Posts Tagged ‘self-mastery’

The Power of State

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

What is state?

State refers to your emotional state.  The way you are feeling in a given moment.  We are creatures of emotions.  This is true for all of us, even if some of us show it less.

People who are highly successful in one area of their lives all have one common ability.  They know the importance of using their emotions to support their work.  Not all people who achieve success achieve mastery however.  Mastery is being able to perform at a high level of expertise nearly 100% of the time.  There are many successful people out there, but the best are masters of their skill.  It is not uncommon to hear an artist say, “I simply don’t feel it right now,” or “I can’t connect with my work.”  In fact, this is a problem we all encounter at some point in our lives.  Have you ever been trying to write a paper or an essay only to run into writers-block?

What’s really going on here?  I constantly ask myself questions like that.  Why is that sometimes when I sit down to write, words flow out of me, and other times I can barely spell my name?  The answer is state.

The way we feel plays a major impact what we do, and how we do it.  Interestingly, the way we use our body and our breathing creates our state.  Essentially, all emotion we feel has a certain physiology that accompanies it.  Some people go through life trying to figure out how to never feel a certain emotion.  I’ve been in this position before.  Why must I feel anxiety in certain social situations.  I hate this anxiety.  It builds from there.

This is pointless.  WE ARE CREATURES OF EMOTION.  It’s what makes us beautiful.  You cannot stop having emotions.  Please don’t try, it’s not healthy and makes for a not very interesting person.

However, it is entirely possible to control your state.  The first step of self-mastery is state-mastery.  Okay this is confusing right?  Let’s go back to the writing example.

Have you ever sat down to write, not been able to and decided to distract yourself for a little while?  Maybe you listened to music that pumped you up, inspired you, or was relaxing.  Maybe you watched a comedian telling a couple hilarious jokes.  Maybe you went for a run.  Maybe you took a shower.  Then you returned to your desk to write, and guess what, you were able to write.  Your writer’s block was gone.  Why did this happen?

Your state changed.  Emotions are a pattern.  When we feel a certain way, we use our bodies a certain way, we breathe a certain way, we think a certain way, and we continue to feel the same way, often worse.  We link emotions to memories we have in our lives, and when we encounter an experience similar to an old memory, we link similar emotions to this new memory.  The thing is, it’s not entire memories that we only associate emotion to.  It’s also, and more significantly, specific details within the memory.

For example, let’s say that in 3rd grade you wrote an essay in freehand using a yellow number 2 pencil and handed it in for grading.  Later that day, as you sat thumbing your pencil, the teacher hands your paper back.  You stare down at a giant F written in red ink.  Immediately you begin to feel negative emotions.  You feel depressed, stupid, unimaginative, foolish, and like a failure.  As you are feeling these things, your posture changes, and now your breathing must change.  You slouch over, hunch your shoulders, let your neck hang low, and let out a slow sigh.  Your physiology has changed completely.

Now fast forward to today.  You sit down at your desk to write, pickup a yellow number 2 pencil, and thumb the eraser.  Bam! An emotion fires off.  Your memory has anchored certain emotions to the act of thumbing a yellow number two pencil.  Seriously, this is how your brains work.  You link emotions to your senses.  In this case, it’s feel.  Immediately, and without knowing it, your physiology changes based on this emotion.  You suddenly feel unimaginative, sluggish, and unable to write.  When you distract yourself through music, comedy, exercise, or a shower, these actions change your physiology, and thus change your emotional state.  You come back to write, and the words flow.

What about people who just hate to write and it has nothing to do with a pencil?  These people have linked certain emotions to the act of writing itself.  At some point in their lives, they experienced major negative emotions while having to write.  Often times this occurred over many occasions, and the size of the emotions associated with writing grew.

If you’re one of these people, don’t feel bad, we all have things in our lives that trigger bad emotions.  The difference is how a person responds to these emotions, and their ability to change the emotions on command.  I will tell you right now that anyone who has truly mastered a specific skill first had to master his emotions.  A professional baseball player plays in 162 games each season.  The best players are the best because they are able to produce consistent results.  Do you think a great hitter feels great every morning when he wakes up?  Heck no!  No one feels great all the time.  However, when he steps onto the field, he is able to put himself in the right mindset to succeed.  He is able to call up the right emotional state for success.  Have you ever wondered why baseball players are so superstitious?  It is because they have a very specific routine that is required to put themselves in state.  They are using specific items from past memories to recreate the same emotions that often lead to success.

How do we keep ourselves in a positive state?  How do we take an activity that usually puts us in a negative state and change it puts us in a positive state?

We do by firing off positive emotions and taking notice of how we use our body and our breathing when we feel great.  This is called anchoring and I’ll talk about it in another post.


Goal Setting

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

“A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”
~Thomas Carlyle

It’s time to set sail on my year-long-journey of self-mastery.  Before I can begin on this journey, I must know where I am going.  Goal setting is an absolute must for anyone aiming to improve the quality of his or her life.  Life can be broken down into several main areas:

Physical Body – The way we look and feel.
Emotions & Meaning
– The way we use our emotions to support and create meaning in our lives.
– The level of fulfillment our relationships provide for us.
– The way we use our time to live a life we are passionate about.
– Our ability to use work and career to fuel passion towards our personal mission(s) in life.
– Our financially situation in life.
– The way we contribute and add value to the world.

I have goals in all of these areas, but in this post, I will be covering the area of my physical body.  As I continue with my mission to post once a day to this blog, I will add more goals in the other areas of my life.  In time, I plan on organizing this blog based on the areas of my life I am mastering.

To aid me in the process of evaluating where I’m currently at and where I want to be at the end of the year, I used a free tool available at  This tool allowed me to rate this area of my life on a 10-point scale.  Then I answered 9 questions for each area to generate goals and an action plan for success.

Current state of mastery:
I rated myself a 4 out of 10.  Plain and simple, I don’t work out enough, I eat an unhealthy diet, I have very poor posture, and I rarely feel full of energy.

Desired outcome:
At the end of the year I will be extremely physically fit.  My body will exude confidence and masculinity.  I will have muscles that bulge from underneath my shirt (Think Marlon Brando in, “A Street Car Named Desire.”)  I’ll finally have a six-pack again and a body that I will gladly take to the beach and show off.  Hey ladies!

My posture is straight and conveys confidence.  I breathe fully and more deeply, and my voice is deeper because I speak from my lower chest using my diaphragm.  I feel better and radiate charisma and charm.  I look younger and happier as a result, and the effect wears off on other people.  I also eat healthier, and fill my body with foods that support me and energize me.

Resources that are available to me to help achieve mastery:
Gym membership, fitness classes, P90X, cheap yoga classes, meditation center near my house, the Alexander Technique, healthy eating cookbooks/recipes, the library, online forums, and fitness groups.

Mentors or coaches that are available to me to help achieve mastery:
Fitness class instructors, yoga teachers, meditation coaches, personal trainers, and friends that are already achieving a higher level of mastery than myself.

What actions or rituals do I need to establish so that I have daily discipline to follow through and create results:

  • Working out 6 days a week for at least an hour.
  • Attending yoga classes 2 times a week.
  • Meditate every day for at least 15 minutes.
  • Keep a journal of what I eat (count calories).
  • Create meal plans every week consisting of healthy recipes.
  • No more soda!

What specific measurable goals am I going to accomplish this year:

  • Run a half marathon
  • Put on 10 pounds of muscle
  • Lower body fat level to 8%
  • Achieve Nirvana (just kidding…maybe)

Goals for myself and this blog

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

As this is my first time really blogging, I feel it important to start there before jumping into my personal goals.

Creating this blog is going to be a huge learning experience, but I am 100% committed to keep this blog alive and updated.  While, in the beginning of this year of blogging, I may possess only the most basic of blogging skills, I know that with time and consistent effort, I will improve.  I learn things fast and I am extremely tech savvy and creative.  By the end of this year, I have high hopes for the way this blog is displayed, content organized, and clarity of posts.  Until then, bare with me as I learn how to blog.  Constructive comments are always welcome.

To hold myself to this goal of learning how to blog to the point of expert status, I am setting a specific goal for myself: blog once a day, everyday, for this entire year.

I will update this blog in some way or form every day for a year.  I got the idea to do this while browsing the WordPress homepage.  WordPress proposed the challenge and I accepted the opportunity to learn a new skill and document my life for an entire year.

That being said, I do not intend for this blog to be a personal journal.  I will not be sharing all the details of my daily life on here, or even most of the details of my life on here.  I don’t think journals are particularly interesting.  I do think daily blogs with a THEME or central idea are extremely interesting.  In this blog I will discuss and document my journey through one year of personal development.

What does this mean?  What does a year of personal development look like?  Aren’t we always personally developing, whether we want to or not?

In short yes.  However, in this case, personal development refers to activities that improve self-knowledge and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspiration.  There is a whole industry of self-help authors, speakers, and teachers who make a good living generating material to help individuals like you and me improve the quality of our lives.  I will admit, a lot of it is a waste of time.  There are a lot of scams out there, but there are some gems to found as well.  Over the course of my 27 years here on Earth, I have stumbled upon quite a few personal development tools that I believe are extremely useful.  Despite coming across this great information, I have merely dabbled up until this point.

I’ll be the first to say it.  I’m a professional dabbler. That ends this year. That ends now.

For one year, 365 days exactly, I commit myself to massively improving the quality of my life in many areas (mental, physical body, emotional, career, financial, spiritual, time management, relationships, contribution).  I will be using a variety of tools already available to me in order to educate, train, and condition myself for success so that I can achieve the results I want in these areas.  As of right now, I already have a large library of tools available to me that I can start working with.  Along the way, I will encounter new tools, and I will not hesitate to try new things in an effort to reach my overall life goal of self-mastery.

In addition to my personal writings and discussions of my daily growths and struggles along the way, I will be sharing information about tools and techniques with you.  There is a lot of amazing information available out there that I think everyone should be implementing into their lives.  There is no reason anyone should live a life that is less than what they truly want and deserve.  I am not a highly religious person, but I do believe we are all here for a reason.  Our lives are not empty and meaningless, and the range of our emotions are testament to that.  I believe in all of us, whether we consciously know it or not, there is a desire to make a difference in the world. More so, there is a desire to love and be loved.  Love is the ultimate emotion, and when you really become connected to yourself, you’ll find it is the ultimate pursuit.

In truth, I am making this blog to learn how to love myself, and to learn how to share this love with everyone else.  This is something I have always struggled with.  That ends this year.  That ends now.

Tomorrow, I will outline the specific goals I am going to achieve this year and the process in which I plan on doing so.  Also, I will discuss some of the materials and tools I am already using and will be using to help me on my journey.

With love,



January 1, 2011 Leave a comment