Subliminal Goal Achievement

Your environment is almost certainly affecting your mood and productivity. You can make big improvements and achieve new successes by making simple changes to your work and living spaces. The idea is to choose specific objects, words, imagery, smells and music that you have a positive association to and place them in the areas you live. The intention is to create subliminal triggers that subconsciously influence you to act and improve on goals. These could include working on business ventures, doing chores, thinking more positively, getting more exercice, generating a million dollars or eliminating bad behaviours. It’s a good way to start something new or improve on what your currently doing.

The process starts by choosing some goals and laying out reminders for yourself. For each of your goals come up with related written words and phrases, images or objects and place them in your work and home spaces to guide action. Make them part of your daily experience. The reminders you choose should be associated with a feeling you want to foster but can include itemized todo lists. This means using words and pictures that you would experience with the successful completion of your goals.

The magic of this exercise is that the mind absorbs your experiences and influences your thoughts and actions without you even being aware of it. The semantic meaning of written words and images doesn’t even have to be fully comprehended each time you look at them. You just have to be exposed to the reminders and your reaction will be subconscious.

This process will also help you remove blocks to a more productive day. If you find yourself deliberating on decisions then adding more positive influences will encourage action. 

Preparation is critical to success. Because we are purposefully trying to encourage automatic behaviours we need to make sure those behaviours are chosen thoughtfully ahead of time. The reminders placed in your environment will also form habits and allow your subconscious to anticipate and plan moment to moment what to do next. This creates a calming effect on your overall state.

We have an emotional budget of decision making power available to us each day. If we exceed our limit we hit burnout and start making bad decisions. When you’re running low on energy you slow down and loose focus. Optimize your day by dedicating time once a week to choose tasks for goals. I.e. if you want to start going to the gym every day but find it difficult remove some unnecessary steps. Keeping all of the things you need in a bag by your front door so all you have to do is grab it and your ready. Then when you decide to go everything you need is in that bad and there is no time for deliberation and hesitation.

You can support new actions with rewards while transitioning to new behaviours. This can include tasty prepared food items, music you enjoy and planned activities that have pleasant experiences like walking through a park.

Here are some specific ideas for implementing reminders:

  • Use post -it notes, a chalk or white board or custom paper/card stock to hang reminder words on the walls. You could also create artwork with pictures and large print words to serve both artistic and influential roles.
  • Set up your computer to cycle through motivational desktop pictures.
  • If you share a space with others and don’t want to disrupt the feel you can change the medium and format to fit. This might mean todo lists on notepads in an office and framed word art work at home.
  • Create a board and place on it all of the associated images and text goals that you are working towards.
  • The size of text you prepare can also be used to influence the priority you have attached to it. Place multiple reminders to reinforce the message.
  • When using descriptive words or todo lists include words you associate with positive feelings. This way you will think of the feelings along with action goal based words. Your subconscious is not logical like your conscious mint and thinks more in terms of feelings.
  • Smell and scents can act as powerful reminder.

Use location to your advantage so that the objects you choose support the type of behaviour you want for each areas.

  • Work – At work you may want to create a mood of alertness, concentration and low distraction. Some starting ideas: Supplement low light levels with a lamp. Ambient non vocal music or flowing water feature. Light energy rich foods. Organization folders.
  • Bedroom – In your bedroom you may want to create a restful calming mood. Some starting ideas: Add a dimmer light. Use words like Relax, Calm Rest. Add smells with plants or scents. 
  • Living Areas – In your living spaces you may want to create a mood for brainstorming, health or long term planning. Some starting ideas: Use words, photos that support income/achievement goals or activity planning. Prepare a gym bag or healthy snack food next to written words or other objects.

When using written words choose the ones that inspire and make you feel good as well as words that describe your goals. Identify specific goals that you would like to achieve and select the words and images for each. Imagine yourself having achieved the goal and choose words that describe that state.

Ideas for working options:

  • $ 10 K / mo
  • Millionaire
  • Enjoying Physical Fitness
  • 4 Dates Out Each Month

The reverse of positive reminders also applies to negative influences in your life. Try removing things from your environment that negatively affect your actions. This may be clutter, excess furniture, excessive noise, unhealthy foods, TV, destructive relationships etc.

Optimize for results. Every once in a while review how you feel about the spaces you have created. Try changing the wording and placement over time. Some things may not work for you so try new things and experiment.

I have found this exercise very useful for goal achievement after just starting recently and noticed a few things. It’s good to have lots of reminders everywhere so that a lot of your time is spent around them. I don’t pay attention to them often I just let them be. Most of the reminders are subtle and just appear to be decoration by others. The build quality of words and pictures on any wall make a big difference. When using post-it notes or low quality card stock I notice it feels like clutter after a while so i’m switching to using  frames and other materials.

Let me know if you try any of these and any improvements you notice.

How to make Mobile Apps for Fun and Profit

It is a lot easier to make mobile apps now than it has ever been. There are more online resources and developers available to help build apps than ever before. At the same time there is a much larger mobile user base of potential customers. Everyone seems to have a smartphone or tablet now.

However the market is very saturated and the platforms are limited in terms of what your applications are allowed to do. This means that if you have a great idea for an app it’s likely the case that there are others out there already and even a great app will need to be paired with smart ongoing marketing to get users. It is possible to make a good income from mobile apps today if you can make apps that people enjoy, be efficient with your time, iterate on new ideas, constantly review user feedback and usage stats and are active with marketing.

A friend of mine introduced me to the idea of building my own mobile apps for iOS early after Apple opened their developer program. As far as I know that was the first time anyone could write an application for a consumer phone and earn money from it. My friend made several apps one of them being a date countdown list. Users would enter in events like a spouse’s birthday, upcoming vacation, or anything else and it would display the number of days before each event. He was earning three thousand dollars per month and spent about a month developing it in the evenings. There was very little active work on the app after it was released. For a student it was a pretty sweet deal.

That kind of result won’t happen any more. In the early days mobile apps were totally new, everyone was interested in getting them and there were very few  available. It was a gold rush for a while.

At the time it was common for an iOS developer to charge one hundred fifty dollars per hour and many commercial apps developed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now you can buy working app templates with more features than you would want for twenty dollars and modify them to your needs. Also developers with skills and lots of experience developing for iOS and Android are plentiful and can cost reasonable amounts similar to any other web development project.

I have made about ten mobile apps for iOS. The most profitable being encyclopedia like references. I wrote scripts that would grab images and text from wikipedia and index them so users could read about dogs, cats, cars, jets etc and search or sort by different metrics. Each time I made a new app it took less time because I could streamline the process. For a few years I was earning between three and four hundred dollars per month from one or two top apps. The Christmas season was always better than the summer. I also made some utility apps and games. The utilities didn’t do well and they took the most time and effort. I also made some games that didn’t earn very much but I enjoyed it and am happy I made them.

If you want to make mobile apps for fun or to express creativity you can be more self directed but if you want to make money from mobile apps there are some strategies you should follow.

It’s quite common for businesses to develop a mobile app that assists customers to user their existing services and give the app away for free. A mobile app is a good way to get people to come back as a repeat customer because it’s always available on their phone. Providing apps to existing customers also avoids the challenge of finding new users which is not easy and often costs more than the amount you can monetize from them.

The second approach to building an app business is to aim for lots of hit apps and earn millions of dollars. To do this you will need to follow a few steps.

Research top performing and popular apps in each app store category for platforms you would like to develop for. This will give you a sense of what people are downloading and paying money for.

Get yourself a mobile device and download apps that interest you. Pay attention to how you feel about the app when you see it’s icon, description and screenshots so that you can keep that in mind when you have to make your own. Open and use the apps to see how developers organize interfaces and design interactions. Read comments and user feedback as well as product reviews online. Also read accounts from people who have developed a mobile apps to hear what they learned in the process so you can avoid repeating common mistakes.

Choose an app that you want to build. Brainstorm ideas over time, add to a list and sort by the best ones for you. Consider that your first app should be fairly simple and not overly complex. Focus on finding an idea that is fun or useful and something that you would download. Leverage personal interests, hobbies or domain experience with ideas that take advantage of any unique skills you have. The idea should embody the most useful or entertaining thing you can think of. Don’t skimp on the app selection process. Building an app takes a lot of time and it can be easy jump the gun by getting caught up in the excitement of a new idea.

Once you have an idea you need to design it in detail. Draw out each screen and write down in point form what happens in detail when the user clicks on buttons or swipes on each screen. Be sure to cover all interaction cases. It’s a good idea to add a contact form for users to reach you with questions. This will give you feedback on what people actually use in your app and reduce the number of dissatisfied customers and poor ratings that will hurt your app store traffic.

Validate that the app is a great idea and people will use it. Before going any further you must confirm for yourself that the app you want to build is something that people want and would download or pay for. Ask people you know if they would use your app or have any feedback on your plan. Describe the features and experiment with how you sell them on it to improve your marketing material. A lot of app developers fall into the trap of thinking that other people will steal their idea so they keep all of the details secret. It’s funny because it happens so often and after doing so they always regret it. The biggest risk you face is not getting feedback now and adjusting your design and approach. Development will cost money and if you talk to people and get feedback early you can save yourself a lot of wasted effort. What if someone copies your app and ends up with a big hit? The chances of that are small, I have never heard of it happening. If the people you share the idea with were to copy the idea you could always just compete with them and both get rich. What’s the difference between competing with one thousand other anonymous app developers or that and one that you know. After you release the app and start marketing it thousands of people will see exactly what you are working on. Most business succeed or fail based on a long term steady increase in customer value not a clever idea alone. Obviously there are trade secrets that you don’t have to broadcast but in general people better able to communicate with others and get feedback will do far better by large margins.

Budget funds to have the app developed. If you will not be doing the graphic design or development on your own you will have to budget for that. The larger in scope your app is the higher the price tag will be. You can get price estimates from contract developers and designers to estimate your project.

Graphic design is really important for making a good first impression with users. It sets their expectations for quality and anticipated enjoyment. If you don’t have graphic design skills you will want to find one that will do work for you on a contract basis. You can find leads on sites like freelancer.com, ODesk.com and Elance.com. It is really important that you communicate exactly what you want from the designer before committing to paying for work. Unless you want to pay for design options it is a good idea to provide a sketch to the designer they will just polish without designing from scratch. To reduce the risk that the designer will not be able to deliver what you need split the project work into pieces and have them do only one part. If the results are good you can give them the rest.

If you are not a programmer you will want to hire a contractor to do the development work. You may be able to find one locally or online from services like Freelancer, ODesk, Elance, or others. Generally it is better to pay by the hour rather than with a set price for a completed deliverable. The reason for this is that it doesn’t limit changes you may want to make after development starts. It also means not having the developer spend time estimating and trying to plan over a set period of time when instead they could be focused just on building your app.

Provide requirements to the developer in point form. Each point should describe only one feature and it should be in simple language and very clear and easy to understand. Make it clear that the deliverable will be judged to be complete when each line is checked. When requirements are in any way vague or interpretable in multiple ways, bad things happen to the budget. Also ask for access to intermediate stages and regular but informal communication on progress and issues that arise. Unexpected development issues are most likely the cause of budget overshoot so don’t have the developer build things you don’t need and make sure that they understand in detail what they will deliver so that they don’t have to redo work.

Finding a developer that can deliver within your budget can be tricky. Break your project into multiple stages and have a developer do just one small part first. If they deliver you can have them do the next stage. When selecting a developer write a description of your project and ask for an estimate of cost, the timeframe they can deliver it, a list of similar apps they have developed you can try and a description of how they would go about implementing your app. You can choose developers that have a good balance between rate cost and previous work history that you are comfortable with. The description of how they would go about the project serves two purposes, firstly it gives you a sense of how they think and what they will be working on but is also lets you know that they read your description and understand it. Many contractors will just spam you with low ball offers after barely reviewing the requirements and charge you more after going over budget or bailing entirely. If applicants don’t write a description of approach and you like their sample work you can always just ask them individually and they will usually be happy to knowing that they are on a short list.

If a developer isn’t delivering stages that meet your specific requirements act quickly to communicate the problem with them and if they can’t address the issue politely end development and pay them out up to the current state and start looking for another developer. It is also a good idea to tip good developers so that they are likely to make time for you with bug fixes and new features later on.

To save on developer budget split the project into many pieces so that you can do as much of the work as possible just using the developer skill set for the pieces you can’t implement. You can have a developer build a base platform so that you can then write labels, and layout elements. You can also have the developer take what you have done and finish any remaining pieces that you were not able to do. If you do this be sure that you don’t allow too much time to pass or they may move onto another project.

It is a good idea to have a development environment setup on your computer so that you can test each of the deliverables the developer gives you before starting. It is also important to keep a list of the contractors that did a good job for you so that you can call on them again.

Monetization of your app can be done in several ways. The most common types are a sale purchase price, upsells through in app purchases of extra features and in app advertising through one of many mobile ad networks. The options you choose will depend on your app because some will make sense and others won’t. Having a purchase price can deter people from trying your app that might otherwise be willing to pay though an in app upgrade. Releasing a free app with in app purchases allows you to get a user that is interested and demonstrate the value of your app over time working your way up to a sale. In app advertising is easy to set up but the revenues are typically lower than from purchase sales and depend on apps that users run for long periods of time.

Releasing the app will require some descriptive text that pitches your app to potential users. You may want to review what other apps say and make note of the things you communicate to your users. You will also need nice screenshots that highlight your app in a good way. If it’s your first app release you should throw a launch party and invite your friends too just for fun because that’s allowed.

The revenue distribution for mobile apps is skewed so that most of the money is made by a relatively small set of developers. Eighty eight percent of all developers together earn eleven percent of all app revenues with apps that generate less than ten thousand dollars per month. Nine percent of all developers earn thirty five percent of revenues with apps that generate less than one hundred thousand dollars per month. Two percent of all developers earn fifty four percent of all revenues with apps generating up to half a million each month. Its important as an app developer that you keep improving and moving yourself up the ladder where all of the revenue is.

Follow through after initial release is critical. Most of your success will come from updates made over time as you make your app better and build a customer base. All successful app developers make this a priority. Provide good support to your users and make them happy. Negative reviews hurt your rating and in turn app store traffic. Constantly fix bugs and add new features. Do more of the things that work and drop the things that don’t. Releasing regular updates is also a good way to retain users you have because they will be prompted for the update and reminded of your app.

Use analytics to track stats. Collecting even minimal information about how many people use your application on a regular basis and which features they use can help you decide what to improve or change. You should also add new features and observe the results to see if people use them. It’s a good idea to remove outdated and unused features because overly complex options will confuse people and reduce their enjoyment. App usage will naturally decline so you want to find the things people want to make your revenue sustainable.

Marketing your app can make a big difference to your overall success. Each interaction your apps have with users are valuable so you don’t want to waste them. Make a website and collect email addresses of people who express interest. Add links to social networks in your app so users can invite their friends to download it. Add a list of other apps somewhere in your application. Have it pull the list from a server so that you can update it as you make new ones. Have your app prompt people to review it if they like it. It’s a good idea to ask people if they like the app and only ask for a review if they do. Go viral by designing the app to use interaction with other people through social networks like Facebook. Users will invite their friends to interact with and they in turn will download the app so the cycle continues.

Advertising can bring you new users. Because the app ecosystem is large with a huge number of apps competing for users it is almost impossible to acquire new users through advertising at a lower cost than the value you can monetize from those users. Advertising for a launch can be a great idea though because new app releases are usually featured in the app store new releases section resulting in a burst of users. If you can supplement that burst of users with advertising you might be able to gain more exposure by becoming a trending app that are often showcased in app stores. With planning, timing and luck you can work your way up to top downloaded or selling apps and stay there for a long time gaining a large amount of users.

Make new apps with the experience gained from your last one. Use existing resources from past projects to reduce costs. Compare app results against each other to pick future options that will have the best result. If a certain type of app doesn’t work then pick something new or branch off from the more successful ones. Find the developers and graphic designers that you like and work well with and drop the ones that don’t.
Now go and be wildly successful.

The Red Pill – a Mindset

Thoughts both positive and negative affect our expectations, choices, actions and ultimately our results.

At the very least, when you are thinking negatively about something you are not thinking about solutions or planning for success. But more likely is the case that negative thoughts lead to a spiral of other negative thoughts. You may not even recognize them as negative because they are only marginally unpleasant and don’t cause a strong reaction for you.

Any thought that makes you feel bad can be considered negative. Some that jump to mind include fear, threat, exclusion, nervousness, apprehension, sadness, being misunderstood, confusion, timidness, jealousy, inadequacy, self doubt, denial, hatred, dishonesty, boredom etc.

 

What if you could take a pill that would cause an alarm bell to ring in your head every time you formulate a negative thought? It would allow you to recognize when you have negative thoughts and stop them instinctively. You would likely change the things you spend your time thinking about and ultimately guide yourself to more productive actions and achieve better results.

Obviously this pill doesn’t really exist but as a thought experiment you can imagine that it does and as you go through your day, every time you feel unpleasant, ring an alarm in your head as loud as you can. I have been holding this idea for a few days and noticed that it has stuck with me and has some measurable results so far. You should give it a try too.

This will do several things for you:

  • Firstly it will stop you from continuing to draw out negative thoughts preventing you from spending your time on them.
  • It will also show you the situations, places and activities in your life that are triggers for negativity and you could recognize when they happen and make changes to your environment to avoid them.
  • Most significantly it will force you to shift your life direction towards getting the things, people and experiences in your life that would be completely fulfilling. Can you imagine what those things would be and what that would feel like? If you’re not already there now It should feel exhilarating and possibly uncomfortable if it’s far outside of your comfort zone and you can visualize it with enough detail.

Now Imagine that this pill is real and you just took two. Try visualizing it working for you and every time you have a thought that is negative, fear, boredom, sadness, futility, jealousy, discomfort, pain, ring the bell and focus on changing your thoughts. For the next seven days this pill will ring after each negative thought.

Use the prospect of a much more fulfilling life inspire you to put in the extra energy it takes to be consistent with this thought experiment over one week. If it can become something that you want to have in your life then thinking about the outcome you want to achieve will give you the motivation to follow through. If you can’t hold the idea one hundred percent of the time thats ok just pick it back up when you remember. Make post-it notes or make a reminder with pen on your hand where you will see it.

 

How would you rate the things in your life? Use a scale of one to ten, where ten is the maximum happiness you can feel about something and one is the worst imaginable. Some categories to think about: health and physical well being, career satisfaction, wealth and finances, relationships and friendships, contributions, experiences etc. If you rate anything less than ten think about what would have to change and how it would feel to actually have those things in your life that you would rate tens.

After visualizing this pill affecting your life for a few days you might notice that as you imagine experiencing the things you initially rated as ten are actually not the best that you can achieve. Though the repeated process of seeing a new goal and achieving it often a new even better goal for you will appear. If you fully applied this to your life you could end up stepping outside of your current comfort zone. You might find yourself quitting your job, starting a business, moving to a new city, finding new friends and enjoy new relationships. You could end up living a completely new and totally different life.

 

If the pill was real It might have such a drastic effect on your life that if you were to look at your future self you might feel discomfort or shock. If you had an outside source pushing you to overcome blocks in all areas of your life twenty four seven, you might feel like you’re riding the top of a rocket ship going faster than you can handle. You might end up giving up the things in your life you currently consider important and have an attachment to. These things may not be a part of the life of the version of you that is fully satisfied. You might lose some of your friends, your job, your relationship partner and find yourself in a completely different city, have a different career or life purpose. It’s good to put this into perspective and balance it with with the alternative of going with your current course and continuing to get what you have now.

With this pill would you continue to plug away at a job you don’t love all the while an alarm is going off in your head? What if instead you thought about getting a new job that makes you fully happy or transforming the one you have now into something new. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be completely satisfied in every area of your life? The idea is something I hadn’t ever fully imagined in vivid detail up to this point. What realistically is stopping you from making that life real?

 

What would your life look like in a week, month or a year from now. You might have to work through it slowly because it’s hard to anticipate how changes now will affect your decisions later on.

What interactions in your relationships now are not congruent with complete fulfilment? What would it look like if you made decisions that were motivated by positivity and excitement rather than fear or compromise.

Would you work to become more financially independent and secure for your future.

Would you start public speaking, or performances at work or for fun?

Do you have a fear of speaking in public? What if all of the thoughts in your life that lead you to the decisions that keep you from being more bold and free in front of large groups could be turned off?

Would you change your living conditions by moving to a new home? Would it be cleaner, or have a new colour, furniture, lights or artwork?

Would you pick up new hobbies like sky diving, base jumping, motorcycle racing?

Would you spend more time in nature, walking or other recreational activities. Or would you travel the world to see new sights and experiencing other cultures?

 

Self sabotage can prevent us from fully realizing the changes we work towards. I recall a few personal experiences of involuntary discomfort when good things have happened to me. They were totally irrational responses and not at all what I would have expected my reaction to be.

Many years ago on a Christmas morning my girlfriend at the time gave me a freaking iMac computer. She knew I wanted one to start a small business. The business was my big passion and the old computer I had at the time wasn’t cutting it. When I opened the box and saw the computer I literally felt a surge of panic and adrenaline, in that order. That thing was expensive and money was tight, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought to myself I really have to make this business work to return the favor. It was nice to know someone trusted in me enough to make that investment though. I recall reflecting on my reaction and appreciating that if I was to achieve every other goal in my life then I would probably feel very different about it in reality from how I imagine it.

The second instance was when I was younger, a very beautiful girl passing on the street smiled and waved at me. I was so taken back that I couldn’t even respond. Now that I think back on it I can say to myself as it smack my forehead: stupid, stupid, stupid. I want relationships with new people and I realized that there are mental blocks in social situations that jump up unless I work through them.

What I find interesting about these two situations is that my reaction was something I wouldn’t have expected, it was involuntary and occurred in a split second. These types of reactions are based on a large set of collective memories, beliefs and habits. While the reaction was only momentary I recognize that the reasons for it occurring are also affecting my thoughts and decisions through the day all of the time. Subconsciously they affect what I think about, and decide to pursue at a very low level.

Become comfortable with the idea of living a congruent life with positive thoughts. This will help prevent situations where split second reactions work against you and allow you to seize the moment. Become comfortable holding the mindset you imagine the most successful version of yourself would have.

This will help in many situations. Maybe it’s a business relationship and your natural reactions give other parties confidence in you. Maybe it’s a social setting and the only way you meet an important new connection is by recognizing the opportunity and acting before it’s gone.

 

In some situations we can find ourselves stuck in negative behaviour because of bad habits. Habits can be tricky to change but there are some strategies that can make it easier.

Change things up and make automatic actions require conscious control so you can more easily evaluate if you want to continue. Smokers quitting will do this by using the opposite hand. All of the automatic motions of pulling out a cigarette, lighting, holding it now require conscious effort because it’s an uncommon set of motions like writing a letter with your non dormant hand. While that is happening you have the opportunity to say to yourself, do I really want to be smoking this?

You may need to remove certain actors from your environment. If it’s tv you can move it to another room or get rid of it entirely. If it’s a person you may need to set up boundaries. If it’s your living environment you may need to rearrange furniture or paint to make it feel different.

Another approach is to use overwhelming force far beyond what you expect is reasonable. Then even if you fall short there is enough leftover effort to still get the job done.

 

After holding onto this thought experiment for the past few days I found that it actually had a surprising effect. Because it’s not a real pill I missed a lot of negative thoughts and my behaviour isn’t always one hundred percent affected by this. The excitement from the possibility that everything in my life could be changed if I had the courage to act makes it easy to retain the experiment. The first tangible result is this blog. I have been thinking about writing it for years but only now have I started.

If you spend your life thinking and feeling negatively it doesn’t really matter how many goals you achieve, great friends you have or millions of dollars you have in a bank account. None of that can change the enjoyment of your life. The only way to do that is to decide in each moment what thoughts you want to hold.

Personal Development Blog Introduction

The purpose of this blog is to share some of the life lessons that I have learned over the years as well as those of others that I found useful. I will be writing new entries as I work through personal goals.

One of the more interesting subjects for me in personal development is finding the things, ideas and lifestyle traits that bring the most happiness. I see in others and myself blocks or bad habits that keep us from having a better life. It can be easy to get lost in routine and forget what truly makes us fulfilled but when you see a glimpse of it you know there is no substitute.

The direction you take in life makes just as much difference to where you end up as how hard you work at it. If you achieve all of your goals only to discover afterwards that you would actually have been happier doing something else, then I would like to know that now instead of later. So this is what I’m interested in, learning new skills that move me closer to my goals, faster and also becoming more clear about who I am and where I want to go.

If we are capable of achieving happiness then why not just do that? Of course it’s not easy. When it is easy it’s great but there is always a part of ourselves that wants to explore new uncharted areas. Making big changes requires a big step outside of our comfort zone.

Some of the topics that I will write about include work and a fulfilling way to earn an income, relationships with friends partners and meeting new people, hobbies/recreation and enjoying life just to start this list.

A big influence on me has been the work of a guy named Steve Pavlina, who has a blog at http://stevepavlina.com. Steve’s blog has a huge collection of free articles and in one of them talks about this idea of subjective reality as a perspective on life. This article had such a big impact on me that I named this site based on it.

Steve explains that it is important to understand the nature of reality accurately because it allows us to achieve better results with increased happiness and less wasted effort. If we have false beliefs about the way the world works we could unknowingly walk into conflict or counteract our own efforts without even knowing it. A lot of the beliefs we hold are layered on top of others and affect us subconsciously so they can be pervasive and difficult to identify.

In a quest to understand reality accurately we have to evaluate everything and consider that what we think we know might not actually be so. What can we say we know about reality for certain? Starting with the basics I know for certain that I am aware and conscious. Some people might say that the universe is deterministic and what you think of as free will is just an illusion and everything happens because of predestined causality of physics and brain chemistry. You will have to make up your own mind but even if that were the case you still have the experience of being a conscious thinking being and the experience itself is what I am referring to.

Now that I have established that consciousness is real what can we say about all of the physical things on this planet including the ground we walk on, our bodies that get us around, other people we meet, the food we eat and everything else we have ever touched, tasted, smelled or seen? That all must exist as a physical reality right? after all it’s always been there. But what if it’s not. What if all physical objects only exist when you’re experiencing them and disappear when you’re not. How would you know. You can’t possibly, without stepping outside of your own consciousness, something that doesn’t even make sense as a concept.

A common perspective of an objective reality is that things exist independently of you and will continue to exist with or without you. But that is an assumption I can’t accept as a given if I have to be honest with myself.

Subjective reality can be summarized by the idea that only consciousness exists, that you who is reading this are that consciousness and that everything you experience is a reflection of your thoughts.

If you can entertain the idea that this might be a more accurate way of describing how the world works, then you can open up your receptivity to new results and experiment with life with curiosity and wonder.

When was the last time you experienced something you believed to be impossible. Never? Is that because impossible things never happen or is it because the mechanism that forms the fundamental nature of reality only shows you what you believe.

What if someone told you that the way you think about the world changes the way you experience it in a physical way. Would you dismiss them because you think that can’t be possible or would you say to yourself the only way to find out is to try it for yourself and experience it from the inside out.

Subjective reality is a perspective, it doesn’t necessarily mean that objects don’t exist but it does make you take a hard look at everything in your life and rationally evaluate things will all available information. It also allows you to explore new areas of your life based on results outside of any boundaries of social convention.

I will be writing later on about some experiences that I have had relating to this. The world is an amazing place without any obvious limits to its variety and detail. It can be very good and very bad and that entirely depends on how you think.

The way I found Steve Pavlina and a particular article on his ideas of subjective reality was meaningful to me because it marked a major transition point in my life. After starting on a journey of learning and exploring new ideas my goals and motivations changed and I experienced many new things I couldn’t possibly have imagined were possible before.

I was driving to work about a decade ago and thinking to myself that I want to know the truth about the universe first and foremost regardless of how unpleasant the result might make me feel. For example what happens when we die? does our consciousness cease to exist or does something else happen? There are many stories and explanations for one or the other but at this moment in my car I remember a distinct focus putting top priority on finding truth first and accepting the result.

If you feel uncomfortable about the possible results of something you are investigating it can subtly or overtly alter the way you approach and commit. If the thought of an afterlife is ridiculous to you how thoroughly are you going to research accounts of it? If the idea of life ending with your body makes you uncomfortable how likely are you to research the works of scientists that study the brain? Afterlife is just an example to illustrate how the fear of an outcome alters our actions, choices and interests.

I remember feeling a little bit uncomfortable with the idea but I put a lot of energy into it as if to say to myself that I am going to follow through and make a commitment to searching and accepting what I found not knowing if I would ever find anything. Later that day on lunch break I was surfing the internet and came across Steve’s blog and it blew me away. I really liked his thinking and the ideas he described because they were practical, common sense but non traditional, seemed to be effective and I could see how I would apply it to my life. I couldn’t get enough and read everything I could from his site.

Synchronicity hits. The next day I was driving into work with a coworker and as I entered the building I was ready to walk over to a security panel to enter my code and disable the alarm. Each employee had a unique code to arm and disarm the system. Before I get within five meters of the alarm it beeps to signal it’s not armed after being triggered by the front door closing. Later the bosses came in and I said casually that the way the alarm wasn’t set last night because it wasn’t armed. The boss left and came back into the room five minutes later to say the log shows my code was used to disarm the system at the time I did in fact arrive. My co-worker is my witness that I never touched that panel and I did check the space to confirm that I was the first one in that day. Impossible, I took that as the universe saying hello. The fact that it was a secured door had some symbolism to me and that marked the beginning of some experiences on a journey to date that have been amazing.

You may be thinking, thats retarded, you’re wrong, it was a glitch, or you should get your head checked. That is why I described this subjective reality idea thingy earlier. How do you know it didn’t happen? In the end all anyone has is their experience of reality. The only thing that exists is your awareness, so play with the universe and see what happens. Some people may be familiar with the concept of synchronicity. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea and think it’s wrong I have a challenge and an accompanying prize for you. Can you prove the universe is objective or subjective? Nope, so instead of saying that synchronicity can’t happen the best you could possibly do is say maybe it happens? If you say it’s impossible without proving it that is the same in my mind as saying it definitely works because of magical fairy dust without proving it. If you can prove to me that synchronicity doesn’t exist or that the universe is objective, i.e. things exist independently of you then I will give you a prize.
Obviously this is meant in jest and no one believing in an objective reality would want to prove such a thing. It is just meant to make you think about things in a different way. That being said if you can convince me otherwise I really will give you a prize and a good one too.