Author - Dr. William K. Larkin

The Brain’s “Bigger Picture”
Seeing Our Strengths As Our Values
Strengths: Your Inner “GPS”
Every Cell In Your Body “Hears”
Love That Is Idiosyncratic
The Cycle Of Self-Sabotage
Aging, Losing Your Marbles?
NeuroPositive Coach Training
The “Motherboard” Of Your UpSpiral Brain
The Resilient, Evolving Brain

The Brain’s “Bigger Picture”

Bigger Picture

Which Brain Part Do You Start With?

Or restated in a different way: don’t start with the “how,” start with the “what.” Many folks do visioning and problem-solving by having some vague notion of what they want, and then drum and drum the “how” to get there.

They start with the right hemisphere, to a small degree, and then go the left hemisphere and work it and work it and work it until they are frustrated, angry, anxious and spent.

Your right hemisphere is the largest structure of your brain. Its computing capabilities are so enormous that scientists have been staggered by its power. Its function is to get the bigger picture, to see the whole of the vision and it is the integrative, “put it all together” coordinator of the brain.

If you have an addiction problem with alcohol or drugs or other things that work like drugs on the brain, it is the right hemisphere that becomes impaired. That is why addicts have trouble getting the whole picture. The good news is that this part of the brain will recover with about 3 years of sobriety.

The right hemisphere, if you will use it, will not only give you the bigger picture; it will help you image and create this larger vision in such a way that the rest of the brain will follow and cooperate in creating the vision.

The rest of the brain will follow in filling in the pieces (the how) in a pretty effortless fashion. The right hemisphere is something like a magnet or attractor of the whole vision, and focuses all of the brain in that direction.

The left hemisphere is the detail oriented, problem-solving work horse of the brain. It is very busy keeping things organized and in place. It works on the pieces and parts of a vision. It is the detail keeper and works on specific tasks.

However, if you start with the left hemisphere, before the right hemisphere has done its work of integration, you get confusion, frustration, worry, impatience, downspiraling, and fatigue because its efforts have not experienced the integrative function that the right hemisphere provides.

So, step back, disengage, meditate, day-dream, doodle, outline, and relax. Don’t try to get the whole picture in a day, although that can happen.

Work with the idea of engaging the right hemisphere and getting the bigger picture. Tell the brain that’s what you want to do.

See anxiety, fear, and fatigue as signs to rest and take time to get this bigger picture.

Use the Emotional Gym and pulse, love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope. All of these emotions are generated by the integrative processing of the right hemisphere.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Seeing Our Strengths As Our Values


Our signature strengths, the top five big ones that we can test to identify, are expressed as values.

What a concept.

Let’s think about values.

They are standards or guides to how we are most who we are. When we live most consistently aligned to our values, a way of life that is most expressive of our true nature is formed.

Strengths seen as values are our “compass.”

Our valuing takes the form of these strengths as one of the strongest indicators and answer to the question, “Who am I?” I have never heard a person who has found out what their strengths are ever ask, “Who am I?”

They know.

Take any problem you think you have and talk to your strengths. Yes, have a dialogue with one or more of your strengths. Ask of it, “with this or that in my life, how do I apply this strength? What does this strength have to tell me, teach me?”

How have I created my world from this strength that is also a value? And where in my world am I furthest from its expression or truth?

Where you are closest, you will be happiest, most content and grounded in easy joy. Where you are far enough a way from this strength, you will find how you devalue yourself and your life and live in a disembodied and compromised life. It will usually be experienced as anxiety and depression.

The fundamental expression of a strength as a life value is as a lens to filter out what doesn’t fit and the delusion that allows it to remain.

Our strengths seek the restoration of the truth of who we are and provides the joy that results. It restores our presence to ourselves and to others.

As you dialog with your strengths, can you hear this message…?

“I fill my shoes and they are solid to the ground, my gait is centered with my posture and it is sure. I am firm footed. I sit in my seat, I fit and I am there, present. I am a part of the beauty and excellence I see accurately around me.”

I am learning to embody my strengths, to go beyond an intellectualized understanding of what they are, and to live in them, with clarity and connectedness I can feel.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Strengths: Your Inner “GPS”

Strengths Blue

Strengths are also called virtues and values because of their fundamental importance.

They are your ways of “being” who you really are.

These superhighways of neuropathways are unique to you and they are the only ones that you can travel and be who you really are. Your values, as your strengths, are who you are.

Get off the highway and some voice within you, first of all your feelings, will start to give you messages that you need to change your direction, make a turn, take the next exit and go back, just as surely as the GPS system in your car won’t give up until you’re on your chosen route.

The greater your alignment, your consistency and your focus is on your strengths, the more in alignment with your Real Self you are going to feel.

You will feel more in sync, more in control, more in harmony, more like you are “in your own skin”.

It is when we play to our weaknesses that we begin to feel “out of sync”, disconnected, out of alignment, anxious, frustrated, and in a state of discord.

The more you use your strengths, that are also your basic values and virtues, the happier you will be.

Your strengths are in fact the GPS of your life if you know them and allow yourself to use them.

Restless, listless, out-of-sync, unsettled and out of your own skin; these are the word that describe us when we are not playing to our strengths. They are the things we experience when we are playing to our weaknesses.

We you know your strengths (because they have been scientifically tested) it’s easier to play to your strengths so long as you stay in an UpSpiral.

In a DownSpiral or when we are down spiraling, we will not play to our strengths, but rather to their opposites, which are our weaknesses or our character defects.

The opposites of our strengths are wonderful things because they warn us by feeling restless, listless, out-of-sync, unsettled, bored, irritable, and frustrated.

The more we play to our weaknesses, the worse these things get

It is amazing that we think so little about using our strengths when we are DownSpiraling. They are just not in our focus. That’s because the DownSpiral is characterized most by narrowing, but it starts by questioning and doubting yourself.

Go down a negative path with a particular negative thought, and it’s very much like going from a “1” or a “2” to a “10”.

From doubting just a little, in a few short minutes, you doubt where you live, where you work, who you love, and why you’re doing anything you’re doing. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but you can identify.

Then there comes the sense that things are beginning to get on top of you –that there is just too much to deal with. That is followed by the sense that you can’t make sense out of things –they just don’t seem to fit together in one way or another.

The DownSpiral shuts you off from your repertoire of strengths, options and abilities, it shuts you off from faith, it shuts you off from doing the very things that keep you in an UpSpiral and gets you to question whether they work or not.

When, in fact, if you were doing the things that worked to stay in an UpSpiral, you wouldn’t be headed into a DownSpiral.

Your strengths are one of your best guides to recognizing and deepening the UpSpiral of your life.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Every Cell In Your Body “Hears”

Brain Mind

Your consciousness is your Mind telling your brain what you want it to do.

However, oftentimes the Mind is not as good an employer as it might be and the brain has a lot of time to wander. If you were to add up the amount of time your brain has to wander from thought to thought and emotion to emotion, what do you think you might find?

Some time would be taken with events that we might consider negative and others might be taken with events we consider positive, but a large amount of the time would be spent on the brain just going from thing to thing to thing.

The brain has a lot of time to think up thoughts (which is its job) and a lot of time to go from feeling to feeling to feeling, unsupervised a lot of the time.

If you decide to tell your brain to go to positive feelings and to feel them, just a little, gently, over time, you will feel the emotions you choose more regularly and consistently and you will grow in an UpSpiral.

It’s as simple as that. Positive emotions, positive moods, and a positive consciousness take time, and it takes intent that builds upon itself overtime.

You are constructing new neuropathways composed of new neurons and cells that can reconstruct the nature of your brain, your perception and your consciousness.

Every cell in your body “hears”.

Not only do your cells “hear” music at the same level of your audible hearing, but your cells also hear what you are feeling and thinking. Every thought, every feeling is heard by your cells through sound waves and sensory transmissions that are audible to the sensory mechanisms of each of your cells.

Stop and consider this for a minute. Every minute of everyday, you are telling your cells how to feel.

How do you think that affects their health?

So what your cells assimilate and what they expel, and how they function in healthy or unhealthy ways is fundamentally and radically affected by their environment of sensory information. That information comes from your choices about how you feel and how you think.

Positive emotion is the most powerful anti-toxin.

Make the choices for love, peace, gratitude and joy throughout the day. Maybe everything isn’t going like you planned or expected, maybe there is a downer or two, but you can still feel these emotions on some level of 1-10 from just a little to more and more.

Can’t feel them at all, you say? Then think them. You don’t have to deny negative feelings, but you also don’t have to stay in them, live in them, or obsess over them. Let negative feelings be a signal to find something to be grateful for and start to pulse a little bit of a thought and feeling of joy.

You move in the direction that you intend to go –into an UpSpiral or into a DownSpiral. And your cells are listening to the choice you make.

What effect do you suppose this choice to feel toward the “good” has on the health of your always “listening” and sensory receptive cells, to each and every one of them?

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Love That Is Idiosyncratic

Be Yourself

Idiosyncratic=unusual, unexpected, edgy,

outlandish, highly unique and personal.

Love is not “niceness.” It is not the culture of “nice, nice, nice” that shrouds hostility and back biting. Love is very idiosyncratic. It is not the failure of courage to be forthright and clear about one’s opinions.

I recall three experiences with Mother Theresa. The first was one at a college commencement in which she told the students there not to quit what they were doing and come to India. Instead, they were told to find the lonely person in their own backyard and to give them companionship.

Second, in a cathedral with a not-so-good loud speaker system and a complaining audience, she stepped away from the microphone so the crowd would have to strain to hear her and to be very, very quiet.

Third, in a new home for her sisters to serve an American slum community, she told the providers of the home for her sisters to take out the beds, take out the carpeting, and to make other changes that stripped the place of the “beauty” the well-meaning church folks had created. She didn’t even thank them, but just told them that her sisters needed to be able to identify with the poor. Not so nice. No, not very nice at all.

Love is highly idiosyncratic. Everyone loves differently. There is a different quality and different nature to everyone’s love. And to anyone who says, “love is love and you can always feel it,” I say not true.

Idiosyncratic love takes form and shape differently in different people. Those caught up in the cultural idea or notion of love make a romance out of everything, but fail to realize that the teacher who is demanding, the worker who is faithful, the person who will not give in to the other jurors to close the case, the parent with challenging accountability “rules” for his/her children, are all giving their love in particular and oftentimes in peculiar ways that we may seldom recognize.

So what is the “to do” for this week? Pulse love and manifest it genuinely in your own way.

If you didn’t send cards for the last “greeting card created” holiday or you just didn’t feel like bothering, stop feeling guilty for how you don’t love and celebrate the idiosyncratic way you do love.

The people who can receive your love will come into your sphere when you just love with the love that you are.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The Cycle Of Self-Sabotage




When you begin to feel threatened.

 When the you that isn’t you shows up.

 When the you that isn’t you is too afraid.

 When the you that isn’t you has to win or escape.

 When the you that isn’t you is trapped.

 When the you that isn’t you is defeated.

 When the you that isn’t you gives in and YOU become the you that isn’t.

People who are successful, entrepreneurs on the rise and celebrities are especially vulnerable but everyone does it. Their train wrecks make the front page news of the tabloids; yours are noticed by those closest around you. You undermine yourself, and you do it regularly.

Your personal train wreck is as silent and hidden as an underground subway moving at lighting speed.

It is like getting on a roller coaster and not being able to get off until you are at the end, which you describe as having a bad day, a bad month or year, or a bad break.

It is the beginning of when you start not to be yourself.

Everyone does it to some degree, unless we have learned how to recognize and change the process.

This dizzying ride is your self-sabotage process that waits until the conditions are just right.

It will wait while you learn to be more positive, mindful, sober, and empowered by self-compassion.

You will never know when it starts to roll, but one day you will realize that a slow erosion has taken you from the practices and learning that seemed so profound.

The erosion is unnoticeable at first, but you are diverted an hour at a time and a day at a time, and life speeds by while you try to find the time when you used to be mindful and remember the exercises that made you so significantly more positive.

It can often seem as though you never learned to meditate, and that being positive really is unrealistic.

Meditation, mindfulness, and stress reduction will keep you from getting on the ride, but they do not change the reality of its existence.  It will idle and wait as long as it takes for just the right circumstances to start moving.

Your process of self sabotage has to be recognized and disassembled.  It also has to be replaced, and everything you have learned will help you create the new meaning making system that is the only thing that will replace it.

But you have to know what the loops of your this ride of sabotage are, and you have to replace them.

They are the remnants of old ways of trying to find meaning in your life that never worked.






(760) 636-1400

© Dr. William K. Larkin 




Aging, Losing Your Marbles?

Marbles 2

You may know or have even used the expression “losing your marbles” to describe the reality of aging.

The truth is that your marbles do get rearranged, and its perfectly normal – if you evolve.

We don’t just think thoughts, we think from a structure of reasoning.   There are ways we reason, connected something like a hair net, that connect a way of thinking that is predictable and can be measured.

Structures of reasoning are developmental and that they are supposed to be developing all of our lives.

The whole right hemisphere of our brain is largely for the function of managing novelty, of handling new information and new situations.   The right frontal lobe is for grabbing the information that needs inputting for use in the ongoing development of the brain, solving the challenges of living in the moment.

Your right frontal lobe isn’t busy gathering evidence to keep you convinced that how you reasoned 5 years ago still really works just fine. If it does, you’re in trouble, with a kind of rigidity that comes from wanting to remain safe rather than to encounter what is new and novel.

Your right hemisphere is engaged in encountering all of the new and novel things that are part of an evolving brain that last all of our lives. Does the brain shrink as we grow older?

Probably, if you don’t use it.

I don’t think Einstein’s brain had any shrinkage. I don’t believe that Monet, who painted into his 80’s, had any shrinkage.

Decline is not synonymous with aging. It is the product of perceived threat, resistance, and rigidity.

It happens when you decide that it’s time to get out of the parade and watch it go by. It happens when you rely more and more on what you already know, and use less and less of your brain to learn new things.

It happens when you start balking at learning how to text or use a smart phone, or resist learning new technology, not because you are making a choice to learn other more interesting things, but because you are afraid, and have for some reason, made a choice to withdraw, bit by bit, from life.

Alzheimer’s has a very long onset. It starts much earlier than we have believed. It begin as much as 25 years or more when younger people start to rigidify and become resistant to novelty, to learning new things, and to being open to new ideas.

The structure of your brain is designed to change. There are neurodevelopmental changes, cognitive changes, that are like stages of growth that change the “hair net” of reasoning in your brain.

You grow older, you grow wiser, deeper, the nature of your reasoning becomes more expansive.

Your marbles change around and you use them differently, with remarkable new perceptions, if you allow it to happen.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

NeuroPositive Coach Training

NeuroPositive™ Research & Applications
Course 1

Mind Body

This Course is a 20 week in-depth exploration of the integration of significant research in the neuroscience and positive psychology of life coaching.

Whether you are an already trained coach, counselor, yoga, wellness or fitness trainer, business or non-profit executive leader, or are just anxious to launch a coaching practice, the purpose of this course is to learn the neuroscience, positive psychology, and NeuroPositive™ coaching tools which ground our coaching model, the NeuroPositive Method.™

The NeuroPositive Method ™ is a research based, neuroscience framework for life coaching, increasing the positive neuroplasticity of the brain, integrated with an intensive focus on developing positive and powerful coaching strategies and interventions.

This is the practical “how to” of everyday neuroplasticity for growth and development, for personal & organizational excellence–for yourself & for your clients.

Professional NeuroPositive™ Life Coaches are expert guides and teachers of the optimally well-lived life that creates high levels of life satisfaction and deeper reservoirs of personal resilience, personal strength, and a sense of personal meaning and significance.

Because they know the neuroscience and work with brain neuroplasticity, NeuroPositive™ coaches know what works, they know why, and they know that the methods and tools of The NeuroPositive Method ™ get the results they want with clients.

Learn about neuroception and the growth from threat to safety, by understanding how to move from the “fight/ flight” response to the capacity to activate your “calm/connect” response — which your healthy body wants more.

You’ll also be trained in the neuroscience of strengths, the science of optimism and resilience, the neuroscience and psychology of coaching clients through change & transition, and you will learn 4 neuroscience-based client assessment scales which give you a precise picture of client progress.

And much more.

$1995 with a $300 award for pre-registration with full payment.

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This Course is approved by the ICF. CEUs are available.

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(760) 636-1400

The “Motherboard” Of Your UpSpiral Brain

Brain Wires

You’re growing the UpSpiral of your brain, the “motherboard” of positivity, meaning, and a growing sense of personal significance.

Your brain is reorganizing and building a huge new superhighway, and there is a little traffic congestion of your many, many thoughts and feelings everyday.

You’re tired and you want a break, and you want something new, very new, and while your brain is trying to get the superhighway built, some of your other roads are worn and clogged, and being defragged and forgotten. And the meaning you thought you had is slipping through your fingers.

You feel like you’ve hit a brick wall.

Your brain feels scrambled because you’re putting in a new mother board, and it’s only half installed. So you have to rely on the old system, half of which is unplugged until the rest of your mother board is fully installed -that will be about 2 years or more depending upon how much you resist, and get depressed, and hide.

When the superhighway is built and you start zipping across it, who knows what “debris” you will have left behind, but this is all very normal, very predictable. It feels crazy and it feels like the world tastes like dirt.

Everything has lost its savor, like the junk food you used to like that isn’t good for you, and it needs to change.

But that is just part of the new super highway mother board.

One day again, you will zip even faster than before, the sun will rise on a new day, and your real friends will marvel at how wise you have become and how much more sense you make, how you’ve “changed.”

Someone should have told you that this is something like menopause: you can make it really miserable or you can set aside the fear because this is all very normal.

You can’t fully move into your new brain until all the wiring is done, so pulse gratitude while you wait and have some fun, think about what you really want,  and see what happens to your brick walls.

I know that you think your past life was difficult, even seen as traumatic, and you may now even believe that you wasted many of those years. But that isn’t the truth, if you will consider that it has been your ride and you’re going to be uniquely wise because of it.

I promise you that your neighbors and friends are going to be surprised.  When the new board is installed finally, and new meaning is there and you run it around your brain, you’re going to be happy you went through this growth.

You have to stop feeding the old dogs that really aren’t there, and you have to find some new dogs to feed that give you back what you are now clear that you want.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The Resilient, Evolving Brain

Neurons in the Brain

The recent attention to hope is significant and important, so important that we added the State Of Mind of hope to our Emotional Gym

But those who write about and research hope are still fixated by how they cast it as a “resilient resistant” skill set.

“Resilient resistance” rather than the capacity to move through life transitions in ways that evoke growth and forward movement, growth.

The problem comes from seeing hope from a problem-oriented basis, as “resilience” to an adversity, rather than a symptom of a larger approach to life issues, life transitions, that is the outcome of the natural growth and evolution of the brain, of consciousness.

The issue is not whether you are resilient, but how you respond to novelty, and to what degree it’s threat or safety.

No one asks, is there a deeper issue than a response to adversity going on here, a response to life in general, and at particular time in life?

Adversity just draws attention to the need for something that is vital to moving through transition.

The real adversity is what draws your life into the future, and how are you cooperating with that unfolding change into a new consciousness, or holding onto an old way of seeing reality.  That has to affect the movement of information from right to left hemisphere, but there are only inklings of research there.

The framework is wrong and the focus on adversity is too narrow.

The term resilience suggests a special set of abilities or strengths, rather than a response to an expanding consciousness trying to question meaning and the core of life satisfaction.

The response to adversity is “to get better” or to “get over it and go on with life”, rather than, what do YOU want? How do you want to live, what is working in your life that is meaningful, and what is meaningful in your life that is an illusion and providing no “cookies in your cookie jar,” even though the jar seems really, really important?

The issue isn’t whether you “bounce back.”

The issue is how you want to live and why.  The issue is adjusting to unfolding neurocognitive development and what it means to think and reason differently, undoing self-sabotage in the process, if necessary.

Resilience is not one set of permanently learned, default skills; it is different things at different times in life.

You invent hope differently at different stages of your life, and the transitions of your life.  And what you invent has to come from someplace in you that “believes” something.

We despair when we cannot find with some degree of clarity what it is that we believe.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute