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Feng Shui Dilemmas: Put Empowerment First

Feng Shui Dilemmas: Put Empowerment First

    In feng shui the goal is to create environments that are utterly comfortable, spaces with a predominance of positive energy and few sources of negative energy. There are times when environments present insurmountable energy challenges and a choice must be made between two options, neither of which is optimal. It’s then a matter of determining which solution has the least negative effects.

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    This past weekend I ran into that type of situation in a meeting room in a hotel. “You won’t believe what this room looked like when I got here,” said Mark LeBlanc of Small Business Success, the presenter. “There was a sofa bed and large black chairs in here. It looked like a storage room.” In Mark’s new arrangement the chairs were arranged in a U with Mark’s flip chart positioned at the open end of the U. He was immediately visible upon entering the room.

    “It looks nice,” I said, “unfortunately you’re not in the power position.” When he looked at me quizzically I explained, “To be fully empowered, you need to have a solid wall behind you and a full view of the door. In your current position you are facing into the room, not toward the door. And, the energy coming through the door just slams right into you. You would be more empowered if we flipped the U and had you present from the other end of the room.”

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    “That’s how I initially had it set up, but then I noticed that the large light fixture is at this end of the room. The only light sources at the other end are those two side table lamps. Do you think that would be enough light?” Mark responded. I agreed with Mark that the light was rather dim. So, now we were at a choice point. Was it more important that Mark be well lit? After all, light would stimulate his thinking, inspiration and energy. Or, was it more important that he be speaking from the power position?

    “Well, you could speak from this end today and then tomorrow we can rearrange the room for you to speak at the other end. That way you can compare and decide which works best for you,” I suggested.

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    Mark agreed to that plan. The next morning we rearranged the room and Mark spoke from the other end of the room for the next day and a half. As I was driving Mark to the airport I asked him whether moving him to the power position in the more dimly lit end of the room had been a good decision. He said, “I definitely felt better at that end of the room, away from all the distractions near the door. And, though the light was dim, it was preferable to the light at the other end. That light was just too bright (it was lit by a high power fluorescent fixture). At the end of the first day (3 hours of presenting), I was exhausted!”

    We talked about the fact that in some circumstances you just cannot get a perfect feng shui solution and must make choices. In this case Mark and I decided that putting him in the power position was the priority with lighting being a secondary concern. Though the lighting in the power position was not optimal, as it turned out, it was preferable to being in the path of energy coming from the door, the noise and distractions at the door end of the room, and being drained of energy from the bright light of a fluorescent fixture. Mark and I also noted that he is a strong, compelling speaker with a powerful message whose inner light of passion for his message was bright enough to offset the light deficit.

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    When you find yourself at a feng shui choice point when no solution is ideal, remember to look for the arrangement that has the least negative impact on the people that will be affected by it. When ever possible, place yourself in the most empowered position possible and minimize other sources of negative energy.

    Image: Ben Tanabata

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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