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The consequences of low self esteem are brutal, disturbing and disgusting. I can’t say it any softer than that. There are alarming trends these days that need to be address right now.  We cannot wait another single day.

The statistics tell us all we need to know:

  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
  • 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
  • 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in younger adolescents in the US (10–14 year olds).

Yea, I know, unbelievable but I prefer to describe these statistics as UNACCEPTABLE! There are many, many reasons why this is happening but that is not the question we should be asking. Instead, we should be asking “How can we make a difference in these kid’s lives?” I believe one of the things we can do to have the biggest impact with our kids is to teach them how to develop high self esteem.

There is one really good example that I learned from Jack Canfield to teach self esteem and I use it all the time. While don’t recall the exact wording, it was something like this. If someone walked up to you and said, “you have blue hair” when in fact it is brown, you would laugh it off and ignore them or think they were crazy. However, if on the other hand, someone comes up to you and said, “you are insensitive, mean, ugly and disgusting.” you might feel a little annoyed or even angry. So what is the difference? Here’s the key: It’s not what the person said to that made you angry, it is what you are telling yourself when they stop talking. This is a very powerful lesson and it is for that reason I use it so often.

Here are 5 ways to increase kid’s self esteem (and our own too!):

  1. Eliminate Perfection – This lofty goal only sets us up for failure. There is no need to be perfect and you know, it’s perfect that we are not perfect! We need to teach kids (and ourselves) to do the best that we can given the skills we have in the moment. Sure, I would have done a lot of things differently as a kid if I only knew then what I know now. That is one of the primary reasons why I teach kids these lessons so it will have a major impact on their lives moving forward. One clarification, I did say do the best we can but that does not mean not putting forth the appropriate effort.
  2. Track Negative Thinking – One of the main issues of low self esteem is a very strong negative outlook on ourselves and life in general. A simple technique I used for quite some time was tracking my negative thinking. I even designed a kids version in my latest book STINKIN’ THINKIN’ STINKS as well as added the exercise Take Out Your STINKIN’ Trash on this website to help others. When you become aware of negative thinking, you can do something about it. The problem is that most of our negative thinking is unconscious and is actually what we are using to make decisions daily.
  3. Set Simple Goals – I know, I know, setting goals, how boring is that? Well let me tell you, it is one of the best ways to build self esteem. The goals I am talking about are not huge goals, but more of stepping stone goals. Start off small, build some success and start feeling better about our accomplishments. This builds momentum and encourages us to set another goal. With each achievement comes with it more momentum.
  4. Practice Kindness – One of the easiest ways to increase your self esteem is to practice kindness. Helping and being of assistance to others helps us feel good about ourselves and that is precisely what self esteem is for. Did you know that this current website was built around kindness? I actually designed the full site around a kindness meter on the homepage. Check it out when you have a chance.
  5. Do the Right Thing – There is a book I read that was simply amazing. It is called The Four Agreements and it really puts things into perspective for me. It was so simple. After reading it, I decided to use these four agreements in my life but I also added a fifth one, Do the Right Thing. By this I mean that we know what the right thing to do is most of the time. A lot of times it means doing the much harder thing but when you practice doing what you feel is right, you will certainly build a higher self esteem.

When you incorporate these 5 ways of building self esteem in your life and the kids you know, everyone will feel better about themselves. Sometimes it is the simple things that make the biggest difference in our lives. Start with one of the five ways and see if it makes a difference in your life. If it does, then practice more of it and teach it to children. They deserve it because they are all special and lovable.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” –George Eliot
With gratitude and peace,
Bill

TonyRobbins_ContributeOne of my very favorite Tony Robbins posts is as follows: “It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives.” I learned this for real after spending about 10 years submerged into self-help for myself. All was great with me, new job, new career, new town, happy family but something was missing. When I learned to ask a different question, “How may I serve?” it literally changed my life. I wrote my first book in 3 days while writing for 15 straight hours for 3 consecutive days. If you would have told me when I was younger I would be an author, I would have told you that you were simply crazy. No way would I have ever entertained that thought. It wasn’t until I asked that different question.

With all of the bullying that is going on around the world, we need to ask ourselves a different question. When I read about an adolescent here in the DFW area committed suicide in the middle school, I was shocked. What was interesting is that the day before my publicist asked me to give an interview on “adolescent suicide” and to be honest, I had never heard of it before. So I knew this was a message for me to ask a different question. “What can I do to help kids suffering from depression?” The end result was a complete re-write of my book, STINKIN’ THINKIN’ STINKS and a new chapter in my life for helping kids.

So, how about asking a different question to yourself today? Please send me a message or comment below. I would love to know what creative question you will start asking yourself to contribute so that your life will have more meaning (as Tony says).

With gratitude and peace,
Bill

 

Since this week’s Daily Positive Points is focusing on Happiness, I thought it would be a great idea to list some ideas for creating a happier life. Sure, there are lots of ideas, books, research, seminars, and education on happiness but I wanted to focus in on what specifically works for me. When I am down or struggling, there is a formula that use to help me get my “stink out” so to speak.

When I was rewriting my children’s book, STINKIN’ THINKIN’ STINKS, I discovered that the troubles facing our youth was very overwhelming and started to get me down. For example, when I was researching information about bullying and adolescent suicide, I was simply shocked and speechless. I simply felt bad, dirty and sad with story after story that could have been prevented. I would find myself in funk quickly and I didn’t realize it at the time. I learned that I needed to reset myself after doing research like this in the future. The end result is the formula below.

5 Steps to Happiness
1) Get Quiet – When I am down or getting run down, one of the things that has a major impact on my attitude and happiness is getting in a quiet place and cleanse my thoughts. It is more like a data dump to make way for positive thinking. It is easy to say but sometimes harder to do. If my mind is racing out of control, I go to step #2.

2) Exercise – Anytime you are feeling any emotion that doesn’t feel good, you are certainly impacting your happiness. I find that going to the gym to work out helps me clear my mind and get out the anger and frustration. After it, I am much more relaxed and can open my mind to receive good thoughts. Once I am there, I can change my focus to positive thoughts and return to a happier state.

3) Track Positive/Negative Thoughts – Tracking positive and negative thoughts has been one of the most useful tools I have ever used. I even have exercises on this website to do this. I have said for many, many years that you can’t fix something if you are not aware of it. These exercises help you become aware of your thoughts so you can do something about them.

4) Gratitude – When I am not experiencing happiness, I often find that I am focused on the wrong thing. One great exercise I do when I become aware of this, I create a “gratitude circle” in my mind’s eye.  This helps me get out of my own head if you know what I mean. It goes something like this: I close my eyes and start giving thanks to my immediate family (my wife, son, daughter-in-law & dog) and I envision it as a circle. I then expand the circle out to my family and my wife’s family. Each time, I keep expanding until it goes out of the city, state, country, continent, the world and then the universe. I always feel much better about my current circumstances.

5) Kindness – My absolute go-to step for creating happiness is kindness. I have discovered over the years that when I deliver kindness, I feel better and am much happier. I offer a Kindness Challenge once a quarter to help remind everyone to practice kindness for a certain length of time. However, this challenge is really to myself to remind ME to do kindness. Often during these challenges I will ask myself, “what kindness have I delivered today?” This resets my thinking of helping others and I feel great after committing random acts of kindness. Try it, you’ll not only like it, you will LOVE it!

If you want live a happier life, try anyone of the 5 steps I use. In fact, why not try them all and see how you feel? Please post your comments on this page or send me a message via the “Ask Sweetie” barrel.
With peace, happiness and gratitude,
Bill

 

I say it all the time. You have heard it all too often. What you focus on EXPANDS. This is a core belief of mine and many others. So why do most people not get it? While I cannot answer that question because everyone is uniquely different and at different stages in their lives. However, what I can tell you is that whatever you put your focus on often turns into a belief. The key is whether that belief is a positive one that supports and helps you grow or is negative and holds you back.

Here’s what I truly believe. Most of us see things WORSE than they are, instead of how things REALLY are. Ugh, I know! I recall talking to a friend of mine who practices this with a passion. What he tells me is that if I see how the worst it could be, I am prepared just in case this happens. So it is a survival technique all too many of us practice. The problem I see with this is that you are looking for the WORST it could possibly be and by thinking and focusing on the worst it can be, it can actually draw that to you.

I call this sort of thinking, STINK Eye thinking. Whenever you look at something and turn it to something bad or negative (often times it really isn’t) you have caught the STINK Eye. Not to worry, there are several techniques I teach to help my students focus on what the positive. In fact there are three things that can turn it around quickly. They are:

1) Focus and Visualization
2) Setting Goals
3) Look at setbacks as Opportunities

Focus and Visualization is the easiest and quickest way to dilute the STINK Eye. Simply try focusing on something positive in your life. If you have trouble with that, visualize a positive outcome or simply go back to a time that you were on top of your game. That simple technique can help drastically.

If you follow me or know me at all, you know that I am very, very goal driven. I believe it is my competitive nature but they are a major part of my life. I use them to take complex, nearly out of reach goals and break them up into smaller ones so I can create momentum. Once the positive momentum starts flowing, things change very quickly for me. Take for instance the issues today involving bullying and low self esteem. I have read enough information about bullying and self esteem in kids to realize there are a lot of different techniques people teach. I decided to try a different approach. I asked “what can I do to help kids deal with the negative influences and issues they are faced with today?” and that lead to a new book (STINKIN’ THINKIN’ STINKS). Once I had the goal of building self esteem as a way of combating bullying and other negatives, I created project plan for the book. That project plan consisted of 173 steps. It seemed overwhelming at first but breaking things into mini goals ultimately kept the momentum moving forward with the book launch.

Another area that can change your thoughts is to look at any setback as an opportunity. I saved this for last because it is one of the more difficult ones to practice.  However, it can have the biggest impact. Looking at setbacks or problems as opportunities take you out of the victim mentality, which does nothing but deliver negative outcomes while looking for the opportunity that lies within them is very empowering. This is why I teach that setbacks are often transformational.

In summary, each of us posses the ability to focus on what we want and filter out the negative things around us. A lot of people look for the bad and that expands while others look for what is good and that expands for them. When you catch yourself with a bad case of STINK Eye, try three quick techniques to clear it up: 1) Focus and Visualization, 2) Set Goals, & 3) Turn Setbacks into Opportunities.

With peace and gratitude,
Bill

Kindness matters. It plays a major role in helping ourselves and others stay positive. We have to remember that we all have our our struggles and battles that we fight daily. It is so easy to forget this and put our values and rules on others. That is a losing proposition for sure. With kindness, we seem to break through all those barriers that otherwise would not have been broken and reach people on their soul level.

I remember when I was planning the Arts and Jazz Festival Kindness Challenge. I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of time and money it took to have a kindness booth for three consecutive days. Others around me rallied for support of the work I was attempting to accomplish and the results were simply amazing. During that event, I watched time after time people light up when we would offer kindness. We were not trying to sell them anything, just offering to be kind. Kindness matters.

I did a search on Google yesterday for stories about bullying and it returned 320 (wait for it)….. MILLION pages. I started looking through a few of them and time after time, there were completely horrible outcomes to bullying. I read over and over again where one person that was bullied as a kid would then turn into a bully themselves (Ritchie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins comes to mind quickly). While my book, STINKIN’ THINKIN’ STINKS isn’t a book on bullying, it does offer tools and techniques that will help build self-esteem in our kids today. This site was built to quickly and directly help kids deal with what they are struggling with today. It may not solve world hunger, but it is a tool. Bullying as it sits today is simply unacceptable. We can no longer look the other way when it is happening or about to happen because it is occurring DAILY with 90% of kids in 4th through 8th grades reported as being bullied. Seriously? This is all a symptom of STINKIN’ THINKIN!

The answer to all this madness is kindness. It is impossible to be a bully and be kind at the same time. If you want to change your life and the lives of those around you, practice kindness. It doesn’t take much, just some effort. You can do that, right? I challenge you right now to take the Kindness Challenge and start making a positive difference in the world today.

With Peace, Gratitude, and Kindness,
Bill

Kindness_Quotes5

If you missed me live on Coach Café, you can click here to listen to the OnDemand version!  We talked about a whole bunch of STINKIN’ stuff and a few more serious topics like stories about bullying and the consequences of negative thinking.

It was a great show and thank you so very much to Kathleen and Estra for being Super Cool hosts!

With gratitude,
Bill

Facebook used to rally 100 to stand behind boy being bullied – SALEM, Ore. – Friday was a rare day when a kid who’s been picked on confronted his bully with the support of 100 people who showed up to rally for him.  It started as a single Facebook message posted by Halsey Parkerson’s aunt.  She went to South Salem High School on Thursday to meet him for lunch. She overheard the bully telling her nephew that he doesn’t have any friends and that no one cares.  Click here to read the full story!

Here’s more information on bullying from the Pacer Organization and so I thought I would share.  “If not now, then when? If not me, then who?” Hillel the Elder

With 1 in 3 children being bullied at school, chances are it’s happening to someone you know and care about. YOU can do something to help, and it’s as simple as snapping a picture!

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Find something orange to wear on Unity Day, October 9th. You can wear orange shirts, pants, hats, beads, bands, face paint, hair dye – be creative!
  2. Wear orange on October 9th to “Make it Orange, Make it End!”
  3. On October 9th, share your commitment to bullying prevention with the world by posting photos of your Unity Day activities to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #UnityDay2013!
  4. Watch the movement grow as posts tagged with #UnityDay2013 show up on our homepage, www.pacer.org/bullying.

Be a part of a social movement and show your support for bullying prevention! Join us on Unity Day by tagging your posts with#UnityDay2013!

Learn more about Unity Day.

With peace and gratitude, Bill