Dr. Liara Covert

Breathwork Psychotherapist
Holistic Coach, Workshop Facilitator 

Sunshine Coast, Queensland 



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"The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but we aim to low and reach it." -Michaelangelo



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Success 101

Today, I accompanied a friend to visit her great aunt in a rehabilitation centre.  She recently had a fall in her own home and is working to get her strength back to regain her independence. This great aunt is nearly 101. She has a lot of spunk and clearly has her own ideas about longevity. She spoke to me about how she would walk miles into town every day even when she was well into her 70s.  This reflected her desire to keep healthy, and to continue to challenge herself.

I think about how her attitude and plans to live a meaningful life shape her sense of success.  This is not the traditional success we think about that brings thoughts of money, fame or other kinds of prosperity. Instead, this success relates to a sense of accomplishment at different life phases. How we feel about ourselves reminds us to be grateful we have the strength and will to get up in the morning. Remind yourself how many people can not longer take that for granted. Success could mean having the ability to define the life you wish to lead and actually doing it.

Some cultures don't like the idea of retirement or nursing homes. On a personal level, we don't necessarily like placing family members in such facilities. Imagine how older relatives might feel. Imagine how you would feel if you were placed in such a place and were unable to function menatlly, physically, emotionally as you one did. Would this contribute to your sense of failure?  Perhaps success is far more intimate than we might've realized.  It may be less an idea imposed by people around us than how compatible our real abilities are with our own expectations.


Wake up calls for creativity

If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always be where you always are and you'll only see what you've always seen. If what you're trying to do isn't getting you where you wish to go, then this is a wake up call for creativity. It may be time to teach yourself a new approach. You’ll be glad you did!

Thomas Edison thought it was a blessing that it took him nearly 10,000 attempts to create a truly functional incandescent light bulb. Why? Because of all the self-development and resourcefulness he developed along the way. The knowledge he gained from repeated failures made him very smart. He applied this intelligence and continued to develop it. This led to him obtaining over 1000 patents, many of which still exist after his death.

Wilbur Wright and his brother Orville loved riding their bicycles. For a while, they rode daily to their printing shop business. Yet, their minds were fascinated by the idea of building a flying machine. Their curiosity and experimental persistence led them to devise a plan. Noting details in bicycle motion became key. Wilbur created a revolutionary system by twisting an empty bicycle tube box with the ends removed. Twisting the surface of watch wing changed its position in relation to oncoming wind and enabled changes in direction of flight. The concept worked with a kite. The rest is history.

Beulah Henry of Memphis, Tennessee was motivated to create things where she discerned needs. When her umbrella needed a cover, she simply invented it. When her sewing machine gave her trouble, she created one without bobbins that got in her way. Over time, she created 110 inventions and held 49 patents. She became known as a "Lady Edison" for her creativity.

Photography's basic principles, processes, and materials were discovered virtually simultaneously by Joseph Niepce, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, and William Henry Fox Talbot, along with Sir John Herschel. They worked almost totally independent of one another. The results of their experiments came together during the early 19th century.  When they all came up against separate brick walls, they decided to share their processes, and later, the title of Inventor of Photography.  Thier process became widely used, growing as significant as the printing press.

No matter who you are, if you come up against a brick wall, don't despair. See this roadblock as an an opportunity to change your point of view. Just because something hasn't been done before doesn't mean its impossible. Teaching yourself how to do something new may require discipline. Yet, being self-taught can lead to increased independence, self-sufficiency, determination and self-confidence. You can grow to feel like you have a new level of control over things that truly matter to you. Learning on your own can be as fulfilling as you decide that it will be.



"I'm always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them were afraid to be laughed at. How often have you avoided taking a risk because you were afraid to fail? I like to learn to play with various parts of a situation. This enables me to reframe the risks, measure the pros and cons if you will. I imagine that I add, remove, combine and simplify aspects of the overall situation. I also find humor in my circumstances, even if I'm about to float up into the air in a precarious hot air balloon with a clausterphobic friend who's afraid of heights.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause."

Throughout our lives, we all face uncertainty and risk at every turn. Yet, we differ greatly in how we perceive and react to our circumstances. Some of us plan ahead, and have the ability to see the larger picture. Others among us lash out or react impulsively, which can get us into trouble or have disastrous results. We all define strategy, some openly in the form of goals and plans, and some covertly or subconsciously, without thinking. When should we take risks? That is the question. We can calculate the probability of worthwhile results. Sometimes we may simply follow instincts. 

Sun Tzu's Art of War implies that each level of conflict represents increasing cost (mental, physical, emotional), as well as increasing resources (such as time). The longer you're at odds with yourself about a choice, or the longer you contemplate taking a risk, the more likely you won't wish to act or you'll change your plan. When have you changed your mind about taking risks?


Ethical Dilemma for Yellow Emporer

Today, I thought I would share a fable.  Since success is often linked to balance, I invite you to consider a discussion between the Yellow Emporer, Shih Huang Ti, and his Chief Minister, Qi Bo.

"Why is it that people nowadays (2700 BC) do not live as long as they used to and what can be done about it?"

Qi Bo replied, "This is in part because in the past, people practised the Tao, which is the way of life.  They appreciated the principle of balance in all things, of the flow of yin and yang, of the ceaseless, eternal transformation of the universe." 

"I see," said the Yellow Emporer.

"But 'these days," continued Qi Bo, in one of the earliest pieces of medical advice recorded, "people have changed their way of life.  They drink wine as though it were water, indulge in destructive activities, drain their jing [the body's essence, centered on the kidneys] and they deplete their qi [life energy].  They do not know the secret of conserving their qi or their vitality.  Seeking emotional excitement and monetary pleasures, people disregard the natural rhythm and order of the universe.  They fail to regulate their lifestyle and diet and sleep improperly.  So its not surprising that instead of living well over a hundred years they look old at fifty and die soon after."

The Yellow Emporer was left to think about this.  He pondered the problem concerning life experience.  He felt this was something he rarely had before he needed to reflect back on it.


Free will

When you meet people, you learn that no two people are alike. That's amazing! In principle, I like to think difference is a good thing. I mean, we can all learn from each other, right? 

Wait a minute! Humans have the freedom to choose. What about those close-minded people who think they already know everything? The same people who always tell you they know more than you do.  These are the people who tell you your plans will get you nowhere, that their way is better. And, they may not be motivated to do anything at all, at least anything like you would choose to do.

Life experience shows us tolerance and gratitude enable us to deal with the free will of others. We can learn to accept that people will differ from us, that we do not need to aspire to be like them.  We can be grateful for petty annoyances because we can choose to be bothered or not.  Free will is a distinctly human trait which enables us to reflect on what we would or wouldn't do, and why choose to exercise choices and why we may impose our own limits.