Friday, 30 July 2010

The CORE SKILL of Resilience and How to Learn It Today

Face it, you're already a leader in some capacity in several aspects of your life.  You are now, you have been or you will be a leader at some point in your home, your workplace or in organizations you belong to.  

Leadership, and more specifically "Self-Leadership", is the key to attaining true Personal Resilience and all the benefits that flow from it: vibrant health, clear focus, great relationships, a sense of extraordinary well-being and fulfillment and all the rest.  So what is "Self-Leadership" anyway?  

Simply put, Self-Leadership is the CORE SKILL of Resilience itself and of any kind of leadership.  It's the ability to be the leader of your own life - to establish a clear direction in every area of your life, to establish the actions you're going to take to move in that direction and to execute those actions on a consistent basis.  

You've probably heard the expression "a born leader" so often you assume leadership is an innate quality - you've got it or you don't.  Wrong!  Ninety percent of leadership and therefore of Self-Leadership is learned.   And you can learn it, irrespective of your age, sex or temperament.

The following exercise is designed to set you firmly on the path towards acquiring genuine Self-Leadership.  You can start right now and make a phenomenal difference in the quality of your life over the next week using it.  Here's a hint for you... If you find yourself vacillating about what to write down or what to do, just force yourself to make a decision and to follow up on it over the next week.  You can always change your mind after that.  Force yourself to be decisive.

Also, you must do this exercise in writing.  So get out pen and paper or open a new document on your computer.


1.   Write one paragraph describing who you are, what values you stand for and what you want to be remembered for (time limit: 15 minutes)

2.  Describe your most important immediate goal in each area of your life - Health / Relationships / Career / Spiritual life (Time limit: 15 minutes)

3. In the coming week, what ONE action will you undertake in each of those areas to get you closer to your immediate goal for that area? (Time limit: 10 minutes)

4. In the coming week, what ONE challenge will you set for yourself to take you out of your comfort zone and build your resilience?  (Time limit: 10 minutes)

5. In the coming week, what will you read, watch and listen to in order to inspire you to adhere to your values, preserve your personal integrity, build your confidence, challenge yourself and benefit others? (Time limit: 15 minutes)

Go through this exercise, follow up consistently on what you promised yourself you would do and I guarantee your quality of life in the coming week will surprise and delight you.  And how will you know you've done it right?

Well, if you sit down and take stock of the coming week next Friday afternoon at, say, 5pm, and you find yourself thinking "Damn, this week was a great ride!", then you did it right.  

And the funny thing is, you'll be able to say that whether you were "successful" or not, whether you experienced victory or defeat or a bit of both.  As Robert Kiyosaki once put it, "Only losers think losing is bad."  If you take action, you can be defeated, but you can't "lose". 

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Life is a Game of Inches - Inspiring Video Clip

There's a disease that's running rampant these days.  Seems like 90% of the population is already infected and it's on the rise.   

...yet it goes unrecognized and unopposed.  Why?  Because it's a subtle disease of mind and attitude and stance toward life itself.

As with any disease, you need to know the symptoms.  When you see somebody who's desperately trying to avoid getting "bruised" by life, getting hurt in any way, you found an infected person.  If you ask a friend how they're doing and their answer is, "I'm coping," you've got another one.  When you see somebody who doesn't have the "self-discipline" to stick to a good diet or exercise program, there's a third one for you.  So just what is this disease of the mind?

It's a timid and defensive attitude toward life itself. 

Now turn up your speakers as Al Pacino gives you the diagnosis and the cure in his famous monologue.  Yeah, it's about football on the surface, but in fact it's a very profound message...

You see it in their faces... As Pacino says to his team, "We're in hell, gentlemen."  When we adopt a defensive attitude and "hope" things won't go badly, we're setting ourselves up for failure.  Deep down we're attracting that very failure to ourselves by our own weak and hesitant actions.  There's a reason the SAS adopted the motto "Who dares, wins" - it's a proven fact of life.  You'll see for yourself.  Once you DECIDE to become brave and dauntless in your pursuit of excellence, most of your obstacles will crumble before you.

"Life is a game of inches," he tells the team.  Yes.  And as he says, those inches you need are EVERYWHERE around you.  You really do have the time, energy and capability to make phenomenal progress.  We all do.  So why isn't that happening?  Well, it goes back to basing our life on not wanting to get hurt, on defensiveness, on love of comfort and ease.  Once we do that, we don't see these inches.  We find excuses not to eat well, exercise, meditate, pray, read, show affection to others, work for a cause greater than ourselves...  "I'm too tired."  "Maybe later"...

Unless we start using those "inches" of time and opportunity that life is constantly showering us with, we will indeed wake up one day and realize we're in hell - a hell of our own making.  In the words of a great spiritual master of the 20th century, unless we become determined to take action, the excuses coming from our love of comfort and ease will lull us into compromising our integrity until finally we're asleep on our feet.   

"You have to be willing to die for that inch... because that's what living is!"  If you're still concerned with your own fate, if you're still afraid of pain, then you'll never feel the real pulse of life within you.  That's why every ancient spiritual tradition taught its disciples to expect hardship, to toughen their bodies and minds, to be utterly fearless, to persevere... because.... can't actually SURRENDER to the wonder of life until you do.  That's right - if your stance toward life is untrusting and defensive, you can't possibly "surrender" and "bliss out".  First, you need to become that brave and dauntless person who seizes life by the throat.  You can't live unless you're willing to die at any moment - that's the unadulterated truth discovered and joyfully lived by countless people over dozens of centuries.  Base your life on this truth and you won't go wrong.  

So watch this a few times over the next few days, especially when you're feeling defeated or lethargic.  Snap yourself out of it and take action!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Fastest Way to Heal Emotional Traumas

Very few things cause as much pain in human life as the emotional traumas from our past.  Take Shannon, for example (not her real name).  An incident from her youth is preventing her from opening up sexually to her husband, from giving him the intimacy he or anyone would seek in their marriage.  Then there's Tim, the guy who's controlling personality makes his colleagues miserable and, again, it's a kind of defense mechanism from his past, one he refuses to deal with. 

As an Orthodox Christian priest, I can tell you we get people like this coming to us all the time.  Sometimes they sense the healing they can find through the tradition. More often, unfortunately, they're just as willing to settle for something to dull the pain or, even better, to explain it in noble terms as a "cross to bear" or a "sacrifice". 

The truth, though, is that until these folks face reality and make a commitment to their own inner healing, they'll never be able to nurture fulfilling relationships, to understand what love is really about or to have any kind of spiritual life that's not pure delusion. 

And, let's be candid, you and I are not much different from Shannon and Tim.  True, our neuroses may not be as serious or obvious as theirs, but unless we face them and allow the healing process to take place within our mind-body organism, we'll still face some pretty undesirable consequences in our lives.  

So the big question is.... how do we heal our past emotional traumas???

Welcome to Energy Psychology!

Energy Psychology is an emerging field of study that’s turning conventional psychology on its head. I don’t know how many psychology PhDs I’ve met that told me something like, “No, I didn’t believe these energy methods would work, but then my clients started using them and got better results in 15 minutes than I could get for them in 15 months using conventional methods.”

The 2 methods that I've recommended in the past and found startling results with were the now well-known Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and the newer and less well-known Be Set Free Fast (BSFF). These are two very different approaches, yet each has been clinically proven very effective and the beauty of them is that once you know either method, you can treat yourself anywhere, anytime in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

What kind of results do they get? At the very least, they loosen the grip of the “killer thought” that’s afflicting you to such an extent that you can finally function freely outside its grasp for a considerable time. It may return, but then you just “zap it” again. However, if you use either of these methods to their full extent over time, you can actually eliminate your negative conditioning permanently!

My Number One Choice:

Naturally, clients often ask me which method they should learn and how to do that. My first choice is Dr. Carol Look’s latest EFT approach, called “A Vibrational Approach to Healing Pain and Illness.”

Carol is one of the top instructors in EFT worldwide and this product encapsulates her latest and most effective approach to healing the emotional traumas of your past. You may not relate to the “killer thoughts” holding you back as “traumas”, but as far as your body is concerned that’s exactly what they are. They are powerful emotional responses “frozen” into particular parts of your body’s tissues and its energy system, in exactly the same way this happens with the physical trauma of a car accident, for instance.

Now the question is, after using numerous variations of EFT, BSFF and other approaches, why would I tell my clients to start with this particular product? It’s like this: with all the other approaches I personally did experience results and relief. However, Carol’s newest EFT approach embodied in this particular product is the only one that gave me resolution. Let me explain.

As an internationally known personal development coach, I’ve used ancient methods from Tai Chi and Qi Gong to create deep states of relaxation and do away with some traumatic stress and anxiety I was conditioned with in my childhood. However, there was one particular fear of phobia that I just could not dislodge no matter how hard I tried. Other energy psychology approaches lessened the discomfort for a few hours at a time, but the wretched feeling would always come back.

Then came Dr. Carol Look’s approach. After using it to treat this particular phobia for an hour or so, it was gone, disappeared. Imagine my shock – something unpleasant I had just had to live with for decades was suddenly not there. Freedom!

And I didn’t see hide nor hair of it for several months. Then the first time I felt it coming back, albeit in a much weakened form, I just laughed, saying, “I’m glad you’re back. Ever since I ran your ass out of town a few months back I’ve been looking forward to this rematch!”

You see, I was used to running and hiding from this phobia and I’d feel a kind of terror when I felt it coming on – kind of like being afraid of fear. Not fun. After using Carol’s method, though, I felt the opposite. I now had for the first time a total confidence in the face of my enemy, a feeling that can only be described with the words, “Bring it on!”

So if you want to live life to the full, to find real inner freedom and the world of possibilities that's closed to you unless you have that, it’s time to zap all the traumas, fears and self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back. And, in my personal experience, Dr. Carol Look’s “A Vibrational Approach to Healing Pain and Illness” is the absolute tops. 

And you can find it here:

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Summer: the Key to Building Your Personal Resilience (Part 2)

(There's a special breathing exercise for you at the end, but read the whole thing first!)

Last time I talked a bit about how and why to use the summer months to work on certain aspects of your fitness, aspects that are far easier to work on with the higher ambient temperatures. 

(Speaking of higher ambient temperature, the reason I'm inside writing this and not out enjoying the bright sunny day is that the humidex in Ottawa today is 44C / 111F.  "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.")

Anyway, I digress.  There are also lots of other ways you can build your personal RESILIENCE most easily at this time of year, so let's take a look at them:


Switching your diet around to include more freshly grown fruits and vegetables can significantly boost your intake of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and more.  In addition, the energetic or "qi" content of these foods is far superior, giving your immune system a much needed boost.

And including more "cooling" foods in your diet - including most fruits and veggies, as well as cooling herbs like fresh mint (my garden's overrun with the stuff) - will help your metabolism to function most effectively in the hot weather.  Also, these foods require far less energy for your body to digest than do heavier foods like red meat, so you benefit from that as well.

One easy way to include more cooling foods is to make smoothies.  Here's an excellent site for smoothie recipes:


Since your body doesn't need to devote a lot of resources to keeping your core temperature warm in the summer, this season is ideal for doing a cleanse.  If you've ever done a cleanse in the winter, on the other hand, and especially one that cut down your food intake, you know firsthand how cold you get without the food you're used to.

Your body also detoxifies naturally during the summer.  Since your skin is a major organ of elimination and you're exposing more of it to the air, and since you're sweating more, toxin removal is much more efficient.  Some of the best cleanses we know of (and that I've used myself) can be found here:

Sunshine, Energy and Immunity:

In Chinese medicine, summer corresponds to the high point of Yang energy in the Yin-Yang cycle.  Yang stands for a strong, positive, hot and expanding type of energy, and as the world around you becomes more Yang, so does your body. 

In other words, your body's energy tends to become expansive and radiate outward, whereas in winter the opposite was true, since your body was automatically conserving its energy.  This is actually good news, since it means that in the summer your body automatically recharges your "wei qi", which is the type of qi that forms a barrier around you against harmful pathogens and other intruders.  What can you do to help this process along? 

One way is to make sure you get enough sun exposure.  Yes, there's a ton on information out there about how bad the sun is for you, how it will give you skin cancer, wrinkle your skin and probably fog your i-pod.  Personally, I really don't buy it.  Yes, you should be cautious about sun exposure, but cautious is not paranoid.  Baring your skin to the sun helps replenish your body's vitamin D reserves and you may need those reserves in winter, when sunlight is harder to come by and when you're so bundled up the sun can't get to you anyway.  Here's one expert's take on the whole "sun causes skin cancer" spiel that might interest you:

Emotional Cleansing:

Lots more sunlight has a very positive effect on the human psyche, as we all know from experience.  You can magnify the effect by making a decision to work on positive emotions over the summer: simply decide now to stay in a "headspace" of positive expectation, of gratitude, of generosity and kindness, and you'll see results pretty quickly. 

You can also decide to learn an emotional healing technique over the summer, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Be Set Free Fast (BSFF).  You may even get bold enough with these tools to take on some of your inner demons and turf them out ;-)

A Breathing Exercise for You:

(Always get your physician's approval for undertaking physical exercises such as this.  Contraindications include some chronic conditions, cardio-vascular disease, high blood pressure, as well as pregnancy.)

If you'd like to use the summer to detoxify naturally, accumulate more qi, calm your emotions and improve your life in nealy every way, try this:

  1. Go for a walk
  2. As you walk, pay attention to your breath... watch it come in and go out naturally as you breathe through your nose
  3. As you inhale, feel the breath descend to your lower abdomen, a few centimeters / inches below your navel. 
  4. As you exhale, just watch the breath exit through your nose
  5. After you've done this for a while and gotten used to it, pay attention to the sensations on various areas of your body as you inhale.  Feel energy entering your body at various points and gathering at your lower abdomen
  6. As you exhale, feel the energy you've taken in expand from your lower abdomen outward only as far as the surface of your skin
This is a walking meditation from ancient Taoist sources.  It's very relaxing, reintegrates your mind and body and improves your immune system too.  Just don't get so absorbed in it that you forget to watch for traffic!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Summer: the Key to Building Your Personal Resilience (Part 1)

Well, I don't know what your weather is like today, but here in Ottawa, Canada (officially the planet's second coldest national capital), it's 28 C / 82 F and with the humidity if feels like 39 C or 102 degrees F. 

So summer is definitely here!  And despite the heat and humidity, summer is very important to building your personal resilience.  The key is knowing how and why. 


On the most elementary level, summer is great for fitness.  You're likely to spend more time outdoors, even if that's just walking, gardening or soaking up rays at the beach.  One area where it's easy to make huge fitness gains in the summer is the flexibility of your connective tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fasciae) and your joints.  You see, the higher ambient temperatures make your body more pliable, so it's easier to stretch and there's less likelihood of injury when you do.  So if you've ever thought about improving the range of motion of any part of your body, summer is the time!

One person I know plans to increase his flexibility enough over the summer to be able to sit comfortably in the full lotus posture by September.  I've known others, especially martial artists and other athletes, who wanted to work up to the splits (or at least closer to it ;-).  All this brings up the key question - why should you care about improving your flexibility?

For starters, flexibility training will help protect your soft tissues and especially your joints from injury - in other words, minor mishaps that would previously have injured your knee, twisted your ankle or thrown your back out are no longer such a threat.  Flexibility training will also improve your blood circulation, as well as your energy (qi) circulation, giving you better health and more vitality.  And finally, stretching is a natural detox, something we'll talk about more in a later post. 

Here's a great resource for you on flexibility:

Needless to say, it's also a great time to start a Hatha Yoga program, since the yogic stretching and postures (asanas) will be easier.  The same applies to certain types of Qi Gong.  Whatever kind of stretching you use, though, just be sure to warm up first and build slowly.  Increased flexibility can make a big difference in how you feel phyically and emotionally, so you'll be glad you did.

Fitness in General over the Summer:

Summer is also a great time for strength training, simply because there's less chance of injury to the joints and soft tissues, given the higher temparatures.  Is it a better time for cardio than other seasons, though?  Well, the jury is out on that.  Some point out how much easier and safer it is to go running in the summer than with snow and ice under foot.  Granted, but on the other hand, high heat and humitiy can be a serious hazard for runners in the summer.

One great thing to do in the summer is to change your fitness routine to make it season-specific, to take advantage of what's more easily available in the summer, such as cycling, swimming and more. 

So I'd encourage you to use the summer to build up your resilience in ways the season itself can help you with.  Next time, we'll go on to look at some other resilience-building activities best done in the summer. 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger