Take the (Almost) Impossible Seven-Day Challenge

04/09/2015 02:17 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

For every problem the mind creates in our lives, there is also a simultaneous solution created by the mind. Good to know! (This is also an important distinction. The problems that we most often face on a daily basis exist nowhere but from the fertile breeding ground of the mind generating them.)

In other words, the problems "out there" already have myriad solutions. You get a flat tire, you can fix it. Your flight's cancelled, you can book a new one. Problems in the world are different than problems in the mind. And one could also argue that it's the mind in the first place that's creating the problems in your world.

It's not mind over matter. It's mind into matter.

So when we create a problem in our mind and start freaking out, a light bulb also comes to you to show you how to fix the problem. Always.

The No. 1 way to fix any problem is to act (not on stage, in your own life).

But generally we default back into the rumination of our mind that got us stuck in the first place. So unless we make the effort, we stay in the problem.


Andrew Newberg, a leading neuroscientist, has a new book on brain science that talks about why we resist change. From a neurological perspective, "After spending decades building a somewhat stable personality to handle life's tribulations," he says, "the brain is hesitant to alter its underlying beliefs. Even if the behavior is dysfunctional, it has helped you to survive."

Ouch. So from a neurological perspective it's as if we'd almost prefer to stay in our own suffering than make a change.

What? How can that be? Say it isn't so!

To move from our problems into what we want forces us to confront our limited self-dialogues that have neurologically defined us for decades and we've spent a long time re-enforcing by the way we think, act, and engage with the world.

So you've been dumped by your agent, but haven't done anything to get a new one, and you feel unhappy and stuck. Or, you want to leave your boyfriend but are too scared to take the leap even though you're miserable.

The problems present the solution.

But to meet yourself at a new level of where an "a-ha" is coming from is a scary proposition because it's going to ask you to work against your ingrained beliefs and then act on the clarity that comes to you.

So how? How do we step into what we want more of in our lives? More work, better relationships, more fulfillment, better roles, more exciting projects, representation, a movie role, the lead on a series?

You have to make a conscious commitment to make different choices.

So here's the first way (others will come in the following weeks):

We all complain a lot. Complaining is just speaking over and over about that which you think you don't have the power to change and you do. So we complain about something so we can stay stuck. Bam! Most things we complain about we can change at a causal level. (Think about it. The things we most often bitch about we have the power to actually change.)

And those circumstances we can't physically alter, we can learn to accept and therefore stop complaining about them. What's the serenity prayer? "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."

So either taking action or practicing acceptance actually leads to the same thing. You can change 100 percent of the things you b*tch about.

This week, take the seven-day challenge. Try not to complain about anything. Watch what it will do to your outlook on life, your mood, your energy. Every time you do complain, however, you have to go back to day one and start over. So a seven-day challenge might turn into a 21-day challenge. It's up to you.

But isn't that better than no change at all?

*First published on*