before, I invited you to go into detail. Now, I ask you to look at the big picture and find out what the general theme of your dream life was. Was it peace and quiet? Excitement and adventure? People and love? Of course, there might be elements of several or all of these things (and others besides them). Just try to find the one main theme, the one which matters to you the most.
  • Now it’s time to compare the dominant emotions and the main theme of your dream to your current reality. Write down your observations, especially obvious discrepancies.

Now you have, right in front of you, the things you need to work on. If your life already matches your dream, great! Figure out ways in which to infuse even more of your favourite emotions and “theme” into every day. If you see discrepancies, make a plan to tackle them one by one. This is a perfect time to introduce Coaching into your life, by the way!
 
 

Alignment

 

Don’t try to revolutionise everything at once. Often, only small adjustments are needed. Remember, you aren’t trying to live the life of a millionaire by tomorrow; you are trying to recreate feelings and themes, and those aren’t dependent on a budget or life situation.
 

If it’s the “simple life” from the quote at the beginning of this article that you’re craving, then maybe it’s time to drop all those obligations and activities. If you’re all for excitement, then maybe you should spend more money on travelling than on housing. if you want to pursue your passion, maybe you don’t need 25 pairs of shoes or the latest gadget.
 

The point of this exercise is to align your life with what you truly want. 
[bctt tweet=”Life is too short to live somebody else’s vision. It’s time for you to create your own.”]

The Power Of Vulnerability

Wild spirits: full moon in the rain

Years ago, I worked in Multi-Level Marketing. During our workshops and seminars, people who had had an outstanding month took the stage and shared the stories of their success. Everyone cheered and celebrated them. It was inspirational and incredibly motivating.
 

And yet, the most powerful moment I experienced during those years happened when I made myself vulnerable. I was on stage after phenomenal growth in my business, and opened up about my lack of consistent action months earlier. During this, I talked about how bad I’d felt about myself, how much effort it had cost to get back into consistency. I also mentioned how I had to keep at it for a full four months with not much to show for it, to arrive at my breakthrough success.
 

Never before or after did I have so many people come up to me during the break. They told me how my vulnerability had given them a reason to keep going. It was humbling and very, very moving.
 

Owning experiences and emotions is empowering. I’d like to outline some ways in which you can make this work for you, but first allow me to clarify something.
 
 

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Is negativity good, then?

 

This doesn’t mean that it’s a great thing to talk about negative things. I still maintain that we should focus on what’s working, rather than what isn’t. However, not focusing on something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be acknowledged and owned (it’s incredible how many people get this wrong!).
 

To state the obvious, human beings have both positive and negative emotions. To allow this full range acts like a beacon. Others around you can sense your authenticity. It’s why there was such a strong response about my vulnerability on stage: people knew instinctively that I wasn’t trying to make myself look better or embellish the story. Authenticity is like an invisible hand reaching out to others.

Everyone wins when you own up to your full range of emotions, especially when you then proceed to act on the constructive ones.
 
 

How vulnerabiity empowers you

 

Finding a job

 

Have you ever seen those articles that tell you to respond with something which can also be seen as a strength, when an interviewer asks you about your weaknesses? I’m sorry, but I call BS.
 

In the past ten years or so, I’ve taken to being myself and completely open during job interviews. I’ve owned up to my weaknesses and at times, I’ve actually laughed with an interviewer about some spectacular failure I’ve had. Oh, and I got every job I applied for during those years.
 

Employers are relieved to have an actual human being in front of them. They see someone who doesn’t pretend but gives them a realistic impression of what to expect. After all, everyone has flaws, and employers appreciate the fact that at least there won’t be any nasty surprises when they hire me.
 

Enabling you to pursue your passion

 

To find what truly makes you happy, especially when you’re a multi-passionate with many different interests, requires a thorough knowledge of yourself. If you keep rationalising that you “don’t have the time” (or money) for your passion, if you tell yourself you don’t really need this and you’re really fine without it, you can keep yourself in a state of inertia for a very long time.
 

Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m the uncrowned queen of lying to myself and spent years rationalising a joyless life of work, junk food, and gaming (none of these things are negative on their own, by the way. I still work, I still occasionally eat junk, and I’m still a gamer. But when these things make up your entire existence, it becomes a problem).
 

I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you find yourself settling, for whatever “good” reason, you are not being your authentic self. Dig deeper. Allow your emotions, including your vulnerability. Wade through them until you arrive at that joy, and then watch yourself soar. And whatever else you do, put your passions first.
 

Improve your relationships

 

This is too wide a field to talk about in detail (this article would turn into a book!), so I’ll make it short. Authenticity opens up relationships. If one person shows vulnerability, the other feels safer to do so, too. Try it with your spiteful teenager or your emotionally distant partner. It can be incredibly scary to be the first one to open up, but the results are nothing short of spectacular.

Monday Sparkles: Your Priorities Aren’t What You Think

Sunny hillside, wild money, wild spirit

It’s clear that we aren’t always free to choose our priorities exactly how we want them. If we could, every loved-up couple would spend all their time together and hardly anyone would turn up to work anymore. However, we do have control over our lives and therefore it’s worth it to take a look at our actions versus our intentions.

In the following, I’m going to help you gain clarity about your own, deepest priorities in life. If it turns out they aren’t aligned with your life situation, I’m also going to suggest steps to take towards balancing priorities with the demands of life.

Let’s dive in.

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What really matters to you?

Open a new text document, or if you prefer, take out pen and paper. I would like you to take five minutes to write down your priorities. Be sure not to write what you think is expected of you (family, kids and so forth feature on most people’s lists, but please don’t put down anything just because you feel it’s “the right thing” to focus on). Nobody will see this list apart from you, so be completely honest with yourself.

I suggest you start out by brainstorming anything that’s important to you without regard to the order in which you write them down. Once your list is complete, you can try ranking it. You should end up with at least five items (there might be as many as 15, or more) saying anything from “my husband” to “table tennis” and “time spent alone in nature”. Don’t forget to include worldly matters like success in your job or making money.

The moment of truth

Next, start a new page and write two more lists:

1. A list of the things you spend money on each month.
2. A list of where you spend your time every day and week.

The first list will be easy to put together if you’ve done the first part of my free money training series. One of the exercises was to write a list of all your expenses in a month. If you haven’t done the training yet, it’s still there for you whenever you wish to do it, and in the meantime you can simply write down your expenses by yourself.

Number 2 is even easier: How many of your weekly waking hours do you spend at work, doing housework, chauffeuring your kids, following your passions, with loved ones, exercising, etc etc? Rank this list, too, and the money list, by largest amounts of time respectively money spent. Now compare these two lists to your list of priorities, the one you wrote out first. What do you see?

Your result and what to do about it

They say, “money talks”. I say, yes it does, and time talks, too. What does your comparison reveal? Do you spend your money and your time where your heart lies? Or is your life out of alignment with your goals? The truth is that your priorities are wherever you spend your money and your time. It’s good and well to protest that other things are more important to you – as long as your actions, your life, don’t reflect this, your “priorities” remain pretty words.

This may sound harsh, especially since there are realities in life we all face, such as having to pay rent or a mortgage, and needing money for food. Like I said at the beginning of this article, most of us have obligations we cannot simply break free of, especially since they often affect other people in our lives as well, such as children or other family members.

At the same time, it’s still possible to align your life with what matters to you. Work and obligations only take up so much time. The rest of your day is up to you. You may argue that you’re tired in the evenings, but does TV really refresh you or is it just convenient? Look over your list again and find the time- and money-wasters. If you are serious about putting your money (and time) where your heart is, you’re going to have to learn money management as well as time management and be ruthless with anything that keeps you from living the way you want to.

It’s quite a process, and I gently suggest you get some support in the form of a buddy, a mastermind group, or a Coach. Your life is your own, and it’s up to you to shape it into a form you love! Otherwise, what’s the point? The effort is always worth it.