Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Contemplating Death COuld teach us how to live

Death is a difficult topic of conversation. People would rather not think about or talk about death. While we all know that we will die, this is a fact upon which few wish to dwell. Even though, each day countless individuals reach an untimely demise in the prime of their life, rarely do we contemplate that this risk hangs over our head as well. Despite its inevitability, death is one of the least discussed events in our lives. This is the reason why I decided to dwell on this a little, steering clear of the sordid and morbid aspect of death but choosing instead to focus on the positive aspect of death and how contemplating death could teach us how to live.

There are countless reports of people experiencing near-death experiences to come back to the world of the living with a completely new mindset and a will to live their life more intentionally and more intensely. Although those out-of-the-ordinary experiences are interesting, it is not surprising to think that if you were at death’s door, went on the other side, then came back into the world of the living, for sure you will feel ecstatic and motivated to live your life differently. More difficult to tackle is trying to ascertain how contemplating death could teach us how to live without having to travel to the other side.

How contemplating death could teach us how to live

Philosophers spend their days thinking about the meaning of life and you can’t talk about life without having to talk about death. Countless philosophers, theologians, and psychologists did not hesitate to tackle this tricky subject and spent countless hours dwelling on it. Their conclusion: death is inextricably a part of life and lifelong consideration of death enriches rather than impoverishes life. These individuals recognized that far from a morbid practice, periodically thinking about death can be life-enhancing.

How contemplating death could teach us how to live and manage our energy . Photo by Onlyyouqj via freepik.com

Though the physicality of death destroys an individual, the idea of death can save him.

Irvin Yalom

The truth of the matter is that we mortals should be reminded from time to time of our own limitations. To live fully we must be cognizant of our limitations, the most significant of which is the scarcity and uncertain duration of time we are each granted. Failure to recognize this limitation and to live accordingly is one of the most tragic tendencies of mankind. We have a tendency to sacrifice and devalue the present in the false hope that there will always be a future in which to make amends. But the future does not belong to us. Contemplating death forces us to reorient ourselves towards the present moment, and to live life with a renewed sense of urgency.

When we contemplate the possibility of death, we should do it with moderation, like our exposure to the sun. Both are integral components of life but staring at either for too long only leads to debilitation — damaged eyes in the case of the sun and paralyzing anxiety in the case of death. Turning away completely from death, however, can be just as debilitating. For as the rays of the sun are needed to sustain life, periodic reflection on death seems necessary to imbue one’s life with a spark of urgency and an appreciation for the present that so many in the modern-day lack.

Academy of Ideas

How contemplating death could teach us how to manage our energy wisely

Contemplating death also forces us to better appreciate the value of the time we have and how we spend it.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Life is finite. I only have one life. What’s happening after nobody knows. So, if I know that my life is finite, I want to be extremely clear where and towards whom I should expand my energy. The law of thermodynamics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another. If I have 10% of spare energy to allocate to someone and decide to give it to John, I have to know when I make this allocation that John is worthy of my time. If I give 10% of my energy to John, I have to know that he is going to do something good with it, because if I know that he is going to squander it, I will rather give it to someone else.

How contemplating death could teach us how to live and manage our energy. Photo by Toa 55 via freepik.com

People and things are the biggest consumers of energy. Some people lift you up and give you energy. Other people suck a tremendous amount of energy from you. The greatest impetus to manage your energy is death. Far too many people waste a great deal of time on things that contribute little of positive value to their life — be it unhealthy relations, dead-end jobs, or destructive habits. Often, we know we need to change, to stop wasting our time, and to focus our efforts elsewhere, but we delay and justify our delays with the excuse that in the future conditions will be more ideal. Kind reminder: Life is finite and waiting for ideal conditions to do anything is a dangerous game to play.

When the Dalai Lama was asked in an interview, what surprises him the most; he offered an insightful response: Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as he is never going to die, and then dies never really lived.

Periodically contemplating death can also improve our relationships with others. If we are more cognizant of our own mortality, we will also become more aware that the lives of everyone we care about hang by a similarly thin thread. Never knowing when the final time will be that we see someone can make us more appreciative of the times we do spend with them.

“Limitation in the possibility of an enjoyment raises the value of enjoyment.”

Signmund Freud

How contemplating death could help us with our legacy

According to Ernest Becker, to act in this world with relative composure, human beings should alleviate the fear of death by leaving a legacy after they are gone. The antidote to the terror of death is to live a life that is significant. If one’s legacy lives on, then death is not one’s final destiny. One can keep the fear of death at bay by feeling that one’s life has a significance that will live on after one’s death. Each person needs to be a heroic contributor to the destiny of man.

“What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance. Man wants to know that his life has somehow counted. If not for himself, then at least in a larger scheme of things, that it has left a trace, a trace that has meaning.”

Ernest Becker

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

The Importance of Spaces-in-Between

Horror Vacui” — Nature abhors a vacuum. Aristotle coined the phrase that expresses the idea that unfilled spaces go against the laws of nature and physics and that every space needs to be filled with something. But, is this right? I am thinking that applying this concept of horror vacui to our life may not be such a good idea after all. I am thinking that instead of filling up all the available space that we have, we should instead keep those spaces in-between empty to reflect, to pause, to re-energize, to find ourselves. We should not underestimate the importance of the spaces-in-between.

It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence of the gap, or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created, including our own bliss .

Wayne Dyer

The spaces-in-between are critical to our physical and mental health

The spaces-in-between are critical for our physical and mental health- Photo by Peter Kai via freepik.com

We should never underestimate the power of the spaces in-between. If I wrote this article without any spaces in between the words and with no spaces in between the paragraphs, it will no doubt turn into an incomprehensible black mass of letters aligned one next to another, that will make no sense to anyone. The spaces in between the words are critical, without those spaces, the whole text will just be gobbledygook.

Spaces- in-Between moments in our life are also vital for our physical and mental state of mind. We all know the benefits of staying active and getting regular exercise, but whether you are training for a competition or making sure that you are keeping up with your fitness regime, more isn’t always better. Rest days are just as important as exercise. Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair, and skipping those rest days may lead you to overtrain or burn out. Rest is essential for muscle growth. Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue; during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair the muscle. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscle.

Life is busy, there is so much to do and take care of on a day-to-day basis, being this and that and everything in between. As soon as one task is accomplished another one is making its way on our to-do list. The result may be exhaustion and a feeling of discontent. We have to prioritize the space we put in-between moments in our life. We have to learn to press the pause button more often. Life is not an ever-ending checklist or a destination. It is a journey that should be punctuated by pauses and moments of reflection where there is nothing to do but just enjoys the silence, enjoy the quietness and the preciousness of that Space-in-Between moments.

Space-in-Between moments don’t have to be moments of silence or deep meditation, it can be anything that allows you to do something that makes you feel joyful and peaceful such as taking a minute or two to smell a flower, walk barefoot on the grass, walk in the rain without a care in the world.

There is something that is empowering and freeing about spaces-in-between

There is something empowering and freeing about the spaces-in-between – Photo by Peter Kai via freepik.com

Holocaust survivor and world-renowned psychiatrist and author Viktor Frankl taught that the space in between is what differentiates humans from all the other animals. He wrote in his memoir “Man’s Search for Meaning” that between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

When you are intentional, aware, and awake, life is naturally spacious. The next question is how do we cultivate that spaciousness? First, you have to switch off all the noise around you, start with switching off your TV, and all your electronics. The constant stimulus of technology prevents us from discovering the depth, meaning, and substance found in the stillness of the in-between spaces.

“All of humanity’s problems stems from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” Blaise Pascal.

Too often our minds are caught in a cycle of stimulus and mindless distractions, practicing the art of being still, and experiencing more space-in-between moments will definitely help us unclutter our minds. When we find the time to pause and to observe from a neutral place, we begin to see what is. From that placeyou can find your way back from the confusion and chaos of life and you will be able to get a better vantage point about yourself and the world around you. You will get some clarity about who you are, where you want to go, what you want to be and you will be able to connect with the people around you in an optimum manner.

Stillness is an attainable path to enlightenment, excellence, greatness, and happiness, it can inspire new ideas, sharpens perspective, and illuminate the mind. Stillness slows the ball down so we can hit it generates a vision, helps us resist the passion of the mob, and makes space for gratitude and wonder. The Spaces-in-Between moments are where we often find some of the greatest riches of life.

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

Back home

I have always had great difficulties answering the question “Where are you from?” This seemingly innocuous question always throws me back a little because I don’t have a simple answer to give to that question without having to explain my whole life story including giving an impromptu geography lesson to the person asking the question. I was born and raised on Réunion Island, a place that most people on the planet have never heard about. Location: Indian Ocean. Tropic of Capricorn. Coordinates: 21.11 degree South Latitude. 55.53-degree East Longitude. Official language French & Creole. I am a French national married to an English man and I have spent the past 30 years living overseas (England, USA, New Zealand, South Korea.) I recently reentered my homeland to settle back on my island. Coming back to Réunion Island after so many years away has made me think about the concept of Home Sweet Home.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home. Case Creole. L’entre-Deux. Photo by Joanne Reed.

Home is a fluid concept, and it means different things to different people. For a lot of people, home is strongly connected to one particular place where you operate within familiar landscapes, sounds, and smells, a common language, with family and friends around you. It is the place where things are predictable and secure. But home is more than your birthplace; home is the place where you feel comfortable as a family member, as a member of society, as a friend, it is the place where you feel that you belong, and where you feel involved with its surroundings.

My two daughters were a bit confused about this concept of home when they were younger. We were living in South Korea at that time making regular trips to England, Australia, and Reunion to visit family members during school vacation. I remember one particular conversation I had with my eldest daughter, Maya who was 9 or 10 at the time, “Mummy, where is home?”. I knew that she was getting a bit confused with this concept, so I thought carefully about the type of answer I should offer to her and said: “Home is where your family is”. She thought about this a little bit, and I knew when she smiled back, that I somehow managed to clear all the confusion that was running through her head with one simple sentence -“Home is where your family is”. From that day onwards, everything was clear for Maya, our immediate family was living in Korea, where both of her parents were working and where she and her youngest sister were going to school; so, Korea was home. We have family living in England, in Australia, and on Reunion Island, and traveling to those places to meet up with them took us to another one of our homes. All those places were also home to my daughters whenever we visited them.

Away from home

Back Home. Case Creole. Photo by Joanne Reed – L’Entre-Deux, Ile de la Reunion

When I was a child, I dreamed of the day when I would leave my island which felt very small and very insular. I wanted to travel and see the world. Foreign lands like the USA and Europe had an iconic status to me. I wanted to go there and see for myself what it was like to live in those places.

I feel blessed that my studies, my career as a lawyer, and my husband helped make my dream of living and working in foreign lands a reality. I lived and worked in San Francisco (USA), London (UK), Auckland (New Zealand), and Seoul(South Korea.)

Living and working in those countries taught me a lot about the country itself but also about myself. I learned that I have a great capacity to adapt to changes, meet and connect with lots of different people, blend in and operate happily as a stranger in a strange land.

People develop a strong emotional attachment to the places they live because their physical surroundings play an important role in creating a sense of meaning and organization in their lives. The result is that the place where we live is closely tied to who we are as a person. Living in big cities such as San Francisco, London and Seoul fitted perfectly to who I was when I was a young lawyer working hard and trying to find her place in the working environment. Many years later, my aspirations are different. I aspire for peace and quiet, I want to live in a comfortable and close to nature kind of environment.

Back home

Back Home. La Chappelle. Cilaos – Photo by Joanne Reed. Ile de la Reunion

Life events have sent me back home on my island after 30 years of living overseas. I must be honest, I had mixed feelings about this return back home. I wasn’t sure if I could find my place among the locals after so many years away. I am happy to say that my return back home went really well, thanks to the amazing network of family and friends that I have retained here on the island. Managing to keep those connections alive over the years was so worth it. There is a special type of comfort in knowing that your friends and family are here for you, that they will back you up, cheer you up, understand you and take care of you. And it is comforting to know that whether you are near or far love will always hold you close.

After so many years spent overseas, I have learned that there is no such thing as the perfect place. The perfect place to live does not exist, there are advantages and disadvantages everywhere you go. There is always a mixed bag of good and bad. You have to make the most of what your current location is offering you, and you have to make do with the inconveniences and unpleasantness of things that irritate you with the place where you live.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust.

Island living has plenty of advantages. The beach is never far away, and the mountains are a drive away. Family and friends are plenty and as for opportunities, it is up to you to make them happen. I am having lots of fun re-discovery my island and looking at it with fresh eyes. I appreciate the beauty the island has to offer, its clean air, the amazing sceneries, and the people who inhabit it. When I wake up every morning I am trying to look at my new surroundings with fresh eyes and not through a veil of memory and assumptions.

People have a tendency to take people and places around them for granted. Familiarity makes us forget how blessed we are to be connected to this particular person or to be living in a particular environment. Once things become familiar to us, we no longer see them. We must become more intentional and see those things and those people with a pair of fresh eyes. It is easy for people to put a label on everything and everyone, based on some interactions that happened in the past. When we interact with someone, we should try to put a fresh eye on this particular interaction and resist the temptation to bring our past experience with that person as the only criteria to rely on, thinking that we already know what that person is all about. People changes, a good person can turn into a bad person and a bad person can turn into a good person at any given moment. Don’t make assumptions about people based on your past experience with them. Keep your interaction with them fresh.

Coming back home after many years overseas made me realize that home is where your friends and family are. Home is not a place, it is a feeling. Keep looking at life and people with a fresh pair of eyes.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

work it.

Work is part of our lives, and it starts from the day we are born. As brand-new infants, we have to figure out a way to drink that milk that will keep us alive whether it comes directly from our mother or from a bottle, and for a little person, it requires effort and hard work getting through that bottle. As a toddler, we have to work our way through a nursery. As a child we have to start doing some real hard work going through school to learn A, B, C. As young adults we leave high school with our diploma to walk straight into university. After a few years on Campus, we leave with a degree to walk straight into a job that will keep us busy for the next 30 to 40 years, whilst working on building a family and a home at the same time. Finally, we get to have a break in our olden days to enjoy some peace and quiet time during our retirement, where the only work we have to do is to babysit our grandchildren from time to time.

We can’t escape the fact that work is part of who we are and what we do. Some people say work is a curse, and labor is a misfortune, and for sure if we are given the choice to laze around or to do some work, most people would jump at the chance to laze around. But how long can you stay satisfied laying down on your sofa doing nothing? What if we can make work our passion? I say, work it and let’s make our life a work of art.

Work it.

Hard work is always the baseline of great achievements. Photo by wayhome Studio via freepik.com

Being successful at something requires hard work, sweat, tears, discipline, and patience. In the olden days, if you wanted to enter a profession you had to find a master who was willing to take you under his wings and enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft. The normal length of an apprenticeship was 10 years; learning the craft required patience, discipline, and dedication. The modern concept of this is the 10,000 hours required to master a skill as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. Hard work is always the baseline of great achievements.

Robert Greene called this Mastery. He wrote a whole book about it. “

“Anyone who would spend ten years absorbing the techniques and conventions of their field, trying them out, mastering them, exploring and personalizing them, would inevitably find their authentic voice and give birth to something unique and expressive. Embrace slowness as a virtue in itself.”

Robert Greene

Olympians become at the top of their games by investing years of their lives into training, by getting their body ready to perform at its optimum level, and by building the strength of character and mental toughness that is necessary to become a champion; the same applies to your life as well. There is always work to be done and this is best describe by Maya Angelou who wrote a poem titled Women’s work. Below is a short extract from that poem.

Women’s work by Maya Angelou

I’ve got the children to tend. The clothes to mend

The floor to mop. The food to shop

Then the chicken to fry. The baby to dry

I got company to feed. The garden to weed

I’ve got shirts to press. The tots to dress

I gotta clean up this hut. Then see about the sick

And the cotton to pick…

Work of art.

Make your life a work of art. Photo by Wayhome Studio via freepikc.com

For a lot of people, work is just something they have to do to earn a living, put a roof over their head, pay their bills and put food on the table. For the lucky ones (a small minority) work is their passion. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to turn their passion into their work? For some people finding their passion is easy, they were born knowing what it was; what is less easy is to get started and to do it consistently. For others, finding their passion is not so obvious. The problem is that a lot of people believe that their passion is hiding somewhere, maybe behind a tree or underneath a rock. The truth is that our passion comes first from doing things, and then doing them right.

We should get into the habit of injecting passion, not all the things that we do. If we do this consistently, a time will come when something stands out above all the other things, and that is the very thing that we should devote more time to doing passionately. That’s all there is to it, just do it. Work it! But what if you have no passion to create anything? In that case, the only thing you have to do is to listen to the philosopher Carl Jung.

“If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself. To give style to one’s character is a great and rare art.”

Carl Jung

How about turning yourself into a work of art? Maybe the healthiest person you could be? Or maybe a deep philosophical thinker? And when you got it, flaunt it.

“Consider making your life a work of art. You have yourself to begin with and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be who you are, even though you may be quite content with who and what you are; it will not be hard for you to think of something greater than you might become; it need not be something spectacular or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of. Make your life a work of art!

Richard Taylor

Work-In-Progress

I like to think of myself as Work-In-Progress. I work hard, perspire a lot during the process. I cry many tears along the way, get deflated when the outcome doesn’t match the input of energy I invested in the project, but I made it my quest to make my life a work of art. When you glance over my work, you are catching a glimpse of my soul. I march to my own beat, and wildly dance to my own rhythm, as I turn my passion into my work. Make your life a work of art.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How much is enough?

How much is enough? We often want more than we have now. More money, more gadgets, better furniture, a better house, a better car, more clothes, more shoes, more success. We live in a consumer culture, where our needs, want and desire can be satisfied very easily. We don’t even have to get out of bed to get those things, we can just browse the internet, click a few buttons, get our credit card out et voila! The object of your need, want and desire can be delivered to your front door.

As soon as we fulfill one need, another one comes to replace it, as soon as we purchase something we really need or want, we fantasize about owning another item and it goes on and on. We are all suffering to a certain extent from sins of luxury. The more we have the more we want. Where does necessity end and excess begin? How much is enough? There isn’t one answer to the question of How much is enough; there are as many answers as there are people on this planet. And even when you think that you found out the answer to that question, that answer will no doubt change over time as your goals change, unexpected events and challenges may come along your way, that will make you change your definition of how much is enough?

What does enough mean?

Enough is the quality of knowing that you have everything you need and want but nothing in excess, nothing that burdens you. Having enough money will make your life comfortable and easy but having too much money could give you sleepless nights and could bring with it its fair share of stress and worries. Enough doesn’t mean the just bare necessities of life, i.e., food, water, shelter, and enough money to get by. That’s not really enough. Enough means having enough to live, and enough to be happy, and enough to thrive. You don’t want to just survive; you want to thrive. You want to be good at what you do and do what you love.

What does enough mean? Photo by Halayalex via freepik.com

“My mission in life is not just to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya Angelou

People who have come to know how much is enough for them display the following qualities:

1. They have a sense of purpose larger than their own needs, wants, and desires. Desires are infinite. Fill one desire and another emerges. A sense of purpose directs your attention to only those things that will really serve your mission, whether your mission is to make money, raising children, or growing a garden.

2. They know the value of money; they know where it comes from and where it goes. If you don’t know how much you have, you can never have enough.

3. They rely on their internal compass to let them know if something is really adding to their happiness or is just more stuff to use for a minute or two, then store, forget and ultimately sell or give away. Their sense of enoughness isn’t based on what others have or don’t have. They have no interest in keeping up with the Joneses.

4. They have a sense of responsibility for themselves, their family, and the world at large, a sense of how their lives and choices fit into the larger social and spiritual scheme of things.

5. They raise their children in an environment where they get enough opportunity to build character, to fail, to contemplate, and pick themselves again.

You are enough

You are enough? Photo by Drobotdean via freepik.com

According to Melissa Camara Wilkins (Author of Permission Granted: Be Who You Were Made to Be and Let Go of the Rest), You are enough does not mean that you have been measured, considered, and judged and that you have finally earned the label of “enough”. It doesn’t mean that you‘ve worked long enough, tried hard enough, presented well enough. It’s simply who you are. You don’t have to be more, or do more, or buy more to be who you are meant to be. You are enough doesn’t mean that you are a final product, complete and finished, all done growing and changing and learning things forevermore. You are enough does not mean that you are all-powerful and perfect either. You are enough does not mean that you are everything.

You are enough does not mean that you have to be self-sufficient. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need anyone or anything. It means that you understand how much you do need, how small you are in the great grand universe – and you don’t need to be bigger than that. You are enough does not mean that you never need help. It doesn’t mean that you are flawless, or that you never make mistakes. Knowing that I am not perfect doesn’t mean that my flaws are the truest, most important thing about me, it just means that I acknowledge them, they are part of me. You are enough as you are, mess and all, beautiful and broken, showing up for life every day. That’s all you have to be and all you have to do.

You are enough doesn’t mean that you have to stay stagnant. Of course, there are things you might want to be more of. More open. More true. More authentic. More free. More connected. More intentional. More purposeful. Being enough means that you acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and move forward with purpose, at your own rhythm. Life does not need to be an endless treadmill. The truth is, we – especially women, but all of us, really – are swimming in a sea of expectations. And when you decide to let go of those expectations and give yourself permission to be who you really are, that is where freedom begins.

No matter how you feel, get up every day, dress-up, show-up and do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better do better. Maya Angelou… and that’s enough.

I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess,

I wish you enough “Hellos” to get you through the finale “Goodbye”

Unknown author.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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

Categories
Be Healthy

Health Matters a great deal

Health matters a great deal. It has always mattered but for the past year and a half, it has become the topic of conversation in all circles of society and the subject of health remains at the center of every decision we make on a daily basis, where the medicals, the politicians, the economists, the lawmakers, and law enforcement people take their turn to opine, legislate and execute decisions that affect us all on a daily basis on based on our health. Health is at the center of everything we do today. This blog article is based on some extracts from Chapter 22 of my book “This Is Your Quest“.

Native American Theory of Existence “Everything on the Earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it and every person a mission.”

From the beginning of time, health mattered a great deal

Life in the Ancient World was a dangerous endeavor. For most of history, living was a dangerous occupation with most people at risk of dying from war, famine, disease, epidemic, or childbirth with the average lifespan much lower than it is today. In those days, people relied heavily on the good graces that their favorite Gods were willing to dispense over them in order to maneuver all those perils. People prayed and made offerings to their favorite Gods in order to keep them healthy. A healthy person was recognized as being in the “goods books” of the Gods; being sick on the other hand, meant that you were being punished by the Gods for some bad deed you did. In Greek society, the most favored God for healing was Asklepios. Sick people traveled for days to seek healing in “Asklepion” or sanitariums. These sanitariums were similar in some ways to the modern spa. Asklepions were located in remote and beautiful areas and provided baths, healthy food, and sanctuary rooms intended specifically for sleep and meditation.

Health matters a great deal. Never underestimate the power of ginger and lemon tea. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

By the 5th century BC, physicians started to develop and exercise a more scientific medical profession. Hippocrates, the most famous physician of antiquity, started writing medical textbooks. From such writings, we see that ancient physicians knew that draining and cleaning infected wounds promoted healing and they knew of certain herbs that had healing and disinfecting properties. Wild ginger for example and a particular clay found on the Greek Island of Lemnos was believed to be helpful for ailments such as dysentery. The clay contained elements such as kaolin and bentonite, which are used in modern medicines to treat diarrhea. During those times, healing was very much focused on the idea of a body-mind relationship. Hippocrates believed that the body and mind are in unity, and to affect one is to affect the other.

Health mattered a great deal for Hippocrates of Kos the father of Modern Medicine

Hippocrates of Kos[1] also known as the “Father of Modern Medicine” is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally, and not because of superstition and Gods. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the Gods, but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Hippocrates conducted the first clinical studies by observing people and comparing their health habits. He noticed that bodies grow relaxed and sluggish through sedentary lives which led to various illnesses. Those who walked more stayed well longer. So, he often prescribed exercise. This was a very forward way of thinking coming from someone who lived in the Ancient World.

Health matters a great deal. Hippocrates the father of Modern Medicine. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Fast-forward to today, this concept of walking every day to make you healthier has been vindicated through many studies; a recent National Cancer Institute study conducted on more than 650,000 people found that those who walk briskly for just 150 minutes a week, or 22 minutes a day, gained an average of 3.4 years of life expectancy.[2] No drugs required and so simple!

Hippocratic medicine was humble and passive. The therapeutic approach was based on the healing power of nature. According to this doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance and heal itself. Hippocrates was reluctant to administer drugs, the medicine he prescribed was very kind to the patient, treatment was gentle, and emphasized keeping the patient clean and sterile. His favorite treatment included fasting and the consumption of apple cider vinegar. He also used potent drugs but only when absolutely necessary.

Hippocrates meticulously examined his patients’ urine, stools, pus, and sweat; but he also observed their personalities, home environment, relationships, diet and even their facial expressions before diagnosing and treating them. He believed that it was impossible to understand illness without understanding the whole person.

Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. The strength that is in each of us is our greatest doctor. Man must harmonize mind and body. It is nature that heals the sick.

Hippocrates

He recognized that when people ate mainly a fresh, plant-based diet, they developed fewer diseases. Hundreds of years later, this concept has now been proven clinically; a new study has shown that an intensive weight management program can reverse type 2 diabetes.[3] Hippocrates’ primary form of treatment was usually improving a patient’s diet.

Everything in excess is opposed to nature. The same remedy could heal in one dose but could cause harm in greater doses. Unless you have real evidence that a medical treatment was helpful, you shouldn’t use it. To do nothing could also be a good remedy, depending on the case.

Hippocrates


[1] Hippocrates of Kos (460 – 370 BC – Greece) – Physician. Best known for being the father of modern medicine. The “Hippocratic Oath” that newly qualified doctors take, bears his name.

[2] National Institutes of Health – Increased physical activity associated with lower risk of 13 types of cancer – 13 May 2016 – https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/increased-physical-activity-associated-lower-risk-13-types-cancer

[3] A new study – the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) suggests that remission of type 2 diabetes may be achievable through intense weight management programs supported by routine primary care – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320274.php

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.

Categories
Self-Help

What is empathy and why it is important

The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. What is empathy and why it is important? Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. It is the ability to understand another person’s thoughts and feelings in a situation from their point of view, rather than your own.

Why is it important? Because if you learn how to emphasize with your friends, coworkers, and people around you and understand their point of view and where they are coming from you will be able to connect, communicate and interact with people at an optimum level, and use that understanding to guide your actions.

What is empathy?

The history of empathy comes from the German word Einfühlung, which means feeling into. The word was then introduced into the English language and was used initially to describe feelings towards aesthetics rather than human beings. For example, when you felt an emotional connection with a piece of artwork, you would use the word empathy. The work of philosophers and scientists helped expand the use of the word to people; they noticed that emphatic behaviors affect intimate relationships.

Recent experiments showed that physicians who attended communication skills training started showing more empathy. As a consequence, there were improved patient experiences, superior clinical outcomes, fewer medical errors, and higher physicians’ retentions. Empathy is not a born trait and doesn’t happen naturally for a lot of people, it can be taught, and it is an important skill to have when establishing intimate and professional relationships. Empathy is a conscious choice, but it needs practice, the more we practice empathy, the more intuitive and natural we become.

What is empathy and why it is important? Photo from freepik via freepik.com

Another experiment showed interesting results demonstrating how humans do and can feel the pain of someone else. In this experiment, sixteen female volunteers were sent electrical shocks throughout their bodies. Their brain activity was scanned, and the scientists were particularly interested in the activation of the pain matrix, which is a set of brain areas that consistently respond to painful stimuli. The surprising and interesting result of this experiment was that the spouses of these volunteers although unharmed also showed activation of the pain matrix.

This was one of the first studies that demonstrate that we do feel pain for others but in a much less intense form. What is really happening to our brain when we feel empathy for someone else? Magnetic resonance imaging shows that a neural relay mechanism will cause an individual to unconsciously copy another person’s mannerism, posture, or facial expression. This explains how we can relate and be emphatic to someone else.

Why is empathy important?

When you have empathy, you can understand what a person is feeling in a given moment, and you can understand why other people’s actions make sense to them. Empathy is important because it helps us have great social interactions. Some people have fantastic natural empathy and can pick up how someone else is feeling just by looking at them. Some people only have a tiny amount of natural empathy and won’t notice that you are angry until you start yelling. Most people are somewhere in the middle.

In a world where a lot of young people spend a tremendous amount of time playing violent games or watching violent movies, my question is does being exposed to violence decrease your ability to empathize with others? The short answer to this question is Yes, it does. There are plenty of studies that show that exposure to real life and media violence increases aggressive and anti-social behavior, making them less likely to feel empathy for another person.

A 2015 study shows that most 18-year-olds will observe up to 6000 acts of violence in movies and television in just one year; add to this the alarming statistics that 50-70% of 15-year-old have witnessed real-life violence or have been assaulted in one way or another. Experiencing a large amount of violence has been shown to decrease emotional and physiological reactivity. Other studies show that televised violence has both short-term and long-term effects on emotional desensitization.

According to the latest neuroscience research, 98% of people have the ability to feel empathy, we have an in-built capacity for stepping into the shoes of others and understanding their feelings and perspectives. The few exceptions are psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths who are people who are unable to understand or relate to other people’s feelings and emotions.

The takeaway from all of this is that we all have the capacity to demonstrate empathy, but not all of us will take the time to do that. Empathy is not a born trait, we have to practice this art.

Blog article written by Alize Reed.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.

Categories
Self-Help

Sport Has the Power to Inspire and Unite

We are in the full swing of the Tokyo Olympics, athletes from around the world are gathered to compete and show the world what the best of the best can do. Sport has the power to inspire and unite. Behind every Olympic athlete, there is an incredible story of hard work, perseverance, discipline, pain, successes, and failures.

When you watch those athletes perform you are witnessing something very special; you see a special breed of humans who are passionate, dedicated, and on top of their game physically and mentally. When you experience the energy and anticipation that exist in a stadium full of fans and supporters cheering for their favorite teams and players, you can see that sport has the power to inspire and unite and it matters a great deal.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.” Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela

Sports has the power to inspire and unite

In February 2018, the World Economic Forum posted an article entitled, The uniquely unifying power of sports, and why it matters. The author, Mark Ein, stated: “Any discussion of the power of sport has finally to include its importance as a vehicle to teach our youth – and the rest of us – the lessons of leadership, good health, teamwork, fair play, self-reliance, and continuous improvement.”

The world is a fractured place. There are conflicts between countries all over the globe, and also conflicts between people from the same country. Sport has the power to inspire and unite. Throughout history, people who otherwise have little in common have come together on neighborhood pitches and in packed stadiums, as fans and as players, and put those differences aside for the sake of their teams. Sport has the potential to unite people in times of extreme chaos and violence. Even in the most tumultuous of circumstances, sport gives people from all sides a respite from the endless conflict and violence and allows combatants to see each other once again as human beings instead of merely enemies.

The Olympic Truce can trace its origins back to 776 BC where the rulers of the time agreed to end any conflict for a week before and after the Olympic games in the spirit of sportsmanship and universal peace. The truce ensured that the host city was not attacked, and athletes and spectators could travel safely to the Games and peacefully return to their respective countries.

Sports has the power to inspire and unite in times of peace and war – Flashback

Sport has the power to inspire and unite. It has the power to inspire and unite Invictus. Photo by Olga Guryanova via unsplash.com

The 2009 movie Invictus starring Morgan Freeman who played President Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon who played Francois Pienaar, directed by Clint Eastwood tells the inspiring and true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the Captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of Apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela gives his full support to South Africa’s rugby team (the Springboks) as they make their run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.

South Africa is hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup, that being the only reason the Springboks are even competing in the tournament as its years on the sideline of world rugby events has not made it world ranked. The Springboks were previously considered the team of white South Africa and had no support from the black section of the population. Mandela decides to place his support behind the Springboks; he reached out to captain Francois Pienaar to ask him to help him unite the country by achieving the unrealistic goal of the Springboks winning the World Cup. Carried by a wave of unwavering support from the population, the South African team progresses throughout the competition reaching the final and having as opponents the all-blacks from New Zealand (no need here to introduce the all blacks as their reputation as rugby powerhouse precedes them). Against all odds Springboks wins 15-12! Never underestimate the power of sport, this rugby game made a nation.

More recently, in the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we saw once again the power of sport, when athletes from North and South Korea marched together at the opening ceremony behind a unified Korean flag. The two nations even entered a combined women’s hockey team in one of the most dramatic gestures of reconciliation between them in decades. The two teams trained together in the lead-up to the Games, and they were supported by fans from both countries; North Korea allowed a delegation of North Korean fans to travel to Seoul to support their team.

Sports has the power to inspire and unite. Photo by Joanne Reed. Seoul, South Korea

Sport has once again proven to be an effective mechanism to break the impasse and get the countries not just talking but working together. l hope that the diplomatic momentum that was built in the Korean mountain community of Pyeongchang during the winter Olympics will continue. The amazing unifying ability of sport to allow individuals to cast aside their differences and come together in the spirit of the games amplify the unique place sports occupy as an instrument for unification that is strong enough to bring people together even during the most divisive times in human history.

Those images of South Korea and North Korea marching together at the Winter Olympics games carries a lot of emotion for me. Seoul holds a very special place in my heart, it was my home for many years, and it is the country where my two daughters were raised. The conflict between the North and the South is something that the Koreans have been living with for decades and seeing the South and North Korean Athletes side by side during the winter Olympic games was a spectacular and historic moment.

Never underestimate the power of sports, it can inspire, unite and heal a nation.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.

Categories
Self-Help

What if we are being played?

Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, philosopher, politician, historian, and writer who lived during the Renaissance. He is best known for his political treatise The Prince, written in 1513 where he articulated the Divide-and-Conquer policy. Fast forward to the modern era and there is no denying the fact that the world is more divided than ever; everything is politicized and polarized. Sensitivities and emotions are at an all-time high. In this blog article, I am going to ask you to step back a little to look at things from a different angle and to ask yourself the question: what if we are being played?

Machiavelli’s purpose in writing The Prince was twofold: 1) to show a ruler or would-be ruler how best to maintain his political power and influence and 2) to redeem himself in the eyes of the ruler of Florence after his fall from grace, having been imprisoned and banished from the city from the rulers of the time. Reading The Prince will not leave you indifferent, it will no doubt shock you by its bluntness and Machiavellic genius.

Machiavelli argued in this book that a sovereign (who he calls a prince) must from time to time resort to unethical and immoral policies and practices in order to maintain control and maximize their own power and influence. In other words, a ruler should lie, cheat, break promises and so on to strengthen or maintain his control while pretending to promote the welfare of the people. The end justifies the means. Machiavelli formulated his political theory after years of observing corrupt politics close up, having firsthand knowledge of all the dirty tricks and tactics that those rulers were using. This said, he accepts the fact that given the choice it is better to follow established moral and ethical precepts, except that politics is a tainted profession and being moral and ethical in politics can be a tall order.

“Saints passed their lives praying in monasteries or working in leper colonies. City hall was the domain of the devil. To survive in city hall, one had to adopt the tactics of the devil.”

Machiavelli

What if we are being played by a policy of divide and conquer?

What is we are being played? Forget divide and conquer do unite-and-conquer instead.Photo by Copperpie via freepik.com

One of Machiavelli’s key political strategies can be found in the Divide-and-Conquer-Policy. The divide-and-conquer policy allows the leaders to conquer their foes, and reinforce their ability to selfishly keep their positions of power and authority by creating intrigues and conflicts among the people leading them to fight against each other; leaving the ruler sitting comfortably on this throne eating popcorn and enjoying the show.

According to the Collins Dictionary, Divide and Conquer is “a concept that refers to a policy intended to keep someone in a position of power by causing disagreements among people who might otherwise unite against them. Divide and conquer is a strategy that has been used from the beginning of time and is still being used today. Peasants v Aristocrats, Rich v Poor, Black v White, Christian v Muslim, Men v Women, Straight vs Gay, Old v Young, Left v Right, Republicans v Democrats … and you can go on and on and on. Making people fight against each other serves the purpose of the rulers. There is a lot of discontent currently around the world, people are angry. The question is who benefits from it? The world is upside down and a lot of it doesn’t make sense. For more on this, feel free to check out my book “This Is Your Quest”.

The divide-and-conquer policy is widely used but is it really effective? Leaders who seek selfish interest and behave in a divide-and-conquer way, which hinders positive cohesive relationships, may not be rewarded with the respect and trust of their peers as a consequence. People may well realize that they are being played and if they are smart, they may decide to not play this divide-and-conquer game and decide to play unite-and-conquer instead.

What if you are being played and continue to act like two rats in a cage

What if we are being played? Ask yourself where those shocks are coming from. Photo by Ilin Serguey via freepik.com

A fascinating study with rats was conducted in 1966 by Roger Ulrich from the Michigan University in order to figure out if pain could be the cause and trigger of aggressive behavior. In this study, a single rat would be placed in a cage with an electrified metal grid floor. Painful electrical shocks were delivered randomly throughout the floor to the rat’s feet, causing the rat pain and making him utterly miserable. After a while, the experiment showed that the rat would eventually learn to tolerate those shocks, however uncomfortable.

Then the plot thickened, and a second rat was placed into the cage. Now, the 2 rats are being hit with electric shocks at the same time but instead of adjusting and tolerating these shocks, each rat now has a convenient object to blame for their discomfort, i.e. the other rat. The result is that those 2 rats would fight against each other sometimes to the death because of that anger.

This rat experiment can teach us a lot about people’s reactions to what is happening in the world at the moment. The rats fight each other because they can’t comprehend where the shocks are coming from. They don’t understand that there is behind the screen a man in a white lab coat pushing a button triggering those electric shocks. And this is also valid for humans, people fight each other because they are miserable, but more often than not they haven’t taken the time to find out what is really shocking them.

Currently, we are being shocked from all angles, we are shocked every day by the fear of death by a virus. We are shocked by a system that is taking away all our liberties bits by bits. Our ability to move freely to wherever we want is under assault. Our ability to be able to work and earn a living is in jeopardy. Our ability to be able to think the way we think is being questioned. Our ability to be resilient and independent is being hindered. We are shocked every day when we go to the shop and see the prices keep going up. We are shocked every day when our paychecks are being nibbled away by higher and higher taxes. But it is very difficult to understand the why, how, and what on earth of this story. The result is we are suffering from shock-induced aggression that makes us point the finger at someone and direct our anger at that person or group of people.

How about pausing for a minute or two, to look at it from a different angle and take a wider perspective on things and ask ourselves the question: am I being played? Maybe I would be better off being united instead of being divided. How about stopping to participate in the divide-and-conquer game and starting to pay unite-and-conquer instead?

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.

Categories
Self-Help

why can’t I play on the boys’ team?

On the eve of the opening of the Olympics games in Japan, my youngest daughter Alizé asked herself why can’t girls play on the boys’ team? She figured out the answer straight away i.e. because men are biologically different than women, but she wanted to look into this subject a bit more and offered to write a blog article about it. So here it is.

In Ancient Greece, women were not allowed to watch the competition, let alone participate in it! Doing sport was a ‘men only’ activity and women stayed far away from it; until the late 19th and early 20th centuries when a change of mentality in Europe and North America allowed women to make an appearance in the sports’ arenas. The differences in physical strength and stamina were acknowledged and led to the creation of female versions of male sports.

You can’t play on the boys’ team, reason 1

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing soccer with her team mates. Seoul, South Korea.

Sorry! You can’t play on the boys’ team. Men are biologically stronger than women, which does give them an advantage over women. I found out through my reading that there are two key factors that make men stronger than women. The first factor is the size of fibers, and the second is body mass index, men have a higher lean body mass percentage than women.

Let’s talk about fibers. Men have larger muscle fibers than women. Remember fast twitch, slow twitch? If you don’t, fast-twitch relates to the fibers in your muscles that are responsible for bursts of energy in a short amount of time, whenever you sprint or participate in HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) training, or anything else that’s high intensity, you are activating your fast-twitch fibers, also known as type 2 muscle fibers. When you work out and continue to activate these fast-twitch fibers, they will grow in size, resulting in bigger muscles.

Type 1 muscle fibers or slow-twitch fibers are those fibers that we are using when we practice a physical activity over a long period of time. If you run a marathon or participate in Le Tour de France, you will activate your slow-twitch fibers. Exercising these type 1 muscle fibers regularly and for long periods of time will increase your type 1 muscle fiber efficiency. In contrast to fast-twitch fibers, slow-twitch fibers don’t grow in size but allow you to use your muscles for extended periods of time. I am sure you have noticed the difference in shape between a sprinter who looks very bulky and muscular with a marathon runner who looks very lean.

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing friendly game teachers v students. Seoul, South Korea.

It’s important to take note, however, that increasing the size of either slow-twitch fibers and/or fast-twitch fibers will increase your athletic ability. Having said that, Men biologically have larger muscle fibers. Fast-twitch fibers in men are 7700 microns2 in size, while fast-twitch fibers in women are 4040 microns2 in size. This explains why men will grow larger muscles. Likewise, slow-twitch fibers in men are 4597 microns2 in size while slow-twitch fibers in women are 3483 microns2 in size. This explains that generally, men have an advantage over women in terms of strength and stamina.

You can’t play on the boys’ team, reason 2.

Over the last two decades, the number of cases of obesity in the US has increased more than 50% (from 14.5% of the adult population to 22.5% today). The primary cause of weight gain is an energy intake that constantly exceeds the amount of physical activity or energy expenditure of an individual. Studies have shown that it is a decrease in regular physical activity and not an increase in energy intake that is responsible for the recent increase in obesity prevalence.

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing soccer. Seoul, South Korea.

But coming back to the section of the population who do regular exercise such as athletes, current research shows that, although exercise and training increase the amount of fat metabolized, there may be gender differences in the way we store and metabolize fat during rest and exercise. It is well established that women have a higher percentage of body fat than men. A healthy range of body fat for women is 20-25% and a healthy range of body fat for men is 10-15%.

There are many benefits of having a high lean body mass percentage including increasing muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance, increase in agility and balance, better joint movement, plus strength and power development. To be a successful athlete you need to have power, speed, agility, reaction time, balance, and coordination. If you carry additional weight in the form of non-essential fat, it will hinder your performance by providing greater resistance to athletic motion. The additional body fat can also limit endurance, balance, coordination, and movement capacity Different athletes have different body types which fit their discipline.

Strength and power athletes such as American football players, wrestlers, powerlifters benefit greatly from high levels of body mass. Endurance athletes such as distance runners, cyclists, and triathletes benefit greatly from having low percent body fat. Gymnasts, pole vaulters, and high jumpers have to maintain healthy and lean body weight to obtain athletic success. This summarizes that even though you can change your own body fat index, this does put women at a slight disadvantage compared to men.

But you can play in a mixed team if you wish.

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing friendly games teachers v students. Seoul, South Korea.

Generally, most sports segregate men’s and women’s competitions to ensure the sport is fair and competitive. However, not all sports completely segregate male and female competition. In some sports, men and women can compete together and they do this in two different ways. Some sports have mixed events. This is when men and women form a team (usually a duo) and compete against another mixed team. Men and women compete together and against each other in a fairway as both teams feature the same number of male and female players. You can play and compete in mixed teams in badminton, tennis, and ice skating.

There are a small number of sports such as equestrian and sailing where men and women can compete against each other regardless of sex. In these sports, the physical differences are deemed not to have an effect on the outcome of the competition. Generally speaking, girls can’t play in the boys’ team, but some sports allow mixed events to take place as long as there is the same number of boys and girls in both teams. But if you really want to play on the boy’s team, go for it! Or choose equestrian activities or sailing.

Published by Alize Reed

View all posts by alizelmyweasel

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.

Categories
Self-Help

crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal

“Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made”

Otton Von Bismarck

There are many examples throughout history of crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal. We tend to think of the law as an obvious truth, the reality is that society pretty much makes things up as we go along. A brutal statement you may say. But take a look back at history, travel back in time when your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were kids, and all kinds of crazy things were legal from meth to owning people, to be able to legally cut half of someone’s brain out for being gay.

This blog article is not for the faint-hearted. It is historical, factual, and brutal. For the adventurous and curious souls out there, please read on. For the rest, stop reading now, and stay on standby for my next blog article where I will try to serve you something more tamed.

Crazy things you won’t believe used to be Legal.

Smoking everywhere used to be legal.

People used to be able to smoke everywhere from conference rooms in office places to airplanes, movie theaters, and restaurants. If you smoked, you looked cool and for women, it was even considered a symbol of emancipation and equality with men. Edward James Bernays, the nephew of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was an Austrian pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda and was known as the “Father of Public Relations”. He was named as one of the hundred most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life Magazine. His best-known campaigns included a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist “Torches of Freedom”. This phrase was used to encourage women’s smoking by exploiting the women’s liberation movement through to the 1970s. Edward Bernays’ campaign on behalf of the tobacco companies was extremely successful and achieved the desired objective of getting more people and in particular more women to smoke cigarettes in public. For more on this subject please refer to Chapter 22 of my book This Is Your Quest.

Drugs

Crazy things that used to be legal. Photo by Nadia Poliashenko via freepik.com

In the US, pretty much all types of drugs were legal at some point or another, from the soft ones to the hard-core type. This is because most drugs were either developed originally for medical reasons, accidentally discovered in experiments, or just plants growing out of the earth that people have ingested like food since the beginning of time. In fact, drugs as a terrifying boogeyman didn’t become a thing until 1875 when the first drug laws in the U.S. were passed.

Opium, LSD, mushrooms, heroin, ecstasy, and meth used to be perfectly legal in the U.S. You used to be able to get methamphetamines from your pharmacist to treat alcoholism and depression. The drug was FDA-approved in 1944 and became known as Methedrine in the 1950s when it became wildly popular due to its unintentional addictive qualities. However, meth abuse became so common that the government passed the Controlled Substances Act to limit the sale of methedrine – although you can still get it in small doses under the name of Desoxyn.

Cocaine was originally used in the late 1800s as a way to treat addiction to morphine. In 1884, Sigmund Freud (a chronic coke user) even penned a love letter to cocaine, called “Uber Coca,” in which he praised the drug for its “exhilaration and lasting euphoria.” When Coca-Cola debuted in 1886, it had two major ingredients: caffeine and cocaine. Why else do you think it is called “Coke?”

Slavery

Slavery has existed since the beginning of time and was perfectly legal around the world. Europeans enslaved other Europeans, Asians enslaved other Asians, Africans enslaved other Africans and Arabs enslaved other Arabs. 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 other dominant groups and not because of the color of their skin.

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 Words “Sclavus”, originally ‘Slav” because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering people. In the U.S, if a slave master was to execute one of his slaves, it wasn’t seen or prosecuted as murder – because this was legally his property, and he could do with it what he liked. In the case of Native Americans, murder wasn’t just ignored; it was encouraged in many cases, with local governments offering rewards for the killing or capture of Native Americans. For more on this subject please refer to Chapter 7 of my book This Is Your Quest. If you don’t have time to read my book or reading history books is not your thing you could instead sit comfortably in your living room to watch “Gone with the Wind” followed by “Django Unchained” and you will get a pretty good overview of what it was like to live in those days when owning people was a thing.

The French Revolution abolished slavery throughout its empire in 1794, although it was restored in 1802 by Napoleon as part of a program to ensure sovereignty over its colonies. Denmark-Norway was the first country in Europe to outright ban the slave trade in 1803. On 25 March 1807, King George III of England signed into law the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, banning trading in enslaved people in the British Empire. Spain abolishes slavery in 1811 including in its colonies, though Cuba rejects the ban and continues to deal with slaves. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” effective January 1, 1863. It was not until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1865, that slavery was formally abolished. The U.N. declared slavery a violation of global human rights in 1948, but it hung around in Niger, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, The United Arab Emirates, and Oman until the 1960s and 70s. Mauritania was the last country to outlaw slavery in 1981.

Lobotomies

Crazy things that used to be legal. Photo by brgfx via freepik.com

Partial lobotomies used to be considered an appropriate way to deal with mental illness – an encouraging procedure to handle schizophrenia, depression, suicidal tendencies, and other unwanted social problems – like homosexuality. (It was even sometimes used to treat backaches.). The procedure became very popular and in 1949, the originator of the procedure, Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz, shared a Nobel Prize for its discovery. The procedure could be enforced against the individual’s will.

After a relatively short surgical lifespan (the Soviet Union was the first country to outlaw the procedure in 1950 stating that it was contrary to the principles of humanity) it was noticed that dulling the emotions produced more than a few negative side effects; namely turning the patient into a vegetable, a living creature with no sign of depression, but a creature unable to focus, unable to make decisions, and unable to operate properly. One doctor described his patient following lobotomy as a “smiling, lazy and satisfactory patient with the personality of an oyster.” According to estimates, the United States was the worldwide leader in lobotomies, performing between 40,000 and 50,000. The practice was formally banned in 1967, but reports suggest that lobotomies still occurred throughout the 1980s.

Eugenics

Eugenics is defined by Wikipedia as a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population historically by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior or promoting those judged to be superior. Eugenics was a popular and well-received idea in the early part of the 20th century. Its proponents claimed that the practice could create a world in which genetic disease would be a thing of the past.

In 1907, the state of Indiana in the US began a policy of forcibly sterilizing the mentally ill, in the hope that they wouldn’t procreate and give birth to the mentally ill babies. By 1938, 33 states had sterilization laws that covered not only “traditional” mental illness, but also the blind and deaf, people who were crippled. Orphans and the homeless were also added to this slate of sterilization because someone with the power to draft laws for the United States of America decided that losing your parents and/or your home was a genetic disorder. By the time the last involuntary sterilization laws were on the books in 1972 (Virginia was the final holdout), it’s estimated that over 63,000 people had been forcibly sterilized by the government for the crime of possessing “undesirable” traits.

History is full of examples of crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal. Going forward, I would be curious to read a blog article from one of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, highlighting the crazy things that used to be legal in 2021.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Life is a journey, enjoy the ride. Sometimes the road is nice and pleasant and other times it is rocky, arduous, dangerous, and most unpleasant. No one voluntarily chooses to go down the unpleasant road, except that sometimes there is nowhere to go but down that road. Life is a road filled with hardships, celebrations, success, failure, heartaches, joy, and special moments.

Route 2020 & 2021 is one of those roads that gives you the chills when you are on it, danger lurks at every corner, there is no good visibility, it is isolated, rugged, with many up and down hills and unexpected turns. We have been driving on that road for a year and a half now and it has been rough.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Imagine you are in your car on your way to Pleasant Ville which represents your ultimate dream destination. You put in the coordinates and drive along quite happily until you realize you are going in the wrong direction after taking a wrong turn. There is no need to panic, the GPS will re-direct you to Pleasant Ville, albeit using a different route. This little detour cost you some time, but you are now more focused on the road, determined not to take another wrong turn or to miss the next exit. You are getting closer to your destination and will get there as long as you stay focused.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed.

There could be times when we encounter rough terrain and end up stuck in dead-ends. Those who can only proceed in forward gear and on a smooth track cannot make it to the end of the road. Being able to turn back and reversing is as important as raw speed and moving forward. This is especially true when we encounter deliberately altered road signs that send us the wrong way.

Now, imagine that you are sharing the road with three other drivers and you all want to go to Pleasant Ville. Driver 1 is the fast-and-furious type who starts his engine and immediately speeds off, impatient to get to his destination as quickly as possible. But, after taking a wrong turn and finding himself in the wrong place, Driver 1 is now annoyed, discouraged, and disheartened by losing his early lead (who said that this was a race anyway). Driver 1 returns home feeling defeated.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. What kind of driver are you? Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Driver 2 is the are-we-there-yet-type of driver who drives around not paying attention to his GPS and turns around in circles thinking are we there yet? Driver 2 eventually gets disheartened by driving around in circles not knowing where he is going. He also returns home feeling defeated.

Driver 3 is the zig-zag type of driver. Before arriving at his destination Driver 3 decides that a different place is better than where he was originally going, so he changes the coordinates, again and again, never arriving anywhere.

Driver 4 is the smart and steady type: focused, and patient, he pays attention to the road and doesn’t fret if he takes a wrong turn, because it doesn’t matter which road you take, there is rarely only a single road that leads to your destination. Eventually, driver 4 arrives at Pleasant Ville and when he gets there, he realizes that it was worth all the time, effort, sweat, and tears and rejoices in the happiness of the moment. Driver 4 had the vision and discipline to keep going on the path that he chose; his journey leads him to his ultimate destiny. His passion was the fuel that kept him along the way. I know what type of driver I want to emulate. Which one are you?

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride and learn along the way.

Road trips are fun, but they can also be filled with unexpected events, delays, and danger, but whatever comes our way we should take stock of all the lessons that we are learning along the way. There are many roads one can take on their life journey; choose the one that defines you the most, the one which has a purpose for you.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Leave a trail. Photo taken by Joanne Reed. Saint Philippe. Ile de la Reunion.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being on a road trip doesn’t mean that you are on the go all the time, there will be times when you will need to stop, have some rest, refuel. Stillness is an important tool on your journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly when you are frustrated, angry, or scared, will help you find a more logical, less emotional response, and give you choices to do things differently, or do nothing at all.

Life journeys are not always smooth, throughout our travels, we will encounter many challenges. Some of these challenges will test our courage, strengths, and weaknesses. Those obstacles could be blessings in disguise, but it is hard to realize that sometimes the obstacle is the way. All the obstacles and hardships are a test of our strength and weakness, courage and faith.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Photo by freepk via freepik.com

“A bend in the road, is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.’

Helen Keller

When things don’t go our way we can either focus on the fact that life is unfair and everything sucks or we can take the challenges with courage and determination; whether we end up victorious or defeated what matters the most is the way we carry ourselves when facing those challenges. If we do it with dignity and integrity we can be proud of ourselves. When on the road, do not travel with too much baggage. Excess baggage takes too much space and will hinder your progress.

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror.”

Byrd Baggett

Value the people you meet on your journey of life. Some of the people you take on board will stay with you for life, others will ride with you just for a little while until they jump off to take another road. Value all of them, learn from them, enjoy their company whilst it lasts. Everybody we meet can teach us a lesson, open our eyes, help us look inside ourselves, and help us discover who we really are.

“Never blame anyone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people give you experience. Worst people give you a lesson. Best people give you memories.”

Zig Ziglar

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

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.