Monday, September 18, 2006

Are Your Thoughts Radioactive?

Can thoughts really be radioactive?

Most scientists would probably say "no" -- but they'd be taking the question entirely too literally.

But if you ask the people who attended my Banish Unwanted Feelings Forever workshop this weekend, they would probably tell you "Yes, definitely!"

That's because your thoughts can profoundly alter your body chemistry, the same way that radiation alters the chemistry of anything it comes into contact with.

Yes, of course, it's just a metaphor.  Your thoughts aren't literally radioactive...  but you might be better off if you believed they were, because then you might treat them with a lot more respect!

You see, the people who called in for the workshop, know now that what they feel is a direct result of what they think, and that this then feeds back into what they're likely to think next.  And that they can either harness this power in a controlled way -- like a nuclear reactor -- or let it "go critical" in an uncontrolled chain reaction of bad feelings.

They also learned why the things that they used to do to try and stop feeling bad, were actually making them feel worse!

Hooked on a Feeling, High on Believing

I'm still on quite a high myself from leading the workshop.  I had originally planned to take today "off", but I just spent two hours writing a long letter to the attendees, to remind them to practice and use the things they learned, so that the experience won't fade into a mere memory, but instead will become an active part of how they live their lives.  And I shared some personal experiences and insights that I haven't shared with anyone else, that I hope will help them stay moving in the right direction in their lives.  I really appreciate their encouragement and questions, that kept the workshop moving in interesting directions.

In fact, I can't thank all of you enough for your support, as I work on making the transition to having the "helping" business be my primary career over the next year or so.  While putting together the book -- and selling it -- were big milestones in increasing my confidence and getting past my fears, this workshop was another really big step.  I got to feel like I'm really going to be able to do this, and that I was actually directly helping some real people make real changes in their lives.  So again, I want to publically thank all of you who helped make that possible.

During the workshop, whenever people asked me questions, I tried to "reward" them for participating, by not only answering the specific question they asked, but also providing some deeper insight or broader connection between the thing they asked about, and the things that would most help them move forward with their goals.  So, while I'm thanking everybody for their support, I figure I should also "reward" all of you by sharing another personal story that I don't think I've actually told anybody before, except maybe my wife.

You see, yesterday was not my first attempt at putting on a workshop.

And There My Troubles Began

When I was about 18 years old and in college, I had no money.  But I was young and entrepreneurial, and I had an idea.  I had noticed that many students did a lot more work than they needed to, in order to get worse grades than they could otherwise get.  So I created my first self-improvement event, called "Beat the System".  And I set out to sell tickets to this event in the hopes of, well, being able to stay in school, eat, and maybe even sleep indoors.

And that event did not go well.  Not at all.  In fact, I'm not even going to go into how bad the actual event itself went, I'll just tell you about the part where I tried to get people to buy tickets to it, which was bad and embarassing enough.

I sold maybe two tickets.  Might have been just one, I'm not sure.  I only remember the face of one of the people, as she was the one whose money I eventually gave back, even though I absolutely couldn't afford to.

Now, with what I've learned this year alone about marketing and motivation, I could sit down and easily make a list of maybe twenty or thirty things I was doing wrong back then, the biggest one of which was not really thinking about how many students actually cared about the topic!  But that isn't really what I want to tell you about right now, either.

What I really want to tell you about, is how utterly paralyzed I was when it came to asking people to come to the event.  Day after day, I tried to work up the courage to actually approach people and tell them about it.  But I couldn't.  Essentially, the one or two people who did buy tickets were the ones who just happened to talk to me first!

Do or Die?  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

When all this was going on, I was dead flat broke.  I remember the one day that I went to school without enough money to pay for the bus fare back, if I didn't sell any tickets.

And I didn't sell any.

In the weeks after the ill-fated event, I verged on homelessness and I contemplated suicide.  That was absolutely without a doubt the low point of my life -- when I had something that I knew I needed to do, to get what I wanted, but absolutely could not do it, no matter how dire my situation was, because I was blocked by a feeling.

So when I look back on that dark and dismal time, I wonder what my life would have been like, had I known then, what I know now.  More important, if I had been able to do then, what I can do now.

You see, in the last six months, I've come to intensely appreciate the difference between knowing and doing.  If you want to actually get somewhere in your own life, instead of just being a consultant in other people's lives, you have to actually be able to do something.

For example, the core technique that I taught in this weekend's workshop was one I've known about for years.  But I didn't actually start doing it until recently.  I even learned it using the same "food dislikes exercise" that the people in this weekend's workshop learned to do.  So I even actually knew how to do it for years; I just wasn't doing it!

So you can know about something.  You can know how to do it.  But if you don't actually do it, it doesn't mean squat.

Regrets Are Optional

And even back when I was 18, I knew a whole lot of things that I didn't actually do.  And that's probably what I regret most about that time in my life.  The mistakes I made from ignorance are embarassing enough, but the mistakes I made because I didn't act on what I knew, are the ones that I really regret.

Unfortunately, none of us can go back in time to live our lives over again... or can we?

It's easy to think that the past is done and gone, and that there will never be another chance to right the things that went wrong.  But the bigger truth is that every moment is a second chance.  While it's true that I can't be 18 again, I know now that if I don't live today as well as I know how, then in another 20 years I will be looking back on this time with the same sense of regret!

So, consider this moment to be your second chance, because it really is.

And in the spirit of second chances and not having regrets, I want to offer you now a second chance to experience at least a part of this weekend's workshop, because I know there were a lot of you who wrote me with your regrets because you had prior engagements. (In one case, literally!  Well, one of you had some responsibilities in relation to a wedding, so it was sort of an "engagement".)

Anyway,  I've arranged with the conference call company to set up what's called a "replay line".  It's basically a phone number that you can call, and you will hear the entire recorded workshop, as if you were listening live to the original teleconference.  So, for the next few days, anyone that I give this number and PIN code to, will get to hear what we did, and will be able to follow along in their handout sheets (PDF) as if they were attending live.  You won't get to ask any questions, of course, but you will get to hear the questions that other people asked, along with my answers.

Every Moment is a Second Chance

So if you already own a copy of You, Version 2.0, and would like to get the replay line information, just send an email to secondchance "at" dirtsimple.org.  (Replacing "at" with an @ sign, of course.)  If you don't own a copy, you can buy one any time up until Friday, and I'll email you the replay line information when I process your credit card information.  You won't even need to wait until you receive the book to get to listen to the workshop!

So this is your second chance, to leave regret -- and every other bad feeling -- behind.  Swiftly.  Completely.  Permanently.

(It's also your second chance to take advantage of the offers that I made during the workshop, for additional coaching, and for the chance to get a free MP3 file of the workshop.  Just listen closely to the recording to make sure you get all the details, and consider the deadlines as being counted from the time you listen to the call, not the time that the original workshop took place.)

So stop letting "radioactive" thoughts rot your brain and body chemistry, and find out how to stop the runaway "chain reaction" of unwanted feelings.  Get the book or request the playback number today!