Categories
Self-Help

when the going gets tough, be tougher

We are living in uncertain times, there hasn’t been a time like this in recent memory. People are feeling worried, anxious, scared, and helpless. Human beings are fragile animals, but we are also resilient rational beings with foresight, discernment, and the ability to survive, and even thrive, when the going gets tough, be tougher. Nobody knows what is going to happen next, so we should get comfortable being uncomfortable while uncertainty reigns.

“Uncertainty is the very condition that impels man to unfold his powers. As we navigate our own uncertain times together, may a thousand flowers of sanity bloom, each valid so long as it is viable in anchoring the human spirit it animates. And may we remember the myriad terrors and uncertainties preceding our own, which have served as unexpected awakenings from some of our most perilous civilization slumbers” Erich Fromm.

Erich Fromm

When the going gets tough, be tougher.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

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.

This knowledge of our own vulnerability makes us go back and forth between ecstatic optimism and sheer despair. In order to cope with that awareness and to counterweigh the heavy sense of our own fragility we often rely on the hope that somehow, we will be strong enough to withstand rare and unexpected events, which the author Nassim Taleb refers to as Black Swans Events.

The concept of a Black Swan Event originated from German philosopher Karl Popper. In his famous essay “The problem of Induction’, Popper said: “A scientific idea can never be proven true, just because no matter how many observations seem to agree with it, it may still be wrong.” Popper noted that many people believed all swans were white; millions of observations of white swans seemingly proved this theory. Yet, it was the discovery of a single black swan, living in Australia, which invalidated a theory based on millions of prior observations.

Nassim Taleb, a former options Trader, wrote his book, The Black Swan in 2007. The book focuses on the extreme impact of rare and unpredictable events or Black Swan Events which are events impossible to predict due to their extreme rarity. Taleb’s book popularized the term which is now commonly used to describe an unexpected event with dire consequences. As Black Swan Events may result in catastrophic consequences it is important for people to always assume, however unlikely, that they are possible, and plan accordingly.

In his book, Taleb urged his readers to not attempt to predict Black Swans Events but to build robustness to their negative impacts. The world is too complex for anyone to understand or predict exactly what is going to happen, and rather than naively try to predict Black Swans Events, we just need to be aware of the possibility and adjust to their existence, by becoming antifragile. All systems can be categorized as fragile, robust, or antifragile. Fragile things are exposed and destroyed by volatility, Robust things resist, and Anti-fragile things benefit from it.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Some things benefit from shock. Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

“Some things benefit from shock; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, stressors, and uncertainty. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shock and stay the same, the antifragile gets better.” Nassim Taleb.Taleb urges people to stop using the observable past as an indicator of the future, the don’t be a Turkey Rule. Turkey is fed for 1000 days and thinks that everything is all right and food will be coming, on day 1001, the day before Thanksgiving, everything changes.

“Uncertainty is our discipline and understanding how to act under conditions of incomplete information is the highest and most urgent human pursuit.” Karl Popper.

Karl Popper

Four tips to become tougher.

1. 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 your diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Become antifragile. Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

2. Become tougher by being healthy. Treat your body as a temple, worship it every day. Being unhealthy makes our immune system weak, which makes us more prone to disease, which in return makes us fragile. Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. Hippocrates is known for saying: “ let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”. According to his doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance and heal itself. Hippocrates was reluctant to administer drugs; his favorite treatment was fasting and apple cider vinegar. He recognized when people ate mainly a fresh, plant-based diet, they developed fewer diseases. (I wrote a whole chapter on Hippocrates in my book “This Is Your Quest”, feel free to check it out.)

3. Become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to Black Swans 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.

4. 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 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. Me, Myself and I.

There are many essential life lessons that we know but forgot. Practicing stillness is one of them. You may be one of those people who are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the well-intended advice that is flowing freely on all social media platforms. There is an abundance of therapists, dieticians, life coaches, gurus, motivators who will happily share with you their best advice, and a list of 15 inspirational life lessons that you must learn and practice every day. But by the time you arrive at number 7 on that list you forgot the first 4 pieces of advice.

Instead of trying to remember 15 life lessons in one go and try to implement them all at once, I propose focusing on one life lesson at one time. This is the first article in a series of articles where I will be sharing essential life lessons you know but forgot. People know what’s good and what’s bad for them, the only problem is that they lack conviction and willpower. Constant repetition carries conviction. So, my mission in this article is to kindly remind you of something you already know but fail to act upon and push you in a gentle kind of way to take the first step towards practicing those life lessons more regularly and consistently.

Essential Life lesson number 1: Me, myself and I. Practice Stillness

Practicing stillness is an essential life lesson that is being taught by wise men. Let’s be guided by the words of two wise men, Socrates, and Blaise Pascal.

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

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

Essential Life Lessons. Me, Myself and I. Photo by Mallivan via freepik.com

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

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

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

Life lesson number 1.1: Stillness and solitude allow you to tune into your intuition.

The question is: why would I want to be alone when I don’t have to? Because it is only in solitude that you will learn to know yourself and learn how to tune into your intuition. An essential life lesson is that practicing stillness allows you to tune into your intuition. It can be uncomfortable to sit quietly in a room by ourselves and most of us will use all the noise of the outside world to block out that discomfort; except that this discomfort will not go away, it is still there and will remain there until you address it.

Moments of solitude allow us to be more tuned into our intuition. Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. Intuition and insights can come to us through many forms, a deep inner feeling, an image, a word, an inspirational thought, or from a book, whatever form they take, it always gives us a deep sense of inner knowing that brings clarity and joy. If we are operating in a state of constant agitation, hustling and bustling constantly, we will not be tuned in the right frequency to pick up those insights and receive such gifts.

Essential Life Lessons. Practice Stillness. Tune into your intuition. Photo by Mallivan via freepik.com

Moments of solitude put us in the right state of mind, ready to accept the gift of insight with gratitude, humility, and appreciation.

“Solitude for the mind is as essential as food is for the body. In solitude we can forge our character away from the often-constricted external demands of others and maintain our independence in the relationships we cultivate this ensuring we do not, like many today, lose our identity in them.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Essential Life lesson number 1.2: Stillness is the key

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 journey is to master the stillness that is required to become masters of our own life. Ryan Holiday’s book Stillness Is the Key, describes the philosophy of stillness, or the art of being still, and how important stillness is for self-mastery, discipline, and focus in our modern noisy world.

Stillness is an attainable path to enlightenment, excellence, greatness, and happiness, it can inspire new ideas, sharpens perspective, and illuminate the mind. Stillness slows the ball down so we can hit it, it generates a vision, helps us resist the passion of the mob, and makes space for gratitude and wonder. Stillness allows us to persevere, to succeed, a key to unlock the insights of genius.

Stillness is not some soft, new-age nonsense of the domain of the monks or sages but in fact an essential component to peak performance in every domain of life. Among the various philosophical and religious schools, such as Buddhism, stoicism, Epicureanism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc., it is impossible not to find a philosophy of stillness that does not venerate inner peace or stillness of the mind.

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

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

Learn the art of being able to sit quietly somewhere and be still with just you and yourself for company.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

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

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

The Value of time

The value of time.

To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of one week, ask a writer of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of one day, ask an applicant who missed a job interview. To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed his plane. To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has survived an accident. To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

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The Value of time. Time is of the essence

It’s always a question of time, you are either on time, out of time, pressed for time, having a bad time, or just racing against time, thinking that maybe next time, for sure there is still time until one day your time is up. Time is of the essence. All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us.

The value of time.

Time is the most valuable asset each person has. Every day when we wake up, each one of us has the same amount of time to live a meaningful life, to learn, to give, to share, to experience, to make a difference, to be who we really want to be. We all have twenty-four hours a day to do all those things. How you spend your days is how you spend your life.

You must make the most of time, because as it ticks by and the days turn into weeks, then into months, and then into years; life can pass you by before you know it. Don’t wait all week for the weekend – enjoy each day as it comes. Don’t wait all year for the summer – enjoy each season as it comes. Don’t wait all your life to be happy – happiness happens every day.

They always say time changes things… Andy Warhol

Alongside Picasso, Andy Warhol is probably one of the most recognized twentieth-century artists. Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and public figure known for his membership in bohemian social circles.

Warhol is perhaps best known for his role – a central figure – in the movement known as Pop Art. What Pop Art is, at least for Warhol, was the exploration of the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture, or the concept of using mass-produced commercial goods in design. Andy Warhol changed the art world; he was the most significant figure in Pop Art and responsible for its rise. Warhol also changed art techniques; he popularized silk-screening as an artistic process.

In fact, Warhol was a different kind of artist altogether. Whereas many artists focus entirely on their art with no interest in fame or fortune, Warhol wanted to be rich and famous and succeeded in doing so. Andy Warhol was all about change, but it is his quote below that really captures the essence of change.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”

Andy Warhol

Thinking that time will change something is just to cling to it and get lost in its torments; time just passes and doesn’t change anything. The only thing that changes is the hour, the date and the year. It is up to each one of us to change and to want to change, to grab the bull by the horns and move forward and arm ourselves with experience and change what was wrong and move in the direction that leads us to success, or failure.

The Value of time. There is never enough time unless you make time.

The value of time. Don’t waste your time. Photo by Irina Cliva via freepik.com

Time waits for no one. Too often we do not realize the value of what we have until it is gone. How many people out there will not realize the value of spending quality time with their aging parents until after their parents have died and later live with regret? The time is there to take an unscheduled trip to surprise your parents and pass some enjoyable moments, sharing meals, laughing, exchanging stories, connecting, and really appreciating each other.

How many people out there do not realize the value of showing appreciation to their wife or husband for the little things that they do every day, until the time that the spouse decides to leave, sick and tired of being taken for granted and not feeling appreciated.

How many people out there do not realize the value of being spontaneous, of being young and feeling alive, living life to the full, doing things on the spur of the moment, only to realize when they become old, tired, and sick that they had the opportunity and missed out? Extract from Chapter 2 of my book “This Is Your Quest

The Quest for most of us is to understand that time is of the essence. Time is the most valuable commodity that each of us has. Once spent, time can never be got back. Spend it wisely.

One-to-One Chat with Joanne Reed

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help

we are all explorers

We all have in mind a romanticized idea of what explorers look like i.e., a Marco Polo, a Christopher Colombus, or a Ferdinand Magellan surely fit that explorer stereotype. We should also include in that list Hollywood characters such as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Those explorers and adventurers are truly exceptional individuals with a very special set of skills and a level of courage and determination that set them apart from the rest of us. For sure those explorers have been real trailblazers and we should give them the respect and recognition that they deserve, but from my perspective, we are all explorers.

We don’t have to be navigators, scientists, archaeologists, adrenaline junkies to be an explorer. You can call yourself an explorer as soon as you decide to start a journey of discovery that will unveil some hidden knowledge, myths, truths, and lies about the world as we know it. As a modern-day explorer, you represent the human specie that is in danger of dying from conformity and an inability to think critically.

We are all explorers. Olden-Day explorers & Modern-Day explorers

We Are All Explorers. Walkabout in the Savannah, Reunion Island. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed

Explorers have been the driving force behind humankind. Everything we know today has been the result of explorers who have gone before us. The intangible desire to explore and challenge the boundaries of what we know has provided significant benefits to our society for centuries. From the beginning of time, humans had an irrepressible impulse to move, to discover, to cross new frontiers, to adapt to new environments, and to appease an unquenchable curiosity.

Travel started as a survival necessity and throughout history travelers and explorers have sought adventure for various reasons such as the search for trading routes, religious sites, pilgrimages, fame, and fortune. And doing so meant testing the limits of their endurance, their willpower, and their capacity to withstand pain, discomfort and discover their own limits whilst contributing to science and exploration.

It is important to remember that we don’t always have to look at the past for inspiration. Modern-Day explorers exist and are here to remind us that there are people out there who have a different take on how one should live. They are people with a dream and with the resolve to achieve it, able to face “insurmountable” hurdles, opposition, criticism, and adversity. Being an explorer isn’t just about discovering something new that wasn’t there before, it goes much deeper than that.

We Are All Explorers. Walkabout in the Savannah, Reunion Island. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed

You don’t have to be a thrill junkie to be brave. Being brave is waking up every day to face all that life is throwing at you with courage and determination. Being brave is being able to stand strong in the face of rejection, criticism and continue to work on your life purpose without loss of enthusiasm. Being brave is being able to be alone without feeling lonely because it is in solitude that you can hear that little voice inside you who has been trying to tell you what you already know deep down but you were too busy being distracted by all the noise around you. Being brave is taking care of your body, mind, and spirit and make yourself strong, healthy and resilient each and every day.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

Marcel Proust

A voyage of self-discovery. A walkabout Down-Under

Let’s go on a journey Down-Under to explore the different facets of going on a walkabout. Indigenous Australian culture requires that young males between the age of 10 and 16 years old go on a walkabout for an extended period of time, which can last up to 6 months, as a rite of passage to adulthood. Their mission: survive, find sources of water, hunt for food, not get hurt by all kind of creepy crawlies, develop their survival skills, gain in the process confidence in their own capabilities, reflect on life and gain a sense of their own spirituality before returning to their community. Quite a program (you cannot learn these skills in a classroom for sure) and failing is not an option!

We Are All Explorers. Walkabout in the Savannah, Reunion Island. Photo by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed

Despite what most people believe these walkabouts are not random wanderings. If you want to survive in the Outback, there are several things you must know before you go on your journey. Having an intimate knowledge of the environment is the only way to not die. These young boys must know which plants are edible, where to find animals to hunt, and most importantly where to find water holes. How do they find their way around? Safe paths are known and are transmitted from generation to generation through songlines made by their ancestors. A songline is a traditional song or story describing through lyrics the paths across the land (and sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by their ancestors. Songs, stories, art, dance, and paintings were also used to record information about species of plants, plant remedies, and animals across Australia.

Exploration is an excuse to find out who we really are. In Aboriginal culture and tradition, a walkabout is not just a journey in the wild to prove that you can survive alone in harsh conditions; it is also a time for reflection. Being alone for 6 months or so gives you space and the time to reflect and think. Aboriginal spirituality derives from a sense of belonging to the land, to other people, and to one’s culture. In Aboriginal culture, the quest is to find through that journey in the wilderness one’s own person and test one’s own abilities. Geographical exploration has limits, but the exploration of ourselves as human beings is infinite.

We Are All Explorers. Walkabout in the Savannah, Reunion Island. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed

“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

St Augustine

What you need is to start looking at life with a sense of curiosity. You want to become an explorer. You want to keep learning and growing. Be open and receptive. Become involved in life. Be in the arena. You want to venture to places you haven’t been before. You want to do things you haven’t done before. You want to connect and engage with people you wouldn’t normally interact with. You want to taste new dishes. You want to climb to the top of a mountain, canoe across a lake, ride your bike to work, walk barefoot in the grass. You want to sing in the shower, dance in the living room, have pajamas parties with your friends. You want to wear outrageous and colorful clothes. You want to dance in the rain ad get wet.

We Are All Explorers. Walkabout in the Savannah, Reunion Island. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed

You want to take your time to think and pause and meditate, to reflect on who you are and what you want to be. You want to gaze through a window and breathe, taking in the beauty of the scenery.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

This article contains some extracts from Chapter 1 & 2 (Olden Day and Modern-Day Explorers and Adventurers) of my book “This Is Your Quest”.

Personal Note

One-to-One Chat with Joanne Reed

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

should you hire a life coach or mentor?

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

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

What exactly is a life coach?

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

Improve your skills. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

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

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

Albert Einstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne Gretzky

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

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

Be yourself. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal note

One-to-One Chat with Joanne Reed

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

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

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

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
Uncategorized

Short Life lessons from joanne reed – World Class Performer Interview

I am feeling blessed to have been interviewed by World Class Performer who have been featuring since 2017 stories, tactics and practical advice from authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, investors sharing their short profiles to help their audience answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results and transform life.

You can read the interview on the World Class Performer platform by clicking on the following link Short Life Lessons from Joanne Reed – World Class Performer Interview.

Or you can read the transcript of my interview with World Class Performer below.

Joanne Reed is the author of This Is Your Quest – Your Mission: To Experience Happiness Along the Way. She has not made it yet to the New York Times Bestseller list and is wondering why she is being featured here, but as a storyteller, she has a lot to say. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, and about others. She discovered the art of blogging a year ago and writes about anything that nourishes and educates the mind with a zest of philosophy, plenty of good vibes, and this little je ne sais quoi. 

Can you tell the audience of World Class Performer where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I was born and raised on a French Island in the Indian Ocean called Réunion. It is like the French version of Hawaii. Life on the island was good and I was truly fortunate to have been born and raised in a loving family environment surrounded by my parents, my sister, lots of uncles and aunties, and tons of cousins with the beach on one side and the mountain on the other side. Those early years taught me two things: 1) family is everything and 2) immerse yourself in nature whenever you can.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Most people play the same game i.e., Follow the Follower. Instead of following everyone else and instead of competing with everyone else: Pause – Create – Innovate.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

You often hear that your work will speak for itself and the only thing you have to do is write a great book and the rest will follow. That is a myth. Writing a great book is not enough. If you don’t put yourself out there, your work will stay in semi-obscurity. It takes great energy and effort for new authors to get visibility. New authors should be relentless in their Quest to make their work visible and accessible to a larger audience. The most surprising thing I learned about writing is that your book is not finished until it has been read.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

Dark periods for me equates to periods of time throughout various stages of my life where I felt out of place, lacking confidence in my ability, not having any clarity, living in a state of anxiety, and worrying about the future. Reading self-help books helped me get out of these periods and those books made me a little bit smarter and wiser.

There are two ways to learn valuable life lessons. The first method is through trial, errors, and personal experience and the second method is through books. The downside of the first method is that it will no doubt bring you a fair amount of pain and suffering, which is something that we all want to avoid as much as possible. Learning life lessons through someone else’s struggle and the ordeal is a much less painful way to go about it whilst still bringing the same benefits. Words have tremendous power and energy. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into you when your spirit is broken and can make you stronger than you know. 

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

It depends on how you define success. It is such a fluid concept. Success means different things to different people. If success means signing a publishing contract with a publisher, I tick that box and the biggest contributor to my success would be the fact that I wrote a book that is unique. The book is written from the perspective of the reader. I act as a tour guide and take my readers with me on an epic journey through time, traveling around the world, and learning valuable lessons from my favorite authors and philosophers along the way. The whole idea of the book is to guide my readers in their Quest to find their own definition of happiness and find their own path. I couldn’t find anywhere a book that dealt with all the subjects I was interested in (i.e., money, love, and health), a book that inspired me but challenged me all the same, a book that could act as a compass when I was feeling lost, a book that could educate, heal and illuminate the mind. So, I decided that I should write such a book myself.

If you define success by being on the New York Times Bestselling list, I don’t tick that box yet! I am Work-In-Progress. I see myself more like a marathon runner and not a sprinter. Let’s do this interview again in a couple of years, shall we?

What is your morning routine?

If I had to write a book to describe my morning routine, the title would be the ‘Art of wearing different hats’.

5:30 am: wake-up and make coffee, dress-up in sports gear and put my baseball hat on ready to take my dog Louis out for a quick toilet-stroll round the block; show-up at my desk for an early morning writing session wearing my favorite author’s hat, blissfully aware about how precious this alone time is.

8:00 am: Cook healthy/high protein English breakfast whilst doing the best I can to resist eating too much carb/bread.

9:00 am: show up to my Muay Thai class wearing my protective fighter hat for some high-intensity hand-to-hand combat activity where I am practicing some kick-ass moves that make me feel like Wonder Woman. 

10 am: Return home for a shower. Put author’s hat back on to do more writing till the time comes for me to swap my author’s hat with my domestic goddess hat, ready to prepare lunch, and do whatever domestic goddesses do nowadays. Wear my chauffeur’s hat a few times during the day to take my youngest daughter to places.

The rest of the day continues with me having to swap hats all the time and attend to whatever requires my undivided attention. 

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

I am curious about the world, about people, I am awake and aware of what’s happening, I read, I listen, I connect the dots, I pause, stay still, reflect and meditate, and when all of this is done, I have the urge to put my thoughts on paper and I write. I like to describe myself as an artist because it is more fluid and more suited to my current state of mind. Charles Bukowski says it best “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way”. 

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

  • Write To-Do-Lists.
  • Have lots of different hats to wear for different occasions.
  • Wake-up, dress up, show up and do the best I can till I know better and when I know better I do better. 
  • Last and not least have a sense of adventure, be an explorer. Explorers are a special type of human beings. They have physical endurance, mental toughness, abundant determination, and willpower, a deep feeling of purpose, they have faith in their pursuit and live every day with the conviction of their Quest!

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it summarizes very well everything important you need to know to survive in this world. Mainly that a person’s only real obligation is to realize one’s Personal Legend because if you do this with courage, authenticity, and integrity everything else will fall into place. Realizing your own Personal Legend is not a selfish, ego-centric purpose that only benefits you because as Christian D Larson says, “what’s the world needs is people who can do things that are thoroughly worthwhile; people who can think great thoughts and transform such thoughts into great deeds”. 

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often that you would like to share with the audience of World Class Performer?

I live by and think often of one particular quote by Maya Angelou: “Wake-up, dress-up, show-up every day, and do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou was such a phenomenal woman; her life was a succession of epic adventures. I named my eldest daughter after her.

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

Categories
Self-Help

Why Being Confident Matters

Confidence is difficult to define because it is subjective, elusive, and hard to pin down; but you know it when you see it, and you know what it feels like to be around it. Being confident is an experience. We also know when we don’t feel it when we hide underneath a blanket of self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity. Confidence and lack of confidence are some of those rare qualities that are infectious. When you act confident you exude good positive vibes, people want to be around you, follow your lead, and be inspired by you. When you feel wary, insecure, and defeated people tend to stay away from you. Being confident matters a great deal. Please read on to find out why.

Why being confident matters?

Being confident matters a great deal because whether we like it or not being successful in our professional and personal life depends to a great extent on what we do and how we do it. On a professional level, what we do is a matter of technical skills, and how we do it is a function of confidence.

“Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.”

George Herbert
Why being confident matters. Photo from @raulmellado via freepik.com

Confidence should not be an end in and of itself, and it will never compensate for good old-fashioned hard work. Even the most confident people need to be confident about something, themselves, their work, their identities, and confidence divorced from content will fall apart sooner rather than later. Confidence isn’t just about style, it’s also about substance; the two are intimately connected.

Rule 1 of Jordan Peterson’s book “The 12 Rules for Life” is to stand up straight with your shoulders back.

“Attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them, at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous.”

Jordan Peterson

Confidence manifests in a number of highly visible ways: our body language, vocal tonality, verbal cues. Confidence matters a great deal because it acts as a protective shield. Bullies and predators’ favorite types of victims are those who are weak, easy to conquer, and less likely to put up a fight. If you are walking in the street with your eyes on your feet and hunched around, you broadcast to the world your vulnerability; but on the other hand, if you stand up straight with your shoulders back, if you walk tall and stare forthrightly ahead you broadcast to the world that you are solid and ready to face whatever life is throwing at you.

Use your body language and your vocal tone like you mean business. Operate in a calm-assertive-mode with the ability to turn into fighting-mode if and when required.True confidence is a process, it is not constant. It comes and goes. It ebbs and flows. It takes a hit and has to recover. It’s always evolving during the course of our lives as we take on new situations, challenges, and goals. So, we have to keep working on it as we go along.

Be confident without trying to fake it

Why being confident matters. Photo from @raulmellado via freepik.com

One of the recipes for success promoted by many self-development gurus and authors is to fake it until you make it. Confidence is a quality that can be projected or faked. Deep insecurity can masquerade as confidence, politicians are experts in the art of faking it. Confidence can be hacked acquired and learned if you spend enough time practicing talking, acting, and looking a certain way.

The question is how long can you fake it? My take on this is that you can fake it for a little while until the entire act of faking confidence will become too exhausting, confusing, and alienating, as keeping up appearances becomes your primary objective. And here starts a vicious circle of faking it, being fearful of being found out and doubling down on the illusion.

Wouldn’t it be easier if instead of faking it you practice the real thing, by being more authentic, more grounded?

“True confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that is grounded in an authentic experience of our own ability, perspective and sufficiency. It is also a sense that we are enough, that we aren’t lacking in some fundamental sense that prevents us from navigating the world in a healthy, positive, and productive way. It is a quality we all inspire to have. With it we feel engaged, purposeful, inspired. Without it, we feel wary, defeated, fearful.”

Jordan Harbinger

A few tips to help you be more confident

  1. Stand up straight with shoulders back. Confidence is expressed most profoundly through our bodies. No matter how well we speak, the way we feel about ourselves will always manifest in our posture, our hand movements, and our facial features.
  2. Dress for success, for the job, and for the life you want. We have to remember that people’s first impressions are made when they see us, not when we first interact with them. This is why you should pay attention to your physical appearance. Wearing the right attire for the right occasion is important. Showing up at a job interview wearing garments that are inappropriate for the job on offer, will for sure not get you that job and will also knock down your confidence level a few notches. This rule doesn’t stop when you are at home, you can wear comfortable clothes, and still look fabulous, ready to have a fabulous day.
  3. Speak as you mean it. After body language, our voice is our most powerful tool to make a good impression. Vocal tonality, which includes not just the physical quality of our voice but also our pitch, articulation, syntax, volume, and intention, expresses and reinforces our innermost sense of self. And remember that our voice tonality could act as a protective shield, if you find yourself in a situation where someone is invading your personal space, taking liberties that make you feel uncomfortable, assert yourself through your words and voice tonality, put some boundaries and make it very clear that you are not to be messed with. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by someone who is taking too much liberty.
  4. Be authentic. Being authentic means being emotionally honest, clear about your experience of the world, and free of pretense. It means responding to every moment of life, the positive and the negative, in your own way, without faking it. True authenticity owns and acknowledges those less than pleasant experiences in our lives in a way that ultimately enhances our sense of self. In other words, we don’t become confident by never feeling insecure. Nobody feels positive, upbeat, and confident at every hour of the day. I got news for you; everybody is as lost as you are. If you respond authentically to your experiences (good or bad) and are able to share those experiences in the appropriate amount (too much self-pity will turn you into a victim – avoid this at all cost), in an appropriate way, in appropriate contexts, you are all set. If you do it right, those moments of vulnerability can turn into an asset and a strength.

Be confident without being arrogant

There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, and it can be hard to distinguish between the two. Working to boost self-esteem is a good thing but taking it to excess can encourage arrogance and narcissism instead.Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that comes from an appreciation of our abilities or qualities. Arrogance is characterized by having an exaggerated sense of our importance or abilities, and self-righteousness. Arrogance often masks an insecurity. Confidence on the other hand stems from true self-worth. Ultimately, arrogance repels us. I don’t know a lot of people who like to spend time with arrogant people. Confident people are the opposite: they inspire others. Never underestimate the power of being confident, it matters a great deal. And this, my dear friend, 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

Transformation and Growth. How Does One Become a Butterfly?

Transformation and growth. How does one become a butterfly?

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

If one of your New Year resolutions is to pursue transformation and growth in order to become the best version of yourself, I invite you to study the life of a butterfly and learn from it. But how does one become a butterfly?

Transformation and Growth – How does one become a butterfly? Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

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. 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 its 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. If your New Year resolution is to transform yourself into the best individual you can possibly be,  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.

Transformation and Growth. How does one become a butterfly? The caterpillar stage. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

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 are done  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 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.

Robert Greene calls 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

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.

For more on this subject, you can read my article Want Good things to happen to you? Try Patience.

The chrysalis stage

In this stage the caterpillar takes refuge in a protective cocoon where it 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 journey is to master the stillness that is required to become master of our own life.

Transformation and Growth – How does one become a butterfly? The Chrysalis Stage Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Ryan Holiday’s book Stillness is the Key, describes the philosophy of stillness, or the art of being still and how important stillness is for self-mastery, discipline and focus in our modern noisy world. Stillness is an attainable path to enlightenment, excellence, greatness, and happiness, it can inspire new ideas, sharpens perspective and illuminate the mind. Stillness slows the ball down so we can hit it, it generates a vision, helps us resist the passion of the mob, and makes space for gratitude and wonder. Stillness allows us to persevere, to succeed, a key to unlock the insights of genius. Stillness is not some soft, new-age nonsense or the domain of monks or sages but in fact an essential component to peak performance in every domain of life.

A paradox of stillness is that it requires you to think very deeply, but also clear your mind. In fact, this is not a paradox as once our mind is cleared and emptied insights and breakthroughs can occur.

“Muddy waters clear themselves through stillness; if we let them settle the truth will be revealed to us.”

Another paradox is that stillness does not require that you stop moving or even to be somewhere quiet, stillness can be cultivated while chaos swirls around you. Those moments, in a busy shopping mall or airport, when somehow all the external noise is filtered out and you feel a sense of calm and can focus on what is in your control, that, is stillness.

The ability to intentionally find stillness, in a busy environment or just by shutting your eyes and focusing your thoughts and attention on one thing, is important because we have to move and live our lives; intentional stillness takes effort.  Active stillness is effective because we can’t simply think our way to peace or pray our body into better condition.

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

For more on this subject , please read my article  The Art of Being Still.

Transformation and growth – How does one become a butterfly?

At last, in the final stage, the fully developed butterfly is ready to emerge from the chrysalis sharing its beauty with the world. 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.

Transformation and Growth. How does one become a butterfly? Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

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 expectations. 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 Monarch 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 only driven 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.

Advice from a Butterfly from Ilan Shamir

Transformation and Growth – Advice from a Butterfly? Photo by @freepik via freepik.com
  • Let your true colors show
  • Take yourself lightly
  • Look for the sweetness in life
  • Take time to smell the flowers
  • Catch a breeze
  • Treat yourself like a Monarch
  • And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

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