Part 1 | Strengths and Dreaming Big

DreamBigLifeEDITFebruary 29, 2016 

5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas 

Every big dream is made of a series of smaller ones, and it is unwise to focus solely on the final outcome. Not only do we miss the journey when we do that, but we also set ourselves up to be overwhelmed and quit, asking, “But how…how…how?.

When it comes to dreaming really big and really, truly going for it, we need to allow space for the process to evolve and for the path to reveal itself as we go. It is unlikely that we will be able to know in advance what each and every step of the way will look like.

So, if we wait to take action until we know everything, we will wait forever. That said, even if we cannot see the end, we can usually determine what the next step toward that goal will be.

And, it’s easy to take one step, it’s difficult to leap a mile. So, by focusing on making each stride count, we are allowing ourselves to opportunity to enjoy the ride and for the path toward our goal to present itself in increments, in real-time, as we move forward. The mile reveals itself in feet.

We don’t need to see the other side of the mountain to believe that it’s there and, when it comes to big dreams, we don’t need to know the final steps in order to take the first ones.

Three Questions 

What am I deciding to do with the time I am given? 

Have I ever taken time to actually write down my dreams—why or why not?

Am I the best version of myself? What actions to I take to be who I am in this moment? What decisions do I make to be who I am?

An Action

Desired Result: Exploring How to “Actively” Meditate

Concrete Action: Meditation doesn’t always mean sitting in silence—it can also be the spirit in which we accomplish actions. For this, you’ll practice writing with a meditative spirit. Grab a pen, some paper, and your phone. Set the timer on your phone and give yourself ten minuets of quite time to reflect on one of the above questions. Read it over and over again and relax as your mind bounces around, playing with all possible answers. Just be an observer. Let it happen. Once your timer goes off, set it again for 5 mins and spend that time jotting down notes on the experience. Repeat as often as you’d like. It can be illuminating to compare one day to the next as new revelations occur.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 3 | Strengths and Alchemy

NoJudegementLifeEDITFebruary 26, 2016

 5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas

Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. To put that into perspective: The distance between New York and LA is 3,941 miles. This means that you could make about 23 round trips in a single second at that velocity. 

Prior to lasers, in 1676, the speed of light on earth was first determined by watching the movements of objects in space. Specifically, the giant celestial movements of Jupiter, its moon, Io, and the stars gave us what we needed to calculate the swiftness of light here on the ground.

To repeat: We used a planet to measure a photon.

There is a human equivalent to this process and it has everything to do with our inner-greatness. When developing a vision for our lives, we must allow ourselves to think big and dream. We must set our sights on what is not yet known and assess the possibility of always making new connections relevant to where where are.

If humanity had fixed its gaze only on earth, we would have never learned what the planets had to teach us. If we do what we’ve always done, we will get what we always got. Period.

Three Questions

What qualities create the difference between comparing myself to others and being inspired by them versus comparing myself to others and feeling less-than? 

So, how do I measure my greatness?

What is my favorite color and why?

An Action

Desired Result: Letting Go of Those Who Limit Us…Bullies

Concrete Action: It’s important to remember what we learned in kindergarten: Bullies bully because they are not happy with themselves. They intimidate and take on the concerns of others and make it a part of who they are; they use their awareness against people like a weapon and generally live in fear. People who bully other people suffer from a lack of self-awareness—and they over-compensate for that character defect, ironically, by boasting of heightened awareness. Fact is, bullies generally scare people into a silence where it is never safe to confront them. Because they are not confronted, they perpetuate their own delusion. But the fact is: Everyone can identify a bully, even if they cannot communicate maturely with them.

That said, the best way to let go of the toxic energy of someone who is a bully is to develop a “safe word” when their negativity and anger comes to the fore. A word as simple as: peace. Or, cancel. Or, unicorns. When said internally like a mantra, it can function like a shield. This can really help in stemming off the chain-reaction that bullies hope to ignite, because it allows us to stay present and to point our focus elsewhere on something of greater value.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 2 | Strengths and Alchemy

February 24, 2016

5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas

There is a magic that is easy to ignore when we walk into a room, flip a switch, and find it suddenly filled with light.

And, if we didn’t know better, we might think that the switch itself is what created the light, when really the switch is only one piece of a complex chain reaction lighting the bulb.

One in which a natural resource is located, brought out of the earth and processed, transported, sold, stored, burned, converted from heat into electricity (also magic :), channeled through wires over distances, and directed into our homes at the appropriate current through smaller wires in the walls connected to the bulb.

To think that the switch is the cause of the light in this case is like when a dog looks at your finger while you point instead of the thing you’re pointing at. The important piece of the equation gets missed.

And that important piece is that we are all interconnected; our combined efforts matter; what we do matters; and how we treat each other matters, too. If we think any other way, we risk treating people like light switches, believing that they alone are the causes of things—good and bad—when really we are perpetually paying forward the realities that together we are illuminating.

Three Questions

What scale can I adopt or invent that would give me an accurate reading of my greatness?

Is it ever okay to compare myself against others?  Are there exceptions?

If I could be any dinosaur, which one would I be and why?

An Action

Desired Result: Practice Paying It Forward

Concrete Action: This is an easy but powerful experiment.  It has three four parts and does not take long.  Its purpose is to take action to literally create a moment of joy in the world and to document that creation.

Step One: Write down in a few words what your current mood is.  Just be general.

Step Two: Close your eyes and think of the nicest compliment that anyone has ever given you.  Hold that feeling.

Step Three: Think of someone in your life who is struggling or facing a major life-challenge.

Step Four: Send them the warmest and most genuine message of love, support, or encouragement that you can think of—text, email, phone, or ESP.

Step Five: Write down in a few words what your current mood is.  Just be general.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 1 | Strengths and Alchemy

PerspectiveLifeEDITFebruary 22, 2016 

5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas

Food for thought to start the week: Words become us. They literally become physical parts of our bodies. Maybe there’s more to it in scientific terms, but in basic terms: There’s an alchemy to the formation of thoughts.

Alchemy is the process of turning one material into another through a seemingly magical transformation or re-creation.

Think of it like this: Sounds are vibrations. When a word is spoken it travels through the air as a vibration and hits the eardrum where tiny bones translate the sound through fluid to the auditory nerve where it is converted into electricity. That is phase one: A vibration transforms into electricity.

Phase two is when that electricity, which is made up of neurons and synapses, creates new brain cells in a process known as neurogenesis. That is, electricity is converted into physical matter.

So, it begs the question: If the vibrations of our words and the electrical impulses of our thoughts become physical parts of our bodies, does it pay to be more mindful of how we use our speech?

Three Questions

If I had the power to turn a lump of clay into anything else, what would it be?

What are three things in my life that I am grateful for?

Are there areas of my life where I am standing in my own way?

An Action

Desired Result: To Experience Teleportation

Concrete Action: It’s not science fiction, it’s real and practicing this simple action is one of the best ways of strengthening your powers of visualization.  In fact, it’s like bringing your imagination into the weight room, which is important because any solution to any challenge is a product of the imagination.  That means, the stronger our imaginations are, the stronger our solutions shall be.  So, try this: Lie on your back on your bed or couch at a time when the room is quiet.  Close your eyes and bring your mind back to a previous bed or couch from your past.  Choose a time and place that is generally happy.  Focus your mind and your attention on this memory and practice feeling yourself there—in the past—by reimagining the room as if you were in it.  Focus your mind on the things that you remember about the room: the light, the colors, the feeling of being there.  Give yourself a few minutes of deep breaths, truly focusing your mind as if you were really back in that previous room.  Let your mind allow you to believe that you are actually back in it.  Practice this a few days in a row.  It can be exciting and surprising to open your eyes and find yourself back in the real room.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 3 | Strengths and Combinations: Why It Matters What Actions We Take and Whom We Take Them With

AntLifeEDITFebruary 19, 2016

5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas

Thinking about collaboration…

Here’s an important question: If all the ants in the world united, could they carry us off into the sea?

The answer is: Maybe. And here’s why: Ants can lift between 20-100 times their body weight above their head. While this is impressive, all by itself it doesn’t mean that they could stage a take over. Right?

But get this: Not only do ants outnumber us 14,000 to 1, the total weight of all the ants in the world is greater than that of all the humans. Which is to say that ants outweigh us on the planet.

Connect the two dots: If all the ants got together and lifted even the minimum (20x their body weight) above their heads, there would be enough collective strength for them to carry all of us around!

Which brings up a comical, but interesting and open-ended idea to consider over the weekend: If they have that collective potential, what is stopping them from acting on it? And, do we have similar unused potentials within our communities and lives?

Three Questions

Have I chosen my collaborators in this life? Am I letting life hand me “whoever” or am I actively seeking out those who might empower me—this includes real people, books, videos, podcasts, lectures, etc.

Why do I do what I do? What is my single greatest motivator for being here?

What changes would I like to make and/or see made in my life?

An Action

Desired Result: Finding a Role-Model-For-a-Day

Concrete Action: Take out a piece of paper and write down five qualities that you would like to develop further in your life. This could be in any area of life: socially, physically, mentally, spiritually. Now, take your list and ask someone outside of yourself—a friend, colleague, partner—if they can name a few public figures with these qualities. (If no one is there to ask, close your eyes and imagine someone who fits the bill.) Then, pull up this person’s Wikipedia page and scan it, looking for key phrases about them as people and their actions. It might be something like, “…always treated everyone with respect” or “…wasn’t afraid to speak up for her beliefs” or “…set big goals and went for them”. Now, write this action down on a piece of paper and look for one opportunity in your day to practice this action. Remember, when we have something to look for, we almost always will find it. Find it.  Then, try the same exercise the next day with someone new.  It’s like test driving new quality actions.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen