Freedom Blog

Monday, September 24, 2012

Detaching- Greek Style

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

Detaching- Greek Style

Written by Steven Griggs |

“No man is free who is not master of himself.”

“It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

“People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.”

 Most people are familiar with some of the ancient teachers from the Middle and Far East such as Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad but one of the greatest teachers most people have never heard of was Greek. I don't mean to overlook Plato, Aristotle or Socrates, but Epictetus really nailed it. 

Epictetus (Epic-teet-us) was a Greek philosopher born in 55AD in what is now Turkey. He lived as a slave in Rome for most of his younger life. Although there are conflicting stories about how cruel his master was, almost all agree that he allowed Epictetus to attend classes in Rome with a famous philosopher named Musonius Rufus, a Roman senator and Stoic philosopher.

From his exposure to Stoicism he began to develop and build upon his own philosophy that all human suffering comes from the struggle to control that which is outside of us or beyond our control.  He taught that the only thing which you do have control over is your mind.

In 89AD he and all philosophers in Rome at the time, were banished from Rome and moved to north western Greece.

There he opened a school and eventually his teachings became famous throughout the ancient world. He continued teaching until his death in 135AD.

Epictetus wrote mainly about personal freedom, personal integrity and self-control.

His philosophy says that all suffering arises from trying to control that which is not controllable instead of focusing on the things you can control. You can only control your mind and thus your perception of things, in other words- detachment.

Although he did not publish his own writings, his teachings were eventually published by his student Flavius Arrian and spread throughout the ancient world.

I recently came across some of his sayings from The Handbook of Epictetus which was written over 1900 years ago.

These are so pertinent and perfect I felt it was important to share them:
  • Ask yourself:  Does this appearance (of events) concern the things that are within my own control or those that are not?  If it concerns anything outside your control, train yourself not to worry about it.
  • Try not to react merely in the moment.  Pull back from the situation.  Take a wider view.  Compose yourself.
  • It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
  • When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.
  • What really frightens and dismays us, is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them.  It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.
  • Don't demand or expect that events happen as you would wish them do.  Accept events as they actually happen.  That way, peace is possible.

If you embrace these words and apply them in your daily life you can’t help but become lighter, happier and more peaceful.

Epictetus’ writings give a whole new meaning to the expression “It’s Greek to me!”

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Have Always been On The Path

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

You Have Always Been On The Path

Written by Steven Griggs |

“At the center of your being, you have the answer:  you know who you are, and you know what you want.
Lao Tzu

“Every step is on the path.
Lao Tzu

“Your own positive future begins in this moment.  All you have is right here.  Every goal is possible from here.
Lao Tzu

Sometimes when I’m coaching a client they will say that they feel lost or that they feel they may have missed their calling or they should have done this or shouldn’t have done that.

I let them go on for a minute or two as they explain their regret or frustration, how they missed their chance, and how their life has passed them by.

Then I tell them: “I understand what you’re saying but the truth is, it doesn’t matter.”

Everything you are, you have done or not done has gotten you to this moment. You can’t disown any of it. Or regret it or be sorry for it. You have to own every step you’ve taken.

Because every step you have taken has led you to this moment.

Whether you are 20, 40 or 80, age doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you acknowledge that you are right here, right now.

In the place you currently find yourself.  

In the circumstances you currently find yourself.

Past and future don’t matter.

What matters is what’s next?

Feeling that you are too old or past your prime or all used up is simply self-pity. You aren’t any of those things.

Feeling that you are too young and don’t know what you’re doing is also self-pity. Age is irrelevant. Start by starting.

Unsure about what you should be doing?

Stop asking questions and take a look at how you feel. What feels right? What can you picture yourself doing?

You have every answer, right now. It’s all in there. You just have to stop asking questions and start listening.

You are forgetting who you are.

If you don’t like your current circumstances, change them.

If you feel you missed your calling, what is it?

If you get started today but a few days later feel lost again, stop, get centered, remember who you are and start again.

There is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is just right now.

Everything starts from right now, right where you are at this moment.

Get going.

Monday, September 17, 2012


No Limits | The Freedom Blog


“Procrastination isn’t the problem. It’s the solution. It’s the universe’s way of saying stop, slow down, you move too fast. ”
Ellen DeGeneres

"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that in itself is a choice."                                                                                                                         William James.

Written by Steven Griggs |

Procrastination. It’s something we all do and probably a lot more than we care to admit.

But why? Why do we procrastinate?

The free dictionary defines procrastination as:
To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.
To postpone or delay needlessly.

Wikipedia says:
In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time…..

As you can see both sources define procrastination in terms of completing tasks.

I think we can agree that when it comes to completing some tasks it is easy to understand why we would procrastinate. It is simply not something we want to do at the time, so we  do something else. We postpone doing the task.

For more on completing tasks see Are you a Fumbler or a Finisher?

But in addition to procrastinating in doing tasks, which are really at the micro level in terms of our life, I believe we have other issues or things that we procrastinate in addressing or doing at the macro level. These are macro issues floating underneath the conscious micro level.

Far from tasks to be completed these are very different. These are the nagging feelings that make you question the direction your life has taken or some other aspect of your life that no longer works for you.

These are the nagging thoughts that whisper in your ear and cry out for change. They point out dissatisfaction or frustration. They bring on incessant questions like: “Am I on the right path?” “Is this what I should be doing?” “Why am I feeling dissatisfied?”

These feelings bring up scenarios that, if you acted on them, could lead you in a different direction or require you to make some serious adjustments or changes to your life. Although you know deep inside that you need to make them, it is too scary. Some of the changes could be drastic and threatening.

So it is no wonder we also find ways to avoid addressing these issues.

But by not addressing them or taking action, over time they seem to speak a little louder and they become a little more insistent.

And this begins to weigh you down. You feel as if a dark cloud has come over you. It begins to make it harder to address your conscious “tasks”.

What do you do?

First of all, I don’t think you need to blow up your current life. It is simply not necessary to clear the decks and start fresh.  

Most of what you currently have in your life is probably good and you want it. But sometimes, in our frustration, we over paint the good things we have with the brush of frustration.

We almost throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak.

But upon a closer, calmer look, you will see that most of the things you have in your life are desirable and you do want them. You don’t need to get rid of everything.

A better choice would be to look at the changes you think you need to make and ask yourself “What part of this could I do now?” "What little steps could I take to move towards these needed changes?" “Are there areas that I could modify or adjust?"

Then begin to make the small changes you've chosen and move towards your desired self.

I understand frustration and urgency. I also have a tendency to go over the top. I see something I think I need or a change I think I should make and I go for it. Full bore. This has its advantages and disadvantages and I have made many right or left turns in my life that probably weren’t necessary……. but then again it’s a journey not a destination.

So it’s not necessary to move too fast or to make big changes. Better to start smaller.

Look at what you are concerned about or thinking about on a subtle level, try to synthesize what the main issue or overriding thought is. Look at that area that you feel frustrated about. Then look at it in terms of steps. What would be the first step you could make to affect the changes you want?

Take that 1st little step and then check in to see how you feel. If it feels right and you feel better, take the next step.

Keeping going. Your feelings will change and the changes you are making will expand and you will begin to see yourself moving faster towards that new you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Limiting Beliefs

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

Limiting Beliefs

Written by Steven Griggs |

“Beliefs are powerful. Imagination is more powerful because it can change your beliefs.”                                                                                                                           Bobbe Sommer

"To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny."                                                             Alan Cohen

In an earlier article I wrote that I don’t believe in positive thinking.

Why? Because it doesn’t work.

Putting a positive spin on your negative programing doesn’t work. It might for a while but then the negative feelings will creep back in…..

It took me many years of searching and studying but I eventually understood that the problem is programed in. That it is underneath our daily operating system, our conscious mind.

You have to go to the source of the limiting belief itself to change it.

A belief is a thought with an emotional charge to it. The belief becomes imbedded in your mind and becomes a part of your filter, your belief system. These beliefs are very subtle and float underneath your conscious, day to day mind but together they create your filter, how you see and interact with the world.

All limiting beliefs arise from some instance in our childhood, some interaction with a parent or important adult or teacher that we took to heart and attached meaning to. Sometimes a lot more meaning than may have been intended. 

Usually the limiting belief is one that your mind holds onto because it feels it is necessary for your survival in some way, a mechanism to help you cope and survive.

For example, the thought “I am not important” became enhanced or punctuated by the pain of the rejection you experienced and that was when the thought became a belief.

Your mother really didn’t mean that you weren’t important to her that day she yelled at you when you were four, she was just really stressed out that day and later apologized to you but by that time you had already created a belief that you weren’t important and didn’t really hear her apology. You took on the belief and went on.

Again, this is not a massive, huge belief that “I am not important”, it is very subtle and the belief silently becomes a part of your filter.

In order to eliminate limiting beliefs you have to clear the under programing (your subconscious) of the limiting belief you are carrying. You have to replace the old belief with a better belief, or even better, realize that you don’t need to hold this belief anymore and let it go.

How do you uncover a limiting belief?

You need to listen to your self- talk. Listen to how you talk to yourself and the little things you say, those quiet little comments you make to yourself.

Since we think in terms of language, when we “talk to ourselves” in our minds, we really are having a conversation. So listen for anything you say to yourself that is a negative statement, a justification or rationalization.


“I’m not smart enough”, “I’m too young to make that kind of money now”, “He’s luckier than I am”, “She’s more attractive.”

These are all the symptoms of the underlying limiting belief. Most limiting beliefs revolve around not being good enough but generally they all boil down to low self-esteem.

This is not a one shot deal, we all have many, many limiting beliefs, and we must always work on releasing them.

There are several ways to remove limiting beliefs.

A really good method is through meditation.  It takes a bit of practice and there are some very specific techniques to use to release limiting beliefs.

One meditation I have personally used has you visit yourself as a child. You actually visit with yourself back in time at a point when you were troubled or having a hard time. You have a conversation with the child you.

If you can pin point a specific incident and then visit the child you then, even better. You sooth him or her (yourself) and tell him/her that they are loved and appreciated and that they are safe and you will always be there for him/her (I know it sounds weird but believe me it is really powerful).

This method helps you to explain the real meaning (or non-meaning) of the incident and the emotion that you attached to it that gave rise to the belief.

Byron Katie-The Work

Another method is through the four questions from “The Work” by Byron Katie.

1.       Is it true?
2.      Can you absolutely know it’s true?
3.      How do you react, what happens when you have that thought?
4.      Who would you be without the thought?

In this process you will need to pay attention to your feelings to identify the negative statement and then ask yourself the four questions.

The next step according to Byron Katie is to “turn it around”.  To turn it around you
reverse the order of your original negative statement. Instead of saying “She makes me feel inadequate”, you say “I make me feel inadequate”. This allows you to experience the opposite of what you originally believed. It gives you some interesting insights.

Visit to learn more.


A third method is called Emotional FreedomTechniques (EFT) or  tapping.

This technique addresses the negative or limiting beliefs we hold in a physical way, by tapping on certain parts of the face and hand. These tapping points are on the energy channels that run through our bodies.

According to EFT the limiting beliefs or negative emotions we hold show up in places throughout our bodies and block the free flow of energy.

By tapping on these points and repeating an affirming statement you break up or remove these blocking emotions or limiting beliefs.

Visit for more information.

Recognize that you are ruled by your unconscious thoughts and under programming.
Understand that limiting beliefs filter your view of the world and restrict your potential.
Learn how to remove limiting beliefs and begin removing them.
Begin to achieve more of your potential.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Positive Thinking?

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

Positive Thinking?

Written by Steven Griggs |

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”                                                                                                                                                                                           Winston Churchill

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, unstoppable determination.”                                                                                                 
Ralph Marston

I don’t believe in positive thinking.

I know I am sounding like a heretic and that everyone agrees that you shouldThink Positive!”, “Put a Positive Spin on It!” “Change Your Attitude”, etc., but I don’t.

I just don’t believe in positive thinking

If you have to say it or think it, you aren’t. 

Saying the words “Think Positive” affirms that you are not positive at all and works to reinforce all the underlying feelings you are carrying that aren’t positive. Your subconscious programing rises up to defend its feelings of limitation.

You can’t change sub-conscious programing or limiting beliefs by overwhelming them with conscious, positive thoughts.

It just doesn’t work.

Trying to think positive is trying to overpower the problem from the outside. You are simply painting a smiley face over your true feelings. 

Please understand that I am not against trying to feel and stay positive. Its the natural way to live. Being detached and accepting allows you to be positive without having to do anything. You ARE positive.

I used to believe in thinking positive. I would always to try to look at things from a positive perspective and try to change my mind if I felt negative but it never seemed to really change anything.

Over the years as I worked on myself I found that there are various ways you can address negative feelings and replace them with positive feelings, although I feel that while all these ideas help and overall do improve your positivity, the best solution is to address and remove the underlying limiting beliefs that block you and hold you back from achieving your goals.

I address limiting beliefs in an upcoming article.

In the meantime there are several ways to increase your positivity.

Here are 4:
  1.  Learn to detach.
  2. Monitor your thoughts and self-talk.
  3. Be physical-walk, ride or swim.
  4. Limit negative input

Learn to Detach

This is a crucial step in becoming self- actualized which was defined by Abraham Maslow as "the full realization of one's potential".

Detachment means being detached from the outcome. Not that your plans or intentions aren’t important but you cannot attract the things you want into your life if you hold a rigid attachment to your desired outcome. You block it. You have to let go and know that your desired outcome is coming. I will talk more about this in upcoming articles.

You have to be serene in the present moment and accept “what is” right now and not be frustrated and angry that “what is” now doesn’t match what you expected or wanted.

The best way to start becoming detached is through meditation. 

Monitor your thoughts and self-talk

Listen to your self-talk and monitor your use of words like “can’t” “never”, “won’t” “unable”. Replace them with “can”, “able” and “will”. This also applies when you are talking to other people. Censor yourself. Watch what you say (and think) at all times.

A trick I have used when I hear myself regurgitating some situation or rehashing some ancient hurt is to tell myself  “Cancel!” and I picture the thought dissolving like shaking an Etch a Sketch. Sometimes I have to repeat “Cancel” several times but it does work to stop negative thoughts and allows you to move on to better thoughts.

Be physical-walk, ride or swim

This seems obvious but I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to get outside and take a walk or go for a bike ride. I also recommend jumping in lakes and streams (or oceans) whenever possible.

Being outside helps you reconnect and regenerate. Find water to jump in.

Limit negative input

Don’t watch the news on TV or read local newspapers. If you do read the papers be careful and don’t buy in to the negative articles.

I like to follow financial news so I read the Wall Street Journal and the business section of the New York Times every morning. I have learned to censor out the constant negative headlines because I understand how the system works and I believe very little of what I read. I am basically gathering information.

Also watch the people you hang out with. Negativity is very tricky, it can be stealthy and creep over you. Also, if you pay attention you’ll notice that negative people seek out powerful, positive people and feed off their energy, a bit like vampires. 

It also works the other way. You may also find yourself seeking out dysfunctional people and getting a boost yourself by watching them......

Be aware.

Of all the above techniques I have discussed above, the most important one to master is detachment.

Learn to detach and you will see a huge change.

As you learn to step back from the constant emotional engagement that many people think is “normal”, you will become lighter, happier and…… more positive.