Can potatoes grow on a walnut tree? Or, can radishes grow on an apple tree? No, of course not! The farmer must decide whether he wants to harvest potatoes or apples first. Exactly like the decision we must make with what we want to reap in our lives. Not every seed will germinate and sometimes an entire harvest will be destroyed. But, the law of sowing and reaping also applies to our lives: Only that which we sow ourselves can we reap. So far my life has resembled a roller coaster ride, involving everything from health problems to massive anxiety and panic attacks. Nevertheless, I never gave up and fought against all odds to achieve my personal goals. People often ask me how I solved one or more problems or how I conquered my panic attacks and that was the reason I wrote this book. This little guide is for all who are already successful and want to become even more successful. So, let us take a little adventurous trip through our own EGO. You learn a lot about the most important personality characteristics, the four pillars of life, the valley of thoughts, as well as the deep abyss of the subconscious mind. Furthermore, you will receive valuable tips and ways to achieve these goals, as well as simple but very effective mental exercises for relaxation and solution solving.
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Ideas and text by Silvia Kaufer
Pictorial design by Silvia Kaufer
Cover design by Silvia Kaufer
Translation by Holger Flock – www.buchuebersetzer.webs.com
© 2018 for this edition by Silvia Kaufer
All rights reserved. Any use other than those allowed by applicable laws or with written permission of the author.
Welcome and a wonderful “good day”. I’m pleased that my book has piqued your curiosity, and that you’re interested in reading it.
But before we really begin, let me first briefly introduce myself. My name is Silvia Kaufer and I was born in 1962 in Germany. My birth turned out to be a catastrophe for my parents, as I came into this world with a thalidomide disability. Both arms were short with each having three fingers, so yeah, quite a few questions arose. However, their main concern was; “How will she cope with all that life throws at her and how will she get along in society?”
Regardless, I wasn’t that uptight about it and early on I had already met my husband. I was 20 years old when we married (by the way, even nowadays we still have an exciting and harmonious marriage). From our bond of love emerged two children, our daughter who was born in 1982 and our son who was born in 1983.
According to my mother, I always wanted to go head first through a wall and the phrase; “I can’t do that”, was not in my vocabulary. At the age of 23 I had a heart operation. There were complications, so I had to spend a long time in ICU. But even then, giving up was not an option for me.
But then again, this was the moment I started to live my life with more awareness. Because of my disability, my husband and I decided to reverse the common roles in a family. He quit his job and became the man of the house, whereas I entered into a professional career and made sure we were provided for. I attended many seminars and constantly advanced myself until I decided on the rocky road of self-employment. In 1993 I passed my exam as a tax consultant and step-by-step I began to establish my own practice.
Back then, shortly before my exam, I was overcome by horrible anxiety. I’m sure you know the feeling, I won’t be able to handle it anyway, I can’t do anything right anymore, everything is too much for me, etc. It was exactly in this frame of mind that I found myself. I had just recently quit my job, so we can add financial problems as well, and I was also a little under the weather health-wise, to put it mildly.
Yet back then, when I was in that state, I also heard about “mental training” for the first time and discovered a really great mental exercise. I needed to perform this exercise intensely for one entire week and then success would come all by itself. So, since I had nothing to lose I did the exercise and to make a long story short, success did in fact present itself. After a few days, I felt almost physically and mentally like a different person. I was once again optimistic, thinking positive, confident, and on top of my game, passing the exam in my sleep. I had such an incredible experience during the exam (more on this later) that I increasingly sought out information on the subconscious mind, the power of the universe, goals, the power of thoughts, etc. So, I would like to pass on the knowledge and experience I gained during that time to other people, which is the reason I wrote this book.
Since this exam experience back in 1992, I’ve attended many seminars, read countless books, listened to numerous tapes, browsed the internet, and taken part in discussion forums. But more important, I have repeatedly talked to other people about their successes. Everything I read, saw, or heard I immediately made a note of. This certainly allowed me to collect a lot of information, which I evaluated and tried out myself and then used all these ingredients to create a so-called “experience-buffet”. Now you can select from this buffet what you like best and, obviously, try it out as well. (Refer to the appendix for the sources I used.)
I’ve determined that in many situations, you can change a lot in this life if you really want it. The only question is; when do you start making changes and how much are you willing to invest? I don’t mean money, but energy, diligence, and perseverance. Perseverance and patience are crucial in this day and age.
For example, when we want to become proficient in a foreign language, it’s not enough to sit down and merely read up on this language once, is it? When we want to learn how to drive a car nowadays, it’s not enough to only take a one-hour driving lesson, correct?
And, when we want to make our lives more successful, it’s also insufficient to only read a book about positive thinking once or watch a video on “success” once or merely attend a mental workout class one time.
Even success itself comes only through the actual DAN. DAN stands for day and night. It’s not enough to apply yourself only now and then, no, you must always be active – so, day and night.
You can read 100 books and attend a seminar once a week; nevertheless, you will not change anything in your life if your heart really isn’t into it, except to lighten your wallet. You will only change something when you really want to and that that conviction comes from deep within you.
Now we arrive at the key aspect: what do I want anyway?
Naturally, this is a question I will address in more detail in my book. You’ll get to know a variety of exercises and once you implement them in your daily life they will show you your innermost, deepest desires. The origin of these innermost, deepest desires and longings come in fact from our subconscious mind.
Now, with my book, I would like to invite you on a little journey, a positively exciting expedition into our own self. We’ll make a research trip through our own self. For this, we must first travel through four doors. These are the doors of self-awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-realization.
For each door there is a key, which are the four personality keys. Therefore, we have four keys to success. Do you have any idea where we procure these keys?
Certainly not from a locksmith, no, each single key arises within and through us. We, ourselves, are the key to success.
There are people who have the correct key to each door. But then there are also people who don’t have the proper key to any door. And then there are people who think they have the correct key to every door.
It’s like in real life; a key only fits into a keyhole when the key’s shape matches that of the keyhole, when they complement each other. When one shape differs, the key won’t fit. In essence, we have to constantly re-check if our key still fits as the shape of the key changes over and over again, just as we also change repeatedly.
So, let’s regard our first key, the key of self-awareness.
The first key of ours that we need to check to see if it still fits in the keyhole is called, self-awareness. So, what does self-awareness actually mean? Okay, let’s pick the word apart; one who is aware of oneself.
A self-aware person is a person who affirms himself and is confident about his skills. But then there are people who are the complete opposite and lack self-awareness. People like that can be recognized; they don’t give clear statements, rarely take the initiative to start a conversation, and they speak softly. This person is often passive and usually avoids conflicts. However, a person can learn to become more self-aware, they merely have to overcome their inner demon. If you are a person who is shy and never engages someone else in conversation, then you could start with the following introductory exercises.
Introductory exercise – Level of difficulty 1
Approach at least three strangers the next time you run errands and ask these people for the time or how to get to a specific address.
Introductory exercise – Level of difficulty 2
If you go shopping tomorrow, enter a store, not a restaurant or something similar, and ask them, politely of course, if you could have a glass of water to quench your thirst or perhaps you have to take a pill of some sort. It doesn’t matter if you receive a glass of water or not, thank them and then leave the store.
Performing these exercises might sound ridiculous to those people who never had problems addressing other people, but for those who do, it will be a true sense of achievement. And what strengthens our self-awareness? Our self-awareness is only strengthened by a sense of success, or rather, repeated sense of success. And it doesn’t matter how tiny or big they are, their size isn’t important, each tiny success will boost your self-awareness. Now, one tiny success comes right after another, feeding your self-awareness, which in turn will grow and grow and grow even more.
Here is another example I know many people have problems with, even those who are otherwise quite self-aware find themselves at odds here. Imagine calling somewhere and hearing a recorded voice on the other end, “Hi, I’m not home right now, please leave a message after the beep.”
I have an answering machine in my office and often times the caller merely hangs up without say anything! So this means that the talking to answering machine inhibition is quite enormous. Let’s be honest, do you like talking to an answering machine? Well, if such a device causes you stomach pain, simply try the following exercise.
During a weekend or sometime in the evening hours, simply place a call to a business. You may use a different name and say, “Good afternoon, my name is Ms. Müller. You don’t know me, but I’m currently learning how to lose the talking to an answering machine inhibition and I thank you for allowing me to use yours. Have a great day. Good-bye.”
So, what have you accomplished with this call? For one, you have overcome speaking to this answering machine and secondly, which is even more progress, you have confronted your weakness by admitting to wanting to reduce your talking to an answering machine inhibition. And then there’s another issue, you’ve given yourself a good feeling by overcoming your trepidation of talking to such a device, and stayed positive, even wishing the other end well.
What kind of state do you find yourself in after such an undertaking? Is it a state of euphoria or of feeling proud? Why is that? That’s because your subconscious mind has now received a signal – I’ve tried something – I’m happy – I’m proud. – So, what happens next? Well, naturally there is a sense of success, which means, an increase in self-awareness.
Tip: Keep doing smaller exercises in the areas where you think you can’t do something. And one more tip: Don’t worry about what other people might think of you in that moment. That moment is all about you and for a change of pace, this time it doesn’t matter what other people might think.
How else does our self-awareness reveal itself? Granted, we don’t pay much attention to it, but it’s our posture and the signals our body sends out. So, how do we actually send out body signals? That’s easy, with the eyes, mouth, arms, legs, head, etc. Observe the gestures of the people you encounter over the next few days and see what kind of effect they have on you. Let’s think a little about our body posture. For example, when we go into a meeting or conduct a conversation with a sense of confidence, we have the distinct feeling of “Yes, I can do this, I am someone and have something to offer”, and our posture is straight and imposing. This certainly gives us a better negotiating position than coming across as timid, correct?
I’m sure you know the game of poker and the strategy of bluffing. When playing poker, you make the opponent think “you have the better cards”. This game is based exclusively on the fact that you are holding the winning hand, whether you actually have a good hand or not doesn’t really matter. Your face, your facial expression, clearly conveys that you are in the better position. There can be no doubt whatsoever that you came to win and will leave as the winner. I came, I saw, I conquered. So, whoever has the best poker face and is the better actor will have better odds of winning the game.
Many areas of our lives resemble a poker game, however, the difference in a poker game is that body posture and facial expressions are merely an act. And, if something is merely acted out, then in reality it’s usually implausible. Therefore, our body posture should always correspond to how we currently feel. The more genuine facial expressions and body posture are, the better and more credible we are regarded by society.
Now I want to show you that this is actually true. Are you in the mood for a little exercise? Please sit on a chair, bend slightly forward and rest your elbows on your knees while you cradle your face in your palms.
Now make a really sad face and try to say, “Oh, I feel so good!” convincingly.
Now do the opposite. Feel happy, stand up straight, look up and stretch your arms toward the sky and try to say, “Oh, I feel so bad!” convincingly.
The first exercise was as contradictory as the second one, right?
Our body posture should match our mood, so we appear convincing and credible to others.
During the preparation for our little journey I discovered a true story on the subject of body posture, namely, the story, Temple of a Thousand Mirrors, from the book, “Erfolgs-Prinzipien des Optimisten”, by Nicholas B. Engelmann, (Translated, Success Principles of Optimists) - retold.
In India, there was a temple of a thousand mirrors. It was located high up on a mountain and its sight was awe inspiring. One day, a dog came and climbed the mountain. It ran up the steps of the temple of a thousand mirrors and entered it. When it came into the hall of a thousand mirrors it saw a thousand dogs. It was instantly on guard and raised its neck fur, tucked its tail between its legs, growled threateningly and bared its teeth. So, it was confronted by a thousand dogs displaying raised neck fur, tails between their legs, growling menacingly, and gnashing their teeth. Panic-stricken, the dog ran out of the temple believing the whole world was inhabited by snarling, dangerous, and menacing dogs. Sometime later another dog came and climbed the mountain. It also ran up the steps and entered the temple of a thousand mirrors. But, when it came into the hall of a thousand mirrors and saw the thousand dogs, it was happy. It wagged its tail and jumped merrily back and forth, trying to urge the other dogs to play. When this dog left the temple it was convinced that the world was inhabited by nice, friendly dogs that were well disposed towards him.
In the vernacular, we would say, “What comes around goes around.” I’m convinced you’ve had your own experience where your behavior impacted the behavior of another person. Try and recall this event. Perhaps you even started giggling during a tense situation and couldn’t stop laughing for no apparent reason. However, other people around you also started to laugh, just like that, why is that? That’s because laughter is infectious. So, your behavior was mirrored in the behavior of other people. However, you can also affect other people with your nervousness as well as with your peacefulness. People listen better when you speak softly. When the words you express come from the heart, it’s much more likely that you’ll have a friendly reaction. When you help other people, you in turn will receive more help. So, we realize now that a happy face can be just as contagious as a dour one. But this means when I act accordingly, I can influence the reaction of my environment to the outcome I desire.
Go ahead and give it a try. How, you ask? Well, that’s easy; simply smile when you encounter other people. It really becomes more interesting when you smile at a stranger. What do you think will happen? I’m sure you know the answer already. In any case, see what happens during practice. So, laugh more often because laughter is catching, not to mention that the world looks much different.
Let’s briefly go back to the story of the two dogs. Another action that falls under such a mirror effect, where your behavior is reflected in the behavior of other people, is “praise”. Praise is like a boomerang. Give praise that comes from the heart, real genuine praise. Then wait and see what happens. I promise you, the more praise you give, the more praise you will reap. The more compliments you give, the more compliments you will receive.
Imagine the following situation; you and your partner are invited somewhere and your second half has really outdone her/himself. So now tell her/him that. “My dear, wow, you look absolutely stunning.”
And, if you are the person receiving such a compliment, then you should respond positively. All it takes is a simple, well-meant “thank you” or even just a smile. You don’t have to second-guess the praise in the next sentence and say, “You’ve never told me that I look stunning; is something going on?”
In regard to praise or a compliment; there are at times when we should say them without expecting something in return. Plus, we should also learn to accept praise or a compliment the way it was intended and not feel immediately obligated to say something back. You see, not only giving must be learned, no, receiving something must also be learned.
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