Understanding The Psychology of Willful Blindness

The very fact that willful blindness is willed makes it interesting to understand the psychology of willful blindness.

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. Visual acuity is measured by your ability to identify letters or numbers on a standardized eye chart from a given distance. About 35% of the adult population have 20/20 vision and can see clearly without glasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery.  

Check your Vision and Perception of Reality

Vision is a broader term than visual acuity or eyesight, in addition to sharpness of sight or simply a description of the ability to see, the term ‘vision’ usually includes a wider range of visual abilities and skills which include contrast sensitivity, the ability to track moving objects, color vision, depth perception, focusing speed and so on.

Our eyes can be tested, and corrected if required, which tends to make us think that our view of things reflects an objective reality, but this is often not the case. What we perceive as an ‘objectiveperception of reality is actually a creation of our own minds, a figment of our imagination, an image we have created, and our perceptions can be wrong.

The problem is that once we have created our perception of reality we don’t like to see it proven wrong and will perform all kinds of mental gymnastics to demonstrate that we are right. Even the most objectively testable ideas can be right and wrong at the same time (according to our own personal perceptions) and can co-exist until such a time as they must be tested.

I thought about this concept of being simultaneously right and wrong while I was in Madrid last week, exploring the city with my youngest daughter Alizé. Alizé was my navigator and her mission was to guide us from El Retiro Park back to the city center. Once we’d walked further than I’d expected and noticed her confidence started to wane, I dropped some subtle hints that maybe we were going the wrong way. Alizé insisted she was right but, looking at the map, I realized that we’d gone in the totally opposite direction!

Having pointed out my daughter’s navigational errors, did she willingly change her mind to match my perception? No, she took offense that I questioned her map reading skills!

My critique was delivered in the calmest and most nonchalant of ways. I was not angry, I was not worried about being lost, nor were we expected anywhere, so everything was just fine. Using the map as an objective test of reality I eventually proved to my lovely daughter that we were indeed in the wrong place. Once her perception had been shattered, she resigned her position with immediate effect and said in a very theatrical manner, “Who needs a map anyway? This map is stupid. I can find our way back just using my intuition!

We’re lost! What do you mean lost?

I burst out laughing, proven wrong and pushed in a corner with no way out, my daughter’s reaction was to crack a joke and be flamboyant!

Willful Blindness

Willful blindness’ is the scientific term for ignoring the obvious.  Psychologist, author, CEO and part-time lecturer Margaret Heffernan explains the psychology of willful blindness in her book, Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril:’

“The psychology of willful blindness is a human phenomenon to which we all succumb in matters little and large. We can’t notice and know everything. So, this means that we train our brain to filter or edit the information we want to let in. Consequently, what we choose to let out is crucial. The tendency is for us to let in information that makes us feel good about ourselves, whilst conveniently filtering out whatever unsettles our fragile ego and most vital beliefs. Fear of conflicts and fear of change keep us that way. The problem with this is that everything outside that warm, safe circle is in our blind spot, making us willfully blind!”

Physician Robert Burton who also authored ‘Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not’ and ‘A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves’ has studied why our brains tend to reject information that challenges our worldview or broadens our outlook; he illustrates his findings with a beautiful analogy:

“Imagine the gradual formation of a riverbed. The initial flow of water might be completely random. There are no preferred routes in the beginning. But once a creek is formed, water is more likely to follow this newly created path of least resistance. As the water continue, the creek deepens, and a river develops. Over the course of our lives, our accumulation of experiences, relationships, and ideas shapes the proverbial riverbed of the mind and the water begins to flow with less and less resistance, which in turns produces a sense of certainty and ease that only deepens the riverbed.

Our minds have ‘riverbeds,’ channels through which we see things because that’s how we’ve always seen things, anything outside those channels are filtered out.

The good news is that willful blindness or ‘channel-thinking’ isn’t a fatal diagnosis of the human condition. Margaret Heffernan also explains:

Willful blindness may be our natural evolutionary cultivated tendency, but the plasticity and responsiveness of our minds is what makes each of us most remarkable and our capability to change can never be underestimated.”


Understanding the psychology of willful blindness and that our perceptions are not objective reality is important for many reasons. For instance, the world is full of conflict from nations at war, to couples fighting over who does more chores, to children fighting over a toy, or map reading in Madrid. These conflicts often occur in part because we think that we are right and that the person we are disagreeing with is wrong. But the truth is that we both are seeing our own biased perceptions of things. The other side has a different perception of how things are, but that does not mean they are wrong.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to see more clearly, be aware of your own misperceptions, and most importantly keep a sense of humor and grace whether you ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or both.

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Athena Goddess of War

Last week I was in Madrid, one of Europe’s most amazing cities, exciting and dynamic, with beautiful architecture everywhere you look. Dating back to the 9th century, Madrid has a rich history and has been the capital of Spain since 1606. El Retiro Park, located in the center of Madrid was originally a royal garden built for King Felipe IV in 1632 but has been open to the public since the Glorious Revolution of 1868. At the center of the 12-hectare park is a large artificial lake, El Estanque del Retiro and a monument dedicated to King Alfonso XII. The monument itself is a grand and elaborate curved colonnade, topped with a bronze equestrian statue of the king by sculptor Mariano Benlliure and incorporates the work of 21 other artists. One of those works is a sculpture of Athena Goddess of War herself!

Athena Goddess of War and Author Joanne Reed

I am not kidding! I met Goddess Athena in Madrid; she was looking very majestic and godly sitting at the focal point of the park watching over the lake. You can imagine my excitement at the sight of her there. Goddess Athena and I have been talking for a little while and our conversations have always been through ‘dreamy channels,’ but this time, I was standing right next to her while she imparted more of her godly wisdom about the Art of War.

Goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus, was known as both as ‘Athena Goddess of War‘ and ‘Athena Goddess of Wisdom.’ You may legitimately think, “How can the Goddess of War also be the Goddess of Wisdom?”, those two attributes do not seem to work well together!  Ares, son of Zeus and Athena’s brother was also a God of War; he was the patron of chaotic battles, extreme violence and slaughter, great pain, suffering and devastation. Athena was his antithesis; she was the patron of controlled strength, strategy, organized fighting, advanced weaponry and battlefield tactics. Athena excelled at mediation and always worked to prevent war, but if war could not be avoided, she was a fierce warrior and was known for never having lost a battle.

Goddess Athena meeting Author Joanne Reed at El Estanque del Retiro, Madrid

The Spanish Empire is described as the first truly global empire and the first to be known as “the Empire on which the sun never sets.” Between the late 15th to the early 19th centuries, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory, so, I asked Goddess Athena:

Author Joanne Reed: “Spaniards were great explorers; they were the first to venture to faraway lands across unknown oceans, and went further than anyone before them. What made them so successful?”

Goddess Athena: “You already know the answer to this question; it’s in Chapter 1 of your book, ‘This Is Your Quest.’”

Author Joanne Reed:Exploration started at sea, intrepid navigators and explorers crossed oceans to venture to faraway lands in pursuit of fame and fortune. The Quest for those navigators and explorers was for gold, spices, plants, medicine, knowledge and to establish trading posts.”

Goddess Athena: “Yes, but the role of the navy in these overseas pursuits was critical. The Spanish navy used the lake in El Retiro Park as a ‘playground’ for their naval practices because practice makes perfect.

Author Joanne Reed: “Did they have to practice? Couldn’t they just devise a war strategy?”

Goddess Athena: “No, knowing without doing is like not knowing at all. You cannot learn to ride a bicycle by reading a step-by-step guide. You have to go outside,  practice, stumble, fall off, get back on and do it over and over again until it becomes second nature. The same principle applies to everything else you do.”

Author Joanne Reed: “Wouldn’t it feel a little silly to hold mock naval battles in a lake?”

Goddess Athena: “No, because even if we have the intellectual capacity to quickly grasp concepts and ideas it is a mistake to believe that we also know how to execute them right away. Learning something new is hard, especially at the beginning when we struggle and make mistakes.  The reality is that the only way to learn something new is to practice, get feedback, refine your approach, and practice again.”

Your mission, should you accept it, is to pay attention to a Goddess, identify your goals and put them into practice until you reach your objectives and claim victory.

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Advice From Athena Goddess of Wisdom – Navigating Choppy Waters

Advice From Athena Goddess of Wisdom – Navigating Choppy Waters

Life is full of ups and downs; one day we can be sitting on top of the world and the next we can find ourselves in the gutter with problems we don’t know how to solve. Some days you may feel that you are swaying unsteadily on a tightrope between one extreme and another, between good moments and bad. We all have to accept the fact that life’s journey will sometimes take us on rocky paths, through choppy waters or down dark alleys. Who better than Athena Goddess of Wisdom to help us deal with those challenging times?

Aristotle said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light;” you have probably also heard “there is light at the end of the tunnel,” maybe this is the light that Aristotle was talking about.

If you read my previous post you would know Athena Goddess of Wisdom has agreed to talk to me on a regular basis to impart some of her godly wisdom. Who better to ask about seeing the light?

Athena Goddess of Wisdom

Goddess Athena is often depicted as a warrior holding a spear and wearing a golden helmet. Goddess Athena was admired and renowned for her role as judge, diplomat, and mediator, but it was as a mediator and planner that she really excelled. Goddess Athena was known for her superb logic and intellect, her decisions were well-considered and displayed great compassion. She avoided war whenever possible, but if negotiations failed, she could turn herself into a fierce warrior and was known to have never lost a battle.

Author Joanne Reed

Author Joanne Reed, “Goddess Athena, I am grateful for another opportunity to talk. Last time, your advice was to ‘Be like a River.’ However, not all rivers are calm and peaceful, some are tumultuous, dangerous, churning. How can mortals navigate these choppy waters and life’s ups and downs?”

Goddess Athena, “Tell your fellow mortals to ‘Be like a Cave.’ Tell them to stay calm, to breath deep and find beauty in unexpected places. Tell them to search inward and see the ‘hole’ picture. Tell them that good things take time and that they should look beneath the surface and hang tight”.

Goddess Athena, “My last words are to REED Joanne’s book ‘This Is Your Quest’ and keep tuned-in to her blog. I will be talking to her regularly to share more ‘divine wisdom’ to spread more joy and happiness.

Advice from a Cave

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to listen to Nature, be like a cave, pay attention to a Goddess and just do what she says!

Advice from a Cave is part of the True Nature series by Ilan Shamir.

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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


Goddess Athena – Be Like a River

Goddess Athena – Be Like a River

Humans are emotional in nature. They have a tendency to react to events in an emotional manner through feelings of anger, worry, fear, frustration, exasperation, envy, impatience, resentment, etc. Those emotions are fine as long as you can keep them in check. The best way to control emotions is to train yourself to think more and feel less, i.e. to become more rational. This does not come naturally, it is a skill that needs to be cultivated.

So, what helps human beings cultivate the art of greater rationality?

I searched for the answer and last night was blessed by a dreamy visit from the Goddess Athena!

Goddess Athena is one of the most influential of all Goddesses; she gave her name to the City of Athens and is the Goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, law, justice, strategic warfare, strength, arts and crafts.

Athena is also the patron Goddess of heroic endeavors; she is the voice that comes to heroes in times of need, instilling in them a calm spirit and giving them the energy to achieve their goals. Under Athena’s influence, man or woman can see the world with perfect clarify and take action just right for the moment.

Q&A with Goddess Athena

Athena’s essence was rationality, her greatest gift to mortals was to enable a human to act with divine wisdom. In my conversation with Athena last night, I asked her:

Author Joanne Reed, “what is your best advice for mortals?

Goddess Athena, “listen to Nature because Nature speaks and you will walk through life in a blissful and joyful state of mind.

Author Joanne Reed, “Goddess Athena, mortals are living more comfortably than ever, but are still living lives of quiet desperation, full of doubt, misery and no sense of direction.”

Be Like a River

Goddess Athena, “Tell your fellow mortals to be like a river. Go with the flow and immerse yourself with nature. Slow down, ramble and go around obstacles. Be thoughtful of those downstream. Remember that beauty is in the journey.”

Goddess Athena, “My last words are to REED Joanne’s book ‘This Is Your Quest’ and keep tuned-in to her blog. I will be talking to her regularly to share more ‘divine wisdom’ to spread more joy and happiness”

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to listen to Nature, be like a river, pay attention to a Goddess and just do what she says!

 Advice from a River is part of the True Nature series by Ilan Shamir.

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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


Information and Disinformation – “How Carrots Helped Win World War II”

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. If our behaviors are influenced by information, how can we be sure that what we receive is information or disinformation?

Controlling Perception

It is possible to control human perception, the best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receive, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

The “Carrot Myth”

The “Carrot Myth”

According to conventional wisdom eating lots of carrots will magically enhance your vision?! While there is a little bit of truth in this, the ‘Carrot Myth‘ was engineered by British Intelligence and popularized and reinforced by the British Ministry of Information – the government department responsible for publicity and propaganda – during WWII.

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) were able to repel German fighters in part because of the development of a new secret radar technology. The on-board 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.

Joanne Reed – Author of “This Is Your Quest”

Information and Disinformation Overload

Today, we are living in a world of information and disinformation overload; data about almost anything is available at the click of a button, we are constantly bombarded by streams of information (and sometimes disinformation), making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

Hoaxes, hysterias, 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 easily led as ever. Skepticism is just as rare as any other time, and most people are willing to believe something they read on the internet, heard second or third hand, without subjecting their curiosities to even the most basic fact-checking.

It is important to remain skeptical. Some people may dismiss you as a cynical, but that’s likely to be the person who’s actively trying to influence you or sell you something. There are no awards for coming to a conclusion the fastest, so take your time, and don’t form an opinion based on emotion. Here are some quick ways to keep yourself in check:

  • Check your sources
  • Understand the difference between opinion and fact
  • Beware of anecdotal evidence
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Question your beliefs
  • Turn to history for clues

Skepticism is healthy. Be discerning about the information you receive and the medium through which it is transmitted, they are skills worth developing.

And this, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!

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The Four Stages of Self-Development – Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (15 October 1844 to 25 August 1900) was a German Philosopher whose writings on truth, morality, cultural theory, history, the meaning of existence has exerted an enormous influence on Western Philosophy. Nietzsche believed that embracing difficulties is essential for a fulfilling life and urged people to consider the journey of self-discovery as one of the greatest and most fertile existential pursuit and described this in his four stages of self-development.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s and his Three Metamorphoses

Knowing oneself is the first step to the meaning of existence; but Nietzsche reminds us that the path to finding ourselves is no light stroll, it is a dark and mysterious business; to dig into oneself, to climb down directly into the tunnel of one’s being is an agonizing and hazardous undertaking.  The journey through that tunnel requires us to ask ourselves questions such as:

  • what has truly uplifted our soul?
  • What has dominated and delighted us?
  • Are we operating within our true potential or just living a life of quiet desperation?

We aren’t born knowing who we are, we have to become it. Personal Development, according to Nietzsche is something inexorably linked to perseverance and transformation. It is only when we endure challenges that we improve. As Marcus Aurelius said: “The obstacle is the way. Hardship isn’t the barrier to growth. It is the source of it.”

Nietzsche’s Three Transformations

In his masterpiece Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche presents a beautiful and profound metaphor for human evolution:

“Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.”

Nietzsche believed that there are 3 transformations in the four stages of Self-Development:

  • Transformation 1: From Sheep to Camel;
  • Transformation 2: From Camel to Lion;
  • Transformation 3: From Lion to Child.

Each of the three metamorphoses is a massive paradigm shift that one has to experience to move on to the next step:

Transformation 1: From Sheep to Camel

We start out as sheep and find comfort being part of a herd, to congregate and get lost in the crowd, trying not to get noticed, being invisible and to follow a path that has already been set out. Sheep have an aversion for taking any kind of risk, for taking any responsibility for themselves or others. For those who excel at being sheepish, wandering off on a different path doesn’t really cross their minds, to do so would put them in danger, it would be foolish and unnecessary.

Some are happy to stay as sheep, but for others, acting sheepish doesn’t do it, being invisible and anonymous does not suit them, it doesn’t feel authentic. For those others, wandering off on a different path is something that brings meaning to their lives and by striving to be more one undergoes the first transformation, leaving the safety and comfort of the herd to become something better, to become a camel.

Transformation 2: From Camel to Lion

The second of the four stages of self-development, being a camel means becoming more visible, less anonymous and finding a more constructive way to live. A camel’s mission in life is to be useful, obedient and hardworking. Camels fill their days with as many obligations and responsibilities as possible and walk through life with a heavy load on their backs. Camels overcome the sheepish way of life to become more productive members of society, but the solution to finding meaning becomes the camels’ new problem. In the pursuit of a meaningful life, the camel makes itself a slave to other people. Camels live for society and the acceptance of others, never for their own self-acceptance or for themselves. Camels believe that a life of labor is just how life is, carrying other people’s burdens and living according to other’s principles and expectations.

Some camels, however, have a feeling they have been misled and if something doesn’t change their body or their spirit will break. They may well be on the fast track to growing bitter, hopeless, submissive or resentful. These camels must overcome themselves again in order to become even more, to strive to become a lion, a fierce creature, a king, with nothing to bow down to.

Just like the sheep lived only to subsist;
Just like the camel lived only to conform;
The lion lives only to fight.
The lion slayed the dragon, but his victory was his defeat.
The lion’s victory leaves him with a profound nothingness. Sitting alone in the dragon’s empty cave.

From Sheep to Camel to Lion to Child

Transformation 3: From Lion to Child

The camel’s struggle in the desert can never lead to a meaningful life, but once the lion realizes that there is also no happiness either in fighting against everything: so, in order to escape a feeling of nothingness, the lion has to become a child. In this final transformation in the four stages of self-development, the child is capable of making its own meaning of living, for living for itself, for being curious about everyone and everything, for being spontaneous.

If we become children, we can live without the lion’s hostility,
 without the camel’s burdens and without the sheep’s uselessness.
 We aren’t fixated on the past or the future.
We are living fully in the moment, solving the problems that come our way and bettering in the process the world for all of humanity.

A child-like spirit is vital to happiness, health, and well-being. As a child, life is no longer a struggle or an eternal battle. Being a child allows us to find contentment, life is a celebration, a precious gift that can be opened every second of the day. The nothingness that tormented the lion, the camel and the sheep is now a blank canvas for our creativity and it is the source of our freedom – real freedom this time. Because as a child, to rediscover how to play, it is possible to completely overcome ourselves, to know what we’re truly capable of and to become who we are.

And this my dear friend is your Quest!

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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


Get Into The Genius Zone and Unlock Your Maximum Potential

If I asked you to name 3 people who worked in the Genius Zone, there is a high chance it may include:

Leonardo Da Vinci – Albert Einstein – Marie Curie

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Italian Genius of the Renaissance; inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, musician, mathematician, engineer, writer, anatomist, geologist, botanist, writing, historian and cartographer!

Da Vinci is considered one of the greatest painters of all time; the “Mona Lisa” is the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world, and the “The Last Supper” is the western world’s most recognizable paintings and the most reproduced religious painting of all time. One of Da Vinci famous quotes: “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), German-born physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is considered one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 (his Nobel Prize was for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, not for the theory of relativity).

One of his famous quotes: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) was a polish naturalized French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific fields.

One of her famous quotes: “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now it is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Everybody is a Genius

All three esteemed personalities above greatly deserve the title Genius; but Einstein said: “everybody is a genius.” He was right about that and many other things too, but how to get into your Genius Zone?

Einstein Quotes, “Everybody is a Genius”

Gay Hendricks, psychologist and author of the “Big Leap” and “The Joy of Genius” explains in the “Big Leap” that people operate within 4 different zones:

  1. The Zone of Incompetence where you do things that you inherently do not understand or are not skilled at. Most of us avoid spending too much time there (although surprisingly there are lots of people who are not aware of what they’re not good at – I’m sure you know someone!)
  2. The Zone of Competence where you do things that you are good at, but somebody else could do them just as well thus not distinguishing your capabilities in any significant way.
  3. The Zone of Excellence where you get a lot of reward for your competence and if it is your profession, where you are likely to make a reasonable living.
  4. The Zone of Genius is the zone where you capitalize on your natural abilities which are innate rather than learned. This is the state in which you get into ‘flow,’ find inspiration in an effortless manner and where you seem to come up with work that is distinguished and unique but also do so in a way that excels far and beyond what anyone else is doing.

Hendricks then explains:

Most successful people are operating in their zone of excellence, in which they are doing things at which they are highly skilled. This zone is ultimately unsatisfying, though, because it does not engage the innate genius of the individual.”

If you are stuck in the Zone of Excellence you are likely making your friends and family happy and doing things that you are excellent at, but don’t let yourself get stuck there. The Zone of Genius is where you NEED to spend more time.

Everyone has a dream but not everyone realizes them. Much misery in life arises from people who are waking up every day doing things that don’t challenge them. Gay Hendricks is encouraging everyone to spend more time in their Zone of Genius by making a small commitment everyday to devote some time (start with 10 minutes every day) to operate within their Zone of Genius. Out of that commitment a new wealth of ideas will come forth.

We all have hidden potential that can be made to surface. We are so much more than we can imagine.

Let your genius out of that genie bottle.

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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


Self-Actualization – Be Whoever You Want To Be

Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist, best known for writing A Theory of Human Motivation and Towards a Psychology of Being defined the concept of Self-Actualization or the Self Actualization of Maslow as the desire for self-fulfillment.

Maslow studied mentally healthy individuals, instead of people with serious psychological issues, and in particular Self-Actualized individuals who had a better insight of reality, deeply accepted themselves, others and the world and whom share qualities such as truth, goodness, aliveness, uniqueness and playfulness.

Human Needs

Maslow noticed that Self-Actualized individuals only exist once their underlying human needs have been met and described these human needs in a prepotent hierarchy, usually represented as a pyramid. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher-up and a pressing need would need to be mostly satisfied before someone would give their attention to the next highest need.  From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards the needs are: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

At the bottom of the hierarchy, you can find basic needs of human beings such as food, water, sleep, sex. The next level is safety needs or the need for security, order and stability. Those needs are important for the physical survival of the human being. Once individuals have achieved their basic nutrition, shelter and safety needs, they are free to accomplish more; and this is how they move on to the next level i.e. love/belonging. When individuals have taken care of their basic needs for survival they are free to share themselves with others and are in a position to offer love, affection and compassion to the people around them. The fourth level i.e. esteem is the need to feel competent and recognized; this level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished through professional success and status.

At the top of the pyramid, you have the need for self-actualization which occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential.

If you are planning on being less than you are capable of,
you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life” – Abraham Maslow

How to Become Self Actualized

So how do you become self-actualized?

The first step is the thought. The sowing of a thought should be followed by action. Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Sow a thought and you reap an action. Sow an action and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

The sowing of a thought should be followed by action. The reward is not so much in what the pursuit and achievement of that objective will bring but rather the skills acquired along the way and the transformation it forces us to undergo. Achieving those goals requires to leave our comfort zone, whilst developing new skills and cultivating self-discipline. The problem is that for many of us we struggle to move from sowing of a thought to taking action. So, the question is … do you have the courage to act?

Do you have the courage to act? Over to you!

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Be An Explorer – The Lost City of Atlantis

The world is full of unsolved mysteries. Rather than the land we live, what seems strange to us is the Ocean, which is home to many myths, legends & mysteries. Lost cities, hidden treasures, mystic ships are all part of the alluring marine world. Of all of these, the lost city of Atlantis tops the list.

The Lost City of Atlantis

The lost city of Atlantis was first mentioned by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato more than 2,300 years ago. In his stories, Plato describes Atlantis as a legendary island idealizing it as an advanced society where Utopia dominates. In Atlantis, wisdom is the primary characteristics of the people and their wisdom should bring peace in the world. According to Plato, Atlanteans were great engineers and their technology was much more advanced than in other parts of the world. Atlantis was special as it was technologically & educationally much more advanced than any other society.

Atlantean Jellyfish and Goddess of the Sea!?

Tale of God’s Love. Legend says that Atlantis city was built by Poseidon – The God of Sea, Storms & Earthquakes when he fell in love with a mortal woman called Cleito. He built his city on top of a hill, in an isolated island in the sea to show his appreciation for his wife. Atlantis was said to be inhabited by people who were more beautiful & more intelligent than the rest of the world. The myth says that the inhabitants of Atlantis City were superior beings.

Underwater Ray of Light

Atlantis was paradise: no one had to work hard. Every type of wonderful food grew there, and animals were plentiful. It had a glorious culture with wonderful palaces and temples. The kings were rich in gold, silver and other precious metals. The people of Atlantis lived a golden age of harmony and abundance.

Then things started to change. As the Atlanteans grew powerful, their ethics declined. They became greedy for more than they had. They became corrupt. Angered by the Atlanteans’ behavior Zeus summoned all the Gods and decided to teach Atlantis a lesson.

The legend of Atlantis ends with the wrath of Zeus who sent an earthquake that made Atlantis sink into the sea in the course of one day and one night. And just like that, Atlantis, its people & its memory were swallowed by the sea.


In Atlantis, you don’t count sheep to get to sleep

Photos taken a Atlantis, Dubai.



Walk The Talk

Walk The Talk

Aristotle’s followers are said to have discussed philosophy while walking about with him. They literally walked the talk!

Every person, great or small has important work to do. There is for each and every one of us a goal that we must follow. A path that bears our name. A hand that we must hold. A word that we must say. A smile that we must give. A song that we must sing. For seldom do we realize the importance of small deeds. For great things can happen if everyone of us would brighten up the spot on which they are standing.

You Too can Walk The Talk

I made it my Quest for 2019 to help as many people as I can (through the words I have written in my book 📖) to find the path which bears their name.

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“To Be or Not To Be “- Finding Meaning in your life

To be or not to be is one of the most famous line of Shakespeare’s [1] play Hamlet.  The main character, Hamlet, lives through a full-blown tragedy with no happy ending in sight; the play deals with questions about life and existence, sanity, love, death and betrayal.   Tragedies are part of our everyday life. The philosopher Henry David Thoreau [2] managed to encapsulate this concept in one sentence when he said: The mass of men leads lives of quiet desperation.  This feeling comes from the fact that for a lot of people they feel that they are stuck in the rat race  unable to make their own choices but forced instead to go through the motion of waking up every day, go to work to get a pay check which is necessary in order to afford all the necessities of life, pay all the bills, put some money aside (if possible) for a well-deserved vacation somewhere (to get away for just a little while) from the mundanity of everyday life and repeat the process year after year after year; but people are not born to just go to work, pay their bills and then die.  Surely, there is more to it than that.

Living a life of quiet desperation can affect everyone, young, old, poor and also the rich & famous.   For the majority of people, the ultimate measure of success is to become rich and if you can achieve fame at the same time – all the better; but sometimes notoriety and money alone is not enough to save people from a life of quiet desperation.

The most fundamental question that each one of us should ask ourselves is What is the meaning of life?  It is in essence a very philosophical question and as such we should seek the assistance of some of the most prestigious philosophers in order to help us gain some clarity on this subject; because philosophers are the ones who spend the majority of their time thinking about the most fundamental question i.e. how to live.  The art of living is at the center of what preoccupies most philosophers.

 Aristotle[3]spent a fair amount of time thinking about the concept of human well-being and what virtues are necessary to achieve a life well-lived; he wrote his findings and conclusions in Ethics. Aristotle reached the conclusion that what we need in order to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor and wealth fit together as a whole.  The principle idea with which Aristotle begins is that there are differences of opinion about what is best for human beings.  Most people would agree that it is good to have friends, to experience pleasure, to be honored, and to have such virtues as courage, at least to some degree. The difficult and controversial question arise when we ask whether some of these are more desirable than others.

To answer this question Aristotle came up with two key principles to help us live a full and happy life, the first one is the use of reason and the second one is the use of virtue.  What separates humans from other species is our capacity to use reason.  In order to live well, we have to use reason well.  This means that when we face a choice between several options we have to choose the option that is most rational according to the current circumstance and the most virtuous

But not everyone has the capability or the willingness to travel through life exercising virtuous acts, now, then and always. So, if one is unable or unwilling to be virtuous, what does it make him or her? According to Aristotle, someone who is unable to resist pressure to go the opposite way of being virtuous can be describes as “incontinent.”  Someone who refuses to try to do what an ethically virtuous person would do, because he/she has been convinced that justice, temperance, generosity and the like are of little value, can be described as “evil.” Evil people are driven by the desire for domination and luxury.

And this is where the American Philosopher Richard Taylor [4] enters into the frame to add an additional layer to Aristotle’s concept by proposing to add another quality that is necessary in order to pursue virtuous acts; and that quality is creativity.  For him human excellence can be achieved through the fulfillment of our capacity for creativity.

Richard Taylor urges people:

Do something – Create something. To do otherwise is simply to waste your precious life, because if the only thing you do is eat, sleep, reproduce then die, for a person to do no better than that is in effect to lapse into a mere animal nature.

 What if I have no passion?  This time round we will ask the renown philosopher Carl Jung [5] to help us answer this question. According to 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”.

Furthermore, Richard Taylor tells us that:

Don’t suppose that a work of art must be something that all can behold – a poem, a painting, a book, a great building. Consider making of your own 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 what you are, and 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 that you might become. It need not be something spectacular, or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can then take a look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of.

The answer to the most fundamental question of all time (i.e. what is the meaning of life and by extension how to be happy) can be found in the following words: The Use of Reason, Virtuous Acts, and Creativity. That is all there is to it. To be or not to be that is the question?!… Over to you.

[1] William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616): English poet, playwright and actor. Best known for his plays; Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing to only name a few.

[2] Henri David Thoreau (12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862): American essayist, Poet, Philosopher, Abolitionist, Historian. Best known for his book Walden – a reflection upon simple living and his essay “Civil Disobedience.”

[3] Aristotle (384-322 BC): Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Student of Plato. Best known for his contribution to the field of science, psychology, politics, history and arts.

[4] Richard Taylor (5 November 1919 – 30 October 2003): American Philosophe. Best known for his work and papers on the meaning of life.

[5] Carl Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961): Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and prolific writer. Best known for creating some of the best known psychological concepts such as synchronicity, extraversion and introversion, the collective unconscious.

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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