Tame Your Ego

By Mary Beth Hazeldine

September 18, 2016

1. We need Ego to navigate through life.  It is neither good nor bad.

 

Why does ego get such a bad rap?  Merriam-Webster defines 'egotism' as the feeling or belief that you are better, more important, more talented, etc. than other people." 


Should You Tame Your Ego?

 

While there are certainly those who have an exaggerated sense of self importance, in my experience, the majority of people suffer from insecurity and a more negative opinion of themselves. 

 

The ego is simply our self-image -- our awareness of ourselves.

 

From the moment we're born, we begin to form our self-image, which includes our body and our mind. It is simply a part of being human. We need to know who we are and how we fit into the world.

 

The ego itself is neutral unless we begin to take it seriously and believe that our self-image is true.  In the latter case, you will find it beneficial to tame your ego.

 

2.  Ego is not our true self.

 

In the film "The Matrix," ego is "the veil that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth...a person that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind."

 

Our true self is perfect and the only thing that stops us from seeing this is ego or our personal thinking. If you can get ego out of the way, your true self will naturally emerge without having to do anything.

 

In business and in life, you will find that you have all it takes to intuitively solve problems, become a charismatic leader and be an inspiration to others. These qualities are already inside you and you don't need to learn them. You simply need to get your ego out of the way so that they can emerge.

 

3.  Ego is a sense of separation from the rest of life and it gets in the way of experiencing real happiness.

 

Ego is what makes us unique and separate. Tennessee Williams said, "We're all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins."

 

We are all looking for happiness and for those experiences that make us feel filled with joy, love and bliss. That is only possible when we put our egos aside and connect with something much larger than ourselves.

 

I love the meaning of the Sanskrit greeting, "Namaste" - I honour the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honour the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honour the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us."

 

When you can truly connect with others and with nature, the real magic begins to happen.

 

This is true in business as well. We are often so caught up in our egos, in our sense of self-importance, that we don't connect with colleagues or clients and we don't really listen. Teamwork can take on an entirely new meaning when we begin to connect with others at a deeper level and put our personal thinking aside. Sales can become effortless when we truly connect with our clients.

 

Leadership skills can rise to a new level if we can form a deeper bond with others, listen beyond the words, see the best in people and accept the humanness that binds us all together.

 

3.  Ego is totally made up!

 

The ego isn't fixed...it is fluid...it can change. One day we might think that we are intolerant and short-tempered and the next day we might have a totally different view of ourselves as being patient and understanding. The reason that it changes is because our ego is formed solely via our thinking -- our beliefs, our thoughts about ourself! That's it!  

 

If the ego is just our thinking, then it is 100% made up and not true! As Samael Aun Weor said, ego is "a web of illusion that prevents us from comprehending our true nature and identity."

 

We are the greatest illusionists that have ever existed. Your whole image of who you are is nothing more than a sleight of hand magic trick. It's not true!

 

Once you begin to realise that you are totally making up your own self-image and that it is comprised of nothing more than your thoughts in the moment, it will begin to lose its power over you. After all, do you really believe those magic tricks? We know that it is just a matter of the hand being quicker than the eye.

 

Once you begin to see that all of those negative opinions we have about ourselves -- about being unable to do certain things, being shy, being unsociable, being too serious, being stupid, not any good at this or that -- are all just made up, your ego will begin to take a back seat and let your true self emerge. Your insecurities will fall away.

 

When your true self emerges, you will find that you are "in the flow." Whether you are an athlete looking to be on top of your game, an entrepreneur looking for the next creative idea or an executive looking to inspire his/her team, this state of mind or "flow" can only be achieved if we get our egos and personal thinking out of the way.

 

How can I achieve this?

 

By now, you are probably asking yourself this question. What do I do? What steps can I take to tame my ego and get it out of the way?

 

The answer is that there is nothing for you to do. Simply having an understanding of the fact that your self-image is totally made-up, totally illusionary, is sufficient to allow you to realise the implications in various areas of your life.

 

It's like when you have a bad dream or nightmare. It all seems so real and scary, but at some point you wake up and realise that it "was only a dream." Whatever negative feelings you were experiencing suddenly lose their strength and hold on you.

 

As you listen to all the mind chatter, telling you that you can't do this or can't do that, that you are no good at this or no good at that, perhaps you will have a moment of clarity and realise for yourself that this isn't true at all, but just something you've made up. When that happens, the limitations you have put on yourself will fall away and lose their power over you.

 

If you are interested in accessing your Pure Potential more often and more easily, all you have to do is "stay in the conversation."

 

 

Mary Beth Hazeldine is a teen mentor, executive coach, leadership consultant and corporate wellness advisor.  She helps individuals, professionals and organisations tap into the wisdom and intelligence that allows them to be "in the flow" more often and experience success and mental wellbeing. You can find out more about Mary Beth and her work at purepotentialparadigm.com

Negative Thinking

By Mary Beth Hazeldine

October 23, 2016

I don't know the source of the 70,000 thoughts/day meme, but suffice to say that we have many, many thoughts every day as our brains process all of the input coming from our 5 senses and all of the chatter that goes on inside our heads.  


What About Free Well?  Negative Thinking is NOT King!

According to some research, as much as 80% of our thinking is negative thinking and 98% of our thoughts are the same ones we had the previous day. Is it any wonder that so many people suffer from depression?

There is a well-known poem by Lao Tzu that says:

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.  Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

But, does this inevitable sequence have to happen?

One of the biggest insights I had was the fact that you don't have to act on, and you don't even have to believe, every thought that you have. Yet it is all part of the human experience that we take most of our thinking to be true and real.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone else's behaviour was annoying you, or at least you thought that was the case? I remember a time last week when I was in a particularly foul mood. During that time, I got really upset about all the things on my "to do" list and I was annoyed at my husband for not contributing more. In my mind, I was berating him for not taking more responsibility for household tasks and my blood was boiling.

In the past, it is highly likely that this "conversation" wouldn't have remained a private one in the confines of my mind, but that I would have verbally lashed out at him for not pulling his weight. Of course, that would only have made matters worse. Even though he is not the type who easily gets upset or angry, the atmosphere would have been negatively affected by my mini-tantrum.

But instead, since I've learned the Principles behind the human experience, I had the sense not to take my thoughts so seriously. I realised that I was in a bad mood and that what I was thinking probably wasn't even true. So I bit my tongue and kept my thoughts to myself.

The next day, I was feeling much better and my thinking had totally changed. I realised that I had simply been having some negative thinking about the number of things I had to get done and in fact, my husband would have been more than happy to help me in any way possible if he could have. As it was, the tasks in question were things that were not only my responsibility, but they weren't things that he wasn't even able to do. As for pulling his weight in the household, I have a gem of a husband who does far more than his fair share without even having to be asked.

So the thoughts that I had had the previous day were, in fact, simply NOT TRUE, yet I believed them at the time.  What would have been the consequences if I had let them become words? Or the words had become actions?

I once heard Three Principles teacher, Judy Sedgeman, say that, "Thoughts are constructions, not instructions," and this has stuck with me. We don't have to act on thoughts as if they were telling us what to say and do. For this we have our free will. To act or not to act on each and every thought....that is the question! A thought itself is neutral, until we act on it.

Mary Beth Hazeldine is a teen mentor, executive coach, leadership consultant and corporate wellness advisor.  She helps individuals, professionals and organisations tap into the wisdom and intelligence that allows them to be "in the flow" more often and experience success and mental wellbeing. You can find out more about Mary Beth and her work at purepotentialparadigm.com

Feelings

By Mary Beth Hazeldine

December 29, 2016

I live in a beautiful place in southern Spain, right on the Mediterranean coast. Having spent many years in the UK with my husband, we were both eager to head to sunnier climes and I must say that we don’t regret it at all. 


 

Do You Really Only Want to have Good Feelings?

 

I never complain about the hot weather, no matter how warm it gets in the summer. In the winter, despite temperatures reaching 18-22º most days, it does get down to the single digits at night. As most houses don’t have central heating, but rely on portable gas heaters or wall-mounted units that supply a meager amount of warm air, it can get mighty cold here in the winter. 

Most Spanish homes, with their tiled floors, thick concrete walls and small windows were built for the purpose of keeping people cool in the hot summers, thereby doing us no favours in the winter. I find that “suffering” through the winter months makes the summer even more anticipated and desireable. 

My father used to say the same thing about living in the Midwest. He really enjoyed experiencing all 4 seasons, though anyone familair with Chicago weather might argue that there often isn’t much of a spring or fall. It seems to go from winter to summer overnight. Nevertheless, there is richness in the 4 seasons and different things to savour from each:

  • Beautiful snowflakes falling gently on the window pane
  • Spring daffodils and blossoming trees
  • The smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of cicadas
  • Trees that turn the landscape into a caleidescope of autumn color

So why is it, that in our lives, we only want to experience the sunshine? Why do we all strive to be happy and avoid all the bad feelings or even think we are “failing” at playing this game of life if we are not content all of the time?  

I often like to imagine spirits in heaven all queuing up to go on the most popular “ride” just as you might find people waiting at Disney to go on the Tower of Terror, Mission Space or Expedition Everest. The ride that the spirits are all waiting for is “The Human Experience”. The spirits are all waiting to be born into a body for this wonderful experience here on earth. Just as many of the popular rides at Disney aren’t for the faint hearted, neither is the Human Experience.  On the Coaster Critic Website   http://www.coastercritic.com/2009/06/introducing-the-roller-coaster-thrill-scale/ Roller Coasters are ranked by their Thrill Factor:

  • Tame (1 out of 5) - Small Compact Roller Coasters and Kiddie Coasters
  • Traditional (2 out of 5) - Old-School Run of the Mill Woodies and Small Steel Coasters
  • Thrilling (3 out of 5) - Contains 1 Thrill Factor (Loops, Launch)
  • Intense (4 out of 5) - Contains 2 Thrill Factors (High Speeds, Loops, G Forces, Height)
  • Extreme (5 out of 5) - Contains 3 Thrill Factors (High Speeds, Loops, G Forces, Height)

Millions of people stand in line for hours waiting to get on those ride that rank Extreme to have their breath taken away. Yet in the Human Experience, we expect the ride to be smooth and without fear, sadness, or other negative emotions. We spend millions of dollars on self help books and courses to live a life that is only sunny and bright.    

Living life to its fullest potential is not about being emotionally neutral or only experiencing positive emotions. As our thoughts come and go, so will our emotions flow and follow our thinking. I often remind myself that it is this richness of feelings that got me to sign up for this ride on the Human Experience in the first place. The highs would not be as enjoyable, if it weren’t for the lows.  

Mary Beth Hazeldine is a teen mentor, executive coach, leadership consultant and corporate wellness advisor.  She helps individuals, professionals and organisations tap into the wisdom and intelligence that allows them to be "in the flow" more often and experience success and mental wellbeing. You can find out more about Mary Beth and her work at purepotentialparadigm.com

 

mindfulness at work

By Mary Beth Hazeldine

November 20, 2016

We've all had it happen to us. We walk into another room to get something and once we get there, we can't remember what we came in there for.    


Mindfulness at Work is the Single Most Important Factor for Good Leadership 

If you are or were ever a commuter, I'm sure there was at least one occasion where you missed your stop because you were daydreaming or thinking about something, such as what you needed to get done once you got home.

Perhaps you were deep in thought while driving your car and you cruised right past your exit or the road where you were supposed to turn off.

Even scarier yet is the fact that we get behind the wheel and drive from A to B, most of the time with very little recollection of how we actually got there.  

In my weight loss coaching, one of the things I focus on with my clients is to eat consciously. Many people are surprised to learn that most of the time when they are shoving food into their mouths, they are not even aware of it. How many times have you robotically reached into a bag of crisps or potato chips while reading a magazine or watching TV, totally oblivious to the act of actually eating the crisps or aware of how many you're eating? This one simple change to conscious eating, not only makes the act much more enjoyable and memorable, but we tend to eat a lot less if we're paying attention to what we're doing and to the full signals that the stomach is sending to the brain.

I was conducting a leadership development programme in London 2 weeks ago and I asked the group what percentage of their time they felt they were fully engaged with the task at hand or the person in front of them. This was a group of highly intelligent executives who already held senior positions within the organisation. The initial consensus was that they were fully engaged about 10% of the time, but upon further reflection, they all realised that even this number was perhaps too optimistic.

Employees today are being asked to take on more and more responsibility and the corporate environment can be quite demanding. This group of leaders saw exactly how much of their time was spent worrying about the future, going over things that had happened in the past, wondering how they'll get everything done and multi-tasking in an attempt to accomplish as much as possible. Rarely were they every fully engaged, with a clear mind, with the person or task in front of them in the present moment.  Imagine what a huge different it would make in the work environment if these leaders demonstrated mindfulness at work.

All of these examples serve to demonstrate that we are living in a world of thought - usually thinking about the past or the future - and rarely mindful and present.  

I like to think of thought as a fan spinning, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but it is always spinning. It is supposed to spin and it is futile to try to stop it, because this is how we experience life.  

It is enough, just to be aware of what is happening and how we are creating our reality. From this awareness, comes the wisdom not to be lured by every thought and go down those rabbit holes that take us away from the present moment.

Just like we can be taken into an imaginary world when we read a good book, our thinking takes us into daydreams every single day. These daydreams are no more real than the dreams we have at night while we sleep, yet we believe them and focus on them to the detriment of what is going on in the real world around us and being mindful.  

Mary Beth Hazeldine is a teen mentor, executive coach, leadership consultant and corporate wellness advisor.  She helps individuals, professionals and organisations tap into the wisdom and intelligence that allows them to be "in the flow" more often and experience success and mental wellbeing. You can find out more about Mary Beth and her work at purepotentialparadigm.com