Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

A Mother’s wish for her daughters

As a mother of two daughters, I was thinking recently about the most precious gifts I could give to them. Something useful and timeless, that they would cherish each and every day. After pondering on the subject for a little bit I came up with 3 gifts ideas in the form of a mother’s wish for her daughters:

1. Learn how to be courageous. You don’t have to be a hero. Just have the courage to be yourself.

2. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough be tougher.

3. Learn to think for yourself.

From the confines of my Island (Ile de la Reunion), my youngest daughter and I had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Those underwater photoshoots are not easy, Alizé got the gist of it fairly quickly. For me, it took a bit longer to get to grip with the technique of trying to look relaxed and not out of breath at the bottom of a pool, but managed eventually. The results are literally breath-taking. There are no tricks on those pictures, just Alizé and me, two amazing dresses, and a scuba diver photographer.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Learn how to be courageous.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Courage is the most important of all the virtues. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

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.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

Maya Angelou

The word courage originates from the Latin word Cor (Coeur in French and cuore in Italian) which means heart; in essence, it means ‘to act from one’s heart’. The etymology of the word indicates that when we act courageously, we are activating our inner power and strength which surfaces through our heart’s desire. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficulty, challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. So what is courage? There are many definitions of what courage is. Below are my favorite ones.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. Photo featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel fear, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

Success is never final failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

John Wooden

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

Jim Hightower
A mother’s wish for her daughters . Every day living requires courage. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

We all have varying degrees of courage. Finding courage can be the choice we make every day, often in the quietest of ways. There is great courage in living life to the fullest, living with authenticity and a sense of alignment with one’s most deeply held values. And sometimes, simply getting up every day and putting a foot in front of another is an act of immense courage.

Barbara Bonner

As Maya Angelou rightly said courage is a virtue and it is the most important one to cultivate because without it you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Be courageous.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough, be tougher.

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. When the going gets tough, be tougher. Have a fighting spirit but choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Have a fighting spirit. Focus on your goal quietly and silently. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Choose wisely which pursuits you spend your energies on. Do not waste your efforts on those that will not give you something positive in return. Be determined and independent. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again until you make it. It’s OK not to get it right the first time, so don’t let your failures prevent you from achieving your dreams. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Be observant of people and your surroundings. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

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. 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.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Have a fighting spirit and when the going gets tough get tougher.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Think for yourself.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Think for yourself. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge.

Carl Jung

Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline. We all think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic.

Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs. You should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road, it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Critical thinking helps you determine what’s real and what it is not. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps you determine what is real and what it is not. But before you are able to exercise your cognitive ability to think critically, you need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. You can only think critically about things you have knowledge of, you can’t really think deeply if you haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.

The problem these days is that we are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe. Critical thinking is important because you need this skill in order to navigate your way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to all of us on a daily basis on all media platforms.

Do not relinquish your power to think critically on someone else even if that person goes by the name of Expert. It is important to note that society needs experts because those people know a thing or two about their own area of expertise, they are specialized in their field and are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world at large. Having said that, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest you put your critical thinking hat on to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that these experts may be subject to bias and in the worst-case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong. History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong.

Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We expect Facebook, Twitter TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. The problem these days is that the media is trying to spin everything you see and everything you hear. White is black and black is white. Use your discernment, look out for inconsistencies, trust your instinct. Don’t accept things at face value, ask questions, look under the surface, lift the veil.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. , think for yourself.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Can We Find Hope Amid Uncertainty and Conflict?

Whether we think about it or not, Hope is part of everyone’s life. How can we find Hope? Everyone hopes for something. We are living in an age of despair and fractured communities where we are being forced to alienate ourselves from our family, friends, colleagues, and clients. The world currently is filled with fear, stress, and sadness, and it can become second nature to develop a negative worldview and a feeling of hopelessness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal, more dissent than we can mediate, and more uncertainty than we can comprehend.

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

We should try not to focus so much on all the negativity that surrounds us, but we should learn to focus instead on all the good things that are happening in the world because it is always there but it is buried under a thick layer of muck. It is not unusual to find yourself feeling down in the dumps. When this happens we let our Hope slips away. Thankfully, we do not have to let ourselves linger in a hopeless place; we can find Hope again through a simple smile, a hug, or a kind word from someone who is special to us. Some days, we feel lost. We look at the situation around us, and everything seems empty, open, and devoid of Hope. When this happens, we can almost physically feel ourselves starting to spiral into a depression. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With every passing moment, there is an opportunity for change.

How can we find hope? Hope can be found in many places.

How can we find hope? Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

I found Hope at the bottom of a pool in Réunion Island. Meet my youngest daughter; today you can call her Hope, but her real name is Alizé she was named after the wind that blows over the Island. From the confines of my Island, Alizé had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Those underwater photoshoots are not easy, but she got the gist of it fairly quickly. There are no tricks on those pictures, just Alizé, an amazing dress, and a scuba diver photographer.

We all had days where we are feeling down in the dumps, and if we are not careful, we can let our hopes and aspirations slip away. But don’t let yourself linger in a hopeless place; if you lift your head up and look around you will find Hope in many places; you can find Hope in a simple smile, a kind word, or a hug and some other places too. Hope triggers a sense of purpose and aspirations during desperate times. Hope provides a haven from pessimism and fear. It galvanizes our courage and mobilizes our energy and vitality. It enhances our mood and our creative thinking. Hope can be found in small successes. A lot of times we find Hope and Aspiration in big victories and accomplishments; the problem is, large-scale victories and accomplishments don’t happen that often. So, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories, you will find Hope laying there too.

Hope is the place you want to go when you find yourself sitting in a dark place. Hope is the name of the person you want to know where all the people around you are spreading fear and misery. Hope is the seed that is buried deep inside you that you want to sprinkle around like magic fairy dust. Hope is the feeling that carries you through, no matter what.”

Joanne Reed

How can we find hope? Find Hope in action.

Hope is not just a lovely fluffy, romanticized, and noble idea; hoping for things to get better without doing something about it is not enough. We have to spring into action and be more intentional about our hopes and aspirations for the future. If you think that all the problems of the world will be resolved as soon as we can all agree on how to move forward, then you are kidding yourself because instead of going to that place called Hope, you will swim in an Ocean of Despair.

How can we find hope? Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Asking everyone to agree on one thing is an impossibility, and the earlier we realize this, the better it will be. Being able to work together and live in a semi-harmonious manner with our neighbors and within our community is good enough. Don’t try to aim for a utopic world vision seen through pink-tinted glasses where everyone loves and helps each other. Stay real and grounded, it is not about friendship and interacting only with the people you like and the people who think the same way as you think. Life is about getting along with people who are different from you, with people you find boring, annoying, or even objectionable because the challenges that face us as a group are more important than our personal likes and dislikes. It doesn’t matter what people believe, what matters is what they do. Agree on actions.

Humans are naturally cooperative and loving. We raise children and care for pets. Divide and conquer is a strategy that has been used since the beginning of time by a small group of people who are thriving to exert control over the populace. The more energy is expended by the public fighting among themselves the less anger is directed at the overlord class. It is a Machiavellian ploy. Do not fall into this trap.

Having said, that there are times when you have to protect and isolate yourself from the toxicity that emanates from some people. The who and what you surround yourself with dictates whether or not you have a positive or negative worldview. There is power in surrounding yourself with positive people, environments, and experiences that bring you joy and encourage you to become the person you want to be. There are people out there who are so stuck in their own way of thinking with zero amount of self-awareness that is not worth you spending your time and energy with them. They are like vampires; they will suck the energy and all Hope out of you. Instead, put some effort into surrounding yourself with elements that send you positive energy and distance yourself from negativity.

“Bees don’t waste their time explaining to flies that honey is better than shit.”

A Wise Man

But I digress, let’s get back to Hope. Hope can be found in many places, at the bottom of a swimming pool on a faraway Island, during a walk in nature, in the company of friends, family, and strangers, whilst listening to your favorite songs, or whilst giving a helping hand to those who are less fortunate than you. Hope is more than simple optimism, it is more mysterious, delicate, and elusive but it is something that we must cultivate because without Hope there is no life.

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

metamorphosis – How does one become a butterfly?

Metamorphosis. How does one become a butterfly? The butterfly has one of the most fascinating life cycles of all creatures. It starts its life as an egg perched on a leaf. When the egg finally hatches, a caterpillar emerges from the egg. The whole raison d’être of the caterpillar is to eat as much as possible in order to reach its desired growth. During this stage, the caterpillar will outgrow and shed its skin as many as four or five times. As soon as the caterpillar is done growing and it has reached its full length and weight, it takes refuge into a cocoon, also known as the chrysalis, where it can safely rest and digest all the food that has been consumed in the previous stage.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly

Unknown Author

Though the chrysalis appears unchanged from the outside, there is a dramatic transformation taking place inside, this process is called metamorphosis, whereby the body of the caterpillar is slowly dissolving to create a brand-new being. At last, in the final stage of its metamorphosis, the fully developed butterfly is ready to emerge from the chrysalis. The butterfly breaks free from the cocoon with wings that are folded and wet, so more rest time is necessary to allow blood to flow into the wings.

Finally, when the wings are fully dry, the butterfly is ready to take flight and share its beauty with the world. If we look closely at the process of the butterfly transformation from one state to another state, we see it is not an easy process. It takes time and each phase is necessary before the next stage can take place.

Metamorphosis. How does one become a butterfly?

Metamorphosis. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @ terydiving featuring Joanne Reed in the role of the Butterfly-Mermaid. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture – Ile de la Reunion.

From the confines of my Island (Ile de la Reunion), I had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzota-Davranche (@lartisanecouture. For a short moment in time, I felt like a butterfly who just came out of the Chrysalis; the result looks (literally) breath-taking but the process was far from easy. I was fairly nervous at the thought of doing those underwater photoshoots, because I have never done this before, and I didn’t know if I could pull it off. Being an island girl, swimming was something that I learned to do from a very young age; I have always been a good swimmer and I always felt comfortable in the water, but it took me a little while to understand the technicalities of posing for pictures underwater in an amazing dress, trying to look light, elegant, not out of breath and above all acting like a butterfly-mermaid who feels totally in her element being underwater. There are no tricks in these pictures just me, an amazing dress, and a scuba diver photographer.

What I learned during that experience of being a butterfly-mermaid is that, when you are ready to display your new you to the world, move forward with courage, while recognizing the fragility of your new wings and when things don’t work out the way you expected, best to let go of your expectation. It is natural for human beings to seek validation; we thrive on being seen and being appreciated for our work and effort. We all want to become a beautiful butterfly admired by the people around us and for the most ambitious admired by the whole world. But the reality is many of our endeavors will turn into tiny moths instead, and that’s OK. We have to resist the temptation to be driven only by the desire to create something grandiose and earth-shattering; it is OK to shoot for the stars, but if you don’t get there, it is also OK to be fully satisfied with whatever emerges from the chrysalis, for nature has a need for moths as well as beautiful butterflies.

Metamorphosis. What I learned being a butterfly for one day?

Metamorphosis. Life is a dance. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed in the role of the Butterfly-Mermaid. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Ile de la Reunion.

The butterfly is considered a wonder of nature, it symbolizes personal transformation, changes, rebirth, and the lightness of being. The butterfly as a spirit animal will remind you that life is a dance. You should not take things so seriously. Transformation and changes don’t have to be traumatic. They can be sweet and gentle, so you can accept them with grace and joy. I invite you to emulate the transformation process of the butterfly when you are working on your own transformation and growth.

The caterpillar stage.

In this stage of the butterfly’s life (which follows right after the hatching from an egg) the main task is consumption. For us, we can assimilate this stage with the stage of growth when we are consuming as much knowledge and training as we can about something new that we want to understand and master. This is the stage when we learn how to master our craft, and it is also the occasion for us to keep an open mind about how things were redone and shed old ideas, concepts, and habits that don’t work anymore. Sometimes we have to unlearn the things we learned and take the path less traveled by. This is often a stage of great excitement and energy as we enjoy the flow of creativity and inspiration it brings; but the learning process can also bring with it its fair share of hard work and loneliness.It is important that we do not rush through this stage and have the patience to go through the not-so-glamourous part of the learning process.

A house built on sand won’t last very long. In the olden days, if you wanted to enter a profession you had to find a master who will be willing to take you under his wings and enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft. The normal length of an apprenticeship was 10 years; learning the craft required patience discipline and dedication. The modern concept of this is the 10,000 hours required to master a skill as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.

Metamorphosis. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed in the role of the Butterfly-Mermaid. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Ile de la Reunion.

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

Robert Greene

We have a tendency to want to take the quickest, easiest path to our goals, we are impatient and want to see results quickly, but remember “there is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” The best way to cultivate our natural impatience is to cultivate a kind of pleasure in pain – like an athlete, you come to enjoy rigorous practice, pushing past your limits, and resisting the easy way out.

The Chrysalis stage.

In this stage, the caterpillar takes refuge in a protective cocoon where they can safely rest and conduct its metamorphosis quietly and privately. Human beings tend to skip that stage or confuse it with a period of a downturn or treat it as a failure. In fact, this stage is a necessary stage where you should learn the art of being still. What does stillness mean? Stillness means to be steady while the world spins around you.

Socrates tells us that philosophy begins with wonder, and wonder is rooted in stillness. Other philosophers from various schools of thought have come to a similar conclusion, namely that the ultimate destination in our life is to master the stillness that is required to become masters of our own life. Stillness is an important tool on our 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 different of do nothing at all.

In your own journey to become a butterfly, don’t forget that the process is never easy and requires much patience, and remember …

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly

Unknown author

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

work it.

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

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

Work it.

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

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

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

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

Robert Greene

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

Women’s work by Maya Angelou

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

The floor to mop. The food to shop

Then the chicken to fry. The baby to dry

I got company to feed. The garden to weed

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

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

And the cotton to pick…

Work of art.

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

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

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

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

Carl Jung

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

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

Richard Taylor

Work-In-Progress

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

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help

Essential Life Lessons: Think for Yourself

“Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge”

Carl Jung

Essential life lessons: Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline.

Socrates is credited for being the first critical thinker and the Socratic method is one of the earliest critical thinking instructions tools known to man. The Socratic method is described as a form of a cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions.

Essential Life lessons: Think for yourself. I think therefore I am – Rene Descartes

Essential Life Lessons. Think for yourself. I think therefore I am . Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps us determine what is real and what it is not. But before we are able to exercise our cognitive ability to think critically, we need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. We can only think critically about things we have knowledge of, and we don’t have the structures in place to think deeply if we haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.

Critical thinking can be understood as a deep activity, one that requires the development of new habits of mind. It is not something that comes to us naturally, it requires extensive study and practice. When we have our critical thinking hat on, we develop our problem-solving capabilities and our ability to look at the strengths and weaknesses of an argument; the result is that we are more able to see things clearly and this can help us make better decisions.Critical thinking is a skill; to be good at it, you will have to spend time practicing the art of thinking for yourself.

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

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

Thomas Sowell

We should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

Skills required to be able to think for yourself.

Essential life lessons. Skills required to think for yourself. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Rationality. We think critically when we rely on reason rather than emotion when we follow the evidence when we are more concerned with finding the best explanation rather than being right, and when we get into a habit of asking questions.

Self-awareness. We think critically when we recognize that we suffer from emotional impulses, selfish motives, nefarious purposes, narrow-minded vision, and other modes of self-deception.

Open-mindedness. We think critically when we evaluate all reasonable inferences, consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives, remain open to alternative interpretations accept the new explanations, models or paradigms, because it explains the evidence better, is simpler, or has fewer inconsistencies. We cannot reject opinions just because they are unpopular.

Discipline. We think critically when we are precise, meticulous, comprehensive exhaustive, resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and avoid snap judgments.

Judgment. We think critically when we recognize the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives and recognize the extent and weight of evidence. Critical thinkers are skeptical by nature. They are active and not passive. They ask questions and analyze facts and data. They consistently apply tactics and strategies to uncover meaning or assure their understanding. Critical thinkers are open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their beliefs and investigate competing evidence.

By contrast, passive, non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world. They see things in black and white, as either-or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understandings. They see questions as yes or no with no subtleties. They fail to see linkages and complexities. They fail to recognize related elements. They take their facts as the only relevant ones. They take their perspectives as the only sensible ones. They consider their goal as the only valid one.

Essential life lessons. Learn to navigate your way through misinformation and disinformation.

Essential Life Lessons. Learn to navigate your way through misinformation and disinformation.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact; everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

Marcus Aurelius

We are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

Critical thinking is important because we need this skill in order to navigate our way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to us on a daily basis on all media platforms.Misinformation is false information that is being spread, regardless of intent to mislead. Dis-information on the other hand is false information that is deliberately misleading or biased information, manipulated narrative or facts, or propaganda that is being spread with the intent to hurt or damage a person or organization.

Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We are huge consumers of all types of media, but often lack the tools to think about how and why we are passively consuming what we watch, read, and share. We are inundated with news. How can one discern between real news and fake news? We are often not thinking about how our own biases affect how we think about the world. We are also getting comfortable in our echo chambers, devoid of people and ideas who challenge our own beliefs.

We expect Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us, rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. Some social media posts go viral in minutes after they are posted whether they carry with them the truth or an exaggeration of the truth or total falsehood. There is always the option of fact-checking some of the information such as Factcheck.org or Snopes website. The problem is that if the counter-information is not shared in the same manner as the viral post the damage from the false post cannot be counteracted. Another problem that happens more and more these days is that you have to fact-check the fact-checkers who may not be as impartial as one may think. Follow the money and see who is financing those fact-checkers.

There is a scientific term for this in psychology, it is called the Illusory Truth Effect also known as the Reiteration Effect, it is the tendency to believe the information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcomes rationality the truth does not matter. Repetition does!

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

Malcolm X

Essential life lessons: Even experts can be wrong.

The other tendency is to relinquish your power to think critically on someone else and rely on the opinion of the experts instead. Society needs experts because those people know a thing or two about their own area of expertise, they are specialized in their field and are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world at large.

This said, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest you put your critical thinking hat on to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that these experts may be subject to bias and in the worst-case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong.

History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong. In 1968, Time Magazine made the observation that “online shopping while entirely feasible will flop.” In 2019, worldwide online shopping reached nearly 43.7 trillion. In 1876, senior executives at Western Union made the following statement: “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. It is inherently of no value.” In early 2017, Apple announced that it has sold 216 million iPhones.

No one, including experts, really know with absolute certainty what will happen in the future. Every time there is a national disaster, a pandemic, or some dramatic event, we can rely on television news to find an expert to come on TV and generously share his predictions and knowledge on why this happened and what will happen next. The truth of the matter is that sometimes those experts are wrong.

Critical thinking is more than important, it is vital. Without critical thinking, you will be another sheeple lost on the crowd and dutifully following the trend of the moment and absorbing the world’s accepted view. Critical thinking is a skill that should be nurtured and valued.

The world needs critical thinkers more than ever. The ability to think about things in a critical way will make a difference to you and the people around you.

“I think (critically) therefore I am (free).

Knowledge is power and thinking critically is freedom. 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

the truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know

The truth, is we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t even know the questions we need to ask in order to find out because we are so stuck in our narrow-minded way of doing things.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence”.

Charles Bukowski

This is a brutal statement from Charles Bukowski but it contains a lot of truth in it and it encapsulates a lot of what is indeed wrong with the world these days. It is concise, straight to the point, and quite difficult to argue against.

According to Sadhguru, I Don’t know holds tremendous possibilities. We should learn to say I don’t know more often, instead of jumping to conclusions. The moment you destroy, I Don’t know, you destroy all the possibilities of knowing. Confusion is better than stupid conclusions. In confusion, there is still a possibility.

The problem is that everyone is pretending to know things they don’t. In fact, too many people are dead certain about things that just aren’t true. The next time you hear something you are not sure about, instead of picking a side and believing or disbelieving, why not admit the truth: I don’t know. By refusing to draw a conclusion you keep your mind open, and you give the truth a chance to get in; but by drawing a conclusion you naturally become close-minded and dismissive towards all other possibilities.

The truth is, true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing – Socrates.

According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to know thyself. That moto Know 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
The Truth is, true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing Photo by freepik – via freepik.com

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 are wrong? Do we overestimate our own abilities? Are we completely blind to our own failings? You probably don’t know as much as you think you do. When put to the test, most people find they can’t explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand. There is great power in knowing what you don’t know. When we accept our ignorance and limitations, we become wiser.

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.

Too often we fall into the delusion of thinking we know a lot more than we really do, this concept is commonly known as illusory superiority. Recognizing what you don’t know actually puts you in a unique place of power. It can improve your choices in life because it’s an honest view of your knowledge and capabilities, as well as your ignorance and limitations. Understanding the limitations of your knowledge puts you at an advantage over people who overestimate their knowledge or aren’t aware of their own ignorance.

This isn’t a negative thing, this is about being honest with yourself which means acknowledging both your strengths and your weaknesses. If you are willing to keep an open mind about your beliefs and the possibility that you don’t have all the facts, you will be much better off than if you were to just take everything you believe as complete truth. See things the way they are, not how they could, should, or might be. Same with people. Look at people as they are, not how they could, should, or might be.

“Most people take their thoughts so seriously believing every thought that passes through their heads as if their thoughts represented the undeniable and irrefutable truth of the matter. But thoughts aren’t facts, what you think isn’t what it is. Thoughts are just thoughts. Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean it is true.”

Sadhguru

The Truth is, uncertainty is uncomfortable, but certainty is an absurd one – Voltaire

The Truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Have you heard of the Lemon Man? Photo by Mak Labs via freepik.com

McArthur Wheeler is also known as the Lemon Man became famous for his total lack of self-awareness and an incredible level of stupidity. In 1995, McArthur Wheeler was arrested for robbing banks in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He believed that the lemon juice he wore on his face made him invisible to surveillance cameras.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias characterized by inappropriate overconfidence about mastery of a subject. The term was coined by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999 in a study called Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. The Lemon Man story is an example of self-awareness, or rather a lack of self-awareness that ended disastrously. Why do people fail to recognize their own incompetence? Because people who are incompetent at something are unable to recognize their own incompetence.

Dunning himself stated that “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent”, but also noted the reason for this seems to be ignorance, not arrogance. So, why is this a problem? It is a problem because if you have a tendency to overestimate your abilities you will end up making sub-optimal decisions until your misassumptions catch up with you.

Should you overestimate or underestimate your competence?

As well as showing that less-competent people tend to overestimate their abilities, the Dunning-Kruger effect study also showed that competent people tend to underestimate their own competence. This ability to underestimate our capabilities can also produce sub-optimal decisions but does have some positive impact by increasing our capacity for humility, curiosity, and a drive to improve ourselves.

The Truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Fake or fact? Photo by Diloka 107 via freepik.com

That drive to improve ourselves can be deeply rooted in culture; researcher Dr. Steven Hein, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, did similar studies to Dunning-Kruger but looking at the issue from a different angle y comparing North American and East Asian People. When asked to self-assess their abilities, Hein’s study reveals that East Asians tend to underestimate their abilities, with an aim toward improving the self and getting along with others, whilst North Americans tend to overestimate their ability and competence.

There are cultural, social, and individual motives that explain these tendencies. As Western society becomes more individualistic, successful life is equated with confidence, self-assurance, and high-self esteem (often to the verge of arrogance). Conversely, East Asians tend to adopt a self-critical self-view, the downside effect of this being they tend not to feel so good about themselves. Knowing thyself, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important so that you can exploit your strengths and seek help in areas where you are weak.

To know who you are is important, but in addition, belief and confidence are as big a part of the equation too. There is a robust body of scientific and anecdotal evidence that suggests that people who believe they will become successful at something are most likely to succeed. Similarly, there are countless stories of cancer patients who credit their survival to a positive mindset and their determination to survive this terrible illness. Inspirational quotes such as Your thoughts determine your future are popular in the self-help sphere.

So, is it better to overestimate yourself or underestimate your abilities? The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Overestimate your futures and underestimate your past; acknowledge the fact that the more you know the more you realize you don’t know, this will give you the benefit of humility, but overestimate the future, because these positive expectations will give you the benefits of higher performance.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

the problem with stereotypes

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

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

Generalization v stereotypes

The term stereotype, as it is understood today, was coined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Lippmann. He defines the term in his 1922 book, Public Opinion, as “The pictures in our heads” that we have of a specific group of people. He adds that while this picture may not necessarily be complete, our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts, and our hopes have adjusted themselves to it. While a stereotype may hold true for a group as a whole, it can distort our perception of an individual, who may or may not fit the stereotype.

Generalization v Stereotype -The problem with stereotypes. They are bad even when they are good. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

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

Cultural generalizations must not however be confused with cultural stereotypes. Generalizations become stereotypes when all members of a group are categorized as having the same characteristics. Stereotypes are typically inflexible and resistant to new information. They can, and often do lead to prejudice and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Cultural stereotypes do not allow for individual differences and interfere with efforts to understand an individual on a personal level. Curiosity and flexibility help navigate the differences between generalizations and stereotypes. While generalizations serve as a springboard for greater intercultural exploration and understanding, stereotypes hinder both awareness and further learning about others and about oneself.

The problem with stereotypes

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

Adichi Chimaamanda

Stereotypes make us lazy and encourage nonchalant judgment because we assume things about people based on a stereotype. It drives and nourishes racism, sexism, and all form of discrimination. I have a strong aversion to labels and being put into a box; as soon as someone puts a label on you or throw you into a specific box, you lose your identity as a unique individual who may or may not fit into that stereotype.

The problem with stereotypes is that they are incomplete. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Stereotypical biases happen all the time. Knowing that this exist can make us more mindful as to the way we treat individuals from other groups. We are all unique and different from each other. What makes us different is not the color of our skin or our geography, it is the fact that there isn’t another person like us anywhere else. So why try to put people into a box and stick a label on it? Because it is easier to control people this way. Once you belong to a certain box you are expected to walk on a straight and narrow line. Venturing outside that path is frown upon. Dissenting views and actions are not allowed because dissent is being viewed as being disloyal to the group.

I am not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 years old. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the people I met, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable but also spontaneous and unpredictable. I am all of that and more and a constant work-in-progress.

All around us, there are spheres of authority always dictating what we should do, how we should act, and what we ought not to do. Aside from the formal structure like the laws, there are also informal powers dictating our actions, lifestyles, speech, thought patterns, education, cultural upbringing, religion, etc. This invisible current forces us to travel down a certain path, act a certain way, and be a certain type of person. Much of our individualistic tendencies do not develop as freely as we think because we have to conform to societal expectations of us and stereotypes.

One way to free ourselves from the shackles of societal restrictions that impede the originality and flexibility of each person would be to develop our individualism, and sense of freedom. Freedom refers to the ability to make decisions and take actions without any form of interference. Freedom comes with the dynamics of being able to change your choices and activities at any time. If you are free to do something, you should also be free to reverse it or do something else. You are free to be whoever you want to be and don’t have to stick to that choice forever. 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. Paint your own canvas with the colors you want. Be an artist.

Paint your own canvas with the colors you want. Be an artist.

To be free, you need courage. According to Earl Nightingale “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity”. Conformity as a word means acting in accordance with the prevailing social standards, attitudes, and practices. The problem is that when people are always thinking alike, no one is thinking at all. Courage on the other hand means boldness or braveness.

With this said, I will leave you with the wise words of Bassey Elimian whose sentiment on this subject echo mine.

“I am a woman and also an individual with a brain. Please don’t put me in a box. I admire and respect other women. I am a giver and advance my interests too. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a woman and not a doormat or a pushover. I don’t gossip, but I read and write.”

Bassey Elimian

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 Uncategorized

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

do what 99% of people don’t do. manage your energy wisely

Do What 99% of people don’t do. Learn to manage your energy wisely. We all have a finite amount of energy to spend. We all know this, but somehow, we act as if we have an unlimited supply of energy to waste. Each day we use the energy we have, we invest it in people and things that surround us until we have no energy left and we become exhausted. What most people don’t do is evaluate who and what they invest their energy in.

We should treat energy the same way we treat money. Know how much you have before you decide how to spend it. We have to assess how much energy we have in order to manage it and allocate it wisely.

This concept is well explained by Dandapani in one of his talks. Danapani is a Hindu priest, an entrepreneur, and a former monk of 10 years. He works with entrepreneurs and some of the top athletes in the world in order to help them understand and leverage their minds so that they can be the best at what they do. The rest of this blog article is based on the teaching of Dandapani.

How do you learn to manage your energy wisely?

Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy. We compared energy to money earlier. Energy can also be compared to water. If you take a watering can and you water a garden bed, will the weeds grow or will the flower grow? Both will grow. Water has no ability to distinguish between the weeds and the flowers. Energy works the same way.

Do what 99% of people dont’ do. Manage your energy wisely. Photo by Master 1304 via freepik.com

If I invest my energy into something negative whatever will manifest from this will be negative, and if I invest my energy into something positive, good things will come out of this. Right now, you are the sum total of where you invested your energy all your life. That is why it is important to know who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. Spend some time every day to figure out who you are and what is the purpose of your life so that you can direct energy towards that purpose and grow flowers instead of weeds.

In order to do this, you have to understand the difference between awareness and the mind. Dandapani defines awareness as a ball of glowing light that can float around. He defines the mind as a vast space with many areas in it such as anger, hate, jealousy, joy, happiness, resentment, food, art, sport, science, technology, etc… Your awareness can move into any area of the mind you want it to go to. If your awareness goes to the happy area of your mind, it will light out this particular area with a glow of happy feelings. If your awareness goes to the angry area of the mind it will light up this area with a glow of grumpiness and unhappy feeling.

So far so good, but you may ask yourself how do you direct your awareness to the area of your mind you want to? So glad you asked. By developing your willpower and your power of concentration you can take that awareness to whichever area of the mind you want.

Your energy is flowing wherever your awareness is going.

How do you learn to direct your awareness to wherever you want it to go? Dandapani tells us that in order to learn to direct your awareness to wherever you want it to go, you have to learn and practice the art of concentration. Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time. Most people have difficulties concentrating for 2 reasons. They have never been taught how to concentrate, and they never practiced concentration. Throughout our life we are surrounded by people who keep asking us to concentrate starting with our parents, our teachers, our boss; but those same people never told us how to concentrate.

We learn to concentrate by doing one thing at a time and we get to practice our concentration skills by integrating this practice into our everyday life. Look at your average day and pick one recurring event in your life. For example, every day you talk to your spouse about this and that and many other things too. So, every time you do that, give your spouse your undivided attention. Keep your awareness on him or her. If it drifts, bring it back. When you speak to your family, friends, colleagues, or customers, give them your undivided attention. By the end of the day, you would have clogged close to 6 to 8 hours of practicing concentration. This method allows you to take this tool and insert it into a recurring event in your life rather than creating another practice to fit into your already packed-up daily routine.

Do what 99% of people dont’ do. Your energy is flowing wherever your awareness is going . Photo by Master 1304 via freepik.com

The other thing we need to develop is our willpower. We are all born with various levels of willpower, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you start with a low level of willpower, you can develop it as you go along because willpower is like a muscle, the more practice the stronger the muscle. There are 3 ways to develop willpower: 1. Finish what you have started. 2. Finish beyond your expectation. 3. Do a little bit more than you are able to do. All of this requires effort and effort is willpower.

The same methods as explained earlier apply here, you take those 3 methods, and you apply them to a recurring event in your life. I have breakfast every day. Each morning, I decide what kind of breakfast I want to have and I proceed with making that breakfast for myself and my family. If I have time to make breakfast and eat it, I also have time to tidy up and make the dishes. I complete my breakfast routine by cleaning up afterward. If I bring this process into everything I do, I end up developing my willpower slowly but surely. Every time my awareness drifts away, I use the mental power I develop to bring my awareness back.

The greatest impetus to manage energy is death.

Life is finite. I only have one life. What’s happening after nobody knows. So, If I know that my life is finite, I want to be extremely clear where and towards whom I should expand my energy, because there is no point in learning and practicing how to focus if you don’t also learn what to focus your energy on.

The law of thermodynamics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another. If I have 10% of spare energy to allocate to someone and decide to give it to John, I have to know when I make this allocation that John is worthy of my time. If I give 10% of my energy to John, I have to know that he is going to do something good with it, because if I know that he is going to squander it, I will rather give it to someone else.

People and things are the biggest consumers of energy. Some people lift you up and give you energy. Other people suck a tremendous amount of energy from you. Be aware of energy vampires. There are 3 types of people: 1. Uplifting people. 2. Neutral people. 3. Not so uplifting people. When I spend 5 minutes with an uplifting person, I walk away feeling re-energized and inspired. If I spend 5 minutes with a neutral person, I walk away feeling the same as before. But if I spend 5 minutes with a not so uplifting person, I walk away feeling deflated and exhausted. Dandapani calls this type of person Energy Vampire.

There are two types of energy vampires. 1. The Transient Energy Vampire. 2. The Inherent Energy Vampire. Say, John has just lost a family member from a terrible disease. He feels sad and depressed and has trouble coping with the loss and you need to be there for him to uplift him from his sorrow. He consumes a lot of your energy for the next year or so, but it is OK. You give him that energy because he is your friend and that what friends are about. You display compassion, empathy, and love. On the opposite side of this reside the Inherent Energy Vampire who has always been this way and who will not change. When you come across such a person, practice the art of being affectionately detached. Do not give that person the opportunity to pour on you all their misery, and do not let those people monopolize your time and drain all your energy.

Take away.

1. Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy.

2. We all have a finite amount of energy to spend. Learn to manage your energy wisely.

3. Learn and practice how to focus and what to focus your energy on.

4. Hang out with uplifting people. Stay away from Energy Vampire types of people.

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.

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

do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset?

There are two types of people in this world: the scarcity type and the plenty type. Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset? If you are one of those who are constantly worried that there will not be enough of anything; enough money, enough time, enough food, enough of … well, you fill in the blank, then you belong to the first category, the scarcity type. If you are one of those who think that if there are not enough slices of pie for everyone, then the best thing to do is to make your own pie, then you belong to the second category, the plenty type.

Having a scarcity mindset is pervasive and is literally eating away your energy and mental capacity. In the world of science and psychology, this is called tunneling. We have very limited cognitive space and bandwidth. When you focus heavily on one thing, there is just less mind to devote to other things and as you devote more and more time dealing with scarcity you have less and less for other things in life.

In the world of economics and psychology, having too little means so much

The starting point is to acknowledge the fact that resources are scarce and limited. How much something costs depends on how scarce it is in relation to another resource, and the price will be driven by supply and demand. Sellers will charge you more for a product if they can convince you that this product is scarce or available only for a short period of time. It always baffled me to see how travel tickets and hotel rooms hyper-inflate around Christmas time, Easter, and summer vacation. I understand the concept that a lot of people would want to travel around those vacation times to meet up with family and friends, but I found it reprehensible to see how the service providers are taking advantage of this surge of demand, but I digress.

In the book “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” economist Sendhil Mullainathan and psychologist Eldar Shafer discuss the effects of scarcity mindset on our ability to think clearly and make informed decisions.

“Scarcity captures the mind… when we experience scarcity of any kind, we become absorbed by it. The mind orients automatically, powerfully towards unfulfilled needs. Scarcity is more than just the displeasure of having very little. It changes how we think. It imposes itself on our minds.”

Scarcity has a good, a bad, and a very ugly side. The good side of scarcity shows its lovely face when you have a limited amount of time to complete a task due to a pressing deadline, this can help you be hyper-focus on the task at hand. The bad side of scarcity shows it preoccupied face when all your energy is wasted away on the feeling of lack, leaving little mental capacity to focus on more important matters. The ugly side of scarcity shows its ugly face when you are creating your own self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and gloom because you are unable to make good decisions based on your unhealthy obsession with scarcity.

In the world of self-help and self-development, having a plenty mindset is the way to go

Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset? Do you see the glass half-full or half-emplty? Photo by Goonerva via freepik.com

An abundant mindset refers to the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody. People with a plenty mindset see opportunities everywhere instead of limitations. If you have the choice of hanging out with someone who sees the glass half-full or half-empty, for sure you will decide to spend time with the person who is positive, vibrant, who sees life as half-full, and who is feeling grateful for the things that they have.

People with a scarcity mindset believe that if one person wins, another must lose. It is very black & white. It is natural of course to want to be winners and not losers. The good news is that there is something in between losing or winning, it is called win-win scenarios where both parties get something from the transaction. So, instead of staying stuck in the paradigm win-lose all the time, try to create win-win scenarios.

Opportunities are everywhere but some people are blind to them because they have tunnel vision which triggers them to focus too much on one particular aspect of the issue. If you have a propensity to do that, you will not notice other possibilities that are right in front of you. If you keep repeating to yourself that you can’t do something and if impossible is part of your daily vocabulary, your brain will absolutely believe it. What you believe is what you receive.

Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset? Go or not go? Photo by Talexey via freepik.com

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”

Henry Ford

It is possible to switch from a scarcity mindset to a plenty mindset by following those tips [This list is non-exhaustive, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment box]

1. Hang out with the right type of people, i.e., people who see the glass half full.

2. Be grateful for what you have and don’t wallow in self-pity if you want a piece of the pie and there are no more slices, go and make your own pie.

3. Create win-win scenarios in your professional and personal life.

4. Train your mind to recognize the possibilities that are all around you.

Given the choice would you rather be a farmer or a nomad?

Before you decide to switch off on me and quit reading the rest of this article, there is a point to this question. Your answer will indicate whether you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset. In the early days of civilization, you had two groups of people: the farmers and the nomads.Young farmers were taught to use resources intelligently in order to create plenty of food. Young nomads were taught to take from a world of limited resources. The nomadic existence was based on a plunder model, placed on top of a clan model. The farmers’ model was based on creativity and collaboration.

Do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset like the farmers? Photo by Nadya 1971 via freepik.com

The nomads lived in a very rigid structure. At the base was the family clan, in these small groups, there was a great deal of sharing and cooperative decisions making, but the important and final decisions would have been made by the senior, dominant, patriarchal male who had an enormous amount of clout on the rest of the clan. Clans tended to constantly compare themselves to other clans and opposed any change of status between them. The rigidity of these structures led to rivalry, conflicts, and hatred between clans that sometimes endured for centuries.

The farming society operated as a decentralized structure. These farming groups kept alive an old tradition to gather in much larger groups for a few weeks every year. At these gatherings, ceremonies would be conducted, and festivals held, to make marriage arrangements and trade goods. The farmers became prosperous, food was plenty, goods could be accumulated, large communities could be formed, specialist activity could be developed, and innovation could take place. Music appeared, written language, basic mathematics, and sciences developed. The creative capability of men and women could be exchanged within the various groups and they could inspire and teach each other.

The farmers were living happily and peacefully on their land, growing their crops, exchanging resources and ideas with their neighbors, and using their creativity to fill their days with arts, music, and newly acquired knowledge and connections. At some point, the nomads who were roaming around the country bumped into those farmers’ communities. They became jealous of the farmers’ prosperity and their wealth, which made them look like second-rate. So, they mounted numerous looting missions on those farmers. These attacks drove some of the farmers away, pushing them to pack their belongings and leave to find a more peaceful area to settle and start all over again.

The nomads realized that instead of looting the farmers and driving them away, they could instead steal a limited amount from the farmers, so as not to drive them away. Those nomadic groups sustained plunder at a level that was low enough for the productive farmers to accept their rulership and “protection” from other thugs. For the farmers, giving a fifth of his crops to a thug was less bad than facing death or going back to a traveling gardener lifestyle. This way the nomads could work the same ground for life, and this is how the first rulers were born – out of plundering!

The moral of the story: Having a scarcity mindset eats away your energy and mental capacity. Switch towards a plenty mindset. If there are not enough slices of the pie, make your own pie. And if you think that it is easier to steal from the baker instead of making your own, accept the fact that that will make you a thug.

You can find a more detailed analysis of this fascinating subject in Chapter 7 of my book, This Is Your Quest.

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

Insignificant, Yet Important

Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it because you can’t know. You can’t ever really know the meaning of your life. And you don’t need to. Every life has meaning, whether it lasts one hundred years or one hundred seconds.”

Mahatma Gandhi.

This quote from Mahatma Gandhi is profound in many ways, it teaches us that the insignificant is important, and who we are and what we do have an impact on people around us and on the world at large; we have more influence than we think.

The insignificant is important because small choices + consistency + time = significant results.

Have you heard about the concept of compound effect? The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions. Darren Hardy wrote a whole book on this fascinating subject. Success is doing half dozen things really well, repeated five thousand times. Your life is a result of your moment-to-moment choices and the compound effect is the operating system that has been running your life whether you know it or not.

Compound Effect. Photo from Alfah via freepik.com

Small changes done consistently each day can add up to a big reward further down the line. The doubling penny example illustrates this point quite well. If I offer you $1 million dollars right now or a penny that would double in value each and every day for the next 30 days, which would you choose? Most people would jump at the opportunity to grab $1 million and make a run for it. However, if you spend a little time thinking it through, you would be better off choosing the second option. If you double a penny every day for the next 30 days, you will end up with $5.3 million dollars. Sure, you may be thinking nobody knows where I would be in the next 30 days, I may be dead, so might as well grab $1 million now. The chance is, you will be perfectly fine and alive in the next 30 days and if you opted for the second choice you would be sitting on $5.3 million dollars. Not insignificant!

The insignificant is important because no man is an island

Every life matters because we operate within a chain of existence where everything we do or don’t do affects our environment and the people we interact with. Every person you come in contact with is somehow impacted by your presence.

Today you wake up happy and in a good mood, ready to make the most of the day ahead of you. You go out of your building, cross path with a stranger, and decide to hold the door for that person to let him in the building; that gesture will likely trigger a positive reaction from that person who will smile back, say thank you, and wish you a pleasant day. Good manners go a long way and can create a positive ripple effect. So now we have two happy people out and about with a smile on their faces.

At the end of a stressful day in the office you come back home, you are tired and in a bad mood. You walk towards your building, cross paths with a stranger by the front door, and lash out at that person for being in your way. Your lack of civility will have a ripple effect on that person’s mood and you may have just ruined the rest of their evening. So now we have two unhappy people out and about with a grumpy expression on their faces. Those examples show that you have the power to make someone‘s day a great day or a shitty day.

Insignificant, Yet Important. Photo from Alfah via freepik.com

The majority of people go about their daily life without considering the impact their words or actions could have on someone else. Our impact on others is largely unconscious. We do things without considering the repercussions or even realizing that our actions and words matter. We dish out our opinions on social media without a second thought about the possible ripples effect that our comment may cause to someone. We wrongly believe that our words and/or actions don’t matter that much because who are we to think that we have the power to shape the world around us?

This belief is wrong. Each and every one of us has a great deal of power over our environment, there is no doubt that we can have a positive or a negative impact on this world through the choices we make every day. You do not need to be famous or wealthy or write a book to be influential. Assuming that you don’t live under a rock, you will be surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, random people you come in contact with all the time, and this in itself gives you some kind of influence.

Do not underestimate the impact you have on others. The impression you leave on this life and on others is your legacy, and this in itself is a big deal. Be intentional about the way you live your life, because that is your legacy.

“Please think about your legacy because you are writing it every day.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s the little things that count. Way too often, we just stop. We stop trying, stop caring, stop moving. For sure accomplishing great deeds of valor is a worthwhile pursuit, but at the same time, we should not underestimate the power of doing small acts that are just and right, a touch of a hand, a smile, a kind word, and doing them over and over again, no matter what; those are the things that count. Insignificant, yet important!

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