The Flow State: Achieving & Maximizing Your Creative Potential

Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.

The problem that many of us tend to experience when pursuing creative endeavors is achieving a state of complete focus.

A state of complete, uninterrupted focus, is essential for maximizing our creative potential.

This state of focus is not easily achieved when we are faced with external distractions that can prevent us from slipping into the flow state we require to achieve the results we desire. Read more of this post

10 Powerful Methods For Rewiring Your Brain

When you understand how neural pathways are created in the brain, you get a front row seat for truly comprehending how to let go of bad habits. Read more of this post

Summer: The Essence of Change

If you’ve noticed, we are officially engaged in the midst of the summer madness. Swimming, snow cones, and weekend barbecuing have taken hold throughout the country, taking advantage of the warm summer sun. I want you to imagine yourself at your favorite summer destination. Is it the beach? It it abroad? Are you with your family? Let the sun hit your face, relaxing your muscles. Your breathing is deep and thankful for what you have been given. Are you there? Enjoy this escape… Read more of this post

Change Your Life With The Power of Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy Read more of this post

Wabi Sabi is Not Food, But You Can Eat It!

I often take notice of things around me that don’t seem to fit in their current environment. These objects have a simplistic way of standing out amongst all of the organized things that coordinate. In a way, these items disorient my mind as my mind searches for organization. Out of this, a state of mind arises. This state of mind enables an appreciation for this disorganization. Interestingly, when we take a closer look we find that this is not a disorganized object at all. Read more of this post

The Physiology of Meditation

Meditation can de-stress you and place you in a serene state of being. Even though this is something meditation does very well, research now shows that the things we do with our body(i.e. meditation)actively effect our brain cells. In fact, the research goes on to say that our genes our changed when we take part in physiologically changing acts. These genes are either turned off or on that are associated with inflammation, cell-aging, and free radicals. This allows the body to repair these factors that contribute to cell damage. These changes have been known to change the “fight or flight” reaction, as well.  This plays more into how our habits change our world, even on a cellular level. Read more of this post

Create Abundance With The Summer Solstice

Did you know that solar power is consider one of our greatest societal accomplishments to date involving energy? Individuals that use solar power are always looking to score the most amount of absorbed power on any single given day. Yesterday, they hit a peak day, and they knew it was coming. June 20th, 2013 arrived the Summer Solstice in where the sun hovered in the sky appearing to stand still for the longest time of the season. This allowed solar power operators to collect a huge amount of renewable energy within a single day. This made June 20th a very powerful day power producers.

summer solstice

The Summer Solstice is a Pagan, Celtic, and Druid tradition that dates back hundreds of years. The main theme of the solstice is abundance, citing if celebrated correctly one can manifest any into the material world. Around the world people celebrate by communing in large drum circles, parties, and rituals. If you notice, everything done during the summer solstice is a communal event. This is very important, for the spirit of the summer solstice is just that; one of a great coming together.

Although you may or may not believe in particular religions or traditions, the religions featured during this celebratory time have very real rituals they follow during the summer solstice. For Pagans, the following themes, symbols, and spells apply:

Herbs – basil, chamomile, daisy, elder, pine, St. John’s wort, tyme, yarrow, frankincense, fennel, lavender, and lily

Essential oils and incense – frankincense, lemon, lavender, sandalwood, lotus, jasmine, rose, wisteria, and myrrh

Colors – yellow, white, red, blue, green, tan

Decoration – anything reminiscent of the sun (yellows, reds, oranges), dried herbs, potpourri, fruits, summer flowers

Gemstones – any green stone (e.g. emerald)

Foods – mead, fresh fruits and veggies, lemonade, cookies and cakes decorated to honor the Sun, and of course plenty of ale

Spellwork – Litha is the perfect time for any magick but is especially good for Animal Protection and Marriage & Vow Renewal spells

Litha Incense – 2 parts Sandalwood, 1 part Mugwort, 1 part Chamomile, 1 part Gardenia petals, several drops of Rose oil, several drops of Lavender oil, several drops of Yarrow oil

Orange Honey Butter – 2 Tablespoons grated orange zest, 3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter, softened, 1 – 2 Tablespoons honey, Combine ingredients and chill until ready to eat. Yum!

If casting spells and chanting doesn’t seem like something that would fit your personality or beliefs, then a good way to spend your summer solstice would be to simply enjoy the day and the day following by honor the mid-summers day with acknowledgment. So often we get caught up in our busy lives and forget to honor the earth we stand on. Be thankful, grateful, and compassionate towards others. In the spirit of the ancients, the ancients would be proud if you did.

 

A Zen Approach to Our Politically Driven World

When we think of Zen we think of a solitary monk sitting on a comfy pillow in a quiet room chanting or simply meditation. Most of the time we never think to cross Zen and politics. Politics has turned into a rough sport between high rolling lobbyists and power hungry politicians. Not to be nieve, not all politicians start out bad, nor do all of them end up bad. It’s the system that we should blame, and the system is where we can inject a drop of Zen.

zen, politics, news, philosophy

The Mall in Washington, D.C. is 1.4 times larger than Vatican City. This amazing fact my give you some insight into how we few our political system. For millennia, we have viewed ourselves as the ultimate power structure, untouchable, and incorruptible. In large scale, when claims such as these are made we know that the system is simply better at hiding the problems rather than fixing them. Therefore, we must act like a dedicated monk and dissect the way we think about politics and our government in order to develop some detachment and peace from it.

Detachment? Yes, that was the implication. How can something so deeply rooted become detached from our sense of self? This is where Zen comes in; we need to establish political information and structure as if we were handling our ego. When we look at our ego, i.e. sense of self, we often look at the parts that make it up. Our likes/dislikes, fears, wants, needs, and conditioning. This too can be applied to the way we interact with political matters. We must first understand the conditioning that is involved. Asking: Is our way of looking at politics conditioned by the way we were raised? Are the views we hold true naturally ours? Are there other views that appeal to us but we’ve been scared to embrace them for reason of exclusion from friends or family? When we get to the center answers to these questions we realize that not all of our views are as organic as we originally thought. We find that many of our base views about politics are founded in past condition and fear. Ironically, these are the two main culprits when dealing with the ego as well. By using awareness and compassion we can learn to embrace the view we are more apt to hold as true versus the preprogrammed methods of looking at the political system.

Through this inspection, we can understand more clearly our position larger issues that effect the whole of humanity. We are, therein, able to step back and look at our interpersonal relationships associated with the political topic. Would we no longer be friends with some people? No, that’s an alienation tactic. Instead, we would estable report with those of different view structure in order to know them as better human beings, allowing them space to express their individuality. This could aslo be summed up as, political compassion.

After we have taken a step backwards, we are now ready to look for patterns in the way we react to political statements and situations. Are we subjecting ourselves to conditioned habit forms of action and reaction that place us in a defensive stance when confronted with opposing views? How does this deep our relationships with others or spark real solutions towards pending political problems? Most of the time they don’t. By acting in knee-jerk fashion we don’t give space for our thoughts to breath. We react habitually because we are comfortable(settling) with that way of reacting to conflict. Most of the time these are defense mechanisms that are put into place to keep us from getting hurt. When discussing politics with someone of different view keeping our thoughts and reactions in check is incredibly important towards the validity of the relationship. Unfortunately, politics has a way of dividing friends, family, and organizations. We become deeply invested in our point of view, so much that we forget that there are other points of view out there that may be right as well even if they are conflicting with ours.

As we endure this time of political change we need to approach each situation as a time to become more aware, egos in check, and watchful of how we react. And just like in 1798 when John Adams spent seven months on his farm in Massachusetts to care for his ill wife Abigail, we too should take time out to take care of the system that is in need of constant care and attention.

Is Your Mind the Problem or Solution?

Did you know that every time your heart beats, your arteries carry 20 to 25 percent of your blood to the brain(Piedmont Brain Tumor Center). The harder you think, the more oxygen and fuel your brain will use from your blood – up to 50 percent. This insightful fact confirms how how amazing our brain is. Psychologically speaking, the average number of thoughts a person has each day is 70,000. The majority of them the same couple of thoughts, repeated. Create this visual:  There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain. The distance around the world at the equator is 24,900 miles – amazing. 

We have gently discovered that our brain is an amazing part of the human body. Accounting for the way we see, feel, and experience the world. However, it seems that this main headquarters for our life is the center of many of our problems. The brain[and body] aslo has the ability to adhere to habit forms and substance addiction. In this sense, we struggle day in and day out with the right decisions for our life. Must of this battle is waged in the thinking mind. Even though psychiatry and philosophy works to come up with answers concerning the thinking mind, the results are still very inconclusive. Each philosopher claims to have answers. But upon closer inspection, we find their rhetoric just as flimsy as those that came before them. Even though many of these outstanding academics fail to come to solid conclusive results, there are constants that remain throughout many of these streams of exploration. I will showcase this four characteristics that are subtle parts of our lives. These characteristics shape our lives, they are key. If you wish to change your life for the better, implementing change in these areas will do that for you.

 

 

  • Habits: Habits first arise in the mind as, simply put, thoughts repeated. Think of a bad habit. Got it? Now, what if I told you that you had the power to change this habit(exchange)out for one that will serve you? This may seem crazy or outside of your view of current thought, but it’s not only possibile, its a necessity. Each habit can be changed, but only if it is replaced by another habit. This shift is a good time to become clear about what you want. Once you make that decision, you will be able to replace a habit with a habit that serves your goals and dreams. For some reason, along the way somewhere, we developed this idea that habits are bad. Habits aren’t bad, bad habits are bad. If I commit to setting a habit of getting up early every day for the purpose of seeing the sunset, that habit is a really good habit. This habit allows me to see every sunset in my lifetime – pretty good if you ask me. So the key here is to find what you want to replace, than, get clear and commit to repeating it in your mind. This may seem like insanity at first, but just think of all the things you’ve done this with yielding no results.
  • Actions: Actions are the direct result of your habits. When you realize this, you fully understand that habits literally form our lives. From how we walk to how we talk, habits shape every aspect of our lives. This brings to light the issues in our lives and how we can turn them around by simple not enlisting in our habitual reactions. The argument here is that we can’t control the events that happen to us. This is a cop-out. Yes, we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to those situations that come into our field of experience. This is the second key to turning around your habits to habits that server you versus destroy you. The core mindset here is to become present during an experience where you would normally react a certain way. Once you become aware of how you are acting, you can take action to change the way you react.
  • Environmental Change: As soon as your habits are aligned with your goals and dreams, and your actions have taken hold the new patterns. You are now ready to watch your environment change to support your goals. Once you start to take action on the new habit forms developed in your mind, your environment will change(sometimes rapidly)to support the actions you are taking. Do you remember the sunset analogy? Once I have made the committed habit to get up early for the purpose to see the sunset, taking action to rise out of bed early, I will see the curtains open by my hands, the tea being made, and the yoga mat laid out. My environment will experience even further changes as I continue this each day. My environment will literally change to support what I have envisioned in my mind.
  • Purpose: I decided to place this last as a form of deconstruction of the steps. Once you have understood these steps, you now need to focus on the purpose for the change in lifestyle. Your answer shouldn’t be “for a better life”, we all want that. Dig deep and really understand your goal and purpose for changing a habit, and therein your life. Why am I honestly changing this habit. Get clear, focused, and lasered in on your goals and dreams. Align your habits with your goals that you’ve now discovered. Once you have aligned your habits towards your goals and dreams the actions will take hold, enabling your environment to support your efforts. Take the risk, take the change. Whats the worst that could happen? Your life remains the same…?

 

Traits of Above Average Poker Players

Tom Dwan: The Most Aggressive Poker Player on The Planet

90% of all poker players are long-term losers.

Only 10% of people who play poker are proven to be winners over the long term.

Why is this?

What separates this small percentage of players from the rest?

The answer is simple. They have studied and applied their game more than 90% of their competition.

When I first started playing poker, I belonged in that 90%. I knew how to play the game, and I knew what it took to win, but my wins weren’t sustainable long-term. I knew I would have to study and constantly adjust my game to get better.

It was a long process, but it was well worth the time and I have gained a lot of life lessons from becoming a better poker player.

In order to be a long-term winner, you will need to develop the following traits:

1. An ability to maintain attentional focus for long periods of a time.

2. An understanding of the deeply statistical nature of the game.

3. A sense of confidence and trust in your abilities

and most importantly:

4. A near RECKLESS disdain for money.

Money has no value on the poker table. The game is played with chips.  Whatever money those chips represent doesn’t and shouldn’t have any effect on how you play the game.

If you are concerned with money, you wont be playing poker the right way. You will be playing with scared money and as the saying goes,

“Scared money don’t make no money!”

To be a big long-term winner in poker you must develop a SUPER-AGGRESSIVE playing style, sometimes known as LAG (Loose-Aggressive)

Here is my article on how to develop into a LAG.

Being aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean success. You have to know when to be aggressive, and when to slow down. Against certain opponents, especially ones who can’t fold a hand, being aggressive will lose you money.

Poker is always about adjusting. You need to adjust to each player at the table and your perceived table image.

Being aggressive has a few benefits:

1. You will win more pots where you don’t have the best hand

2. You will make more money in pots that you have the best hand

3. Your opponents won’t be able to accurately deduct your hand-range

If you are playing tight, you opponents will know you have the goods when you bet, and you wont win big pots. You will also not be able to pick up pots where you don’t have the best hand because you won’t be willing to bluff a lot.

That’s the beauty of poker.

You don’t need cards to win.

In fact, cards are somewhat meaningless if you have accurate reads on your opponents and you can figure out what their cards are and they have no idea what you have.

Annette Obrestad

Annette Obrestad is a young professional poker player that proved this.

In one online tournament of 180 players, she covered her hole cards the entire time. She never once looked at her cards.

Guess what?

She won the entire tournament.

She demonstrated perfectly how important reading abilities are and how unimportant cards are.

Just imagine how good this girl is when she actually looks at her cards.

She built a bankroll from $0 to over $1,000,000 by the time she was 18. She never made a single deposit online. She won a free roll tournament to start her bankroll, then NEVER LOOKED BACK.

Quite amazing if you ask me.

When people argue if poker is gambling, they should consult Annette to see what she has to say about that.

Players like Annette, Phil Ivey, and Tom Dwan are perfect examples of players who EXCEL in the aforementioned 4 traits and love to play super aggressive.

They simply don’t care about money.

If you want to be OUTSTANDING at poker you must STAND OUT from the rest of the competition.

Phil Ivey was once quoted as saying “If I have to bet $300,000 on the river with queen high, I don’t care, I fire the trigger.”

Simply Doesn't Care About Money.

Sickening.

Phil Ivey is basically saying here that he is willing to slide in $300,000 worth of chips (the price of a house for some people) on a complete bluff.

I bet if Phil figures he has a 51% chance to win the hand by betting that much on the river, he will make that wager EVERY SINGLE TIME.

That kind of sickness separates the winners from the losers.

You cannot play passively to win in poker.

You must get in there and gamble, but realize when you need to switch gears.

Good luck at the tables! 🙂

Jack3d: The Ultimate Pre-Workout Supplement

The King of Pre-Workout Supplements

I have experimented with a lot of pre-workout supplements to boost my energy levels and focus during my workouts.

I have tried supplements such as No-xplode and Superpump250, but in my opinion, the supplement that trumps them all is Jack3d.

Taking 2 scoops of Jack3d an hour before my workouts has boosted my focus, energy, and motivation to new levels during my workout. After taking the scoops, within 30 minutes I cannot wait to start lifting.

During my lift or cardio session, I feel a tremendous amount of energy, excitement, focus, stamina, strength, and intensity that helps me workout for longer than I could have ever imagined. I can feel the rush throughout my whole body and my muscles get a great pump throughout the entire session.

I recommend trying 1 scoop at first to asses your tolerance level, then you can go as many as 2 or 3 depending on how you feel. After a few weeks of taking Jack3d, you may notice a tolerance build up. As it says on the bottle, NEVER exceed 3 scoops if you don’t want to experience adverse side effects.

Jack3d should be cycled on and off for a month as some of the ingredients should not be taken over a prolonged period of time.

For the price and quality, Jack3d is by far the superior pre-workout supplement on the market. For only $25.99, you can get a bottle of 40 scoops in various different flavors. My favorite flavor is lemon-lime and unlike other pre-workout supplements, this one actually tastes great!

Always consult your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any pre-workout supplement. Everyone’s biological makeup is different, and you want to make sure you are not taking something that could potentially harm you. While there have not been many reports of adverse side effects, always be safe!

For a list of other supplements I take, check out this article:

The Ultimate Supplement Stack

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me through this link.

Enjoy! 🙂

The Poker Trance: The Ultimate Poker Mindset

When I am in the middle of a poker session, there is absolutely nothing else on my mind except poker.

I am not thinking about work I have to do, what I am going to do tonight, or what the scores of the games are on TV. I don’t care, I am playing to maximize my opportunity for profit. Everything else is secondary.

Patrik Antonius

I didn’t start out like this, in fact, I used to be very distracted.

Playing on the internet creates a lot of chances to distract yourself. You have an infinite source of information at your fingertips, it can be tough to not want to browse around.

For this reason, I like to play multiple tables at once. I like to play enough tables to the point where I am making a decision almost every second at a different table. This forces you to focus on the game and leaves no window room for distractions.

This has some disadvantages however. If you are prone to tilt, you might lose a lot of hands in a row for big pots and be pissed off. This will only lead to you slipping away from your A game and making more mistakes.

Although I like to believe I don’t tilt as much as I used to, at times poker can be very frustrating. There will be times where I wont cash in 40 straight multi-table tournaments and it just flat out sucks. Tournaments have such a big luck factor that you really can’t be upset about it.

One of the best ways to counter tilt is to meditate.

Meditating is easily on of the best things I have done to develop my game and my brainpower. I simply don’t care about losing anymore. I have seen every bad beat possible and I have gotten extremely unlucky deep in big tournaments to the point where some players would want to throw up.

I have lost massive chip lead pots with the best hand only to have an unlucky river card end my whole tournament. The first few times it happens, it is a disgusting feeling, but it just makes you hungry to be back in that spot again. The times that I win that monster pot deep in a tournament, which I will statistically more often than not in the long-run if I get my chips in ahead, I put myself in a position to take down the entire tournament.

With a massive chip stack, I already know I am extremely dangerous because I like to play a huge stack like a complete maniac. I like to use fearless aggression to put as much pressure on my opponents who have smaller stacks.

A huge stack is such a weapon if you are an experienced tournament player because you are comfortable deep in tournaments, and don’t care about the money. I have played over 1000 multi-table tournaments and I have seen every beat possible so I simply don’t even care anymore. I don’t care about the money, I care about having all the chips in play at the end, and that is easier achieved with a huge chip advantage over your opponents. For this reason, I am more likely to gamble late in tournaments for a shot at a fat stack.

When you think about the money, you tend to play more passive to try to move up in the money spots. By doing this, you lose the chance to accumulate more chips, and if your goal is to truly win, you are going to need all the chips at the end anyway, so start building now. As the chip leader, you are never all-in, so you can never be all-out.

I pride myself on the ability to just laugh at how unfriendly the cards can be sometimes. Cards don’t have souls. They don’t care about you and they don’t care that you have lost the last 20 hands to a bad beat.

When I sit down to play, I like to have music on. Music helps me focus and puts me in a trance when I am focusing externally on the game. It is almost like a mental euphoria. It keeps grinding long sessions entertaining as well.

In live games, I have my headphones on as well. I am not always listening to music however, I like to pretend sometimes that I am not listening to table talk. I want people to think I can’t hear anything they are saying. In turn, I don’t give away any information by not speaking, but pick up everything my opponents are saying.

Hearing people discuss hands is extremely valuable. I can immediately size them up on their skill level and figure out how to play certain hands against them profitably.

I don’t feel the need to talk to anyone at the poker table, only if I am playing a game with my friends. I don’t want to give away ANY information. I am here to take my opponents entire stack, not make friends. At the table it is all business.

Poker is supposed to be a social game, and that is the stigma attached to it. Most people go to the casino poker games to have a good time and enjoy themselves. These are the people that I make the most money off of. They don’t care if they win or lose, they want to have a good time and gamble. It is these players that make poker a profitable game to play.

Focusing on the game can be extremely hard to do at times. You have to meet your human needs first. Be extremely hydrated, and make sure you aren’t hungry. If you are thinking about food, you aren’t thinking about poker.

I am a completely different person at the poker table than I am in any other situation in life.  This is my time where I feel I am at my complete best. Information is bombarding me from every direction, and I have figured out how to manage it all to give myself the best chance to win.

Many professional athletes coin this term “the zone.” I like to describe it as a zoned out focused euphoric trance. Poker requires no physical ability, leaving more room for your brain to think strategy and not worry about being sweaty or exhausted from physical exhaustion.

I slip into a highly focused, highly observant, highly aware state to maximize my expected return from my investment of time. After all, time is money, and I am going to make the most of my time to maximize my win rate.

There have been times where I have been so focused on the game that I have absolutely no idea what time it is, and I don’t even care. The clock is another distraction. I like to cover it up when I am sitting at my computer. Your mind likes to judge yourself on how long you have been playing and it can be distracting.

To play poker for long sessions, especially live tournaments that might span over multiple days, you do however need to be physically fit. Sitting at a table for 12 hours a day can have a toll on you if you aren’t in shape. You can guarantee a stiff neck and back for the next few days if you aren’t addressing your physical fitness.

I don’t set a exact time for how long I will spend in a session. Obviously in tournaments I have to play till I win or I bust so that is taken care of. Online, if the cash games are very juicy, I am willing to play until I have to pin my eyes open to stay awake. Big chances for profit rarely come, and when they do, you better be ready to sit for as long as possible.

There have been times where I would start a session at 9pm and not stop playing until 8am the next day.

I know I am going to have to have that ounce of sickness to come out profitable. I can’t take poker lightly. 90% of all players are long-term losers, I want to be in the top of the 10%. I don’t care how people view me, If I did, I probably wouldn’t have pursued poker.

I treat my poker as a business and the only way for my business to be successful is if I treat it as seriously as possible. Many people find poker as a form of entertainment and for me it is, that is why it doesn’t feel like I am “working” when I am playing.

The biggest thing I value about poker is freedom. Freedom to play whenever you feel like, at whatever stakes you feel like, knowing there are always games to play around the clock. I don’t like having a set schedule, I like to be spontaneous and open to any new opportunity that presents itself each new day. If I want to play 10 hands or 10,000, I can do that. I don’t have to show up at 9am, and stay till 5pm. Alternatively, I can show up at 9am and play for 24 hours straight if the games are good enough.

It all is a gradual learning process. As you grow your poker mindset, you grow as a person. Poker requires life skills and learning poker can help you in every aspect of life. Poker will make you evaluate yourself and make you brutally honest with yourself if you want to succeed long-term. Take a look at some of my other articles if you wish to improve your game as much as possible.

Good luck at the tables.

More Poker Strategy:

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Booking the Win at Final Tables

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

How to Play AA For Maximum Profit

How to Overbet For Massive Value

How to Develop into a LAG (Loose-Aggressive Player)

Additional Strategy, Sports Betting:

The Three Tenets of Profitable Sports Betting