Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths — Etty Hillesum

How much time and energy do you allocate to building self-awareness?

Self-care is a catalyst influencing our levels of self-awareness, and increasing self-awareness is critical because it is the powerful foundation of self-mastery—specifically, powerful mind-mastery and mental wealth.

By repeating a positive self-care mantra to yourself, you will eventually become a master of your mind. Self-talk is important because whatever you regularly say to yourself, either out loud or quietly and internally with your inside voice, becomes whom you believe you are. Self-talk is important because your brain receives information in the form of knowledge you choose to listen to.

Did you know self-care is a form of self-love and because there is only one you in the universe you must look after your ‘spiritual’ self by loving yourself?

Allocate five minutes each day to practise looking after your spiritual self so that you build self-care and, therefore, self-love into your daily routine. Go for a walk or put your phone away. Be with yourself because you are great to be with!

Write down one sentence about why you love yourself. For example, ‘I am kind because I made a cup of tea for myself and my friend’. Sip your drink and imagine the liquid gently falling down your throat and energising your whole body. Please focus on the sensation of it nurturing you.

You can choose to practise mastery of your mind. Practise regularly, and you’ll become a master of self-care and be increasing self-awareness in no time. You will become a master of your mind. This is powerful.

How you carry yourself physically and mentally can affect your personal safety is important because criminals usually target people that appear helpless or powerless. For example, the way you walk to your car in a poorly lit street can determine if you’re going to be approached or not, and it’s important because your mental state affects your level of environmental awareness. If you’re less aware of what’s happening around you, you’re more likely to get injured or find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.

Did you know that ‘it takes a criminal just seven seconds to select their next victim? The criminals two biggest fears are getting hurt and getting caught. This knowledge empowers you in case you are picked.’

Sociologists Betty Grayson and Morris I. Stein conducted a study to set up a video camera on a busy New York sidewalk and taped people walking by for three days. The tape was later shown to inmates in a large East Coast prison incarcerated for violent offences (such as armed robbery, rape and murder) against people unknown to them.

Their key findings were that ‘Every inmate chose exactly the same person, and the choices were not solely based on gender, race or age. Older, petite females were not automatically singled out. The inmates read the pedestrians’ nonverbal signals and used those to make their choices’ [1]

When I was a teenager, I walked with my friend at night, and two guys were walking towards us. My friend happened to be looking down with his shoulders slightly hunched over. I was standing upright with squared shoulders and head up. Just as one of the guys approached us, he took a swing a punched my friend in the face! Why do you think he did that? Apart from being a violent human, he chose an easier to target a victim.

Adopt a powerful gait by walking assertively and confidently. Practise by walking at your own natural pace with your head up. Make each stride purposeful and powerful, with a clear sense of where you’re going. Do your best to walk smoothly. Glide like a swan or do a Conor McGregor. I’m joking! To clarify, gait means ‘the way a person walks’. I originally didn’t know what it meant until I looked it up years ago. It’s not a word used regularly.

When you’re out and about in the city, occasionally give people a quick bit of eye contact. This shows you’re aware of your surroundings, and it alerts any would-be attacker, whether it’s them you’re looking at or not, that you’re not going to be an easy target. The way you walk can influence your confidence level and how others perceive you, especially potential attackers. It could save you a trip to the hospital.

Three challenges for you to practice self-care towards improving self-awareness. Pick one:

1. Meditate or do deep breathing for five minutes. (Start with thirty seconds)

2. Laugh heartily at least once a day. Watch your favourite comedy or share funny stories with friends.

3. Get a full 8 hours sleep with no mobile phone or internet at night. Lights out!

Once you start focusing more time on practising self-care, you’ll discover your self-awareness increasing towards greater mental wealth. You’ll be in a much better position to reach mind-mastery in your lifetime.

Thank you for reading.

Adam Bowcutt

Adapted from:

Confide The New Psychology of Confidence. How to Power Up after Experiencing Depression

[1] Attracting Assault: Victims’ Nonverbal Cues, Betty Grayson and Morris I. Stein (1981)

You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

A robot cannot understand or practice empathy, yet. Are you an empath, or do you sense how others feel?

You are not a robot. AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robots are coming to compete for your livelihood.

Robots are already doing tasks once completed by humans. This is increasing because of its economic benefits to companies that require profit to grow.

You are human. We are humans, and we have amazing capabilities that artificial intelligence and robots do not possess – yet. Right now we must strengthen our empathy for the sake of our future.

Humans are emotional sentient beings with a beautiful ability to sense, feel, and perceive things on a level that’s ineffable or too great for words to describe. For example, I am writing this exact sentence right now. I am attempting to explain using the English language and words to describe a feeling. It’s not even close. A word is simply a representation of a thing. Empathy is a thing that simply cannot be explained. It must be felt. It’s visceral.

Ask questions

Gather as much relevant information about the other person. Ask questions or research using the internet. Once you have enough knowledge, close your eyes and imagine you are the other person. What are they thinking, feeling, seeing, doing and most importantly why? Humans have a wonderful ability of intuition. Knowing without having to fully understand. There will be an element of bias because you are unique and your perception of the world and others is specific to you. With practise you will become more adept at being empathetic. It will begin to change the way you connect with others. You’ll experience less frustration, become calmer in social situations with new people and become more confident.

Did you know that a person diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM – 5) of the American Psychiatric Association exhibits a lack of empathy, particularly an inability to feel remorse for one’s actions. ‘Many people with ASP do seem to lack a conscience, but not all of them,’ he explains. Psychopaths always have this symptom, however, which is what makes them especially dangerous. ‘When you don’t experience remorse, you’re kind of freed up to do anything – anything bad that comes to mind,’ says Dr Black [1]

I had a conversation via text message with my sister about empathy and the fact that I used to sense other people’s feelings from a young age. But I didn’t understand it then, and because it was too overwhelming, I possibly pushed it down into my subconscious mind to alleviate the overwhelm. It felt like I was feeling other people’s pain or joy.

Use Your Imagination

Close your eyes and imagine what it’s like to be somebody else for a day. Put yourself in their shoes. Who are you thinking of? Could it be a famous celebrity? Or an old schoolteacher or a boss you don’t like? Now really think about who they are – their childhood, why they are who they are, and why they behave the way they do. How are you finding it? Difficult or easy? What did you learn?

Next time you meet someone, focus on the nuances of their body language.

What are the other person’s eyes saying?

Empathy is a skill that can be developed over time. Being empathic makes you more valuable as a human in a heart-centred way and makes you potentially more employable compared to robots!

Empathy influences the science of mind and behaviour – psychology. It’s what makes us a civilised collection of humans exhibiting kindness. For example, if you sense a child is frightened, you immediately comfort them by saying something reassuring: ‘The spider won’t hurt you, Jamie. It’s probably more scared of you than you are of it’ (unless it’s an Australian funnel-web spider, then no!).

Collective empathy helps our progression as a species. If we are not empathetic of fellow humans, then we can become too selfish and insular. Have you ever heard someone say ‘Ah, he’s only out for himself, nobody else’? This behaviour is counterproductive.

Empathy reduces fear, because once you feel what other people are feeling, you become more compassionate. Compassion causes a lowering of fear. You are now focused on helping to actively remove suffering from others. How can you be fearful if you are helping others? What is there to fear?

Did you know that ‘a specialised group of brain cells are responsible for compassion. These cells enable everyone to mirror emotions, to share another person’s pain, fear, or joy’. [2]

I am an empath. This means my mirror neurons are highly sensitive. I felt this as a young child; however, it was too powerful to deal with, so as a psychological defence mechanism, I blocked it out. I pushed this amazing gift I had down into the depths of my psyche. I practically denied myself of my gift for many years. It was part of me. It is me. I’ve truly accepted it now. ‘I am an empath.’ Who resonates with this? After many, many years of personal development, overcoming pain and suffering – mainly severe depression and being hospitalised four times for mental illness – I built a rock-solid foundation of super-strong mental health. Now I embrace my power of empathy. My mirror neurons are stronger than ever. When I meet someone for the first time, I literally feel what they’re feeling. Would you like to experience this? If yes, please keep reading.

Observe the Eyes

Next time you meet someone, take a moment to check what colour their eyes are. Why? The reason is that the two seconds it takes to do this allows time for you to really look into the other person’s eyes. What this will do is amazing. By checking to see what colour their eyes are, you’ve focused purely on them. They will sense this. They will automatically feel your focus and attention. Who doesn’t love attention? We are only human! Now enjoy that moment of connection when you both lock eyes for a moment. This is a basis for practising and building your empathy muscle.

Focus on Body Language

Notice two things about the other person’s body language. First, their eyes. What do they look like? Wide open and still, or slightly squinting and shifty? Looking at you or beyond you? Make a mental note of the results. Now move on to their body. What are their hands and arms doing? Are they crossed and closed off, or are they open and welcoming? By simply focusing on these areas for now, you will grow your empathy muscle. Your mirror neurons will build in strength, like an arm muscle after consistent bicep curls at the gym. Now go practise!

Neurons that fire together wire together. — Hebb’s Law

You are a human, yes? This means you have the capability for empathy. You’ll build a strong foundation of psychological tools. Once you practise this, you’ll be more valuable to the global marketplace. AI (artificial intelligence) and robots aren’t going anywhere, and they will act as potential competition for work, jobs, and industries. You’ll benefit psychologically and financially once you build your empathy muscle. Now go workout!

Thank you for reading.

Adam Bowcutt

Adapted from Confide: The New Psychology of Confidence. How to Power Up after Experiencing Depression (2019)

Please feel free to also read: Why Self-Leadership is Critical


[1] Rosie McCall (2019)

[2] Judith Orloff (2017)

Will you accept this ultimate challenge?

What’s the worst that can happen? Seriously?

You must.

It’s your duty.

Well, to be fair it’s your choice. Choose wisely my friend. Creating leaders is the most important purpose of leadership.

Leadership is more than you. It’s more than the ego. You create ‘we’. ‘We’ creates ‘us’. By creating more leaders, you become a great leader. This is important because creating leaders is cyclical. The leaders you help create, in turn, become great leaders, and so on. These new leaders, in turn, creating more great leaders. It’s exponential. Be exponential.

Did you know that ‘contrary to the opinion of many people, leaders are not born’?

‘Leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work’ (Vince Lombardi).

Once I made a firm decision to be a leader, I learnt, mainly through reading and learning by listening to others, that the most important purpose of being a leader and practising leadership is to create more leaders. By leading by example, you set the precedence for the next generation of leaders. That fateful day, on a beautiful spring morning in Brisbane, Australia, 2017, I committed to being a leader and to focusing on creating more leaders. I did not make this promise to anyone else, not my father, my mother, my sister, or my brother. I made this decision to me, myself, and I. I said, ‘I am Adam Bowcutt, and I am a leader.’ That day, my life changed – forever.

Say three times in the mirror ‘I am [your name], and I am a leader’.

Go on. I’ll wait. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Doing this is extremely difficult for some people because it means getting out of your comfort zone. You may feel silly or weird. You may feel embarrassed. None of this matters, because the result is more important than the method. You will literally see yourself saying to yourself that you’re a leader. It’s a powerful thing.

Okay, did you do it? If you did, congratulations! If you didn’t, that’s fine too. I’m not here to judge. However, think about why you didn’t do it.

Reach out to three people in your immediate network. They could be family members, friends, colleagues – anyone you know. Now say something completely honest that you see in them, like a positive strength. Pick one thing and simply share it with them. You can call them by phone, text them, or use social media messaging. The important thing is to share your message with them authentically.

For example, I love sending messages to friends that simply say ‘You are awesome’. Imagine receiving a message like that from someone you know and believing it because you know deep down that the message is true.

By creating leaders, you enter the next level of leadership. Call it what you will – excellence, greatness, or radness. You end up making a positive impact on this world. How awesome is that?

PS. You are awesome.

Thank you for your valuable attention. Adam Bowcutt

Adapted from Confide: The New Psychology of Confidence. How to Power Up after Experiencing Depression