If you’ve ever watched a comedy improv show, you might have wondered, “How on earth do they do that?” Improv actors—the funny ones, anyway—have a gift for creating and weaving together storylines on the spot, in front of a live audience. It’s amazing to see, and the results can be hilarious.
But it doesn’t happen by chance. Any actor will tell you that there’s one cardinal rule of improv, and it’s this: Accept whatever happens. Always.
In improv lingo, the rule is this: Say “yes, and.”
What does that mean, exactly? If you’re doing improv, and another actor says, “Let’s go skydiving,” you can’t say, “No way, I’m scared of heights.” If you say, “We’re being invaded by giant mutant aliens!” they can’t say “No, it’s just the mailman.” Everyone onstage must roll with any new idea. Every time a new development enters the story, the...
The other day, I was walking my dog in Riverside Park when I ran into an old friend, Greg. I almost didn't recognize him, though – he looked about fifty pounds lighter than when I'd seen him last.
"You look great!" I said. "Thanks," he said, beaming. "I finally got into the habit of working out. It only took about two decades."
When I knew Greg, he'd hated the gym. "What changed?" I said, always interested to hear how people make a big turnaround like that (especially when it has to do with exercise).
"A few years ago, I decided to try a spin class," he said. "It was terrible. It would have been my only spin class – except sitting on the bike next to me was a beautiful redheaded woman. So I went back the next week. At first, I only went to see her. But then the class itself started to grow on me, and I began to miss it when I didn't go. I've been going three times a week ever since."
"What happened to the redhead?" I asked. "Did you ever talk to...
Courage. Willpower. A million-dollar coaching course. There's no end to the list of things that will help you reach your goals. But in all the rush to visualize and manifest and achieve, there's one crucial piece that often gets overlooked – and yet without it, you'll get nowhere.
That thing is hope.
But what exactly is hope?
Here's how I think of it: hope is what tennis players have when they're on a winning streak. (Can you tell I was watching the US Open this month?) This is true in other sports, too, but especially in a tennis match, you can actually see the players' level of hope. When she's down and feels like she can't win, she's making unforced errors, she's losing her serve – it's obvious. It's in her body language, in her face, in how she carries herself. She's pacing, angry, distracted. You can practically tell she's going to lose.
Until something changes. Usually it's a change in strategy. She tries something different – a dropshot,...
This part week, I started to get the sneaky sense that fall is just around the corner. I know it’s a month away, but suddenly people are talking about school, final vacation plans, signing up for after-school activities. All of that is happening now, and all I can think is no! I don't want it to be fall. I want summer to keep going forever.
One reason I love summer is that it makes things feel easy. When the sun is shining and school's out, I just feel like it's easier to relax and let things flow. But as the leaves start to turn, and change is in the air, and the responsibilities of the school year loom ahead, it feels like that easiness is coming to an end. It's time for structure, alarm clocks, and mega to-do lists. I start to get a pit in my stomach, and it's saying, Oof, this is going to be hard.
I have a confession. For all my years of working with mindset, there was a lot of time that I avoided the concept of mindfulness. I thought it was overused, and (dare I say it?) boring. I thought it meant never thinking about the future, never being really excited, never setting goals or planning ahead – and those are some of my favorite things!
But then I realized something: that judgment was really resistance in disguise. Thankfully, with the help of reading, trusted friends, and a whole lotta practice, I learned what mindfulness really means.
It means stepping into the flow of life. It means opening up to the messages that our bodies, minds, and hearts are sending us – and they are constantly sending us messages that we need to hear. When we're not mindful – that is, when we're distracted by what we're doing later, or fixated on what we don't have, or numb to our emotions, we miss out. It's like watching TV while someone is trying to tell us something...
On my ideal day, I wake up super-early, without an alarm, refreshed and ready to go. Then I have a long, leisurely, mindful transition into the day. Of course, I live in the real world, so that doesn't always happen - and when it doesn't, you can bet my whole day is off kilter.
That's why I've decided to make a list of the three most important things to do every single morning, and share it with you. Try these (they don't take long at all), and see if they don't radically improve your day.
Take time for yourself, even if it's just 5 minutes. It's tempting to dive right into the day, but pause to check in with yourself and find center first. Whether that's having a cup of coffee before everyone else wakes up, getting a workout in, meditating, reading, whatever - make sure part of your morning is just for you.
Ask powerful questions. So many of us wake up already thinking, "I don't have enough time," "I didn't sleep enough," "I'm not doing enough." The best way to combat...
A couple years ago, I offered a Moticise workshop on Money & Career at a special event for entrepreneurs here in New York. In it, we did the Wheel of Life, an activity that gives people a new perspective on what areas in their life need work.
In the Wheel of Life, you color in each area of your life to the extent that you feel it's going well. If you're feeling good about your spirituality, you might color it in all the way; but if you're having trouble with your health, you might leave it blank, or only color it in a little bit.
After the group colored in their Wheel, I asked them to talk about their Money and Career slices. "Why did you color it in the amount that you did?" I asked.
A woman named Taylor spoke first. She'd introduced herself as a realtor who had recently ventured out on her own, and she said, "You know what's funny? My Money and Careers sections are way lower than I thought they would be."
"What do you mean?" I said.
"I thought those areas were going well, but...
A few months ago, my friend Steve emailed in response to a blog I wrote (the one where I got chased by coyotes), and we got to talking about how we can trust our intuition – and how to know if what we're hearing is our intuition in the first place?
Steve had studied this extensively in regards to addiction – first, with his own addictions, and then in his graduate work, and now as a counselor. His insights were so profound and applicable to all areas of life that I had to share them with you. Here's his story…
I work with many clients who have lost their ability to trust their intuition. Many use their substance just to feel normal each day. Addictions, including alcoholism, affect the brain by overriding the executive function. That's why people will choose to use a substance against their better judgment, knowing there will be negative consequences. In other words, an addicted person's intuition doesn’t stand a chance. (In the addiction field we call this...
One day last year around this time, I got home from walking my dog, Sadie. The trees had just started to bud, so there were hints of green and purple throughout Riverside Park. The sun was out, and I'd only needed a light jacket. It was starting to look and feel so beautiful outside, and yet, I realized as I stood in my kitchen, wondering what to make for dinner – I felt awful.
Heavy, dragging, like I was carrying fifty extra pounds. Closed-in, cramped. I felt like winter, and I wanted to feel like spring. That's how I knew it was time for a detox.
I usually do a detox once or twice a year, and always in the springtime, for precisely that reason: I need to shed that heavy winter feeling. I want to blossom, open up, to spring into a place of lightness and freedom and movement.
Recently a friend asked me what detoxes did for you. "Are they really useful?" she said doubtfully.
Her question made me think. Here's what I told her:
Last year, I decided for the fiftieth time that I would start getting up early, once and for all. No more hitting snooze, no more rushed, frenzied mornings. I would have long, leisurely stretches of time before going into the office. I would calmly get my kids ready for school, meditate, maybe journal, and set up my day for mindful productivity. I would be one of those mysterious, semi-mythical people who are always refreshed, well-rested, and energized, even at 5 a.m.
I have tried to do this before, but every time, it has taken Herculean effort, and it still has not stuck. I've tried everything – keeping my phone across the room, happy ring tones, timing my alarm so I'd get exactly 4 REM cycles – you name it. I usually do okay for a few days at a time, but inevitably, I would slip back into my old habits of hitting snooze. This time, though, would be different. I would will it into being.
The first morning of my new life – this was a Thursday – my alarm went...
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