Archive - 2011

Choice, Goals, Vision
Moving Forward, Looking Back
Never, Until You Reach 85!
The Gift That Really Keeps On Giving
You: The Genius Of Your Strengths
The “Black Friday” Of Your Mind
Memories Are Made Of This
Grow The UpSpiral Of a NeuroPositive Brain
Super Thriving In The Next 50 Years
Why Are We So Worried?

Choice, Goals, Vision


“We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill

the deepest capacities of our real selves.”

Thomas Merton

All of us have beliefs that limit our experience of joy, that keep us from flourishing. Limiting beliefs are not necessarily negative thoughts, but they are beliefs about something that we want or would like, but that we think is out of reach.

What do you want, which, if you knew you could have it, you would want even more passionately?

What do you want, which, if you didn’t have to figure out how to get it, you would still clearly want very much?

What seems impossible– so much so– that you just don’t think about it much?

You have probably been told, somewhere along the way, that you should change your core beliefs. And then, if you listened, you were probably told to start excavating them, then write them down, then blame someone or something in the past that caused them, and then share them with some group and replace them.

There is another way. Admit to yourself what you really want, then write that down. Keep writing until you have in front of you everything you want. Then look at them all,  see what you want to keep and “own,” and throw away the rest of what looked like what you wanted, but really didn’t, or simply cross them off the list.

Put those wants together into goals for the next few years. Keep them loose and malleable, open to change. Your wants, when you really own them and “want” them and attach to them, will change your core beliefs as you admit them. As you identify and pursue what you really want, your core beliefs bend and change to fit them. If your core beliefs are authentic and workable for you, they will support you in pursuing your wants. If they are not, they will morph into ones that will.

Beliefs follow behavior, when you are clear about what you want. What if what you seemed to want ends up not being what you want? Then you find out what’s next. What won’t work is learning from someone else’s

Some balk at the idea of having goals because they think it means that they can't be the free spirits that they fashioned themselves to believe that they were. They wanted things to “just unfold” and realized that they had been unfolding all over the place, and that others have been all over the place keeping up with them without either a sense of direction or a sense of knowing who they really were. We believe that goals don’t limit us, but reveal the direction and the pathways to what we really want.

What is perhaps more surprising than anything is that our goals, when they really reflect both who we are being and becoming, give rise to a vision for our lives. Goals are the gateway to our personal vision. Goals “map” our brain and give it direction.  How we would give who we are to the world and leave our own unique legacies, with great freedom, leads us from being purpose-driven to vision-inspired. The particulars of the vision may change, but there will always be the guiding North Star when we aim our sights at finding out what it is.

From all of us at ANI, we wish you a New Year filled with wonderful new goals and directions, leading you to a new or renewed sense of meaning, personal significance, and vision.

Continuing Education for Coaches

1) Describe the process you have personally experienced in finding clarity around what you want and translating it all into your 5 year goals. What strategies have you used to guide yourself to this more authentic process of desire and goals? Tell us your story.

2) How have you worked with clients who are unsure of what they want and seem unable to set goals of any kind? Describe your coaching approach and the tools you use with these clients.

3) Reflecting on the quote by Thomas Merton, share an example from your professional or personal experience of a choice you made which enabled you to fulfill the “deepest capacities” of your real self. How have your training and work with ANI supported you in this process?

For Our Larger Blog Community

1) As the New Year approaches, how do you approach the issue of making resolutions? What factors influence your choice of what to address in these resolutions? Tell us your story with an example.

2) Have you ever pursued a goal only to discover that it really wasb’t what you wanted at all? Tell us the story and what you did once you realized what had happened? How did you “change course?”

Moving Forward, Looking Back

Someone once said “The hardest part of moving forward is not looking back.”

The end of each year is traditionally a time for doing just that — looking back, reflecting on the events and experiences of the previous 12 months. Some will even make resolutions for the New Year. For our work with the UpSpiral and growing the neuropositive mind, this period can be a wonderful time to reflect on the journey, to recognize and savor all the good that’s come to us. And in the spirit of the season, you know that it just has to be shared.

So, what difference has this neuropositive journey made in your life? Where are you now as a result of “doing the work?” What’s changed? Who have you become?

You know that you see things differently.  You know, because you can recognize and manage being in an UpSpiral or a DownSpiral, that your life has new power that seems so natural, like it’s always been there.  You’re aware that sustaining an UpSpiral has become a part of just the way you are, the way you do things.  It just “is” to the point that it is hard to believe that there was never a time when you differentiated between being in UpSpiral or a DownSpiral.  Those DownSpiral times that just seemed to be a part of life that came and went on their own power are now a myth.  You know that’s not true and that you control, within a wide sphere, where you are and how long you stay there.  By now, you are so extremely discontent with yourself when you aren’t in a higher UpSpiral that you want more and quickly to be able to get there.

At this point, it may even be a little hard to believe that everyone doesn’t just “get” living in an UpSpiral. It seems to be such good common sense, even though we know better than that.  Isn’t it incredible that at this point, all of your life has been spent at least somewhere in the UpSpiral and little or none in the DownSpiral?  We wish it for everyone, we want it for those we love, and we’re even willing to do what it takes to help others to have the experience, or rather their experience, of what this journey is like. Wanting to give it away is a natural experience.  Wanting to influence others to the journey is in our blood.  We just want to give away good things and share them with others.

It becomes harder and harder to understand why others want to hold onto negativity to the extent that for many has become an addiction.  The old ego that wants to re-emerge has a tight hold on keeping itself alive. It will create an addictive grip on those who will be satisfied with yo-yoing within some up and down space of the Spiral of life.  But this almost, and not so almost, addictive negative hold of the old ego isn’t an easy thing to have the courage to move beyond.  Sometimes you feel that you’ve just come so far, it’s hard to remember what it was like to know yourself in a limited, narrow way that no longer worked- but you did it anyway because you didn’t know a new, better way and couldn’t risk following it.  To those who have not taken the journey, positivity being can seem such a shallow way to change.  And that is the power of the old ego.  Are there any worse or more belittling accusations in our world than having to have the answers and to “know,” only to be told that we are superficial, unrealistic, limited in our experience of pain and suffering, and that we just don’t know what it’s like?

The caterpillar and the butterfly are such good models to remember here.  When a caterpillar spins its cocoon of isolation, maybe it is even thinking, if it thinks in its own way, that it is safe.  How in the world does a caterpillar become a butterfly inside that cocoon, when they are so entirely different?  If you cut open a caterpillar just before it spins its cocoon, there is no evidence of a butterfly whatsoever.  But this is even more compelling.  In the process of the transformation, the caterpillar has killer cells that attempt to kill the new emerging growth in its process to protect itself.  How much like human growth!  It is as though the old ego has killer cells to protect itself against the new emerging ego and its fuller expression of the real self.  But you know, if you will remember how much easier it was to be your own isolated caterpillar.  How incredulous did it seem to you when you heard that you could become a butterfly of unique beauty, while you were still a caterpillar wanting to isolate in your safe world of what was known and comfortable.  These claims that you have experienced and shown to be true seemed so impossible, formidable, incredible and even ridiculous.  You were not about to be another Pollyanna, as it seemed that was what this was all about.

But here you are, a butterfly wanting to tell all the caterpillars in your life that they don’t have to crawl- that they can fly.  And as you have discovered, not everyone is willing to hear it, try it, or wants to bother.  There are a lot of old caterpillars in the world who made the decision to remain just as they are and crawl on the bellies of their discontent and negativity.  Humans have this thing called free will and choice about whether or not they will spin the chrysalis of change, enlightment and expanded consciousness, or remain in a world reporting the bad news of those who feed and sustain the old ego by soaking it up.

You have learned that there is a new story about your life.  You have stopped telling the old story of being a victim.  Your new story is so full of authenticity and vitality that only you can tell it, even when you think no one is really listening.  They are listening, even while they may be trying to get away from you.  You may be the start of their journey or one more voice along the way, or you may be even more of a guide for them along the way.

All of this is ours and we want to share it because we know this truth very deeply.  You cannot keep what you do not give away.  In the end, we know that we really learn what we teach and share.  With the recollections of what we have experienced, we know that we must give it away.  Sometimes it’s hard to realize what we have because it has happened gradually and as a seemingly natural part of our lives.  It is easy to take for granted and it is easy to forget where we were when we started, or that we ever really were there. It sometimes seems impossible to grasp.  That’s just the way growth is.

But we pause here to know and touch the belief that our deepest desire is to give and share this.  We know that not everyone is ready, that many are not even open –or so they seem. We would like to believe that we have attracted those who need to hear this to us by our own nature.  And that is actually the truth.  It is also true that you never know if  what you say or do will be acted upon by another.  You may never know.  But you can trust that the people who are around you and the folks that you have the capacity to influence will hear and make choices. And they will love you forever for having been their way in the door.

Perhaps the greatest danger is complacency, because the process of learning here, after a time, seems so normal and so much a part of our lives that we forget to talk about it and share it.  It just is!  But others do not have it, and without a prophet, the people don’t hear.  You are that prophet.  The word prophet does not mean to tell the future.  It comes from the Greek word which means “to bear forth or to bring forth, to proclaim.”  A prophet proclaims the truth and you, yes, you, are a prophet.

There have been enough solutions, well-meaning as they are, that are only band aids to feeling flat-lined, purposeless, and lost in what seems meaningless.  People most want to experience a sense of personal significance, a sense of importance, and a sense of Oneness. The homelessness problem is an external sign of a larger interior epidemic. It is not essentially one of no external place to stay and call home. It is not finding a home within one’s self.  Keep inviting the “homeless” into the warmth of your own UpSpiral home, until they find a similar home within themselves.


1) During the past year, how have you been a “prophet” of our work at ANI? Of the UpSpiral? Give us an example and tell us the story.
2) Describe the strategies that you’ve developed for sharing your ANI coach training and the work of the Institute. What has been most effective? What approach (es) have you used? Share your approach and your strategies.
3) What “resolutions” are you envisioning for your work with ANI for the New Year? What insights have emerged from your work this year which will motivate you to grow and expand the reach of your work in the year to come?
4) “Perhaps the greatest danger is complacency.”  Over time, this work appears as simply a part of who you are and becomes routinized. How has this truth manifested for you? What strategies will you use to renew your commitment to yourself in this work?


1) Do you habitually make New Year’s resolutions? What strengths do you have which naturally help you realize them in your life? Tell us your story.
2) Reflect on your growth in “feeling good” this year. How have you grown in your natural ability to increase positivity and well-being?

Never, Until You Reach 85!

When do you look at and consider the effects of the past?


At the Applied Neuroscience Institute, we never work with past memories in coaching until a person has reached an UpSpiral Score of a secure 85.  What does that mean?  We measure the UpSpiral on a scale of 1 to 100. 100 in the UpSpiral is “feeling good” and “feeling free.”  50 and above is considered an increasing range of emotion and consciousness that is described as feeling more and more “on top of it.”  Below 50 marks DownSpiraling, a loss of a sense of freedom and well-being. At the bottom of the scale are despair and despondency, characterized by a sense of helplessness, lack of control, and absence of meaning and purpose.

Why do we work with a person’s UpSpiral until they score at an 85?  It’s simply because we look and judge our past differently when we are in place of higher well-being. Don’t you have to heal the past to get there? No. No you don’t. What you are doing in the present and what we are planning and working for in the future is far more healing and integrating than raking through the past and creating false resolution by identifying old wounds and opening them in unnecessary and unfruitful ways. There may be a temporary relief to such techniques, but the issues return and the memories do not go away.

What about trauma and PTSD?  How many of you have trauma and PTSD?  The overwhelming percentage of those reading this blog does not. So don’t worry about it. But even those issues can be healed in the same way, by moving into an UpSpiral and using the power of the UpSpiral to create wholeness and integration. Integration and personal resolution comes in many forward-moving ways far more significantly than by digging up the past and pasting a band aid of false expectation over it.  In fact, the most effective treatments in the military today involve “real life” resolution.

The past may indeed need healing, but there are better ways to do it. Negative psychology (a multi-billion dollar industry) has woven a broad cultural myth of healing that leads us to believe that something like one or another of a hundred different psychotherapies or religious forms are necessary for personal progress and the reason why it isn’t happening. And this simply just isn’t true.

Do you ever tire of hearing that you need to be healed and that some therapist or minister can do it?  But if your UpSpiral wavers between and 40 and 70 and goes up and down and your moods ying-yang like a yo-yo, you’re going to believe it’s true. If you earn your living by people who believe this to be true, you’re going to swear that entering the “darkness” and unpacking the “suitcase of the shadow” is the only way.  It is true that it is a “way”, but it is laborious, expensive and largely ineffective over the long-term.  There is a better way.

When those I coach and those who use our material all over the world get to an UpSpiral score of 85, I never ask people to tell me what were their negative memories. I will eventually, though, ask them to list ALL of their negative memories, but with one big difference. I ask one simple question. For every negative memory, while your consciousness is at an 85 or higher, tell me the good things that came of that negative experience. That question and our work together to find the answers bring a sense of resolution and integration. If you have decided that you want to live your life freely, you can do this.

Why? Because it not airing and identifying with negative feelings or events that creates healing. It is identifying the resolution. How do you find a resolution to something that seems unresolved?  Get to an 85 in your life, where your outlook and perception have changed, and then find the good that came from every negative in your life.  It’s there.

You’re here and you’re alive, and there is good that can come from every negative thing. If you want to hold on to the negative, you are likely in an DownSpiral with a score below 50. 50 or above is signal that you will work at identifying the resolution. The higher the score, the greater the desire.

If you’re interested in how we do this and why it works get involved in the next NeuroPositive Certificate Course. Click here for more information.


1) Discuss your understanding of why we don’t deal with past negatives until our clients score at a secure 85 in the UpSpiral scale. What research supports this strategy?
2) How has your understanding and practice of the UpSpiral scale deepened and evolved since your initial training? What has changed or shifted? What new insights and emphases do you use personally and with clients or your UpSpiral Groups?
3) What coaching tools do you use with clients who seem “stuck” in a habitual rabge of the UpSpiral scale? How do you raise client awareness of this pattern? How do you move clients forward in growing their UpSpiral?


1) How has this blog awakened in you the awareness of where you score on the UpSpiral scale? How do you see its usefulness to you everyday?
2) What people, places, or experience support you in soaring higher in the UpSpiral? What is it about these people, events, or places that guides you to a place of feeling good, feeling better? Describe your experience with an example.

The Gift That Really Keeps On Giving

For many, this time of year is filled with negative or unpleasant memories kept alive by the lack of needed insight and growth.  Stuck in unforgiveness, many people continue blaming others for their unhappiness during this season of the year. Whatever the cause, the thoughts of others celebrating with great cheer can bring up memories of loss and hurt.

Because this season is so filled with a whole range of emotions, it gives us an opportunity to look at how we can learn to develop positive “emotional muscle” and feel the positive emotions we want to feel “on call.”  Yes, especially at this time of year, even if you’re “nursing” past hurts, even resentments, you can learn to undo the pattern of “holding on” and learn to “let go” to feel better, to feel good this entire holiday season and beyond.

Positivity does not necessarily begin with positive thinking, although that is a helpful and important part.  Thinking is only a part of this.  We begin to develop what we call “neuropositivity” by beginning to exercise and develop positive emotional muscle. Let’s take a look at the concept of “emotional muscle.” 

On the negative side, it does not take much to realize that we are able to get to negative emotions in an instant.  We can go there in less than a second. We also know that we can stay there, nursing a negative emotion and obsessing over the negativity for a long time. We all know people who can intensify a negative emotion and make it bigger and bigger and bigger. We know they are over-reacting and that we do the same, but we don’t think much about it because we don’t realize the enormous cost of being so competent, capable, and agile with negative emotions. Building a reservoir of positive “emotional muscle” promises that you can get to positive emotions instantly (immediacy), you can stay there for a long time (duration), and you can increase the feeling at will (intensity).  As agile and skilled as we are at doing this with negative emotion is very often as limited as we are, to some extent, in doing it with positive emotion.  Most of the time we haven’t even considered growing positive emotion.

What you are building is a new ambient soundtrack in your life. You want the positive emotional setting to become your default setting – a place you just normally go to, rather than worry, fear or dread. You are also building psychological capital. You are building a kind of reservoir of positivity that will cause negative feelings to last a much shorter time. You will find, after a while, that you react less to negative things in your world and when they do occur, you have a buffer of time to adjust your usual automatic response to them. You are beginning to tell your brain to spend more time in positive emotion than in negative emotion. Your brain will resist you until neuropositivity has built new neuropathways that are more in charge than the old, negative ones.  This is the activity of what we call brain neuroplasticity.

This can sound like a simple denial of negative emotion.  We have been taught that you must “air” negative feelings, that they are dangerous if they are internalized and repressed. While it isn’t true that we have to air every negative feeling or thought, what is important is acknowledging them for whatever feedback or information they give. There is a difference between ignoring negative feelings and not staying in them longer than necessary and becoming stuck in them. If negative feelings are, in part, mechanisms of feedback, let them tell you what they have to tell you, and then use them as a cue to go to a positive emotion. You can’t solve a problem from a negative place, so get to a positive place and then deal with the negative situation.

How can all this really happen? Doesn’t it all still sound like a simple denial of negative thoughts and experiences? Nothing could be farther from the truth. In our Emotional Gym, your goal is to grow positive emotional states in three measures- develop the mastery to get to them instantly, gain duration and neurologically make them last, and gain the agility (and courage) to intensify them. That sounds pretty simple, and it is, over time. And that will be no small amount of time. Changing neuropathways in the brain takes time.  Just consider the time it’s taken for you to develop the ones that presently determine your emotions and behavior. 

On a scale of 1-10, if 1 is a little and 10 is a lot, try feeling a little bit of gratitude at 1, 2, or a 3.  Just feel a small amount to begin with.  One hundred little hits of gratitude a day is more valuable than a single, large, great hit in a week or a month.  Now, as if you were chanting, or better, pulsing with energy, feel the emotions of gratitude 25 times at a 1, 2, or 3.  Feel a little of the emotion, just touch it and feel it again.  You are pulsing “gratitude, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.”  If you are so far away from your feelings that you just can’t feel it, then think it; it will come to you and that’s a promise.

Next do the same things with each of the following emotions: joy, love, peace and hope.  You can choose any emotion and put them in any order. Usually one or two of the emotions are hard to feel at first. If you can’t feel the emotion, then just think it. What you think, with the intention of feeling it, will emerge as a feeling after a while, if that is your intention.

This holiday, give yourself the gift of “feeling good.” Begin to practice our Emotional Gym, and come to know what so many others already know and practice-that feeling good is a choice, a decision, and an intention which, once activated, just keeps on giving. The price for all is this might just be your ticket out of persistent, unforgiving negativity into the greater freedom of feeling better, feeling good, greater forgiveness for yourself first, and then for others. That’s a gift that just gives and gives.


1) Summarize the research which supports the effectiveness of the Emotional Gym. How does the practice of this coaching tool call up the brain’s neuroplasticity? Give us an example of how you’ve used this tool successfully with a client.
2) You have a client who persists in wanting to tell you his/her story of holiday “dread.” Using your knowledge of our ANI coaching model, where would you begin with this client? What would be your overall coaching plan for such a client? What specific tools would you plan to use?
3) How would you teach the concept and practice of the Emotional Gym to a new client or to a new audience? What would you emphasize and how would you explain its benefits? Give us your script.


1) What feelings are most prevalent for you during the holiday season? How do you celebrate the “good feelings” of this time of year? What strategies do you have for building duration and intensity of positive emotions?
2) We challenge you to try the practice of our Emotional Gym. How do you see its  power with negative past memories and experiences which may be an integral part of your experience of the holidays? Tell us what you envision as a result of trying this new tool. Post your experience on this blog.


You: The Genius Of Your Strengths

We have all been the object of attempts to shift the focus from what we are good at doing and focusing that attention on a deficit that, in the long run, will change very little. Our weaknesses change very little over a lifetime, but our strengths are infinitely malleable, with no end to how much they can grow. The major neuropathways of strengths are the brain’s superhighways of growth when we put our focus on them and grow in that direction.

You will only stay in an UpSpiral of feeling good by using your strengths. Your strengths can take any problem you encounter and give you the skills and answers to work through it, by simply using them. There is nothing you can encounter that your strengths will not be a match for, bringing you to growth and solutions. However, it is very easy, especially at first, to forget what your strengths are. In a DownSpiral, your strengths don’t even seem real, if in fact, you can even remember what they are. It is amazing to see a person in a DownSpiral struggle to even name their strengths. And if they do, it is usually reluctantly and disgustedly, as if somehow their strengths don’t work.

We have not been conditioned to look to our strengths, but we have been conditioned to remember our weaknesses. We have learned to make them our focus, because while we are afraid of them, we also use them in what seems like a way to escape from our problems and fears.  Oftentimes, this focus on weaknesses creates addictions. Because we can start off feeling negatively and then focus on a weakness, it can become part of a learned pattern that will take you to some kind of reward, like a drug, drinking, food, or shopping.  So there is an investment in the DownSpiral as a way of getting the short-lived addictive reward.  Feeling negatively insures the eventual escape, with the drug or the drink, or whatever the escape may be.

For many, using your strengths will just feel too good- so good that it will seem like you are being frivolous and wasteful, that life should be harder. Life should not be harder. Life should feel exactly like you feel when you are easily and effortlessly using and growing the strengths that are your major neural superhighways. There are even some people who report that they feel guilty when they use their strengths because they were discouraged from doing the things they loved or were good at because it came too easily for them. They were told that they should struggle more. Work didn’t seem like work unless they were doing something that was exhausting, using too much psychic energy, and was an attempt to become good at things that were not their strengths.

We have the idea that what we love should be reserved for “rewards,” or for time when the real work is finished. We believe in the “no pain, no gain” nonsense that may work in a muscle-building gymnasium, but does not work in the rest of life. Even in the exercise field, the rule of “no pain, no gain” is fast being replaced by steady growth that does not emphasize “pain” as the measure of how hard one is trying. The idea that if the thing you are doing is not filled with struggle and pain, as the measure of really deserving the reward, is an outdated and foolish use of good energy. It is no way to “feeling good,” and it is a perfect way to wearing ourselves out and getting tired of whatever the activity may be.

However, it is still difficult to accept the idea that we are best at things we are good at and that we enjoy. Can we really appreciate what we have achieved if we have so enjoyed achieving it along the way?  That is the way when you know your strengths and you use them to succeed. You will use less psychic energy, you will get more easily into a “flow,” and you will develop more quickly to the point of being exceptional in growing areas that are already your strengths. You will want to do whatever it is that your strengths are lined up to do. That is the “wanting” that creates genius.

The great prodigies are not so different from the rest of us.  It takes about 20 years to develop genius in a particular area.  If you are recognized for being good at baseball or ice skating or tennis when you are 4 or 5 or 6, and you devote your life to one of these for next 20 years, you will develop the “practiced” skills that will grow because of the practice and a natural “bent.”  Devote yourself to something for 20 years and see how exceptional you become if you “breathe” it everyday for 20 years with the best teachers and coaches and opportunities, grounded in your strengths, which seem to lead you in that direction.  Geniuses are not born. They develop.  How many, many geniuses are there out there who have not had the opportunity to develop in a highly directed environment?

You may well be one of them.  And by the way, it is never too late to develop genius by pursuing what you love to do, in one aspect or another.


1) Summarize the research which establishes the connection between Zeno Focus and the emergence of strengths. How do strengths grow with this kind of focus? How would you coach a client to use the Zeno Factor in moving away from weaknesses to strengths?
2) How does the DownSpiral counter the awareness and use of a client’s strengths? Give us a specific example of this phenomenon and a coaching plan that addresses it.
3) Define the Heraclitus Effect. How does it impact the growth and engagement of client strengths? How might it manifest in a client? What coaching tools do you have to coach a client through this issue?


1) What do you consider to be your greatest strength? How does it show up in your experience? How have you used it to increase a sense of well-being?
2) What cues do you have in your life that you are moving away from a strength? What are they? How do you use these cues to move back in the direction of your strengths? Give us an example.


The “Black Friday” Of Your Mind

“Black Friday” is just around the corner. The holiday rush is upon us. Have you ever gone to a store with the express purpose of buying something you needed, got home with one or two bags of things, and realized that you forgot what you went for?  You may have reasoned that you didn’t need a list, but on the way to the store, you weren’t particularly thinking about what you were going there to get. You were distracted by the traffic and the sights along the way.  You found the store, and dutifully went into your destination without a thought in your mind about what you went for.  Maybe you walked in with something gnawing on the back of your mind, but you shopped and got a few things, got distracted by a few others, found a good deal, and knew that you were in a hurry to get back home.  Then just before you got into your driveway, you realized that you didn’t get what you went for, and you weren’t about to turn around and go back and get it.

You aren’t alone if this has happened to you.  It has happened to most people more than once. It is the way our brain works.  We don’t necessarily focus on what we intend to want, but more significant than that, we don’t always know what we want.  In fact, most of the time we don’t know what we really want.  We are much better at thinking we know what we want than we are at really knowing our wants and our desires.

If you have dreamed a few times in your life and you think the result has been some kind of mistake or even a disaster, you may have decided that you can’t trust what you dream or that what you want on a deeper level just isn’t going to be yours.  If you have failed at what you dream many times, you may have decided that you are a failure for having had such dreams and being foolish enough to follow them.  The truth is that you were foolish not to have followed them.  Whether or not you were foolish doesn’t begin to be the issue. The issue is what you have learned.  Or if you realized, considered, and were open to the learning, what has it taught you?  Many people just close off, not only to what they are dreaming, wanting, and desiring, but they have learned to trust someone else’s dreams or someone else’s best plan for them, deeply believing that their own “wanting” is flawed. They see themselves as “damaged goods.”

What about the great spiritual ideal to give up desire?  If that weighs heavily upon you and you are very convinced of it, you likely will have difficulty ever getting clear about what you really want. We say: go follow your ideas of extinguishing desire long enough to make you a little more miserable,  a little more out of touch with yourself,  and then ask yourself how it’s working for you. Actually, the spiritual disciplines with integrity are trying to do the very same things we are doing here. They are concerned that we give up the desires that are not true to us, that are empty, and that are not our own true journey.  There is no sin and you are not less spiritual for seeking to find out what you want.  That is the search.  If you want to believe someone else’s idea about what that is for you, because you think that they are spiritually wiser than you, then by all means follow your guru until you find out that the guru’s sandals are clay, just as yours are, and that your life and your search are your own, given one time in the life of this identity of yours that is so precious and absolutely, totally unique to you, if you will let it be.  Commonalities with others will help guide you. We can learn much from others, but they must never overtake you in touching your own wants and desires for you in your time and place in creation.  No one else is YOU, and if they know better than you, if they know “just what you’re feeling,”  thank them and ask them to pray for you to get the same message they think you should know, then have dinner with someone else.

There is a custom in some religions to have a period called “advent” before Christmas.  It is a period of purification and cleansing to be more open to receive the “Christ-life” in a new way at Christmas. It is a wonderful idea of emptying out the negative. You will find that as you increase your capacity to feel good, you will have times when the positive pushes up and out what is negative and doesn’t belong.  This “flushing out” of the negative organizes the brain in a new and different way, and makes more clear what it is you really want.


1) Summarize your understanding of the role of Zeno Focus as it relates to Vibe Core and the emergence of desire, belief, and openness. What coaching tools would you use to support clients in more clearly getting in touch with what they want?

2) Cite the research which supports the positive correlation of a deeper UpSpiral and a greater Vibe Core. How does a greater overall experience of “feeling good” support clients in identifying and attracting what they want? Give us several examples.


1) What is the process you habitually use to identify what you want? What are the strategies you use to gain clarity in knowing and attracting what you want in life? Tell us your story.

2) How do you handle the stresses of the holiday season? What strengths do you have which support you in focusing on what is important for you and others? Give us an example.


Memories Are Made Of This

Over the period of our life time, our task is one of integration of the negatives of the past and present into a greater whole of positivity, understanding and acceptance. That is what the brain is doing as we become more positive.  If we are becoming more negative, we can’t do this kind of positive integration. In fact, more dis-integration occurs. In a DownSpiral, we become more distrustful, more negative, narrow and we make choices to close ourselves off from the attachments that are full and healthy. Our attachments become more  narrow and integration of the negative into a more positive “whole” can’t happen. And since this integration or wholeness of our experience is a major task of the maturing adult, when it doesn’t happen depression, dis-ease, and a disconnection with one’s self, others, and life is the result.

The left side of the brain, called the left hemisphere, is that part of the brain that remembers negative memories, and it does this very well.  It remembers them pretty much in order, like a list, and it remembers the details –but particularly the negative details in a very one-sided way –the way the person wants to remember them.  The more negative the memory, the more it is cut off from the right side of the brain, called the right hemisphere. This right hemisphere remembers things differently.  It remembers things more as a whole and more in the context in which they happened.  It remembers with a wider view or a wider perspective; it gets and sees more of the whole picture.  In fact, the right side of the brain can store the greater details of a situation and be shut off from the left side of the brain so that the two recollections and ways of seeing the negative thing or the negative memory are cut off from each other.  Putting them back together again is called integration.  But experiences can be so negative or painful that they can be “jammed” by the left hemisphere in such a way that they never make it to the other side, so to speak.

The whole process we see in getting older that we call “mellowing” or “softening” is probably this process at work in our lives.  Over time, we open up and let the right side of the brain take the wider look and include more of the over-all picture.  We understand things differently.  We understand that our fathers or mothers or friends came from situations where their lives were difficult, and we understand that people, including ourselves, do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do if they weren't upset or pressured, or just humanly made mistakes once in awhile.

Here is where positivity being is very important.  The more we can experience positivity and the UpSpiral and build stronger positive emotions, the more trusting and open we are likely to become.  We will let this right side of the brain do its work just as a result of “feeling good.”  When we feel better, we let more of the integration happen, even though it can seem negative at first.

Think of it this way. The negative side of the brain keeps track of the negatives in our life and uses them to keep us safe and to warn us from danger –or at least that’s what we think we’re doing as we get hurt in life and think we are “learning” to be more careful. And to some degree that is the case. The right side of the brain is always wanting to give us a wider, more visionary, and what seems like more spiritual or whole view of the world.  When we have enough positivity being, we become more secure in looking at and accepting the negative side of things and bring these things into a wider understanding.  It is as if the left side of the brain is writing a biography of your life from a very slanted perspective, as though someone other than the whole and integrated “you” were writing about you.

The right side of the brain is autobiographical in the sense that it remembers and tells your story from a wider, broader, more contextual and integrated perspective. Who would you want to write your biography?  Someone who knew just the negative part of you as you angrily and selfishly wanted to remember it, or someone who could see the whole of your strengths and goodness, as an autobiography does? 

As we grow more of our positivity being, we become more secure in looking at and examining our negative memories and hurts that are significant.  These are the ones that re-emerge and tell us where we know we have work to do. They are not a list of insignificant gripes and ranting about how life hasn’t turned out for us like we wanted. It is not a list of senseless, needless, negative whining and griping about one’s self and the world. These are the really significant memories of hurt and disappointment where we have not forgiven ourselves or others, or life in general.  We work on this integration but we do not get caught in it. We examine the negative feelings and accept them and ourselves, and accept and forgive others, not blankly, but with understanding and the context that the right brain can give us in the process.

Continuing Education for Coaches

1) Summarize your understanding of hemispheric integration presented in this blog. How have you experienced this paradigm in your own life? What tools have you used to increase this integration?  Tell us your story.
2) You are working with a client who reports difficulty with integrating recurring past negative memories. Describe how you would use the research in this blog to coach this client. What coaching tools would you use? Where would you begin with this client? What would be your overall coaching “game plan” with such a client?

For Our Larger Blog Community

1) What have you learned from this blog about integrating negative memories which is new and significant for you? Give us several examples.
2) How will you use the information in this blog to experience negative or difficult memories in a new and more positive way? Tell us your story.

Grow The UpSpiral Of a NeuroPositive Brain

Want to grow the UpSpiral of a NEUROPOSITIVE Brain?

New Class Starts April 17, 2013

Learn more about NeuroPositive Life Coach Training

Our greatest waste of energy and fuel is not oil.  It is our “psychic energy.”  You get a new supply each day.  How do you “burn” it?

NeuroPositivity is the brain’s “green” fuel that is our daily psychic energy, “burned” most efficiently to create greater emotional and personal thriving, leading to well-being and flourishing.

NeuroPositivity describes a state of well-being comprising a degree of personal thriving and flourishing that is ever increasing and unfolding. It is optimal living.

It’s anti-illness and disease prevention.

It’s the very best health insurance policy.

If you are a parent, you can teach your children how to flourish.

If you are in love, you can teach your lover how to thrive.

If you are a high performance person, you grow your way into a zone of excellence.

If you want to be your best, a NeuroPositive brain grows the REAL YOU.

NeuroPositivity is not about healing what is wrong with you; it is about growing what is right and good about you with great efficiency and little waste of precious psychic energy.

Our UpSpiral is the best metaphor for the positive growth of the neuropathways of the brain we call NeuroPositive.  We can show you how.  The benefits are immediate.

NeuroPositive strategies take the focus from healing and create and sustain strength-based neuro-superhighways to “feeling good” and “feeling free.”

At ANI, we teach you how to grow the NeuroPositive mind.

You can learn it for yourself, for your family, for your organization, and for your own personal vision in life.

Learn to work out in our Emotional Gym, experience for yourself the magic of UpSpiraLife Groups, “flow” in everyday life, and the zone of creativity and vision.

Learn what your VibeCore is and how you use it everyday. Get clear about what you want in life, strengthen your sense of believing that it can all be yours, and cultivate an expansive openness to the time and to the multiple ways it can appear.

You can learn it for yourself, you can teach it, you can coach it, and you can create change in the brain that can be measured in an fMRI brain scan.

You can take our NeuroPositive training and earn a License with coaching in mind, or do what so many others have already done – complete the training for your own personal enrichment and growth. You do not have to be a coach or intend to be one to take our classes.

Or call our ANI Training HotLine at (760) 636-1400. We’d be happy to discuss the program, financing options, and answer all of your questions.

Continuing Education for Coaches

1) How have you shifted the “daily burn” of your psychic energy as a result of your ANI training and coaching? Give us several clear examples. How have you worked with your clients to move them to a more efficient use of psychic energy?
2) As a result of your training and experience with our coaching tools, how do you now define “optimal living, thriving, and flourishing?” Give us several examples and cite the research to support your definition.
3) Describe how you “coach yourself” in the following areas:
• Experiencing psychological flow
• Increasing your VibeCore
• Deepening your practice of the Emotional Gym

For Our Larger Blog Community

1) How do you experience well-being, thriving, and flourishing? What emotions do you associate with these states of mind? Tell us your story.
2) What experiences or individuals support you in believing that you can attract to yourself everything you want? Tell us what they are and how they increase your capacity to believe.

Super Thriving In The Next 50 Years

There is another whole book out building a case for the importance of negativity.  Of course, negativity is important, it’s a red flashing button that something in the system needs adjusting.  The greater the noise or the greater the flash, the more important the inevitable adjustment.  That’s all.  No need to go into fight or flight. We’ve spent millions of years learning how to do that. Let’s learn something new, very new and very way out there.

But first one more word about negativity. All of this concern about negativity is essentially about one thing: money. Negativity is a multi-billion dollar industry of therapists, doctors, medical health professionals – most of the them in bed with the pharmaceutical industry. Tons of money is spent on the industry of negativity and a lot of jobs, prestige, and identity rest on maintaining its importance – on fixing it. It’s almost as big an industry as the prison system.

“Healing” is big business.  Focusing on something that is wrong and fixing it, particularly in people, is big business for religion as well.  Healers would be out of an identity and out of money if people didn’t need to be fixed.  Needy people who can’t figure out how to get their life together or who just need more attention would have a difficult time chasing some idea of wholeness they really don’t want in the first place. We have built a culture of victims, whose addiction to it can only be fed by negativity on some level.

In the prison system, the recidivist rate is in the high 80% and the return on negativity is even higher. What would be the financial cost of the industries feeding on negativity if the culture and the world became increasingly positive and healthy?  What if there were a significant rise in health and well-being?  What if that was the focus of the research and insurance dollars?  The mental health industry and the health industry are misnamed.  They should be called the “mental illness” industry and the “ill-health” industry, and their joint slogan should be the same as the prison system: “We get you in and you don’t get out.”

Practitioners of any healing system (including religious) should be given the Optimism Test and if they don’t get a very high score; they should be shut down until they do. The research already exists to show that 75% of healing is the result of the doctor/patient relationship. If your doctor is a brusque, time-driven prescription writer with an office staff more trained to see that your insurance card is up to date rather than able to look you in the eye, change doctors.

Let’s take a very far-reaching look here and imagine what things are like in 50 years in terms of what people “feel” and “think” and how that works for their health. Right now we have the significant research that personal flourishing happens when there is a ratio of 3:1 positive to negatives in day to day living.  You learn to do that. We also know that this ratio at about 12:1 begins to break down, that the positive becomes unstable. Here’s the deal. It is already a challenge to get people to live at 3:1 ratio. Doing that takes very, very good coaching and lots of practice and intention. We barely know how to do that.  But we can do it. And at ANI, we do it very well.

What about this whole range of a ratio from 4:1 to 10:1?  What’s up with that?  What can happen there?  Where are the people with a 6:1 positivity ratio and what do they look like?  What are they doing?  We don’t know. Can you imagine the flap from the mental illness industry when we start aiming for 6:1 or 7:1 positivity ratios?  They’ll be nuts with their warnings of the need to be more negative and critical.  How else could you grow a society of victims?

Enter the Russians. Enter the research done during the Cold War on parapsychology. To gain an edge, the Russians spent a good deal of research time on what the brain could really do. Were there “savant-like” extra-sensory perceptions or mental capacities that could be grown and developed?  They had some incredibly interesting findings, as does Duke University. I am only skimming the surface here, but stay with me.

Let’s pretend we’re on a retreat with the top 100 creative designers from Apple, imaging coaching and thriving for the next 50 years.

When Star Trek beamed Scottie down and he opened his flip phone we thought, “how cool!”  Now we think, “how ordinary.”  When Apple developed the Mac and rebirthed itself, it designed a computer after ideas from the Jetson cartoons. We thought “how cool!” and the largest percentage of people who had never owned a computer bought a Mac.

They began doing things on their kitchen table they had never, never dreamed they could do on a computer, never mind having a computer sitting on the kitchen counter and soon in several rooms. Individual computers, a thousand songs in your pocket, a telephone to shop and “internet” with, who ever heard of such things 50 years ago?

If I were on the Apple retreat, which is now an ANI retreat, I would ask people to look at the resurrection of comic books heroes. Spiderman, Batman, The Green Hornet, Captain Marvel, all of the X characters and the Ironman movies. For awhile I thought these movies were nuts and beneath me. The increasing cultural interest made me ask, “what are they trying to signal?”  What is the collective unconscious, even Spielberg movie myths, signaling here?

Super human capacities,“savant-like” capacities of mental acumen. And that’s where we’re heading with ratios of 6:1 and 8:1 and 10:1 in positive to negative. These are high ratios of mental acumen positively growing an always evolving brain and Mind.  Campbell told us that the very nature of myth was changing. So is the hero’s journey.
It is a lot of bother, and it is women who deeply know that to be true.

I would suggest at our ANI retreat of the best of the best, that what we are looking at is something like “super-thriving,”  “super-health,”  “super well-being.” States of being that are so healthy with high levels of prevention are now the “flip phone” of the day. Super-thriving is so progressed that disease doesn’t have much of a chance and the pills of today look like the tonic bottles of the medicine men.  Super-thought, an evolved state of a far greater integrated interneuronal circuitry; we think faster, healthier, better. Paranormal gifts of sensory perception are far more developed because the mind is healthier and freer of resistance and negativity. This is not mania; this is super health and super creativity at a ratio of 10:1 positive to negative. That’s what the higher ratios will create.

The old models of mental illness and physical illness are eroding. Read The Myth of Mental Illness and Anatomy of an Epidemic. Cancer isn’t on the decline; it’s on the rise. Why?  Because it’s about toxins, resistance and negativity and it’s the opposite of thriving. Even the creative genius of Steve Jobs could not get him past his own negativity. He needed a coach. Read his biography by Isaacson. How I would have loved to have been his life coach! And by the way, the biography leaves a lot to be desired; Isaacson needs a good life coach as well, but that’s another blog.

Super-thriving, that’s where we’re going and we will create it as we image it and get out of the argument about how important the negative is. We are already using the negative and it is showing us how much is doesn’t work and always points the way to what will be. This beginning we are experiencing of life coaching is a miniscule representation of where this work will go in just the next 10 years. We are living in the start of a revolution that is leaving “healing” behind as prevention emerges, and “super prevention” is surely going to follow.

Right now, we are inventing the essential basic beginning tools in the NeuroPositivity of super thriving. What’s the great obstacle?  Resistance in using the tools with enough consistency for the new ones to unfold along with a lack of imagination.  After you’ve had a stroke, it takes time and effort to grow new neuropathways.  After the lifetime stroke of negativity most of us have had, it’s going to take some dedicated work to grow a ratio of 3:1 and neuropathways of positivity. But it doesn’t need to take as much time as you might be spending on your butt or pecs at the local gym.

Go to a super hero movie. Consider thriving at a higher level. Imagine it for yourself and as you do, how you create it will come to you; MasteRevelation will draw it to you.


Continuing Education for Coaches

1. How do you create your own 3:1 ratio?
2. What is a day like when you have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative?
3. What are the creative ways you are learning to “weight” positive to negative?
4. How much time do you spend in “flow” each day?
5. What is the magic of “just this” and how is it working for you?

For Our Larger Blog Community

1. How does knowing the scientific proof of the positivity ratio affect your thinking about your experience?

2. How can you begin to change your everyday life to a more positive weight?

3. In what areas of your life are you on your way to “super-thriving?” Give us an example.


Why Are We So Worried?

Why are we so worried about too much optimism and too much positivity?  What’s all the hesitancy about? Not enough research about benefits? There’s plenty.

Optimism is about thinking in a positive way. Positivity is a much broader expression in behavior, motivation, creating, and living. It is about thriving, feeling good, and feeling free.

Research shows that to flourish (to really thrive and be productive and successful) we need a ratio of 3:1 positive to negative in our day. That means that for the weight of a negative in our lives, we need the weight of 3 positives. At the ratio of 12:1, positivity no longer works – it’s too much, it’s exaggerated. It is difficult enough just to get ourselves  to a 3:1, never mind our coaching clients. Getting to a ratio of 4:1 positive to negative or 5:1 seems almost unheard of. We can do it, but it takes time and work.

But here is the question. Before we have ever gotten to 3:1, there are those who already worry about too much positivity before they have barely covered the minimum. What would be the effect on the brain of a 7:1 or a 9:1, or even a 10:1?  If 12:1 marks an upper limit, why not find out more about the mid-range from 5:1 to 9:1 first?  What are the effects of this ratio on the brain, on integration and neurogenesis?  On human creativity and potential?

We already know that an enormous increase in gamma waves by exceptional meditating monks increases brain integration, peace and love, and is contagious to others in the room not even doing the meditating. What are the effects on the medial frontal cortex, our most evolved brain parts, and their capacity to integrate top down, from caudate nucleus through the insula (strongly involved in both addiction and emotional management) down to the amygdala, which begins to calm along with greater effectiveness of the vegus nerve interacting with the heart and respiration and modulating the stress that constrains us?

The worry, I suspect, is something like, “don’t get too happy, don’t get too over-confident, don’t let go of too much fear, you might make a mistake.”  If the Master Story teller has a Private Voice, it is fear in one more of its cloaks. Good luck in raising a child who escapes it, not just from a single dominant person but from the dominant culture. The truth is that we are still tripping over the negative and cleaning up its spills more than exercising the fullness of the potential of positivity, not only to heal and integrate, but to create and build new people and new worlds. What would be the effect of a parent at a solid 8:1, with that much positivity affecting the emotional soup of childhood?  What if we just got ridiculously giddy about increasing our gamma waves and compassion?  Not enough research yet?  Considering how much of it we ignore, does it really matter? If we were heeding the already existing research, rather than fearing being too optimistic, we would be creating many more practical applications of the research that already exists.

And isn’t that the crunch?  Creating really simple, really workable, truly effective tools of application, along with the motivation to be consistent in doing the work of these tools with ourselves?

We are worried far too soon about too much positivity. We aren’t to first base yet in substantially creating the 3:1 ratio in our lives or the lives of our clients. We are just beginning to learn how much it takes before neurogenesis bumps in and creates new neuropathways building and thriving, and only following that, old ones becoming more integrated. We aren’t going to integrate the old ones, or better the personal narrative, until we create new ones.

Continuing Education for Coaches

1) How have you used the positivity ratios described in this blog in your personal UpSpiral work? Give us 2 examples. How has this work on the personal level translated itself into work with your clients and UpSpiral Group members?

2) Summarize the research on positivity ratios in a way that you would present it to a client. How would you emphasize both the importance and the coaching tools associated with the ratios in a clear and concise manner for clients? Give us your client “script.”

3) Describe the connection between gamma wave production and an increased positivity ratio. How do you see the power of meditation described in the blog associated with the increased experience of flourishing?

4) How do you counter the argument that “too much” positivity is a deterrent to thriving and flourishing? Give us both your explanation and several examples.

5) How have you guided clients to a greater weight in the direction of the positive 3:1 and beyond? What tools and approaches have proven beneficial? Give us an example.


For Our Larger Blog Community

1) How do you experience the 3:1 ratio in your life? What experiences naturally guide you to a greater weight of the positive to negative everyday?

2) How have you experienced greater well-being as you have increased the “weight” of the positive in your life? Give us an example.

3) Those who believe that you can be “too happy” often believe it because of a sense that “this too shall pass.” How has this been true or not true for you? Tell us your story.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute