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Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

How to Avoid Stress and Anxiety? By Being Hopeful, Grateful and Mindful.

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! The only new year resolution I made this year is to avoid stress and anxiety. But how? I found the answer to this question in a beautiful quote from a good friend, Seung-Ah Kim who is a stroryteller from South Korea.

Looking forward makes me hopeful. Looking back makes me grateful. Being present makes me peaceful.

Seung Ah- Kim

In just one sentence Seung-Ah managed to capture what life is all about, which is quite a ‘tour de force’. For my first blog article of 2022, I thought that it would be a good idea to develop this a little bit and share with my readers some thoughts on how to avoid stress and anxiety by being hopeful, grateful and mindful.

Avoid stress and anxiety by looking forward and by being hopeful about the future

How to avoid stress and anxiety. Photo featuring Joanne and Alize Reed in Plateau Kerval Reunion Island. This is truthfully the most beautiful place I have been to. It was kind of surreal, a mix of Jurassic Park and enchanted forest; and it was definitely worth the long arduous trek and difficult weather conditions to get there.

Everyone hopes for something. We are living in an age of despair, fractured communities where we are being forced to alienate ourselves from our family, friends, colleagues, and clients. The world currently is filled with fear, stress, and sadness, and it can become second nature to develop a negative worldview and a feeling of hopelessness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal, more dissent than we can mediate, and more uncertainty than we can comprehend.

In times like this, what can we do to comfort ourselves, and the people around us? We can call upon Hope to step into our life. Hope is a powerful antidote to feelings of despair and desolation. Hope acts as the light in the midst of darkness and will bring you renewed optimism and vitality. Hope doesn’t mean that life has to be all rainbows and butterflies, it doesn’t mean that you are always happy and that you can’t feel emotions like hurt, sadness, or anger, but it does mean that your view of your circumstances and those of the world around you go beyond what it is actually happening.

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

Avoid stress and anxiety by being grateful for your past experiences

How to avoid stress and anxiety. Photo taken by Alize Reed featuring Joanne and Sarah in PLateau Kerval Reunion Island. This is truthfully the most beautiful place I have been to. It was kind of surreal, a mix of Jurassic Park and enchanted forest; and it was definitely worth the long arduous trek and difficult weather conditions to get there.

Looking back at your past experiences, every one of us would be able to highlight some beautiful and happy memories, but also some bad experiences as well. We have all heard the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”; with this, in mind, we should remember that life is a mishmash of good, bad, and sometimes ugly experiences.

Don’t you ever regret knowing someone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people will give you experience, while the worst people will give you a lesson, and the best people will give memories.

Unknown author

Talking about negative experiences in our life leads me to also talk about the concept of acceptance or to let things be. Misery is not just an absence of pleasure, but it is also caused by unmet expectations and aspirations, and by a continuous need for approval in our personal and professional lives. These disappointments, some big and some small cause some people a lot of stress and anxiety and may result in depression or other mental illnesses. Psychologists and therapists believe that a lot of this struggle and stress can be avoided if we practice the art of acceptance.

A standard acceptance definition in psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change or protest it. Acceptance does not equate to approval, which is more about a good opinion of someone (or something) but is more a subtle feeling that connotes there is something in the situation less than appealing, but for various reasons, we tolerate its imperfections.

It is a well-accepted concept that practicing gratitude, whether it’s internalized or externalized, can have a number of positive psychological effects. Multiple studies found that people who express gratitude experience overall better well-being and higher levels of positivity whether they started out with mental issues or not.

It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.

Germany Kent

When we recall happy memories, we are often nostalgic, and remind ourselves how things used to be. When we recall less happy events, there is a tendency to hold on to those unhappy memories too. Accepting the reality of our situation allows us to move forward and gives us more energy to focus on the present moment to feel grateful for the people and things we have now.

Avoid stress and anxiety by being present and mindful.

How to avoid stress and anxiety. Photo featuring Joanne Reed in PLateau Kerval Reunion Island. This is truthfully the most beautiful place I have been to. It was kind of surreal, a mix of Jurassic Park and enchanted forest; and it was definitely worth the long arduous trek and difficult weather conditions to get there.

I am sure you have all heard the saying “don’t let the future steal your present”. Although we all know the saying, a lot of us don’t put this into practice, but we should because it could save us from depression and anxiety. Psychologists often say that depression lives in the past; anxiety lives in the future and calmness and peace of mind live in the present.

The trend these days is to learn to be more mindful, which inherently means learning and practicing to be more present in the moment. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not be engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. So if you don’t want to be depressed or anxious, practice mindfulness.

You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere, and with anyone by being fully engaged in the here and now. Many people go about their daily lives with their minds wandering from the actual activity they are participating in, to other thoughts, desires, fears, or wishes; but it has been said that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”.

I would like to encourage all my readers and followers to look forward and be hopeful. Be grateful for all the things and events in your life (happy or less happy ones) that made you the person you are today. And whatever you do practice mindfulness so that you can be peaceful too.

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

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Self-Help Uncategorized

Things Are Not What They Seem, First Impression Deceives Many …

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceive what has been carefully hidden”. Phaedrus c.444 – 393 BC. Phaedrus, whose name translates to bright or radiant was an ancient aristocrat who enjoyed the company of philosophers. He was particularly interested in the nature of reality. He spent long hours asking himself the following questions: do we see things how they are or only how they seem to us? Is seeing believing? Can we trust our senses? How do we know how something really is?

“The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.”

Maya Reed

Things are not what they seem, the first impression deceives many

The text below is an extract written by my eldest daughter Maya which introduces Part Two of my book “This Is Your Quest

The view from my window – by Maya Reed.

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many. The view from my window.

No matter a person’s race, gender, status, or health, everyone has a window that acts as their unique glimpse into the world. However, this window varies greatly from person to person, and any aspect about someone can determine what he or she sees out of it. The view from these windows is in a constant state of change and can be altered by something as substantial as how we are raised or our lifestyle, to something as trivial as how we are feeling on a particular day.

When looking out of this figurative window, things such as the time of day can reflect a specific state of mind. In times of happiness, the beauty of the world hits me like a truck. This is when I look out my window and see a bright sunrise marking the dawn of a new day. As the sun makes it steady ascent, it brings the excitement of new possibilities with it. Light bursts forth from the horizon in an onslaught of colors, forcing the darkness into a hasty retreat. In these moments, everything is picture perfect and it only magnifies with the growing light – the world radiates alacrity.

The sky is painted in stunning streaks of red, pink, purple, and blue and the birds sing their delight to the heavens. With sunlight already streaming through the window, my eyes turn to a world blanketed in tranquility. Leaves dance in the wind, taking my mind with them. People amble down the street, content clear on their faces. I see a couple as they walk by my window. They stroll hand in hand, simply appreciating each other’s touch. Birds soar through the sky with effortless grace, trees sway in the wind, and everything is infinitely beautiful. I can see all the wonder the world has to offer.

Somewhere, in the distance, a newborn takes its first breath. Elsewhere, jobs are being offered, vows are taken, homes are found, love is declared, sickness is overcome, and countless more bring a smile to my face. It is as if the sun’s rays illuminate anything and everything worthwhile and lift them up on a shinning pedestal. In this merry state of mind, negativity is easily overpowered, but the light that ensures this sanctuary is not constant.

Light brings wonder to people’s lives, but it is not possible for light to exist without darkness. I once again find myself taking a moment to properly look out my window. However, after a long and strenuous day, the sunset is upon me, and as I watch, the sun is slowly but surely beating back under the horizon.

My eyes scan what’s below me and a vague familiarity resides beneath the layers of dense darkness, but my optimism died with the sun. The light is gone, and with it, the happiness it brought. Now, all the wrongs the light refused to expose become painfully clear. In my mind’s somber restlessness, the shadows jump out with murderous intent, and the darkness is suffocating.

The same couple walks past my window, but this time I notice the strange tightness in which he grips her hand, and her refusal to look him in the eye. The amblers’ steps are reduced to depressed plodding, and even the breeze seems to whisper threats. It soon becomes achingly clear that the songbirds fled long ago, and the silence they leave behind is deafening. The glass is the only thing that separates me from the world where evil lurks around every corner, but the darkness threatens to break the seal.

In an instant, the darkness thickens and every shadowed window hides a depressed, overworked child. It is far too easy to notice that every second, a driver’s mistake becomes a death sentence, tears tun like rivers, blood taints the soil, someone takes the fatal jump, maledictions are hurled at one another, lives are shattered, and the savage reality of this world cracks down like a whip. In the same way, the light blinded me to anything I didn’t want to see, the darkness is enough to suppress everything worth seeing.

The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see in the world. Some days it will go through the terrifying, disheartening, and even confusing process of freezing to gawk at the shadows. Other days it will inexplicably decide to turn it back to what lies in the darkness and instead ogle at the brilliance of the sun.

In fact, the true nature of the world is rarely seen. Constantly fluctuating emotions act as lenses for our window. They can taint, brighten, dull, enhance, blind, illuminate and change the view of different surroundings. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden

‘The eyes are useless when the mind is blind”

African Proverb
Things are not what they seem, first mpression deceives many. Photo by Ilin Serguey via freepik.com

The truth is not the truth anymore. Video games aren’t real life. Gambling isn’t really investing. Social media isn’t really social. The news isn’t real facts anymore but more like a propaganda machine.

The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. The media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. This is the sort of propaganda tactic that I would call psychological warfare.

Malcolm X

We think that we are living in a peaceful time, but in fact, life is a battlefield. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare spiritual warfare is a common occurrence.

In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it. The world is not black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platform to tell you how to think and how to act. You can think for yourself. Passive non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world. They see things in black and white, as either-or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understandings. They see questions as yes or no, with no subtleties. They fail to see linkages and complexities. They fail to recognize related elements. They take their facts as the only relevant ones. They take their perspectives as the only sensible ones. They consider their goal as the only valid one.

Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it, because that makes you predictable, vulnerable, and controllable. Be your own person, be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, spot all the inconsistencies. If you know how to observe, listen, think and act accordingly, you become a dangerous person.

“I’d rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.”

Unknown author

No one wants to hear this, but we are all being mind-controlled, and the truth is not true anymore. Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. Controlling human perception can therefore become a weapon used to control what people think. The best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda, or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

George Orwell

Life is not what it seems, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

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

Are There Any Heroes Left?

On the 11th of November, the world commemorates Armistice Day and honors the brave men and women who have died in the line of duty since the First World War. The armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed in November 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The armistice brought an end to four years of fighting; on this day the world pays homage to our fallen heroes, but today I am asking myself are there any heroes left?

World War I & World War II cost the lives of millions of men and women who fought bravely to combat tyranny. Heroes are admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or their noble qualities. Heroes may be exhausted, but they persevere. They may be fearful, but they face danger courageously; still, they do not quail in the face of countless obstacles and danger. Heroes are undeterred by profoundly insurmountable difficulties and most of all they don’t allow themselves to be intimidated by dangerously potent antagonists and destructive forces that cross their paths.

History is full of admirable heroes who fought against tyranny but in the modern era are there any heroes left?

Are there any heroes left? Photo by Creative art via freepik.com

No one battlefield look alike, they come in all shapes and form. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot, but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not life is a battlefield you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare, spiritual warfare is common occurrence.

The American Revolution was all about overthrowing what the Americans considered to be a tyrannous British Government. In 1787, in Philadelphia George Washington, James Madison, George Mason, William Paterson, and some others sat down to draft the Constitution of the United States to give to the American people the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Recognizing that tyranny could come from a single powerful ruler or from “mob rule” the founders wrote into the Constitution mechanisms to prevent tyranny and promote the rule of law. They separated the powers of government into three equal branches of government: The executive (the President), the legislative (Congress), and the judicial (the Supreme Court). Each branch can check the other to prevent corruption or tyranny.

Fast forward to the second World War, Winston Churchill fully deserves his place in history, he was a phenomenal leader who famously called upon his people to stand up and fight against tyranny and what he had to offer to those who would join him in this fight was nothing but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. Despite this blunt and dire warning, many young brave men signed up to fight for their country and against tyranny, knowing full well that they may never return to their families. True heroes.

“You ask, what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all our strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory-victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. Laws just or unjust may govern men’s actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time. But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from god knows where and, in a moment, the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.”

Winston Churchill

Fast forward to today, where have all the heroes gone? It is very difficult to recognize a George Washington or a Winston Churchill in politics today. Politicians these days look like bad actors in a B-movie. They are misleading their audience who came to the movie theater to watch a good adventure movie full of heroes doing good deeds for the people, but instead, the audience is left puzzled by what they are seeing on screen because what they are watching instead is a schmuck-clown show.

If you lived in a tyranny, would you know it? And if you did, are there any heroes left to fight against this foe?

Are there any heroes left? Photo by Creative art via freepik.com

Yuri Bezmenov (1939-1993) is a name that few people seem familiar with today. He was a soviet informant and KGB operative who defected to the United States in the early 70s. In 1984, he was interviewed by G. Edward Griffin (Author of The Creature from Jekyll Island). He said during this interview that deception was his job, and he explained what the 4 stages of ideological subversion are.

I will let Yuri Bezmenov take over the rest of this article.

Most of the American politicians, media, and educational systems think that they are living during peacetime. False. The United States is in a state of war, undeclared war. It is a total war against the basic value principles and foundation of American society. The ultimate aim of the Marxist ideology was to deconstruct American values, destabilize their economy and provoke crises in order to Sovietize the free world. The highest art of warfare is not to fight at all, but to subvert anything of value in the country of your enemy, until such a time that the perception of reality of your enemy is screwed up to such an extent that he does not perceive you as an enemy.

Ideological subversion is a process that is legitimate and open, it has nothing to do with espionage. In the USSR, only 15% of the time, money, and manpower are spent on espionage, the other 85% is spent on a slow process called ideological subversion. This process will change the perception of reality of every American and despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.

It is a great brainwashing process that goes very slow and is divided into 4 steps:

1. First stage – demoralization. During this stage young people are influenced to question the integrity of their country’s morals and values; this is done through media propaganda and academia. Perception takes center stage and facts become meaningless. It takes 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation. Why so many years? Because this is the minimum number of years required to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy. In other words, Marxist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least 3 generations of American students.

Those people are contaminated and programmed to react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove to them that white is white and black is black. Demoralization is important because it robs the targeted population of its ability to process valid information. Even when demoralization targets are showered with authentic proof of contrary positions, they simply refuse to believe it.

Another powerful tool in the demoralization arsenal is guilt. Targeted audiences are pushed through media propaganda to feel guilty about their society and national history. For those people the process of demoralization is complete. To rid society of these people, you need another 15 to 20 years to educate a new generation in the art of patriotism, rationality, and critical thinking.

2.Second stage – destabilization. In this stage, the fundamentals of the targeted population’s economy, political system, and culture would be attacked, while the demoralized population could not mount much of a defense. Demoralized people lose faith in their nation, history, and ideals. They argue against individual liberty, sovereign rights even the rule of law. In essence, a demoralized population becomes willing to believe the worst criticism of its own society while learning to see defenders of that society as their enemies.

3.Third stage – Crisis. Once a society has been destabilized, the time is ripe to create a crisis. A crisis has the obvious benefit of panicking destabilized people into abandoning their legal protections and constitutional rights. Those who control the organs of public communication have the power to emphasize and exaggerate the danger of the crisis to create more fear and panic among the population. A crisis is essential for terrorizing the middle class into accepting a political agenda that is hostile to its interest, which leads to the 4th stage of subversion: the offer to make the pain and fear go away by accepting a political and tyrannical agenda.

4.Fourth State – Normalization. After a crisis, which caused a violent change of the power structure and the economy, you have what is cynically called a period of normalization which can last indefinitely.

If you live in a tyranny; would you know it? And if you did, are there any heroes left to fight against it? It is not a good idea to expect a white knight (disguised as a government official) to come on his white horse to save you. Save yourself. I believe that there is a new breed of heroes that are emerging. They are difficult to spot because they don’t wear a cape and a mask, they don’t jump from building to building, they don’t ride a white horse; they are hiding in plain sight, amongst us hidden by their familiarity, they are hiding in you and me. Today’s heroes are you and me and anybody who has the courage to stand up when the demoralized people are kneeling in submission.

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 Do You Handle Adversity? Are you a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

How do you handle Adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? The story of the carrot, egg, and coffee bean is well-known; for those who have already heard about it, read it again, it is worth it and for those who are hearing it for the first time, you will enjoy it. It is a story about perspective, adversity, and freedom to choose how you react to things happening in your life because there are always two sides to every coin; your perspective is your reality.

Full credit for this article should be given to the author of this story who is unknown; I am taking you to my kitchen table today to serve you this story because those words of wisdom are worth spreading. Everyone wants to gain wisdom. Wisdom is one of the greatest qualities that human beings can possess. So, seek it, hold on to it and treasure it. Why? Because it will help you navigate through choppy waters, it will lift you up from the depths of despair, it will help you put everything into perspective, and ultimately it will turn you into the hero of your own story.

How Do you handle adversity? Are you a Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee bean?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, and egg or a coffee bean? Photo by Stoccking via freepik.com

The story is set at home in the family kitchen, where mother and daughter are having a chat. Mother is really happy to see her daughter who recently left the family nest to do her thing and live her life in the big wide world. But the daughter is feeling quite unhappy at the moment, being an adult and being responsible for your own decisions and your own life happened to be much harder than she expected. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of struggling and fighting. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother listened to the tale of her daughter’s demise, and at the end of the tale, she filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last one, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word waiting for the water to boil; twenty minutes later she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. She ladled the coffee into a cup.

Turning to her daughter, she asked: “Tell me what you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee” she replied. The mother brought her daughter closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity… boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg went in as fragile, with only a thin outer shell to protect its liquid interior. But, after being through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however, because as they were in the boiling water, they changed the water.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, and egg or a coffee bean? Photo by Stoccking via freepik.com

“Which are you? she asked the daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after a break-up, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? “

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

How Do you handle adversity? The moral of the story

Life is often difficult. It can be harsh, stressful, and feel like a pot of boiling water. The environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test what we are made of. We can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like the egg that hardens. Or we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment.

Things are never as bad as they seem and they are never as great either. Maintaining our perspective on things helps us overcome adversity even if we struggle. Life is not made of butterflies and rainbows. It is made of a whole bunch of things. Sometimes it is sunny and sometimes it is rainy.

Talking about rain, I take this opportunity to share with you my youngest daughter’s latest YouTube Video – Don’t Rain on my Parade

“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.”

Bob Marley

You need the rain to make you appreciate the sunny days better and when it rains, instead of letting the grey sky gets to you, choose instead to dance in the rain, or in this case, make and drink the coffee.

Talking about coffee, my eldest Maya wrote a blog article a while ago titled Things to be Grateful For and she makes reference in her article of the book Thanks a Thousand written by A.J. Jacobs who wrote an entire book based on the idea that the little things in our lives aren’t so little. Thanks a Thousand tells the story of Jacob’s mission to thank everyone who was involved in making a small, but important part of his life: his morning cup of coffee. His quest took him months to complete and had him flying across the entire globe to thank delivery drivers, factory workers, bean farmers, and everyone in between. His story is an inspiring one and is a great example of how beneficial showing gratitude can be, and what we also have to take away is the intricate and detailed process it took to make Jacobs’ cup of coffee and the same process is true for every other little luxury of modern-day life.

So, the moral of the story is, when adversity is knocking at your door, make yourself a cup of coffee and be grateful for all the little things that made it possible for you to enjoy that cup of coffee.

Joanne 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 Uncategorized

Life Is a Battlefield.

Life is a battlefield. Nothing is easy, we have to fight our way through everything, and with this, in mind, it would be a good idea for us to familiarize ourselves with combat strategy and learn the best tricks in the book from trained warriors. In military strategy, before combat units are sent to combat zones, they have first to learn the art of mobility, protection, and precision firepower.

No one battlefield look alike, they come in all shapes and form. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare, spiritual warfare is common occurrence.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of mobility

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

In the military world, the ability to maneuver cross-country and in the most restrictive terrain is essential. During World War II tanks brought tactical mobility to the battlefield, helped reduce the number of casualties, and disrupted the enemy through decisive action. The ability for tanks to maneuver off-road created tactical options for soldiers on the ground, increased their unpredictability and allowed them to surprise the enemy and operate with greater effectiveness.

In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it. The world is not black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platform to tell you how to think and how to act. You can think for yourself. Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it, because that makes you predictable, vulnerable and controllable. Be your own person, be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, think for yourself. If you know how to observe, listen, think, and act accordingly, you become a dangerous person.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of protection

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

In the military world, when you have a good protection system in place you maximize the mission performance with minimum casualties. Psychological operations (PSYOP) are a vital part of military strategy. PSYOP enhances combat power and offers some level of protection from the enemy, through the use of information, and disinformation.

Intelligence gathering is an important aspect of warfare. Knowledge of the enemy, of the weather conditions, and the terrain are of paramount importance and are used in the planning and conducting of combat operations. During the 1940 Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe often struck and bombarded London under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British Government issued city-wide blackouts. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was able to repel German fighters in part because of the development of new secret radar technology. The onboard Airborne Interception Radar (AI) was invented and first used by the RAF in 1939 and had the ability to pinpoint enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

To protect their secret weapon, British Intelligence invented a propaganda campaign that claimed that British Pilots could see in the dark because they ate a lot of carrots! There is no denying the fact that carrots, by virtue of their heavy dose of vitamin A (in the form of Beta Carotene) are very good for the health of your eyes; but this truth was stretched a little by granting carrots the “superpower” of improving your night vision and give you the power to spot enemy planes in the dark?! The truth is that eating carrots does not help you see better in the dark any more than eating blueberries will turn you blue. That said, the carrot campaign of subterfuge helped hide a new technology that was critical to the Battle of Britain, a major campaign fought entirely by air forces and the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces, and to the eventual Allied victory.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of precision firepower

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Once you are positioned strategically, you can use your firepower against the enemy. Overwhelming precision direct firepower will have the effect of intimidating, demoralizing your adversaries, and imposing unacceptable costs on the aggressor, leading to victory. In life, you need to have courage in order to fight those battles. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficult challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today, we typically associate courage with heroic deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

“The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” Jim Hightower.

In life you have to choose your battles carefully; some battles are worth fighting for and others aren’t. Some situations may require an immediate response, others may not. Sometimes patience is required. Do not come rushing and roaring at your targets because this could be the easiest way you can lose them from your grasps. Take a step back and think of the best approach. Sometimes to be successful, you have to forgo speed and aggression; slow down, listen closely, and wait for the perfect timing. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

Life is a battlefield. Learn the art of mobility, protection, and firepower.

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 Quotes Self-Help

Wake up, Dress up, Show up and Do Your Thing

Today (18th October), I wake-up, dress, and show up to celebrate my birthday. Happy birthday also to Russell, my dear husband we are sharing the same birthday. I have been on this earth for a few decades, and I am grateful for every single morning when I got to wake up and do my thing. My loyal readers would know that I rarely talk about myself in my writing, because, who cares, really?! I write to educate, entertain, and inspire. I am not here to impress people and seek instant fame and fortune (a fate only reserved for a tiny portion of writers) but to impact people. The words I write are more important than the person who is writing them; but if you want to know about me, you just have to read my writing and you will catch a little bit of my soul.

I like my birthdays to be low-key, but because this is a special birthday, I decided to celebrate me through all my writings. Today is another day when I decided to wake up, dress up, show up and shine my light as far and as bright as I can.

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save. They just stand there shining.

Anne Lamott

Every day I wake up dress-up, show up. I am passionate about life and about my writing.

Wake up, dress up, show up, run and do your thing. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. There are no tricks on this picture just me, a scuba diver photographer and an amazing dress.

I am passionate about life and about my writing. I like to describe myself as a law-abiding-free-spirited-rebel who just happen to write about this and that. I didn’t decide to be a writer I discovered I was one. There is an intimate relationship between the writer and the reader. The writer makes the first move and takes the leap of faith, releasing their inner markings to the world for all to see. There is a great risk when it comes to writing and releasing content freely and openly. Content can be received graciously and given applause, simply dismembered, torn apart by readers and reviewers, or just completely ignored and left to rot in the ether.

The likelihood that a word, sentence, perhaps a book, or a phrase can bring about a change in readers’ life or implant a seed that may nurture and grow into a reformative idea is an impulse that excites me as a writer. Writers can change the world for their words know no boundary. It reaches across borders and ages.

We should not underestimate the writers’ role in society. 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. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into us when our spirits are broken, revive us when our bodies are weary, lift our spirit up when we lose ourselves in an ocean of despair, redeem the wrong we feel, and make us stronger than we know.

A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point to fraud, to start arguments, to shape the world, and stop doing it going to sleep. Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest place in human society and in the human spirit, where I go to find out not absolute truth, but the truth of the tale.

Salman Rushdie

For me, writing is a search for something meaningful, a longing to create something of value; to have an impact. Whether people admit it or not, most of us have a desire to make a difference, to have an impact or some level of influence on others. It is part of human nature, and it is admirable because it implies that we want to live a life that is bigger than us and our immediate entourage. We want to leave something of value after we leave, we want to leave a legacy.

To be or not to be impactful? You may find this to be an odd question to ask, but some people are content with a quiet life away from the hustle and bustle. They are happy the way things are and don’t have any inclination to change things and even less inclination to change the world, and that is OK.

You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.

Charles Bukowski

Sadhguru (my favorite yogi, philosopher, sage) has an interesting point of view on this issue. He believes that every one of us is free to capture as much life as we want. If you capture a substantial amount of life, you will become a significant presence, you will radiate, and that presence will draw people to you. It is not the knowledge you accumulated in your head, nor the social status, the successes nor the muscle you built upon your body. It is just how much life emanates from you. If you have the opportunity to go out in the world and do something impactful. Good, go out there and be impactful. But if not, don’t worry. Concentrate on being happy and content. The world needs more of these types of people.

An oak tree sitting outside is not trying to create a significant impact on anyone. By just sitting there in a calm and assured state of being, the oak tree by its mere presence is being impactful without even trying. If someone just happened to walk past that oak tree on a hot and sunny day, wishing to rest and cool down for a little while, that person will find refuge under the oak tree and will appreciate its presence and the shade it can offer on that day, at that particular time. The oak tree has had an impact on that person, just by being there.

Every day, I wake up, dress up, show up. I am a constant work-in-progress.

Wake up, dress up, show up. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff@terydiving featuring Joanne Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. There are no tricks on this picture just me, a scuba diver photographer and an amazing dress.

Something you should know about me is that I don’t like when people try to put me in a box and stick a label on it before they even get the chance to know me. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable and also spontaneous and unpredictable. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a giver, but I need to give myself enough time and space to advance my interests too. Today I can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as I want and tomorrow, I can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if I feel like it. I don’t gossip but I read and write. I am all of that and more and I am a constant work-in-progress. So please don’t put a label on me.

Something else you should know about me is that I am nice and lovely, but I can be dangerous too.

“The most dangerous person is the one who observes, listens, thinks.”

Bruce Lee

I have always been a curious person in nature, and I like going down the path less traveled by, the one taken by critical thinkers. Going down that road requires some fluidity of mind, some discipline, and the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what. Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Before you talk, listen. If you want something from someone express yourself clearly. People are not mind-readers. If you use the right words, the right tone of voice, and the right body language, you are increasing your chance of having your wishes and aspirations in reality. I observe, I listen, I think, and I act accordingly. That makes me (according to Bruce Lee) a dangerous person.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I had to write my memoir one day, I would call it – Work-In-Progress. That is how I see myself. Talking about work. 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.

[Just in case you are wondering – I have no intention of writing my memoir, because who cares, really?! But I am totally committed to continue writing and blogging about this and that and I will try my best to continue to inspire, entertain and unveil for you some interesting stories.]

But I digress, for other people 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 into 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 is all there 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.

Wake up, dress up, show up. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. There are no tricks on this picture just me, a scuba diver photographer and an amazing dress.

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 kink 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

I 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. If you are struggling to find your passion, then you should consider Goddess Athena’s advice – How to find your passion .

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 wort of art.

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

Honey, Don’t Follow the Crowd. They Are Lost.

Everyone on social media is looking to gain more followers on their social media platform. I say, stop following the crowd. They are lost. In order to stay sane, our brains create the illusion that all our thoughts are completely rational and independent. But, no matter how independent-minded you think you are, it is easier – and unknowingly more seductive – to follow a widely accepted dogma, than create your own. Human beings have a natural desire to be accepted into a group or community. Being an outsider is not a good place to be, it is lonely and uncomfortable. That is why a lot of people prefer to follow the crowd, without realizing that it could lead straight to the slaughterhouse.

Why do most people decide to follow the crowd and adopt a herd mentality?

Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t be a sheeple. Photo by Aleksandar LittleWolf via freepik.com

A herd, as defined by the Cambridge dictionary, is a large group of animals of the same type that live and feed together. Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher, said that man is by nature a social animal, inferring that humans prefer living within a group than alone. From this vantage point, it seems perfectly appropriate and not at all demeaning to describe herd mentality as the tendency of people to conform to the behavior or beliefs of the group to which they belong.

Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the actions of a large group greatly influence an individual’s decision. Pushed by the herd, people act the same way or adopt similar behaviors as people around them, ignoring their own feelings in the process. Are most humans sheeple? Sheep are docile, compliant, kind, quite pleasant animals – and very tasty too; being described as a sheep, has no doubt pejorative connotations. The truth of the matter is that most of us are more sheepish than we might like to admit it and we would rather follow the crowd wherever it goes, than venture on our own lonely road.

A study conducted by Professor Krause at the University of Leeds showed that humans flock like sheep and birds. In his experiment, Professor Krause asked groups of people to walk randomly around a large hall with a select few receiving additional instructions about where to walk. Participants were not allowed to communicate and had to stay a minimum arm’s length from everyone else. As the experiment unfolded the informed individuals ended up being followed by others in the crow. Actions taken by a minority of just 5% of informed individuals influenced the behavior of 85% of the remainder of the group, and more importantly, without them even realizing.

Professor Krause’s experiment showed that in a group setting humans have a propensity for copying behavior. This copying can lead to a type of collective madness when inaccurate or harmful knowledge goes viral. The scientific term for this is maladaptive herding, which can push groups of animals, like sheep, to make critically stupid decisions like plunging over a cliff.

Some people operate under the disguise of acting for the common good of the people and take on the role of our shepherds to guide us on the right path. Sure enough, it is good sometimes not to worry about anything and follow the person ahead of us; but is this really the right path for us? If you act sheepish, you won’t even ask yourself this question because,

“Most people would rather be wrong within the company of the herd than be right outside of it.”

Unknown author

Honey, don’t follow the crowd, they are lost.

Sometimes following the crowd can be the smart thing to do if instead of acting sheepish we emulate the honeybee

Dont’ follow the crowd. Act like a bee. Photo by Wira Korn via freepik.com

Honeybees are known for their ability to work together in a group and collectively make decisions in the search for food or sites for new nests. Perhaps lesser known is how honeybees use their communication system to allow good decisions to spread and bad ones to stop dead in their tracks. Good decisions go viral. Bad decisions are being stopped. How do they do that?

Austrian behavioral biologist Karl Von Firsch found that worker bees use a kind of waggle dance to communicate with other bees. These waggle dances are the bees’ version of an online shopping rating system; instead of stars or good reviews, the ratings are based on the duration of the dance. When bees find a good source of food, they dance for a long time. When the food source is poor the dance only lasts a short time or is non-existent. With this sophisticated – and rather fun communication system – honeybees can skillfully identify the most profitable nectar sources amongst the sites they have visited and can rapidly shift their foraging efforts following updates from other bees in the colony.

The beauty of this system is that even if each forager only knows about its own nectar source together they generate a coherent colony-level response that enables better resources to be exploited and poorer ones to be abandoned. When bees happily dance the night away the information quickly goes viral and other bees will congregate to that spot. This behavior is neither triggered by a control center nor enforced by hierarchy, rather it results from effective communication or collective wisdom.

The madness of the crowd or collective wisdom?

Don’t follow the crowd. Practice collective wisdom. Photo by Ruksutakarn via freepik.com.

Groups of humans sometimes exhibit the madness of the crowd but at other times they are capable of exhibiting collective wisdom. As social animals, humans seek information from others when making decisions. Good marketers and social influencers perhaps know this best. When more people exhibit any given choice, be it fashion, politics, books, etc… the more people will follow in tow – in the same way, that people might choose to trust Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts with a large following. The name of the game these days is Trust me I am an influencer. I know what’s best for you. Sure thing, except that some of those influencers have taken residence in Idiocracy Ville, which is run by a bunch of bad actors who believe themselves as morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, the common people. They appropriate themselves the right to influence the rest of us and tell us what to believe, what to like, and what to buy.

“People are sheep. TV is the shepherd”-

Jess.C. Scott

Studies have shown that in a large group setting, humans are largely unaware of their herd instincts or sheep-like behavior. Collective wisdom on the other hand is a source of collective intelligence that emerges from the collaboration or collective efforts of many individuals. To overcome herd mentality and its negative impacts, drop the sheepish behavior. If you are convinced that an idea is irrational or incorrect, don’t follow the crowd, they are lost, and adopt the collective wisdom of the bee, instead.

Advice from HoneyBee. Create a buzz. Sip life’s sweet moments. Mind your own beeswax. Work together. Always find your way home. Stick close to your Honey. Bee yourself!

Illan Shamir

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 Uncategorized

Words Can Heal. Words Can Destroy. Choose Yours Carefully.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. They have tremendous power and energy. Choose yours carefully. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into you when your spirit is broken and can make you stronger than you know. Mean-spirited words can deflate you, destroy your spirit, make you feel hopeless, and force you to live in idiocrasy.

“Words. So innocent as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Language is what makes us human it is a vital part of human connection. Although other species have their own way of communication, human beings are the only ones who have mastered the skill of cognitive language communication. Language allows us to share our ideas, thoughts, and feeling with others. It has the power to build societies but also tear them down.

Words can heal rifts and even stop wars.

Words can inspire. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Words can heal. Words can destroy. The power of words is immense. Well-chosen words have in the past sufficed to stop an army and change defeat into victory. In the olden days, ceasefires were called parley (from French: parler – to speak) and were often spoken after waving a white flag, requesting for some time-out and for a last attempt discussion/negotiation to try to end hostilities between two groups of people.

“The magic of words is that they have the power to do more than convey meaning; not only do they have the power to make things clear they make things happen.”

Frederick Buechner

In October 1962, the world came very close to a devastating nuclear war between two superpowers, the USA led by President John. F. Kennedy and the USSR led by Nikita Khrushchev. The whole drama started when the CIA discovered that medium to long-range Soviet ballistic nuclear missiles were being built on the Island of Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The fate of millions of people around the world depended on how these two men would communicate with each other.

President Kennedy’s advisors put a tremendous amount of pressure on him to act quickly and aggressively by destroying the missiles site followed by a full-scale invasion of Cuba. Instead of rushing into a decision that was not well thought through, Kennedy decided to pause and reflect in order to understand the bigger picture before deciding on his next move; and instead of sending his army to invade Cuba, he decided to parley with Khrushchev via exchange of letters in order to see if they could find a way to resolve this conflict without having to annihilate each other in the process.

Kennedy had recently read Barbara Tuchman’s book The Guns of August, a book about the beginning of World War I, which imprinted on his mind the image of overconfident world leaders rushing their way into a conflict, that once started they couldn’t stop. Kennedy also felt inspired by a passage from another book he read by strategist B.H. Liddell on nuclear strategy.

“Keep strong if possible. In any case, keep cool. Have unlimited patience. Never corner an opponent and always assist him to save face. Put yourself in his shoes, so as to see through his eyes. Avoid self-righteousness like the devil, nothing is so self-blinding.”

B.H. Liddell

Against the wishes of the majority of his advisors, Kennedy decided upon a less aggressive strategy, a naval blockade. This approach was to prevent further missiles from reaching Cuba, but also to give him time to think, time to communicate, and time to understand the intentions and responses from Khrushchev. On 22 October 1962, John. F. Kennedy addressed the nation via live television broadcast. His message was intended for the domestic audience but also for the international public at large, and it demonstrated true statesmanship.

“The 1930s taught us a clear lesson, aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war… we will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth; but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.”

President J.F Kennedy

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Both Kennedy and Krushchev chose their words carefully, those words had so much power that they suffice to put an end to this conflict and save the world from jumping into the M.A.D world of Mutual Assured Destruction.

Words can destroy and even kill.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Sometimes words can kill, they can easily arouse feelings of fear and anxiety. History is full of events where the smallest of occurrences had the most momentous consequences. Words uttered to the wrong ears can create offenses that can result in the fall of empires and wipe away complete nations.

When you think about the types of weapons used during a war, you think planes, tanks, machine guns, grenades, etc… Yes, all of these were important tools in the effort to win the war, but so was information issued by the government. During the Second World War, words were seen as powerful movers of men and women; they became mobilizers of the national spirit and called for courage and sacrifice for the sake of the nation. Most of the battles during World War II happened all around Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The USA territory was fairly remote from the action until the tragic event of Pearl Harbor. From this point forward, the U.S. government waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of the public, persuading Americans to support the war effort.

In 1942, the Office of War Information (OWI) was created to craft with the task to disseminate through posters, pamphlets, radio shows, and movies the government’s message. Artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals were recruited to take the government’s agenda and turn it into a propaganda campaign. The objectives of the U.S. Government for the propaganda campaign were unifying the public behind the war effort, eliminating dissent of all kinds, and finding the necessary resources to finance the war effort. The government posters pulled at emotions both positive and negative. They used words as ammunition.

“The function of the war poster is to make coherent and acceptable a basically incoherent and irrational ordeal of killing, suffering, and destruction that violate the very accepted principle of morality and decent living.”

O.W. Riegal, Propaganda Analyst for the Office of War of Information.

The power of words. What is etymology?

Words can inspire. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Words can heal. Words can destroy. What is their true meaning? Etym – olog – gy. Etym derives from etymon, which means in Greek true, real, and actual – Ology means the study of. So, etymology means the study of what is true and real. Let’s have a look at the etymology of a few words, just for fun; the idea is to find their true meaning.

Universe: Uni-Verse literally means one verse. We often refer to music as being a universal language that can be understood by anyone anywhere. The message behing any musical piece can be understood far and wide, wherever you are and whatever language you speak, because there is an universal tone to it.

If you read the word live from right to left, you get the word evil.

“How long does it take man to realize that he cannot want what he wants? You have to live in hell to see heaven.”

William S. Burroughs

A Bond in finance means an instrument of indebtedness to the government. Its origin comes from the word bondage which means keeping someone in a state of servitude. The word mortgage comes from the old French –mort- gage – a dead pledge. Anyone who has gone through the process of obtaining a 20- or 30-years mortgage knows it can feel like signing your life away. The deal dies when the debt is paid or when the payment fails.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

In closing I will leave you in the company of Sadhguru, who has a special talent with words.

“If you become pleasant in your body, we call it health. If you become very pleasant in your body, we call it a pleasure. If your mind becomes pleasant, we call it peace. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it joy. If your emotions become pleasant, we call it love. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it compassion. If your life energy becomes pleasant, we call it bliss. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it ecstasy.”

Sadhguru

Words can heal and words can destroy. Choose yours carefully. And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

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

No One Wants To Hear This!

No one wants to hear this, but we are all being mind-controlled, and the truth is not true anymore. You may think that this is a harsh statement, maybe it is, maybe it is not. It depends where you are standing. The problem these days is how do you know what’s true and what is not true? The truth of the matter is, we are living in a world of information overload, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

[This blog article is another one of those not-for-the-faint-hearted kind of articles, so if you feel brave enough to stay with me for a minute or two longer, please read on.]

Hoaxes, hysteria, misinformation, and scams have been around a long time. Con men and Ponzi schemes are in every corner of recorded history. You might think that our access to vast oceans of information on the internet would change that, but it hasn’t. In fact, humans are just as gullible and as easily led as ever. And then you have those who refuse to look at the evidence and prefer not to see it. They are happily burying their head in the sand and content in the knowledge that if they don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist and can’t affect them.

No one wants to hear this, but most of us are being mind-controlled

No one wants to hear this, but most of us are being mind-controlled. Photo by Startline via freepik.com

Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. Controlling human perception can therefore become a weapon used to control what people think. The best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

The human psyche can easily be manipulated, and this is why critical thinking is so important because we need this skill in order to navigate our way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to us on a daily basis on all media platforms. Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order, especially when you have a media machine that spins everything you see and everything you hear.

Misinformation is false information that is being spread regardless of intent to mislead. Dis-information on the other hand is false information that is deliberately misleading or biased information, manipulated narrative or facts, or propaganda that is being spread with the intent to hurt or damage a person or organization. We are huge consumers of all types of media but often lack the willingness to check the accuracy of what is presented to us, and instead of taking notes of all the inconsistencies and questioning the narrative, we are happily drinking the Kool-aid.

We are comfortable in our echo chambers, devoid of people and ideas who challenge our own beliefs and we are rarely thinking about how our own biases affect how we think about the world. We expect Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us, rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. Some social media posts go viral in minutes after they are posted whether they carry with them the truth, or an exaggeration of the truth or total falsehood.

And then you have, repetition, which is another powerful tool to manipulate people’s psyche. There is a term for this in psychology, it is called the Illusory Truth Effect also known as the Reiteration Effect, which is the tendency to believe the information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcomes rationality. No one wants to hear this but the truth does not matter. Repetition does!

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. The media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. This is the sort of propaganda tactic that I would call psychological warfare”.

Malcolm X

No one wants to hear this, but the truth is not true anymore.

No one wants to hear this, but the truth is not true anymore. Photo by Masou Rezaeipour via freepik.com

Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us are assessing the veracity of the information we receive based on how it is going to make us feel as opposed to looking at the actual data and try to determine whether it is actually true or not. Our perception of what reality is can be different from the actual truth of what is and what is not, and most of us rely solely on our perception and what we want the truth to be when we form an opinion about this and that. We make ourselves the arbiter of truth, and in doing so we inject our personal beliefs, conviction, and biases into the mix, before sharing with whoever wants to listen what the truth of the matter is, according to us.

“I have come to realize that the biggest problem anywhere in the world is that people’s perception of reality is compulsively filtered through the screening mesh for what they want and do not want to be true.”

Travis Walton

No one wants to hear this, but your perception does not matter. The Truth is an objective concept that is not dependent upon the perception of human beings. The Truth does not waver. The Truth doesn’t care what people think. The Truth doesn’t even care if people see it or ignore it. It has always been there, and it is there still, no matter what people think or do.

The concept of Natural Law epitomizes and illustrates the concept of Truth as an objective reality. Natural means having a basis in nature, not made or caused by human beings. Law is an existing condition that is binding. The law will bind you whether you know its existence or not and whether you understand it or not. Natural Law is something that is non-man-made, and binding. Human belief is completely irrelevant when it comes to the existence and operation of Natural Law; just as it is irrelevant in relation to any other Laws of Nature such as gravity for example.

Take someone who has strong convictions about gravity. That person is convinced that the law of gravity is non-sense and to prove his point, he decides to jump from a cliff without any parachute; that person will no doubt suffer greatly from the consequence of his belief. The truth of the matter is that gravity is an existing, immutable, non-man-made truth of nature and whether you believe in it or not makes no difference. The Truth remains. At the end of the day, you are free to believe what is true or not true but in both cases your belief will have consequences you have to live with or die for.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what is not true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Soren Kierkegaard

The truth of the matter is: men’s wishes and perception cannot defy Natural Law. Wishing or believing otherwise makes no difference. Thomas More’s refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon lead him to be imprisoned and put on trial for treason. During his last remarks to court – defending himself in his trial for treason and knowing in advance his fate of being found guilty for his refusal to assert in writing that the King was the Head of the Church, he made the following arguments to the jury

Some men say the Earth is flat, and some men say the Earth is round. But if it is flat, could Parliament make it round? And if it is round, could the King’s command flatten it?

Thomas More

And that my dear friend is the question you have to ask yourself.

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

Don’t Put a Label on Me!

Don’t Put a Label on Me. Don’t put me into a box and stick a label on it before you even get the chance to know me. I am not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 years old. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable and also spontaneous and unpredictable. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a giver but I need to give myself enough time and space to advance my interests too. I am nice and lovely, but I can be dangerous too. Today I can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as I want and tomorrow, I can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if I feel like it. I don’t gossip, but I read and write. I am all of that and more and a constant work-in-progress. So please, don’t put a label on me.

Don’t put a label on me. The problem with stereotypes.

Don’t put a label on me – Photo by Yarruta via freepik.com

A stereotype is defined as a simplification of reality, a rigid categorizing – and often discriminatory – representation. A stereotype is a fixed, overgeneralized belief about a particular group or class of people. By stereotyping, we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have.

Stereotypes are like air, invisible but always present.

Unknown Author

For example, saying that women have no sense of direction, that girls suck at math or that football is a man’s sport, are stereotypes. Stereotypes can be positive or negative. Negative stereotypes about women and minority groups are easy to spot, more pernicious are the positive ones, such as men are not in touch with their emotions, black people are good athletes. They don’t seem so pernicious because their content is complementary, but stereotypes are bad even when they are good.

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Adichi Chimaamanda

Stereotypes can be linked to any type of cultural membership, such as nationality, religion, gender, race, or age, but it is important to note that there is a difference between cultural generalizations and stereotypes. Cultural generalizations allow us to understand the patterns of cultures to which one belongs (nation, age, gender, etc…) and it provides the basis on which one can understand other cultures. Cultural generalizations involve categorizing members of the same group as having similar characteristics. Generalizations are flexible and allow for the incorporation of new cultural information. They are a type of hypothesis or guess, of what we expect to encounter when we interact with a certain culture; and this is a good thing.

Generalization is a concept that is flexible and can subsequently lead to increased cultural awareness and thereby improve intercultural relationships. Generalizations become stereotypes when all members of a group are categorized as having the same characteristics. Stereotypes are typically inflexible and resistant to new information. They can, and often do lead to prejudice and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Cultural stereotypes do not allow for individual differences and interfere with efforts to understand an individual on a personal level.

Stereotypes make us lazy and encourage nonchalant judgment because we assume things about people based on stereotypes. It drives and nourishes racism, sexism, and all form of discrimination. I have a strong aversion to labels and being put into a box and I don’t allow people to do that to me. As soon as someone puts a label on you or throw you into a specific box, you lose your identity as a unique and free individual who may or may not fit into that stereotype, and who is free to be whoever they want to be.

Don’t put a label on me. The problem with being put into a box.

Don’t put a label on me – Photo by Yarruta via freepik.com

The problem with being put into a box with a label on it is that it considerably restricts your freedom to think and act the way you want. We are all unique and different from each other. What makes us different is not the color or our skin or our geography, it is the fact that there isn’t another person like us anywhere else. All around us, there are spheres of authority always dictating what we should do, how we should act, and what we ought not to do. Aside from the formal structure like laws, there are also informal powers dictating our actions lifestyles, speech, thought patterns, education, cultural upbringing, religion, politics, etc… This invisible current forces us to travel a certain path, act a certain way, and be a certain type of person. Much of our individualistic tendencies do not develop as freely as we think because we have to conform to societal expectations of ourselves and stay well within the groupthink model.

The next question you should ask yourself is who has an interest in putting people into a box and stick a label on it? People who seek power and control do thrive on sticking a label on you. Because it is easier to control people this way. Once you belong to a certain box you are expected to walk on a straight and narrow line. Venturing outside that path is frown upon. Dissenting views and actions are not allowed because dissent is being viewed as being disloyal to the group. Nowadays if your thoughts and ideas are not in line with the rest of the group you will have to face the new social media Thought Police, because the chance is you are going to get canceled and censored. From a difference of opinion, you can quickly move to fragments of intolerance to violent factions. And just like that you have a 1984-Dystopian-type of society where it is not very pleasant to live in and where Big Brother is watching you all the time with the Thought Police ready to storm in and take you away.

This phenomenon is very much into your face in the political arena, where everything is partisan, and where groupthink ideas are shoved down your throat. The ideas of the group are sacrosanct even if they go against your personal interest because the group knows what’s best for you. When you submit to the group you acquiesce to everything that the group asks you to do. You don’t have to use your ears, your mouth, or your brain anymore. The group tells you where to look and what to see. And if you dare to look the other way and start questioning things, they tell you what you are seeing is not what you are seeing and they proceed to interpret what is going on for you.

One way to free ourselves from the shackle of societal restrictions that impede the originality and flexibility of each person would be to develop our individualism and sense of freedom. Freedom of expression is the lifeblood and cornerstone of a free society, without the freedom to think and express ourselves freely, there is no free society. So, we’d better start thinking for ourselves quickly before it becomes illegal. Don’t get all romantic about your ideas or the ideas that the group promotes. You are not married to those ideas. Some ideas are good and others not so good. Stay free to adhere to the ideas that are congruent with your outlook in life and toss aside anything that makes you uncomfortable.

People should be able to stand for what they think is right. They should be able to fight for what is honorable and acceptable and they should have the freedom to reject what is slimy and unacceptable. The problem these days is that everyone believes that they hold the absolute truth of the matter; except that no one can legitimately claim to have such clarity of mind that they know the absolute truth. Truth is a very fluid concept, what’s true today may not be true tomorrow.

Things change all the time. It is perfectly fine to have strong convictions about this and that, but you should do this with humility. You should hold those convictions and make them contingent on whatever facts, data, arguments, life experience, etc… that come your way with the result that your original convictions can be shaken and made less potent.

You can stand your ground and be open-minded enough to seek common ground. And, don’t try to put a label on me, because I won’t let you.

Joanne 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
Be Happy Self-Help

Mind-Blowing!

If you could describe in one word the world we are living in right now, what would it be? Tricky question, right? True, but it is a useful and fun game because it forces you to gather your thoughts in a precise and concise manner and pack everything of importance into one little word! Coming back to my original question, describe the world we are living in right now in one word. I would say, MIND-BLOWING!

According to the Cambridge dictionary, mind-blowing means surprising shocking and often difficult to understand or imagine. Just looking at what is happening around the world right now, I feel like I am on a movie set taking part in a dystopian movie, full of drama, natural disasters (fires, hurricanes, floods), war (overt and covert), topped up by a worldwide pandemic. I wish this could just be a movie that I can pause or stop because really it is a bit too painful to watch; except that we are not on a movie set, we are living in this world I just described. Mind-blowing!

The anger, fear, and desperation are mind-blowing. We are living in an age of despair and fractured communities, the world currently is filled with fear, stress, anger, frustration, rage, and sadness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal, more dissent than we can mediate, and more uncertainty than we can comprehend. People don’t know what to do and where to run to. Where can we run to get away from the fires? Where can we rush to get away from the floods and hurricanes? Where can we escape from the virus? Who can we turn to when we get disconnected from our family, friends, and colleagues because we have very different opinions about what’s going on?

But underneath all that muck there is something good that is happening. Whether we like it or not these past two years forced us into a kind of rehabilitation center where we had to face our fears and come to some harsh realization. i.e there are some things that are essential and there are a whole bunch of things that are not. We have all been forced into this Back-to-basics-religious- kind -of-experience, where food, water, shelter, health, resources (including, human & financial), and connection are of paramount importance. The rest is superfluous. Maybe we had to go through such pain to become more aware and conscious of our purpose and the need for us to become stronger, healthier, more resilient, and more aware.

There has never been so much chaos in recent history, it is mind-blowing

Mind-blowing – Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

Life is not always a party; we need therefore to learn how to shoulder the burden of being. Everyone experiences the world through chaos, order, and something in between called consciousness. We eternally inhabit order, surrounded by chaos. Chaos is unexplored territory. Chaos is the sickness or death of a family member. It is the place where you find yourself when things fall apart, when your dream dies, when your career collapses, or your marriage ends. Chaos is where new ideas destroy old and comfortable certainties. Chaos is where your well-thought project is canceled at the last minute because of some force majeure event (pandemic) and the implementation of new regulations. Chaos is when we don’t know where we are. When we don’t know what we are doing and where we don’t know where we are going.

Chaos is a place where everything is complex and unpredictable. Order is explored territory; it is the authority, the structured society. Order is tribe, religion, home, and country. It’s the warm, secure living room where the fireplace glows, and the children play. It’s the flag of the nation. It’s the floor underneath your feet and your plan for the day. It’s the greatness of tradition, the row of desks in a school classroom, the train that leaves on time, the calendar, and the clock. We’re in there when things are going according to plan, and nothing is new and disturbing.

Order is the place where all things turn out the way we want them to. In Order, we’re able to think about things in the long run. There, things work, and we are stable, calm, and competent. We seldom leave places we understand – geographical and conceptual – for that reason. Order is where everything is certain. Order is the political culture, the government, the corporate environment, and the system.

But Order can also be the place where things are so rigid that it’s repetitive and restrictive. Order can be tyrannical when it demands certainty, uniformity, compliance without the right to think critically. Order can become tyrannical when it becomes too one-sided when you preach intolerance in the name of tolerance. Order, when pushed too far, can also manifest itself destructively and terribly and lead you straight to tyranny.

When the ice you’re skating on is solid, that’s order. When the bottom drops out, and things fall apart, and you plunge through the ice; that’s chaos. We eternally occupy known territory, surrounded by the unknown. There are so many ways that things can fall apart or fail to work altogether, and it is those with fortitude and perseverance who valiantly fight their way through chaos who will come on the other side, battered but victorious.

“Order is Masculine, and Chaos is Feminine. Therefore, to move towards Order, we all need to man up.”

John Crace

The solution is mind-blowing: Learn to navigate between order and chaos.

Mind-blowing – Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

Order and Chaos are the yang and yin of the famous Taoist symbol: two serpents, head to tail. Order is the white, masculine serpent. Chaos is its black feminine counterpart. The black dot in the white – and the white dot in the black – indicate the possibility of transformation: just when things seem secure, the unknown can loom, unexpectedly and large. Conversely, just when everything seems lost, a new order can emerge from catastrophe and chaos. For the Taoists, meaning is to be found on the border between the yin and the yang, between the ever-entwined pair, i.e. the Middle Way or the Divine Way.

The same idea is expressed in Matthew 7:14: “Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’

To saddle that fundamental duality is to be balanced: to have one foot firmly planted in order and security and the other in chaos will lead to growth and adventure. Everyone understands order and chaos, good and evil. We all have a palpable sense of chaos lurking under everything familiar. We’ve all been to both places many times. No matter where we are, there are some things we can identify, make use of, and predict, and some things we neither know nor understand. No matter where we are, some things are under our control, and some things are not.

Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable and secure and unchanging because there are still 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 what 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 alert and engaged.

So, in order to cope, survive and even thrive in a world that is mind-blowing you have to learn the art of navigating between Order and Chaos.

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

Given The Choice, Would You Rather Be A Good Person Or A Dangerous Person?

Given the choice would you rather be a good person or a dangerous person? What an odd question to ask, you may say, of course, I’d rather be a good person! For those of you who know me and have read my work before, you would know that one of my favorite things is to tackle difficult subjects, look under the surface, lift the veil, and shake things up a little. This article definitely falls into this category, it is not for the faint-hearted. What if I tell you, that if I was given the choice to be a good person or a dangerous person, I will choose to be a dangerous person. Before you give up on me and react in shock and disbelief, bear with me a little because my whole thinking on this subject was inspired by Bruce Lee and Jordan Peterson.

“The most dangerous man is the one who observes, listens, thinks.”

Bruce Lee

“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who voluntarily put this dangerous side of him under control.”

Jordan Peterson

The most dangerous person is the one who observes

The most dangerous person is the one who observes – Photo by user 14901510 Studio via freepik.com

According to the Oxford dictionary, “observation is the action or process of observing something or someone in order to gain information.” Our observation skills inform us about objects, events, attitudes, and phenomena using one or more senses. Improving your observation skills allows you to “listen” with more than your ears and make better decisions. We all have eyes but a lot of us don’t really use them to observe; we look at think without really observing them. Just looking at something produces nothing.

Observing produces insights. When we observe we are able to take a step back to peer into ourselves and others. Observing ourselves is essential, but observing others provides another angle. When you combine the two, the observation of ourselves and others you get valuable insights that you can use to better connect and communicate with people. Developing our observation skills is critically important.

Get into the habit of observing the world as it is, in all its variety, learning from it, and put what you learned into use in your decision-making process, in improving your intuition, in building your relationships.

The most dangerous person is the one who observes.

The most dangerous person is the one who listens.

The most dangerous person is the one who listens – Photo by kuzmich Studio via freepik.com

“When you talk you are only repeating something you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new.”

Dalai Lama

Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Before you talk, listen. Listening is the key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.

Effective communication also starts with the understanding that people are not mind-readers. Expecting people to guess your wishes and aspirations is only going to bring you frustration and resentment. If you want something from someone, express yourself clearly. If you use the right words, the right tone of voice, and the right body language, you are increasing your chance of having your wishes and aspirations in reality. Listening requires more than hearing; it requires focus and concentrated effort. Listening means paying attention not only to the story but how it is told. The use of language, the tone of voice, and how the person uses his or her body. It means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.

Every problem big or small starts with bad communication. Someone is not communicating their message clearly and/or someone is not listening. Did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal, 38% is tone and infliction of voice and a staggering 55% is body language? Your facial expression, hand movements, gestures, eye contact, attitude, tone of voice, the way you look, listen, react, speak far more about your feelings than words will ever be able. The way you feel about a particular subject matter will affect your non-verbal expression; if you feel angry, sorrow or fear those feelings will transpire in your facial expression and tone of voice.

This is why listening is an important aspect of communication. Effective listening is not just the understanding of spoken or written information, but also an understanding of how the speaker feels during communication, it is the ability to listen with empathy. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feeling of another regardless of whether we agree with it or not.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”

Aristotle

The most dangerous person is the one who listens.

The most dangerous person is the one who thinks.

The most dangerous person is the one who thinks – Photo by Jnemchinova Studio via freepik.com

We all like to think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic. Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs.

“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Jonny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling”.

Thomas Sowell

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps us determine what is real and what it is not. But before we are able to exercise our cognitive ability to think critically, we need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. We can only think critically about things we have knowledge of. Critical thinking can be understood as a deep activity, one that requires the development of new habits of mind. It is not something that comes to us naturally, it requires extensive study and practice.

When we have our critical thinking hat on, we develop our problem-solving capabilities and our ability to look at the strengths and weaknesses of an argument; the result is that we are more able to see things clearly and this can help us make better decisions. We should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

We live in a world of double standards, flagrant contradictions, and intolerance. It seems that people these days are incapable of having adults’ discussions with someone with who they strongly disagree, and have a civilized exchange based on reason rather than rage. It is a very sorry state of affairs. Preaching intolerance in the name of tolerance is a frightening contradiction that doesn’t seem to faze some people.

The most dangerous person is the one who thinks critically.

Coming back to Bruce Lee’s quote “The most dangerous man is the one who observes, listens, thinks” I would like to tweak it a little bit: ‘” The most dangerous person is the one who observes, listens, thinks and then acts accordingly” because knowing without doing is like not knowing at all.

Joanne 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