Productivity in our work and personal lives involves focusing on the key goals and objectives, developing a project plan, identifying the key value-adding tasks, and executing the plan by taking action. It may come as a surprise that many people struggle with this basic approach to achieving personal productivity. Many reasons can be identified for losing focus and not taking the appropriate action to achieve the desired outcomes.

The first issue lies within our minds. The human brain, although powerful and complex, if not trained appropriately can only handle a limited number of tasks at any one time (the literature generally states about seven tasks or pieces of information). As the brain becomes overwhelmed and stretched to perform, it begins to forget important items in the process. The brain does not generally think sequentially or in a linear manner. It thinks more in a random or radial manner.

The second issue involves interruptions from colleagues, unscheduled meetings, the telephone, email or the influence of external people. Interruptions should be avoided and removed from your daily work environment. This can be done by closing the office door, finding a quiet place to concentrate, checking emails at specific periods of the day (morning, midday and late afternoon), making all your calls in the morning and late afternoon, and delegating as many tasks as possible.

The last issue involves lack of clarity and focus. Focus can be achieved through concentration and structured thinking. The mind has to be reinforced that focus and action are the key drivers to achieving successful outcomes from a project. In addition, clarity can be achieved by removing the clutter and blocks that exist in our minds.

Following are the key steps that will increase your personal productivity:

  1. Use structured thinking to provide clarity and focus
  2. Focus on the key goals and objectives
  3. Develop a project plan and identify the key value-adding tasks
  4. Assign time limits on each of the tasks
  5. Take immediate action
  6. Maintain the self-discipline

We all struggle to remain productive and achieve optimal outcomes. The key to success involves focus and action.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Having completed another decade of goals and objectives I decided to update my vision board for the new decade to capture my big audacious goals for the future. A vision board consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision of the goals and objectives you wish to achieve. It is a representation of the future story of yourself.

The purpose of a vision board is to help stimulate your reticular activating system (RAS) in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious through the visual images on the board. By periodically viewing the vision board you reinforce your subconscious through your RAS. The RAS is part of your brain that filters out external information and focuses on those things that are important to you. We all have it. As an example, for a period of time after you purchase a new car your mind automatically notices the same car on the road.

When I was younger I remember cutting out pictures of items that I wanted to acquire, for example, a new motor vehicle, a holiday or new stereo system. I would stick these pictures next to my desk and then begin to save money as quickly as possible to be in a position to purchase the particular item. I would view the pictures when I sat at my desk daily, which would motivate me to focus on achieving my goals and objectives. Before I knew it I had purchased the item and I was enjoying the benefits. Before long I had another picture of something new that I wanted in my life. I would also raise the bar or standard of my aspirations with each picture I posted. This process is not that different to creating your personal vision board.

How to Create Your Own Vision Board

Creating a vision board is simple and it can be a lot of fun. If you have children or teenagers it’s great to introduce this concept to them at an early age as this will help to focus their future aspirations.

Step 1. If you haven’t already documented your goals and objectives this is the first thing you must do. Using your goals and objectives as a guide collect pictures, photos and power words that closely represent the outcomes of your goals and objectives. The pictures, photos and power words can be sourced from magazines, brochures or downloaded from the internet. The vision board theme should reflect the future story of yourself. As a guide you can consider the following areas of your life:

  1. What are your future dreams and aspirations that reflect the theme of your vision board?
  2. What work would you be doing?
  3. Where would you be living?
  4. What would your home look like?
  5. What would you be driving?
  6. What personal things would you have?
  7. Who would be part of your life?
  8. What activities are important to you?
  9. What are your personal development, health and wealth objectives?
  10. What are some of the intrinsic goals in your life?

Step 2. Purchase a large poster board consisting of thick card or foam-backed paper. Arrange the pictures that you have collected together with the key words to create visual representations that resonate with your dreams and aspirations.

Step 3. Once you have decided on the structure of your arrangement glue your pictures and words onto the poster. Some people prefer to design a collage of pictures while others prefer to space out and organise a defined group of images and labels. It is important to add the date you created your vision board and also the dates by which you want to achieve the visual goals that you have pasted on your poster.

Step 4. Strategically place the vision board in a location that allows you to view it every day. I have it placed on a wall in the room connected to the garage so that I can view it every time I leave the house in the morning. Some people like to view their vision boards just before they go to sleep and just as they wake up in the morning, as these times are best aligned with a relaxed state of your mind when your subconscious is best able to absorb the visual images.

Step 5. Periodically review and update your vision board. As you achieve some of the goals on your vision board you can update the board with fresh images that can continue to inspire and motivate you. You may also find that over time you have different goals and objectives depending on your situation, which will also need to be updated on your vision board.

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You can also use a computer based software that can create your vision board electronically, which can also be displayed as your screen saver. The best software for creating vision boards that I have found is Vision Board Studio.

I encourage you to create your vision board as soon as possible so that you can start using the underlying power of the tool to help you achieve your goals and objectives. Once you have developed your vision board the next step is to start living the goals and objectives. For example, if you have a dream car on your vision board go to the local dealer, get into the car, feel and smell the interior and go for a test drive. I have done this numerous times. I remember doing this with a watch some time ago. I made a commitment to myself that if I achieve my business goals in a particular financial year and receive my bonus I would purchase a watch that would commemorate the achievement. Periodically in that year I would visit the jewelery store and try on that watch. I would look at it and feel it on my arm. Every time I did this I would be even more motivated to achieving my business goals that would yield the watch as an outcome.

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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I have mentioned visualization in a few of my previous postings but wanted to write specifically on how you can use the power of visualization to increase your creative thinking and achieve your goals. Visualization is the technique by which you use your mind to actively and intentionally visualize mental images of situations and behaviours that influence your external being.

Visualization is a technique used commonly amongst successful athletes and sports people. For example, a successful golfer spends time to visualize the perfect stroke over and over again. As a result of repetition of the visualization process the golfer improves his or her golf scores. There is no reason why we couldn’t apply visualization techniques to our personal and work lives. For example, Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity by visualizing what would happen if he travelled through space on the tip of a light beam. Albert Einstein used visualization techniques to contemplate and test different scenarios.

Following are five steps on how to use visualization to influence your life and your thoughts so that you achieve your goals and desires:

  1. Begin with a relaxed state of mind. Find a quiet environment with a comfortable chair, breath deeply and slowly, relaxing all the muscles in your body and slowly clearing your mind to enter your subconscious.
  2. Create your visualization scene. Use your imagination to take yourself to a location or on a journey that you feel comfortable with. The image could be an exotic location such as a tranquil beach, quiet forest or mountaintop where you feel relaxed. The location could also be your own imagined fantasy environment, such as a distant planet or journey through space.
  3. Visualize your problem, issue or opportunity. Once relaxed begin asking questions of the problem or issue you are trying to solve. If an opportunity try to visualize and play out the scene like a movie.
  4. Wait for the answer or solution to appear. Maintain a relaxed state and wait for the images, ideas or solutions that appear as a result of the visualization.
  5. Emerge slowly from your visualization. Come out of the relaxed visualization state recording or capturing notes in your journal or digital recording device.

The above procedure has been proven to work on numerous occasions in business, sport and personal life. If you don’t get the solution to your problem or new ideas the first time then continue to practice using a slightly different approach. Repetition and discipline in using the technique will result in richer and more vivid images that will continue to provide new ideas, solutions to problems and new opportunities.

Dr John Kapeleris

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The subconscious mind is the repository of all your habits, both mental and physical. It contains the basic operating system of our brains and therefore can be updated and reprogrammed.

Your subconscious has no perception of past or future; it only perceives that everything is happening now. Therefore, by convincing the subconscious mind what we want it to perceive, we can change our beliefs, that is, our habits of thought and attitude.

Beliefs are essentially neural patterns in your brain that consist of thoughts that are ingrained in your mind. Beliefs are not necessarily “the truth” but are the perception of our reality. Therefore, our beliefs have the ability to influence our desires. Beliefs tend to be self-fulfilling, that is, if we were brought up as children believing what we were told then our subconscious will continue to believe this as being real. Many of us carry negative beliefs and emotions handed down to us by our parents, teachers and peers. For example, we may have been told that we are not good enough or that we will never amount to anything. Other examples of limiting beliefs include:

  • It will never work
  • I’m not good enough
  • There’s not enough time
  • That’s just the way it is
  • Everything bad happens to me
  • It’s too hard to lose weight
  • Why are you pursuing this type of business?

And my favourite:

  • It’s not fair

What limiting beliefs are holding you back from achieving your goals and objectives along your journey to success? You need to identify what they are as they may be contradicting your goals and objectives.

Successful people are able to overcome their limiting beliefs through reprogramming their subconscious. Reprogramming your subconscious starts with understanding how your reticular activating system (RAS) works. The RAS is like a filter system in your mind that sorts through the large quantity of incoming information and searches for specific data bits that match information patterns already established in your brain. An example of how your RAS works, is when you purchase a new vehicle, let’s say a Toyota, and for the next few weeks you notice every Toyota vehicle on the road, particularly the specific model you have purchased. Your subconscious has been temporarily programmed with the Toyota logo and without you consciously knowing, your RAS identifies vehicles with the Toyota symbol.

To reprogram your subconscious mind you need to implement the following five steps. Beliefs are not easy to change, therefore you need to start immediately and be disciplined.

  1. Create the vision of what you want to achieve. Ensure you have a clear, written vision.
  2. Articulate powerful affirmations to create beliefs that support your vision.
  3. Prepare a portfolio of material in the form of written statements, audio recordings and vision boards (a visual collage of images that portray your vision).
  4. Establish a daily routine (morning and evening) reviewing the portfolio of material to allow the content to be absorbed by your subconscious. Read the written statements aloud, listen to the audio recordings and review your vision boards on a daily basis. It is also a good habit to carry a goal card with written statements in your wallet/purse and review these daily.
  5. Use visualization techniques to create a mental pattern in your mind and imprint your new beliefs that supports your vision.

Remember, the subconscious mind cannot distinguish whether an event is externally real or internally imagined. Therefore, by reprogramming your subconscious and displacing limiting beliefs with positive beliefs that support your vision you can remove the barriers that have held you back.

Enjoy!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Imagination

June 6th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Creativity | Mind - (0 Comments)

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein

Imagination is the ability of the mind to create mental images, sensations and concepts, which helps contribute to the understanding of knowledge and the learning process. Children use their imagination as part of their early learning process to translate stories such as fables and fairy tales into vivid images in their minds. As children we do not have any boundaries or barriers. A cardboard box can turn into hours of fun for a child when they pretend it is a red racing car or a time machine.

When we read a novel our imagination is used to evoke images of the story in our minds, experience feelings of the characters and stimulate our senses. As the text is read our mind translates the words into visual images that essentially creates a fantasy world. The interpretation of the text and words of a novel may be different for each individual because each mind perceives the storyline from a different perspective.

Imagination is strong in children, however, as children develop into adults many lose their imagination.  Unless we encourage imagination in children, this ability will dissipate from lack of use, and it may be difficult to revive in later adult life.

It is easy to forget the power of imagination.  People go about their daily lives on autopilot, accepting the status quo and not challenging their current situation. People spend a large proportion of their time complaining and blaming others for their own undesirable situation, instead of taking action. Everyone has some imagination even though it may have been lying dormant for years. By using our imagination we can begin to visualise the life we desire.

Imagination starts with the word “image”. By combining images we already know, we can create something new in our minds. For example, in the 1800’s the fountain pen was created by combining the image of a quill-pen and the inkwell used as a dipping reservoir. Many new ideas emerge through the combination of existing well-known images, a process called constructive imagination.

Everyone can unleash greater imaginative capacity by developing the right mental attitude and making a concerted effort to play with images to create new combinations and connections. Set aside some time to play and create new worlds through your imagination. Who knows, you may develop the idea for the next blockbuster movie, best selling novel or new product.

What are some examples of how you use your imagination?

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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Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week”. George Bernard Shaw

The human mind is one of the most powerful information processing tools on Earth. It can process enormous amounts of information per second and stores a large quantity of knowledge in the form of memory, yet we struggle to use more than 10% of its capability.

The key to unlocking the power of your mind lies within your subconscious. The subconscious mind has the ability to influence your beliefs and attitudes, and subsequently to direct your thoughts, desires and purpose.

Although studies have shown that we use less than 10% of our brains (the conscious mind), phenomenal capacity exists within the subconscious mind to achieve greater use and application. If we could tap into this power that is readily available we could achieve far greater outcomes in our personal and business life.

The subconscious mind offers a wealth of resources to transform our lives, including:

  • Positive beliefs and affirmations
  • Imagination and dreams
  • Intuition
  • Creative inspiration
  • Visualisation
  • Alpha dynamic state

In order to tap into and develop the power of your subconscious you need to be open-minded and receptive to new ideas. The infinite capability within your subconscious mind can reveal and unleash new thoughts, ideas and creativity to transform your life and capitalise on opportunities.

Your subconscious mind can provide you with new ideas and inventions, new discoveries, new works of creative expression, new thoughts and knowledge that can be applied to your personal and business world.

Within the subconscious mind you can find solutions to problems, new opportunities, hidden powers and new wisdom to achieve abundance, success, health and happiness.

In the next few blog posts I will be providing knowledge and exploring techniques,  from my personal experience, on how to tap into the power of your subconscious mind and access the other 90% capability of our brains.

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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