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Michael Neill’s Tip of the Day appears courtesy of the Genius Catalyst Cafe archive and is changed daily at midnight EST.
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From Dr. Richard Bandler, co-developer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP):
“A good roadmap to a better life – gentle and direct like Michael himself!”
From Egill Egilsson, Producer/Director CSI: Miami:
“Direct and practical – Michael’s presence makes taking on challenges fun. Do yourself a favor and read this book….It works!”
From Sacha Gervasi, screenwriter, ‘The Terminal’ and ‘The Big Tease’:
“Michael’s authentic approach and insightful concepts demystify ‘conventional wisdom’ and have enabled me to look at success in a completely different way. You can feel his positive, common sense way of addressing life gently seeping into your consciousness as you read his words.”
From Geoff Hinsley, executive coach:
“If Superman needed a coach, he’d hire Michael Neill.”
From John LaValle, president of the Society of NLP and co-author of ‘Persuasion Engineering®’:
“Michael has an extraordinary ability to give you the chance to reorganize your self, your career, no, your life in this amazingly easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-follow-through-on book.”
From Jennifer Louden, the best-selling author of The Woman’s Comfort Book:
“When you read certain books, the simple act of engaging with the words creates promising new possibilities. Michael’s book belongs in this elite, rare category. I found myself quoting this material to clients and readers-it’s that good!”
From Sean Macaulay, film critic, London Times:
“For anyone involved in creative pursuits with all the usual blocks, crises and self-loathing drama, (i.e. half of Hollywood), Michael Neill’s astute practical tips are the wise old guru you thought only Luke Skywalker enjoyed in the swamp with Yoda. Clear, digestible, insightful and easily applied, this is a system that takes every obstacle and turns it into progress with integrity. Highly recommended.”
From Paul McKenna, number one bestselling author and TV personality:
“Michael Neill is the finest success coach in the world today. The time I’ve spent reading and re-reading Michael’s work has made a remarkable difference to my success, happiness, and well-being. I have recommended it to everyone I know who is genuinely interested in self-improvement. Buy this book – it will change your life!”
From Sanjay Mehta, Head of Industry Solutions, Oracle Communications:
“Incredible know how; fantastic tools; results for all to see. Take a deep breath – your life is about to change for the better.”
From Mike Morris, CEO, Tamdown Group:
‘Essential reading for the entrepreneur – a compelling, streetwise and elegant book about life, love, happiness and success.’
From Al Secunda, bestselling author of Ultimate Tennis and The 15 Second Principle:
“Michael Neill’s mission is to make a difference on the planet and to change lives. His teachings, distillations, and wisdom have touched my heart, opened my mind, and awakened my spirit. My hope is that his writings get out, into, and around the world.”
From Jayne Thorburn, Chief Investment Officer, Amlin plc:
“Working with Michael is always inspiring, always practical and always fun. Reading ‘You Can Have What You Want’ allows you to tap into Michael’s extensive coaching toolkit and get difference perspectives on your life – both business and personal. He will challenge your ways of thinking and doing as you clarify your true goals and make them a reality.”
In “Effortless Success”, success coach Michael Neill invites the listener to address two fundamental questions: 1) What do you want? and 2) What is stopping you from getting it? … In his easy-going, non-confrontational way, Michael can help you–and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for a one-on-one session! Stop spending $ on coffees for one week, save the money, and BUY THIS NOW! You will reap the benefits for the rest of your life. – Anthem / Amazon.com
Michaels set of CDs has changed my life for the foreseeable future, I needed that little nudge that he describes in the CD and its amazing how quickly it worked. Michael certainly is the most genuine man I have met in this field yet! Hhe cares and is not just in it for the money, get this set and you will fly, Thank you so much Micheal. – Peter Blyth
I bought your cd-set Effortless Success back in 2008 and want to tell you that it was the 10 pounds most well spent in my entire life. I listened to it time and time again and learned so much. Since I am getting more and more in touch with all those issues and myself, I wrote my first book! - Harald Rothermel
How to Spend Money
Give Yourself a Relationship ‘Aha’
The Three P’s of Optimism and Pessimism
Nine Different Jobs
Paying Yourself First
Happiness and Optimal Experience
The Room of a Thousand Demons
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“Michael Neill is the finest success coach in the world today. Since using his approach to create inner and outer success, I have become happier in myself, more successful, and, to be blunt, I have simply made a lot more money!” – Paul McKenna, bestselling author and TV personality
“Michael’s authentic approach and insightful concepts demystify ‘conventional wisdom’ and have enabled me to look at success in a completely different way. You can feel his positive, common sense way seeping into your consciousness as he speaks.” – Sacha Gervasi, director/screenwriter, Anvil: The Story of Anvil and The Terminal
“Direct and practical – Michael’s presence makes taking on challenges fun. Do yourself a favor ….It works!” - Egill Egilsson, Producer/Director CSI: Miami
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Complete archive of over 700 coaching tips written by Michael Neill.
Very often I am so grateful for what I have learned from your tips and courses. They have made a wonderful difference. Your insights have cut through confusion, and I have seen clearly that I need to leapfrog over some misguided mess in my thinking. When I listen to your radio programs I am struck by how kind you are to the callers as you open up the opportunity for them to break free of their suffering. Thank you very much indeed for your wonderful work and your kindness.
- Margaret Mackenzie
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“This is the true joy in life- the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one;
the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap;
the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish clod of ailments and grievances
complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
-George Bernard Shaw
No matter what is happening in your life right now, no matter what you have gone through in your past, it is possible for you to feel happy right in this moment now…
Whether you’re in search of a quick pick-me-up or lasting change, you’ll find that this book is packed with everything you need to put the power of happiness to work in your own life!
‘I am by calling a dealer in words – and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.’ – Rudyard Kipling
This is a book about unreasonable happiness. It is about your ability to feel happy not only when you get a promotion, win the lottery and fall in love with the man or woman of your dreams, but also when you lose your job, can’t pay the mortgage and are surrounded by screaming children.
It’s about your ability to experience good feelings in your body even when good things aren’t happening in your life. It’s also about why feeling good when things are bad is one of the fastest ways to make them change for the better.
The purpose of this book is for you to become happier – to feel more of your good feelings and be more comfortable with the bad ones. Over the course of the next few hours (or days, or weeks, or however long you take to read the book and experiment with the experiments), you will learn that you are far more in control of your own well-being than you ever thought possible. You will learn to make small changes in the way you feel, think and act, and you will come to realize that these small changes can make a big (actually, huge) difference.
That’s not to say that if you are angry, stressed out, anxious or depressed you can or should just ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’. Life is often difficult, and blaming yourself for feeling bad is like trying to teach a pig to sing – it rarely works, and it tends to annoy the pig.
But if you want to have more choices about what you feel when, I’ll be sharing the fruits of over 20 years of exploration into the structure of happiness and how you can use that understanding to feel good, feel better and even feel happy about whatever is happening in your life right now.
How this all works
My wife once asked me to define the difference between a therapist, a consultant and a coach. I referred to my trusted dictionary and was told that a therapist is someone who:
‘…treats mental, physical, or psychological disorders by mental, physical, or psychological means’
A consultant, on the other hand, is:
‘a person who provides expert advice professionally’
whereas the standard British definition of a coach is:
‘a single-decker vehicle, especially one that is comfortably equipped and used for longer journeys’
(which is nothing compared to the Australian definition of a coach as ‘a docile cow or bullock used as a decoy to attract wild cattle’…)
My own definition of these three ‘helping professionals’ is a bit simpler – a therapist fixes what’s broken, a consultant tells you what to do, and a coach, like the aforementioned single-decker vehicle, is comfortably equipped and trained to help you get wherever you want to go.
When my wife went on to ask me which one I was, I thought long and hard before realizing that while I inevitably did a little bit of all of those things, the heart of my approach didn’t really fit any of them. What I am, and the role I hope to play with you throughout this book, is a catalyst.
1. An agent or substance that initiates or accelerates the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.
2. One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being directly involved in or changed by the consequences.
3. Someone or something that causes an important event to happen.
Much of my background and psychological training is in a field called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) – the study of how language impacts our neurology and behaviour. Since what I want for you is to be truly, deeply happy, in order to initiate and accelerate that process I have written this book using specific (and sometimes unusual) language patterns that will actually trigger chemical changes on the inside of your brain. You may begin to experience good feelings in your body and a greater sense of what’s possible in your mind just by reading these words.
There are essentially two ways to read this book (or indeed any book that purports to tell you how to live more happily in the world): you can believe the book has all the answers or you can believe that you do.
I believe in you.
Over the past 16 years I’ve worked with over 10,000 people from all around the world, helping them to become happier and to live more and more wonderful lives. Some of these people are amongst the wealthiest and most successful in the world, while others are ‘just plain folk’ who simply want more out of life than a daily grind and a nightly battle with their own dark thoughts and unfulfilled dreams.
The reason I can work as effectively with a TV star, a CEO, a scientist and a housewife all in the same day is that I know something about each one of them which is also true of you:
You already have everything you need inside you to be happy and live a meaningful life – the only question is access!
I’ve deliberately put more experiments in this book than anyone is likely to complete. That’s so you can do the ones that capture your imagination and leave the rest for another time. Each experiment is designed to give you a tangible experience of your incredible capacity to choose and to change.
And if you choose to make this book about you and your happiness, you are about to embark on an adventure that will change your life for good.
The choice to feel happy
No matter how many times I talk about the benefits of feeling happy to individual clients or groups, the initial responses are the same:
‘How can I feel happy? You clearly know nothing about my life!’
‘Isn’t it bad to feel happy when there’s so much suffering in the world?’
‘I wouldn’t want to feel happy all the time.’
While we’ll take a closer look at each of these points in our very first chapter together, let me take a few moments here to address them en masse:
You are under no obligation to feel happy. Not feeling happy does not make you a bad person and I don’t think you ‘should’ feel happy now or later or even all the time.
But what I do want you to know is that it is possible for you to feel happy – and that choice is yours to make at any moment.
The benefits of making that choice are both simple and profound:
1. It feels good
At the risk of beginning by stating the obvious, our bodies have a natural predisposition towards pleasure (good feelings) and away from pain (bad feelings). This is a biological survival instinct, and is governed by our limbic system and brain stem, which are the oldest parts of our brain. Given the choice between a perceived pain and a perceived pleasure, your brain will take you towards the pleasure and away from the pain every single time.
2. It makes you healthier
When ‘happy chemicals’ are released into your body, your muscles relax and all your neurological and physiological systems return to their natural state. As most diseases can be traced at least partially to dis-ease in the body, this ‘return to ease’ that accompanies happiness is both comforting at the time and healing over the long term. In addition, a focus on care and compassion increases your body’s production of IgA, a chemical which has an immediate positive impact on your immune system.
3. It makes you younger
A study by the Institute of HeartMath has shown that the simple act of visualizing someone you love while focusing your attention on your physical heart will increase your body’s production of DHEA, the anti-ageing hormone. In addition, the positive effects of that little bit of good feeling will last in your body for up to seven hours. So not only can feeling happy help you to heal, it also acts as a sort of a ‘spiritual Botox’ for your body, making your skin softer, your eyes brighter and your entire appearance younger.
4. It makes you smarter
If you’ve ever struggled to solve a problem, you may have had the experience of being distracted from the struggle by the beauty of a sunset, a well-timed piece of gallows humour or even the sheer relief of giving up for a time. In the space that followed that interruption, you suddenly knew exactly what to do next.
This process is wonderfully described in Guy Claxton’s book Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind as ‘the triumph of wisdom over intellect’ – and being able to access your inner wisdom ‘on demand’ will make you smarter than another 14 years of school ever could. (As a point of interest, it will also let you take full advantage of everything you learned in the first 14 years.)
5. It makes you more successful
Much of my first book was based on a simple premise:
Happiness leads to success a lot more often
than success leads to happiness.
The clarity of thought and easy flow of inspiration and intuition that accompany good feelings in your body make it easier to make the choices that lead to success. They also make success fun.
So in all these ways and more it turns out that happiness is not only a choice – it’s an extremely practical choice, one that will not only make your life more pleasant, it will make it tangibly better, creating an optimal environment within which you can grow and prosper.
A venture capitalist I know who has had a great deal of success in his life is what I would call an ‘open-minded sceptic’ when it comes to anything that smacks of self-help or personal development. His first inclination is to dismiss any new idea as ‘too simple’, ‘too stupid’ or ‘OK for other people’, yet he’s also oddly willing to give these things a try. (I suspect so that he can then reject them from first-hand experience!)
After the success of my first book, You Can Have What You Want, he asked me what my follow-up would be. When I told him that it was about how to feel happy, he seemed genuinely disappointed.
‘Oh,’ he said. ‘It’s going to be one of those books.’
I’m not sure exactly what he meant, but I asked him to try a little experiment. I asked him to think about a problem he was having – a situation in his life that he was feeling slightly overwhelmed by. When I noticed his eyes move down and his skin go a bit pale, I shouted ‘Boo!’ at him and he looked back up at me, startled but bemused.
Next I asked him to think a happy thought – to think about someone or something that made him smile. He seemed to find that a little bit harder, but he closed his eyes and when I saw a smile playing on his lips and the colour returning to his face, I guided him through the basic ‘recipe for feeling good’ exercise I will share with you in Chapter Three. Soon he was breathing deeply and evenly, his shoulders had relaxed and he had an expression of calm and peace on his face.
‘Now,’ I said to him, ‘continuing to enjoy these feelings of ease and well-being, I want you to once again think about that situation you found overwhelming.’
As I said the word ‘these’, I reached over and gently squeezed his shoulder, creating a simple association between that touch and his good feelings.
I watched his face as he began to think about that old situation in a brand new way. The muscles around his eyes tensed, then relaxed, then tense again, then relaxed even more.
When he seemed completely at peace, I told him to open his eyes and asked him what had happened.
‘That was weird,’ he said. ‘When you asked me to think about a problem, I was going to think about something at work and then an image of my teenage daughter just popped into my head. We’ve been battling over pretty much everything for a while now and I was just getting back into our most recent argument when you startled me.’
He looked at me with a strange smile on his face.
‘Then, when you asked me to think a happy thought, I thought about my daughter again, but this time it was when she was a little girl. God, she could make me laugh! At first I was just playing along with you, but it really did feel good to think about that, so I gave myself over to the good feelings and just decided to enjoy it.
‘When you squeezed my shoulder and asked me to think about the problems I’d been having with my daughter again, it was really confusing – like I couldn’t quite remember what it was about it that I had been finding so difficult.’
I then asked him, ‘So what’s changed about your relationship with your daughter just from having taken a few minutes out to feel happy before thinking about it again?’
His analytical mind kicked back in and he said, somewhat dismissively, ‘Well obviously, nothing’s changed!’
Within a few moments, the smile returned to his eyes as he said somewhat reflectively, ‘But everything’s different.’
And this to me is the whole point of happiness (if indeed feeling happy needs ‘a point’):
When you’re happy, nothing changes –
but everything is different.
‘Mental mountains’ are reduced into molehills; problems that seemed insoluble begin to dissolve in the light of your happy awareness. If there are things for you to do in order to make things more the way you want them to be, you have a remarkable sense of clarity about what to do and a remarkable sense of ease about doing it. In other words, your life may not look any different on the outside, but it feels completely different on the inside. And those new feelings of happiness are often the only difference you need to make all the difference in the world.
So if you’re ready to feel happy now – even if you’re not quite sure that it’s really possible for you – let’s get things started…
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