Ken Lindner is the founder of Positive Life Choice Pyschology, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on life choice and decision making. In his sixth book, “Aspire Higher: How to Find the Love, Positivity, and Purpose to Elevate Your Life and The World,” Ken has brought together a lifetime of learning on finding inner peace, positivity, purpose and self-love through making positive and highly constructive life choices that can motivate and inspire us to elevate our own lives, and the lives of others.
In “Aspire Higher,” Lindner teaches readers how to make choices so that they grow to authentically love themselves and the path that their life is taking, so much so, that they are organically led to bestow that love and positivity on others. He believes that if you can elevate your life first, through the positive and empowering choices that you make, you will be far more likely to want to elevate others. Lindner also believes that this process will help to develop the mutual respect, civility, collaboration, and peace in our country and in our world that we crave.
In this interview, I speak to Ken Lindner about how we can all aspire higher, and how we can build more fulfilled, happy, and successful lives.
Q: How do our choices elevate our lives?
[Ken Lindner]: Our life choices are our means to elevate our lives, our confidence, our self-esteem, feelings of self-worth and self-image. This helps us make positive change in our lives by improving the things we can control – making us feel good… feel worthy. This is the path we need to take to feel self-love in our hearts. When we love ourselves and our path – we’re far more likely to bestow that love, kindness, and good feeling on others.
Q: How does negativity bias manifest in our lives?
[Ken Lindner]: Scientists have said that we’re all hard-wired with this proclivity to focus on the negative longer than the positive. We can hear three great things about ourselves, and one negative, and we’ll obsess over the negative. It’s a way to protect ourselves. We need to make enough positive life choices where we feel good about ourselves- where we develop enough self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. When we feel good about ourselves, we treasure our well-being, psyche and future – we are far less likely to be influenced by our negativity bias.
Q: How does our life script influence us?
[Ken Lindner]: You can make strong life-choices to break your script… to break the bad behaviour patterns you have, to break the habits you have… You can start today and say you’re not going to eat fatty foods, or foods that raise your cholesterol, but you need to make that commitment part of the narrative of your life, re-enforced by those positive life choices. That’s how they become empowering.
We all want to make life choices that reflect our highest-selves, our highest-values, and highest goals. We need to Aspire higher! You want to be the best person you can be… you want to have the best life you can have… you want to feel great about who you are and when you do, great things happen.
Q: How do we change our mindset to bring us back to the right life path for us?
[Ken Lindner]: The way you jumpstart your life is by making sure you treasure your life choices and understand what they are. They are your golden-path to elevate your life. Choices are like train tracks – the train go where the tracks take them – we go where our choices take-us. Our lives are a reflection of the poor, and the positive, life choices we’ve made (and make!). You need to start by making small positive life choices that make you feel great. Own those victories, they give you confidence that you can make decisions that better your life. You must take risks too – you need the confidence to try new things, to grow, to evolve – if you don’t, you’ll stay stagnant. Life is about growth. If you don’t grow, you won’t remain relevant, you won’t get excited about life, you won’t learn.
Occasionally, on the growth journey, you won’t succeed – and that’s fine. Failures and setbacks are fine, they’re a chance to grow, they make you smarter, more strategic and bring you closer to victory. The defeat, setback, or detour – if taken constructively – will be a learning experience…
Q: How should we understand success?
[Ken Lindner]: Success is as very personal benchmark – it’s what the individual wants. To understand success, you have to know what makes you happy… not what makes your parents, spouse, teacher or children happy… but what makes you happy. Maybe you take other people’s views into consideration of course, but they shouldn’t rule… you can’t live somebody else’s life. I’ve seen so many people who are bitter and resentful because they’ve made choices based on fulfilling other people’s expectations and not being authentic with themselves. Success is about what you want, and what you deem as successful.
The pandemic has given people the chance to reflect on what they really want from life and we’re seeing so many different definitions of success, a lot of them being around balance. The pandemic has made us rethink our value system – especially in the face of life’s fragility.
In our busy lives, we rarely take the time to think about what we want… what will make our hearts sing… what will make us happy…. Those are the things that will drive you. Those are the things that will give you the discipline to engage in real growth rather than reaching for immediate gratification.
We look at movie stars, singers, influencers and athletes as successful because pop-culture media have defined them as being success. You need to blaze your own path however, and take the road less travelled when it’s appropriate. You can follow the path of society when it’s good for you, but when it’s not? You have to carve your own.
I would urge everyone to take some quiet time on a regular basis to ask yourself whether you’re happy… if so, why? If not, why? Are you frustrated?… you have to do some deep soul searching to get the truth, and when you know your truth, you can take steps forward to make that a reality. You can’t take any steps unless you know that truth.
Q: How do we achieve emotional mastery?
[Ken Lindner]: If you want to make the best choices in life, you need to be cognitively clear about what you want from your choices. If your judgement is hijacked by emotions such as rage, fear, neediness, loneliness, or anger, you will act out of impulse – not out of value. This can be incredibly harmful – when the dust settles, you may realise you’ve messed-up. This lowers your self-esteem, confidence, and can cause a spiral.
Everyone has had their buttons pushed, right? We’ve all felt angry, said, or done something which – in hindsight – we wish we hadn’t. Firstly, never make a decision when you’re enveloped in toxic emotions. Don’t’ do it… step away.. cool off.. take a run, a bike ride, listen to music… think about what you have to do in life… think about the people you love….
When making decisions, you must be cognisant of consequences – every decision you make could impact yourself, your life, your loved ones, your career, your health.
Q: What does love mean for us?
[Ken Lindner]: The world needs love, it needs more self-love. If you love yourself – and feel good about yourself, it will help you enhance your future, life, and relationships. Loving yourself makes you feel worthy and if you love yourself, you’re far more likely to love others. If you have love in your heart, you have love to give – and that love can make you a solutionary. When you have a problem, detour or challenge – being a solutionary means that you look at solutions that not only benefit you, but which don’t hurt others, and which will elevate and support! Can you imagine our world if everyone became a solutionary? If everyone took other people’s wellbeing into account when they made their decisions… we’d have a more peaceful, kind and loving world.
When you help others, you feel great about yourself. It raises your feelings of self-esteem. You feel proud of yourself, and when you feel proud of yourself you continue to elevate your feelings of self-worth. And when you have all these great feelings in your heart, you’re going to continue to do great things for yourself because you feel that you are worth it and you’re going to continue to do great things for others.
It’s very much like the idea of herd immunity… if enough people get vaccinated, there will be enough antibodies and enough people to hopefully have a healthier country. Well similarly, my goal is if enough people can start making positive life choices that instil self-love in their hearts. And if enough people have hearts filled with love, we’re going to have a much more peaceful, kind, collaborative and unified country and world. And that’s my goal. That’s the legacy that I hope we all can have for each other.