Why Change Your Life? (Why I Changed Mine)

Why Change Your Life? (Why I Changed Mine)

Is the way you’re living life today going to take you where you want to go?

Is what you’re doing now going to get you “there”?

And what are the implications if things don’t work out?

When I started my transition out of the corporate world it wasn’t just because of the 60+ hour work weeks that took me away from my family and friends…

Nor was it because I had to do work that I didn’t truly love…

Or because I had to put up with the huge stress of running multiple projects while negotiating office politics.

It was because if I didn’t make a change, the implications on my life were much, much bigger than what was right in front of my eyes.

It was the thought of never being truly free because for the next 30+ years of my life I would have to get up and commute to the office 5 days of the week.

It was the thought of never being truly fulfilled because I was doing work that I wasn’t truly passionate about.

It was the thought of never growing into my highest self because I couldn’t take the time out of my busy “successful” schedule to work on me.

These are the real reasons why I changed my life.

What are the implications if you don’t change? Is that worth taking a chance?

Until next time.

Your friend,
James Melouney

Power Through Vulnerability: Take Your Mask Off

Power Through Vulnerability: Take Your Mask Off

We find our power when we reveal ourselves as we truly are.

We reveal ourselves as we truly are when we allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable.

Power and vulnerability go hand-in-hand.

Sharing my vulnerabilities with those closest to me – intimate partners; family; friends – has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

But it continues to be the most liberating.

When an opportunity comes for you to be brave, to step up and share and be vulnerable, I encourage you to take it.

You either own your vulnerabilities or they own you.

Sharing makes the difference.

Until next time.

Your friend,
James Melouney

Insights from a 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat

Insights from a 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat

For 10 days in August I sat in silence at the Dhamma Bhumi Vipassana Meditation Retreat in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, I’d like to share with you what I learned.

I entered the retreat perhaps the happiest, healthiest, and most grateful I had been in my life up until that point in time.

I was seeing each day as a miracle – a gift – and was pursuing a mission bigger than myself: To Inspire Others to Lead Their Best Life.

And I entered the retreat with the intention of taking my life from GOOD to GREAT.

But what happened over the next 10 days caught me off guard…

Over the next 10 days volunteers diligently served all 50 of the meditators at the retreat.

They cooked for us, cleaned for us, provided us accommodation, and alerted us when to start and stop meditating.

All we had to do was Eat, Sleep, and Meditate.

We were also situated in the stunningly beautiful Blue Mountains, meaning each evening we could enjoy picturesque daily sunsets while drinking warm tea.

And the 10-day retreat was FREE (donation only), so we didn’t even have to worry about “getting our money’s worth.”

Yet for most of the retreat myself and many of the other meditators were miserable.

Even though we were in a beautiful location eating delicious food and being waited on hand-and-foot, we were miserable!

Why were we miserable? how could we be miserable? when everything was provided for us, and for FREE!?

The reason is that we came face to face with a truth that’s buried deep within the distractions of daily life.

A truth that’s buried deep within the distractions of work, friends, family, technology, entertainment…

And with no work to do, no friends or family to talk to, no smart phone to use, no books to read, no Netflix to watch, this truth could not help but rise to the surface.

What is that truth?

It is this:

When we operate primarily in the Mode of Mind, we make ourselves miserable.

Since the retreat I’ve come to truly understand that we humans can operate primarily in one of two modes during this life of ours.

We can operate primarily in the Mode of Mind.

Or we can operate primarily in the Mode of Heart.

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions before?

How can I be healthier?

How can I be happier?

How can I be more grateful?

What’s my purpose in life, my mission on this planet?

How can I be the best possible version of myself?

How can I tune into my highest self?

How can I lead a more fulfilling life?

They seem like good questions to ask, right?

Yes, but here’s the thing:

These questions are predicated on an illusion of control and they reflect somebody operating primarily in the Mode of Mind.

(If this doesn’t make any sense to you right now don’t worry — the exercise below will help; just keep reading and let the words sink in… let them pierce you like an arrow… but absorb them and then let them go… for when the hook is in the mouth, soon enough the fish comes into the net.)

Here’s an exercise to make this clearer:

Can you think of the very best events/experiences/things that have happened to you in your life? The events/experiences/things you look back on and say “Wow, that was truly something amazing in my life!”

I’m talking the very best here…

Take a couple minutes to jot down 2 or 3 things on a piece of paper or if you don’t have paper then use your phone or something digital…

Have you got them written down now?

For me, some of these things include:

  • being laid off from my management consulting job after 1 year in the role
  • writing and publishing a best-selling book at age 25 (The Art of Success)
  • discovering the Six Figure Mentors after resigning from my strategy consulting job
  • attending an Ayahuasca / Yage retreat in Colombia
  • meeting a variety of influential mentors and friends on my journey

Now, take a second to ponder your list.

Do you recognize anything interesting about what you wrote down?

The interesting thing that I notice is that I planned NONE of them!

They happened to me.

They unexpectedly unfolded.

And in this sense their manifestation had a certain effortless, easy, miraculous quality to it.

To demonstrate:

  • I was laid off from my management consulting job totally out-of-the-blue. In fact, I found out literally 10 minutes after my manager told me my performance was great in our performance review meeting.

    Being laid off was one of the best things to happen to me because it led me to where I am today. If I hadn’t been laid off, I’d probably still be climbing the corporate ladder in the corporate world.

  • The idea for my book came to me in the middle of the night and against ALL ODDS I chose to get out of my warm bed, find some paper and a pen, and write down the concept, which is why the book exists today.

    Publishing the book was one of the best things to happen to me as it gave me the courage to resign my job and pursue my passion of helping others improve their life.

  • I discovered the Six Figure Mentors by mere chance when I randomly opened an email one night after not reading a single email from The Lifestyle Team (now my mentors) for over 9 months.

    This email came at the perfect time – it was three months after I had left my job and I was really struggling to find my footing on my own. If I didn’t open that email, I wouldn’t be where I am today: running a profitable online business while helping people change their lives and travelling all over the world; and a leader and mentor in the SFM community.

    The SFM has changed my life in so many ways, which is why I’m so passionate about helping others to discover the community.

  • The idea to attend an Ayahuasca / Yage retreat also came totally out of left field – after unexpectedly discovering a little-known but excellent podcast called Have It All by Satori Prime.

    Attending this retreat has been the crown of transformational experiences I’ve had in my life up until this very email that I’m writing you from my hotel in Bogota, Colombia. It has taken my understanding of life, success, enlightenment, spirituality, happiness, peace, love, grace, trust, faith and service to a completely new level.

Pondering your list, do you see that you didn’t “plan” the very best things that happened in your life? That they happened rather “unexpectedly”?

Interesting, right?

But let’s continue a little further…

Now, can you think of 2 or 3 things your mind told you that you needed to do/achieve to be happy/successful/fulfilled? (These are the things we also tend to try to meticulously plan out.)

Take a couple minutes to think about 2 or 3 of these things…

Have you got them in your mind now?

A few of these things for me include my prior goals/plans to:

  • climb the corporate ladder to become a CEO of a well-recognized company
  • negotiate bulk book-sale deals to Universities in Australia and the USA for my book
  • get on the personal development speaking circuit

Chances are these things worked out very differently to what you had planned, yes? (Certainly the case for me!)

And chances are these things caused you much stress, much anxiety, much fatigue and possibly even sucked the very essence and joy out of life… and then left you with little more than temporary satisfaction when you finally reached the “finish line,” if you ever did reach it.

What’s my point here?

What am I trying to say to you?

This:

1.  With so much going on in our lives it is difficult to recognize that we are operating in the Mode of Mind.

2.  When we operate in the Mode of Mind we create misery for ourselves and have the illusion of control.

3.  Upon investigation of our life, it becomes clear that the very best things that happened to us in our life we never planned…

and the things that we planned in detail and lost sleep over only ever brought us temporary fulfillment at best and at worst robbed us of the joy of life.

4.  There is another mode of operation: the Mode of Heart.

5.  The greatest success, happiness, peace, love, contentment, joy, trust, faith, and grace you will ever experience in your life will come when you shift from the Mode of Mind to the Mode of Heart.

If you’d like me to discuss how to shift from the Mode of Mind to the Mode of Heart, let me know by commenting below and I’ll cover this in one of my future blog posts.

Until next time.

Your friend,
James Melouney

The Gift of Aging

The Gift of Aging

My 94-year-old grandfather Raymond Melouney is currently lying in a hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Growing up in poverty, he went on to become a pilot in World War I, an honorary delegate for Australia in South Africa, the owner of multiple businesses in South Africa and Australia, and most importantly, a loving husband of 60+ years, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Like all those who have lived a full life, he has much wisdom to pass on through his spoken words and conscious actions.

However, lying today in the hospital as he is, he is not his usual self.

His keen wit and humor is masked by the laws of nature at work: The final stages of aging before he leaves his body, rendering him mostly immobile and arguably a shell of his former self.

Can you see the irony?

That in our youth we are a torrent of energy yet often lack the wisdom to expend that energy wisely.

And in our old age we may be brimming with wisdom yet often lack the energy required to create real change in our lives and the world.

This is a reminder for you and me both.

A reminder that at a future point in time we will not walk as well as we walk today; we will not hear as well, see as well, smell as well, taste as well, or touch as well.

A reminder to smile for what we have and for the life-giving air we breathe into our lungs thousands of times each day.

A reminder to enjoy the painful-yet-beautiful feeling of lactic acid building up in our legs while we hike up our favourite mountain.

A reminder to chase our dreams; pursue our passions; live our purpose; and brighten whatever corner of the world we happen to be in at the time.

People either view us through a filter of our demonstrated past actions or our spoken future commitments.

I commit to you today that I won’t take this lifetime for granted; and I implore you to do the same.

Don’t settle for anything less than your BEST life.

Until next time.

Your friend,
James Melouney

Lessons from the Dying: My Aunt & Her Cancer

Lessons from the Dying: My Aunt & Her Cancer

Six weeks ago I found out my Aunt has a grade 4 brain cancer in her frontal lobe.

It’s called a Glioblastoma Multiforme and it’s the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain.

She learned this while on a trip in the United Kingdom with many of her family and friends, who had all flown to the UK from different parts of the world to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Due to my aunt’s rapid mental and physical deterioration (brain fog; loss of memory; lack of energy), her birthday celebrations were called off and she returned back to her home in South Africa to meet with doctors.

For me and many members of my family, this was a massive WAKE UP CALL.

We had been blessed with no major illness or death in the family up until that point. Even all four of my grandparents are still alive in their 90s today.

And while I’d love to say that we (and I) had truly grasped the inevitability of death and thus cherished and made the most of our time with each other, I think we had become complacent.

We intellectually understood the relationships we share with family, friends, and even strangers are among the most valuable gifts of life.

However what we either forgot or perhaps chose to ignore was that these relationships are also temporary… and that during this particular lifetime in these particular physical bodies, there is a limit to both our time and our love.

You, me, we all know in our heart of hearts there will come a time when the lights go off. We know that.

But do we allow this truth to find its way into our daily lives? Do we allow this awareness of our mortality to guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions on a day-to-day, interaction-to-interaction basis?

Rarely…

Instead, we assume that tomorrow’s going to come.

We assume that tomorrow the sun will rise and we will be there to see it.

This false assumption is why we often get led astray by bright and shiny things that, in the end, hold little importance;

This false assumption is why we often leave words and deeds of love, compassion, and kindness unsaid and undone;

This false assumption is why we postpone our dreams;

And this false assumption is why the number one regret of the dying is that they didn’t live a life true to themselves.

My aunt’s brain cancer means she may never see her granddaughter grow up.

She may never see her granddaughter go to school, fall in love, backpack through Europe;

She may never see her granddaughter become heartbroken, cry herself to sleep at night, unfairly lose her job…

My aunt has come face-to-face with the stark reality of the fragility of life.

She knows how many weeks she is likely to live.

She knows how very close she is to the precipice of death.

And this is her GIFT to me, to you, to the world.

She’s gifted us all a WAKE UP CALL.

She’s given us an opportunity to pause and to ponder that if the end were to come far sooner than we expected, what dreams would die with us? What adventures would we never have? What words would we leave unsaid?

Could we truly say we did all we could, gave all we had, and lived the best life possible?

Could we truly say we had a life well lived?

Death is always waiting in the wings.

Don’t fear this; embrace it.

Let death guide you toward a life of passion, focus, and intent.

Let death enable you to spend your time and energy wisely so that when the end comes, you will pass with contentment.

Start today by being grateful for your very next breath of air.

Start today by saying “I Love You” to those you care for.

And start today by choosing to follow your heart’s calling, even if leads you off the well-worn path.

Until next time.

Your friend,
James Melouney

A Game-Changing Perspective Shift for Life

A Game-Changing Perspective Shift for Life

When it comes to success, you’ve probably heard many “Rags-to-Riches” stories.

But don’t you think it’s just as commendable to go from “Average-to-Extraordinary”?

The reason why is that when things are “good enough” and you’re “comfortable,” the incentive to take the risks necessary to create an exceptional life isn’t always easy to find.

But what if you aren’t here just to provide for you and your family?

What if your purpose in this world is so much bigger than about just you and those closest to you?

What if you have talents and potential deep within you, waiting and hoping to one day be unlocked?

I believe we are all here on Earth for a reason.

That reason is to Grow & Lift Others.

To Learn & Share.

That’s why I implore you: Think BIGGER.

Because when you step through your fears and into your greatness, not only can YOU create an extraordinary life…

… but you can also make a difference in so many other people’s lives.

And when you make that shift from “what’s in it for me” to “how can I serve others,” that’s the game-changer.

Until next time.

Your friend,
James Melouney

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