written by Mick Ukleja

Harnessing the Power of Less

4 Ways Subtracting Choices Becomes a Plus

Who hasn’t been discouraged by lack of follow through or falling short of a desired goal or milestone? There are probably some good objective reasons why this occurred. But one that may go undetected is the surplus of options that we encounter. That might sound strange, for it seems at first glance that options are what allows us to choose well.

Research has shown that too many choices can lead to discouragement, frustration, and ultimately a failure. Fewer choices = better results.

What we label a “lack of willpower” could in fact be too many choices.

There is a famous experiment on the purchase of jams entitled When choice is demotivating. When too many choices of jams (24-30), were presented, sales plummeted. When the choices were limited to 6, sales increased.

This goes against the premise that is promoted in our modern information society. We talk about options as though they were the key to success and satisfaction. It’s a false assumption. We need information like we need food. Yet too much food leads to obesity. It’s time to ban

infobesity: the relentless feast of online information

We want more choices because information is addictive.  Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out and search. Dopamine makes you curious about ideas and fuels your search for more information.

It’s nice to have options. Having a few options is better than having none. But too many choices can cripple our ability to succeed. The researchers call it “choice overload.” Reducing our choices can be beneficial.

Here are 4 ways subtracting our choices can become a plus.

1.Fewer choices deliver more satisfaction. Variety is the spice of life, but only to an extent. Too much variety can sour life. Making choices with our values in mind helps point out where the spice of life ends and sourness begins. When “limiting our options” is guided by what is important to us, our options bring personal satisfaction. These become value-based options instead of a smorgasbord of choices.

2. Fewer choices create energy. Extensive choices can have demotivating consequences. When the options are fewer we are more energized to participate. This is true whether we are shopping, joining, investing, or goal setting. The never ending choices do more immobilizing than motivating.

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written by Mick Ukleja

3 Ways To Exercise Your Most Important Emotional Muscle

One of the most important muscles we have is the emotional muscle of gratitude.  Since it’s a muscle, how can we exercise it and make it stronger?

Webster defines “Contentment” as the choice to be at peace with yourself and at peace with the world around you.

Contentment doesn’t lead to apathy.  It leads to energy, where I feel more rather than just trying to feel better.

There is a reason why the religions of the world basically say that all there is, is all there is, and all there is — is enough.  The ancient Scriptures remind us of a contemporary truth – that if we cultivate discontentment instead of contentment, then no matter how much we accumulate or achieve, we will not be fulfilled or happy.

Interestingly enough, science has affirmed this truth. Being thankful leads to:

  • lower stress
  • stronger immune system
  • improved cardiovascular function
  • increased energy
  • less likelihood of depression
  • deeper sleep
  • stronger relationships
  • deeper sense of purpose
  • better coping strategies

Our culture tends to celebrate self-glorification. Therefore we set aside a day as a reminder to celebrate grateful hearts.  Gratitude lifts us above our own demands and broadens our peripheral vision so that we take delight in the gifts surrounding us.

How is this possible when there is so much suffering?

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written by Mick Ukleja

4 Ways To Make Friends With Your “Negative” Emotions

I was in my car hurrying to an appointment. It felt like I was hitting every stoplight. At one intersection the light finally turned “green” and the driver in front of me did not notice. What in “blazes” is wrong with them? Are they texting? Checking email? Or just “brain dead?” I “lightly” honked my horn. They finally got going, but it was too late for me to get through the light!! I HAD to wait for it to turn green again! I was upset.

Put yourself in that position. Would you be having an amygdala moment? The amygdala is that part of the brain that processes emotions known as “fright”, “flight”, or “fight.” It happens, doesn’t it? Everyday and in everyway, these little irritations (who left the cap off the toothpaste tube?), happen at work, at home, and in between.

The question is what would you do to calm yourself down? For many people, their emotions are mysterious and they don’t know what to do with them. Perhaps you have been modestly successful in dealing with them.

As children, most of us learned to avoid negative emotions. This was often the message we got from our families, and it has been a common experience to see it modeled by our parents and other adults as well. Add to this the message from culture, which implies that our negative emotions are unreliable. So often our strategy is to ignore them. However, they still persist.

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