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How to Live a Meaningful Life – Part 1

I’d like to start by giving you a bit of background into why I chose this topic. I’m a great believer in synchronicity and in being provided with the information that we need at the right time.

I was in a little store and I came across a book that caught my attention, and it’s entitled Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.

Let me give you the backstory on this by quoting the description on the back so that you know something about this book.

“Psychologist Victor Frankel’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with his descriptions of life in Nazi death camps, and its lessons for spiritual survival. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankel argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it and move forward. At the heart of his theory, known as logotherapy, is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. Man’s Search For Meaning has become one of the most influential books in America; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living.”

What is a Meaningful Life?

I want to start by quoting a passage from the book, in a section called The Will to Meaning which explains what meaning in life is all about. I’m also going to share a couple of other extracts from the book.

Obviously, in a book that’s talking about people’s experiences in Nazi death camps and concentration camps, it’s an extreme example, but it underlines the principle of how we have the power to choose how we experience things in every situation, even the direst, challenging, most horrific ones.

This passage is a section in the back of the book where Frankl is talking about his practice of psychotherapy and logotherapy.

“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone. Only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning. There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are ‘nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations and sublimations’. But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my ‘defense mechanisms’, nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake of my ‘reaction formations’. Man, however, is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values!

A public opinion poll was conducted a few years ago in France. The results showed that 89% of the people polled admitted that man needs ‘something’ for the sake of which to live. Moreover, 61% conceded that there was something, or someone, in their own lives for whose sake there were even ready to die. I repeated this poll at my hospital department in Vienna, among both the patients and the personnel, and the outcome was practically the same as among the thousands of people screened in France, the difference was only 2 percent.
Another statistical survey of 7948 students at forty-eight colleges was conducted by social scientists from John Hopkins University. Their preliminary report is part of a two-year study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. Asked what they considered ‘very important’ to them now, 16 percent of the students checked ‘making a lot of money’; 78 percent said their first goal was ‘finding a purpose and meaning to my life’.”

The conclusion is that meaning is one of the key factors in achieving a fulfilling and happy life. In fact, it’s actually listed as one of the key elements in achieving happiness on the positive psychology website – www.authentichappiness.org. So, it’s widely accepted that meaning in life is a key factor in the quality of life.

So let me move on to another section of the book because it’s highlighting points that I want to expand on later

This section has a quote from Nietzsche,

“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

Frankl goes on to say:

“We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life and instead to think of ourselves as those who are being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

What he’s saying is that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. And this comes back to one of the common themes that I like to explore which is higher purpose. What this short passage is saying is that life is presenting us with situations that, in his words, question us. It’s about life’s challenges, and how we respond to those challenges.

What is our Higher Purpose?

My belief is that our highest purpose here is to grow and develop and the only way we can grow and develop is through our responses to challenges. This is why I talk about evolutionary catalysts; that the problems and challenges that we face in life are really there to stimulate us to accept the challenges, and respond to them in a way that takes us to the next level of evolution rather than cursing our luck and saying “the world’s against me” and “things are tough” and “life’s awful” etc.

We can shift our perspective and our attitude to these challenges and deal with them in a much more positive way.

So, let me go on to the final passage that I want to share with you. These are the key themes that I want to explore more fully.

“The experiences of Camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

And there were always choices to make every day, every hour offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom, which determined whether or not you become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

Obviously, he’s relating this to his experiences in a concentration camp, but the same is true of us in any circumstance, that we have a choice every day to decide whether we’re going to become a victim of circumstance or whether we’re going to step into our power and really use our power to make conscious choices.

How to Make Conscious Choices

My favorite process is the power of neutrality. If we approach everything with neutrality, we can then choose whether to react negatively, “poor me, I’m a victim”, or are we going to choose the positive approach of saying, “okay, I’m in this situation, what can I learn from it?” and “how can I achieve the outcome that I want from this situation”. By taking a positive approach, you’re focusing your power on a forward movement rather than getting stuck in victimhood.

Going back to what I mentioned about positive psychology, the definition of meaning from their perspective is:

“Knowing your highest strengths, and using them in the service of something larger than you.”

In other words, self-knowledge is the first step, because unless you know your strengths how can you use them?!

This is important because it relates to a much, much bigger picture, which is conscious evolution and the ascension process.

Conscious Evolution and the Ascension Process

Meaning in life is very much related to service to others, not just service to self. It is by choosing service to others rather than service to self that we are choosing light over dark and walking the path to ascension.

We get a lot of satisfaction and a feeling of fulfillment when we help others. The universal law of giving and receiving is a never-ending cycle and giving and receiving are actually the same. This puzzled me, to begin with; how can giving and receiving be the same? But if you think about it, when you give something to somebody from the heart, and they respond with gratitude, you’re not only giving but you’re receiving. And the same with the recipient, they’re not only receiving but they’re also giving.

If you think about the quality of that experience, in terms of the joy that you get from feeling like you’ve done something positive for somebody else, it’s one of the ultimate pleasures that adds meaning to life to know that you’ve done something for somebody else.


This article is an edited extract from the transcript of the Cosmic Creating Show on December 14th, 2019. I’ll be continuing this topic in future posts but if you want the whole story now you can listen to the show below.

In this show, I also talk more about the importance of self-knowledge and discovering your life and soul purpose. I have created a workbook for discovering your purpose – the Life Purpose Formula. If you’d like to explore your life purpose and discover your “highest strengths” you can download a copy of the Life Purpose Formula HERE.

Jan Shaw The Success AlchemistJan Shaw – The Success Alchemist, is a Spiritual Empowerment and Intuitive Success Coach, Success Strategist and Mindfulness and Manifestation Mentor and can be found at www.thesuccessalchemist.net. She delivers intuitive guidance, spiritual and metaphysical teaching, plus life and business strategies, to support you in fulfilling your Soul Mission and Life Purpose. Get your FREE copy of her Dream Achievers Success Kit or apply for a complimentary Success Strategy SessionHer book Empowered Manifestation is available on Amazon. Visit her YouTube Channel for more tips, tools, and training. You can also visit her Facebook Page and join her Facebook Group, Breakthrough to Brilliance. Jan also hosts the Cosmic Creating Show every Saturday on Cosmic Reality Radio.

 




How to Discover the REAL You and Develop the Mindset For Success.

Who IS the REAL you?

Do you really know yourself, or the people close to you? In their book The Fifth Agreement, Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz tell an imaginary story about a man in a movie theater who watches a movie about himself and his family in which he plays the lead role. He then goes into a second theater and finds his mother watching a movie with the same characters but she is playing the lead role. His mother appears to be different from the person in his movie, and although he recognizes his face in her movie, he doesn’t recognize his character. The same happens when he goes into a third, and a fourth theater and so on, and watches his partner’s movie, and his brothers’ and sisters’ movies.

He learns that everyone has their own perception of themselves and of other people and everyone creates their own story about themselves and others.
I recommend that you read The Fifth Agreement, as well as The Fourth Agreement, as both books present very simple but powerful teachings and there isn’t time or space to go into all the details of this story here. Briefly, the book explains that we create our own story based on how we want other people to perceive us – because we’re acting out different roles according to the situations we find ourselves in and other people’s expectations of us.

The more we do this, the more we lose sight of who we really are and become fearful of revealing our true self because we don’t believe we can live up to the illusion we have created.

Who do you think you are?

An interesting question! We project who we think we should be to the outside world and internally we criticize ourselves for perceived faults and failings. We are our own severest critic and we build the barrier that keeps us from being a success, and from being happy and fulfilled. Over the years we have been conditioned to believe in a story about ourselves which is the product of the way we think other people perceive us – parents, teachers, siblings, friends. We develop sub-conscious beliefs – “I’m too fat”, “I’m ugly”, “I’m not good enough”, “Nobody likes me”, “I’m stupid”, “I can’t do (fill in the blanks)”, “I’ll never amount to anything” and so on.

How can you be happy when you are constantly being criticized by someone you can’t shake off – your own inner voice? If it was a friend or a partner who continually said these things to you, you’d most likely have ditched them long ago. So isn’t it time you ditched that inner voice and started to appreciate the magnificence of the REAL you?

We are programmed by negative reinforcement all our lives so we become conditioned to respond through fear. Most of what we do in life is because we fear the consequences of NOT doing something, or of NOT being something. We’re afraid of not living up to other people’s expectations and not being liked or loved as a result. We’ve been taught that being loved is conditional on being ‘good’.

To be truly free and empowered you need to control your fear reaction, shut out the critical and negative noise, and operate from a position of conscious awareness that consistently moves you in a positive direction, with positive energy every time. This is how you become successful – by getting out of your own way and allowing your magnificent self to operate at full power.

So how do you make this change?

1. Awareness… Become your own observer. As soon as you think a negative thought about yourself, catch it and ask yourself “where did that thought come from and is it true?” Was it caused by something someone once said to you, or due to an experience you had earlier in life? When I was in kindergarten, I was reprimanded by the headteacher in front of the whole school for behavior that actually showed initiative and independence, and I developed a negative self-belief even though it was completely unfounded.
Have you had similar experiences? If so, recognize them as other people’s stories and re-frame your interpretation.
Keep a ‘negativity notebook’ where you can jot down negative thoughts as they occur. This increases your awareness of these thoughts which speeds up the process of controlling them and eventually you catch them before they can fully form in your mind.

2. Evaluate your true strengths and weaknesses. We can’t be an expert at everything – some things we love doing and those things tend to come easily to us. Other things we struggle with and hate doing. I have been on a voyage of discovery about myself since 1999, ever since I took a Myers Briggs personality test as a team leader. It revealed why I behave in a particular way and the kinds of things that come naturally to me, and it helped me understand that other people operate differently. So instead of being self-critical about not being good at certain things like budgets and plans (which I had struggled with in my job), I accepted that these were things I would have to try harder to do and be more self-disciplined about.

Awareness of your strengths and weaknesses isn’t so you can justify your behavior; it is a tool to help you address them.

If you haven’t taken a Myers Briggs personality test, there is a free version you can take at https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test. It only takes a few minutes.
When you work on understanding more about yourself and accept (and appreciate) your strengths and weaknesses, you eventually stop worrying about other people’s opinions of you – because their opinion is only their perception of you and not REAL.

3. Practice the ‘Power of Neutrality’ by observing every situation and consciously choosing how to respond so that you don’t give your power away and you create the outcome you want. This powerful technique is a key element of my Empower Your Life – Achieve Your Dreams program and it really does give you incredible power to deal with any situation that presents itself.

An explanation of The Power of Neutrality.

By starting to understand and appreciate your strengths and weaknesses you immediately become stronger, more centered and grounded.

By practicing the Power of Neutrality you start to control your fear response and you will eventually overcome fear – I guarantee it. It will take practice and self-discipline and it helps to have the help of an experienced coach/mentor, but you can do it. It really is the key to success as it removes the main barrier to your success, which is fear.
Everything that happens to us day in and day out evokes an emotion. Almost always the emotion is a product of our programming, with the exception of primal survival responses – the fight or flight response – which are only appropriate in situations of physical danger. Even these can be controlled.

We are constantly being bombarded with messages and situations intended to trigger our fear response – and this is being used to control us. From advertising to politics, we are being manipulated into a fear response that compels us to buy into the solution presented to us. Whether it is to sell us insurance, pharmaceutical drugs or persuade us to give up basic freedoms, our emotional response seals the deal.

By applying the techniques I am introducing to you here (and which I teach in depth in the Empower Your Life – Achieve Your Dreams program), you can respond consciously rather than react emotionally and choose the way you respond to any situation so that you achieve the outcome YOU want.

Disclaimer: Several of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Jan Shaw The Success AlchemistJan Shaw – The Success Alchemist, is a Spiritual Empowerment and Intuitive Success Coach, Success Strategist and Mindfulness and Manifestation Mentor and can be found at www.thesuccessalchemist.net. She delivers intuitive guidance, spiritual and metaphysical teaching, plus life and business strategies, to support you in fulfilling your Soul Mission and Life Purpose. Get your FREE copy of her Dream Achievers Success Kit or apply for a complimentary Success Strategy SessionHer book Empowered Manifestation is available on Amazon. Visit her YouTube Channel for more tips, tools, and training. You can also visit her Facebook Page and join her Facebook Group, Breakthrough to Brilliance. Jan also hosts the Cosmic Creating Show every Saturday on Cosmic Reality Radio.




Take Back Your Power with the Power of Neutrality

For decades and even centuries people have been told a great lie and that lie has been handed down by loving parents who didn’t know any better. World leadership in government (and organized religion) have been accelerating this lie every year and we have all been led into a form of ‘slavery’ that is so insidious most people don’t even know it has happened to them. We have been led one gentle and subtle step at a time; slavery to debt, slavery to our jobs, slavery to what other people think of us, slavery to consumerism.

The ‘programming’ we have been bombarded with since birth creates a separatist society based on competition. The “fake news” media representation of events also gives a propagandist representation of events. This is perfect for controlling people and bringing people into conflict with each other.

Wikipedia defines Propaganda as follows:

“Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one’s group.”

Needless to say, this is not only a good time to take back your power and get total control of your own life; it is also a critical time.

We are brought up to believe that we should get a good education, work hard at school to pass exams, go to University, get a good job, get promoted, get married, buy a house (with a mortgage) and work our way up the corporate ladder adding the trappings of success as we go (bigger house, better car, newest gadget, etc.). This would give us security and build a good pension for when we retire. We would be rewarded for following the rules. Sound familiar?

Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements refers to this as ‘domestication’. He says that the way we bring up our children is the same as the way we train our dogs and cats – we teach them to ‘be good’, to conform to the rules and to need approval in order to feel ‘worthy’. We take away their power.

Pink Floyd’s movie The Wall portraying children being processed through a sausage machine illustrates this perfectly – and it has great music too!

So what happened to the promised rewards for all this conformity? Even though unemployment rates have dropped, job security is non-existent when you’re at the mercy of big corporations whose priority is profits before people. It’s not uncommon for experienced employees to lose their jobs and be replaced by inexperienced candidates because they can be paid less, which cuts costs and boosts corporate profits. Many people are having to work two jobs just to keep up payments on their credit cards and mortgage. Many graduates are working low-paid jobs despite having the best qualifications and are struggling to pay off their student debt. Many seniors have now given up any hope of retirement and are having to work well into their 70’s to maintain their standard of living. The incidence of depression, stress, and stress-related diseases has soared. The trappings of success have become traps!

Even many entrepreneurs and business owners who decided to stay out of the corporate ‘rat race’ are struggling and unsuccessful because they haven’t had the right education and even more importantly they don’t have the right mindset. Remember, success is 80% mindset and 20% strategy!

Isn’t it ironic that many of the most successful people dropped out of college and broke all the rules? Go to http://www.collegedropoutshalloffame.com/ for a VERY long list of people who did just that.

“Schools teach children to obey. …Modern education is a wasted investment. It doesn’t deliver what we need the most: creative answers to the challenges of our times… It isn’t a surprise that many of the people who’ve had the greatest influence on our times were–from the perspective of education–failures.” — Jurriaan Kamp, Ode Magazine Editor

The information that schools teach us is wrong in subject and content. This is not the fault of the teachers (they too have been told the ‘great lie ‘), it is the fault of the system. Schools don’t teach us how to be successful, how the financial system works, how to create wealth, how to use our imagination and creativity, how to be critical thinkers, how to be innovators and entrepreneurs.

BUT, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a solution.

It’s up to us to re-educate ourselves and develop the right mindset in order to become successful, fulfilled and happy.

I assume you’re reading this because you want to be more successful and achieve more in your life. The way to do this is to take back your power.

The Power of Neutrality

The first step to personal power is awareness…

…Awareness of where we lack knowledge, awareness of our environment and of how we are thinking, feeling and behaving in response to it.

At this point, I’ll to introduce you to one of the most powerful tools I use in my Empower Your Life Program which you can use to take back control over your life – the ‘Power of Neutrality’. Once you master the ‘Power of Neutrality’ and apply it consistently in your life you will see massive change. Your attitude to life will change dramatically and you will become truly empowered and free, able to create a positive outcome for yourself in every situation.

The principle behind the ‘Power of Neutrality’ is that every situation has no meaning (is neutral) until we assign our own interpretation to it. The proof of this lies in the fact that two people can be involved in exactly the same situation but interpret it completely differently.

For example, let’s say two people lose their job on the same day from the same position in the same company. One of them sees it as a catastrophe, a personal tragedy and immediately becomes overwhelmed by all the problems he or she believes it will cause – loss of income, unable to make car and house payments, the reaction of family and friends, and so on. The other person sees it as an opportunity to start a business he/she has dreamed of for years but never had the opportunity to do it. Same situation – opposite interpretation.

In other words, we choose how to interpret every situation we experience, based on our perception and beliefs. We can choose to be neutral (no response) or we can consciously choose to interpret a situation as positive or negative.

Awareness is something we can practice every minute of every day. It is the practice of observing situations and then using the ‘Power of Neutrality’ to respond to them with detachment.

Instead of reacting automatically and emotionally to a situation, take a conscious pause and question why you feel the way you do, what you think the other person’s perspective is, why they are behaving that way and what outcome you want from this situation. Then apply the ‘Power of Neutrality’ and consciously choose your response.

When an emotion controls you instead of you controlling your emotion, you have given away your power and lost control of the situation. When you consciously choose how to respond you are empowered.

This technique applies not only to how you interpret personal situations but also to your interpretation of world situations. So, even in the most turbulent times, you can either choose to be stressed, worried, fearful and overwhelmed or you can choose to take everything in your stride, focus on the outcomes you want and sail on calm waters towards your goal while the storm rages around you.

It takes time, commitment and self-discipline to develop this new approach, but if you apply the ‘Power of Neutrality’ in every situation you create the ability to have, be or do anything you want. This is because you retain power and control over yourself in every situation so you can create the outcome you want as a result of that power.

Jan Shaw The Success AlchemistJan Shaw – The Success Alchemist, is a Spiritual Empowerment and Intuitive Success Coach, Success Strategist and Mindfulness and Manifestation Mentor and can be found at www.thesuccessalchemist.net. She delivers intuitive guidance, spiritual and metaphysical teaching, plus life and business strategies, to support you in fulfilling your Soul Mission and Life Purpose. Get your FREE copy of her Dream Achievers Success Kit or apply for a complimentary Success Strategy SessionHer book Empowered Manifestation is available on Amazon. Visit her YouTube Channel for more tips, tools, and training. You can also visit her Facebook Page and join her Facebook Group, Breakthrough to Brilliance. Jan also hosts the Cosmic Creating Show every Saturday on Cosmic Reality Radio.




Raising Consciousness with the Power of Neutrality

Here’s the latest Cosmic Creating Show from September 14th.

In the first hour I discuss How to Raise Your Consciousness with the Power of Neutrality – what is consciousness, and how we can use use the Power of Neutrality for our conscious evolution and to increase our peace of mind, improve our relationships, develop our ability to become conscious creators and impact our overall quality of life.

In the second hour, Nancy Hopkins (founder of Cosmic Reality Radio and owner of Cosmic Reality Shungite) and I discuss current affairs including Brexit, 9/11 and how the truth is now being revealed, and other hot topics.

Here is the recording of the show and I’d love to know what you think in the comments here or on YouTube.

You can listen to recordings of all my shows on YouTube or Spreaker.

Jan Shaw The Success AlchemistJan Shaw – The Success Alchemist, is a Spiritual Empowerment and Intuitive Success Coach, Success Strategist and Mindfulness and Manifestation Mentor and can be found at www.thesuccessalchemist.net. She delivers intuitive guidance, spiritual and metaphysical teaching, plus life and business strategies, to support you in fulfilling your Soul Mission and Life Purpose. Get your FREE copy of her Dream Achievers Success Kit or apply for a complimentary Success Strategy SessionHer book Empowered Manifestation is available on Amazon. Visit her YouTube Channel for more tips, tools, and training. You can also visit her Facebook Page and join her Facebook Group, Breakthrough to Brilliance. Jan also hosts the Cosmic Creating Show every Saturday on Cosmic Reality Radio.