Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Value of Pain

The value of pain
Tim Connor

No one likes pain: emotional, physical or spiritual pain.  Each of us wants to sail through life from birth to death without ever having:

-been betrayed.
-been abandoned.
-been lied to.
-had insurmountable problems.
-risked it all and lost.
-been disappointed.
-And this list goes on and on and on.

I for one know the value of pain.  I have had my share during my life.  I know the pain of loss, failure, abandonment and all of the ones on the list plus a few.  You too have had some kind of pain, I guarantee it.  I don’t care how old or young you are - no one escapes this teaching tool that life uses to - soften us, humble us, mold us, take the arrogance or fear from us or just teach us there is a more for us to do in this life, and we can’t do it until our rough edges have been smoothed out.

Those of you who have reached this day without any significant pain in your life are missing - so far - a wonderful opportunity for growth.  Now, I am well aware it is difficult to convince someone that a divorce, loss of a loved one or a job or any other adversity is a blessing and an opportunity to grow.  However, having spent my life travelling through these many years and having the wonderful privilege of meeting thousands of people around the world, I have come to a conclusion:  sooner or later everyone who has experienced some form of pain, when they look back on it, agree that it was a time of testing, yes, but a time of growth and learning as well. Here are a few of the benefits of pain that I have learned over the years.   Pain:

1. Introduces you to who you really are.
2. Let’s you have a peek into the future.
3. Releases great creativity.
4. Begins the healing process.
5. Is a signal that something needs to change.
6. Helps you see that you have choices.
7. Gives you the opportunity to grow or remain stuck.
8. Is impersonal.  It isn’t picking on any one group or individual.
9. Develops in you the capacity to handle more pain in the future.
10. Helps keep you focused in the present moment.

Don’t ever deaden the pain you are feeling.  Get in touch with it.  Feel it. Understand it.  Learn from it.  Use it. And then move on through it. Then let it go.

Let me conclude with a lesson I learned from one of my mentors – Eric Butterworth.

When in the depths of financial despair years ago as a speaker and author he shared a simple lesson with me through his writing.  He said, “The greatest times of creativity in your life can come during periods of personal pain.  Use these times to release all that you are and all you can do.”

I have written over 75 books but after writing my first one in 1981 (Soft Sell – which today is still the number one best-selling book in the world in 25 languages) I wrote nothing for fifteen years.  After Eric’s counsel the flood gate opened and I have averaged writing 3-4 books a year.  Not all have come from periods of pain, but he showed me how to use all emotional states whether positive or negative, to use them in a positive way.

Experiencing pain today?  Use it for growth. His book that helped me is titled – ‘In The Flow of Life’ (It’s still in print.  Read it if you are going through any pain in your life.)

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Self-limitations are just that - self-imposed.
Tim Connor

It has been said by many people a lot more famous than me, “that the only limitations we encounter in life are those self-limiting ones that we place on ourselves.” If this is true, and at this point I am neither agreeing or disagreeing with this premise, why then do so few people reach their full potential? Why do so many people feel stuck, out of control and without hope in their lives? Why do so many people give up, quit, settle, resign themselves or operate out of blame, anger, guilt, resentment and self pity when it comes to the quality of their life? If this question were answered in a book by the same title, it would never sell. 

Why? Because the very people we are talking about here do not want to take the responsibility for their lives. These people insist on pointing their finger toward something or someone else for the cause of their station or circumstances in life.  Things like; their boss, their company, the economy, social, race or gender prejudices - this list goes on and on, rather than themselves and their own decisions, actions, beliefs, values, prejudices and so on.

The truth is, and I didn’t just invent it or discover it, each of us came into this world headed for greatness in some way. We were engineered for success at birth by God and conditioned for failure along the way by our caregivers, parents, teachers, society or anyone who crossed our path that we gave power to. We have forgotten our heritage. We have in our skull: the most magnificent organ ever created in the history of the world, the human mind, a mind that can create whatever it chooses. There is nothing we cannot do. The skeptics out there are thinking, “Sure, Tim, I can fly.”

I do not have the time nor the interest to give skeptics or critics the time of day. I have had my fill of them for over fifty years.  If that is their attitude, there is nothing I could ever say that would change their minds.  They don't want to change them because they are happy being negative. This is not about you or me being able to fly - but realizing we can do whatever we put our minds to, as long as we put action into our dreams. Certainly there are some physical limitations in some areas or with some people. My major point here is that most of us could do more if we would only learn that most of our ceilings are self-imposed.
What inner mental images are you holding in your consciousness that may be holding you back? Is it the fear of failure or success? Is it the fear of rejection or public scorn? Is it an inner feeling of unworthiness? Or is it some other emotional issue or scar that you have failed to recognize or deal with? 

-What would you try if you knew you couldn't fail? 
-What would you attempt if you knew you would succeed? 
-What would you feel if you knew it was O.K to feel that way?
-What would you believe if you knew it were true?
- What would you ask for if you knew the answer would be, yes?

What are you waiting for?  You are in control of and in charge of your destiny and life.  The next 10, 20 or 30 years are in your hands, but only if you have the will, courage, desire, skill and knowledge to create whatever you want.  You can have anything you want in life, you  just can't have everything  -  sorry folks!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Feeling stressed?

Feeling Stressed?
Tim Connor

Let me be clear from the onset – every activity (other than sitting on the beach reading your favorite novel) causes stress.  Yes, everything. Winning the lotto, playing with your favorite pet, a wedding, a divorce, hiking your favorite trail, taking dance lessons, losing a job, starting a new one etc. etc. In essence there are good and bad stressors, but in the end they all have the same impact on your health and mental circumstances. And why? Because the mind doesn’t judge – it treats all stressors the same – as stress.

What is stress – it is what is happening outside of you – circumstances, situations, people you meet, what you are doing etc. and how you interpret what is happening and how you choose to respond internally to these.  In other words - stress is your inside-out reactions and responses to outside-in circumstances, people and events.

Now that we have this out of the way let’s discuss three areas – why and how is everything a stressor, what is the impact of poorly managed stress, what can we do to better control our stressors so they don’t kill us.

- Why and how is everything a stressor . . .

The mind is a sponge – it takes in everything – the stuff you want (the good stuff) and the stuff you don’t want – bad stuff (yes there are some people who have learned how to filter out the bad stuff but sooner or later some of this junk gets into everyone’s mind – like it or not.

What’s the bad stuff? Negative emotions and feelings caused by others, invalidating statements by many and just disappointment due to unrealized or hoped for expectations or desires. Why is this bad stuff?  It really isn’t bad stuff, it’s just stuff, what makes it bad is our interpretation of it and reaction to it.

So you are thinking, “I just lost my job, my relationship is in a shambles and I have a serious health challenge - how is this just stuff?  Come on – get real here.”

I don’t have the time or energy to give you all of the research, evidence and reasons to support my theory - so here’s just one.

You lost a job, yes but I’ll bet a new door will open (if you will let it) that can be even a better job.  Does this always happen? Of course not, but it can if you will let it and bring the right mindset to what is happening now.
You can choose to stay stuck in ‘victimhood’ or blame or any other negative attitude or you can learn, grow and move on with dignity, responsibility, courage and faith as a result of this situation.  Here’s the problem – if you choose to stay stuck in the negatives you will tend to increase your stressors over time and the outcome as I have previously said can be life threatening.  Life happens.  Period.  We do the best we can with what it gives us or we can complain, whine or point our finger everywhere except at ourselves.  Simple choice. 

So to answer the question - everything that comes at us is a potential stressor – a bad driver behind us, a poor waiter or waitress, bad weather on your day off – I could go on for pages with this stuff but I’m sure you have better things to do (potential stressors waiting in the wings).

- What is the impact of poorly managed stress. . .

Let me just give you a simple list here;

- Poor health
- More worry
- Increased fear of the future
- Negative impact on all relationships
- Less productivity
- Wasted time
- Poorer or less open and honest communication
- Greater chance of an auto accident
- Increased medical costs
- More anxiety and frustration
- Less financial security

Not a pretty picture, I know but – it is what it is.  Under stress not everyone faces the same outcomes – some people develop negative health issues while others may just ruin a relationship but the outcome is the same – things get worse rather than better.

- What can we do to better control our stressors . . .

I’m sure you are running out of time or patience so I’ll leave you with a list.

-      Eat more healthy foods.
-      Exercise at least 20 minutes a day 3 X per week.
-      Laugh more.
-      Have more fun.
-      Better manage your relationships with toxic or negative people.
-      Spend more time with optimistic positive people.
-      Let go of old emotional baggage.
-      Don’t let other people’s garbage become yours.
-      Get more sleep.
-      Work on your patience.
-      Control what you can and let go of what you can’t control.
-      Don’t focus on the negatives in life.
-      Stay focused on what’s really important.
-      Use visualization, affirmations or meditation.  And yes, prayer.
-      Better manage your expectations.
-      Stay in the present moment.
-      Use psychological anchors.  Not sure what these are? Check my article Archives.
-      The world doesn’t revolve around you.  Get over it.
-      And finally – Life is very short and passes by quickly so feel gratitude every day for all of the gifts God and Life gives you.

“In times of stress be bold and valiant.”