Daily Affirmations: Part 2

Last week we talked about what affirmations are, how they work, and when to say them. We even went through a few examples of some of my earliest affirmations.

This week we’ll get to the really juicy bits: tangible examples of how affirmations helped me.


Let’s dive right in!

In the summer of 2009 I started dating this girl. You know how the story goes…she was smart, funny, adventurous, the whole kit and caboodle. In other words, the kind of girl that would have left me at a loss for words only one year prior.

For a month or so we got to know each other as friends. Make no mistake, I was attracted to her immediately, and the more I got to know her, the feeling only intensified.

So eventually I did the only logical thing I could, which was to ask her out on a date.

When the day finally arrived to take her out, I led her on a scenic hike in Washington Heights (one of Manhattan’s better kept secrets). We found some boulders to sit on, with a spectacular view of the George Washington Bridge and the sun setting behind it.

So there I sat…on the rocks, next to an incredible girl that I was really starting to like, with my blood pressure spiking to unhealthy levels. Part of what made me so nervous was that if I didn’t make a move soon, I would lose my chance with her forever. After all, meekness is not a particularly attractive quality, right? I needed to go in for a kiss.

Right on schedule came my old familiar fears and doubts: “What if she rejects me? What if I scare her away? What if I screw this up?”

But then something incredible happened.

The monkey chatter faded away, and I actually heard one of my affirmations in my head. “I am a powerful, confident man. I know what I want and I go for it.”

I thought “It’s totally fine to feel nervous, because that just means I’m excited and I have a lot riding on this. I got this.”

John Wayne once said: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

And saddle up I did.

OK, so that sounded unnecessarily raunchy. But you know what I mean!

The point is, the old Shir would never have been able to stare fear in the face and say “Out of my way!”

The new Shir on the other hand…let’s just say he officially became a badass on that day :).

And now for the 2nd example of affirmations being awesome

Fast forward a year and a half into the future. I was teaching salsa dancing in NYC, and by all accounts, living a rich life. Thanks Ramit for sharing that concept!

The only thing missing was that I wasn’t growing enough professionally. As much as I enjoyed hanging out with my friends, none of them were pushing me to succeed in my career, at least in the way that I was looking for. And you know what they say, you can only go as far as your 5 closest friends. Put another way, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn.

So, I did what anyone would have done with a track record of successful affirmations, and added another one to my list. It was so important to me that I actually put it before all the other ones.

“I am a savvy, successful entrepreneur and I surround myself with others who are better than me.”

About a week after I began saying this, I got an email from Ramit Sethi, who I was already a huge fan of from his personal finance book I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

In his email, he was announcing a new online course called “Earn1K: Earn $1,000 a Month Freelancing.” The price tag was substantial. $1,500 was no laughing matter.

Normally I would have dismissed the offer and said something like “I can’t afford that” or “the timing isn’t right.” However, because I had just begun saying my newest affirmation, I saw it as a sign. Here was a chance to surround myself with other successful entrepreneurs, even if not in physical proximity. The mere exposure to Ramit’s strategies would open my mind to new possibilities.

I decided to take the plunge, and it ended up being the best business decision I have made in my life to date.

In one month I found a computer tutoring client that had an antiquated Excel database desperately in need of an overhaul. Using the new strategies and techniques from Ramit’s Earn1K course, I made a proposal for an initial $2,000 payment to solve the problem. The president of the company took one look at my proposal, and then said “this looks reasonable, let’s do it.”

Within a week, I had a check for the exact amount of $1,000 (you know, the Earn1K per month amount). If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. I still have a copy of the check hanging on my wall.

What’s even more amazing, is that this one project turned into a 6 month engagement that ended up earning me $70,000. That’s an unprecedented 46 times return on my investment. How’s that for ROI Ramit?

To wrap it up…

Did my affirmation make me $70,000? No.

Did it find this client for me? Not really.

Did it create a frame of mind and a belief system that PREPARED me to identify and seize the opportunity that presented itself? ABSOLUTELY!

One of my favorite quotes is by Louis Pasteur:
“Luck favors the prepared mind.”

And hey, if that’s all affirmations do, than I’m more than happy with that!

Parting thoughts

Already saying affirmations? Share some with us in the comments. Want some affirmations of your own, but not sure how to phrase them? Write down the negative self-talk in the comments and we’ll try and help you phrase an affirmation that addresses it.

P.S. Here are some of my recent affirmations, which I still recite daily. If they resonate with you, please feel free to steal them!

  • I live each day with perfect health, balance, and gratitude.
  • I am a savvy, successful entrepreneur and I surround myself with others who are better than me.
  • I always operate at maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
  • I give everyone uncommon value.
  • All women are extremely attracted to me.
  • I am immune to all physical ailments.
  • I am always expanding my comfort zone.
  • I am a powerful, confident man. I know what I want and I go for it.
  • I am a phenomenal dancer, and women love dancing with me.
  • I always escalate with women I am attracted to.
  • I am always performing at my best.
  • I am remarkably effective in accomplishing my goals.
  • I am compassionate, encouraging, and supportive of myself and others.
  • As I love and honor myself, my relationships blossom.
  • I leave everything and everyone better than I found them.
  • Every moment of every day, I live my life abundantly.

Final note: Don’t get complacent

A potential trap to fall into is staying stuck with the same affirmations. The trick is to identify new negative self chatter as soon as they crop up (and believe me, they always find a way to crop up), and then create a new affirmation that directly addresses it. Another option is to modify existing ones to be more inclusive. The key is to be flexible and adapt as you go.

Daily Affirmations: Part 1

I know what you’re thinking.

“I’m Stuart Smalley. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gawdawnit, people like me!”

I used to think these kinds of skits were harmless, but these days I have a more critical view. If nothing else, I believe this kind of humor helps people dismiss affirmations as being hokey or stupid.

“I don’t need to do that, look how ridiculous it is.”

When all it really does is prevent ourselves from taking such practices seriously. Practices which have shown to enhance performance, and increase problem solving abilities under stress, among other things.

But let me start from the beginning

You may not know this about me, but in high school I was a bit of a strange kid. Sure I had a few friends here and there, but overall I had a very difficult time connecting with my peers.

I think part of it had to do with the fact that I was a very intense person. I would go up to girls that I had crushes on and tell them to their faces “I like you” with all this awkward pressure to respond right away. If you’ve ever been put on the spot like that, you know how uncool that is.

The thing is, I had an unusually high emotional intelligence for my age, but an abysmally low social intelligence. I would explore my own feelings and talk about them openly, but would never stop to think how what I was saying could be interpreted by someone else.

It should come as no surprise then, that I suffered from particularly low self-esteem for many years. No matter what situation I encountered, it would always go through the filter of “I’m not good enough.”

For example, I used to I walk by groups of girls who would start laughing, and I immediately assumed they were laughing at me. They could have been laughing at anything, but it didn’t matter because I only saw the worst case scenario.

After High School

Things got a little better in college, and I even managed to get a girlfriend…somehow. The worst part was that I felt like I didn’t deserve it, and as a result behaved in a very needy way. And nobody likes a Needy Ned (you know, like a Debbie Downer).

After college I knew that if I didn’t take matters into my own hands I would always be at the mercy of my external environment and circumstances. I would have no choice but to settle for any relationship that I could get. In other words, not a particularly exciting future.

Instead of getting a full time corporate job (and partly because the economy was busy taking a nose dive), I proceeded to spend a year working on myself. Exactly what I did during that time is probably the subject of an entirely different post.

In any event, it didn’t take long for me to come across the concept of daily affirmations.

How the affirmations worked

Instead of saying what I wished I had or what type of person I wished I was, I crafted the affirmations such that everything I wanted was already true.

For example, instead of “I want to be someone who feels more confident.” Or “I am not nervous around women I am attracted to,” a better way to say it is “I am a powerful, confident man. I know what I want, and I go for it.”

See the difference?

By being a powerful, confident man who knows what he wants and goes for it, the whole talking to women thing falls into place quite naturally. Not only that, but it covers other areas in my life as well. Like how I negotiated payment on a freelance project. But more on that later.

Another thing to note, is that each affirmation was specifically designed to replace negative thoughts (a.k.a. monkey chatter. You know, the nagging voice in your head that never shuts up).

To give you a better sense, here were some of my original affirmations (from 2008) and the negative chatter they replaced:

  • I always operate at maximum efficiency and effectiveness. (“I am too slow. I read slowly, I think slowly, and everyone else is faster than me.”)
  • I give everyone uncommon value. (“I am nothing special. I have nothing to offer.”)
  • All women are extremely attracted to me. (“Nobody would be attracted to me.”)
  • I am immune to all airborne diseases and viruses. (“I always get sick.”)
  • I am always expanding my comfort zone. (“I am too scared to try new things.”)
  • I am a powerful, confident man; I know what I want and I go for it! (“I am too afraid and meek to do anything.”)
  • I am a phenomenal dancer, and women love to dance with me. (“I can’t dance.”)

Interesting side note:┬áIt’s been so long since I’ve thought about the negative self-talk that it all seems so foreign to me now. Yet, at the time I was convinced that each of them was 100% true.

Ridiculous, I know.

When is a good time to say affirmations?

I originally heard that saying it first thing in the morning and last thing before bed is a good approach. However, I am the kind of person who would get really into them and get excited when I say them.

According to Scott Britton’s sleep hacking course on Udemy, that would be counterproductive since my mind would start racing and I would have a more difficult time falling asleep.

That left me with the morning to work with, which worked out pretty well (seeing as how I’m obsessed with dental hygiene and spend an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom). Trust me, $20,000 worth of braces implants, and other dental work would have the same impact on you too.

I began by saying all my affirmations out loud while looking in the mirror, and then repeated them all 4 more times. In addition to saying them out loud, I also took a moment with each one to visualize what it meant to embody the qualities that I was affirming.

I’d love to share 2 examples of how affirmations helped me, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave them for next week…

Don’t you just love cliffhangers?