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Self-Help Uncategorized

A Story About Freedom Within the COnfine of Reunion Island

I wrote the first draft of this article – A story about freedom within the confine of Réunion Island – in our little hideaway cabin up the hills where my youngest daughter and I spent our week of quarantine (called septaine here as it only lasts 7 days). The year 2020-2021 would be remembered as the year of lock-down, confinement, curfew, quarantine. Never in our modern history has our freedom of movement been so restrained, albeit justified for public health reasons. This is not an article about the pros and cons of restrictions imposed for public health reasons, it is a story about freedom within the confine of Réunion Island; it is the story of some brave souls from Réunion Island who fought in the most admirable manner to free themselves from their shackles. This article is also the perfect excuse for me to introduce you to Réunion Island, where I was born and where my family lives.

A story about Reunion

Réunion island, or in French ‘Ile de la Réunion’, is a smallish island situated east of Madagascar and about 175km southwest of Mauritius. It’s a volcanic island, like Hawaii, with a mountainous interior and a population of about 1 million people. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s not unusual, it’s typically only known by sailors and stamp collectors. The island is famous for a number of things including the first Euro Transaction, occasional – but very heavy rain, and one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

A story about the First Euro transaction

Réunion Island is a French Department and because of its geographical position is the most easterly part of the eurozone. The Island was the first European territory to handle the Euro currency when it was introduced in 2002. The mayor of St Denis (the Capital city) purchased a kilo of lychees after a brief barter with a local stallholder.

A story about Rainfall

For the most part, Réunion Island has a mild tropical climate, but it is in the hurricane belt (here it’s called, cyclone belt) and when it rains, oh boy, it rains. Réunion has set a number of records for the highest rainfall measured including the official 24-hour rainfall record (1,825 mm or 71.85”) during a tropical storm in 1952 and the 48-hour rainfall record (2,467 mm, or 97.13”) at Cilaos, which has sadly – or happily- now been beaten. Have you ever wonder what is the difference between hurricanes and cyclones? It is just a question of geography. A tropical storm system is called a hurricane in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific and is called a cyclone in the Northern Indian Ocean.

A story about a very active volcano!

Life is an adventure. Out and about with an active Volcano in my sight – Photo taken by Alize Reed – Piton de la Fournaise – Réunion Island

Piton de la Fournaise, or Furnace Peak in English, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, along with Kilauea in the Hawaiian Islands, Stromboli, and Etna in Italy, and Mount Erebus in Antarctica. The volcano is a major tourist attraction and offers some excellent hiking and scenery.

Since 2010, the Piton de la Fournaise has been a member of a very exclusive club as one of the natural assets listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their outstanding universal value. It is an honor that it shares with the island’s other volcano, the Piton des Neiges which culminates at 3070 meters and which is a dormant volcano. For the past 10 years, the Piton de la Fournaise has erupted on average every 9 months, fortunately without endangering the islanders. Not many volcanoes can boast such exuberant activity.

The latest eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise started on 9th April 2021 and is still going on as I speak. I went for a hike with some of my local friends to the volcano site to have a closer look. We saw the fumes coming out of some craters, we couldn’t see the flow of lava from our viewpoint but we were told that there was a tunnel of lava still running underneath. The whole volcano site is surreal, very out of this world kind of scenery.

A story about freedom

Coming back to the main topic of this article – a story about freedom within the confine of Réunion Island, slavery was used widely in the French colonies in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. The French slave trade began in the 15th century, not for use within mainland France, although France’s northern ports were heavily used to trade and ship slaves, but in the French colonies, where sugar accounted for 80% of exports. Slaves from Africa were brought into the colonies to cultivate sugar cane. Regulatory measures constantly governed the supervision of slaves, the control of their labor, their movements, any possible activities by them outside the plantations, and events in their personal lives.

These regulations allowed extensive freedom to plantation owners regarding the range of punishment they could administer to their slaves. Slaves were subjected to physical and emotional abuse on a daily basis. The phenomenon of resistance on the part of the slaves, individually or collectively, has been the focus of relatively little research. Yet, slaves in the French colonies resisted their plight in the most varied and admirable ways.

They attempted to escape on a regular basis (a phenomenon known in French as “marronnage” escaping the plantations in coastal areas to find refuge in the mountains where they remained hidden in the hope that the plantation owner would eventually give up looking for them. The word “marron” originates from the Spanish word “cimarron” which means “to escape.”

On Réunion Island, historical accounts reveal stories of the Black- Marrons taking great risks to escape to the mountains, preferring to live as free men in precarious conditions rather than staying at the plantation under the bondage of a brutal plantation owner. Those who successfully escaped established semi-permanent camps in the mountains. Once a small group of trusted companions had settled and had organized themselves, they conducted regular raids on the plantations to steal weapons, tools, food, seeds, and farm animals (chickens); they also brought back with them their women and children.

Eventually, the Black-Marrons successfully managed to grow their own food, raise farm animals and create a new community of free men, women, and children up in the mountains. The plantation owners were terrified of these raids which were becoming more and more frequent. They started manhunts for the Black-Marrons and offered hunters 30 Livres per “catch” dead or alive. Hunters had to bring as proof of a “catch” (in order to claim their prize) the severed left-hand of the Black-Marron they had just killed. Hunters were free to capture or kill men, women, and children alike. Despite this brutal repression against the Black-Marrons not all of them were captured or killed and the most resilient managed to keep living as free men and women in the mountains until slavery was abolished.

The Black-Marrons became legends in their own right; nowadays, if you go hiking on Réunion Island, you will come across several mountain peaks that are named after them, amongst them, Dimitile, Cimendef, Mafate, and Anchaing. One of the most notorious of those Black-Marrons was a slave known by the name of Cimendef. After his escape to the mountains, Cimendef created a new identity for himself. Originally from Madagascar, he created a name from the words “tsi” meaning “non” in Malagasy and “mandevi” meaning “slave” – so, Cimendef means “non-slave.” Through his new name, he wanted to show everyone his will to live as a free man. Slavery was abolished in France and its former colonies in 1848.

There is a policy of organized forgetfulness of the past that suits the agenda of the rulers, the people in power. History is written from the perspective of the victors and not the oppressed, whose role in their own liberation is often forgotten or downplayed. Historical accounts have found a way of denying centuries of resistance by slaves and the role they played in resisting oppression and pursuing their freedom. Historical accounts tend to attribute the happy resolution of a very shameful episode in history to a particular government or piece of legislation; while forgetting the acts of resistance that were carried out by the slaves themselves and the oppressed, who fought bravely for their inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is worth pointing out here that despite what most people believe slavery should not be automatically associated with ethnicity. Slavery has existed since the beginning of time; the color of someone’s skin was not a key factor to determine whether that person could find himself in the unfortunate position of being a slave. Those who became slaves were chosen because of their vulnerability compared to another dominant group and not because of the color of their skin. Since the beginning of times, Europeans enslaved other Europeans, Asians enslaved other Asians, Africans enslaved other Africans and Arabs enslaved other Arabs. A slave is a person who is the chattel or property of another. The etymology of the word “slave” finds its origin in the medieval Latin word “sclavus,” originally “Slav” because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering people.

Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century. People of every race and color were enslaved and enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the ottoman empire, decades after American blacks were freed. The region of WestAfrica was one of the great slave-trading regions of the continent before, during, and after the white man arrived. It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. In East Africa, Arabs were the leading slave raiders, ranging over an area larger than all of Europe; slavery is often and wrongly associated with ethnicity and skin color. This practice was an accepted fact of the society of the time on the basis that the strongest has the right of appropriation over the weakest.

Thomas Sowell

This article is dedicated to all the people who have been oppressed and have suffered injustice and who have found the courage to resist oppression and somehow free themselves from their shackles.

For a more detailed analysis of this subject, I invite you to check Chapter 7 of my book “This Is Your Quest.”

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help Uncategorized

As one chapter ends, another one starts

As one chapter ends another one starts. Every day you write the story of your life. Your life is like a book, there is a beginning, a middle, an end and there are chapters that catapult you from one event to another. These past few weeks, or shall I say months have been very hectic for me and my family as we geared ourselves up to say farewell to South Korea which has been our home for many years.

The Land of the Morning Calm has been the greatest adventure we had as a family. Korea has been the land where my two daughters grew up with our dog and two cats in tow. The land where we met and made long-lasting friendships with wonderful people. The Land where we had many exciting adventures making the most of the amazing scenery, beauty, and delicious food.

The Land of the Morning Calm chapter has now ended, and new events have catapulted us across the globe. My husband has started a new job in Saudi Arabia building a brand-new futuristic city in the desert, 100% powered by renewable energy. My eldest daughter has settled well in Calgary, Canada where she is studying Bio-Med, and where she is having the time of her life. My youngest daughter and I just arrived in Réunion Island, where I was born and grew up and which is going to be our new base for now. As one chapter ends, another one begins, and so our story continues….

As one chapter ends, another starts

As one chapter ends, another starts. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

When one chapter ends, it’s just one chapter in the book of your life, don’t close the book the story is not finished, just turn the page and move on. Whether this chapter brought you grief or brought you joy, no other page is written like this. If you don’t like the way the previous chapter of your life happened, have a good cry, learn the lessons. Put your big girl’s or big boy’s pants on and move on.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

“Whenever an obstacle rises that seems to block the path forward, in reality, the obstacle has an essential function. And that is, it forces me, or it forces humanity to generate more – either more strength, more energy or more consciousness.”

Eckart Tolle

If you really like the way the previous chapter of your life happened and wished that it never ended, rejoice in the memory of all the good times and the precious moments that made this chapter of your life so pleasant and beautiful. Human beings like comfort and order, and as I discussed in one of my previous articles, order is the place where the world’s behavior matches our expectations and our desires, the place where all things turn out the way we want them to.

We like to be in there. In order, we’re able to think about things in the long term. There, things work, and we are stable, calm, and competent. We seldom leave places we understand – geographical and conceptual – for that reason. But even the best things have to end. If you read a really good book and you come to the end of it, you don’t throw it away wishing you never read it, you put it on your shelves and rejoice in the knowledge that you were fortunate enough to have come across this book.

Changes are hard, but it’s OK. It is the beginning of a new chapter

There is no denying the fact that changes are hard, especially when you are facing life-changing events such as the end of a job, or the end of a relationship or moving across the world to relocate someplace new, with all the logistics that such a move requires. I have just been through this, it’s hard, definitely not a walk in the park, but more like an obstacle course where you need stamina, speed, dexterity, flexibility, and coordination.

The harsh reality of life is that everything moves on and for things to move on, first things have to end. People leave, they leave you and they leave places, and they leave things behind. Everyone finds their way, an end is just a new beginning. We are all made up of fragments of other people, places, and things, and each time this happens we write a new page in our book of life.

No matter where we are, some things are under our control and some things are not. The fundamental reality of chaos and order is true for everything alive, not only for us. Living things are always to be found in places they can master, surrounded by things and situations that make them vulnerable. Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging because there are vital and important new things to be learned.

Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while learning that you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also curious, alert, and engaged.

As one chapter ends, another one starts. Keep writing the story of your life. To be continued…

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help Uncategorized

Do you want to know what is the problem in the world? read on …

What is the problem with the World? There are endless problems in the world too many to list, but I was thinking that it would be an intellectually challenging exercise to try to put my finger on it. A foolish endeavor you may think. Maybe. Only a fool or a wise man could seriously pretend to know the answer to this question. I happen to know a wise and eccentric philosopher (Bertrand Russell [1]) who pondered over this question and who came up with an answer that is quite remarkable.

The problem with the world is that fools, and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are always so full of doubts.

Bertrand Russell

Et voila, in just one sentence Bertrand Russell sums it up. So, now that we have the answer to the question, let’s look at this more closely to see what we find out when we dissect Bertrand Russell’s statement. Pretend you are sitting comfortably in a theater to see the latest production of this Shakespearean tragedy or comedy, depending on your sense of humor, titled: “What Is the Problem With the World”. There are three main characters on stage, the Fool, the Fanatic, and the Wise Man.

Act I – Do you want to know what is the problem in the world ? Ask the Fool he believes he knows best

Do you want to know what is the problem in the world? The Fool knows best – Photo by Kapone via freepik.com

The fool is grandiose (borderline annoying), confident (borderline arrogant), flamboyant (borderline tacky) and walks through life feeling absolutely certain about everything. A fool is set in his opinions and feels that he has a duty to share his way of thinking about this and that and everything important. A fool does not care to take counsel from others nor listen to their opinions, because he knows best. He has no fluidity of mind and is set in his ways.

New opinions are rejected and opposed just because they don’t fit the accepted idea and concepts that the fool has adopted as hard truth. The fool’s arrogant certainty about everything is set in stone and even King Arthur would not be able to dislodge him from that position. The problem with the fool is that he doesn’t know enough to know that he doesn’t know about the things he thinks he knows.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king – Erasmus

Act II – Do you want to know what is the problem in the world? Ask the Fanatic he believes he has access to absolute truth

Do you want to know what is the problem in the world? The fanatic believes he has access to absolute truth. Photo by Anna Oddi via freepik.com

The fanatic is not a fool because he is a true believer in his cause and spends a substantial amount of his time learning about the cause he is fighting for. But just like the fool, he feels absolute and resolute certainty in his belief. The Fanatic refuses to hear and contemplate opposing views. You can find fanatics in all areas of life religion, politics, sports, media, etc. Fanatics can be leaders or followers, they are people who indulge in a toxic concoction of self-affirming, know-it-all confidence believing that they have unique access to absolute truth, truth so perfect that they have to impose them on everyone.

It is not what they believe that makes them fanatics it is how they believe it – no need to provide further evidence, no need to question or doubt. They operate in an irrational and emotional manner hiding their irrationality by rehearsed arguments that have been repeated and learned over time, not refreshed, updated, or put to the test. Fanatics are rigid in their thinking. The problem with this is that nothing is really certain what is true today may not be true tomorrow.

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position, but certainty is an absurd one”

Voltaire

Our two main Shakespearean characters, the Fool and the Fanatic will not give a second thought to Voltaire’s adage because they remain certain and dogmatic in their beliefs.

Act III – The Wise Man believes that he knows nothing

Do you want to tknow what is the problem in the world? Photo by user 24028417 via freepik.com

According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to know thyself. That Motto knows thyself was one of the maxims inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

“The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.”

Socrates

According to the Wise Man of Ancient Greece, you may find the path to wisdom, if you start from a position of humility and if you accept the extent of your ignorance. A lot of us like to think of ourselves as pretty smart, rational individuals and funny too. But what if we’re wrong? Do we overestimate our own abilities? Are we completely blind to our own failings?

Socrates is known as the wisest man in Athens, but he doubted this very much until he put it to the test. Socrates’ favorite pastime was the pursuit of Truth. His reputation as a philosopher spread across Athens and beyond. When told that the Oracle of Delphi revealed to one of his friends that he was the wisest man in Athens, Socrates responded, not by boasting or celebrating, but by trying to prove the Oracle wrong.

Socrates decided to find out if anyone knew what was truly worthwhile in life, as anyone who knew that would surely be wiser than him. He questioned everyone he could find, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Instead, they all pretended to know something they clearly did not. Finally, he realized that the Oracle might be right after all; he was the wisest man in Athens because he alone was prepared to admit his own ignorance rather than pretend to know something he did not.

The Wise man is humble in his knowledge, he is open-minded and recognizes that he has limited knowledge; and because he knows that there are so many things that he doesn’t know, he has doubts. The Wise Man understands that someone else may have knowledge that he doesn’t have, and this could lead him to change his opinion on this and that. He has fluidity of mind, he is not rigid in his view and his pursuit of the truth will lead him to question everything.

Ladies and gentlemen we are coming to the end of this production, thank you for reading this Shakespearean piece. And with this said, I will give the floor to the man himself for the final word.

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Shakespeare.

PS: If you like this piece, feel free to applaud and comment. If you didn’t like this piece, feel free to criticize it not in a fanatical kind of way but after careful consideration just like a Wise Man would do; and I will try my best not to react to your comments in a foolish kind of way.

[1] Bertrand Russell (18 May 1872- 2 February 1970), British philosopher, mathematician, historian, political activist, and Nobel Laureate.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset?

There are two types of people in this world: the scarcity type and the plenty type. Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset? If you are one of those who are constantly worried that there will not be enough of anything; enough money, enough time, enough food, enough of … well, you fill in the blank, then you belong to the first category, the scarcity type. If you are one of those who think that if there are not enough slices of pie for everyone, then the best thing to do is to make your own pie, then you belong to the second category, the plenty type.

Having a scarcity mindset is pervasive and is literally eating away your energy and mental capacity. In the world of science and psychology, this is called tunneling. We have very limited cognitive space and bandwidth. When you focus heavily on one thing, there is just less mind to devote to other things and as you devote more and more time dealing with scarcity you have less and less for other things in life.

In the world of economics and psychology, having too little means so much

The starting point is to acknowledge the fact that resources are scarce and limited. How much something costs depends on how scarce it is in relation to another resource, and the price will be driven by supply and demand. Sellers will charge you more for a product if they can convince you that this product is scarce or available only for a short period of time. It always baffled me to see how travel tickets and hotel rooms hyper-inflate around Christmas time, Easter, and summer vacation. I understand the concept that a lot of people would want to travel around those vacation times to meet up with family and friends, but I found it reprehensible to see how the service providers are taking advantage of this surge of demand, but I digress.

In the book “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” economist Sendhil Mullainathan and psychologist Eldar Shafer discuss the effects of scarcity mindset on our ability to think clearly and make informed decisions.

“Scarcity captures the mind… when we experience scarcity of any kind, we become absorbed by it. The mind orients automatically, powerfully towards unfulfilled needs. Scarcity is more than just the displeasure of having very little. It changes how we think. It imposes itself on our minds.”

Scarcity has a good, a bad, and a very ugly side. The good side of scarcity shows its lovely face when you have a limited amount of time to complete a task due to a pressing deadline, this can help you be hyper-focus on the task at hand. The bad side of scarcity shows it preoccupied face when all your energy is wasted away on the feeling of lack, leaving little mental capacity to focus on more important matters. The ugly side of scarcity shows its ugly face when you are creating your own self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and gloom because you are unable to make good decisions based on your unhealthy obsession with scarcity.

In the world of self-help and self-development, having a plenty mindset is the way to go

Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset? Do you see the glass half-full or half-emplty? Photo by Goonerva via freepik.com

An abundant mindset refers to the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody. People with a plenty mindset see opportunities everywhere instead of limitations. If you have the choice of hanging out with someone who sees the glass half-full or half-empty, for sure you will decide to spend time with the person who is positive, vibrant, who sees life as half-full, and who is feeling grateful for the things that they have.

People with a scarcity mindset believe that if one person wins, another must lose. It is very black & white. It is natural of course to want to be winners and not losers. The good news is that there is something in between losing or winning, it is called win-win scenarios where both parties get something from the transaction. So, instead of staying stuck in the paradigm win-lose all the time, try to create win-win scenarios.

Opportunities are everywhere but some people are blind to them because they have tunnel vision which triggers them to focus too much on one particular aspect of the issue. If you have a propensity to do that, you will not notice other possibilities that are right in front of you. If you keep repeating to yourself that you can’t do something and if impossible is part of your daily vocabulary, your brain will absolutely believe it. What you believe is what you receive.

Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset? Go or not go? Photo by Talexey via freepik.com

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”

Henry Ford

It is possible to switch from a scarcity mindset to a plenty mindset by following those tips [This list is non-exhaustive, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment box]

1. Hang out with the right type of people, i.e., people who see the glass half full.

2. Be grateful for what you have and don’t wallow in self-pity if you want a piece of the pie and there are no more slices, go and make your own pie.

3. Create win-win scenarios in your professional and personal life.

4. Train your mind to recognize the possibilities that are all around you.

Given the choice would you rather be a farmer or a nomad?

Before you decide to switch off on me and quit reading the rest of this article, there is a point to this question. Your answer will indicate whether you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset. In the early days of civilization, you had two groups of people: the farmers and the nomads.Young farmers were taught to use resources intelligently in order to create plenty of food. Young nomads were taught to take from a world of limited resources. The nomadic existence was based on a plunder model, placed on top of a clan model. The farmers’ model was based on creativity and collaboration.

Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset like the farmers? Photo by Nadya 1971 via freepik.com

The nomads lived in a very rigid structure. At the base was the family clan, in these small groups, there was a great deal of sharing and cooperative decisions making, but the important and final decisions would have been made by the senior, dominant, patriarchal male who had an enormous amount of clout on the rest of the clan. Clans tended to constantly compare themselves to other clans and opposed any change of status between them. The rigidity of these structures led to rivalry, conflicts, and hatred between clans that sometimes endured for centuries.

The farming society operated as a decentralized structure. These farming groups kept alive an old tradition to gather in much larger groups for a few weeks every year. At these gatherings, ceremonies would be conducted, and festivals held, to make marriage arrangements and trade goods. The farmers became prosperous, food was plenty, goods could be accumulated, large communities could be formed, specialist activity could be developed, and innovation could take place. Music appeared, written language, basic mathematics, and sciences developed. The creative capability of men and women could be exchanged within the various groups and they could inspire and teach each other.

The farmers were living happily and peacefully on their land, growing their crops, exchanging resources and ideas with their neighbors, and using their creativity to fill their days with arts, music, and newly acquired knowledge and connections. At some point, the nomads who were roaming around the country bumped into those farmers’ communities. They became jealous of the farmers’ prosperity and their wealth, which made them look like second-rate. So, they mounted numerous looting missions on those farmers. These attacks drove some of the farmers away, pushing them to pack their belongings and leave to find a more peaceful area to settle and start all over again.

The nomads realized that instead of looting the farmers and driving them away, they could instead steal a limited amount from the farmers, so as not to drive them away. Those nomadic groups sustained plunder at a level that was low enough for the productive farmers to accept their rulership and “protection” from other thugs. For the farmers, giving a fifth of his crops to a thug was less bad than facing death or going back to a traveling gardener lifestyle. This way the nomads could work the same ground for life, and this is how the first rulers were born – out of plundering!

The moral of the story: Having a scarcity mindset eats away your energy and mental capacity. Switch towards a plenty mindset. If there are not enough slices of the pie, make your own pie. And if you think that it is easier to steal from the baker instead of making your own, accept the fact that that will make you a thug.

You can find a more detailed analysis of this fascinating subject in Chapter 7 of my book, This Is Your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

How to Make a Long Story Short

How to make a long story short

Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, and about others. One can’t underestimate the power of storytelling. From the beginning of time, knowledge was shared from generation to generation thanks to storytellers who used their artistry to pass on information, knowledge, and wisdom to their community. While ancient storytellers probably had rather limited repertoires, a problem today is information overload. With all the data and information that is available, it can be difficult to extricate useful lessons from all the stories that are out there. This article is my attempt to help declutter your mind and make a long story short.

Cutting long stories short, from the beginning of time

From the beginning of human history, our ancestors’ primary concern came from the necessity to survive. Back then, our ancestors had evolved sufficient intelligence to allow them to understand their environment, sense when changes of climate became less favorable, and when necessary, to migrate in order to find more hospitable lands. Our ancestors developed tools for hunting resulting in the introduction of meat to their diet which was a key factor in their physical development and their ability to move away from the familiar plant species they used to rely on for nutrition.

Photo by PV Production via freepik.com Long story short

Our ancestors’ Quest was to find food was made easier by utilizing the resources they had available (i.e., the tools they invented) and the improved physical capabilities of their bodies made stronger by their meat diet. Human interaction and community living were practiced from the beginning of time and helped tribes prosper and thrive. Our ancestors’ daily activities and concerns, such as having sufficient resources to survive, a community to interact with and rely on, and an improved diet that enhanced their physical and mental ability, are similar to what motivates us today, i.e., Money, Love, and Health.

Long story short, from the beginning of human history till now, our concerns remain the same i.e. resources/money to survive, love and health.

The accepted theory was that the Earth was flat

For thousands of years, the Earth was thought to be flat. The flat earth society of ancient civilization included the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, and the early Greeks. This belief (and it was a belief, there was no proof of a flat earth) was changed by the Greeks using the scientific method to demonstrate that the Earth was round, even coming up with the first calculation of the Earth’s circumference. The Greeks were pioneers in science, politics, architecture, medicine, and philosophy and are deservedly recognized as the most advanced civilization of their time.

It was Pythagoras1, who in 500 BC provided the earliest arguments as to why the Earth was round; he reached this conclusion by observing the Moon. The Moon, he noted, is a sphere, so it would follow that the Earth is round as well.

Later, it was Aristotle2, (Plato’s3 greatest student) who offered the best explanation for a round Earth. He stated that the Earth was spherical because the position of the stars and constellations seemed to change as a person traveled either North or South. In his book On the Heavens, he wrote:

“Again, our observations of the stars make it evident, not only that the Earth is circular, but also that it is a circle of no great size. For quite a small change of position to south or north causes a manifest alteration of the horizon.”

Aristotle

Some travelers, he pointed out, noticed stars and constellations in Egypt and Cyprus unique to their sky. It also pointed out that the Earth must be spherical because of the shape of the Earth’s shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse. In the 2nd century AD the Greek mathematician, astronomer, geographer, and astrologer Ptolemy created a map that portrayed the Earth as being round.

Photo by Kuzmich Studio via freepik.comLong story short Sailor Captain

By the 8th century AD, very few people from the civilized world were still arguing that the Earth was flat. Though Europeans and Middle Easterners had recognized the spherical Earth, it wasn’t put to the test until the 15th century, when Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, sailing out of Spain with finances from the Spanish crown. What gave Magellan the confidence to risk his life and the lives of his men to go on an expedition around the world and prove to all that the world was round? His faith lay entirely on a shadow!

“The Church says the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”

Magellan

Scientists who, in the early days, ventured to put forward theories different from the accepted theory faced prosecution from the authorities. In 1633, the physicist and astronomer Galileo4 was prosecuted by the Chief Inquisitor appointed by Pope Urban VIII, for his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This belief was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church who refused to accept the belief (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. The punishment for Galileo came in the form of the following Order:

“We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of the Holy Office during Our will and pleasure, and as a salutary penance; We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.

Galileo agreed not to teach heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was, in fact, correct and to clear his name of heresy.

“Of all the offspring of time, error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”

Charles Mackay

“Long story short the truth is sometimes very inconvenient, leading some people to spend a huge amount of energy and every ounce of power they have to bury it as long as they can.”

For more on these fascinating stories, feel free to check Chapter 1 and 4 of my book “This Is Your Quest

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

You Can Be Free In An Unfree World

You can be free in an unfree world

It is possible to find freedom in an unfree world and this is exactly what Harry Browne[1] wrote in his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.” I am taking you on an expedition, with Harry Browne as our tour guide – Destination: The Free World. [Warning: This is going to be an expedition, not a walk in the park. The ideas discussed below may be challenging for some.] According to Browne, in order for people to be free, they have to avoid all the traps that they will surely find on their path. Browne explained that, more often than not, it is not other people who take away our freedom, it is ourselves who tend to fall into traps that restrict our freedom.

You can be free in an unfree world as long as you avoid the traps on your path

I want you to picture yourself walking on a road. Each step you take will take you a little further on your life’s journey. Sometimes, you will find the road nice and pleasant, other times you will find it difficult and painful with many obstacles to overcome. What you should realize when you are walking along this road is that there are many traps not visible to the naked eye, but they are there nonetheless. These traps are waiting for you. If you don’t pay attention, you will easily fall into them and get stuck. But do not despair, even if you have fallen into one of these traps all is not lost, you can pull yourself out and get back on the road to continue your journey; except this time, you will be a bit wiser, you will be more aware, and you will be better at spotting traps.

You can be free in an unfree world. Photo by Copperpipe via Freepik.com

There are many traps that Harry Browne has identified that will prevent people from being free:

  • The Rights Trap.
  • The Utopia Trap.
  • The Previous Investment Trap.
  • The Box Trap.
  • The Certainty Trap.

The Rights Trap

According to Harry Browne, the Rights Trap is the belief that your rights will make you free. Each one of us is born with inalienable rights. According to the American Declaration of Independence, every person has the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Unfortunately, rights only exist in theory; history is full of examples where theory and practice are two different things. It is assumed that you have a right to life.

Unfortunately, however, if someone kills you, your right to life is of little value. The police may investigate, find the killer, convict him and send him to prison; but none of that will change the fact that you are dead. It is more effective to see to it that no one has the intention and the opportunity to kill you, and in the unfortunate scenario where you are being attacked you should be prepared to fiercely defend yourself to protect your right to life.

The right to self-defense is an inherent right of every human being. Animals and plants use self-defense mechanisms to ensure their survival. Learn martial arts. There are many benefits to learning martial arts in addition to teaching you how to defend yourself; they help build your self-confidence and your self-esteem, they help your body release endorphins making you happier, they help achieve harmony and balance between your body, mind, and spirit. Anybody who is trying to take away your inherent right to self-defense may have a hidden motive; and despite the narrative put forward, it may not be all good.

The Utopia Trap

The Utopia Trap is the belief that you must create better conditions in society before you can be free. Browne’s view is that an individual doesn’t have to live in a free society in order to free himself. No need to try to change the world. There are many ways to be free when you concentrate on the power you have. Free people recognize that they can’t change the world; instead, they first concentrate on the power they have to change themselves.

You can be free in an unfree world. The Utopia Trap. Photo by Nomadsoul1 via freepik.com

Free people realize that they can choose not to be involved in situations that don’t suit them and look for situations that do suit them instead. A free person doesn’t try to re-make the world or his friends or his family, they merely appraise each situation by the simple standard: “Is this what I want for myself?” If it isn’t you should look elsewhere; a free person uses their tremendous power of choice to get involved or not in a particular situation.

The Previous Investment Trap

The Previous Investment Trap is the belief that time, effort, and money spent in the past must be considered when making a decision in the present. For example, a woman decides not to divorce an incompatible husband because she has already invested 15 years in the marriage. In this case, the individual feels that changing the situation would mean wasting the previous investment.

Brown teaches us that the expenditure of resources is important only before you spend them. Once spent, they are insignificant. What is significant is what you receive in exchange for them, and what matters now is what happens in the future; that will depend on what you do now with whatever you have available to you.

The Box Trap

The Box Trap describes being in a box or an uncomfortable situation that restricts an individual’s freedom. The Box Trap is the assumption that the cost of getting out of a bad situation is too great to consider and that it is easier to slip into a box and stay there. You can come to believe that a difficult situation is just part of living and must be accepted.

You can be free in an unfree world. The box trap. Photo by Chanwicht Khuy via freepik.com

Browne explains that everything you want in life has a price connected to it. The price may be in time, effort, money, emotional turmoil, or physical discomfort. However, it always comes back to time. You are not going to live forever. Time is a limited resource. Whatever you do with your time, you pay a price by foregoing other alternatives, other things you could have done with that time. In effect, a box is any situation that restrains your freedom. If you stay in the box, you forgo other alternatives that are more desirable to you. There is a way out, but there is a price to pay to make it right and this price can be emotional upheaval, money, or time.

The Certainty Trap

The Certainty Trap is the urge to act as if your situation was totally certain. Unfortunately, a feeling of absolute certainty is unrealistic. What is true today may not be true tomorrow as things change all the time. At any given time, you have at your disposal only a small fraction of the information needed to make a decision with complete foresight. The important thing is to recognize the limits of any information available as any decision based on this information involves risk, and for every risk, there is a liability – a price that you will have to pay if things don’t go your way. You are in the Certainty Trap when you ignore that risk.

You can be free in an unfree world. The Certainty trap. Photo by Ilin Serguey via freepik.com

The presence of risk should not prevent you from doing something, you can go ahead knowing there is a risk but be prepared for it. Taking risks is an inherent part of life; it is only dangerous when you act as though you are not taking a risk. If you are in the Certainty Trap you might walk overconfidently into a situation where your loss could be overwhelming. You are in the Certainty Trap if you base your life on what someone has told you is the way to live.

You can be free in an unfree world as long as you avoid all the traps that you will find on your path. And, this my dear Friend is Your Quest.

You can find a more detailed analysis of this subject in Chapter 7 of my book; This Is Your Quest.

[1] Harry Browne (17 Jun 1933 – 1 March 2006 – USA). Author best known for his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.”

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

Man Was Born Free but He Is Everywhere In Chains

Man was born free but he is everywhere in chains

According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau[1]“Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains”. It is not a given to think that everyone wants to be free. Most people are willing to sacrifice freedom for security. In an economically free society, the primary role of government is to protect individuals and their property from aggression by others. Studies have shown that living in a country with high overall economic freedom is a relevant determinant of feeling in control of one’s own life. Therefore, economic freedom also influences individual happiness by giving people the decency of being able to earn a living, be prosperous, and the feeling of being more in control of their lives. However, it is a misconception to believe that everyone wants to be free.

Can you handle freedom?

It is not a given to think that everyone wants to be free. Most people are willing to sacrifice freedom for security. J.M. Buchanan[2] noticed that the majority of scientists, scholars, and academics have assumed that people want to be at liberty to make their own choices, to be free from coercion by others. This assumption has failed to emphasize the fact that liberty carries with it responsibility and it is evident that many people do not want to shoulder the final responsibility for their own actions.

Buchanan noticed that many persons are indeed afraid to be free. Relatively few persons are sufficiently strong as individuals, to take on the full range of liberties and their accompanying responsibilities, without seeking some substitute or replacement of the parental shelter they had when they were a child. Religion does serve this purpose. Organized communities constitute partial parental replacements for some. But more importantly, the State takes on this parental role by stepping in and relieving the individual of his responsibility as an independently choosing and acting adult. In exchange of course for this safety, the State reduces the liberty of the individual considerably and dictates every aspect of his life directly or indirectly. For some individuals, the order and certainty that the State provides may be well worth the sacrifice in liberty. Those persons want to be told what to do and when to do it; they seek order and security rather than insecurity and freedom, and order comes at a cost that they seem willing to pay.

Man was born free but he is everywhere in chains. But it doesn’t have to be this way

Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains. You can find freedom in an unfree world- Photo by UpKyak via freepik.com

It is possible to find freedom in an unfree world and this is exactly what Harry Browne[3] wrote in his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,” it is natural for people to look for security, to look for something reliable and safe. The three forms of security that most people are seeking are: (i) financial security, (ii) intellectual security (the assurance that one is right in his belief), and (iii) emotional security (assurance that one will always be loved).

To be self-reliant is to recognize the fact that no one is as concerned about your future as you are, and no one knows as much about you as you do. People who are self-reliant know that the responsibility for anything concerning their life remains with them and they accept that responsibility. Harry Browne teaches us that a free person takes full responsibility for both the good and the bad in their life. If the market for their service should change, it isn’t a disaster as they are mentally prepared for this possibility and immediately look for something new while others sulk over their bad luck. If the product they sell goes out of fashion, they look for something else that is in demand. If the government raises taxes, they look for a way to legally avoid them. A free person recognizes their own sovereignty. They value their life above all and refuse to make others responsible for their future. Freedom is the opportunity to live your life as you want to live it. It is easy to think that you lack the opportunity to be free because someone has the power to enslave you. But those prison walls only exist because you have chosen to allow them to stand.

The secure individual knows that the future is uncertain but is vigilant. To be vigilant is to recognize that there will be constant change in the world. There will always be unknown factors that could affect your plans. The secure individual is always prepared for changes and surprises and is prepared to deal with them as they arise. Self-reliance means being honest with oneself, acknowledging mistakes as they become known, and not brushing them under the carpet and pretends they don’t exist. If you can accept your mistakes, you can correct them, pay for them (there is always a price to be paid), and learn from them.

Insecurity comes from vulnerability. The insecure person relies upon protectors, institutions, and people who (they hope) will guarantee the result for them; but intuitively they know that their interest can’t possibly be the paramount interest in someone else’s life and remain vulnerable. Vulnerable people often spend more energy trying to look for unreliable protectors than trying to improve their own self-reliance. Having security is always possible, but it can only come from the willingness to handle situations as they arise and having the knowledge and confidence to know that you can do so.

Intellectually insecure people will look for a philosophy that will confirm their moral correctness. They will look for a leader to compensate for their lack of confidence and will look for an enemy to justify whatever goes wrong. That individual refusal to take responsibility for their own actions will condemn them to the illusion of being free when in fact they are in shackles.

Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains. Relationships are like birds – Photo by Macrovechon via freepik.com

Photo by Macrovechon via freepik.com

The desire to be loved, to be understood and appreciated is universal. The problem is that most people believe that the only way to be loved, understood, and appreciated is by earning it. Most people seek perpetual love and understanding by getting married, by joining groups, or by having children. A challenging idea that Harry Browne puts forward is the idea that if you rely upon yourself, you know that you can find the type of person who will appreciate you. If you rely solely upon marriage, family, or groups, you know intuitively that you are vulnerable; you can be deserted at any time. You may find someone to marry, but that doesn’t mean that they will always love you or that they will always understand or appreciate you. When you get married, that person does not belong to you, matrimony does not equate to being in a ‘marital prison’.

“Relationships are like birds, if you hold tightly they die, if you hold loosely they fly, but if you hold with care, they remain with you forever!”

Unknown Author

Live and let live

Being free also means letting others be free. “Everyone’s freedom ends where the freedom of others begins.[4] Being free means freedom from the urge to control others. The idea is to be able to get to the point where you don’t feel that someone must act in a prescribed way towards you. You don’t have the responsibility to make people see what you see and to act the way you act. It is not your responsibility to convince others of the rightness of your idea. Your only responsibility concerning other people is how you deal with their actions that affect you and the choices you then make. People are free to be and to act the way they want; each person sees their own happiness in their own way. Some may be successful in their Quest, some may not. Your Quest is to understand that you are sovereign, to understand that you have choices, to live your life the way you want, to free yourself from self-imposed shackles, and to try not to fall into the traps and boxes that await you along the way.

For a more detailed analysis on this subject please refer to Chapter 7 of my book This Is Your Quest.”

[1] Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778 – Switzerland) –Philosopher, writer, and composer. Best known for his book “The Social Contract or Principle of Political Right” said to have influenced the French Revolution.[2] James McGill Buchanan (3 October 1919 – 9 January 2013 – USA). Economist. Best known for his work on “Public Choice Theory.”[3] Harry Browne (17 Jun 1933 – 1 March 2006 – USA). Author best-known for his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.”[4] 1789 Date of the French Revolution Declaration of Individual Rights of Man and Citizen

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help

Hope, Spring Eternal. all Right Spring. Do Your Thing!

Spring is the season of new beginnings, rebirth, joy, and renewed hope. Fresh buds bloom, animals awaken, and the earth seems to come to life again. With Spring the beauty of the world is in full display in an onslaught of colors that is forcing the darkness of the long winter months into a hasty retreat. The world radiates with alacrity, the sky is painted in stunning streaks of red, pink, purple, and blue, and the birds sing their delight to the heavens. Some people say that God created Hope and Spring on the same day. So, let Hope, and Spring Eternal find their way to your home.

Hope, Spring Eternal

2021 carries with it a lot of hope bearing in mind what we all went through in 2020. We are living in an age of despair and fractured communities where we are being forced to alienate ourselves from our family, friends, colleagues, and clients. The unintended consequences of this forced isolation are that the less we interact with other people, the less tolerance we feel for other people, and the more we find comfort in our own ‘sanitized’ bubbles.

Hope triggers a sense of purpose and aspirations during desperate times. Hope provides a haven from pessimism and fear. It galvanizes our courage and mobilizes our energy and vitality. It enhances our mood and our creative thinking.


Hope is the place you want to go when you find yourself sitting in a dark place. Hope is the name of the person you want to know where all the people around you are spreading fear and misery. Hope is the seed that is buried deep inside you that you want to sprinkle around like magic fairy dust. Hope is the feeling that carries you through, no matter what

Joanne Reed
Spring is here. Mount Namsam. Seoul, South Korea

But let’s steer away for a moment from the lovely fluffiness and romanticism attached to this noble feeling of hope, joy, and peace for all; hoping for things to get better without doing something about it is not enough. We have to spring into action and be more intentional about our hopes and aspirations for the future.

If you think that all the problems of the world will be resolved as soon as we can all agree on how to move forward, then you are kidding yourself because instead of going to that place called Hope, you will swim in an ocean of Despair. Asking everyone to agree on one thing is an impossibility, and the earlier we realize this, the better it will be.

Being able to work together and live in a semi-harmonious manner with our neighbors and within our community is good enough. Don’t try to aim for a utopic world vision seen through pink-tinted glasses where everyone loves and helps each other. Stay real and grounded, it is not about friendship and interacting only with the people you like and the people who think the same way as you think. Life is about getting along with people who are different from you, with people you find boring, annoying, or even objectionable; because the challenges that face us as a group are more important than our personal likes and dislikes. It doesn’t matter what people believe, what matters is what they do. Agree on actions.

Humans are naturally cooperative and loving. We raise children and care for pets. Divide and conquer is a strategy that has been used since the beginning of time by a small group of people who are thriving to exert control over the populace. The more energy is expended by the public fighting among themselves the less anger is directed at the overlord class. It is a Machiavellian ploy. Do not fall into this trap.

But I digress, let’s get back to hope, spring eternal; during springtime, the buds that stayed buried in the ground during the whole winter months decided all together that now is the time to spring into action and burst into life with the common purpose of sharing their beauty with the world.

Hope, Spring eternal may the spirit of Spring give us the strength to act with a sense of purpose for the benefit of all.

Joanne Reed

Hope for a new kind of Renaissance

Renaissance is a French word meaning “rebirth.” It refers to a period (14th till 17th Century) in European civilization that was marked by a revival of classical learning and wisdom. From its origins in 14th-century Florence, the Renaissance spread across Europe and it changed the world in just about every way one could think and it came right after one of the darkest periods of human history where the black plague killed millions of people (1 in 3 people across the world perished from the plague).

The Renaissance pushed the boundaries of what we know and what could be achieved. New continents were discovered. Copernicus and Galileo shocked the world and most importantly the whole ecclesiastic establishment by establishing that the Earth was not the center of the Universe but was revolving around the Sun. Radical thinkers such as the humanist Erasmus expounded a new way of looking at the world that owed less to blind subservience to the Catholic Church and more to the possibilities inherent in the human mind.

Cherry blossom, Namsam Tower, Seoul, South Korea. Photo by Tawalchai07

Never before had there been such a coming together of art, science, and philosophy. And never before had there been such an opportunity for it to be so widely disseminated, thanks to the invention in 1440 by Gutenberg of the printing press. For the first time, books could be mass-produced. A single press could churn out 3,600 pages a day, resulting in an explosion of literature and ideas unprecedented in history.

Erasmus (the humanist) became a bestselling author. The new ideas of free-thinkers, mathematicians, and scientists all became accessible to the masses. Art and science became, for the first time in human history, truly democratic.

Humanism emphasized the dignity of man. In place of the medieval ideal of a life of penance as the highest and noblest form of human activity, the humanists encourage the rebirth of a lost human spirit and wisdom. The effect of humanism was to help men break free from the mental prison imposed by religious orthodoxy, to inspire free inquiry and criticism, and to inspire new confidence in the possibilities of human thought and creations.

The seeds of the modern world were sown and grown during the Renaissance. With Spring in full bloom, we should thrive for the return of a Modern-Day-Renaissance where creativity, freedom of thoughts, and expression are free to bloom for all the world to see allowing mankind to achieve new heights in this tumultuous period.

And my dear friend, This is Your Quest 

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help Uncategorized

Don’t worry, it’s ok to worry, if you do it in small doses

There are so many things to worry about these days, you worry about your health, your career, your relationship, your kids, your family, the food you eat, and the list goes on and on. Worrying doesn’t feel good, it sucks the life out of you, makes you anxious, and can turn you into a neurotic mess. Worrying stems from a desire to be in control. We often want to control our environment, or we want control over the outcome of every situation. But the more you try to control everything around you the more anxious you feel. Worrying about the things you can’t control will drain you of your mental strength and will leave you in a state where you can’t operate properly. Although worrying does not feel good, new research shows that worry can have surprising benefits, when done in just the right amount. So, don’t worry, it’s OK to worry if you do it in small doses.


“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere”

English Proverb

Don’t worry, It’s OK to worry; if you do it in small doses

New research shows that worrying done right is actually a powerful tool that can help you in all areas of your life. The trick is to find the balance between healthy worrying and being a neurotic mess. A recent study published in Social & Personality Psychology Compass, argues that although extreme levels of worry are associated with depressed mood, poor physical health, and even mental illness, worry has an upside; a little anxiety is healthy, it can help people recover from trauma, be better planners, live a healthier lifestyle and even overcome depression. So, don’t worry, It’s OK to worry; if you do it in small doses.

Worrying can have positive effects on behavior and can motivate people to take action and make preparations to prevent an undesirable outcome from taking place. Parenting is an anxiety landmine that lasts at least 18 years. Parents often worry about their children, they will fret as to whether their kids are wearing the right type of clothes for the weather, whether they had eaten enough, slept enough, whether they are safe and happy; and when the children are a bit older, parents worry about their offspring getting involved with unhealthy habits such as drugs, alcohol, and hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Worrying about our loved one show them that we care about them. Worrying about our health can motivate us to change our diet, hit the gym, and do regular check-ups. Worrying about an exam or a work presentation may indicate to us that we should do more preparation, research the subject more thoroughly, practice our pitch one more time.

How much worry is too much?

Don’t Worry, it’s Ok to worry if you do it in small doses. Photo by Benzoix via freepik.com

Like most things, worrying is all about balance. Worry too little and you put yourself in danger; worry too much and you may never leave your house again. When you feel trapped in your mind, with nowhere to go, having to deal with your fertile imagination and your anxiety as dreaded companions, you know you have crossed the line. Below are a few tips to help you manage worry when things get out of control.

Change the things that you can change and for the rest change your perspective

Identify what is within your control and what isn’t. For example, you can control how eye-catching your marketing ads are, but you can’t control whether people will buy your product, and that’s the way it is. If it’s within your control, tackle the problem. If it’s out of your control, focus on changing your perspective. Remind yourself you can change your thoughts and perspectives on things, you can change the meaning you attach to specific events, your conclusions, and expectations. Much of our disappointment, hurt, sadness, anger, etc, that we experience is a result of unmet expectations. So, if we change our expectations, we will be able to dramatically decrease the negative feelings that result from experiencing unmet expectations. I know, it’s easier said than done, but have a go at it anyway and see if it helps.

Don’t worry, accept that life Is uncertain

Accepting a situation does not mean that you have to like it, rather it means that you stop fighting it. And that releases you from the suffering. Instead of focusing on how you would like something to be different, recognize and accept the problem or situation as it is. Remember, accepting is not the same as liking or condoning something. Learning to accept the problems that are out of your control will lead to less anxiety, anger, and sadness when dealing with them.

Exercise

Regularly moving your body is not only good for your body, but it also helps you improve your mood and it actually gives you something to do and someplace to go. Taking a walk when feeling overwhelmed can help reset your mood, give you a sense of control, and get you back on the right track. Listen to your favorite tracks whilst walking and your worry will be silenced by the sound of music. So, don’t worry, it’s OK to worry; if you do it in small doses.

Meditate and practice gratitude

Being thankful for the things that are going well in your life can help you put things into perspective and will make you less anxious. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you feel more in control of your life and the things that you can’t control will begin feeling less overwhelming. Stay still for a minute or two, reflect, and meditate. So, don’t worry, it’s OK to worry if you do it in small doses.

Talk to the Sun, the Moon, the Rain, and the Breeze.

Ask the Sun to bring you new energy by day.

Ask the Moon to restore you by night.

Ask the Rain to wash away your worries.

Ask the Breeze to blow new strength into your being.

If you do this, you will be able to forget all your worries

You will walk as tall as the trees

And to stand as strong as the mountain.

And this, my dear Friend, is Your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help

Right brained vs. left brained, which is better?

Right brained vs. left brained, which is better?

According to conventional wisdom, people tend to have a personality, thinking style, or way of doing things that are either left-brained or right-brained. Those who are right-brained are supposed to be intuitive and creative free thinkers, they experience the world in a descriptive and subjective way. Meanwhile, left-brained people tend to be more analytical and methodical; they pay attention to details and are ruled by logic. According to the right brained vs. left brained belief, the dominant hemisphere determines our personality, thoughts, and behavior, but is it true?

People are happy to label themselves this or that, but the idea of people being left-brained or right-brained may be less fixed than we’d thought. I am not a scientist, but the way I see it (in my non-scientific mind) is that we all have one brain with two sides to it, so is it possible to use both in a balanced kind of way, instead of letting one side dominate?

Be flexible in your thinking

Richard Templar explains in Rule 7 of his book The Rules of Life the importance of being flexible in your thinking. Once you think you have all the answers, you might as well hang up your boots, right? No, because once your thinking gets crystallized, rigid, formed, you’ve lost the battle. Once you get set in your ways, you’re already part of history. To get the more out of life, it’s important to keep your options open and let your thinking and life be flexible. You have to be ready to roll as the storm breaks.

Flexible thinking is like practicing martial arts, being ready to duck and weave, dodge and flow, and launch counterattacks when your opponent least expects it. If you try to see life as a friendly sparring partner, you’ll have fun. If you stay straight and rigid in your approach you are likely to be knocked down.

Life can be unpredictable and being able to go with the flow and be flexible in your thinking is a necessary skill for dealing with life’s inevitable changes and will help you adjust more easily to new circumstances, challenges, and situations as they arise.

We all have set patterns in life. We like to label ourselves as this or that and are quite proud of our opinions and beliefs. We all like to read a familiar set of newspaper, watch the same sort of TV programs or movies, go to the same sort of shops, eat the sort of food, wear the same type of clothes and all this is fine. But if we cut ourselves off from all other possibilities, we become rigid, hardened, and most of all boring.

Life is a series of adventures. Each adventure is a chance to have fun, learn something, explore the world, expand your circle of experience and friends, and broaden your horizons. Shutting down to adventure means exactly that — you are shut down.

The moment you are offered an opportunity to have an adventure, to change your thinking, to step outside of yourself, go for it and see what happens. If this thought scares you, remember that you can always go back into your shell anytime, if that is what you want to do. You don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself to you, because that would be inflexible. The very flexible thinkers know when to say no as well as when to say yes.

Mental rigidity turns us into prisoners

Right brained vs. left brained. Be flexible in your thinking. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Mental rigidity turns us into prisoners, decreases our adaptability, creativity, spontaneity, and positivity. We remain tied to old patterns that keep us from growing intellectually and emotionally. Close-minded people are those who refuse to contemplate points of view different from their own. They reject other’s approaches, ideas or perspectives, and feel very content being enclosed in their own ideas, safe within the fortress they have built around them. Those same people also tend to be stubborn, argumentative, get upset when things don’t get their way, are uncooperative, or have conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorders.

We can’t grow either on an intellectual or emotional level, if we don’t realize that what we knew could be wrong, or at least insufficient. Being wrong can become then a kind of liberation, while mental rigidity and the desire to be right only hide the fear of what would happen if we dared to admit our mistakes and go beyond.

The person who develops rigid ways of thinking is somehow protecting themselves. In fact, in many cases, realizing something you have blindly believed for years isn’t true, or at least not completely true, can be extremely painful and give way to an existential crisis.

The most important premise to get rid of mental rigidity consists in avoid seeking absolute truth, simply because it doesn’t exist. You only have to watch the news to realize that the same event can be interpreted in many different ways. Every time we assume an absolute truth, we stay blind to any other possibilities. There isn’t just one truth, we aren’t dominated by only a right brained vs. left brained way of resolving a problem, there are numerous ways. So be flexible in your thinking, keep an open mind.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Uncategorized

Short Life lessons from joanne reed – World Class Performer Interview

I am feeling blessed to have been interviewed by World Class Performer who have been featuring since 2017 stories, tactics and practical advice from authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, investors sharing their short profiles to help their audience answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results and transform life.

You can read the interview on the World Class Performer platform by clicking on the following link Short Life Lessons from Joanne Reed – World Class Performer Interview.

Or you can read the transcript of my interview with World Class Performer below.

Joanne Reed is the author of This Is Your Quest – Your Mission: To Experience Happiness Along the Way. She has not made it yet to the New York Times Bestseller list and is wondering why she is being featured here, but as a storyteller, she has a lot to say. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, and about others. She discovered the art of blogging a year ago and writes about anything that nourishes and educates the mind with a zest of philosophy, plenty of good vibes, and this little je ne sais quoi. 

Can you tell the audience of World Class Performer where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I was born and raised on a French Island in the Indian Ocean called Réunion. It is like the French version of Hawaii. Life on the island was good and I was truly fortunate to have been born and raised in a loving family environment surrounded by my parents, my sister, lots of uncles and aunties, and tons of cousins with the beach on one side and the mountain on the other side. Those early years taught me two things: 1) family is everything and 2) immerse yourself in nature whenever you can.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Most people play the same game i.e., Follow the Follower. Instead of following everyone else and instead of competing with everyone else: Pause – Create – Innovate.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

You often hear that your work will speak for itself and the only thing you have to do is write a great book and the rest will follow. That is a myth. Writing a great book is not enough. If you don’t put yourself out there, your work will stay in semi-obscurity. It takes great energy and effort for new authors to get visibility. New authors should be relentless in their Quest to make their work visible and accessible to a larger audience. The most surprising thing I learned about writing is that your book is not finished until it has been read.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

Dark periods for me equates to periods of time throughout various stages of my life where I felt out of place, lacking confidence in my ability, not having any clarity, living in a state of anxiety, and worrying about the future. Reading self-help books helped me get out of these periods and those books made me a little bit smarter and wiser.

There are two ways to learn valuable life lessons. The first method is through trial, errors, and personal experience and the second method is through books. The downside of the first method is that it will no doubt bring you a fair amount of pain and suffering, which is something that we all want to avoid as much as possible. Learning life lessons through someone else’s struggle and the ordeal is a much less painful way to go about it whilst still bringing the same benefits. Words have tremendous power and energy. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into you when your spirit is broken and can make you stronger than you know. 

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

It depends on how you define success. It is such a fluid concept. Success means different things to different people. If success means signing a publishing contract with a publisher, I tick that box and the biggest contributor to my success would be the fact that I wrote a book that is unique. The book is written from the perspective of the reader. I act as a tour guide and take my readers with me on an epic journey through time, traveling around the world, and learning valuable lessons from my favorite authors and philosophers along the way. The whole idea of the book is to guide my readers in their Quest to find their own definition of happiness and find their own path. I couldn’t find anywhere a book that dealt with all the subjects I was interested in (i.e., money, love, and health), a book that inspired me but challenged me all the same, a book that could act as a compass when I was feeling lost, a book that could educate, heal and illuminate the mind. So, I decided that I should write such a book myself.

If you define success by being on the New York Times Bestselling list, I don’t tick that box yet! I am Work-In-Progress. I see myself more like a marathon runner and not a sprinter. Let’s do this interview again in a couple of years, shall we?

What is your morning routine?

If I had to write a book to describe my morning routine, the title would be the ‘Art of wearing different hats’.

5:30 am: wake-up and make coffee, dress-up in sports gear and put my baseball hat on ready to take my dog Louis out for a quick toilet-stroll round the block; show-up at my desk for an early morning writing session wearing my favorite author’s hat, blissfully aware about how precious this alone time is.

8:00 am: Cook healthy/high protein English breakfast whilst doing the best I can to resist eating too much carb/bread.

9:00 am: show up to my Muay Thai class wearing my protective fighter hat for some high-intensity hand-to-hand combat activity where I am practicing some kick-ass moves that make me feel like Wonder Woman. 

10 am: Return home for a shower. Put author’s hat back on to do more writing till the time comes for me to swap my author’s hat with my domestic goddess hat, ready to prepare lunch, and do whatever domestic goddesses do nowadays. Wear my chauffeur’s hat a few times during the day to take my youngest daughter to places.

The rest of the day continues with me having to swap hats all the time and attend to whatever requires my undivided attention. 

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

I am curious about the world, about people, I am awake and aware of what’s happening, I read, I listen, I connect the dots, I pause, stay still, reflect and meditate, and when all of this is done, I have the urge to put my thoughts on paper and I write. I like to describe myself as an artist because it is more fluid and more suited to my current state of mind. Charles Bukowski says it best “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way”. 

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

  • Write To-Do-Lists.
  • Have lots of different hats to wear for different occasions.
  • Wake-up, dress up, show up and do the best I can till I know better and when I know better I do better. 
  • Last and not least have a sense of adventure, be an explorer. Explorers are a special type of human beings. They have physical endurance, mental toughness, abundant determination, and willpower, a deep feeling of purpose, they have faith in their pursuit and live every day with the conviction of their Quest!

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it summarizes very well everything important you need to know to survive in this world. Mainly that a person’s only real obligation is to realize one’s Personal Legend because if you do this with courage, authenticity, and integrity everything else will fall into place. Realizing your own Personal Legend is not a selfish, ego-centric purpose that only benefits you because as Christian D Larson says, “what’s the world needs is people who can do things that are thoroughly worthwhile; people who can think great thoughts and transform such thoughts into great deeds”. 

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often that you would like to share with the audience of World Class Performer?

I live by and think often of one particular quote by Maya Angelou: “Wake-up, dress-up, show-up every day, and do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou was such a phenomenal woman; her life was a succession of epic adventures. I named my eldest daughter after her.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

Why You Shouldn’t be Comparing Yourself With Others

Why you shouldn’t be comparing yourself with others

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else today. That’s what Jordan Peterson recommends in Rule 4 of his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. If you evaluate your worth by comparing yourself with others, you will always lose. To become happier and create a greater feeling of self-worth (and avoid feelings of jealousy, bitterness, and resentfulness), it is better to compare yourself with who you were yesterday and not to someone else today.

Comparing yourself with who you were yesterday

The game of life is not fair. It never was, never is, and never will be. No matter how proficient you are or how you rank your accomplishments, there is always someone better, more successful, prettier, richer, fitter, or faster than you. It is helpful to recognize and accept this fact without falling into the nihilistic trap of saying to ourselves, whats the point of life? This inequality is nobody’s fault and cannot be fixed in our lifetime.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” 

Theodore Roosevelt

This inequality is nobody’s fault and cannot be fixed in our lifetime. Strangely, in a paper published by the journal Nature Human Behaviour called Why people prefer unequal societies, a research team from Yale University argues that humans, even young children, actually prefer living in a world of inequality.

It can be argued that to compare yourself with others is helpful to create a more accurate evaluation of ourselves. Fair enough. Using others as a point of reference can be good and be a valuable source of motivation and growth, but can also bring frenzies of self-doubt. Focusing on specifics, on the angle this person has it all and I haven’t got anything that’s not a good way to look at things and it may cost you dearly.

Comparing yourself on social media

Before social media, we would compare ourselves with people close to us; our siblings, family members, school friends, colleagues, etc. Within this small group, we had a fair chance of looking good. We now have insights into billions of people worldwide, including the rich and famous, the beautiful and wealthy, and this voyeurism can leave us feeling a little inadequate. Using others as a benchmark to evaluate your own self-worth is filled with downside and pitfalls.

We suffer a lot because we only think about how life is unfair to us, ask a lot of whys, compare ourselves to others, we don’t want to accept it and just move on. Everyone in this life has a place they stand, orchestrated by the laws of the universe. You need to fight for yours. Don’t ever compare yourself.

There are two key ways you can compare yourself to someone else, upwards or down. Studies like this have found that upward comparison, i.e., comparing ourselves to those more fortunate (the rich and famous), breeds feelings of envy, low self-confidence, and depression. Downward comparison, i.e., comparing ourselves to those less fortunate, can provide some benefits to one sense of self; but this form of comparison comes at a price. It requires that we take pleasure in someone else’s failures or misfortune, leading to mean-spirited competitiveness.

Learning from others is what should motivate us to be the best version of ourselves. We should use other people’s success as a motivator and not a downer. Remember, life is a game; learning from other people’s successes and failures will teach you how to play that game; but first, you must understand that there are many good games to play, not just one.

Success is failure turned inside out

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to someone else today. There are many games to play. Photo by Elizaveta Dushechkina via Pexels

In Rule 4 of his book, 12 Rules for Life, Jordan Peterson teaches us that all activities come with their own internal standards of accomplishment. If something can be done, it can be done better or worse. Every game comes with its own chance of success or failure.

Those words success and failure are very black and white. You are either a success, a comprehensive, overall good thing, or its opposite, a failure, a comprehensive, irredeemably bad thing. The words simply provide no alternative, no middle ground, and no shades of grey.

Remember, there is not just one game at which to succeed or fail. There are many games, and more specifically, many good games — games that match your talents, involve you productively with other people, and sustain and even improve themselves across time. Engineer is a good game, so is plumber, physician, carpenter, or schoolteacher. The world allows for many ways of Being. If you don’t succeed at one, you can try another. You can pick something better matched to your unique mix of strengths, weaknesses, and situations. Furthermore, if changing games doesn’t work, you can invent a brand-new game and try to get people to come and play with you. You might come to realize that the specifics of the many games you are playing are so unique to you, so individual, that comparison to others is simply inappropriate.

And don’t forget that you are not playing just one game you are playing multiple games. You have a career, friends and family, personal projects, artistic endeavors, and athletic pursuits. You might consider judging your success across all the games you play. Imagine that you are very good at some, middling at others, and terrible at the remainder. Perhaps, that’s how it should be. You may think you should be winning at everything. But winning at everything might only mean that you’re not doing anything new or difficult. You might be winning but not growing, but in the long term, growing might be the most important form of winning.

How to stop comparing myself with others

When we are very young, we are neither individual nor informed. We have not had the time nor gained the wisdom to develop our own standards. In consequence, we must compare ourselves to others because standards are necessary. Without them, there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. As we mature, we become, by contrast, increasingly individual and unique. The conditions of our lives become more and more personal and less and less comparable with those of others.

Symbolically speaking, we must leave the house ruled by our father and confront the chaos of our individual Being. Who are you? You think you know, but maybe you don’t. You are interested in some things and not others. Some activities will always engage you, and others simply will not. How hard can you force yourself to work and sustain the effort required in any worthwhile endeavor? What is it that you genuinely love? What is it that you genuinely want?

You are nested in a network of social obligations, for sure you should live up to those obligations. But this does not mean you must take the role of a lapdog, obedient and harmless. That’s how the dictator wants his slaves. Dare instead to articulate yourself and express what would really justify your life.

So next time you catch yourself using someone else as a benchmark for your own worth, stop and remind yourself how ineffective this strategy really is. Instead, compassionately redirect your energy and attention to your own goals and what is required to achieve them. And don’t forget that the only person you should compare yourself with is the person you were yesterday.

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code