Your Inner Critic

July 8, 2006

Do you have an inner critic? Someone or something that speaks inside of you and is trying to get you to do the opposite of what you really want? Absolutely. We all have this side to us, this inner voice or spirit that is telling us to do something different, but what does it all mean, is it good to acknowledge it, and how can we coach the critic?

My belief is that the inner critic is good and bad. For the individual who likes to connect with their spirit, and get into spirit, or what Dr Wayne Dyer call’s “Inspiration”, I don’t think that the inner critic is a good resource. In fact, when you’re in spirit, the inner critic will have no force over you as your spirit guides you further, and your ego, or the act of “edging god out” is no longer there.

For the individual that is pushed by extrinsic motivation, or external motivation, such as gaining monetary rewards for completing some work, or achieving a medal for running a race, there is always an inner critic present. If the individual isn’t strong enough, the inner critic will override their thoughts and force the individual to do what it thinks, even though it may not be the most comfortable path. This individual has no use in trying to talk the inner critic out of what he/she is saying. So, then the question is, how can you learn to use the inner critic to your advantage?

Here are my few steps to really coaching the critic…

First understand that it is the inner critic that is actually speaking, it is these inner gremlins trying to get the better of you, nothing else. Acknowledging this is the first step, and at times the most important step.

Understand that the inner critic really wants you to do well and succeed, it’s method or path is just somewhat different to yours. From the beginning, it has taken the learning from our parents, teachers and upbringers who easily feel they know what they want.

Next, understand that the inner critic tries to help you by wanting you to do what YOU want and remain easily in your comfort zone. But let’s face it, if you don’t have challenges and extend your comfort zone, life can get really boring, so the inner critic can crop up and pushes you to do something you wouldn’t, thus taking you out of your comfort zone. As humans, we naturally want to avoid any feeling of pain so we begin to get anxious with this inner critic around.

The problem is that the inner critic doesn’t know when to stop. It will continue until it grows out of control. So this becomes the time, you’ve got to take it out and put it in front of you so you can control it.

To do this, it is important to note when you are speaking to yourself and when the inner critic is speaking to you. One way to do this is to get finer about it’s details. Is it a male or female voice? Is it the voice of someone you know or not? If yes, who? What is the voice tonality like? Where in your body can you hear the inner critic speak from?

Then step back, and observe the critic speak. Notice that the critic is speaking and you have no association with it. The inner critic is trying to control your life, but when you observe it from an outside point, you can see how silly it all looks. Even laugh if you need too. For the next week, be consciously aware of when the inner critic is speaking and note down everything. Also notice when it gets stronger (maybe because you don’t follow its instructions). Does it also get stronger at a certain point dependant on your emotional state? Does it get stronger when you’re tired? Hungry? Bored? Sleepy?

Draw your inner critic. Get creative! This helps externalise it and keeps it separate from you. Remember, YOU want to live your life. You don’t want the inner critic to control it. Do what you need to do in order to ensure that it is a separate entity from you, and when it gets out of control, who are you to follow someone else’s way of life for you?

Go even further and question the inner critic. Understand the deeper concerns of the critic and provide feedback and guidance. Develop a positive attitude and good rapport with the critic. Write a dialogue ūüôā

Ultimately, the inner critic is good to a certain point. Without it, a person who lives on external motivation may not grow. However, when the inner critic is going out of hand, it’s up to you to really change gear and take command of the vehicle, your body.


Anup Shah Interview – Part 2

June 2, 2006

Here is part two of the exclusive Anup Shah interview.

If you missed Part 1, read it here.

4. In my work as a personal coach, a large amount of work goes into not being biased or judgemental when talking with clients. Do you feel that it is an important trait to have when you write articles that are related to topical global issues?

Certainly. It is not easy though. I am not happy with some of my earlier articles, which are a bit more opinionated than I would like (which I will address over due course). The challenge of writing about political issues is that it will not be possible to please everyone, so even though some may think you are not biased, others will think you are! What I try to do is provide liks and sources as much as I can, so people can see for themselves.

5. You are not credited in any political field and write extensively about global issues. Does this affect your readership or your website content's reliability?

Probably. I am quite conscious about this, and have tried to be as open about this as I can on my web site's about section. I therefore try to link and reference as many sources as I can within the articles so people can follow through. I think in the earlier years of the site, I occasionally cited slightly more opinionated views that I would do now, and these days I try to ensure what I cite is of good quality, too. Of course, not everyone will have heard of all the sources I use, but when they are online, people can follow them as much as they want. I tried to keep them varied and broad, including sources from developing countries, as here in the UK, or from my experience in the US, we hardly hear such views and perspectives.

As an aside, not having a degree in a related field and doing computer science instead has resulted in another problem for me: the quality of my writing skills! Computer science encourages efficiency, not good quality writing. A number of pages are, I feel, poorly written, and that is something I am trying to improve. I think more recently updated pages/sections are better, but some old pages do still exist that I want to change – time allowing!

In terms of readership, from what I can tell, the visitors come from all around the world (the majority being from the US). I have even had people from the UN email me or sign on to my mailing list. Even former US President Jimmy Carter, and the famous political activist, Bianca Jagger, have emailed me with kind words.

I have personally tried to avoid ads, and requests for donations, etc for the time-being, so that probably helps with credibility, too.

I think I have made a decent attempt thus far, as a number of times I have been asked to either write an article for a publication/newspaper, or do a small radio interview for someone. The OneWorld.net and MediaChannel.org affiliations for example, also help in terms of credibility. A number of other reasonably prominent web sites have linked to certain pages of mine, which helps too. Until Africa started being talked about a bit more in recent years in the mainstream, I found news sites such as the BBC and others occasionally link to some of my Africa pages. A number of high schools and university web sites have linked to the site as a resource for students. I have also recently been asked to write a book, which I think really helps as well. I won't go into the details on the book for now as it may not go ahead, but the fact that I was approached rather than the other way round makes me feel that I must have done okay somewhere!

Ultimately, however, bias will be everywhere, intentional or not, from the largest and most popular news outlets to the smallest sites, so it is up to the individual reading the content to determind if the content is reliable or not.

6. From a web development angle, how did you manage to get your Global Issues website to the top search engine ranking for the issues you write about?

I think a number of factors have helped me here: I have had the site since 1998, so some search engines place a bit of weight on that. Perhaps most importantly, many other websites link to various pages on my site, which I also link out to others.

 

 

 

 

Search engines apparently like this, because when they see a site receiving many links from other, related and reputable sites, they see it being a kind of vote for that site. Enough of these "votes", and you get a better ranking!

In the early years of the site there was a lot of one-to-one "marketing", whereby I simple emailed other websites that I frequently visited to see if there was any way they could place a link to my site. I was probably fortunate because in those "early years" of the web, there were not as many sites on these issues as there are now. These days, I don't really have the time to do this, but I still find many new links to the site from all over the place, so hopefully this means that the site is itself generating enough interest. (As I write this, it has been almost a month since I have updated the site, because of a particularly long and drawn out project at work, and yet that has not affected site visits, for example).

Some people try to fool and cheat search engines using a variety of techniques. I stay away from that, because once you are found out, you will be knocked off the listings, and struggle to get back on. Furthermore, it is plain dishonest. In principle, search engines go for what can be determined as good quality content that people are compelled to link to.

 

7. You’ve been editing the Global Issues website since 1998. What has driven you to continue it eight years later?

Another hard one to answer! A number of people ask me this as well and I always struggle to answer it! I guess it’s a combination of deep interest in these issues, the enormous number of encouraging and motivating emails I get (for I often question whether there is any point going on, as in some ways not much seems to change or just when you think there might be progress in world affairs, something will happen to prove otherwise), and probably a number of other factors I can’t yet articulate!

 

8. What do you believe is the relationship between self development and global issues? Is there a connection between the two?

 

The way I see it, there is a connection between most issues, in some way. At one level, the support of global issues such as universal human rights inherently supports the development of the individual self.

Furthermore, in a functioning democracy, individuals have responsibilities as well as rights. Amongst other things, those responsibilities include making informed decisions, not just to vote, but to also ensure that people are accountable, that those universal values are not slowly taken away, and so on. Self development is not done in a vacuum, and so, I feel that global concerns are crucial for self development.

 

Approaching this from the other way, a drive to improve and develop the self can perhaps help one to be more open-minded about global issues, encourage one to look outwards to see how they fit into the world around them, and even strive to learn more.

9. What advice would you give to individuals who are on the personal growth path about global issues and the way they deal with it?

Probably to say be open minded, try to learn about issues from the perspective of others around the world, to be questioning about what is (and what is not) reported from the mainstream media, and the types of experts interviewed, etc. That is not to say there is a conspiracy of some sort to actively lie, or whatever, but that power does influence our world, and so naturally the media—a crucial aspect of a functioning democracy—is going to be subject to those interests, too.

If we wish to develop ourselves personally, as productive members of society, then we also need to ensure the society we are to be productive in is as positive for the world as possible. We in the wealthy countries have more influence on other people around the world than we realize. But this influence can be negative as well as positive, so any personal growth path, I feel, needs to consider the global as well as personal considerations.

KH: Thanks very much, Anup. Your commitment and the writings you present are a great learning resource and eye-opener to all who read them. And I hope you write that book!


Anup Shah Interview – Part 1

May 30, 2006

This week, I have an exclusive interview with Global Issues editor, Anup Shah. Anup is the founder of Global Issues, a website that is founded on his broad interest in global issues and is now used as a reference worldwide in various institutions and publications.

The Global Issues website is something I read on a regular basis. It provides me with more information to things I hear about on the news as well as help trains my skills in being non-judgemental, critical thinking and making decisions in everyday life.

I'm a huge believer of creating something that has a great impact around you by providing useful material and I think Anup has an impressive story of how you can use a hobby that doesn't need to make money to make a difference in this world. His story is also great teachings for those who want to set up good, informative and resourcesful websites. So I was delighted when I had the opportunity to interview Anup in connection with global issues and a hint of self development.

The interview has large informative answers so I have divided it into two parts. The second part will be posted in a few days. Enjoy!

1. Why did you intend to start, write and edit Global Issues? What is your motivation?

In 1997, having just graduated from a university in England with a computer science degree, a friend of minte introduced me to Structural Adjustment Policies and their negative impacts on poor countries and people around the world. I was shocked about this, having never heard of it before.

My first job that autumn was in the US in the software industry. I wanted to practice web development skills for work, so in my spare time I tried that, but needed to focus on something. At the same time, I quickly became disturbed by the poor quality of the mainstream media in the US. The two seemed to go hand in hand… I purchased the globalissues.org domain in mid-1998 and it has unexpectedly taken off since then.

So, my inital motivation was actually to practice web development, but then it became like a personal journey for me: I wanted to learn more about why the media was so poor and why otherwise very kind and good people seemed to have narrow views about those from other countries. This led me to learn and read more about geopolitics, poverty, trade/economic related issues, the environment and so on. In those days, there were very few web sites about these things, compared to now, though there was an exceptional one, called OneWorld.org (now OneWorld.net). They accepted me as a partner organisation, which was fantastic for me, as I viewed them as one of the few web sites at that time that wrote about global issues from a much more global perspective than the media in the US – or UK for that matter – offered.

I continue to maintain this in my spare time, though it is often difficult to get the time to do so. I have tried to answer this question in more depth at http://www.globalissues.org/about/ if you want to read more.

2. How do you select the issues that you write about?

Hard to say! Initially it started off in a few major areas: human rights, the environment, poverty/structural adjustment, the media and geopolitics. There were just these few initial pages, which over time, grew into multiple pages as sub-topics became larger and larger.

In some aspects, the choice of topics I may write about at a given time feels a bit randome/unstructured. For example, sometimes I may have read something which intrigues me and I follow it through a bit more. Other times, I just look over my site and try to see what needs updating and try to work that, if possible (though there are still many pages requiring updates!). Yet other times, there may be a global event, which I feel may be getting covered in such a way that many global concerns are being ignored or glossed over, and thus not providing enough context for readers. I also try to read a number of books, and make notes from them, which I then try to write up. (However, I am some three years behind on writing up those notes!) It is a continual learning process for me, so in a way, I just let it take me wherever it goes.

3. How do you manage to keep on top of all the extensive topics you read and write about as well as working long hours on a full-time job and balance all other interests you may have?

A lot of people ask me this, and to be honest, I don't know! I often work into the night, 2am or so being common. I don't drink tea or coffee, either, which people think I need to consume in gallons!

In terms of how do I keep on top of all the extensive topics: I subscribe (either via Email or via RSS subscriptions) to a number of sites. I admittedly find it very hard to read most of these subscriptions these days due to time constraints and email overload. One thing I try to do is set a goal for myself, that every month I send an email update of major updates/additions made to the site over the course of the past month. This encourages me not to slack off too much. The only time I have ever missed this was when I was getting married!

In terms of other interests: well, with my recent marriage, I thought I would have a lot less time on this website, but my wife is very understanding, which is fantastic. (She is quite busy herself with volunteering work and the like, so it kind of balances out!) My family has been very supportive, too, which helps. There are times when work deadlines results in a number of long days or weeks, and the web site and emails have to take a back seat. Other times, I simply decide for a few days or a week to just not do anything, as it can be quite draining. Sometimes I try to do the global issues work around other commitments, and other times I do it the other way. It really depends on my mood at the time, I think!

 

 


Getting Aligned!

May 17, 2006

For the last few months, I’ve been affirming something that Catherine Ponder shared with me through her book. It reads, “everything and everyone prospers me now, and I prosper everything and everyone now!”

Since I begun affirming that, I’ve noticed that every single thing in my life is supported by something else in my life and affects it. Here are some examples:

– when I set up a seminar and logistic details for it, in just a few days, I had great ideas as to how to market it and I went for it. The way I realised was at a family dinner when something striked me and it had nothing to do with the seminar itself.

– I had a seminar a few Saturday’s ago called “Attracting Wealth” and the principles I shared, I have been living in my life for a while and they are reaping great success for me. Everywhere I look there’s a link back to it. At the time of preparing for the seminar, I felt the urged to revisit Steve Pavlina’s blog and he posted an interview with Marc Allen, and he shared the principles by which I’m living my life.

What it shows and assures me is that I’m guided by inner knowing or ultimate calling to perform every action that I do, and every single thing has a connection to everything else. It’s like living in true bliss.

Commit today to live the life you deserve by assessing each option, challenge, obstacle, problem, etc that you’re faced with. Put yourself in front of it and ask yourself whether it’s right for you or not. You may not even need to ask yourself, you’ll just be attracted to do it, or repelled from it. Follow that inner calling or instinct – it’ll be the right path, even if you don’t see it at first!


How To Manifest Present Moment Awareness

May 9, 2006

It's really interesting to see what kind of things people search for in order to tap into this blog. When I was looking at my WordPress stats today, I was congratulated by the constant rise of visits in the last week as well as the growing list of search engine topics that have brought the perfect to my blog. One person typed in "HOW TO MANIFEST PRESENT MOMENT AWARENESS" and I hope through this post, I can answer that well…

Present moment awareness is "that magical ability of sentient beings to tap into the realm of the senses, drink life purely, and enter a state of witnessing awareness" (Chopra's Namaste)

Where are you right now? What are you doing in this particular moment? Are you thinking of yourself, a past experience you enjoyed, or a negative scenario? What's happening right now… right now… and right now in your awareness? All three "right nows" are three separate present moments, and heightening your awareness of the present moment increases your ability to connect with spirit in order to have peace and love in every moment.

How often do you a make a decision based on what you are feeling in any moment? Do you get angry at someone and then later feel you shouldn't have done that? Do you ever say things that you would not normally say when you were angry?

To sustain personal or spiritual growth, learning to live in the present moment with our emotions is critical. From life, we only get experience and that experience is depicted by our perceptions. By understanding the value of our present moment we can create life to be just the way we want it. Getting our emotions under control allows us to get back in the driving seat of our life and allow our emotions to work with us, not against us. Rather than allowing emotions to navigate our life, we allow the lessons of each emotion to dissipate fear and take us to new levels.

Past experiences also add to the perceptions we now create. Something that happened to you as a child may have created a neural connection that gives rise to your current particular behaviour.

Let me give you an example. When I did a 10,000ft Skydive for Age Concern a few years ago, not only did it help confront fears, but being at the top and looking down made me feel hopeless and helpless. When I reached down, I spent some time asking myself about why those emotions overcame me. I concluded that it was because as a child I was brought up in an environment which didn't really welcome so many questions, and when it did, I felt the way I was answered wasn't very inviting. This is a common situation for many people. I was lucky to face such fears and change the rest of my life. I am now open to living in the present moment rather than being fearful of a past experience. And you can do the same too.
It's important to live in the now. Focus on your intentions right now. What do you want to achieve? What decision do you have to make? Make it without any past attachments – you'll feel less burdened, revitalised and more motivated!

The techniques I use to feel more in the present moment are meditation, mental imagery, and affirmations. Here's something I believe you should do:

Get into a comfy position and relax all your body from top to bottom. Take deep breaths while doing this – you'll take in lots more oxygen, and remove what's not needed in your body in larger quantities. Observe your thoughts and emotions. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Are you… Angry? Bitter? Sad? Excited? Joyful? Effortless? Pay attention to your vehicle – your body. Just relax. You are calm, peaceful and present.

When you develop such present moment awareness, you really have the best opportunity to make informed decisions. You can easily step away from any situation and just evaluate it for what it really is, not with any attachments.

Deepak Chopra's second key to happiness sums it up nicely:

Live in the present, for it is the only moment you have. Keep your attention on what is here and now; look for the fullness in every moment. Accept what comes to you totally and learn from it, and then let it go. The present is as it should be. It reflects infinte laws of Nature that have brought you this exact thought, this exact physical response. This moment is as it is because the universe it as it is. Don't struggle against the infinite scheme of things; instead, be as one with it.


Left To Tell – Immacule√© Ilibagiza

April 30, 2006

This is by far the best book I have read in all of 2005 and so far in 2006. Through just reading this book, I feel like I know the author as a close friend and she has changed my life forever. Immaculee was engulfed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994 in which a million people were slaughtered including all of her family in just three months. She was fortunate to have been hidden in a secret bathroom squashed with seven other women for around 91 days with minimal food and just her father’s rosary.

Immaculee writes about her horrendous story in Rwanda before and during the genocide. Her story is one of great teachings to many people because of how she spent countless hours in the bathroom praying, meditating and seeking support from God.¬†In the bathroom, she had “visions” of working for the United Nations and then learnt English through a few books in the darkened bathroom.

She then goes on to talk about how she was saved and then forgived the killers of her family and all her friends. She is purely guided by what God has in store for her, and amidst the Rwandan holocaust, she found deep forgiveness.

The greatest thing is that through mental imagery, visualisation and prayer/affirmations, she attracted the United Nations job. For the first two weeks, she went into the office and sat the whole day pushing for the job and didn’t get it. She got it in the end through persistence and attraction! She also did this, seeking her perfect husband – and she got that too! She is now in the USA,¬†working with the UN and married with two kids.¬†Both Immaculee and Dr Wayne Dyer are touring together for their new books.

I was so hooked onto this book that I finished it in four hours, split over three days. The book also brought tears to my eyes through her strong teaching of forgiveness and love. I highly suggest you grab your copy and read it Рthis book will change your life forever, like it did mine.

Get your copy!


Looking for the spiritual pathway

April 6, 2006

Each and everyone of us has once always pondered on which spiritual pathway is the right one to take. However, what we also say is that spirit (or source), the life force exists in everything is present all the time. So if spirit is everywhere, how can we look for the right spiritual pathway to take?

By realising that every encounter in life has spirit in it, i.e. it has life force; then everything we do and every path we are walking on is a spiritual one – a pathway in which there our source of substance and the life force is present. Whether it's getting fired from a job, going higher in one's life, increasing one's time spent with the family, increasing/decreasing time for reading, meditation and self-reflection, connecting, believing or disbelieving… it's all a spiritual pathway.

We need not look far for our purpose as it sits within. All it wants is for ourselves to be expressed more openly. Work from today to bring greater awareness in your life so that by cultivating an increased awareness, you can experience a greater sense of achievement as you see each pathway as spiritual.

As often said, "the answers are within!" They just need you to pay attention in each and every moment.