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Humble people are by definition influence-able—influences are an important and inevitable part of who each of us is. The key distinction is this:. Or are your influences themselves actually in your brain, masquerading as inner you? Do you want the same thing someone else you know wants because you heard them talk about it, you thought about it alongside your own life experience, and you eventually decided that, for now, you agree? The former is what chefs do.

And a robot is what you become when at some point you get the idea in your head that someone else is more qualified to be you than you are. The good news is that all humans make this mistake—and you can fix it. Getting to know your real self is super hard and never complete. Even our conscious mind knows these yearnings well, because they frequently make their way upstairs into our thoughts. These are the parts of us we have a healthy relationship with.


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Sometimes new parts of us are born only to be immediately locked up in prison as part of a denial of our own evolution—i. But there are other times when a part of us is in Denial Prison because someone else locked it up down there. In the case of your yearnings, some of them will have been put there by whatever masked intruder had been taking its place. At some point during your childhood, he threw your passion for carpentry into a dark, dank Denial Prison cell. Leave them for another time—right now, search for locked-away career-related yearnings.

Or a desire to be famous that your particular tribe has shamed you out of. Or a deep love of long blocks of free, open leisure time that your hornier, greedier teenage self kicked downstairs in favor of a raging ambition. The other part of our Yearning Octopus audit will address the hierarchy of your yearnings. The octopus contains anything that could make you want or not want to pursue a certain career, and the reverse side of each yearning is its accompanying fear of the opposite.

The reverse side of your yearning to be admired is a fear of embarrassment. The other half of your craving of self-esteem is a fear of feeling shame. What looks like a determined drive for success, for example, might actually be someone running away from a negative self-image or trying to escape feelings like envy or under-appreciation.

The person doing the ranking is you —the little center of consciousness reading this post who can observe your octopus and look at it objectively. This involves another kind of compromise. To get all of this in order, we want a good system. You can play around with what works for you—I like the idea of a shelf:. This divides things into five categories. The absolutely highest priority inner drives get to go in the extra special non-negotiable bowl. The bowl is small because it should be used very sparingly—if at all. Like maybe only one thing gets it. Or maybe two or three.

Too many things in the NN bowl cancels out its power, making that the same as having nothing in the bowl at all. Shelf placement is as much about de-prioritizing as it is about prioritizing. This is inevitable. The middle shelf is good for those not-so-noble qualities in you that you decide to accept. They deserve some of your attention. Most of the rest will end up on the bottom shelf.

Likewise, the fewer yearnings you put on the top shelf, the more likely those on the top shelf will be to thrive. Your time and energy are severely limited, so this is a zero-sum compromise. The amateur mistake is to be too liberal with the NN bowl and top shelf and too sparing with the large bottom shelf.

But like the rest of your hierarchy decisions, your criteria for what qualifies as trash should be derived from your own deep thought, not from what others tell you is and is not trash. Yearnings and fears are impatient and bad at seeing the big picture. Many of the people who have done wonders to make the world better got there on a path that started with selfish motives like wealth or personal fulfillment—motives their moral tentacle probably hated at first. The Want Box deals with what you find desirable.

The Reality Box is the same deal. The goal of self-reflection is to bring both of these boxes as close to accuracy as possible. For our Want Box audit, we looked under the hood of the Want Box and found its settings—your yearnings and fears. When we open the hood of your Reality Box, we see a group of beliefs.

For a career option to qualify for your Reality Box, your potential in that career area has to measure up to the objective difficulty of achieving success in that area. There are traditional careers—stuff like medicine or law or teaching or a corporate ladder, etc. Then there are less traditional careers—the arts, entrepreneurship, non-profit work, politics, etc.

These are perfectly reasonable assumptions—if you live in A general conception, a common opinion, an oft-cited statistic 7 —none of which have actually been verified by you, but all of which are treated as gospel by society. These problems then extend to how we view our own potential. These are only a few examples of the slew of delusions and misconceptions we tend to have about how great careers happen. I have no idea, mostly. And I think most people have no idea. Things are just changing too quickly. If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using conventional wisdom as their instruction booklet.

Pretty stressful, but also incredibly exciting. A career path is like a game board. This is promising news. If you simply understand what the game board really looks like and play by modern rules, you have a huge advantage. And this brings us to you and your particular strengths. With enough time, could you get good enough at this game to potentially reach whatever your definition of success is in that career?

The distance starts with where you are now—point A—and ends with you reaching your definition of success, which we can draw with a star. The length of the distance depends on where point A is how far along you are at the current moment and where the star is how lofty your definition of success is. But the game boards in less traditional careers often involve many more factors. Acting ability is only one piece of that puzzle—you also need a knack for getting yourself in front of people with power, a shrewdness for personal branding, an insane amount of optimism, a ridiculous amount of hustle and persistence, etc.

If you get good enough at that whole game—every component of it—your chances of becoming an A-list movie star are actually pretty high. So how do you figure out your chances of getting to any particular star? What makes someone slower or faster at improving at a career game? Your level of chefness. Careers are complex games that almost everyone starts off bad at—then the chefs improve rapidly through a continual loop…. Your work ethic. This one is obvious. Someone who works on their career 60 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, is going to move down the path almost four times faster than someone who works 20 hours a week, 40 weeks a year.

Someone who chooses a balanced lifestyle will move slower than a single-minded workaholic. Someone who frequently breaks from work to daydream or pick up their phone is going to get less done in each work hour than someone who practices deep focus. Your natural abilities. Talent does matter. Smarter, more talented people will improve at a game at a faster rate than less naturally gifted people. But intelligence and talent are only two types of natural ability that come into play here.

Depending on the type of career, social skills can be critically important as well. In many careers, likable or subtly manipulative people have a big advantage over less likable people—and those who enjoy socializing will put in more people hours over time, and build deeper relationships, than antisocial types. Persistence is simpler than pace. A car going 30 mph that quits driving after 15 minutes gets a lot less far than a car that drives 10 mph for two hours.

And this is why persistence is so important. A few years is just not enough time to traverse the typically long distances it takes to get to the raddest success stars, no matter how impressive your pace.

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Your Real Strengths and W eaknesses. When we list our strengths, we tend to list our areas of existing skill more than anything else. Instead, strengths should be all about pace and persistence qualities. Originality or lack thereof should be a critical component of the discussion, making qualities like agility and humility trademark chef traits notable strengths, and qualities like stubbornness 8 or intellectual laziness classic cook traits important weaknesses.

The subtleties of work ethic, like a knack for deep focus or a propensity to procrastinate, should also be a major part of the discussion, as should natural abilities beyond talent, like savvy and likability. Qualities related to persistence, like resilience and determination and patience, should be thought of as promising strengths, while a social tentacle clamoring to appear successful as quickly as possible should be viewed as a bright red flag.

This lesson applies to specific skills—but most general pace and persistence qualities can also be worked on and improved if you focus on them. This would be an impossibly big list, only ruling out paths that are clearly far too long for you to traverse at your maximum possible pace on the path like me chasing a career as an Olympic figure skater.

To complete our Reality Box audit with that caveat, we need to evaluate:. For those paths, evaluate your starting point, based on your current skills, resources, and connections relevant to that field. Think about end points and where on each line your star should be placed.

Make an initial estimate for what your pace of improvement might be on these various game boards, based on your current pace-related strengths and how much you think you can improve at each of them in other words, how much your speed might be able to accelerate. You take your game board and make it a line, you plot starting points and success stars that together generate the various distances in front of you, and for each, you multiply your pace by your level of persistence. A from-first-principles Reality Box audit may bring some overly optimistic people down to Earth, but I suspect that for most, an audit will leave them feeling like they have a lot more options than they realized, empowering them to set their sights on a bolder direction.

A good Reality Box reflection warrants yet another Want Box reflection. Reframing a bunch of career paths in your mind will affect your level of yearning for some of them. One career may seem less appealing after reminding yourself that it will entail thousands of hours of networking or multiple decades of pre-success struggle.

Another may seem less daunting after changing your mind about how much luck is actually involved. This brings us to the end of our long, two-part deep dive. After a fairly exhausting box-auditing process, we can return to our Venn 10 diagram. Assuming some things have changed, you have a new Option Pool to look at—a new list of options on the table that seem both desirable to your high-priority rankings and possible to achieve.

If there had been a clear arrow on your map before your audit, check out your new Option Pool.


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  4. Remember, going from a false arrow to a question mark is always major progress in life. And actually, a new question mark implies having made the key cliff jump on two roller coasters: getting to know yourself and getting to know the world. It addresses the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, steps to take when concerned about students, and ways to create a school environment that discourages disordered eating.

    The BodyWise materials seek to connect healthy eating, positive body image, and acceptance of size diversity with favorable learning outcomes. They also encourage school personnel to view disordered eating and eating disorders not in isolation, but in the broader context of health and risk-taking behaviors. Studies in the last decade show that some disordered eating behaviors are related to other health risk behaviors, including tobacco use, alcohol use, marijuana use, delinquency, unprotected sexual activity, and suicide attempts.

    The handbook includes four sections:. You are encouraged to reproduce the materials in the BodyWise packet and distribute them to other school personnel, parents, and students. Pre- and early adolescence is a time of physical and psychological change. As young people grow into adulthood, they begin to express their unique identities. Dramatic physical changes — increases in height, weight gains, and sexual maturation — are often accompanied by mood swings, wavering self-esteem, and intense peer pressure.

    During these years, young people become increasingly concerned with their appearance. They are exposed to media messages — in music, television, and advertising — that often promote the ideal female body as thin and the ideal male body as muscular. Young people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are subject to the influences of the dominant culture. As a result, boys and girls may adopt extreme forms of exercise and bodybuilding. As their bodies are developing, students may experience teasing or negative comments about their body size or shape from family or friends.

    Some may encounter sexual or racial discrimination or harassment. Consequently, they may feel shame, dissatisfaction, embarrassment, rejection, or even hatred toward their growing bodies. Young people may use food as a way of coping with these types of stresses and other pressures in their lives. Some students may attempt to gain a sense of control by carefully regulating what they eat — eating only certain foods or eating very little.

    Body dissatisfaction, fear of fat, being teased, dieting, and using food to deal with stress are major risk factors associated with disordered eating. My parents were weird. I raised my hand too often at school. Then, at age 10, it seemed I woke up to a body that filled the room. Men were staring at me, and the sixth-grade boys snapped the one bra in the class.

    Munching chips. Talking to the dog. Staring out the window. Eating macaroni. Eating soup. I just stopped eating and I weighed myself all the time. This went on through fourth and fifth grades. Disordered eating refers to troublesome eating behaviors, such as restrictive dieting, bingeing, or purging, which occur less frequently or are less severe than those required to meet the full criteria for the diagnosis of an eating disorder.

    It can also mean eating too much, ignoring natural feelings of fullness. In contrast, normal eating is controlled by an internal system that regulates the balance between food intake and energy expenditures — so that a person usually eats when hungry and stops when full and satisfied. Normal eating is flexible and includes eating for pleasure and social reasons. In normal eating, a person follows regular habits — typically eating three meals a day and snacks to satisfy hunger. Normal eating provides nourishment for the body, increasing energy and strength, and enhancing health and feelings of wellbeing.

    Students engaged in disordered eating may move back and forth across a continuum, returning to normal eating after bouts of dieting or binge eating. Disordered eating can also be an early warning sign of an eating disorder. Susceptible individuals may go on to develop an eating disorder from which they cannot recover alone.

    Eating disorders have both mental and physical components that have serious medical consequences that can disrupt growth and development. Illnesses such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, are among the key health issues affecting adolescents and young adults. Nine out of every 10 cases are found among girls and young women. All socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups are affected. Approximately 1 out of every adolescent girls develops anorexia nervosa, a dangerous condition in which people can literally starve themselves to death.

    They have an intense and overpowering fear of body fat and weight gain. Another 2 to 5 out of every young women develop bulimia nervosa, a pattern of eating followed by behaviors such as vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics water pills , or over-exercising to rid the body of the food or calories consumed. Binge eating disorder, characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating, is probably the most common eating disorder.

    It occurs in 10 to 15 percent of mildly obese people. Overexercising, often practiced by people who have anorexia and bulimia, is exercising frequently, intensely, or compulsively for long periods of time, primarily to compensate for food eaten recently or to be eaten in the near future. A person who over-exercises might display one or more of the following characteristics:.

    Overexercising is of particular concern when accompanied by disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, fear of fat, or obsession with weight and food. I ate the whole bag — and then half a package of chocolate-covered graham crackers. I was so sick, I threw up. So I stuck my finger down my throat. It was so easy to keep my behavior a secret. And I worked out at least 2 hours every day. Many studies show that disordered eating behaviors begin as early as 8 years of age, with complaints about body size or shape.

    The Harvard Eating Disorders Center HEDC reports that in a study of children ages 8 to 10 , approximately half of the girls and one-third of the boys were dissatisfied with their size. Many individuals with clinically diagnosed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa remember being teased or recall that their problems first began when they started dieting.

    While only a small percentage of people who diet or express body dissatisfaction develop eating disorders, the beginning of an eating disorder typically follows a period of restrictive dieting, a form of disordered eating for youth. Binge eating disorder is a newly recognized condition that affects millions of people. People with binge eating disorder have varying degrees of obesity. Most have a long history of repeated efforts to diet and feel desperate about their difficulty in controlling food intake.

    Binge eating behaviors can begin during childhood. The middle-school years — grades five, six, and seven — are opportune times to recognize and discourage disordered eating behaviors. They can also trigger a full-blown eating disorder in a susceptible individual that requires intensive treatment. This section summarizes key information for school personnel, which has been organized into six main messages:. These messages form the core of the BodyWise initiative and are included in the BodyWise information sheets. Undernourished students are hungry. Being hungry — experienced by everyone on occasion-causes irritability, decreased ability to concentrate, nausea, headache, and lack of energy.

    Students with disordered eating behaviors may experience these sensations every day. Those who attend school hungry have diminished attention spans and may be less able to perform tasks as well as their nourished peers. The effects of short-term fasting on academic performance are well documented. When students are not eating well, they can become less active and more apathetic, and interact less with their surrounding environment. In addition, undernourished students are tired and more vulnerable to illness.

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    They are more likely to be absent from school. Undernourished students may be preoccupied with thoughts of food and weight. Students with eating disorders share some of the same physical and psychological symptoms as people who have experienced starvation. For example, preoccupation with food was documented in the Minnesota Human Starvation study 12 and, more recently, has been observed in clinical practices with regard to eating disorders.

    We found that people with anorexia nervosa report 90 to per-cent of their waking time is spent thinking about food, weight, and hunger; an additional amount of time is spent dreaming of food or having sleep disturbed by hunger. People with bulimia nervosa report spending about 70 to 90 percent of their total conscious time thinking about food and weight-related issues.

    In addition, people with disordered eating, may spend about 20 to 65 percent of their waking hours thinking about food. By comparison, women with normal eating habits will probably spend about 10 to 15 percent of waking time thinking about food, weight, and hunger. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are classified as psychiatric illnesses. The development of eating disorders involves a complex interaction of factors including personality, genetics, environment familial, social, and cultural , and biochemistry.

    The National Institute of Mental Health NIMH reports that many people with eating disorders share certain characteristics such as low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and fear of becoming fat. Eating behaviors in people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder seem to develop as a way of handling stress and anxieties. Some researchers believe that people with anorexia nervosa restrict food to gain a sense of control in some area of their lives.

    Young people with this disease often follow the wishes of others. As a result, they do not learn how to cope with the problems typical of adolescence, growing up, and becoming independent. Controlling their weight may appear to offer two advantages, at least initially: they can take control of their bodies and gain approval from others. People who develop bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder typically consume huge amounts of food — often junk food — to reduce stress and relieve anxiety.

    Feelings of guilt and depression tend to accompany binge eating, while individuals with bulimia nervosa are impulsive and more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. Genetic, behavioral, environmental, and biochemical factors all play a role in the development of eating disorders.

    Eating disorders appear to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors may predispose some people to eating disorders. However, other influences may also play a role. In addition, girls with eating disorders often have fathers and brothers who are overly critical of their weight. Some researchers link an increase in the rate of disordered eating to increased pressures on women by the mass media, fashion, and diet industry to pursue thinness.

    Eating disorders have serious physical consequences that can begin during adolescence. Adolescence is a time of rapid growth and development. Approximately 90 percent of adult bone mass will be established during adolescence. An extended period of starvation or semistarvation stunts growth, can delay the onset of menstruation, and can damage vital organs such as the heart and brain. One in 10 cases of anorexia nervosa leads to death from starvation, cardiac arrest, other medical complications, or suicide. The vomiting that often accompanies bulimia can erode tooth enamel and damage the esophagus.

    Using laxatives as a form of purging can result in stomach and colon damage. Both anorexia and bulimia can cause fluid and electrolyte abnormalities, including dehydration and a deficiency in potassium resulting in muscle weakness, irritability, apathy, drowsiness, mental confusion, and irregular heartbeat. The major complications caused by binge eating disorder are the diseases that accompany obesity, such as heart disease, high blood pres-sure, diabetes, gall bladder disease, and certain types of cancer.

    Students engaged in disordered eating behaviors are not well nourished. Preadolescents need highly nutritious foods to support their rapidly growing and developing bodies. However, students with disordered eating behaviors are likely to consume much less than the recommended daily allowances of many essential nutrients. During adolescence, young people often experience variations in height and weight. A girl or boy who puts on weight before having a growth spurt in height may look plump, while a student who grows taller but not heavier may appear rather thin.

    These changes should not necessarily be viewed as signs or symptoms of an eating disorder. Students with any of these characteristics may be at an increased risk for developing an eating disorder. You may also want to look for other signs and symptoms of eating disorders, such as those listed [in the following section]. Proof is not necessary — having a concern that something may be wrong is enough to initiate a conversation with the student or a family member. School personnel should look for signs of possible problems and act immediately. Fortunately, advances in technology and science allow us to visibly and immediately experience the effects of our thoughts.

    Just like watching an apple fall through the air, there are experiments that demonstrate the immediate effects of thoughts and feelings. Believe it or not, there are volumes of scientific evidence to prove that our thoughts alone have immediate and tangible effects on ourselves and the environment around us. Meditation Experiment. A group of 4, people volunteered to meditate on peace and love to reduce the amount of crime in the high-crime Washington, DC area.

    A team of scientists and researchers approached the project without bias and tested for every variable imaginable. In , a study was conducted on year old men to see the difference between remembering youth fondly and actually reliving youth. One group talked and reminisced about their younger days while the other group actually pretended to be young, surrounding themselves with TV shows, music and activities of their youth. At the end of the experiment, those who imagined they were physically younger showed signs of de-aging.

    Blood pressure was lowered, arthritis was diminished, and even eyesight and hearing in this control group improved. By simply imagining themselves younger, some physical aging was actually reversed. Their thoughts made this happen. The Water Experiments. The most famous experiment that proves the power of thought was carried out by Dr. Masaru Emoto. He photographed frozen water crystals after thoughts of love and peace or hate and fear were projected onto them. Sometimes the intentions were spoken out loud, while other times the intentions were merely thought.

    The results were always the same. Messages of hope, peace, love, joy and the like resulted in beautiful, symmetrical crystals, while messages of fear, hate, anger, sadness and the like resulted in disjointed and broken crystals. His experiments proved that our intentions can physically alter the world around us. The Law of Attraction is a universal principle that is already working in your life. Start intentionally thinking about what you want to attract into your life — such as money, love and relationships, health and spirituality — to make the Law of Attraction work for you.

    Financial abundance is the number one reason people become interested in the Law of Attraction. Working tirelessly for small paychecks is exhausting and when life starts throwing unexpected expenses your way, debt can seem inevitable. The good news is that Law of Attraction money is easy to come by. Many people report unexpected checks, seemingly random job opportunities and even literally finding money as some of the first results when working with the Law of Attraction. The second most popular reason people seek information about the Law of Attraction is to find true love. Luckily, the Law of Attraction is a great tool for finding love.


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    Because the Law of Attraction means working on yourself and your desires, it inherently makes you a more attractive person with a clear vision of what you want and need in your life. Because the Law of Attraction works with thoughts and thoughts affect our physical reality, you may be attracting poor health into your life right now without even realizing it. A good attitude goes a long way to improving your health, and the Law of Attraction can help you take that even further.

    By its very nature, the Law of Attraction connects you with higher, spiritual planes of existence. When you start practicing the techniques, you begin to see beyond the mundane, ordinary world. A new, brighter world opens up to you that is brimming with possibility. Many people find a spiritual awakening in those possibilities. Connecting with the rhythms of the universe and opening up to new potentials awakens the spiritual force inside you that is connected to everything around you. The Law of Attraction demonstrates that you are connected to everything and everything is connected to you.

    There are endless things you can attract in your life. The possibilities for attraction with the Law of Attraction are only limited by your imagination. Start thoughtfully. The foundation of the Law of Attraction is to believe that it actually works. Try out the techniques on small things first.

    To get a feel for how the law can work in your life, choose something minor that seems possible. If you have your doubts, test it out with something simple — this is your first step to master the Law of Attraction! Once the result happens, it will reaffirm your belief in the Law of Attraction and you can move on to something bigger. Deciding what you want is the first and most critical step in the Law of Attraction. You need a really clear vision of your desire.

    Make it real in your mind. Imagine how it will change your world. When you engage in full, sensory imagination, your brain fires up your body to move forward. Taking part in this imagination exercise, you align yourself with your desires. Open up to the possibilities and prepare your body to receive whatever it is you are attempting to attract. It may seem simple, but this first step is what paves the way to working with the energies of the Law of Attraction. Those deep, subconscious fears and doubts send messages loud and clear too. Think of it as a radio signal. As you scan through the radio, in-between stations fight for a signal.

    Most people are pretty familiar with this experience. In the same manner, when you experience doubt or fear, those thoughts and feelings interrupt and compete with your desires. The only effective method for combating fears and doubts is to become aware of them, acknowledge them and approach them with love and compassion. You experience those feelings for a deep-seated reason. Something someone told you, or the result of something you did, made you feel unworthy. This step is important because those competing signals can be quite strong. But you can weaken the signal or change the direction of those thoughts like this:.

    Approach those feelings with the love and compassion that you would feel towards a lonely, small child or a hurt animal. When you love yourself, you open up the possibility to receive your greatest desires, and you begin to only desire the things that are best for you. Addressing your fears and doubts is important.

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    First, think about the bad things in your life right now. Can you see connections to your fears, doubts and old patterns that led those things into your life? Focus on understanding your part in this overall process, rather than feeling guilty or ashamed. Recognizing how your fears have manifested in your life does not mean that the bad things in your life are your fault. It simply means that the Law of Attraction has responded to the signal you sent out. Just acknowledge that the system works and your new awareness will guide you.

    No need to shame yourself or even feel responsible. Next, think of all the great things in your life. Reflect upon how your hopes, dreams, and ambition attracted those good things to you. Reinforce in your mind how, when you believe something can happen, it does.