Mind Management

August 14th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Mind - (2 Comments)

“It is not always easy for a man to trace the inward path by which he reaches his own conclusions; so much of the working of the mind is subconscious” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary (1905-1916)

Our past thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions establish certain patterns that we often repeat time after time because they seem quite natural. If these patterns are grounded in negative attitudes, fears, anxieties and doubts, then we are held back by these invisible chains that we have built for ourselves. They have the effect of limiting our beliefs, behaviours and actions, even though we don’t realise they are there. Conversely, patterns that lead us to positive attitudes, to enjoy life’s challenges and to believe in our own abilities, encourage beliefs, behaviours and actions that propel us to winning and successful outcomes in the future. For example, the self-disciplined individual focusses on the 20% of the high value activities that yield 80% of the desired outcomes.

A self-doubting person who focuses on negative thoughts and emotions will retreat in life and be influenced by external factors and people. To overcome negative thoughts you need to look fearlessly at your own emotions and face up to negative thoughts. You can then establish new and better systems of thought that will become habitual after you practice them each day for at least 20 days.

Following are some simple action steps you can take today to overcome negative thoughts and emotions:

  1. Take responsibility for your own life – You are the master of your own destiny. Take control of your own life and become proactive in designing your future.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people – There too many people around who are always negative (Black Hat thinkers). Take a moment to observe their lives, which are full of doom and gloom, and they always blame someone or something else for their situation. Seek out people who are positive, passionate, optimistic and successful. Take note that you generally become the average of the four to five people you associate with the most.
  3. Challenge your negative thoughts – Confront your negative thoughts by taking a piece of blank paper, writing down your negative thoughts, asking why you have those thoughts, and if you don’t have a valid answer tear up the sheet of paper and physically throw the negative thoughts in the bin. The physical action of capturing the negative thoughts on paper and then disposing of those thoughts can be very relieving.
  4. Change your thoughts from negative to positive – It is easy to think of everything in a positive tone. For example, instead of thinking to yourself, “Today I will make sure I do not feel negative”, turn the tone into a positive thought, “Today I will be positive and optimistic and take control of my life”.
  5. Use positive affirmations to change your state of being and your mindset – You can create a list of positive affirmations that you read daily or you can read positive quotes on your computer, mobile phone or from a list you post on the wall.
  6. Daily gratitude – Be thankful for what you have received and what you have achieved in life. List five things that you are grateful in life and read them every day when you wake up in the morning. It’s amazing what effect this activity can have on your life.
  7. Positive visualisation – Every evening before you go to sleep or early in the morning when you wake up, breathe deeply, relax your body, remove all thoughts from your mind (achieving a meditative state), and then concentrate hard on visualising your desired positive state. Picture yourself achieving the outcomes you desire in your work or personal life.

Make it a positive focus!

Dr John Kapeleris

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The wider development of your individual abilities will achieve greater confidence in your life and ultimately the happiness that everyone seeks to achieve. The first step is to identify your abilities and map out a program for developing them. Even if you do not know the direction that you should be following in your life or career it is good practice to be exposed to new experiences and learn new skills.

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow studied the behaviour of people who were confident and happy in nature regardless of the problems that confronted them. He described these people as “self-actualisers”. Self-actualisation is defined as the state of being where a person achieves their full potential when all basic and mental needs are fulfilled. In other words, becoming the person you desire by maximising your full potential and abilities.

Self-actualisers have the following set of identifiable characteristics:

  • Recognise that their life is their own responsibility
  • Concentrate on the present state to improve their future situation and do not dwell on the past
  • Cope well with reality but can also tolerate uncertainty
  • Accept themselves and others for what they are
  • Creative, have a sense of humour and unbound by convention
  • Appreciate the everyday pleasures of life

To move towards achieving self-actualisation you can implement the following actions:

  1. Assume full responsibility of your own life
  2. Identify your abilities and map out a personal development program
  3. Expose yourself to new experiences (try new things)
  4. Listen to your own inner true feelings when considering life experiences
  5. Be prepared to express your own views, even if they are not in accordance with the majority of people
  6. Avoid pretence and game playing when dealing with other people
  7. Work hard and smart at everything you do
  8. Develop a positive attitude and eliminate negative thoughts
  9. Seek and accept constructive feedback from other people

Begin the quest to become the best you can be by deciding what you want from life and then doing what is necessary to achieve it!

Dr John Kapeleris

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“The purpose of man is in action, not thought.” — Thomas Carlyle

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calender year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and to set new goals and objectives for 2011. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2010. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. Last January I decided to go to Byron Bay and live in a beach house for ten days to celebrate a very successful 2009. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2011. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2010. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide. A decent driveway paint site will get you the driveway paint you want.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2011!

Dr John Kapeleris

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In my previous company Panbio Ltd, one of the key success factors of the company was embedding innovation across the whole organisation and not limited to the R&D Department alone. One of the initiatives that I implemented to drive innovation in the organisation was the establishment of a Creativity Club. The main objective of the creativity club was to stimulate creative thinking in individuals and encourage the use of creative thinking tools to come up with new ideas, and to solve problems in the organisation and for our customers.

The original objectives that we brainstormed at our first creativity club at Panbio are outlined below:

The format and structure of the creativity club included the following:

  1. The creativity club was open to all employees of the organisation. Everyone was invited to deliver presentations, and to share their knowledge and experiences.
  2. The creativity club was held either at lunchtime or before work (lunch and breakfast were provided which was a great attraction for employees).
  3. The agenda of each meeting consisted of the following:
    1. Ice-breaker – each participant would be asked to describe a creative experience or reading since the last meeting (those participants that could not describe a creative experience would be asked to tell a joke – right brain thinking)
    2. Formal presentation – a theme was chosen as a focus of each creativity club including: Introduction to Creative Thinking, Serendipity vs Synchronicity, Idea Management, Creativity Tools, Imagination, Innovation case studies (3M, Dupont, Lotus Corporation, Ideo etc), Creative Problem Solving, Intuition, Chaos Theory, etc
    3. Informal discussion – this session included open discussion about the specific topic presented and the practical application of the learnings from the presentation
    4. Action planning – the creativity club concluded with the recording of action plans that each participant could take back to their department or functional area and implement
  4. The creativity club was modelled on the Dupont OZ Creative Thinking Network and the Parisian Salons (creative communities) of the 1920’s. The creativity club included a number of games and puzzles to stimulate the creative juices of participants. It also provided a fun environment conducive to the sharing of knowledge and ideas that could be further developed or implemented. A database was set up within the Knowledge Management system of the organisation to capture and record the presentations, knowledge, ideas, learnings, discussions and action plans arising from the creativity club.

The creativity club at Panbio also spawned the development of Creative Problem Solving Hit Teams. These teams consisted of cross-functional team members that would work on solving problems both inside and outside the organisation. When an internal functional area or an external customer could not solve a particular problem then a Creative Problem Solving Hit Team was deployed. The cross-functional nature of the team allowed a wider range of skill-sets to be incorporated in the team, providing a diverse perspective when investigating each problem. The team included people directly involved with the problem but also people who had never been exposed to the problem. Team members were also equipped with a variety of creative problem solving tools and resources. These teams became so effective that we started to provide this service beyond our existing clients and domain areas of expertise.


Dr John Kapeleris

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“Genius (success) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”  Thomas Edison

Having the right mindset and attitude through positive thinking is the first step to achieving success. However, ultimately achieving successful outcomes will require action through the power of positive doing.  Success will only emerge from the actions you implement in life, once you have taken the opportunity to think about what you want and then plan what you are going to do.

Positive doing is about being motivated to take responsibility and to action a number of activities that result in progress along a planned roadmap or action plan. Even though we may deviate from our initial plan the key to success is the power of positive doing.

Tips to becoming more positive in life:

  • Focus on positive thoughts and remove any negative thoughts from your mind
  • Take responsibility of your life or someone else will
  • Find your direction and sense of purpose in life
  • Be assertive by cultivating your self-confidence
  • Value and respect yourself to improve your self-esteem
  • Face your fears and challenges in life as a first step to releasing your negative blocks
  • Get involved and make a contribution through the actions you take
  • Enjoy and celebrate your achievements

Positive thinking must be followed up with positive doing. Although I am a strong advocate of positive thinking, this alone will not achieve the outcomes you desire. You must act upon the positive thoughts, ideas and plans that you establish by implementing positive action.

Following are the ingredients to implementing  a positive action plan:

  1. Determine the goals and objectives
  2. Define the “what, who, when, where and how”
  3. Identify the specific tasks and sub-components
  4. Determine the key milestones
  5. Assign responsibility for each task and the timeline required
  6. Implement tasks and monitor progress
  7. Revise any tasks as required and celebrate the outcomes

You can use the following template to develop and implement your action plan.

The key to positive doing after establishing your action plan is to just START. Many people fail to execute their plans because they don’t start implementation for a number of reasons, including procrastination, not knowing how to begin, wanting everything to be perfect, mental roadblocks, or fear of taking action.

To implement a “positive doing” strategy in your life you must:

  1. Start your action plan
  2. Begin taking positive action steps
  3. Maintain self-discipline
  4. Persevere
  5. Periodically stop to reflect and evaluate
  6. Continue to drive your actions
  7. Check off your milestones

Dr John Kapeleris

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“Your attitude determines your altitude”. Zig Zigler

A winning mindset is all about having the right attitude. A positive attitude can be one of the greatest assets that you can nurture in yourself, which can then determine how far you go with your personal development and achieving the outcomes you desire in life.

Your attitude is reflected in your thoughts, your beliefs and your self-image.  Every person can choose to have a positive attitude no matter what their background or abilities. Your attitude can affect everything in your life. If you have a positive attitude then you tend to attract the good things in life, while a negative attitude attracts the bad things in life. That is, you generally get out of life what you directly focus on.

To avoid a negative attitude you need to stop blaming others or blaming previous setbacks in life, and take responsibility in your life to choose a positive attitude that will elevate you to the next level. Your attitude is one thing that you have complete control. It is up to you to determine whether you choose to uphold a positive or negative attitude in life.

Many athletes choose to adopt a winning mindset that drives their achievements and successes. For example, if you consider two soccer players who have the same exceptional fitness and the same high level of skills, the distinguishing attribute that will differentiate the better soccer player will be the one who possesses the positive attitude and winning  mindset. In other words, it is not only physical abilities but also mental abilities that can make a difference in sport, which also relates to your business and your personal life.

Following are some suggestions of how you can adopt a more positive attitude in life to activate and maintain a winning mindset:

  1. Take some time out of your life to think and reflect on your situation.
  2. Ask challenging questions of yourself and determine where you want to go in life.
  3. Recall situations when you were at the top of your game i.e. in the zone or flow
  4. Extinguish any negative thoughts and stop worrying about things that may never happen
  5. Think positive thoughts and build positive visions i.e. be optimistic
  6. Keep smiling and share your smile with others.

Mindset is really about the way you perceive reality and not the way things ‘really’ are. When used well it can be a powerful incentive to drive your personal development and success.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Our beliefs create our reality. Many of us have been brought up in our lives with false beliefs that challenge our self-confidence and create limitations in our lives. For example, our parents or teachers may have said to us as children that we would not amount to anything or that we were inadequate. These negative beliefs may be locked into our subconscious mind and when we are challenged or required to perform in our personal and work lives we deliver average or sub-standard results. Children develop a perception of their own worth by the age of seven, therefore, if they are ridiculed by parents and teachers and told they are stupid, then they will believe and act stupid. This is an example of the self-fulfilling prophesy. If we convince ourselves that we are not good at something then we will believe that we are inadequate. The subconscious mind will believe anything that we condition it to believe, whether it is true or false.

The subconscious mind can be re-programmed by changing the operating system through repetition and positive reinforcement to believe in new information that creates a new reality. Positive thoughts and affirmations help us to break through limitations by replacing old thought habits with new habits of thought. By repeating positive affirmations and picturing yourself successfully achieving tasks, this will displace the negative thoughts in our minds.

Three simple exercises that can be practiced daily to re-program the subconscious mind, include:

1. Use positive affirmations to change your state of being and your mindset. For example, every morning and every night you can repeat to yourself positive affirmations similar to:

  • “I am wealthy and abundant”,
  • “I am confident and disciplined”,
  • “I can achieve any task that is put before me”,
  • “I can do it!”,
  • “I am healthy, wealthy and wise”,
  • “I am a creative person”
  • “I am successful”
  • Others (Create your own positive affirmations)

2. Use the power of visualisation to picture yourself achieving the outcomes that you desire. Every evening before you go to sleep, breathe deeply, relax your body, remove all thoughts from your mind to achieve a blank mind, and then concentrate hard on visualising your desired state. For example, picture yourself successfully achieving a significant outcome at work and getting promoted, or, picture yourself achieving personal success (e.g. living in your dream home, winning the sporting event, leading a successful business etc.)

3. Daily gratitude – Be thankful for what you have received and what you have achieved in life. The power of repeatedly saying, “Thank you”, can have a positive effect on your subconscious mind, and ultimately your life.

Make it a great life!

Dr John Kapeleris

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What is Success?

February 4th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Success - (1 Comments)

Success means so many things to different people. For many, success is about achieving financial freedom in their lives and having the time to do what they enjoy doing. For others, success may involve achieving harmony with their mental, physical and spiritual aspects of their life. Success can also mean achieving the goals and objectives that you set out for your life journey and achieving the outcomes that you anticipated.

Your own idea of success may be a combination of the above, but the key will be to make it happen now!

Three Steps to Success

I have tried to simplify the process of moving to the next level of personal development and achieving success in your life. Having read numerous books and listened to a number of audiovisual programs on success I have reduced all the different approaches to three key steps in achieving success:

  • Think – positive mental attitude, beliefs, creative thinking, intuition, dreams and desires, subconscious programming, visualisation
  • Plan – life purpose, goals and objectives, commitment, detailed action plans
  • Do! – positive doing, self-discipline, taking action, implementation, evaluation

Although all three steps are important to achieving success the emphasis should be on the “Doing”. Ultimate success comes from the actions you implement in life once you have taken the opportunity to think about what you want and then plan what you are going to do. Success is a journey therefore you need to start working on it now. Today is the start of the rest of your life.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming of success without actually planning and putting into action their plans. Don’t get me wrong. Thinking and having a positive mental attitude are important precursors to success, however these alone won’t pull you through. I can now understand why Thomas Edison stated that genius (success) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

What is your definition of success?

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