Friday, March 21, 2008

Michael Neill's daily tip: On Persistance

On Persistence
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
former US President Calvin Coolidge

In looking back over the last 100 days of coaching tips, I stumbled across this excerpt from the very first home-study course I ever wrote back in 1991, called "The Key to Power"....

The Ultimate Formula for Success

"This simple but proven formula is the key that unlocks the vault of success; it is the character trait of champions that will take you beyond the threshold of genius...This secret formula was once known to you when you were a tiny baby. You used it to teach yourself how to walk and talk. As you grew older, you began to re-interpret this creative process as a series of tiny "successes" and "failures". With reinforcement, you began to long for the "successes" and fear the "failures". It is this fear, more than anything else in life, that holds you back from using the secret of success in any endeavour."

What was the secret ?


Today's Experiment:
1. Make a list of all the things you already do on a daily basis, from the basic to the unique.
Examples: Brushing teeth, breathing, writing coaching tips, talking with friends, etc.

2. As you review your list, notice the feeling you get when you think about doing those things. Is it tense or relaxed? Warm or cool? Easy or forced? Play with this feeling until it seems easily recognisable to you.

3. Now think of a skill you would like to master - anything from playing the guitar to flower arranging to higher mathematics.

4. Imagine doing your new skill with the feeling of those things you already do everyday. It may help to go back and forth in your mind between the new skill and one of your "everyday skills".
Example: Go back and forth between the feeling of brushing your teeth and that of doing higher mathematics until you can imagine doing higher mathematics with the feeling of an everyday activity.

5. Set a time period during which you intend to practice this skill on a daily basis. Choose a timeframe that you know you can succeed at - you can always expand it later, as your desire and mastery grow. Example: If you think you could stick with it for at least a week, set the intention of practicing for at least five days in a row - you can set a new intention in five days time based on your experience.

Have fun, learn heaps, and let the mastery begin!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Michael Neill's daily tip: On Goals and Moods

I have been subscribed to Michael Neill's newsletter since 2005. His work has helped me deal with a lot of issues in my life and I am grateful for all the insights. Three years later, I look through them and learn over and over again.


On Goals and Moods

The problem with goals, or so it seems to me, is that the me who sets them wants different things than the me whose job it is to achieve them.

On a Sunday night, in a buoyant mood, I might decide that nothing less than movie stardom is my true desire; three hours into a Monday morning and that seems grandiose, unnecessary, and far less appealing than a documentary about penguins on the Discovery Channel.

Time and time again, what I feel like doing in the moment seems totally incompatible with what I say I want to achieve in my life. On the other hand, the more I try to force myself to "do what I've got to do to achieve my goals", the less motivated I feel and the less joy I experience in my life.

I have, however, found a pretty reliable way out of this one - something that helps me stay on course whilst "caught up in the whirlwind of my ever-changing moods."

Today's Experiment:
1. Make two lists - one titled "What I want to get done today", the second titled "What I want to do today"

2. Go through your list and make note of any seeming incompatibilities, i.e. something you want to do that seems to have nothing to do with what you want to get done, or something you want to get done that has no corresponding actions in the "what you want to do" list.

3. Realise that far from being incompatible, these lists contain valuable inner guidance to the most effective ways for you to achieve what you really want to achieve. By keeping both lists in mind (or better still, on a piece of paper in front of you), you will find yourself getting more done and having more fun.

Bonus Tip:
I get the greatest benefits from this when I check in every hour or so throughout the day, asking myself what I want to get done in the next hour, and what I want to do in the next hour. The more disciplined I am about NOT forcing myself to do those things that aren't on my list but I think "should" be, the better it seems to work.

Have fun and learn heaps!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


She is Tibetan and sells jewelery in Panjiayuan Antique Market.

Today she invited me to her home.

An old room with all essentials in it. Gas fuming from the stove, leaks. Smell of drying lard and remains of leftover food. Supplies are arriving tomorrow.

She talks about her divorce and how she gave up on son, house and all possessions to be able to be free. Briefly explains how divorce is such an uncommon event in the local community there and only if you pay you can consider it.

"I was a successful business woman at that time but he was constantly beating me. Once I hardly survived, he pushed me and I fell down the stairs but I was lucky. It is not my time to die, I choose to live." Conclusion of the story: she just managed to pay remained CNY20,000 to him and is now finally free. We meet at this time and we both mention yuanfen - fate.

Stacks of handmade jewelery are soon covering clean floor and we start talking about the meanings, symbols, Tibetan culture. Recent happenings are mentioned. Once it is all finished we will go and visit her home. Many people got killed, it is not safe now.

Next week I will be in San Diego selling Dawanzhuoma's art and her story will talk for her. As she says, she is a good business woman.

Michael Neill's daily tip: A New Theory of Goal Getting

When comedian Jerry Lewis used to write in his diary after a show, he invariably jotted one of two things -

a. "I killed!"
(comedian-speak for "I was so funny the audience nearly died laughing!")
b. "The audience sucked."
(comedian-speak for "The audience was so stupid, drunk, and ugly that they didn't get any of my brilliant jokes.")

This rather nicely reflects the two extreme positions we tend to take in the world of personal achievement. Either we 100% create our reality ("I killed") or it's all down to fate ("the audience sucked").

As usual, however, there is a useful middle ground - a path that allows us to say when
we succeed (i.e. get what we want) - "I did my part, and fortunately, everything and everyone else came together as well" and when we fail (i.e. don't get what we want) - "I did my part, and unfortunately things didn't work out as I had hoped."

This seems to me to take into account how the world actually works - we can only do what we can do. The rest, for better or for worse, is up to a combination of other people, fate, and all those other things we like to pretend we control when really, we do nothing of the kind.

My theory, which for lack of a sexier name I call "Probability-Based Goal Getting", is built on the following set of assumptions:

1. We want what we want, whether or not we think we can get it.
One of the things we are constantly taught in traditional goal-setting is to set "realistic" and "achievable" goals. Among the many problems with this idea is the fact that by the time we've made our goals realistic and achievable, they often bear little resemblance to what it was that we
originally wanted.

When in doubt, I always coach people to go for what they want, not what they think they can get. After all, in the words of author Barry Neil Kaufman,

"All dreams appear impossible until someone makes them happen."

2. There are elements of almost any goal that are outside of our control.
For years, I was reluctant to acknowledge that anything was outside my control. And in fact, working with shamanic techniques from courses like the Silva Mind Control Method, I learned that I could attain a slight but noticeable degree of control over everything from the weather to the reactions of a Brazilian woman named Constanze (a long story and nowhere near as interesting as it sounds :-).

The problem is that not only does it takes so much effort and energy to try and control the universe that there's very little energy left to enjoy it, but as even the most anally retentive control freak will tell you, "Stuff Happens". Letting go of our desire to control the universe brings freedom, energy, and ironically a giant increase in our ability to impact the universe.

3. We can, through our attitudes and actions, increase or decrease the probability of our getting what we want.
Probability-based Goal Getting allows us to evaluate our potential attitudes and actions against two very simple metrics:

a. Is this within my control?

b. Will this increase or decrease the likelihood (probability) of my getting what I want, either now or in the future?

Attitudes and actions that will generally increase our chances of getting what we want include:
* Prepare, prepare, prepare
* Taking regular action
* Enjoying the process for its own sake

Attitudes and actions that will generally decrease our chances of getting what we want include:
* "What's the point in trying? It's never worked before."
* Doing something once and then moving on to the next thing
* Punishing yourself when you don't behave or when things don't work out as you'd hoped

As an illustration of the differences between "probability-based goal getting" and more conventional "we control the universe goal-setting", take the conflicting fortunes of two great coaches in the field of basketball - Rick Pitino and John Wooden.

Pitino, who was a highly successful college basketball coach before coming to the NBA and leading the Boston Celtics straight into the heart of mediocrity, wrote a book called "Success is a Choice", which put forward the idea that if you just decided to be successful, no force on earth could stop you.

Empowering as that idea was in theory, Pitino found that in reality the Los Angeles Lakers and about 20 other basketball teams were able to overcome his "will to succeed" on a fairly consistent basis.

Will Pitino go on to find more success in his next coaching job? Probably. Determination is a powerful attitude, and does a lot to engender the kinds of actions that increase our probability of success.

However, take as a contrast UCLA's coach John Wooden, the most successful basketball coach since the invention of the game in the 19th century. His philosophy and approach to the game was fundamentally different from Pitino's, and is perhaps best summed up by his challenge to every one of his undefeated teams:
"We may play teams who are better than us. We may play teams who beat us. But let us never play a team who is better prepared than us."

If your job was no longer to "make things happen" but rather to do everything you can to increase the likelihood of it happening, how might this change your approach to goals?

Here's an example of how these two "systems" might differ. Note that both approaches have similarities and both may work (i.e. you get what you were going for), but imagine how your experience of going for and getting what you want would be different in each example...

Example - Earning a million dollars
a. Control-based goal-setting:
My goal is to earn one million dollars by the end of 2005. I will do this by:
*Talking about it as if I've already got it, with a great deal of certainty in my voice and manner.
*Looking for an opportunity that has the potential for me to earn a million dollars
*Working as hard as it takes to overcome any obstacles or people in my path
*Doing whatever it takes to get where I want to go
*In the words of Hannibal, "We will either find a way, or make one."

b. Probability-based goal getting:
I want to earn a million dollars by the end of 2005. Things I can do/think to increase the likelihood of it happening include:
*Choosing an opportunity with high-earnings potential
*Choosing an opportunity I will really enjoy pursuing, because a) what I enjoy I will naturally do more of, and b) if for some reason beyond my control I don't succeed, I will at least have had a great time going for it!
*Doing all I can to master the relevant skill sets
*Look for people to help me succeed and with whom I can share my journey - teachers, peers, coaches, models and mentors
In the words of Barry Neil Kaufman, "I will go for what I want, in spite of the evidence."

Today's Experiment:
You can do this one of your current goals or you can start from scratch.
Adapt the experiment to suit your situation...

1. What is it that you really want?

2. Which elements of that are entirely up to you? Which elements are
dependent on people or things outside your control?

3. What are some attitudes or "working premises" you could adopt to make it
more likely that you will get what you want? What are some attitudes or
"working premises" it might be useful to let go of?

4. Create an initial action list based on those things within your control
that would make it more likely for you to succeed. As new ideas come up,
ask yourself:

a. Is this within my control? (if not, look for what aspect or element of
it is within your control)

b. Will this increase the likelihood of my getting what I want, either now
or in the future?

Have fun, learn heaps, and remember - applying what you've learned today
will have a profound impact on your future... probably!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tip of the Day

Michael Neill's Tip of the Day

I'll be honest with you - I'm a lousy meditator. For me, meditation falls into the category of one of those things I know is supposed to be so good for me that my "inner teenager" rebels against the whole idea of it. One meditation powerful enough to mature my inner teenager ("maturity" being defined as being willing to do what you want even if your parents want you to do it as well :-) comes from India via Wayne Dyer - you can read more about it in the book Manifest your Destiny (there's an excellent Nightingale-Conant tape set as well!) He recommends doing it every day for twenty minutes at sunrise and twenty minutes at sundown. While I'm sure this is an excellent discipline, I've gotten some pretty phenomenal results (money, new clients, acting work, etc.) doing it erratically for as long as I feel like it whenever I happen to remember. Here's how it works....

Morning Meditation
1. Breathe in with your attention on your perineum (between the front of your bottom and the back of your bottom is about as nice as I can say it!)

2. Exhale on the sound "Aaaaaah" with your attention on your "third eye", the point between your eyebrows. (That's "aaaaaaah" as in God, Father, Ja, Adonai, and just about any other culture's name for God you can think of!)

3. As you do this, think about all the things you want in your life as if you've already received them. (The better this feels, the better it works!)

4. Continue for as long as you like. Gradually get softer and softer until the "aaaaah" is silent. Keep shifting your attention between the perineum and third eye as you breathe, and maintain the feeling of already having what it is that you want.

5. When you are ready, allow the "aaaaah"s to get louder and louder until you are back to full volume.

6. Finish with the word "Sha-Lom", which is both the hebrew word for peace and a combination of the sound of God ("aaaaah") and the sound of the universe ("aum").

Evening Meditation
1. Breathe in with your attention on your perineum (between the front of your bottom and the back of your bottom is still about as nice as I can say it!)

2. Exhale on the sound "Aum" with your attention on your "third eye", the point between your eyebrows. (The sound "aum" is believed in many cultures to be the noise you will hear the universe making if you ever get really, really quiet!)

3. As you do this, think with gratitude and appreciation about all the things you want in your life that you already have. (The better this feels, the better it works!)

4. Continue for as long as you like. Gradually get softer and softer until the "aum" is silent. Keep shifting your attention between the perineum and third eye as you breathe, and maintain the feeling of gratitude and appreciation for already having what it is that you want.

5. When you are ready, allow the "aum"s to get louder and louder until you are back to full volume. 6. Finish with the word "Shah-Lom", which is both the hebrew word for peace and a combination of the sound of God ("aaaaah") and the sound of the universe ("om").

Have fun (and let me know what you're manifesting!)

This tip was brought to you by and read by over 15000 people in 90 countries worldwide.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Messages are reaching my humble cyberspace. Thanks for the thoughts, muse inspires the day.


She opened the shutters.She hung the sheets over the sill.
She saw the day.
A bird looked at her straight in the eyes.
'I am alone,' she whispered. 'I am alive.' She entered the room. The mirror too is a window.
If I jump from it I will fall into my arms.
-Yannis Ritsos

Huxley's "Brave New World"
"Chronic remorse, as all the Moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrong doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gain and Loss

Gain and Loss
Lingyuan said to the Confucian sage Chen Yi:

Calamity can produce fortune, fortune can produce calamity. This is because when one is in situations of disaster and danger, one is earnest in taking thought for safety, and when one is deeply immersed in seeking out order, one is capable of seriousness and discretion – therefore good fortune is born, and it is fitting.
When fortune produces calamity, it is because when living in tranquility people indulge their greed and laziness, and are mostly scornful and arrogant – therefore calamity is born.
A sage said, “Having many difficulties perfects the will’ having no difficulties ruins the being.”
Gain is the edge of loss, loss is the heart of gain. Therefore blessings cannot visit over and over again, one cannot always hope for gain. When you are in a fortunate situation and so consider calamity, then that fortune can be preserved; when you see gain and consider loss, then that gain will surely arrive.
Therefore a superior person is one who when safe does not forget danger, and who In times of order does not forget about disorder.

This too shall pass

For 7 years I have lived avoiding the memory of my past, dealing with decisions I made in my twenties. I wrapped my thoughts in guilt, thought I had to change completely, discarded what I thought were mistakes and learned how to live a completely new life. I was hibernating like a bear in the cave, going deep inside and regretting over and over again for what happened in the past.

As life moved on, following the birth of new me I thought I achieved all I ever wanted: work was great, I was in a long term relationship, married, dogs, great apartment, all I ever thought was happiness was part of my life. However, the more I looked outside the more I felt inside: I was not happy – I was confused and angry, nothing to hold on to. I hired a coach, I worked some more on polishing my life and a year later I am at the edge of the new beginning. I am going through a divorce, break up of a 7 year relationship, reorganizing my life and seeing the full cycle. This too shall pass, this too shall pass – a mantra that brings insight into natural laws and seasonal change.

Maintaining focus on what you want

Like in the story of Gain and Loss I embrace what it is now. Loss is seemingly present but above all it is all just about the habit of living with somebody, having somebody’s presence daily without questioning or doubt in its existence – the end was approaching steadily, it didn’t happen over night. I am learning how much I lost my own self, decisions were always made in twos, in consideration of how not to hurt, how to mold, adjust. And there, one day, two souls have awaken and asked in each other’s solitude: is this truly what I want? Answer the same for both of us. If the loss of pattern and habit is what it is now, I look at the gains comparable only to ultimate freedom, responsibility to self, courage to love and be loved.

Moving on, exercises for peace and presence
1. Three times a day put your hand on your physical heart, get connected and ask: what is it that I can do right now to listen to my heart and follow its guidance. Listen to messages, voices, emotions and follow the guidance.

2. Write a list of things you’ve been wanted to do but have been procrastinating on. Take one step at the time and keep filling your life with excitement and new adventures.

3. When emotions arise, get in tune and define what it is exactly you feel and ask yourself:

• What is the worst that may happen out of this?
• What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
• How will you feel in 1 month from now for making this decision? A year? How about 10 years from now? Will it matter?

with love


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


What belief do you live by:
  • have high expectations from the start, at least you will know immediately if it is not happening the way you wanted
  • have low expectations, you like being surprised with the better outcomes
  • no expectations are the best - live in the moment
There is no expert profiling out of your choice with an exception that you may now be aware that you do have a choice what and how to expect from life. If you have chosen the second option only because you have been burnt in the past stop and reflect on the reasons your expectations didn't match the reality. Could it be that you didn't have skills needed to match your expectations? First time ever? And just out of curiosity: could it be a seed of learned helplessness that is growing disguised by low expectations....

Apparently, according to a research, those who expect to live longer somehow do and those who don't - do not. Longevity Expectations and Death: Can People Predict Their Own Demise?
Well, in that case, just for the fun of it and because sacred Daoist (Taoist) books claim longevity is attainable (those were their expectations), revise and restate your own:
  1. Create vivid visual images that include sound and sensations. Play them in your mind, set a regular daydreaming date with yourself and allow your imagination to take you to your expectations.
  2. Notice any contradictory messages that come up when you state your expectations: anger, doubt, cynicism... take pen and paper and write down all the messages that come up. Now go through your list and say each statement in the voice of Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck if you are skilled enough... Maybe sexy voice of Sean Connery - play with it and observe your emotions dissipate
Applying the Law of Expectations by Dan Millman
Acting can become a transcendental art, not just on the stage of a theater, but in the theater of our lives. One enjoyable way to shift expectations involves ac ting as if you already have the courage, love, and wisdom you desire; by looking the part, dressing the part, speaking the part, and acting the part, you can begin to manifest these qualities.
  1. When you want to have, achieve, or become anything, ask the question, "What if I could? What would that look like and feel like?"
  2. Now, go beyond old beliefs and expectations; act out the role you would like to play until it's no longer a role; try it on until it becomes comfortable. If you don't feel up to a task, play the role of someone who would thoroughly enjoy it.
  3. This simple exercise can change your life in simple but significant ways. Try assuming a new role of a happier, more open, more positive you today.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


  1. Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you.
  2. Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.
  3. Let the self emerge. Try to shut out the external clues as to what you should think, feel, say, and so on, and let your experience enable you to say what you truly feel.
  4. When in doubt, be honest. If you look into yourself and are honest, you will also take responsibility. Taking responsibility is self-actualizing.
  5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular.
  6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem to be.
  7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and what your potentialities are not.
  8. Find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don't like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your mission is. Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means identifying defenses--and then finding the courage to give them up.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Going Beyond the Secret

MNCT 588 - Going Beyond the Secret


"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
-Peter Drucker

There is an old joke about three baseball umpires who are
discussing their strategies for calling balls and strikes.

The first umpire says, somewhat defensively, "I call 'em like
they are."

The second umpire shrugs his shoulders and says "Well, I call
'em like I see 'em."

The third umpire smiles knowingly at his colleagues. "You guys
have got it all wrong - they ain't nothin' until I call 'em!"

Strange as it may seem, these three approaches to judging the
accuracy of a pitched baseball correspond quite neatly to the
three main ways people approach going for what they want in
their lives...

1. Acquisition - "I call 'em like they are"

In the Acquisition model of the world, the stuff of life is out
there and your job is to go out and get it. Acquisition-based
thinkers often see life as a case of the "have's" vs. the
"have-nots", and shift between the roles of hero and victim in a
"dog eat dog" world.

2. Attraction - "I call 'em like I see 'em"

The movie (and subsequent book) "The Secret" is one of the most
popular ever presentations of the ancient principle that "like
attracts like". Attraction-based thinkers recognize that, as
Hamlet said, "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking
makes it so".

While this can lead to a considerably more positive experience
of the world, where the attraction model tends to break down is
when people attempt to control that world by controlling their

Over the past sixteen years or so, I've noticed that this
inner-directed battle for positive without negative and good
without bad has one major flaw: no one I've ever met (including
most of the teachers in "The Secret") can actually pull it off
for any length of time.

This doesn't point to a lack of sincerity on their part - it's
just that as long as you are at war within yourself, no matter
how noble the cause, it is impossible to experience peace.

(You can read more of my thoughts on the benefits and pitfalls
of "The Secret" at

3. Creation - "They ain't nothin' until I call 'em!"

A woman who wanted to hire me as her coach told me that she had
been deeply inspired by "The Secret" and had already applied
its teachings to attract herself a new job, a great apartment,
and a boyfriend who, in her words, "actually seems to really
like me".

When I asked her what she hoped to get out of our work together,
she went quiet for a few moments before somewhat shyly telling
me "I'm terrified that it will stop working and I'll go back to
being miserable and alone".

And therein lies the fundamental difference between these three
models of success:

*Acquisition-based thinking places the power outside of us in
the visible, physical world. If we want some of that power for
ourselves, we need to go out and get it. When we don't get
what we want, it's either because the world is rigged against
people like us or we just didn't try hard enough.

*Attraction-based thinking places the power outside of us in the
invisible, metaphysical world. If we want to tap into that
power, we need to align our thoughts, feelings, intentions and
desires. When we don't get what we want, it's either because
God/The Universe has a higher plan for us or we just didn't
think positive enough.

*Creation-based thinking places the power firmly inside
ourselves. We access that power through the choices we make
about how to be (our "ground of being", how to see (our
attitude, or "angle of approach"), and what to do (the words we
speak and the actions we take).

When we don't get what we want, it's either because we haven't
yet found a way or it's just taking more time than we want it
to. No blame, no fault, no shame.

I'll finish today's tip (and my writing for 2007) with my
favorite quote on Creation-based thinking as a model for success
in life, written over 100 years ago by George Bernard Shaw:

"People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I
don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this
world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances
they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."

Create yourself a magical new year!

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(c) 2007 Michael Neill/All Rights Reserved

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