Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski: Guest Post: First Rule Publicity

Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Life Quickly

I might as well come right out and admit it – I’m a personal development junkie. In addition to writing paranormal thrillers about flawed characters battling reincarnated serial killers (Past Lives series) and fallen angels (Dark Halo) through their brokenness, I love to dig into the often messy, complicated world of changing human nature. I find that the more I study human interaction, attitude, emotion and behavior, the better I write. The better I write, the more I understand the nuances of relationships with self, others and God.
Over the years, I’ve picked up a few ideas that have helped me dramatically. Today, I’ve distilled those concepts down into a list of ten ways to instantly improve your life. They may not be magic, but they’ve worked for me and I hope you find some value in them for your own lives. If so, please pass them on to your friends and family. My firm conviction is that when any of us get better, we all get better.
1.   Develop a compelling vision – Pared down, this is about dreaming up your best, most ideal future, an emotionally vibrant mental image of yourself 6 months, 1 year or 5 years down the road. While setting goals is important, this is about setting your goals on fire. Unless those outcomes tap into your deepest desires, they might have little power to motivate and excite you. A captivating future vision of yourself and your life can dramatically impact your feelings of hope, anticipation, creativity, energy and joy. For example, one of my future visions is to be a full-time writer of books that entertain and enlighten hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. When I imagine crowds of people enthralled and moved by my stories, I can’t wait to step into that future.
2.   Ask empowering questions – Over and over again, I have learned (and re-learned) the power of questions to focus the mind. When we ask ourselves questions, our minds naturally seek out answers. If I wake up every morning and ask myself, “Why is my life so miserable?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” My mind will find answers. If I instead ask, “What is great about my life?” or “What small step can I take to move toward my compelling future?” or “How can I use this experience?” my mind will focus on more positive, empowering answers. Ask good questions.
3.   Embrace Movement – Movement is scientifically proven to enhance health, mental alertness, the ability to learn at a deeper and quicker level, energy, creativity, decision making, confidence…you get the picture. People who move, improve! So get moving. Walk, run, play tennis, take up dancing lessons or karate. Movement is not just about physical appearance, but about fitness, relationships, prevention and holistic health and success.
4. Reflection – Develop the habit of reflecting on your day, on what worked and what didn’t. Mentally review your conversations, your decisions, your interactions with individuals and groups. Reflection is a common trait among top performers in nearly every field from sports to the boardroom. Reflect with a mind toward how you can improve next time. Daily reflection seems to help the most. I usually reflect best at night as I fall asleep.
5.   Get centered – Top performers also tend to have rituals (or patterns of behaviors) that they use prior to a performance or competition. As a trainer, I often sit quietly by myself and visualize the best outcome for the training, calm my breathing and reconnect with my passion for helping others. I also pray, read the Bible and meditate each morning. All of these activities help me focus and center myself for the day ahead. Find a method that works best for you and your lifestyle.
6.   Simulation – The Navy Seals do it. Executives and politicians do it. Champion athletes and sports teams do it, too. They simulate success by engaging in “games” that develop winning habits. They play, practice and rehearse obsessively. They reflect, give each other feedback and repeat. Whatever you do, find a way to incorporate simulation. As a writer, I study the works of bestselling authors and copy their techniques. As a trainer and facilitator, I rehearse my material multiple times (sometimes with recording devices) before presenting to a group. Simulate, simulate, simulate. There is little that will do more for your performance, faster, than daily intense practice.
7. Model the Masters – In every field and endeavor, masters rise to the top. They find ways to win in what they do. Study the best in your field, whether it is in sales (copy their techniques) or writing (study their sentence structure, use of dialogue, etc) or parenting (What works? What doesn’t?). While it’s probably ideal to find a master who will agree to mentor you, this is not always practical. You can still find masters online (Youtube), in books, articles, and at your job. Seek them out, ask for advice and try it on. Model the masters.
8. Develop Strategies – Strategies are mental shortcuts to success in every area of your life. They are routines that you create, practice and assimilate into your daily behavior that become instinct so your mind can relax on autopilot. For example, I have a routine for writing (early morning, 6 am every day), a routine for parenting (set clear expectations, enforce consequences, listen with love, validate emotions, play and spend time together, etc), a routine for working out (3 or 4 times a week for an hour at the gym or at home, etc), a routine for practicing speeches, writing blog posts, doing housework, etc. Develop healthy, effective routines and then let them transform your life!
9. Mind Magic – The vast majority of people go in and out of focused mental states all day long without realizing it. In these periodic states of heightened concentration, our minds become super receptive to outside suggestion (advertisements to name one example). These moments of mental magic occur as we drive, converse with others, watch TV, exercise and read. When we naturally move into these states, our minds are wide-open to receive input that can have a markedly dramatic impact on our attitudes and behaviors. One of the most profoundly life-changing lessons for me was learning to intentionally tap into these mental states. Some call this progressive relaxation, meditation, guided visualization, prayer and even trance or hypnosis. Whatever name, the idea is to relax deeply so that your mind is receptive to ideas, images and suggestions. This happens to nearly everyone everyday, but most people don’t practice this habit intentionally to create the life they want! There are many websites that show you how to do this, so here I’ll just mention that you can use this “mental magic” to enhance memory, confidence, performance, public speaking, sleep better, reduce stress, lose weight, stop smoking and so much more. Celebrities and athletes use this method all the time to stay on top! You can, too.
10.          Contribution – I have simply found no better and quicker way to improve my life than to give to others. Helping others with care and compassion in whatever way that you are able not only feels good, but it helps you grow and reach and learn. How can you contribute something of value to your family, your church, your workplace, your neighborhood, your country? Giving really is better than receiving.
     I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. If you have found value in these ideas, why not apply right now by simply sending this information to others who might really appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Thank you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

genre: paranormal thriller

334 pages

In a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces, a father races against time to save his family.

Thirty-five-year old Landon Paddock has deserted his wife and daughter, abandoned his business, and secluded himself in his late parent’s southern Indiana ranch. But he’s barely lapsed into a drunken coma when a mysterious, winged stranger appears during a violent lightning storm, chasing him out into the maddening night with his estranged 15-year old daughter.

As layer after layer of reality is dissolved by a series of violent encounters, the only way to survive might be for Landon to band together with the family he destroyed to make one last stand against a sinister army of unthinkable magnitude.


Christopher was born in Kansas, the son of an Army Ranger and Black Hawk pilot. He grew up in Kentucky and Germany, and graduated from Murray State University in 2002 with a degree in Organizational Communication. He spent the next three years laboring over his first book, Past Lives, while getting married to his college sweetheart, having a beautiful daughter, and more or less finding his stride in life.

He currently lives in Southern Indiana and works in Louisville, Kentucky as a national trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences on a wide spectrum of topics including communication, body language, cultural sensitivity and influence. Other notable activities include writing articles, short stories, novels and training materials for national and international audiences.

Christopher continues his passion and dedication to writing by working on additional novels, including a sequel to the Past Lives series. His most recent book is the standalone paranormal thriller, Dark Halo.

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Next  Dark Halo Tour Dates:

12/20 - Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Guest Post (Top Tens)

12/21 - Reader Girls –Character Interview

12/22 - The Independent Review – Review

12/22 - Bee’s Knees Reviews – Review

12/23 - Ali’s Book Shelf – Review


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