Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba,

In Bruce D Schneider’s book, Uncovering the Life of Your Dreams, he offers a simple word to help remind you how to live a more effortless and fearless life.

And that word is COOL.

In this case, it’s an acronym, actually–but more on that in a sec . . .

As we dive headfirst into the Holiday season, many of our default tendencies emerge (don’t worry, we’re still going to make this COOL).

We tend to over-indulge (man, I love eggnog), over-give (and perhaps go into debt), and over-judge (“If my sister brags about her new job one more time–!”).

All of which is totally normal, by the way.

This is a time of year when our habits and routines are often disrupted. Yet there’s also a lot of tradition–which seems comforting while also inflexible, demanding, and based-on-expectations. We all experience a lot of change which exposes conflicting thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Anyone experiencing all of this change (like “stirring a pot,” if you will) would find many different ways to cope.

But what if, this year, you could have a more effortless and fearless Holiday season?

What would that look like?


So let’s break this thing down.

C = Curiosity

When I think of curiosity I often think of wonder, too. If you’ve ever gone on a walk outside with a two-year-old, you know what it means to be full of curiosity and wonder. They stop every two feet to look at an airplane in the sky, talk to a jumping grasshopper, touch a fence post, or smell a flower.

Why? Because from their perspective, everything is new!

But as we get older, we adapt and start to label things as “common”–that’s just another airplane, grasshopper, fence, or flower. Bah humbug. We lose that sense of curiosity in the simplest things.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the power to experience every single moment with the curiosity of a two-year-old. All you have to do is be willing to look at something with new eyes. Look for what you haven’t seen before and be willing to be excited about what you might find.

And I bet that what you find is interesting, different, or unexpected (like how that smoked turkey from Costco was super juicy).

O = Open-Minded

It’s tough to be open-minded when your Uncle retells that same inappropriate joke or your family is giving you a hard time about your work-status, relationship-status, or any other “status.”

People are going to judge you with or without your permission, but that doesn’t mean you have to join the crowd. Being open-minded means that you’re willing to step inside the shoes of another person and see through their eyes.

Anyone who experienced the exact same life and consciousness as your Uncle would come to a point where inappropriate jokes are the result.

Anyone with the identical life experience as your family would decide (consciously or unconsciously) to question your work or relationships.

Being open-minded means that you see that, deep down, given ALL the factors that any single person experiences would result in that person’s actions.

And so now you have an opportunity here–giving ALL of your experiences, consciousness, and awareness to choose to observe people, places, and things with a more open mind. When you do, you’ll see the tension start to melt and be replaced with a more effortless experience.

“Tension is who you think you “should” be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Chinese Proverb

O = Optimism

Decide to be optimistic! Why not?

What’s great about being optimistic is that it doesn’t mean you IGNORE or sugar-coat what you experience. Instead of just seeing the silver lining of a cloud, you see the whole cloud and all of the opportunity it brings (including rain & snow which is vital for all life).

See the opportunity in all of your experiences and believe in your ability to be excited about that.

I may consciously choose to have a large holiday dinner (complete with a healthy glass of eggnog). I then have an opportunity the next morning to practice an intermittent fast and give my digestive system time to work its miracles.

That works for me and creates more balance.

Find what works for you to tap into your optimism, playfulness, and joy. If it helps, think like a child! They’re amazing at being optimistic and very creative in how they do it (when I was a kid, I knew that I could have a great time with just some cardboard and rubber bands).

L = Loving-Kindness

Regardless of how you celebrate this holiday season (if at all), it’s clear to me that there’s an emphasis on joy, love, and kindness.

And this is what it’s all about, folks.

I don’t have any pithy remarks or five-step process around this one.

I simply offer this reminder: infuse more of your INTENTIONS with loving kindness. And you WILL experience more effortlessness, more fearlessness, and more moments with your True self.

That’s it! Be COOL this holiday season–if even just for a bit–and see what it does for you. See how it changes your experience, your energy, and your actions & results.

Crossing the TEA’s

Now, let’s check out the energy levels behind these Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions:

Low-Energy TEA:

  • Thought: The holidays are overwhelming.
  • Emotions: Irritated, Judgmental, Embarrassed, Insecure, Worried, Perplexed
  • Actions: Typically, whatever habitual patterns that have been established over the years are repeated.

High-Energy TEA:

  • Thought: I’m Curious, Open-Minded, Optimistic, and full of Loving-Kindness.
  • Emotions: Playful, Excited, Hopeful, Open, Inspired, Joyful
  • Actions: Create a way to anchor in your ability to be COOL. This could be writing a daily affirmation, imagining Samuel L. Jackson saying, “Be cool!,” or a similar totem.
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba,