Makeovers! (and a question)

Just a quick note to get your thoughts on three things: The recent makeover of this blog, which I hope is a massive improvement over the quick-and-dirty format I’ve been using until now. What do you think? I’d like to get a discussion going, so please leave comments on the blog, in the Comments area at the bottom of this post, rather than emailing them to me. The recent makeover of my BookBaby…

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Change Your Life!
(and help refugees in Thailand)

INTRODUCING A FREE EBOOK: Change Your Life! Experts Share Their Top Tips and Strategies for Reaching Your Highest Potential  This free ebook contains personal development tips from nearly 100 authors and course creators, including some of my own best advice. Change Your Life! is a part of the Better You Bundles for Good promotion happening at the end of July. The free ebook includes a wide range of inner-oriented “being” tips and action-oriented “doing” tips. It’s a really interesting…

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The Gratitude Cure for (Almost) Everything

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. – Henry Ward Beecher During my recuperation from a brush with death, a high school friend sent me a letter. In it, he hypothesized that as a survivor of near-death, every moment for me must be exquisitely sweet, a precious gift, in ways he could not imagine. At first, he was mostly right. Despite the pain, my initial response was celebratory. But the…

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When Failure is an Option

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. – F. Scott Fitzgerald In our success-driven culture, there seems to be no end of helpful adages for dealing with failure. But “failure is not an option” is small comfort to those who believe they have already failed, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” seldom encourages the already discouraged, and “we learn more from failure than from success” is scant consolation…

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How to (Really) Listen

The first duty of love is to listen. – Paul Tillich Failures to listen are endemic to our species. The most common complaint from parents who bring their children to me for counseling is that “they don’t listen,” by which the parent usually means that the child does not obey. When I talk with children, they likewise complain that their parents don’t listen, but they mean it literally. Failure to listen to children…

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15 Self-Help Books that Really Helped

If you type “self-help books” into Amazon’s “Books” category, you’ll get more than 675,000 hits, and their “Kindle” category lists nearly 300,000. That’s a lot of self-help! But how many of these books have actually helped? And how many books outside the “self-help” category have been even more helpful? Just for kicks, I drew up a list of the 15 books that, over the course of my lifetime, I’ve found most helpful, either…

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Stay Sane with the Personal Craziness Index

To stay sane in an insane world, we need more than new tools and techniques. To maintain sanity, we also have to keep doing the things that got us there. The final piece of the resilience puzzle is to build Balancer-enhancing attitudes and practices into our daily lives, so they are as much a part of our routines as breathing. Then we keep watch to make sure we’re staying on track. When Balancer…

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Three Ways to Mix Mindfulness into Your Life

At the risk of stating the obvious, in order for Balancer to keep us balanced, it’s helpful to do activities that explicitly promote … balance. Mindfulness-based activities are at the top of the list. The term mindfulness, the state of being focused on the present moment, without judgement, has become part of the zeitgeist in the past several years, and for good reason. The benefits of mindfulness-based activities are physical, emotional, and psychological.…

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Handling Change, Part I:
Radical Acceptance and Self-Compassion

Emotional adaptability is the ability to respond to changing circumstances and events without being unduly shaken by these changes. It’s a Balancer characteristic and a key component of resilience. Those of us who are emotionally adaptable can bend with the wind, like saplings. Those of us who are less adaptable are likely to strain and crack as we struggle to maintain equilibrium. Emotional adaptability varies from person to person and can also be…

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Handling Change, Part II:
Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness

Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness Like acceptance and compassion, the ability to forgive ourselves and others can free us from what Romantic poet William Blake called “mind-forged manacles” – in this case, feelings such as anger, hatred, resentment, guilt, shame, and victimization. Liberation from these feelings through forgiveness can help us be more available in the present moment and more adaptable to its ever-changing conditions. Forgiveness, however is sometimes difficult to achieve. Some obstacles to…

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Handling Change, Part III:
Creative Approach and Experimental Attitude

Creative Approach Creative activities – and the creative approach to life that often accompanies them – can also help us become more emotionally adaptable. Creative activities are rewarding as outlets for self-expression. They feel good, they are centering, and they give us a sense of accomplishment. And they’re often fun! But besides these more obvious benefits, creative activities can also change the way we approach our lives. When we work creatively, we dive…

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Strive for Excellence, Not Perfection

My father was a storekeeper and the son of working-class immigrants. He wanted his children to do better than he had, and he believed the gateway to a successful life was education. Consequently, he held me, his firstborn, to high academic standards. This meant I had to get A’s, and to earn my father’s approval I abandoned many other activities so I could focus on schoolwork. By the time I completed high school,…

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How to Boost Connections and Support

For most of us, UnBalancer flourishes when we’re isolated. We are social animals, and separation from others weakens our ability not only to thrive, but sometimes even to survive. Ostracism – being ignored and excluded – threatens our basic need for belonging. In other mammals, being ostracized removes the individual from the protection of the pack and usually results in death from predators or starvation. Human beings are hard-wired to fear ostracism, so…

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How to Rebalance Your Brain in 3 Easy Steps

One of the most powerful resilience-building, Balancer-enhancing strategies is to consciously look for growth opportunities in experiences – to seek the silver lining in the cloud. Looking for the growth opportunity in the struggle makes it possible for us to find it. Difficulties become, as a friend of mine puts it, “just an AFGO – Another F***ing Growth Opportunity.” Thinking of struggles as AFGOs allows us to accept, in a tongue-in-cheek but still…

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Learning to Love Yourself

In my more troubled youth, I was often told that to truly love anyone, I needed first to love myself. This advice, though well-intentioned, set up an unhelpful dynamic. Loving myself seemed as much like actual love as masturbation was to sexual intercourse – a solitary substitute for the real thing. Why would I want that? In my mid 20s, while riding the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I had an insight: To…

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Build Your Resilience in 6 Steps

  In recent posts, I’ve talked mostly about ReBalancer, the force that kicks in when our default stabilizer, Balancer, gets thrown out of whack by the UnBalancer. ReBalancer handles out-of-the ordinary stresses, but ReBalancer alone can’t keep us on an even keel. For that, we need Balancer to be healthy and strong. Balancer doesn’t ask us for much. Much like our immune systems, it chugs along on autopilot, making minor course corrections when…

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How to Design an Experiment

IMPORTANT: If you’re just tuning in now, click here for Part I, Balance: The Experiment and then come back here. This is Part II of a two-parter on using Experiments to keep your life on track.  Like any experimenter, when our ReBalancers design Experiments, they follow a sequence of steps. The implementation may be spontaneous or deliberate, but the steps are basically the same either way. Observe the current situation to see what needs…

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The Experiment

“We’ve never seen anything like this!” shouts the general to his cadre in the crowded Situation Room. An alien menace has humanity at its mercy. Nothing in our mighty arsenal has any effect against it. We will be dominated or destroyed within days … unless we apply Yankee ingenuity, create experiments that reveal our nemesis’s vulnerabilities, and find a way to exploit them. The unknown enemy and the heroic victory against it has…

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My Life in the Balance

NOTE: This is a guest post by Barrie Levine. If you are interested in doing a guest post on Balance or a related topic, please email me at david@davidbookbinder.com. During the two tough years of my husband’s illness, I lost my balance. Every consideration in my life was laser-focused on his well-being. I never doubted the vital importance of my full-time role as a caregiver; in fact, I considered it a gift to accompany…

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“Crazy” Amazon book sale

Quick note: $14.66 Amazon price drop Setting up Transformations Press as an Amazon seller seems to have triggered a little price war on Amazon: Amazon.com itself is now selling the print version of Paths to Wholeness for $25.34 and it’s eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping! Normally, Amazon sells it for $40. I don’t know how long they will keep it at that price, but if you have been holding off buying the…

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