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Oct 10, 2022

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The joy of addition and subtraction


The joy of addition and subtraction is something that not that many people actually take the conscious time to think about.  


Which means it can have a really profound effect…which I love.


And as always it’s about keeping things super simple.


Often the simple things are what can have the most profound effects.


So firstly I should probably explain what I mean by addition and subtraction and in what context.


I was talking with my glorious positive pants toolkit members in our monthly call and I was talking through a little exercise I do so I thought I would go through it with you.


The first part is something I've spoken about before and often people will save this for the beginning or end of the year.  However, I'm a big fan of doing it at any point where things are feeling ‘off’ or you’re going through some sort of change.


Essentially we’re going to be getting super clear on what you want and reminding your brain (specifically your reticular activating system) what’s important to you and what opportunities to filter out for you.


But the piece I really wanted to go into here is the idea of addition and subtraction.


Often there are some seriously easy wins to be found in there that were hiding in our unconscious programming and will a little conscious thought are easily solvable.


Some that could be instantly changeable. 


Some that can give you some serious clarity.


Some that give you focus and motivation.


Glorious…we love ALL of that.


I do this exercise along with my written visualisation journaling and future gratitude practices. 


You might use it as a manifestation exercise.  You’re basically talking in the present tense about what you want your life to look like. 


I do this using the core life categories. 


Health and fitness, wealth and finances, Learning and growth, Career and work, romance and relationships, fun and adventures, friends, family and social life and environment.


Whenever I do any journaling or visualisation exercises in this realm I like to go through these categories. 


You know…I like to be thorough.


So what am I talking about when I say the joy of addition and subtraction?


When you go through these categories and get really honest with yourself…what needs adding to each?  What needs taking away?


So much of our inner work is about honesty. 


The ability to be self aware and honest.




We can tell ourselves so many stories that, when not conscious and curious, become absolutes. 


I can’t do that because…


If I do this, then that happens.


The magic of asking yourself better questions is game changing.


And asking ‘what do I need to add to make the shift towards where I want to be’ and ‘what do I need to subtract to make a shift towards where I want to be’ in each of these categories can give you sooooo many clues on how to make it happen.


I always say it’s about the softly softly catchy monkey approach to get to where you want to be.  Too many people focus on the big audacious goals that are HUGE and can then feel paralysed and sit in inaction.


Plus it’s all too easy to create goals that aren’t really your goals and have been set by good marketers to keep you buying and feeling rubbish about not being where you want to be just yet.


You see it in areas that focus on external validation. That if you don’t look a certain way or weigh a certain amount or earn a certain amount or have the right amount of followers then you are not good enough or worthy as a human.


Time to say no more my friends! 


It’s SO much easier to focus on incremental improvements than to ever expect yourself to wake up one day and poof everything’s different. 


That is how you make it happen. 


Being prepared to do the work.


Being prepared to question yourself, your thoughts, your behaviours and your beliefs.


And just take the first move forwards.


So, take each category and grab your journal.


For example, let’s take work.


Right now, whether you have your own business, you’re in a job or maybe both.


What needs adding that’s going to allow you to live according to your values or to feel how you want to feel.


Could that be adding flexibility?  How can you do that?


Could it be adding the knowledge that your bills are covered?  How can you do that?


Could it be that you need to add a new revenue stream?  How can you do that?


Could it be that you need to subtract some distraction?  How can you do that?


Could it be that you need to subtract being around certain people?  How can you do that?


There are so many ways you can question yourself around this and it’s honestly magical.


What people tend to do is look at and focus on what they don’t have, without really questioning why or what needs to happen to change it and make it happen..


We can get stuck in a mindset of self pity or victim mentality, which is not empowering at all and difficult to move out of. 


But, if you ask yourself what needs to be added in this particular part of your life in order to make that happen. And what needs to be subtracted to make it happen all of a sudden you see all these possibilities that you didn’t see before.


More stories will come up from your lovely brain and ego trying to keep you safe in the predictable familiar, which is when you continue to keep asking.  


What needs adding and what needs subtracting?


I love doing these exercises because there’s always something that’s a super easy fix or win.  I also love it because It’s so fascinating to catch my brain in its stories. 


The more you do that the more you can laugh at it and also not just blindly believe the things you say to yourself.  


So it’s a double whammy effect of being honest about all the steps you can take to keep moving forwards, being able to see what’s within your power and control and also practicing and wiring the neural pathway to not believe the rubbish you say to yourself half the time.


That’s the difference that makes the difference.


So I hope you enjoy this exercise and really take some time over it and see some simple action points and I hope you come back to me in a few months and tell me all the progress you’ve made! 


You do need to do the work though ha! Fx