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Life is a double-edged sword. Learn the art of not hurting yourself

Life is a double-edged sword. A Knife is only as good as the one who wields it. You can use a knife to cut vegetables and cook a beautiful dinner, but if you are not careful you can cut and hurt yourself with that same knife. There are times when our greatest strengths turn out to be a source of weakness as well; this occurs when we overplay on our strengths or rigidly work to them.

The starting point is to know and be aware of what your strengths are and know when and how to use those strengths bearing in mind that self-awareness and flexibility will help you stay the course. Life is a double-edged sword the way you communicate and express yourself can be good or bad depending on your communication style. Every communication style has its strong points and weak points. The strength of your communication style can turn into a weakness if people rely too much on it.

For example, a reflective and cautious person is admired for her thoughtful approach to every problem and decision-making process. However, this strength can become a problem if it is exaggerated. A reflective person can turn this strength into a weakness if their reflectiveness makes them suffer from analysis-paralysis and make them unable to make a decision due to over-thinking a problem. This reflective person turns into a way-too-cautious-and-inflexible person unable to arrive at any decision without detailed and complete information. Anyone who is expecting to have complete information before making any type of decision is doomed because it is an impossibility. Things change all the time, what’s true right now at this minute can turn out to be untrue 5 minutes later. Every day we make decisions based on incomplete information.

But I digress. Let’s go back to the main point of this article which is to explain the concept of why life is a double-edged sword. To help me do this, I tapped into the wisdom of Jay Shetty and some interesting concepts that he explains in his book “Think like a Monk”. Jay Shetty explains that there are 4 types of people in this world. 1. The Leader. 2. The Guide. 3. The Creator and 4. The Maker. All 4 types have strengths and weaknesses and depending on how you play those, you will find yourself operating within your mode of goodness, or within your mode of ignorance. The rest of this article will be based on Jay Shetty’s explanation of this concept.

Being a leader can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. being a leader can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.comfencing. Mixed media

Originally, leaders were Kings and warriors. Today you have politicians, military personnel, law enforcement personnel, justice personnel who occupy that position. The skillset required for this type of position is good communication, honesty, and integrity, being driven by a noble cause to defend and protect your people; being inspiring and engaging is definitely a plus.

Those who are operating in this group are natural leaders of people, movements, associations, and families. They are motivated and directed by courage, strength, and determination and are driven by the need to protect those who are less privileged. They are led by higher morals and values and seek to enforce them across the board. They provide structure and frameworks for the growth of their people. They like to work in teams. They are focused and are dedicated to a mission.

Throughout history, there are countless examples of leaders who proved that holding this function is a double-edged sword, and not in the best sense of the word.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

If a leader operates under a Mode of Ignorance as Jay Sheety describes it, you will witness a shift happening. That person would go from being an honorable individual to being a despicable character who gives up on change due to corruption and hypocrisy, develop a negative and pessimistic viewpoint, and loses his moral compass in his drive for power. They use their talents and influence to serve themselves and not humanity.

Life is a double-edged sword. Stay the course. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Guide can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. Being a Guide can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.com

Guides are teachers, coaches, gurus, mentors. Their skillset is learning, studying, sharing their knowledge and wisdom. A coach and a mentor want to bring the best in the people they connect with, they want to help you be the best version of yourself and will help you find your purpose. Their quest in life is to find meaning, fulfillment, purpose, and share their wisdom with the world. They are here to serve. They enjoy intellectual pursuits and meaningful conversations.

If the Guide operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from sage to fool; not practicing what they preach, and not leading by example. They could also use their knowledge for strength and power and not for the good of humanity.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

They are countless examples throughout the world of mentors/gurus/spiritual leaders who became corrupted by the power of their position and the unconditional devotion of their disciplines. Those supposedly enlightened individuals became harmful, destructive, taking advantage of their followers, clients, disciples in the most despicable ways, because those people were extremely vulnerable, desperate, lost, and confused.

Life is a double-edged sword. Stay the course. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Creator can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. Being a creator can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.com

Originally Creators were merchants and businesspeople. Nowadays they are marketers, salespersons, entertainers, producers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. Their skillset gravitates around brainstorming, networking, innovating, making things happen. They have great sales, negotiation, and persuasion skills, they can convince themselves and others of anything. They are highly driven by money, pleasure, and success, they are very hardworking and determined. They are status-driven. They are dynamic, charismatic, and captivating. They create products and ideas that make money but also serve others. They provide jobs and opportunities for others.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

Still, if the Creator operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from a great negotiator to a scammer. Creators can become corrupt they can lie, cheat and steal to sell something with no value. They can burn out, and become depressed, moody, difficult, and very unpleasant characters.

Life is a double-edged sword. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Maker can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Originally Makers were artists, musicians, painters, writers. Today, the same list applies but you could add engineers, architects, programmers, coders, carpenters, cooks. Their skillset gravitates around inventing, creating, implementing an idea, a vision, a concept. They like exploring and experimenting with new ideas. They tend to choose meaningful goals to pursue. They are driven by stability and security.

Still, if the Maker operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from creative to destructive, when they feel anxious, stuck, and unworthy. They focus more on money and fame instead of focusing on honing their skills.

Life is a double-edged sword. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Moral of the story

Whatever you do, whether you are a Leader, a Guide, a Creator, or a Maker, life is a double-edged sword. You have to stay alert and stay on the straight and narrow path with some flexibility thrown into the mix.

“A Knife is only as good as the one who wields it.”

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.

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

should you hire a life coach or mentor?

Should you hire a life coach or mentor? Not everyone needs a coach nor wants one. If you are struggling with some unresolved issue and have a problem to resolve, you can just enter a search on the internet and you will find, in no time at all a book, a YouTube video, an article, a blog, or an online course telling you exactly how to solve your problem. There is no doubt that you can DIY your own path to success and your own self-development. If you can do this on your own, well done. Keep doing what you are doing.

But for those who are struggling with an overload of information and are getting confused with all the well-meaning advice that populate social media and other platforms, and who end up not knowing who and what to believe, hiring a coach or a mentor can be a smart decision.

What exactly is a life coach?

A Life coach is not a therapist. Therapists focus on healing past issues, whereas coaching focuses on implementing changes to create a new future. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership.

Improve your skills. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

Life coaches work with individuals who are looking to create a pathway to reaching set goals. Whether it is work, personal, or family, coaches act as unbiased thinking partners and hold their clients accountable by typically having regular meetings and guiding them throughout the process. How do you know that it is time to hire a life coach? How do you trust it will benefit you? Albert Einstein gave us the perfect answer to this question.

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.

Albert Einstein

Have you ever been in a situation where you think of a problem over and over going round in circles without going anywhere? Sometimes you need a new approach, a new level of thought, in this case, a third party to sound your ideas off and help you see things from a different angle, challenge your way of thinking or open you to some unexplored possibilities. Another question you may ask yourself. Is it worth the money? Rates vary enormously. Choose a life coach/mentor that you like and can afford and see if it works for you or not. It’s that simple. Life coaches who charge enormous rates are often too busy dealing with their high-profile clients and are inaccessible anyway.

When hiring a life coach or mentor may be a good idea

Do you lack a clear vision or your vision is so big you are feeling overwhelmed? Are you irritable, defensive, or prone to knee-jerk reactions? Are you facing a life transition and are having difficulties adjusting to your new circumstances? Do you have a pretty normal and pleasant life, but you are feeling a bit off anyway? If the answer to all those questions is yes, maybe it is time for you to consider hiring a life coach or mentor who can provide you with a safe and compassionate place to vent your feelings, put things into perspective and guide you. Perhaps you keep trying to improve your situation and nothing seems to be working. To achieve the results you want, you will mostly need to change your attitudes or underlying beliefs.

Transitions bring up stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, all of which have the tendency to set us on edge and make us feel we need to talk things through with someone who is not a family member, or a friend. Family and friends have great intentions, but they are not impartial. Being too close to your situation can limit their vision and the advice they may give you. Perhaps you need help in figuring out what’s next? A coach will stand next to you and guide you in this exploration process. They can ask powerful questions that break through your old defenses. When you learn to be curious about your life, you will become more willing to take on challenges that once seemed scary.

Fear of failing is the biggest killer of plans and ideas. Most people don’t dare to think big and follow their dreams because of the fear of failure or being ridiculed and rejected. The end result is that their dreams will always remain just that, a dream. The dream made them feel good while it lasted, but their ideas will remain known to them only. Their songs will only ever be sung in their heads, with no audience to listen to and no one else to appreciate them. The books they could have authored remain only thoughts. Most people won’t even reach for their dreams because they are unwilling to feel uncomfortable, to have their limits tested, to live on the edge, to be outside their comfort zone, to be criticized, to be let down, and to be challenged.

“You miss 100% of all the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzky

What could be the worst outcome if you did take that shot? Failure? A bruised ego? Loss of money? And what might you gain? Knowledge? New connections? Insights and experience? People should not focus so much on how often they fall, they should instead focus on learning, having new experiences, picking themselves up, and seeing how far they can go. And if you can’t do this yourself, or with the help of a book, a YouTube video, or an online course, maybe it’s time to ask a coach or a mentor to help and guide you.

The biggest motivator of all for hiring a life coach or a mentor, life regrets.

Be yourself. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

When people come towards the end of their life and look back to reflect on the choices they made they are often filled with regrets. Bronnie Ware a hospice worker and the author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing described in the book, conversations she had with senior citizens who were filled with regrets about their life journey and for taking the easy way out, rather than tackling challenges in a self-fulfilling way.

1. The number one regret people voice on their way out, according to Bronnie Ware is that they did not live a life true to themselves but did what other people expected of them. We often follow a path that has been traced for us by our parents, society, peer pressure, etc… don’t get me wrong, it is honorable and commendable to provide for yourself and your family, but once our basic needs are fulfilled (see Maslow pyramids of needs) spend some time and energy on your own self-actualization.

2. The second regret people voice while dying is working too hard on someone else’s dream and not their own. This goes along the same vein as the first point but there is an extra dimension to it. Time is of the essence. There is nothing wrong with being an employee and getting paid for the time and effort you spend working for someone else, but once your employee work is done, do not neglect to work on your own project/dream/side hustle, etc… Time is of the essence, you can never get back time wasted away. It is gone forever. Days, weeks, months, years pass, and just like that your life is nearly over. Instead of lazing around on the sofa every night after work watching Reality TV, why not use this time to further your own dream?

3. The third most cited regret Bronnie Ware offers is that people look back and wish they had had the courage to express their feelings. We can all relate to this one, no matter our age. We owe it to ourselves to clarify how we feel, what we feel, and how to effectively state our feelings. You don’t have to be inconsiderate when doing this, you can do it honestly and gently. For more on this, you can check the article I wrote on this subject. Voicing our feelings can also help us identify how our expression affects others as well as ourselves.

4. The fourth regret Ware includes is a desire to have stayed in touch with old friends. Loneliness is rampant in contemporary culture. Life is busy and too often it gets in the way of maintaining and nurturing connections with our friends. Friends come and go you gain some and you lose some, but true friends who you can really count on when the going gets tough are rare and it is definitely worth spending time maintaining that connection.

5. The final item Ware cites is that people regret not having let themselves be happier! Are you shocked by this? But how can we let ourselves be happy if we are not mentored in the art of developing our happiness? Where are those rare individuals who are living out their own visions? What does authentic happiness look like and how does it show up for each one of us? We’ll only have the answers to those questions through personal trial and error and maybe a life coach or mentor can help you do just that.

Personal note

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).  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.

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