Learn Why Eight-Five Percent of Us Struggle to be Happy

Research Shows that 85% of us are Living with the Effects of  Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Self-Confidence, Resulting in Frustration and Unfulfilled Potential.

What's the big deal about self-confidence?

Confidence is hard to define but easy to recognize. With it, you can take on the world; without it, you live stuck at the starting block of your potential
— Katty Kay and Claire Shipman - "The Confidence Code"

The observation by William James, that most people live in a restricted circle of potential,  holds no less true today than when he made it over a century ago. The reason that so many people never fulfill their potential is not a lack of intelligence, opportunity or resources, but a lack of belief in themselves. Or to put it another way, too little self-confidence.  Without it, you can do little, with it, you can do anything!

 But what is confidence, anyway?

Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for, but that’s not true. Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed.

For instance:

  • Your belief in your ability to speak in front of an audience
  • Your belief in your ability to learn a new skill set
  • Your belief in your ability to be a leader
  • Your belief in your ability to handle confrontation or manage conflict
  • Your belief in your ability to change career path, or start a new business
  • Your ability to exit an unhealthy relationship
  • Your ability to live a healthy lifestyle

It's been long established that the beliefs we hold – true or otherwise – direct our actions and shape our lives. The good news is that new research into neural plasticity reveals that we can literally rewire our brains in ways that affect our thoughts and behavior at any age. Which means that no matter how timid or doubt-laden you’ve been up to now, building self-confidence is largely what psychologists call a volitional action. Or to use layman language: “By choice.” With consistent effort, and the courage to take a risk, we can gradually expand our confidence, and with it, our capacity to build more of it!

Of course, confidence can wax and wane throughout our lives. It’s boosted when we experience a win or receive praise. It takes a hit when our efforts fall short of the mark, we’re criticized, rejected or simply feel a lack of external recognition. We’re only human after all. It’s therefore vital not to become overly reliant on external affirmation to prop up our self-worth but to take ownership for taking the worthwhile actions needed to sustain it. Which begs the question:

How do you build the confidence needed to overcome your challenges and achieve your goals, particularly when you don’t first succeed?

The following FREE eBook "How to Boost Your Self-Confidence" will help clarify several common roadblocks and help you on your journey to being more confident.

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Warmest,

The Total Wellness Team

The Cubs, Hope and God

I came to Cubs Nation later in life. Unlike many Die Hard Cubs Fans I was not born to the Ivy and Blue. I grew up with the likes of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and the melodious voice of the incomparable Vin Scully calling the Dodger games. But when I moved my family to Chicago at the age of 30 I became ripe for the picking and was wooed into Cubs Kingdom even though it seemed a futile hope to ever go all the way to become World Champions. When did my heart turn toward the Cubs? Was it on the purple line “El” ride to Wriggly Ville with its historic charm? You see Dodger Stadium is basically surrounded by a parking lot which has all the ambiance of the 405 freeway. Perhaps it was the first time I stepped out from behind the bleachers to see the painted message “welcome to the friendly confines” with the outfield ivy and the the the flags flying with the numbers of Cub's heroes.

No, all those external charms were not enough to spark my love for the Cubs. What really won my heart was the unwavering optimism that was present at each game. Let’s call it hope. Hope that someday we would go all the way; hope that next year would be this year. This hope compelled the faithful to get to the game early and NEVER leave until the fat lady sang. This hope was often excruciating, because the greater the hope the greater the pain of disappointment. But even in 108 futile years that hope would not die. People died; generations of families never saw a world championship come to the North Side but the hope … it never quit.

What is it about us that craves this kind of hope? I’m convinced it’s not about baseball, it’s bigger than baseball and more fundamental to the human heart. The Cubs tapped into it but they did not create it. Someone once said that humans can live 60 days without food, 30 days without water, 6 minutes without air but not one second without hope. We see this hope in every story we tell and every election we hold. We need it just as surely as we need air to breathe.

And that brings us to God. Implanted into the heart of man is an ancient memory of something far better than what we are now experiencing. In the still moments, when our soul is in deep reflection we remember the story of how we were loved and how we turned from our true Lover to seek another way. We feel the agony of being separated from something that is so right and good. Death, darkness and cruelty drive us almost to the point of despair but still we hope. We place that hope in surrogates like Cubs, or a new President, but it is never enough. Our hearts were made for a greater hope, a redemption beyond a World Series title. And so I love the Cubs for reminding me that hope can be fulfilled! I love the Cubs for awakening the deeper hope inside me for a victory that is beyond anything I can imagine. And that leads me to what my Grampa Swanson used to say:

Christ in you, the hope of glory
— Colossians 1:27 NIV

I love the Cubs for encouraging me to look up for the consummation of all my dreams and desires through the final redemption of creation. The “C” on my cap stands for Cubs and Chicago but for me it also stands for Christ who is the fulfillment of hope for all mankind.

Is Meaning Meaningless?

We are all wanting to live a life that is full of joy; A life lived with purpose and meaning. But sometimes we get stuck and stagnation sets in. Our days heap upon each other; all the same with no real substance in them.  The dreams we had have faded like childhood pictures and the hope for the future is growing dim. Sound depressing? It is. And to a certain extent we all find ourselves thinking like that from time to time. But that is not the way we were meant to live. The very fact that what I just described is repugnant to us is proof that we were created for much more than a dismal life.

The first step is to break free from acquiescing to the view that our life has no real meaning. We are not doomed like Macbeth to a certain hopeless fate. We are not even to accept the belief that our life (or any life) is common or ordinary.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

This view is a product of our celebrity crazed culture that mistakes popularity for importance and wealth for value. What you believe about life’s meaning and value is critical to finding your true purpose. And when we live out of our purpose we live a life of significance no matter if it is noticed by a few or many. We need to wake up from the lies that have put us in a hapless stupor and begin exploring the truth about who we are and more importantly why we are.

The next step is to push out into the deep sea of truth exploring the distant lands of meaning. Where do you find truth? For some it is found in natural science. We are no more and no less a product of a meaningless series of evolutionary mishaps. If this is true then the search for meaning stops right here because meaning becomes meaningless, and it is meaningless to even say meaning is meaningless. (think about it)

I advocate another road; one that leads to a Creator who put into the heart of mankind a desire for purpose and a quest for significance. This road runs through a dirty little town called Nazareth where an obscure young woman had a baby that she named Jesus. Many a philosopher has dulled his intellectual blade upon this rock and many a powerful leader has tried to crush his message; but all have failed.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him
— Colossians 1: 15,16 NIV

He is our true north, our reason for being. Our goal must be to purge from us the lies that have entwined themselves about our souls and integrate truth into every area of our lives; especially our identities.

Total Wellness Resource Center is cosponsoring a workshop called Journey of Significance Saturday October 8th from 9-12 at Ascension Lutheran Church in Ranch Palos Verdes, CA. If you’d like to know more please click on the link below. We’d love to see you there!