The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Why Doubt is Like A Thief Stealing Your Dreams


Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

We’ve talked about knowing your moral code and we’ve talked about passion and desire as necessary to achieving your dreams but we can’t forget about faith. While we often think about the word faith in terms of religion, the first and simplest definition of faith is as follows:

faith – noun. 1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something

“Complete trust”, to me, is the really critical part of the definition. A lack of faith or worry or doubt or just the smallest thought of “I’ll never be able to do this” is enough to ensure that you probably won’t.

Doubt undermines your dreams and believe me, doubt can creep in without you even knowing. It’s sort of like a thief sneaking in at night to steal what’s really valuable to you but in this case, it’s slowly stealing your dreams.

So how do you keep the faith in your dreams and in yourself?

Part of it is stopping all the negative chatter in your mind. If you let your little voice take over it will very quickly tell you that you’re not good enough, your dreams are ridiculous and there is no way you’ll ever make them come true.

Here’s where you have to do some work. You need to 1) become aware of that little voice and 2) replace its negative chatter with positive self-talk.

When you feel yourself starting to doubt, change the conversation. Tell yourself you can do it, you will do it, that you have a plan for doing it. Picture it coming true. Imagine yourself living your dream and all that it entails. Just by replacing the negative with the positive you give yourself a fighting chance and you start to replace doubt with faith. You can’t get lazy about it though. Just doing it once in awhile means doubt is winning so you have to be like a cop trying to stop a thief. Be vigilant!

Don’t let doubt chip away at your dreams. It’s such a silly reason to give up.

Believe in your dreams. Believe in yourself. Believe you can do anything you can set your mind to.




A Tool 4 School: Be Open


A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open.  – Frank Zappa

With a new school year starting your mind and body are going to be inundated with lots of new experiences, people, places, opportunities and challenges. It can all sort of be overwhelming as you get pushed and pulled in so many different directions.

Here’s one tool for dealing with all this newness: Be Open.

– When you meet someone new be open to who they are and don’t judge. Don’t make a decision about someone before getting to know them based on the way they look, dress or the way others have categorized them to you. Make up your own mind.  You might make a new friend or, at the very least, there will at least be another friendly face to say hi to as you move through your day.

– When you encounter a new concept in class be open to learning it and don’t shut down because it doesn’t mesh with your previous ideas of what you think you know. The greater the diversity of ideas you entertain, the more your mind grows and the more you grow as a person.

– When you’re given a new opportunity to try something new like a class, a sport, an activity or even a new way of thinking, be open to at least trying it once. So often we miss out on opportunities because the little voice in our heads tells us ahead of time that we won’t like it, we won’t be good at it or that people will laugh at us if we try and fail. How will you know any of this is true if you don’t at least try? Who knows, you may actually be an incredible basketball player but if you never pick up a ball, you’ll never know.

Never assume. Try. Be open.

I leave you with this quote to sum it up:

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov


Open your mind. Open your heart. Say yes to your adventure.


The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a heart yes to your adventure.  – Joseph Campbell

Have you ever noticed that very often in life our tendency is to immediately think or to feel a no instead of yes?

Sometimes it happens in small ways like when someone asks you if you want to try something new and unfamiliar like, “Hey, want to try a bite of this chocolate covered cricket?” (Ok, that might be a bit extreme but you get the idea.)

But it can also happen in bigger ways like when we really don’t want to hear someone else’s opinion, even if we might be wrong, and so we block out a different way of looking at things with a silent but firm, “No.”

It turns out that our egos (you know, that little voice in your head that is always voicing its opinion) really don’t want to hear or try anything different because it thinks it’s right all the time. If you think about it, it’s a pretty small way to live.

What would happen if you opened yourself up more to saying yes?

Saying yes can be scary because it not only challenges your ego (which is a good thing) but it can make you feel pretty open and vulnerable (which is actually also a good thing because that’s how you grow and figure out who you really are.)

So why not start saying yes? Challenge yourself to say yes to small things like trying a new food or going to see a movie that normally wouldn’t appeal to you. Then, when that starts to feel comfortable, challenge yourself to say yes to bigger thing, like being open to a different way of looking at the world. Be open to someone else’s opinion. Try to see the other side of the situation. Say yes to a way other than your own.

Basically what I’m saying is try to see life from the opposite perspective and be open – say yes – to that viewpoint. It will not only help you to grow and become a more well-rounded person, it’s actually a small but powerful way of connecting more with others and that’s what life is all about.

Open your mind.

Open your heart.

Say yes to your adventure.

The Top 3 Things Your Little Voice Says 2 Make U Not Love U

love summer

Love is not a thing. Love is who you are. If you aren’t loving yourself it’s going to be hard to be loved by others and to truly love others. Unfortunately there is a little voice in your head that is always going to try to undermine your confidence. Here are 3 classic things your little voice says that causes you to not fully love and accept yourself and what you can say in response.

1. You’re not good enough.

Surely your little voice has said this to you before right?

You’re not good enough to be friends with him/her.

You’re not good enough to try out for that team or to join that club.

You’re not good enough to try a new activity.

It doesn’t matter what the words are but if you’re hesitating to do something it could be because you’re hearing this message. In order to love yourself you need to believe you’re good enough.

Tell Your Little Voice: And who do you think you are? I am good enough. I love me.

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The 7th Secret: Sit Down, Shut Up & Be Silent

boy meditating

If there is one thing that really smart people throughout the years have figured out, it’s that a key to happiness is quieting our minds and basically giving ourselves a break. We are surrounded by constant noise and stimulation in our lives and our poor little brains are just about on overload all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to just shut down and take a break from the world now and then? I know turning off your smart phone may actually sound stressful but yes, I’m suggesting that you even take a break from that.

I’m obviously not the first nor will I be the last to talk about the importance of meditation. What’s nice is that while people have been practicing meditation since, well forever, we now have the power of science supporting meditation too. It turns out that, over the years, really smart people have documented the all the health and emotional benefits of meditation. I say all this just so you don’t think you have to take my word for it (even though I am a scientist which must count for something right!?)

I encourage you to google the positive effects of meditation but I’m here to tell you that ultimately, meditation will make you happy and that’s why meditation is the 7th Secret to a happy life.

Secret #7: Meditate.

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Advice Before a Test: I Know This, I Got This, I’m Ready

stress free zone

When I asked my 13 year-old step-daughter when she heard her inner voice the most she immediately replied:

Before a test.

That really resonated with me because I always felt stressed out before tests and my endless mind chatter probably didn’t do too much to help me. In fact, it probably hurt me just like it’s hurting you.

You’re going to hear me say this a lot on this blog and hopefully it will start to sink in the more I say it:

Your Mind Believes What You Tell It

So, if you let your little voice/ego be in charge of the conversation then your mind is going to believe you’re not prepared, you didn’t study enough, you’re not smart enough, the teacher doesn’t like you, blah blah blah.

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The 1st Secret of Life for Teens (shhh, don’t tell adults you know!)

secret door

Ok, let’s cut right to the chase.

Here is the 1st Secret from the Handbook that adults haven’t bothered to tell you.

There really are two parts to this secret but we’ll start with the first half today.

1. You are not the little voice in your head.

Oh come on, you’ve heard this little voice before right?

Let’s do an exercise right now so you can formally reintroduce yourself.

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