Thinking towards and thinking away from

What’s the last change you tried to make in your life that didn’t stick? Or that was torturous?

(And damn, how quickly did you populate a list in answer to that question??)

If I said to you, don’t think about a purple elephant, well, you know what happens.

Where’s your focus?

We try to fix things by focusing on the things we want to stop.

On the shouldn’ts and the don’ts.

  • don’t eat so much
  • shouldn’t drink so much wine
  • stop working such long hours
  • stop eating bread

Well, thanks. Now my mind is filled with eating, wine, working hard, and bread.

Ohhh, breeeaad! My nemesis.

Guess where all my power is now resting?

With the things I want to take the power away from.

That’s thinking away from something, and it’s a mistake.

What we want to do instead, is think towards the thing we want.

Thinking towards the change

The power comes when we think towards the change. Towards the desirable.

  • I’m being more active
  • I’m drinking more water
  • I’m committing time to self. Or family. Or whatever I choose
  • What delicious, crunchy veges can I have with this meal?

This is the ONLY WAY I know how to change. It’s the only way I know how to make a new behaviour or priority stick.

What are you trying to think yourself away from?

And what can you start thinking towards instead?

Want to increase your ‘happy’? Be grateful

Did you know that research has proven that being consciously grateful for a few things each day literally increases our happiness?

Doing gratitude your way

You can do it in whatever way suits you!

Go for a walk and reflect on the things you can see that you’re grateful for. Pray, and express thanks. Meditate and have a time of gratitude. Keep a good old gratitude journal. (That once kept me going through at least one year of a bad marriage).

That’s it, really.

How’s your mood? Feeling a bit low?

Pause.

Count some blessings. Or some good things. Find some beauty. Look around at the things you’re glad to have in your life.

It won’t fix everything.

But it’ll help.

Honestly.

I’m NOT just fucking lucky

People think I’m just living a blessed life. Lucky. Fortunate. And I am, but it’s also a HUGE amount to do with my mindset.

We live in a world that tells us we’ll be happy WHEN.

When you get that job.

That car.

That house.

Those kids.

That love.

Actually research tells us it’s the exact opposite:

First, you get happy.

Then the other things come.

Want to get happy? Get grateful!

I’ve even got a badass gratitude journal if that helps!

How to make a living as a writer

Think bigger

You use words. You use words to evoke emotion, tell stories, record concepts, sell ideas or services or products, engage a following. Whichever of those you do, think bigger.

People are always asking me if I specialise in a particular type of writing. When I explain that I’m a writer, they want to know what KIND of writing. Novels? Website copy?

My answer is always the same now, and it’s clear:

If you need to use words to get something done, I can help you do it!

I know SO MANY AMAZING WRITERS. They’re all working as teachers or librarians or truck drivers or caregivers. Because they have a kind of writing they want to do, and they don’t know how to monetise that.

Think BIGGER.

Write everything. Write anything.

Create

Call it a portfolio if you like. A body of work. I don’t care. But create some evidence.

SHOW people you know how to write stuff, BY WRITING STUFF.

Yes, a blog, whatever. But a blog with no readers isn’t very helpful. Find a blog where they post guest authors’ work. Write for them.

Approach

Approach companies, small businesses, marketing agencies, and ask if you can write 1 or 2 things for them for free.

This will achieve 2 things for you:

  • you can now show work you’ve written for ‘clients’
  • if they like what you do, they might offer you some paid work.

Publish

Publish poetry, short stories, essays. Enter competitions and submit to publications.

A body of work with variety can have a lot of weight.

What did my body of work consist of when I started charging people thousands of dollars for my writing?

Do you know how many of those things I got paid to do?  Let’s see…  About NONE.

Brand yourself, and build a website

Do you know one of the easiest and fastest ways to establish credibility as a professional anything? A brand and a website!

So that if people search for you, they find you. And what they find needs to be THE SHIT. It needs to scream I KNOW MY STUFF. I know what I’m doing. Been there, done that. It needs to be very confident and matter of fact – here’s what I do. Here’s who I’ve done it for. Here’s where you can see what I do. And here’s what I charge.

I’m not saying once you build a website the work will start pouring in. There’s more to do – SEO, advertising, developing brand recognition.

But the FIRST, FASTEST, and EASIEST thing you can do to start establishing yourself as a freelancer is to make sure that once people hear about you, when they search for you online (because they will), that what they find reinforces EVERYTHING about your ability, experience, and professionalism.

One last piece of advice

(Oh and that website? You know how you’re a writer and you love words? Don’t write too much on your website. Make it short and punchy. Because you’re not writing this thing for you. You’re writing it for potential clients. And they’re busy. Don’t write too much on the website, duh!)

How to be happier

Love the rain

It was high summer and on that day it was raining.

I’d been revelling every day in the heat. The sunshine. The creek, the beach.

Great Barrier Island

I love warm nights sleeping with just a sheet and cool mornings on the deck when you know there’s only a limited time before the heat and humidity take over again. 

I love putting a couch and table or hammock or mattress under the trees in the afternoon when the house is simply too hot to stay in.

Hammock heaven on Great Barrier Island

So when I woke up that day and the air was cooler and the sky was grey and it felt different, it wasn’t long before the first raindrops tapped loudly on the tin roof.

I frikn love that sound.

I love that it means today we stay inside and cook and nap and play cards (like the one card where everyone’s a monkey and we all fling poo at each other. Or Kittens in a blender where you have to save your kittens and blend everyone else’s. You’re welcome).

I LOVE variety.

I can revel in the new, the different, in change.

Do you revel, or complain?

My teenagers, on the other hand, can always find something to complain about.

It’s too hot. It’s too muddy. It’s too windy. It’s too quiet.

I empathise, because don’t we all feel that way sometimes?

And I can sure as hell remember being a moody, sulky teenager. I have a picture of me sulking at Disneyland to prove it.

Finding happy

But if we want to be happy, we have to find reasons to be happy.

In almost every situation we can find the good.

Find the silver lining.

Had a car accident and wrote off your car? At least everyone’s ok.

Spent $10K building a course that sold nothing when you launched it? At least the work has been done – you never need to build that course again. It’s there now, you just have to get it to the right people.

Yelled at my kids? I can be grateful that I’m big enough to apologise later and to try not to do it again.

If you want to be happier, find reasons to make you happy.

Shelly Davies

What won’t happiness do?

It won’t remove the bad, the hardships, the pain, the challenges.

But it will change your perspective and that’s a powerful thing.

If a piece of work falls through, I can stress about the lost income. Or I can revel in the fact that I have a day or a week to work on something else instead. Or not work – just be kind to me.

Call me Polyanna or miss rose-coloured-glasses.

One psychometric profile I took decades ago said: “Shelly misses the warning signs.”

I sat with that for years, looking at my second marriage as evidence of its truth, until I realised that positivity is one of my SUPERPOWERS.

So me?

I love the rain.

And dude, I am HAPPY.

Want some o’ this?

Oh and by the way – I do happen to have MY VERY OWN GRATITUDE JOURNAL for sale RIGHT NOW – buy it here!

Gratitude Journal: Gratitude, Joy & Badassery by Shelly Davies