Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, we celebrate women. Happy International Women’s Day to all the women out there! Remember to be your own fabulous self today and every day! Dream what you want to dream. Go where you want to go. Be what you want to be. Ride your own wave. March to your own beat, sing your own songs, write your own book and wildly dance to your own rhythm like nobody is watching. Don’t be afraid to shine your light as far and as wide as you can and remember that

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

Anne Lamott.

Today’s blog article is dedicated to women from every corner of the world; it is a snapshot of my thoughts, vision and aspirationS for women, but most of all it is a celebration.

Let’s celebrate international women’s day by being ourselves

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be yourself. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed

Your Quest my dear, is not to find yourself but to create yourself. Make your life a work of art, because that is the only place where you can do whatever you like and tremember that to give style to one’s character is a great and rare art.

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

Richard Taylor.

Don’t let people put you in a box and stick a label on it before they even get the chance to know you. You are the sum total of your genetics, your upbringing, but also the books you read, the countries you travel to, the ups and downs that can be on your path. Respect people but do not worship them. Be a giver, but give yourself enough time and space to advance your interests too. Today you can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as you want and tomorrow, you can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if you feel like it.

In order to create yourself, you need to be courageous. Being courageous doesn’t mean that you have to do bold spectacular acts of bravery and become a hero. You don’t have to be a hero, just have the courage to be yourself. Courage can show up in a very quiet manner and in thousands of unexpected ways. Deciding not to fight can sometimes be as courageous as charging into battle. Forgiveness requires a lot of courage. Learning a new skill, starting a new business venture, stepping outside your comfort zone requires a lot of courage. Standing up to bullies and speaking your mind requires a fair dose of courage. Falling in love, letting your guards down can be an act of courage. Staying positive and upbeat when facing setbacks, ill-health, old age or even death requires a lot of courage.

Let’s celebrate international women’s day by looking after our body and our mind

We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your Quest as a human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. Have a fighting spirit but choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Sure thing, but how?! You can become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from our diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes.

“Above all do not lose your desire to walk everyday. I walked myself into a state of well-being and walked away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thoughts so burdensome that one cannot walk away from”

Soren KierKegaard

You can become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to unexpected events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise. You can become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.

Looking after your mind means setting aside some quiet time to learn the art of being still. Practicing stillness is an essential life lesson that is being taught by wise men. Let’s be guided by the words of two wise men, Socrates, and Blaise Pascal.

Learn the art of being still. Photo by Alize Reed – La Savanne – Ile de la Reunion

According to Socrates: “The source of all wisdom and clarity is to know thyself.” And according to Blaise Pascal “, All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”.

Too often our minds are caught in a cycle of stimulus and mindless distractions, practicing the art of being still will definitely help you unclutter your mind and help you get accustomed to being in your own company, free to let your mind wander wherever it wants to go.

Being still is not an easy state of being, humans are social creatures by nature, we dread boredom, and we are unfit to endure extreme cases of isolation. If we are alone for too long our mental faculties can degrade leading to a state of insanity and deep despair. The use of solitary confinement and exile are effective tools of punishment.

But our modern-day fears are not restricted to extreme cases of isolation, rather many of us fear being alone for any period of time, and being alone is something to be avoided at all costs. Not only are we afraid of being alone individually, but we are also afraid of those around us who seem to be very happy in their own company. We see them as dangerous, unsocial, or maybe even unwanted.

The paradox these days is that we have never been so connected to each other and feel so alone at the same time. Information technology is everywhere, the invention of the radio, the telephone, television, mobile phone, and the internet has brought us closer together allowing anyone in the world instant access to another person via video conference call. These days, you just have to press a button and instantaneously you are transported to the other side of the world. The problem is, we now live in a world where we are connected to everyone except ourselves.

A paradox of stillness is that it requires you to think very deeply, but also clear your mind. In fact, this is not a paradox as once our mind is cleared and emptied insights and breakthroughs can occur. Muddy waters clear themselves through stillness; if we let them settle the truth will be revealed to us. Another paradox is that stillness does not require that you stop moving or even to be somewhere quiet, stillness can be cultivated while chaos swirls around you. Those moments, in a busy shopping mall or airport, when somehow all the external noise is filtered out and you feel a sense of calm and can focus on what is in your control, that is stillness.

Stillness is an important tool on your journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly not only when you are meditating, but in the midst of conflict when you are frustrated, angry, or scared, will help you find a more logical, less emotional response, and give you choices to do things differently, or do nothing at all.

Let’s celebrate international Women’s Day by Being like water

Be like water. Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Rivers represent the source of life and the forward motion of time. Rivers also symbolize the power of nature and impermanence and change that are inherent in our existence. Cities and towns often spring up on riverbanks, seemingly brought to life by the water source and the fertility of the surrounding soil. Rivers capture our imagination, not just as a physical body of water, but more like a symbol of life, strength, freedom, and much more; something that we should emulate

You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life. The beauty is in the journey.  We are always doing things for the first time, and the landscape will always be new as we move along our life journey. Let’s try to face any novelties with joy and not with fear because it is pointless to fear what cannot be avoided.

Rivers move continuously as if nothing can stop them, they are always in a forward motion, just like our lives which we cannot rewind except in our imagination.  We should not wallow in our past suffering or unpleasant memories. Instead of becoming stuck in the past or worrying about what could or could not have been, we should move on with our lives focusing on the present moment and what we can do at this very moment to improve our lives.  

Through twists and turns and numerous obstacles, rivers negotiate their way until they reach their destination. They flow fast when the terrain is favorable and when they encounter difficult obstacles, they negotiate their way around them. Stones should be avoided as much as possible. Trying to break a stone is a waste of your time and energy. Go around them.

The same applies to our life. We should apply ourselves to take advantage of favorable circumstances and negotiate our way through problems and difficulties. We should be flexible in our approach and avoid acting with the rigidity of a rock. We should practice the art of humility, surrender to the circumstances, and go with the flow when the circumstances recommend us to be flexible. But being flexible doesn’t mean that we should bend backward to everything and everyone. It means that we should choose our battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t so. When comes a time for us to be strong and bold we should emulate the strength of water rapids coming down the valley with purpose and intent.

River flow is not constant, sometimes it runs fast when the terrain is favorable, other times it stops flowing joyfully when it enters a hole or encounters dry season. The only way to get out of this dry hole is to call on time as your ally. Call for patience and perseverance, the dry season will not last forever. When the right moment comes the hollow fills up and the water can flow again.

Rivers represent the forward motion of time. Rivers symbolize the impermanence and change that are inherent in our existence. Time is of the essence; it is the most valuable asset each person has. Every day when we wake-up, each one of us has the same amount of time to live a meaningful life, to learn, to give, to share, to experience, to make a difference, to be who you really want to be.

“Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But with time water will wear away rock which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox. What is soft is strong.”

Lao Tzu

And this my dear friend is Your Quest. Happy International Women’s day and remember to be your own fabulous self today and everyday.

Personal Note

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
Be Happy Self-Help

How much is enough?

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

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

What does enough mean?

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

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

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

Maya Angelou

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are enough

You are enough? Photo by Drobotdean via freepik.com

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

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

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

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

I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

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

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

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

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

Unknown author.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

deep impact

“Deep Impact” was a 1998 Hollywood disaster movie starring Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, and Tea Leoni depicting the story of survival of the human race when a comet is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. As doomsday nears, the human race prepares for the worst. Eight hundred thousand ordinary American people are selected via lottery tickets by the government alongside 200,000 scientists, soldiers and other officials to be saved in underground bunkers in order to keep the human race alive.

The word “impact” used as a noun is defined as the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another; used as a verb the word “impact” means to have a strong effect on someone or something. This article is not about the doomsday, end of the world, or extinction of the human race, it is about the impact we leave on people around us and how impactful our life is.

Do you have a deep impact on someone or something? How impactful is your life?

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. The thought of being forgotten and having had not much impact during the course of our life is troubling and distressing.

“The World needs able men and women, people who can do things that are thoroughly worthwhile; people who can think great thoughts and transform such thoughts into great deeds.”

Christian D. Larson
Deep impact. How impactful is your life. Photo by KJ Pargeter via freepik.com

John Dunia from Shame Doctor wrote a beautiful article about this. He explained in this article that regardless of what the aspiration for leaving your legacy is, the actions and motives affecting your day-to-day lives are what ultimately determine what your legacy is.

There is a distinction between being remembered and being well-known. Fame or celebrity is not what leaves a lasting impression on the future of the human race. It is often the insights of a grandparent or a stranger imparting wisdom and altering the course of impressionable lives. These conversations are rarely planned. It’s as though the circumstances beckoned the elder’s experience and intuition to enlighten the younger, yet never fully comprehending the tremendous influence those words would permanently render. In most cases, the motivation which sparked those transforming words was none other than love itself. According to John Dunia, Love and nothing less should be the determining influence in every aspect of our legacy. A true legacy is not how many people remember you, but how your memory is cherished. How your love changed the lives who were blessed to know you.

Falling in or out of love is one of the strongest emotions that people can experience. Love can be kind. Love can be cruel. Love is everything. Love has been called “one of the most studied and least understood areas in psychology.” Everyone has been experienced feelings of love to some extent or another. There are those who found love and lost it, those who found it and kept it, and those who are seeking it in odd places. There are also those who don’t know they have it, not realizing it is closer than they think.

There are indeed many types of love. Romantic love, the love that perhaps most naturally springs to mind, has been the inspiration for countless ballads, stories, and pieces of art and has captured the imagination of singers, artists, and poets throughout history. However, there are many flavors of love, from brotherly love, family love, the love of God, and self-love. And Love is indeed our unending legacy. The greatest gift we can bestow.

To be or not to be impactful?

Deep Impact. To be or not to be impactful. Photo by Ipopba via freepik.com.

To be or not to be impactful? This may seem to be an odd question for some. Some people are very 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. Fair enough.

Sadhguru (my favorite yogi, philosopher, sage) has an interesting point of view on this issue. 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, not 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 refuse under the oak tree and will appreciate its presence and the shade it can offer in that particular day, at that particular time. The oak tree has had an impact on that person, just by being there.

Storytime. The man who wanted to change the world

Deep Impact. The man who wanted to change the world. Photo by Ipopba via freepik.com

This is the story of an ambitious young Chinese man who on his 20th birthday became consumed with the desire to change the world. He spent the next 20 years trying to do that. But couldn’t. At age 40, he settled for trying to change China. He spent the next 20 years trying to do that. But couldn’t.

At age 60, he settled for trying to change his village. And for the next 20 years, he tried to do just that. But failed. At age 80, he decided to focus on changing his family. So, he spent the next 20 years trying to do that. But couldn’t.

At age 100, he decided to focus on trying to change himself. After all these years he came to realize that by changing himself first, that would change his family, then his village, his province, impacting his country, and ultimately changing the world. But the next day he died. Be the change you want to see in the world.

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
Self-Help Uncategorized

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

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

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

Bertrand Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire

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

Act III – The Wise Man believes that he knows nothing

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

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

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

Socrates

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shakespeare.

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

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

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