Who is Your Swim Buddy?

Swim Buddies are critical in SEAL operations.  In resilience training, swim buddies are critical as well, but in a different way.  In training, we were taught not to be more than 6 feet away from your swim buddy.  During 100% Oxygen operations, this is critical because the symptoms of Oxygen Toxicity, a condition that can happen at any time during oxygen diving, can be deadly.  Your swim buddy can save your life.  In my resilience classes, individuals have a difficult time relating some of the military concepts that I teach to a more "normal" and safe life.  The principles of the swim buddy apply 100% to civilian life.  Let me explain how.  A swim buddy can be a close friend, spouse, even a sibling who has been there for you during difficult times.  A swim buddy holds you accountable and is not afraid to let you know that you screwed up.  A swim buddy is a sounding board during a crisis or life changing event.  At a minimum, when you call a swim buddy, they will answer the phone or get back with you fairly quickly.  

Accountability is a huge part of developing a resilient life style and developing the concept of self-leadership.  A swim buddy is their to hold you accountable.  However, accountability works in both directions.  By nature of the relationship, you are the swim buddy to your swim buddy.  That means that you have to be there for them just as much as they are there for you.  I remember an exercise in dive training where we would buddy breath off of the same closed circuit rebreather.  This was very complicated because it involved extra steps that are not the same as in traditional open circuit SCUBA.  The extra steps meant more time without life giving oxygen, and the steps required practice and trust.  Swim buddy in the SEAL Teams takes on a whole new meaning when you are in the dark, cold, and without oxygen!  

Remember to always be there for your swim buddy.  Think of some attributes that you have in your swim buddy.  What are some of the characteristics that you have that make you a great swim buddy?  Write down a list of people that you consider your swim buddies and then a list of people that consider you to be their swim buddy.  This week, introduce this concept to individuals who have not heard of it.  Remember, we were meant to face adversity with close friends who can count on us as much as we can count on them!

Dr. N

The Past

The Past

No other word in the English language can conjure up both joy and sorrow, evoke both a smile and sadness (sometimes in the same memory).  The past is something that humans have written about, study, and in certain circumstances regret.  All in all, our pasts help us define who we are today; this depends on how much power you decide to give to your past, and whether or not your have the foresight to learn from your mistakes or miscalculations.  

The Good

Our pasts are full of memories, some good and some not so good.  That is normal.  Most individuals have a mix memories that they remember with joy and memories that haunt them even into old age.  The key is to harness the power of the past in order to affect our present life.  That is just about the only useful thing that we can do with our past.  We can also talk about the past with fond remembrance.  This usually occurs in a group setting where individuals have a shared experience that they love to relive.  This recently happened to me at the dinner table where my family recounted the time when I trained obsessively for a local inline skating race, only to be demolished by former Olympians that showed up with equipment and training that was no match for my inexperience.  The laughs that we get from some memories are priceless, and these are the memories to be cherished and told, as long as they only enhance the present moment and don’t cannibalize it.  

The Bad and The Ugly

When individuals regret the past, this can be an issue, especially if their present moments are affected by the regret.  Regretting the past can cause just as much stress as over anticipation of a future event.  The present moment is a beautiful place where stress does not exist.  The corruption from the past can become a systemic issue for some individuals, leading to ineffective coping mechanisms (drugs, alcohol, over-eating) and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  PTSD can be treated with Cognitive Re-Training, a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where past negative events are analyzed and detached from emotional states, thereby leading the individual to a more logical, emotion free explanation of the past event.  PTSD can be crippling, a manifestation of the past that has been buried deep inside the minds of an individual who is obviously suffering in the present.  

Redemption and Gratitude

The key to not letting your past control your present emotions is to be grateful for what you have in the present.  We all have things to be grateful for.  Just the fact that you are reading these words indicates that you have vision and the cognitive knowledge to understand what I am saying.  That, in an of itself, is a miracle to the majority of life on this planet.  Imagine the insanity of walking into your living room and seeing your dog curled up on the couch reading Lord of the Flies in utter disgust!  Being grateful is not only the key to putting your past behind you but also the key ingredient to living, totally engaged and enthralled in the present moment.  Take awe in the things around you and you will be redeemed of the past.  Respect and thank the past for bringing you here, yes.  But understand that the only thing that truly matters is what you do in the now.  


Take pause this week and remember your past.  What events specifically show up in your mind’s eye?  Are these events good events or bad events?  Perhaps both?  Become aware of the present moment and how the past does not even enter into the equation, if you are fully immersed in it.  Pay your respects to past events but do not let yourself obsess over them. Make two columns on a sheet of paper. Write down some lessons that you can take forward from your past events in one column and in the other column write down as many things that you can that you are grateful for.  Understand how the past can link into your present moment, but realize that understanding the past should not be misunderstood with dwelling in it.  The past should only be a tool to unlocking and understanding the present and perhaps preparing, albeit briefly, for future events.

“Lean into it!”

Dr. N





the effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another



When you stop and think about it, life can be quite fascinating.  Paddling this morning in the darkness, I saw a fin surface about 20 feet from my board.  The movement was sudden and deliberate.  Since I have been paddling in the dark, almost every day for the better part of 8 years, I was not startled and new instantly that it was a dolphin.  I never stop getting fascinated with these common events; from a bald eagle catching a fish out of the water with its talons to a sea turtle surfacing to take a look at me; a pelican catching a fish in a break neck dive splash.  Life and death in one quick flash.  We realize fairly early in life that actions have equal and opposite reactions.  If you remember Physics and Newton’s third law of motion, you realize that everything that you do affects something else.  You cause something to happen.  You make an impact.  Conversely, when things happen, whether good or bad, you are impacted by something or someone.  For good or bad, 


Good or Bad?


We all have our bad days.  Things are not going right.  You wake up late.  You forget to take out the garbage.  You neglect to eat the right foods and have a stomach ache.  Your spouse tells you something hurtful.  You make a mistake at work and your boss reprimands you. You begin to realize that you are not in a job that you like.  We have all had days like that.  There is a country song called The Bug by Mary Chapin Carpenter the explains it all, “Sometimes your the windshield, sometimes your the bug…”  Life is not fun when you are the bug, but relish in being a bug so that when you are a windshield, you can truly appreciate it.  The impacts we make on the bad days are real, but truly feeling the good impacts can be difficult because sometimes, we take things for granted.


When good things happen to us, or when we are the windshield, we are happy. We impact ourselves in a positive way.  When we make others happy or help them, our impacts are greater and our happiness is greater, much greater.  Helping others is hardwired into our brains.  The dopamine that is released chemically in the brain when we help others is exponentially greater than when we are helping ourselves.  That is how we were designed as humans.  The impact that we make on others cannot be understated.  


The Importance of Impact


Everything that we say, do or think, has an impact on ourselves and others.  Everything.  That is why we must strive not to take anything for granted and pay attention to everything that we do or say to ourselves and others.  Being mindful of everything that we say or do is the key.  From letting strangers pass through in automobile traffic to saying some kind words to our family members when we are tired from a long day at work or just “not in the mood;” everything that we say or do has an effect on other people or the environment.  That Newtonian Law holds equally well with people and events as it does with inanimate objects in time and space.  I still remember words that were said to me almost half a century ago by my father and other influential people.  Stop and listen, and you will also hear words or see events long past.  These are the impacts that drive our lives; and these are the impacts that you are making right now, to all of those around you, and, even to yourself.  


Our Thoughts


Our thoughts have a tremendous amount of impact on our subconscious minds.  Thoughts are essentially the unspoken words that we tell ourselves.  As you can realize, thoughts have an incredible amount of impact on how we live our lives.  Have too many negative or self defeating thoughts?  Your journey down the pathway of life will not be too pleasant.  On the other hand, having positive and thoughts filled with learning and encouragement can lead to success and happiness.  Just having a positive attitude or some genuine and honest kind words to others can have a strong impact.  Sometimes, not thinking at all can be the best recipe to living in the moment, and this has the most effective impact of all.  The art of not thinking and disconnecting from everything and just being is a state that we, as a society, have ventured away from.  If you genuinely are stressed when you have nothing to do, or your mind is always racing and pondering something, this message is for you.  Sometimes having the most impact involves controlling your mind to not think about anything at all.  Counterintuitive but true.




Think about all the people that have made a positive and negative impact in your life.  Some of them could be famous, like Mozart or Steve Jobs.  These individuals have made lasting impacts that will hundreds of years (Mozart already has; Jobs remains to be seen), but the ones that you choose may be more personal.  How much of an impact have these individuals had on your life?  Why?  Now look at your own impacts that you make on a daily basis.  Remember that everything that you say or do (including to yourself) has an impact in one way or another.  Paying attention to this fact, what steps are you going to take (if any) to become more cognizant of the impacts that you make?  Finally, take time this week to find a period of time each day to quiet your mind so that you can be more effective and deliberate when your brain is switched on.  Remember that the most impactful “action” that you can do for yourself is to quiet your mind and not think at all and allow yourself to just be in the moment, taking everything in and being grateful for living another day.  Sometimes doing and thinking about nothing, can, at least for yourself, have the most impact.


“Lean into it!”


Dr. N 



Conquer Your Fears

Conquer Your Fears

I have been a swimmer for most of my life. I swam when the shot of a gun started a race and Mark Spitz was the immortal god of swimming. I went on through high school and college teaching the sport I loved more than anything. So when the chance to learn to scuba dive crossed my path, I was ecstatic. I was teaching elementary music at the time when my principal announced to the staff that the Navy was looking for 10 school teachers from Bay County, FL to certify in diving. The program was to be known as, “The Teacher Aquanauts.”

The school board wanted teachers to start implementing more science into the classrooms and thought this program would be an exciting way to introduce kids to the underwater world. The teachers were informed that there were many applicants with an extensive interview process. But I was ready and confident for anything thrown my way. After the lengthy application process and rigorous interviews, my goal was obtained and I made the official Teacher Aquanaut team.

After months of class work and countless Physical Training Evolutions (the Navy’s funny way of saying exercise), it was time to hit the water. Everything was perfect; our scuba gear was assembled, dive buddies paired up, and the water was a perfect temperature. So why was my heart beating out of my chest? Why were my palms sweating profusely? What could possibly be wrong? All I could think was, “This cannot be fear that I am feeling! I am a good swimmer for goodness sake! This was a really difficult program to get into. You can’t let your students down! What the heck is wrong with me?” Yes, that old, unwanted friend we call fear had paid a visit, and slowly started creeping in. I literally did not want to step foot into the water.  In order to conquer this initial fear, I actually visualized myself as a professional Navy diver and mentally rehearsed all the classroom training that we had done all the previous weeks. With that done, I was a little more confident and ready to give diving a try.

As we descended down into the unknown deep, uh.... pool that is, I could not get over the fact that I was able to breathe underwater. I know that sounds odd- after all, Scuba stands for: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, but the thought of breathing underwater freaked me out. I kept feeling that natural urge to push myself to the surface and take a breath, something I had been trained to do my whole life as a swimmer. In diving, however, going to the surface can be very dangerous, even deadly. Especially if you hold your breath (something one naturally does when scared). I didn’t like the feeling of all the heavy equipment on my back, or having to equalize my ears the further we descended into the water. I wanted so badly to say, “I am sorry, you picked the wrong person for this program. I want out!” But pride has always had a history with me, and quitting has never been an option. So I felt the fear, and did it anyway.

Feeling fear is not as important as how you react to it. When I felt the fear and panic coming on, I relaxed my breathing and self talked my way out of the problem. I kept a constant mantra to “relax” over and over, until my body was commanded by my mind to do it. Easier said than done when one is in such a different and unforgiving environment, i.e. high stress.

I finally got the hang of it and went on to do several open water dives. Do I like diving now? No. Not at all. I’d rather sing in front of a million people. But I did it and actually motivated a lot of kids to want to try it out. The Teacher Aquanauts lasted only two years, but they were the best two years of my life. Diving not only gave me a new found respect for the underwater world, but also taught me to “Feel the fear and do it anyway!” 

Hooyah to that!

Conquer your Fears and Lean into it! 

Casey Naggiar


What is your biggest fear?  This week I want you to go out and take some serious steps in how you will conquer that fear.  It could be speaking in public perhaps.  How do you get over this fear?  You guessed it, by speaking in public.  Take some public speaking classes or join a toastmasters group.  Take small steps to train yourself to conquer your fear.  What happens next is amazing.  Once you conquer your biggest fear, other smaller fears simply melt away and you gain more and more confidence.  You enter what I call a zone of controlled invincibility, where anything is possible.  All you have to do is get out of your own way!

Dr. N

Epic Engagement

Epic Engagement

My father was born on May 9th, 1924 in Damascus, Syria, and grew up in the shadows of World War II.  By age 20, he had seen and lived through life threatening events such as the bombing of Alexandria, Egypt, where he witnessed friends being cut in half by German bombs.  He seldom talked about his experiences and he died when I was too young to even comprehend their meaning when he did talk about them.  I would like to share the biggest lesson that I learned from him now.  The lesson of Epic Engagement.


Epic Engagement begins when we decide to do something.  It is born from a drive to do something correctly and not make any mistakes.  Some actions, as you can imagine, are more serious than others.  Driving a car, for example, has much more dire consequences when done incorrectly than playing a game of dominos.  However, while playing dominos may not have dangerous consequences if not done correctly, the methodology of not being engaged while playing dominos has long lasting effects on other actions.


Just as quitting becomes a habit, so does doing things in a partially engaged status.  Doing things while being distracted or with a bad attitude can have habitual effects when the action becomes more important.  “Like what you do; don’t do what you like.”  These were the words that my father would utter to me.  He told me that even if you sweep a floor, you should do it with as much passion and love as you do other activities that you love to do.  The wisdom behind those words are far reaching and poignant.  Liking what one does is important because there will be many more times that we must sweep the floor because it needs to be done.  So why not like it?  Developing the habit of epic engagement starts with the mundane and seemingly tedious tasks that we must do everyday in order to progress.


For epic engagement to take hold, we must have energy and passion in everything that we do.  Don’t reserve your motivation for the things that you like to do.  That’s too easy.  Passionately attack things that you don’t like to do, if for no other reason to practice and develop the concept of epic engagement.  Passion fuels our interest and drives us to flow, that inner state where we lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time, moving smoothly and efficiently through our actions and harnessing a deep desire to perform at the top of our game.  And yes, you can achieve this while sweeping the floor, doing your taxes, surfing a 30 foot wave.  Anything.  Passion is the magic ingredient.  

Planning and Self Improvement

Just like with anything else that we do, proper planning and critical analysis after the action are essential to achieve epic engagement.  Plan/Act/Improve.  For epic engagement to take place, you must be deliberate in all aspects of the task; before, during and after all need to be synchronized and firing on all cylinders, and they all need to feed off of each other for optimal effectiveness.  Let’s say that you do a task flawlessly but don’t write down what you did or even remember how you did it next time.  You may take longer to learn the task or not learn it as effectively as you could if you wrote down and captured the details in the improvement phase.  Conversely, if you set off to do a task, but forget to grab the right broom and choose the on with the wrong bristles, you may end up sweeping the floor a lot longer or not do it well enough so you don’t have to do sweep it again.  The stages all feed each other, and they all lead us down the road to epic engagement.


This is something that you can practice this week with everything that you do, from driving a car to a complex assignment that you need to accomplish for work.  Activate the Plan/Act/Improve sequence and write something down on paper.  Plan your dive, dive your plan, and then sit down and write down any improvements that you need to make for next time.  While you are in the action phase of the epic engagement, fully concentrate in the task and take in all the nuances and details of the action.  Take every aspect of what you are doing in and let yourself become in awe of the situation.  This will active your passion and drive yourself into a sense of focus that you have never felt before.  What you complete that task, sit down and write out any lessons that you can capture for the next time you complete the same (or a similar) action.  


Epic Engagement takes time and energy to do it correctly; however, the rewards are priceless.  Even sweeping the floor can become an action that you will look forward to!  


“Lean into it!”

Dr. N

Thank Your Enemies



Resilience is a dish best served cold...to be truly resilient, one must thank one's enemies.  


When you look up the definition of an oxymoron in the dictionary, you get: "a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction."  Thanking your enemy is as ludicrous as hating your loved ones; but, that is exactly what I am proposing that you do in this article.  As a Navy SEAL, this may sound completely ludicrous and weak.  But let me propose this: by thanking your enemies you make yourself stronger and more powerful, both psychologically and physically.  Here is the secret.  

Enemies often wore helmets to conceal their true identities, to intimidate their opponents, and to protect their heads...



Your enemy is any threat in combat.  But enemies don't always have to be people trying to kill you.  Off the battlefield, they can be people that want to see you fail or that you perceive as wanting to see you fail.  Sometimes, the biggest enemy that you will face will be yourself.  This internal enemy is the most powerful and dangerous of all.  This enemy can kill you much faster than any external enemy can even dream of doing.  That is where the line in the sand must be drawn.  By seeing your enemy (and your own negative thoughts) as a challenge and not an overpowering force, you begin to gain control over them.  


It is very empowering.  You change the way you perceive your "enemy."  Your enemy becomes something to be learned, analyzed, and defeated.  Taking action will most certainly make you feel better.  Taking calculated and planned action will make you feel better AND increase the likelihood of success.  Think back to high school when your "enemy" was that super difficult professor that did not give you an inch on an assignment.  Or how about that rival school in football that was always taunting your team and made you feel like crap?  They were most certainly the "enemy."  Think back to how you felt about both of the above situations.  Did you feel helpless, angry, or frustrated?  Feeling this way is OK if it drives you to action.  Sometimes, we NEED to feel this way in order to drive us to a new level.  Using anger as fuel is OK, as long as you know what you are doing and don't burn yourself with it... 


 Embrace those feelings.  Let them fuel your challenge hormones and plan a countermove.  Train harder.  Study more effectively.  That is the only way to succeed in those situations.  Complaining about your teacher or lashing back at the rival team will not help you.  In fact, it may even damage you and sink you further into the self fulfilling prophecy of failure.

In 1985 I decided that I wanted to go into the Navy to pay for my college.  Neither of my parents had been in the military, and I had no relatives or friends that had been in the military.  I had never fired a gun and couldn't run, swim, or do pull-ups to save my own life.  But something inside of me said that I should join the a Navy and become a SEAL.  Maybe it was BECAUSE I was so opposite of what I would eventually become. I think it started with my own internal enemy telling me that I was not going to make it.  The "enemy" inside of me said that I was crazy.  All of my relatives said that I was crazy.  Even my own father said that I did not have "what it takes" to be a SEAL.  And yet, I still wanted to be one, bad.  The final straw came years later when my Marine Instructor in college brought me into his office and alluded to the fact that I would not make it through SEAL Training.  That was the last straw.  My anger swelled inside of me and I left his office knowing that I would make it through training, or die trying.  

All those "enemies" (and I use the term loosely here when mentioning my father) did not accomplish what they set out to accomplish because of my internal passion and relentless stubbornness to achieve my objective.  That is the secret to success in any endeavor.  Using the doubters (including your own self doubts) to activate your internal passion and finding a way to success.  It is not going to be easy; but it is well worth it in the end.  


In conclusion then, it makes sense that we should thank our enemies.   Without their catalytic attempts to stop us, they fuel us to go on.  Any obstacle, whether internal or external, should be viewed in this manner if you want to succeed.   Don't run away from your enemies.  Face them, embrace them, and thank them.  Thank them.  Without enemies, it would be more difficult to train and be ready.  Without enemies, we would not feel the call to action.  Without enemies, we would not strive for excellence.  So the next time someone doubts you or worse you doubt yourself and feel the enemy within rearing its ugly head; think about embracing your doubts and finding a logical solution that involves action, passion, and direction.

"Lean into it!"

Ed Naggiar

Vision Boards

Vision Boards

Humans never cease to amaze me.  We are perhaps the most capable living creatures on the planet.  Our civilizations are vast and well developed.  We use technology to the fullest extent possible, communicating with each other at lightening fast speeds.  But with all this knowledge and power, we struggle with basic focus and sometimes even have trouble staying on task.  Perhaps our technologically advancements can also be crippling and overwhelming.  At times, we see the world as a confusing mess that we need to shut out in order to be happy.  This doesn’t have to be that way.  Creating a vision board can bring you focus and direction in a world filled with chaos and stress.  


Strategic Level Thinking

A vision board is nothing more than a visual collection of what is important in your life.  It could be your family, God, or even goals that you want to accomplish in the future.  Perhaps your vision board holds keys to your past that ground you as well?  A vision is something in the future that drives you in a certain direction in the present.  This strategic level thinking is very important.  Without a vision, you don’t really know which direction you are going in the present.  Stress and chaos enter into your world because you don’t know where to go since you have no overall strategy to support your vision.  Having a vision of yourself and what you want to do in the future is not a nice thing to have, it is critical.


Military and Business Vision

Every military operation has a vision.  This vision is a strategic level statement that tells all troops, from the highest raking to the lowest ranking, the overall story as to why the operation is taking place (the purpose), the measures of success of the operation, and the end state of the operation.  This vision statement is clear and paints a picture so that everyone knows exactly what the commanders wants.  In business, vision statements tell employees where a company is going in the future and why they want to go there.  The vision statement, not to be confused with the mission statement, is future speak.  The mission is what you are doing in the here and now to achieve the future vision.


Painting a Picture

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes.  Making a vision board for yourself should involve pictures or drawings (unless you draw like me).  Pictures are easier to digest and remember than words and are powerful reminders of what you want to accomplish in the future.  Some of the earliest forms of communication (cave drawings) are powerful reminders of how paintings, drawings, and pictures can not only hold our attention, but inspire us to achieve things beyond our limits.  Visualize yourself in the pictures that you choose.  For example, if part of your vision involves learning how to fly an airplane, use a picture of an airplane and see yourself inside the airplane flying it.  Visualization is a powerful tool to use within your vision board.  



What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving within the next few years?  What will these accomplishments look like?  Write down these accomplishments and form them, using pictures, into a vision board.  This process will take a long time, but that’s OK.  When you finish your vision board, put it somewhere where you will see it everyday.  Put it on your refrigerator next to the kids drawings.  Put it where you hang your keys so that you can see the pictures every time you leave the house.  Place the vision board in the bathroom so that you can look at it as you brush your teeth twice a day.  Remember that the vision board should be a fun project.  Think about getting your kids or spouse involved so that they can share their vision with you.  Remember that a journey without a vision is a journey that may end up where you don’t want to go.  I have seen too many people doing things that they don’t want to do, in jobs or lives that were foreign to them.  Remember that without vision, every road leads you to where you want to go because you really don’t know where you want to go.  Don’t be blind; make a vision board today.

“Lean into it!”

Dr. N








Locus of Control

I have five kids.  Five wonderful, loving, playful, relentless, challenging kids.  When they do something wrong, and they often do, they tend to blame circumstances in the external environment for their mistakes.  Many kids, and people, do this all the time.  I sometimes do this if I don’t catch myself.  Blaming people is an ineffective coping mechanism that helps us to feel better about ourselves.  Linked with self-deception, it is a condition that we should strive not to find ourselves in.  

This “External Locus of Control” is a belief that circumstances are beyond our control.  That “others” are responsible for our malfunctions and that our luck is to blame for our misfortunes.

A contrarian belief to the aforementioned mechanism is an “Internal Locus of Control”.  This coping style sees life as a challenge.  When Arthur Rubinstein plays Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto number two he “eats” the piano (my dad told me this when I was young, sitting with him listening to an old vinyl record).  He has so much passion when he plays this  piece that he takes complete control of the instrument and you can actually hear it!  Go download it if you don’t have it and you will see what I mean.  This mastery and total control of the piano (by the way it is a challenging instrument to play to say the least) is exactly the same coping style that we need to have when it comes to life’s challenges.  

Having an internal locus of control means that we see every stressful event, every sad occurrence, every setback in a different way.  In a challenging way.  The stressful event becomes a challenge to overcome, the sad occurrence becomes a growing experience, and the setback becomes something that we can learn from and perhaps a new beginning (cue Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music: when one door closes, another one opens).  

Look!  I know that it is sometimes very  difficult to have this kind of higher level attitude.  I find myself getting angry sometimes at my kids who  are obviously trying to teach me to be patient and to look inwards at my own soul or to just wait for them to understand.

You see, developing an internal locus of control takes time, patience, and education.  Think back to your own kids, or when you were a kid.  Remember how everything seemed like it was not your fault and it was very easy to shift blame to someone else?  Developing a internal locus  of control requires us to grow up and to accept the responsibilities of our lives.  

I do believe, however, that this level of  control must be present in ALL that we do, not just our higher level relationships or our work lives.  Learn to tune into your internal locus of control when you drive, when you interact with strangers, with  everything.  If you don’t, then you may someday look in the mirror and not recognize the person that stares back at you.  You see, a healthy internal locus of control is the closest thing that you can get to total honesty with yourself.  Your  kids will appreciate it, I promise!

By the way, a Locust is spelled with a "t" at the end...

"Lean into it!"

Ed Naggiar 

Getting Back to Nature

Getting Back to Nature

We find ourselves at a unique point in human history. With the onslaught of technology and the seemingly endless benefits it has the potential to provide, we tend to lose touch with the world in which we live. We expect the newest convenience to be provided for us, the latest gadget, the newest gear; the latest steps toward instant gratification.  As a result, unexpected side effects occur.  Over indulgence in the way we eat, in the way we entertain ourselves, and in the way we behave.  We see incredible rates of obesity in America, of video games substituting reality, and hard work taking a backseat to the easier, softer way.  It's as if our society has become a supercomputer with which we all willingly plug ourselves into upon awakening, and stay connected through throughout our day. Oddly, or perhaps understandably, vestiges of our spirituality rooted in nature start to take form. We keep pictures of wildlife scenes in the cubicle, the apartment complex is spotted with potted plants, and our computer screens display beautiful natural scenery. We plan the dream vacation to the remote area and want to capture the perfect getaway. Why do we keep these remnants of nature so close in modern settings? The answer is in who we are as human beings.  We started our journey on earth as a part of it; not a separate entity. We possess an almost instinctual drive for the wilderness, for fresh air, and for pure and clean land.  We crave the balance we had as the hunter gatherer, and the spiritual peace which living harmoniously brings us.  We don’t have to throw away our computers and become wandering mystics to feel connected to the world; the answer is much more simple - we have to unplug. Take the time to walk and consciously feel the walk and observe what you are seeing.



Take those clumsy shoes off and feel the earth with the feet you were born with. Catch a sunrise, or a sunset.  Gaze at the stars and realize what a small piece of the whole you are, and how wonderful the vast really is. Unplug from the high stress, fast paced modern life, and take the time to appreciate what is truly important in your life. Take time to let the feeling sink in of who you truly are; a wonderfully unique being on a wonderfully unique planet. I hope you will join me in the week ahead, and take the time to “unplug”. It’s as simple as opening the front door. 


The Art of the Promise

“My word is my covenant.  If I say I am going to do something, I either do it, or I am dead.”

Personal Creed development can reveal a lot about who we are.  Our inner values, thoughts, and beliefs are brought out.  We truly look inside ourselves and see what’s important to us.  One of the most powerful revelations that I have found in individuals is the importance of keeping promises, both to ourselves and to others.  Keeping promises to others is very important.  Keeping promises reaffirms the relationships that we have with others and allows others to trust us.  Breaking that trust can cause catastrophic events that can harm or even destroy a relationship.  

The funny thing that we don’t always see is that, the same catastrophic event can happen when we break a promise to ourselves.

Breaking a Reflective Promise (a promise to someone else)

When we make a promise to ourselves we are making a reflective promise.  These promises can be in the form of an inner statement such as “I am going to do something today, or I am going to start doing something on a certain day.”  When you don’t fulfill that promise or statement, no matter how inconsequential you may think it is, you are lying to yourself.  Lying to yourself causes psychological damage; moreover, it causes you to develop a habit of not fulfilling the things that you say that you are going to fulfill.  When you don't keep a promise to yourself, you begin, maybe unknowingly, to erode the most important thing that you possess: your self-esteem.  You begin to think that you really can’t do the things that you say (to yourself) that you are going to do and, over time, this erodes the confidence that have in yourself.  Self esteem is related to self-efficacy, or the notion of accomplishing the goals that one sets to accomplish, giving oneself a feeling of accomplishment, self-worth, effectiveness, and satisfaction. 


Breaking a Promise to Someone Else

When we don't keep a promise to someone, we erode the other person's confidence in us.  If you do this on a repetitive basis, you earn the label of being indecisive, not dependable, flakey, or quite simply a liar.  This can be a heavy cross to bear but I think that people simply shrug this off and imagine that their words are not that powerful.  But words can be super powerful, especially if you are someone who wants to be counted on and remembered for being dependable and worthy.  

The Cost of Not Making Promises

Knowing the cost of not keeping your promises may change the way you make promises in the first place. Treat them as transactions that will cost you psychological money if you fail.  Treat them so high on your priority list that you give some serious thought the next time that you consider making a promise.  Promises made to yourself should be dealt with like a complex business deal between your mind and your self-esteem. If you need assistance in accomplishing a promise to yourself, like talking to a friend or emailing me here at HPC, then by all means do that.  Use all the tools at your disposal.  Don’t leave any stone unturned in the land of promise making.  

The flip side of making too many promises or making promises that you don't keep is never making a promise at all. This can be equally destructive.  Not making any promises leads to complacency, stagnation, and boredom. Give yourself high enough goals and make and keep the small promises that support the overall goal. 


Try and see how many promises that you make and keep throughout the week.  Remember that you have to make some promises to others and to yourself.  Write some of the promises that you make to yourself  and see if they are realistic.  Overall, make yourself this promise: promise that you will not make any more promises to yourself or others that you can not realistically keep. If you do this one simple act, you will begin to live a more realistic and productive life and others will expect the statement that I started this blog post with, and that’s a promise!

“Lean into it!

Dr. N