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Category Archives: Self Development

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 3. Your Focus.

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 3. Your Focus.

Focus on what you have and what you can do. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

After the affliction or generally during hardships, it is crucial to be aware of your thought patterns, what you are focused on. Naturally, we grieve and are longing for that which was lost. And yes, we do need that time to grieve. It is important though not to stay there longer than we need. At some point, it’s imperative for the focus to be shifted away from the tragedy to the newness, from the problem to the solution, from the limitations to abilities and opportunities. What you focus on will have a significant impact on your journey to recovery.

While we’re going through a hardship, normally we don’t think about what’s far ahead because we are focused on what’s going on at the moment, how we feel at that time. Would you agree that naturally, we think about the problem, often focused on analyzing how difficult it is rather on our ultimate destination?

But it is imperative to keep our ultimate destination in mind, not the problem. How many times have you heard sayings like, “I got bombarded by so many problems that I didn’t have the energy to continue,” or, “The challenges I encountered were too much to bear,” or, “I got so tired that I just couldn’t do this anymore.” And you find out that they gave up on something they were just recently passionate about. There might be different reasons why they gave up on their pursuit, but overall it all comes to the same point: their difficulty overpowered them. For the most part – because they put so much attention to how difficult it was – more attention was paid to the challenge than on the ultimate goal. When we face any difficult situation, what will determine what’s next is:

  • How you are going to look at the situation (choosing the perspective),
  • What you are going to focus on, and,
  • What you are going to do about it.

I believe putting your focus on the wrong aspect of the situation is one of the fastest roads toward failure. It’s very easy to give up when you focus on the obstacle or difficulty you are facing. Why? I am sure you have noticed in your life – the more you think about the bad situation and how difficult and painful it is, the worse it seems. Negative thoughts become more and more dominant and darker, and your problem snowballs into something bigger and more challenging. It reaches the point to where it seems irresolvable and you might say to yourself, “I can’t do this.” And here you are, you have arrived at a different destination that you first intended to.

I want to share an excerpt from my upcoming book “Unstoppable. It’s a Choice”, one of those special moments that set a direction of my journey of recovery.

“I don’t remember exactly when this happened, but it was soon after this marveling revelation. One day my mom and I were walking outside enjoying the beautiful spring day and we saw a young guy in an electric wheelchair, sitting alone, enjoying the weather as we were. We walked up to him to chat. He was approximately my age and he was completely paralyzed up to his neck. He was not able to use his legs or his arms and he had a hard time speaking. Like mine, his life had changed in a heartbeat when he got beaten up by a gang, resulting in total and permanent paralysis. This young and handsome guy was sitting in a wheelchair with no ability to move his body, even having difficulty speaking. Were that not enough, his family had abandoned him, forcing him to stay at various Rehab Centers and nursing homes, all the while being taken care of by strangers. As he was sharing his story, a thought came to my mind “See? You could’ve been in his place. That is what Rose was talking about.”

That moment it seemed as though the entire world has stopped. Suddenly, the astonishment of my new revelation of how well it ended for me overshadowed the horror of my loss. “I am so blessed! In addition to the miracle of not breaking my neck, though I had a strong head injury, I can think clearly, I can express myself easily, and I can move!”

I wanted to shout out with happiness. It seemed like my eyes were opened and I saw with clarity how fortunate I was. While talking with the young man, my mind was captured by the astonishing facts of my blessings. All I felt was gratitude. After we ended our conversation, my mom and I continued walking toward the lake. I was completely astounded with what I had just realized.

“Wait a minute,” I thought. “I have a clear mind and I can communicate. And while I do not remember many things due to the brain injury, I can think and express myself the way I did prior to the accident. I still have my right arm functioning. What if I still can be independent? I could learn how to do things with one arm, and then I could take care of myself independently. I can move my body freely, so I will walk again wearing prosthetic legs. I won’t really have to depend on others. My body is not the same anymore, but I am still able to use what I have left. I will do everything in a way that I can. The important part is that I can! I am blessed that it ended the way it did. I will come back to life.”

I was so consumed by my sudden realization that I didn’t hear what mom was saying. And as I was having this inner dialogue, I felt how everything was changing within the core of my being, specifically in what I noticed and how I perceived my situation. Instead of looking at my losses and limitations, I saw how much I actually was able to do.

Instead of despair, I felt enlightenment. It felt as though with every breath, I was gaining the hope that I would have a way out of this hopeless place in my life. As I was being rolled in the wheelchair through the forest, in my mind I was building a strategic plan to end this rolling in the wheelchair business to bring myself back to life. “

The time in a Rehab Center was the most painful and difficult time I can remember. But, it was a pivotal time.  The realization that I have so much to be thankful and how much I was able to do, transformed the way I saw my new life and the way I felt about it. I understood that my life experience will greatly depend on what I focus on. Since then, I began changing my thinking.

Instead of thinking that I no longer was able to do something because I did not have my legs and could not use my left arm, I looked from a different angle – I can think clearly, I can move my body and I still can use my right arm – there must be a way for me to be self-sufficient, how can I use what I have to achieve what I desire? I focused on the opportunities and possibilities rather than what was destroyed in my life and how many doors were shut because of my physical limitations. Instead of dwelling on how I no longer could go out of my home and do the work that I used to be able to, I looked from a different angle – what are the possibilities for me to go out of my home, how could I manage things independently, and what kind of work I could do in my situation? And then, while focusing on my abilities and opportunities, I was seeking for the solution to build my future rather than dwelling on the problem and grieving about what’s no longer there.

Imagine a race with hurdles. When an athlete runs close to the hurdle (obstacle), he jumps over it and continues to run. When he gets close to the next hurdle – he overcomes this as well and races until he reaches the finish line. The interesting thing is that while the runner sees every hurdle ahead, his eyes are not on the next hurdle, but where the finish line is. His focus is the destination, not obstacles on the way. I know this because I used to be an athletic runner when I was a teenager. We were taught not to focus on the hurdle, but always to focus ahead where the race was ending. Why? Focusing on the hurdle most of the time resulted in the failure to overcome it, and the chances of winning were reduced. The major focus was the final destination; hurdles were just obstacles along the way which we needed to overcome and continue on running no matter what until we reached the finish line.

That’s the mindset I had when aiming for my goal. My eyes were set on my ultimate goal where I was going, and difficulties were something I needed to overcome so I could continue my race until I reach my final destination. Obstacles are there to be overcome, and not something that could stop me.

Now I see that I unconsciously had the same thought pattern every time:

  • During difficult times, I never focused on hardships, no matter how difficult or painful they were.
  • My mental eyes were always directed toward my final destination.
  • The immediate focus was on the work I had to do to attain my goal.

It’s one of the most important key points in self-management that played a major role in my ability to break through the obstacles or handle hardships when it felt unbearable.

Now, after a while, I can see that such mindset, by concentrating not on the problem but on its solution, strongly and consistently moved me forward. Managing my focus empowered me to aim and achieve goals that others said were unattainable for me. And then, this skill empowered me to move across the globe from my family and establish my life in the United States even though at the time of my decision I had no place to live, no work, not a lot of money, and even no right to live and work in America.

If I had looked at those challenging situations as if they were insolvable problems and focused on how difficult it was, I know I would have been stuck and it would have taken much longer to achieve my goals. In fact, most likely I would not have reached them at all. If I had focused on my limitations, what I have lost and what I could not do anymore, my life would be miserable. In comparison, focusing on my abilities and opportunities and solutions empowered me to attain life’s transformation.

When facing a difficult situation, instead of being worried or stressed out about the problem, begin immediately to focus on the solution. And then, make every effort to solve the problem the best way you can.

In my next message, I will share how to focus on the solution and how to find it.

Meanwhile, be Unstoppable. It’s a Choice.

Inga

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How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 2. Perspective.

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 2. Perspective.

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Now that I look back and analyze myself what empowered me to recover my life after the devastating crash, I see there were several aspects that worked together intertwined. I talk about my faith a lot because the Lord has given me the strength, tenacity, opportunities, courage, endurance and a blessing in everything I aimed for. I would not have made it without the Lord. But then there are other aspects that I don’t talk much about – besides the Lord’s intervention and His blessing I work with myself a lot. There are several components that helped me to recover from my personal adversity:

  1. God’s blessing and unshakable faith
  2. Self-management
  3. Personal Action and relentless effort to do the best I can do under any circumstances.

Self-management plays a significant role and I want to elaborate on that aspect.  Overcoming deep depression, emerging from hopelessness, breaking through the impossible odds, achieving goals and positive mindset is not a coincidence, but it is a result. Or, in other words, it’s the fruit of my efforts that nobody sees. It’s the result of hard relentless work.

Have you thought about why some people give up and others overcome seemingly insurmountable situations which confront them? Why some people get depressed and give in to circumstances and others refuse to give in and find a way to improve their lives? Is it that some are stronger than others? I don’t think so. I believe that what sets those people apart is their ability to manage themselves.

What is self-management? It is the skill to master your perspective, your thought patterns, your thought focus and your feelings. It’s the ability to manage yourself. When you have the skills necessary to manage your inner state, you will be able to respond to life’s events in a way that empowers you. It is imperative to be able to manage your outlook and your inner state at all times because you make different choices and different decisions depending upon how you view a situation and how you feel at the time your decisions are made. Would you agree that you make different decisions when you feel hopeful, confident, tenacious, strong and determined, and make entirely different decisions when you feel hopeless and helpless, defeated, doubting and pessimistic?

There was a time in my life when I realized that in addition to God’s blessing, my experience greatly depended on how well I managed myself. My biggest eye opener and probably one of the most significant ones was when I realized that my experience about one or another event depended upon how I choose to look at it.

I learned and realized that thoughts and emotions don’t just “happen” to me, leaving me powerless against them. I choose what I think and what I focus on, what meaning I give to the events and what I am going to do about them. Nobody and no event has the power to make me feel in any particular way unless I allow it. I am the one who chooses my response, and that depends on my perspective and my interpretation of what it means to me.

We always in our mind communicate to ourselves what things mean to us, how we feel about occurred events and what we are going to do about it all. When we are doing well, we are excited and think about how thrilled we are that things are going well,  what it took for us to achieve success, and having an even stronger belief of what is possible for us, we move on to another venture. Likewise, in the event of various complex circumstances, we weigh our current situation, ask ourselves why it happened, and make conclusions and decisions for the future. While we are thinking about one or the other situation, we feel certain emotions. It’s easy to see the good side and feel positive emotions when the circumstances are in our favor. But it’s more challenging to feel positive if it’s a painful and difficult event for us.

One of the combining details that affect our inner state and our subsequent decisions is our how we interpret it and how we communicate it to ourselves. Depending on our perspective we will give the meaning to that particular event, and from there follows our emotions and decisions what we are going to do next.

Having the same event, we have a choice of how we will look at it and how we will interpret it.

  • Is this a punishment or is this a lesson for me?
  • Is this a crash or is it just the end of something that will be replaced by something that really needs to take place in my life?
  • Is this an unrecoverable tragedy or is it a test for me?
  • Is this a loss or an opened opportunity to have new and better?
  • Is this a dead end or is it a challenge for me to find a way because I know there must be the way?
  • Is this too much for me to handle or is this opportunity for me to overcome a new challenge and become stronger?
  • Is this a problem or is it a challenge for me to find a way, to improve and create what I want?

Let’s take a very simple example. Let’s say Dave come to work and finds out that he was let go. What is he going to do about it? It greatly depends on his perspective. He can see it as he’s not good enough and they are getting rid of him, it’s a big problem, it’s the end of his security and well-being. How will Dave feel? Most likely he will feel defeated, not needed, self-insecure, stressed, fearful for his future, not confident to look for another well-paid job. But what if this is an opportunity for him to get a better position? What if this door closes, so he would open another door to have a career that he really wants? Maybe this is an opportunity for him to apply for the position that he always dreamed about or maybe even create his own business? How will Dave feel having this perspective? Most likely he will feel having a new beginning, intrigued, excited about the change to a better, opportunity to learn new things and improve, eager to take action, curious, hopeful. Having this kind of perspective will make him feel in a whole different way and a very different behavior than in the first case. A person can have two different perspectives about the same situation and both of them will create totally different outcomes.

Let’s take a gambling game. It is just a game, nothing more.  But how we feel about it depends on how we look at it and what gambling game means to us. We can look at it as a fun time with friends, the excitement of a mystery of what’s going to happen next and a great opportunity to gain an unlimited amount of money with no effort and work.  Also, we can look at it as a waste of time, opening doors to something that can bring a great destruction into our lives and it is just throwing away our money that we can spend on something more meaningful.  It’s all how we look at it will make us feel about that object or any event.

What if we look at circumstances or occurred events as just the facts? The fact itself can’t make us feel in any particular way.  It is just a plain fact same way as an object. It’s how we look at the fact will shape our attitude and our feelings about it. Events, the same way as objects or activities are simply neutral matter and they have both likes and dislikes, depending on what it means to people. Our perspective is the foundation of what meaning we give to the event or any circumstance, and depending on that we will feel about it in a particular way and will choose what we are going to do about it.

 

Perspective depends greatly on our beliefs. We have a choice to believe that everything that happens in our lives is in God’s control and everything happens for the purpose and for the better. We also may believe that there is no God, life is whatever events happen to us, it’s all about luck and most often life’s not fair. We may believe that with our decisions we can shape our destiny, and we may believe that all life’s events and circumstances are out of our control; therefore, it is meaningless to work hard and make the effort. We may believe that we are not good enough and are not really worthy of love and strong family, and we may choose to believe that everybody is worthy and can have it, so we do as well and we will have it when the right time comes. We may have a belief that we will not succeed anyway because we are not worthy of success or we are simply not as lucky as others, and we can believe that success is not a mere luck but a result of our efforts and we will be blessed and will succeed in everything we aim for.

These are just several examples of general beliefs about God, life, love and us as people, which shape our perspective.  Belief is nothing more than what we are convinced about, which we can choose as well. I cannot stress enough how critical it is to pay attention and choose your belief and perspective.

In order to show it better and make it more real, I will take my own life. The car accident that I was involved in was something that I could have never expected nor was I ready for such drastic event. I was 22 years old, and this event was a major turning point in my life and my family members. The result of that crash was that I lost a person, who I was dating at the time (he was killed), and lost everything that made my life fulfilling.  In addition to losing it all, having multiple injuries and losing both of my legs and having my left arm fully paralyzed, made me totally helpless and not able to take care of myself at all.  From being active, joyous and having strong potential to be successful in life, suddenly I found myself helpless in bed not being able to move or do anything independently, except see, feel and speak a little bit.  My life was changed overnight.

There were many different opinions on why it happened, questions about my destiny and advice what I should do with my life at that point. I have heard people had ideas that God has punished me. Others said probably this was my destiny and I should just accept it. “Such is your fate…he broke your destiny” was a very common conclusion, implying that I needed to accept it and give in because there was nothing I could do to get it all back or make my life better. I also had to hear advice not to try so hard pursuing my dream, because what I wanted was unrealistic. I disagreed with them all and decided to fight for my life because I had a different belief.

Today, one of the things I am most grateful for to my Creator is that from the very beginning I had a positive perspective about what had happened and faith of what my future would be like. I had unshakable belief that my life’s under God’s control and therefore, I will not fear. There was a reason why I got into this crash and also there is a purpose why I survived, even though I was given 30% to live.  I believed there must be a serious reason why this had happened. Even though I didn’t understand many things, but I believed there’s a purpose in everything and Lord was going to restore my life. I didn’t believe that this event happened for me to spend the rest of my life being in regret and depression, watching how my life passes by in sadness and restricted lifestyle.

I decided that I would not be a victim and wouldn’t spend my life continuously thinking about what had happened. I refused to be in self-pity or collect sympathy from others. The decision to restore my life no matter how much effort it would cost fueled me with unbreakable determination. I had a very clear understanding that my destiny was not going to be “broken” because of the event that had happened. I believed I could change my destiny the way I wanted and with God’s help that’s exactly what I was determined to do. I was going to live a full life in spite of my injuries. My understanding about it was so bright and clear, as if I were given a palette of paint, being told that I could draw only black or gray house, and I knew that I could use all the colors I wanted, and paint not only a house, but also blossoming gardens, green trees, colorful flowers, bright yellow sun, blue sky…

I did not know how my situation could possibly resolve to a better, but I knew that I would live well. I completely ignored people’s sayings “Such is your fate…” I did not listen to what anybody said about my position in life and their opinions about my goals that I wanted to achieve. I always had a vision of how I wanted my life to be, believed that it was possible to implement it and did everything I could do to make it become my reality.

I set the goals for myself, which step-by-step transformed my life from not being able to speak, move or do anything independently to traveling from Europe to the United States by myself and building my life all over again. I had a vision that I would live a fully active lifestyle in spite of my injuries, consistently worked toward my goal, and today I get to live my dream that seemed nearly impossible.

Now, after a while, I clearly see that if I also believed that God has punished me, I would have spent the rest of my life in misery, thinking that I would not have anything beautiful in my destiny. If I also had looked at my circumstances “realistically” as many did, I would not have even aimed for goals that I did. If I had agreed with people, who had their own beliefs about destiny and told me that I should just accept what had happened and let it be the way it was because such was my fate – probably I would still be spending my days being stuck at home having no access to a full life. If I believed that we can have only that, which circumstances allow, I still would be imprisoned by the walls of my home, watching how my youth pass by me and all I have is a dull existence.

My belief shaped the perspective that gave me hope and empowered me to take action to change my circumstances and create the life that I envisioned.  My perspective about this event and my future gave a birth to the attitude that I can’t and won’t give up on my life, but will take action to improve everything. My beliefs strengthened and encouraged me that I would succeed. I did not allow my loss to ruin my desire to live a full joyous life. Opposite, my loss gave a birth within to a burning desire to live and aspiration to achieve my dreams. I did not allow my desperate situation to destroy my faith. Opposite, my faith became stronger than it ever was. My adversity revealed to me the values that I never saw before. My belief and attitude made me strong, persistent and unstoppable.

 

As all of my above examples show, the same situation can have totally different outcomes, depending on which perspective we choose. Some beliefs are unconscious, and they come from people’s backgrounds, religious beliefs, experience, philosophy or other people’s opinions and their experience. We might be surprised how our beliefs are affected by other people’s beliefs or philosophy. Furthermore, based on that we make decisions that shape our lives. But the good thing is that we can change it at any time. If we are aware of our beliefs and our perspective, we can manage it and choose the response that will empower us.

If you believe that God does not give you more than you can cope with and there is a reason for everything, it will give you the confidence that you can manage it, and the solution is ahead of you. It will give you tenacity and encourage you to handle the adversity in the best possible way. After some time you might even see that particularly this difficult situation was for your good because it directed your life path toward your dream, it tested you, developed necessary character traits and gave you more wisdom. To be honest, I was shocked when I realized this in my own life. That’s why I am grateful today for all those hardships.

The quality of your life and your destiny is determined not by the events that take place in your life, but what you do afterward. While you do not have control over other people and a lot of times you do not have control over what happens in your life, you do have a choice of how you look at it all and what you are going to do about it. Depending on your perspective and decision what you are going to do next, you will have subsequent events and this way you shape your destiny.

Therefore, pay close attention to your beliefs and your mindset. What do you believe about the event that is going on right now in your life? What does this mean to you?

Choose wisely. And, Be Strong. Be Determined and Relentless. Be Unstoppable.

Blessings to you, until the next time.

Inga

 

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Two Golden Rules that Changed My Life Experience After the Crash and in Many Circumstances…

Today I had a situation that reminded me something that I want to share with you. This changed my life experience after the crash, and it changes my experience in many circumstances.

Today there was one of those days when I was annoyed that I had to interrupt my work with my book and go to the kitchen cook a meal. The first thing I said to my friend – when the time comes, one of the first things I will do for myself – get a private chef so I would NOT have to use the precious time for cooking! (Those who know me well, know that I was never interested in cooking and don’t like to spend time in the kitchen.)

Then, my mind automatically reminded me one rule – golden rule – change the perspective. In this case, since I can’t hire a private chef ( yet :)) , I asked myself – what can I appreciate about this situation?

That same second, I realized how grateful I am that I actually CAN cook! It seems it was just recently when I was told that my left arm had a full irrecoverable paralysis due to the nerve injury in the car accident and I questioned how I would be able to live with only one hand in addition to having lost my legs, how I would be able to cook and handle the household duties with only one hand… And now I get to do it without even thinking about it!
Feeling of frustration began fading away. Instead, my heart was filled with gratitude that I get to do this meal.

Then, another golden rule came to my mind – never forget where you began your journey, what it was before you improved your life…so you don’t take for granted what you can do now.
That moment, I vividly remembered those times when due to traumatic injuries I was not able to do anything, then how I was learning to do things with one hand…how challenging it was to figure out how to cook meals, which require two hands. And today, I do those things with ease…I get to do practically whatever meal I decide to make. Now I was even more thankful that I get to make a meal!

And, then I asked what it would be like if you lost that which you have/have to do…that, which you are annoyed about?

That moment, my perspective about what I had to do suddenly changed, and I actually felt immense gratitude that I can cook! And, instead of being annoyed that ‘I have to do it’, I was glad I get to do it.
So, feeling sincere appreciation for what I was about to do, I made spaghetti with meatballs and mushroom sauce, while listening to some inspiring valuable audio, and my dinner was actually better than in the last two restaurants I had this meal. 🙂

I smiled to myself…

It’s all about the perspective, the way we view the world and things that we have to do. Perspective shapes our attitude and how we experience situations that we get to live.

When you can’t change your circumstances, change your perspective about it. Ask yourself a question that will make you look at that same situation differently, that would make you see it as a benefit for you, what you could appreciate about that situation.

It’s not the circumstances that make you feel in any particular way. It is you – your perspective and your thought focus – that shape your experience in given circumstances.

And yes.. never forget where you came from…where you were before you improved your life. So often we get used to the blessing and stop appreciating it, taking it for granted. We forget how fragile we are and it’s so easy to lose it all.

Life feeling grateful for what you have and what you can do completely transforms your life experience!

Blessings, Inga

 

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Interview postponed. Link to my other audio to Inspire you

My dear friend,

The interview which was planned to be aired on December 16, 2015 due to some reasons was postponed. New tentative date is Jan 6, 2016 9:30 – 11 am PST. Some people told me they tried to tune in to listen, but did not hear my voice.  Please accept my apologies.

I received a last minute surprise myself, but I believe that All things work together for good – even if at times they seem to be not good.  I have so many experiences, which proved me this. The most astonishing were times when I realized that years of pain, frustration and even despair, actually played a very significant role in my life AND they were for the better. At times it was hard to admit it, because the cost of emotional anguish was so high that I could never imagine this to be for the better. To my surprise though, the more I was analyzing and seeing where those tough experiences brought me to – I had to admit that it was truly only for my benefit. Today I am so thankful for those times, truly. 🙂 I share about it in my upcoming book “Unstoppable”. So, I trust that this time it was for the better as well for whatever reason. So, for now we are planning for Wednesday January 6, but I still will confirm it yet.

The content that I have prepared for this radio show aims to inspire you, strengthen your faith and also to equip you with some practical tools, which you could use when facing challenging situations. I still plan to do that on the upcoming show, and I look forward to that!

Meanwhile, as I was thinking what I could replace the Radio audio with, I thought why don’t I share the link to my last event where I was speaking for the same purpose. On the radio I will go more in depth about what empowered me to face and conquer despair and difficulties, and what practical mind management tools I use to overcome daily challenges. However, in this audio you may find something of value as well.

Enjoy listening, and would you please share it with others, if you know someone, who might enjoy it and benefit from it?

Merry Christmas to you and abundant New Year of 2016!

May this Holiday Season be joyous, inspiring and filled with wonderful experiences, which later would remain unforgettable memories to you.

Blessings, and till next time!

Inga

 

 

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My interview on the Radio Show “Making your Mind Magnificent” with Steven Campbell

Depending on where you are – Good evening or good morning to you,

I wanted to let you know that this Wednesday, December 16th at 9:30 am -11 am PST I will be having an interview on the Radio with Steven Campbell. For Sonoma County (California)  residents, It’s on KOWS 107.3 FM, or you can listen online http://kows107-3.org/listen/

After hearing my story, Steven invited me to be on his show. The topic is “Making your Mind Magnificent”. I will be talking about the Self-Management aspect of how managing my mind empowered me to overcome obstacles after losing my both legs and the use of one arm. I will also share some practical tools that empowers me on a daily basis to take care of things independently despite my physical challenges. A lot of times people ask me “Inga how do you do it…all by yourself being in such physical condition?” On this program I will answer that question. 

In case you will miss it, here is the link to his archived talks, where you will find a recording of it.

http://www.stevenrcampbell.com/radio-show/past-shows/

Steven has pretty interesting Radio talks; browse it, you might find some interesting talk shows.

I hope this will inspire you and will give you some practical tools that you can use when facing difficulties. Tune in!

Blessings, and till the next time!

Inga

 

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Feel defeated by problems and failed from past mistakes? Turn this around and make your experience work for you.

Happy New Year to you! I hope you enjoyed the beautiful Holiday Season, sharing your time with family and loved ones. And now, it’s a new year. It’s a new beginning. I noticed that in December more people have subscribed to my Blog. You made me smile, and I thank you for that!

As we all start a new year, many of us take the time to see what kind of year it was for us, and then we make new resolutions for the new year. This time I am inspired to write an article about how to deal with past mistakes or failure to achieve goals in a way that will empower you, instead drowning into gloomy feeling of failure and regret. Usually, among all the goodness and joy of success, life also has storms, and I want to share something that will empower you, if you did have some problems and failure to meet your goals successfully. Also, I want to share a resource about goals that will give you some ideas and insights how to actually achieve your goals and implement your New Year resolutions. This is a video with Michael Hyatt. I personally found this video very valuable, and you will see the link to it at the end.

But before looking into new goals and new resolutions, I wanted to share what I call a Self-Management tool that has greatly empowered me in my own journey. Every one of us go through trials, difficulties and we don’t always achieve all of our goals. Normally, looking back into difficult situations or goals that we wished to achieve but for whatever reason we didn’t, doesn’t make us feel good, right? 🙂 It may make us feel disappointed, upset, sad, failed and similar. Well, there is something you can do to turn this around. You still can feel the progress and and find the value when you look at your problems and failure to implement your goals. It is important because not having control over your own thoughts and feelings about your past mistakes makes a big impact on your esteem and confidence, which automatically affects your decisions and actions in the future. It all ties up in one unit. Our successful or not successful results greatly depend on our inner state. It is just one of the many key components, but is a critical one.

Normally, difficulties bring up negative emotions. Failure to achieve goals cause pain as well. But here is the trick: you will feel negative about it all only if you look at it from a perspective that makes you focus on the pain, hardship, failure and defeat. What if you look at it from a different perspective? Every situation has two sides of the coin –  good and bad.  You already know what the bad side looks like, and dwelling on it will only make you miserable. So, instead of focusing on the hardship and pain, asking yourself questions that bring even more pain, shift your focus on the other side – what is the value of it all?  Instead of dwelling on the fact that you did not achieve what you were aiming for or blaming yourself for making poor choices and wrong decisions, ask yourself questions, which will deliver answers that will  show you the value in all that had happened. Look at the good side of the coin and spend more time analyzing that side. You will be surprised what you will see! You will  see very valuable lessons in those situations. You will know what Not to do and what you can do better next time. You will have valuable insights. You will see what Lord was doing with your heart behind those difficult circumstances. You will learn something new about yourself. You will see testimonies of the power of prayer and unshakable faith. You will see a lot of good in all those problems and not achieving goals. I personally don’t even regret about tough times, because I see a great value in it all. I would not like to repeat it, but I honestly am glad I have gone through it and would not trade it now, because I see a lot of lessons that will greatly benefit me in the future.

So how to turn this around? First of all, ask yourself a question that will deliver you the answers that will empower you instead of the answers that will make you dive in to sadness and defeat. Ask yourself questions that will make you see the value in your experience, will equip you with lessons for the future and will give you direction what you can do to improve your circumstances and your strategy to implement your vision.

If you had made poor decisions or faced some tough problems, some of the questions you can ask yourself:

“What am I supposed to learn from this?”

“What insight does it bring to me?”

“What have I learned from this particular situation, which I would not have learned otherwise?”

“What purpose does this have in my journey?”

“What conclusions and lessons am I getting, so I know how to do better in the future?”

If you miss your goal and did not get to implement your vision, you may ask yourself:

“What can I learn from this?”

“What held me back from achieving it?”

“What do I need to change in order to get it this time?”

“What skills or knowledge do I need to acquire?”

“What can I extract from this experience that is beneficial for my future efforts to achieve my goal?”

Asking the right question will bring your attention to the value instead of the failure. Then, be in charge of your Focus. You will see that, which you choose to focus on. Are you going to focus on your poor choices and blame yourself for it, or are you going to focus on the lesson and the value this situation has brought into your life? Are you going to focus on the fact that you missed your goal and feel like a failure, or are you going to focus on the lesson and insights that you have extracted and will be determined to get it this time? This internal process will have a great impact on your inner state and your future decisions.

I am not saying we should neglect poor decisions and just be “positive“, pretending that everything is fine, no.  It is necessary to face the truth, but the purpose of it is to learn and see where we need to make changes, instead of blaming ourselves and feeling bad about it all. Make yourself a rule – the only reason for me to look back to my mistakes, wrong choices or not achieved goals is to seek for value in it.  It may sound like a cliche and too simple for it to do some big change. But please trust me, applying this simple rule will make a significant change in your life.

So, by equipping yourself with learned lessons from your mistakes and by extracting from them insights, empowering conclusions, understanding and new inspirations, you will grow. You will see that problems and tough circumstances can strengthen you. Mistakes can make you wiser and more insightful. All difficulties and mistakes can work for you, if you choose them to play this role for you.

And now, leaving mistakes, regret and pain behind, enter your new year with all valuable insights and lessons that you extracted from difficult situations and circumstances. At this point, you are stronger, wiser and better equipped to conquer your future challenges. This new year you will do better, because you have learned what Not to do and What you can do better. As you are starting your new year, imagine you just opened a new chapter of your life book, where you will write countless incredible testimonies of God’s love and help, new exciting changes, implemented goals and joyous experiences.

And here is the video about designing your 2015 by setting and achieving your goals. I found this video very inspiring and instructional. It has a lot of great insights and ideas how to set and successfully achieve your goals. Click on the link below:

http://resolutions.bestyearever.me/

Hope this brought you some value and empowered you to shake off the dust and set yourself up to win the game! Make your year of 2015 a significant one!

If you have other ways that empower you to deal with past mistakes, please post it below to share it with the rest of us. If you want to reach me personally, please feel free to email me at inga_unstoppable@outlook.com

May God bless you in your journey to have continued success!

Be Strong.  Be Determined and Persistent. Be Unstoppable.

Yours truly, Inga 🙂

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How to be Thankful when you Don’t Feel Like it?

How are you doing this Holiday season? I hope my message reaches you doing well. When I was recently invited to be a Guest speaker for the Thanksgiving season, it was interesting for me to find out that the reason I was chosen to come speak for this occasion was the same reason why I was invited last year by another group to come speak for their Thanksgiving celebration – they  wanted to know how I can be positive and thankful on a daily basis while dealing with pretty severe challenges having no legs and one arm. This inspired me to write a message about it on a blog.

During Thanksgiving we take a moment to think about what we’re most grateful for. It is a tradition on a Thanksgiving Day for a family to get together around a table, sharing what they are thankful for and having delicious food. On that day it feels like the atmosphere changes in the air, because on that day people make an effort to remember what they are thankful for, counting their blessings instead of problems. And then what happens? Another tradition is right at the end of that day – a famous Black Friday! On the very next day, and even that same night a thanksgiving mood and feeling of gratitude is often overshadowed by constant question on where to get the best deals, worries, stress, anxiety, full schedules and concern trying to find Christmas gifts and getting ready for Holidays.  Our focus is shifted into many other directions. Very soon we go back to our normal routine, and appreciation and gratitude of Thanksgiving Day is left behind. When we dive in back to our routine, facing problems and challenges coming our way, it is not always easy to feel a sincere gratitude, is it? Often times various events, people or situations that show up in our lives overshadows our joy and understanding how really blessed we are. It’s hard to feel gratitude when we have roaring storms around us.

 What can steal our gratitude? Usually it will be either some events that negatively impacted our life, bad circumstances or other people  that affect us in some negative ways. I sometimes hear people say to me “Well yeah, I am thankful for my life and what I have, but…” and then follows the complaint. Watching that person continue the thought, it looks like this thing that he complains about over-weighs all that he said he was grateful for. Can you relate to that at times? Before the car accident I definitely could. In fact, I did not even look into my life from a perspective of “What am I grateful for?” I never really thought of things that I was thankful for. I considered that my vibrant health, my physical looks, what I had and what I could do was supposed to be like it was.  It was just normal to me and it didn’t even occur to me that I could lose it all in one moment. Having all I wanted, I still would find various things that I was not happy about and constantly was sad about something. Now, even though I am missing nearly half of my body, I am very grateful for so many things that it overshadows my pain and  the loss I had in my life. I very rarely have “bad mood”.

How can this be?

First of all, my inner joy, hope, peace, endurance and inner strength comes from Christ. I receive it in a prayer and through faith. The Lord is my Rock and He is my main source of inner qualities that are so important to have. I always know that all things work together for good in my life. I feel thankful even for difficult situations, because I know they are going to work for my benefit in some ways. And I always smile when I see that it was truly for my benefit. I spoke about it last year when I was invited as a Guest speaker for Thanksgiving Celebration at Melhizedek Church in Sacramento, CA.  You are welcome to listen to the audio of it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McDj7vHYBxc

There was a time in my life when I realized that in addition to that incredible inner joy that can be received from Jesus Christ in a prayer, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding and His blessing on a daily basis, my experience in life greatly depends on how well I manage myself.

In addition to what I receive from God and my faith, I do work on myself. I believe one of the greatest favors a person can do for himself is learn to manage his own inner state. It is much easier to handle difficulties when we know how to choose our response in a way that will empower us to make the right decision what we are going to do next. Gratitude becomes a normal daily inner state when we know how to get it and how to manage our own feelings. We can have a positive attitude at all times when we know what creates it and how we can maintain it regardless of what’s going on around.

My biggest and probably one of the most significant eye openings was when I realized that my experience about one or another event depends on how I choose to look at it.  In one of my blogs earlier, I shared about how our perspective about events determine our response and decision what we are going to do next. (https://ingalizdenyte.me/2014/04/20/self-management-how-perspective-affects-our-inner-state-and-decisions/An event is a plain fact, and your own choice of perspective will give the color, feelings and emotions to that event. I know, a lot of times it is hard to consciously choose perspective, especially when it comes to dealing with people who hurt you. Our life experience can be very bitter only because of other people’s attitude toward you, their words and actions that hurt you. There is a way to deal with it. But today I want to take an overall look about managing yourself, so you do feel grateful even if the storms of life a roaring around.

What is gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation or joy? All these are feelings, right? Sadness or worry are feelings as well. What does create either of those feelings? You. How? By thinking in a certain way. It is not the event and it is not people who make you feel in a particular way, but your interpretation and your focus. It is you who creates your own feelings. Your feelings follow your thoughts, or in other words your feelings depend on your thoughts. You feel excitement when you think of things that excite you and you feel upset when you think of what’s bad and hurtful, right?  You won’t be able get  into a depression if you focus on things that make you excited or on new opportunities or when you  feel gratitude about where you are in life. Same way, you may lose your inner peace that you received in a prayer if you start focusing on things that worry or frustrates you. You may lose your inner joy if you constantly think about that, which irritates and angers you. You give the direction to how you feel by choosing what you think about.

Your daily experience will be much different when you fully understand that your feelings are created by your own thoughts, and you are in full control of your own thoughts.

Yes, you can choose how you feel by choosing what you think. You can put yourself into anger by thinking about things that make you angry and make yourself feel uplifted by choosing to think what’s good in your life. I am sure you experienced numerous times this: when you wake up first thing in the morning, you feel peaceful and good. But then, when you are fully awake and remember some negative situation, your joy disappears. Then you start analyzing it and slowly but surely you start feeling irritated and not feeling too happy. It’s what many people call a “bad mood”. And you remain in a bad mood as long as you keep in mind your bad situation. Then, let’s say you have some unexpected pleasant surprise. What happens then? You immediately get excited and joyous, right? Pleasant surprise creates positive feelings and you feel great because this surprise took your focus away from the bad situation and shifted it to a pleasant one. Here is the trick: you will feel great as long as you will be focused on the pleasant surprise and beautiful experience it has created for you. But as soon as you go back into analyzing and thinking about that bad situation that you were thinking about in the morning, you will go back into your “bad mood”. Learn to control where your mind goes. It may not be easy at first. But just try deliberately choose what you think about. When you see that your mind wanders around and leans toward that which saddens, frustrates or makes you feel in any negative way – stop it and redirect it toward that which will be pleasant, lovely, hopeful, empowering or exciting. It will get easier with practice, just as everything else. Discipline is like a muscle.

Of course there are times when we might not see any light and not even hope to see the light. It’s hard to be positive when we are in difficult circumstances and have difficult problems or if we are in pain. But we still can be in charge of how we feel. You know what helped me to hold on in my most difficult times? Focus on the beautiful that I had and gratitude for it all. Trust me, it was really difficult, because at times it seemed like my life was filled only with the continuous loss, immense pain and dark despair. A lot of times it felt simply unendurable.  I was left with nothing to hold on to and there was no hope for a change. There was nothing that could make me feel better. Physical pain could be numbed by medicine, but emotional pain not. Still, there were times when after surgeries even morphine would not affect my pain and I was left to  suffer with no way to ease the pain. When I was barely holding myself from literally crying out loud from pain and despair, that’s exactly what I did to hold myself together – I searched for things I was thankful for. In my mind I was thanking God for saving my life, for my family, for friends who did not leave me, for the love and care that I was surrounded with. I thanked the Lord for I had my right hand and I could move my body. I thanked my God for those little opportunities even though they didn’t seem very promising. But I thanked anyway. Gratitude for what I already had and hope is what helped me to endure the times when I didn’t see the end of despair and agony. My endurance came from hope that this shall pass and God will deliver me out of this despair and it will get better. And I never let it go. Interestingly, the more I focused on what I was grateful for, the better I felt. The more I focused on what I was able to do, the more I could do. The more I focused on what I liked about a person, the better relationship I had with that person. The more I thought of how thankful I was for the opportunity, circumstances were changing into my favor. I don’t know the mystery of gratitude, but what I do know is that gratitude is very powerful.

The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the more uplifted you will feel. In fact, I found that gratitude is a very powerful tool to change how you feel. You might say “How can I feel grateful if I am  surrounded by so many problems and circumstances that just have no positive solution?”  In reality, you have so much to be grateful for. But you will not notice that if you are going to be focused on what’s not good in your life. It may seem to you that you have only bad things happening in your life right now and there is no way you can find something to be grateful for. But you relax…take a deep breath and think for a moment… Let’s go through simple things. You have what to eat and nurture your body. Maybe you didn’t like the dinner that much today, but you are not one of the starving ones, who wish to have at least a bite to kill the hunger. Instead of walking in the streets and pushing a shopping cart with all your belongings looking for a safe corner or a homeless shelter, you have a home where is warm and your soft bed with many pillows..   You are healthy. You have all parts of your body and you function well. How would you feel if you lost it? If you do have some physical challenges, do you know how many people are in much worse position than you are? You are not doing that bad after all, right? You have family that loves you and cares about you. You have friends that love and care about you… What your life would be like if you lost those who love you and you were absolutely lonely in this world?  So many times you could have gotten in a horrible car crash, but you survived and in fact you were not even injured. You wouldn’t want to appear in my position, would you? Look. You truly have what you can be grateful for.

The question is what you focus on.

 I want to share with you a very interesting experience that made a major shift in my life. I remember  or very well this special moment that was like a turning point in my life. I think it was about  7 or 8 years ago. At the time I recently moved to the United States. I lived in a beautiful land of sunshine California, but I felt very unhappy. Everything in my life seemed dreary, cold and dark. I did not feel happy nor was I even pleased with my life. I was on the bus going home from work. I did not want to go home. I did not want to see anyone and I did not want to do anything. I just felt empty and depressed. As I was driving and looking through the window, black thoughts were bombarding my mind. I did not see even one reason why I could feel happy or at least at ease. I caught myself feeling this way and asked myself “How did I get to this..? How in the world I got myself to the point that I feel so unhappy..?!” Suddenly, I felt this quiet gentle voice within me “Rise above it. Rise above all your problems and what you are not happy about. Inga, look at how much good you have in your life! But you don’t see it because you are focused on what doesn’t go the way you want it to go and you are constantly thinking about what you are not happy about. Rise above all you are not happy about.  Rise above your dissatisfaction and look how much good you have in your life.”  In my mind I envisioned myself going up and leaving behind all that made me unhappy. I left behind my dissatisfaction, my daily routine, household and job duties, concerns, problems, worries.   As I left it all below, here above it felt so good and bright. I felt at ease!  I looked at the horizon and I saw Success, Happiness, Joy and Victories of my goals to be achieved yet. I was so longing for the sheer joy and easiness… I was so longing for the excitement of moving forward and achieving the goals that were getting me closer to my ultimate vision.  The victory was ahead of me waiting for me to reach it, but… I stopped moving toward it. Just a while ago I had so many goals that I wanted to achieve. I was striving for excellence every time I did something. I had such a beautiful vision for the life I wanted to create! But I lost my vision because I switched my focus on that, which was right in front of me  – facts of today’s reality. I focused on the parts of my life that made me irritated, unhappy and annoyed. I was constantly thinking about that, which made me unhappy instead of what I have achieved and what made my life fulfilling and beautiful. I focused on what was not working for me instead of seeking how I could implement the vision of the life I wanted to have. I knew I needed to switch my focus back to my vision. I needed to rise above all that made me so unhappy, leave it all behind and move toward implementing my dream. I had to walk in faith – I had to see my dream to be achieved. I had to choose to think about what I wanted my life to be like and how I could realize that, instead of what I was unhappy about. I will not implement my vision and I will not be happy if I am going to dwell on what was not working for me. I needed to shift my focus.

This was the day when my depressed inner state turned around. It seemed like someone opened my eyes and I saw what I didn’t see before – my life truly was amazing and I had so much beautiful in  my life!  All of a sudden I saw how much good I had in my life. I came to the U.S. knowing only one person and now I had so many wonderful people in my life. When I decided to move to California, I had nothing except my suitcase, few friends and my dream, and now I do live in this absolutely gorgeous spot of the world! I move around independently, work, travel and enjoy my life just as I did prior the accident. When I decided to establish myself in California, I said to my family and friends that my next goal is almost as impossible as a flight to the moon, but I am going to try it anyway. And I landed! I literally live the dream that seemed nearly impossible! My life is just a miracle… I have so much more to accomplish and I have the opportunity to do that!  That moment I felt that all those details that made me unhappy could not even compare to all what made my life so beautiful. I could not believe I did not see it before! And I did not see it only because I was focused on what was wrong in my life. I was constantly thinking about what I did not like and what I was unhappy about. Since that day I stopped doing that.

I made the decision to put my effort into turning away from my constant thinking about things that I was unhappy about. I had too many good things happening in my life to waste my time and my emotions on the negative. I decided to focus on how much beautiful I have, what I have achieved so far and what I was going to accomplish yet. If there were situations that I was not happy about, instead of sitting complaining or being drown in dissatisfaction about it, I was seeking for the ways how I could improve my circumstances, so I don’t have to feel this way anymore. And I did not even bother myself thinking about some things that were irritable. That was a new beginning for me. In my mind I kept my vision of the life I wanted to create, consistently worked on my goals, and by achieving one goal after another I improved my life conditions and my circumstances. Today I live my vision. Of course life had and still has its own moments and unexpected “surprises”, but I always remember what that quiet voice gently told me.

Today I want to pass that message to you.  Rise above it…. Don’t look what’s in front of you. Rise above it and look ahead. See how much good you have in your life and how truly blessed you are. Think more about that, than about your  problems and difficulties. The only reason to pay attention at your problems is to evaluate situation and find a way to resolve it. So when you look at your difficulty, focus on its solution. When you are not happy about some person, think more about what you like about him/her? When you face the unknown, fight your fear with faith and take action. Focus on that which empowers you. And know that all things work together for good to those, who love God and are called according to His purpose. Just realizing this  will create attitude of gratitude in you, because you will know that even difficulties are for your benefit.

Thanksgiving is not something you feel once a year… it is an attitude you carry within you all year long. It is very easy not to even notice the blessings that we receive every day, when we are focused on what makes us feel sad or frustrated. Make it a habit for yourself every single morning to start your day and every night to end your day with reflection of what you are grateful for.   Very soon you will notice how your list of what you feel grateful for starts expanding. 🙂

Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful Holiday Season. Enjoy your time seeing your family and loved ones!

Make your Holidays extraordinary!

Inga

 

 

 

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