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Be Happy

How to Get Your Message Across. Words Matter.

From the time we get up till the time we go to bed, we communicate our wants, desires, fear, worry, anxiety to all the people around us. We should learn how to get our message across, because words matter. Words provide the basis for human connection, they matter a great deal. Although we have always known this intuitively, science has confirmed the tremendous power our words have on ourselves, our communities, and the world. The words we use and how we use them matter immensely because they shape the way we perceive the world and participate within it. Words are tricky because people can interpret the words we say and the manner we said those words in a way that is different from the way we originally intended. Words can lift us up or drag us down.

Choose your words carefully. Throwing words around in a nonchalant manner to whoever, whenever, however, and whatever can be reckless and have consequences. Be mindful of the words you use and how you use them because they will have an impact positive or negative on the people around you.

How to get your message across? By establishing a good rapport with your interlocutor

How to get your message across. Words matter. Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com.

The advice below comes from Evy Poumpouras, a former Special Agent with the US Secret Service and the author of the book “Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, Lice Fearlessly.”

Rapport is the ability to understand and communicate with people. You have to build rapport and then maintain it throughout the conversation till the end without dropping the ball in the middle of the conversation. It is like a ping pong game.

Use words that make people comply with what you are saying rather than words that make them resist you. Think about how your words are going to land on that person; so in order to get your message across you have to understand that person well and understand their triggers and how those words are going to land on them.

“It is an excellent rule to be observed in all disputes, that men should give soft words and hard arguments; that they should not so much strive to vex as to convince each other.” John Wilkins.

If you are dealing with someone who has a big ego, and if this person is someone with whom you want to maintain a good business relationship with, you may want to soften the words you are going to use to express the fact that on this particular occasion you will pass on the business opportunity so that they will not feel that your rejection of their offer is a direct attack on their identity or their ego. You have to be mindful of the fact that the word “no” can have a negative impact on your interlocutor, it can make them feel rejected and diminished. Having said that, there will be circumstances where you have to be more direct and decisive in your answer, and the words ‘no’ should be used in the right circumstance and will make you feel strong and assertive.

There could be situations where you need someone to wake up and react to what you are saying because they are completely indifferent to you or not really paying attention; in this case, drop some bombshell words and then watch how those words land on them; you will get a reaction from them in no time. Words are powerful, they can wake people up, shut people down, and they can also lift people up.

How to get your message across? By cultivating the art of acceptance, adaptability, by giving your interlocutor some autonomy, and by having empathy

How to get your message across. Words matter. Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com.

How a word is interpreted and how a word lands on a person is going to be completely different from person to person because we are all unique individuals with different sensitivities and triggers. What you are saying and how you are saying it is important because it will have an impact, positive or negative, on the person you are connecting with.

You will find below 4 tips (from Evy Poumpouras) that will help you get your message across and have a top tier type of conversation

1. Acceptance. One of the hardest things you have to do when you are having a conversation with someone is to be able to accept what they are saying as truth, not your truth but their truth. If you start a conversation with a feeling of absolute knowing and self-righteousness, it is not going to be a good conversation and the chance is, it is not going to end well either. Try to resist the urge to tell the other person that they are absolutely wrong and try to accept the fact that what they are saying is their truth. Offer the interlocutor a safe place where they feel that they can say what they want and that they can be heard. That means being able to push your ego out of the way and instead of entering into a diatribe about how wrong they are, just listen to their point of view. Whether you agree or not is not the point, you need to give them sufficient space to express themselves to understand how they think, and how they feel about this particular matter.

2. Adaptability. When you have acceptance which is the biggest hurdle, the next thing you can do is to have adaptability. Adaptability means not being rigid. When you are rigid you are going to struggle. You may have an agenda and a road map before you go into that conversation, but if things go in a different direction, allow the person to go where they want (for a little bit) before you try to re-direct the conversation where you want to go. Pay attention to how the people who are listening to you are reacting to your words if you feel that you are losing them, because they can’t see where you are taking them, go straight to the point instead of going around the bush, or crack a joke to wake them up.

3. Autonomy. Give your interlocutor some autonomy, some kind of power in a situation where they may feel powerless. When you are negotiating with someone, or when you are having a difficult conversations, it is definitely not a good idea to try to bulldoze or destroy that person. Maybe you will win that argument this time around, but you will have built (unbeknown to you) in that same process a mountain of resentment. Giving your interlocutor some kind of power back builds rapport and connection.

4. Empathy. Being emphatic doesn’t mean sympathizing with the other person’s viewpoint; it means the ability to see things from another person’s perspective.

Having a good handle on how to get our message across is a skill that we all need to practice. It is always better to convince people through your words, demeanor and action rather than trying to shove something down someone’s throat no matter what, which is happening too often these days.

How to get your message across. Words matter. Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com.

“Persuasion can go through obstacles that force cannot.” Yusuf A, Leinge.

Henry S. Truman said: “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” Politicians are very good at this, when they can’t convince, they are trying to confuse the people by saying one thing and their contrary in the most inarticulate manner. Inconsistencies of speech, followed by actions that are contrary to what was preached a minute earlier is a complete turn off for me. Walk your talk otherwise you are not going to convince me.

This said, I feel in awe when I am listening to someone speak with eloquence, grace, and conviction. I am way impressed when I see someone handle difficult and stressful situations even verbal attacks with a calm, composed demeanor whilst holding their ground and standing up for themselves. Some people are really good at this, others less so.

Your Quest., my dear friend is to be in the group of people who are a top-tier communicator.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy

The 7 Most Important Lessons I Learned This Year

It is customary during this time of the year to reflect on our achievements and take stock of what we learned. In this article, I would like to share with you the seven most important lessons I learned this year. 2021 is getting to a close. Thank goodness for that. We survived another year living in a world where a lot of things don’t make sense anymore, where things are getting crazier by the day, where everything seems to be upside down.

People spent the last two years 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 in challenging times. My motto is when the going gets tough get tougher. I have no qualms about leaving 2021 behind me wishing for next year to be much less insane.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. Thank you for your continuous support and love.

May you all have Peace and Clarity. To be the first to latch on your door, and Happiness to be guided to your home, by the candlelight of Christmas. May you have the strength to take the first step of many to where you want to go. May you have the grace wisdom and courage, to persist in things worth doing, and find solace in the knowledge that, that in itself is remarkable.

Joanne Reed

Lesson 1: We should all walk the path of the warrior – Life is a battlefield

The 7 most important lessons I learned this year. Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving . Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta- Davranche @lartisanecouture

Life is a battlefield. Nothing is easy, we have to fight our way through everything, and with this, in mind, it would be a good idea for us to familiarize ourselves with combat strategy and learn the best tricks available from trained warriors. In military strategy before combat units are sent to combat zones, they have first to learn the art of mobility, protection and decision firepower.

No one battlefield look-alike they come in all shapes and forms. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare and spiritual warfare is common occurrence.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today we typically associate courage with heroic deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. When we work to develop courage we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

In life you have to choose your battles carefully; some battles are worth fighting for and others aren’t. Some situations may require an immediate response others, may not. Sometimes patience is required. Do not come rushing and roaring at your targets because this could be the easiest way you can lose them from your grasps. Sometimes to be successful you have to forgo speed and aggression; slow down, listen closely and wait for the perfect timing. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take actions with swiftness and confidence. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

Lesson 2: No one wants to hear this but most of us are being mind-controlled

Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received be it from personal experience newspapers or media. Controlling human perception can therefore become a weapon used to control what people think. The best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge propaganda or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

We are comfortable in our echo chambers, devoid of people and ideas who challenge our own beliefs and we are rarely thinking about how our own biases affect how we think about world. We expect Facebook,Twitter, TikTok and Google to filter the truth for us rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. Some social media posts go viral in minutes after they are posted whether they carry with them the truth or an exaggeration of the truth or total falsehood.

And then you have repetition, which is another powerful tool to manipulate people’s psyche. There is a term for this in psychology it is called the Illusory Truth Effect also known as the Reiteration Effect which is the tendency to believe the information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcomes rationality. No one wants to hear this but the truth does not matter anymore repetition does [Feel free to feel outraged]!

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what is not true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true”

Soren Kierkegaard

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

Lesson 3: That is why we should think for ourselves instead of letting other people do the thinking for us

The 7 most important lessons I learned this year. Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving . Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta- Davranche @lartisanecouture

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

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

We all like to think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic.

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

Thomas Sowell

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

Lesson 4: Because things are not what they seem first impression deceives many the intelligence of a few perceive what has been carefully hidden

The 7 most important lessons I learned this year. Photo featuring Joanne Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving . Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta- Davranche @lartisanecouture

The truth is not the truth anymore. Video games aren’t real life. Gambling isn’t really investing. Social media isn’t really social. The news isn’t real facts anymore but more like a propaganda machine. If you live in a tyrannical society would you know it?

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

Malcolm X

The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it want to see. The way people let their emotions conditions and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.

Maya Reed

The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.

African Proverb

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

Lesson 5: Honey don’t follow the crowd they are lost

The 7 most important lessons I learned this year. Photo featuring Joanne Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving . Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta- Davranche @lartisanecouture

In order to stay sane our brain create the illusion that all our thoughts are completely rational and independent. But no matter how independent-minded you think you are it is easier and unknowingly more seductive to follow a widely accepted dogma than create your own. Human beings have a natural desire to be accepted into a group or community. Being an outsider is not a good place to be it is lonely and uncomfortable. That is why a lot of people prefer to follow the crowd without realizing that it could lead straight to the slaughterhouse.

Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the actions of a large group greatly influence an individual’s decision. Pushed by the herd people act the same way or adopt similar behaviors as people around them ignoring their own feelings in the process. Are most humans sheeple? Sheep are docile, compliant, kind, quite pleasant animals and very tasty too; being described as a sheep has no doubt pejorative connotations. The truth of the matter is that most of us are more sheepish than we might like to admit it and we would rather follow the crowd wherever it goes than venture on our own lonely road.

Most people would rather be wrong within the company of the herd than be right outside of it.

Unknown Author

Honey don’t follow the crowd they are lost.

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

Lesson 6:  And please stop asking for permission when you don’t have to

The 7 most important lessons I learned this year. Photo featuring Joanne & Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving . Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta- Davranche @lartisanecouture

From the day we are born we spend our life asking for permission for everything. It starts with our parents our teachers our boss our spouse, or our leader and it goes on and on. I say, stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. We grow up with a host of ingrained ideas about what we’re permitted to do or not do. As a child we have to ask permission from our parents to ride our bikes to town. When in school we have to raise our hands and ask the teacher permission to speak or to go to the toilet. At work we have to ask our boss and HR department permission to go on sick leave when we are feeling unwell.

Being compliant obedient and asking for permission might serve us well in a civilized society as we learn how to control our wants and desires; but the irony and eventual quiet tragedy of that is that in some instances our wants and desires might not have a possessor a licensor or a permit giver. It may lie outside the realms of ownership. There may be broad indifference to whether we act in some way or not. There may be no law and no one to be upset by our move. The desired thing in question might just belong to whoever dares to step forward and take it. There is no formal procedure it’s just the courage to imagine it could be yours.

We are creatures of tradition, systems rules and regulations and we are conditioned to think that we need permission for everything and to act within the confines of what is permitted. I say stop asking for permission when you don’t have to.  Our culture is fascinated by inventors and artists who struck out on their own went strongly against the tide of current opinion and was eventually vindicated even if only after their deaths. We get excited by the stories of their lives because we unconsciously find in them something that’s missing in us: a bold indifference to permission a reminder of our lack of courage and timidity.

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

Lesson 7: And always remember that you can find hope amid uncertainty and conflict

The 7 most important lessons I learned this year. Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving . Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta- Davranche @lartisanecouture

The world currently is filed with fear stress and sadness, and it can become second nature to develop a negative worldview and a feeling of hopelessness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal more dissent than we can mediate and more uncertainty than we can comprehend.

In time like this what can we do to comfort ourselves and the people around us? We can call upon Hope to step into our life. Hope is a powerful antidote to feelings of despair and desolation. Hope acts as the light in the midst of darkness and will bring you renewed optimism and vitality.

We should try not to focus so much on all the negativity that surrounds us but we should learn to focus on all the good things that are happening in the world because it is always there, but it is buried under a thick layer of muck. It is not unusual to find yourself feeling down in the dumps. When this happens, we let our Hope slips away. Thankfully we do not have to let ourselves linger in a hopeless place; if you lift your head up and look around you will find Hope in many places; you can find Hope in a smile a kind word or a hug and some other places too.

Hope triggers a sense of purpose and aspiration during desperate times. Hope provides a haven from pessimism and fear. It galvanizes our courage and mobilizes our energy and vitality. It enhances our mood and our creative thinking.  Hope can be found in small successes. A lot of times we find hope and aspiration in big victories and accomplishments; the problem is large-scale victories and accomplishments don’t happen that often. So don’t forget to celebrate the small victories you will find Hope laying there too.

For a more detailed analysis, I invite you to read the full article I wrote on this subject.

 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

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Self-Help Uncategorized

Things Are Not What They Seem, First Impression Deceives Many …

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceive what has been carefully hidden”. Phaedrus c.444 – 393 BC. Phaedrus, whose name translates to bright or radiant was an ancient aristocrat who enjoyed the company of philosophers. He was particularly interested in the nature of reality. He spent long hours asking himself the following questions: do we see things how they are or only how they seem to us? Is seeing believing? Can we trust our senses? How do we know how something really is?

“The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.”

Maya Reed

Things are not what they seem, the first impression deceives many

The text below is an extract written by my eldest daughter Maya which introduces Part Two of my book “This Is Your Quest

The view from my window – by Maya Reed.

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many. The view from my window.

No matter a person’s race, gender, status, or health, everyone has a window that acts as their unique glimpse into the world. However, this window varies greatly from person to person, and any aspect about someone can determine what he or she sees out of it. The view from these windows is in a constant state of change and can be altered by something as substantial as how we are raised or our lifestyle, to something as trivial as how we are feeling on a particular day.

When looking out of this figurative window, things such as the time of day can reflect a specific state of mind. In times of happiness, the beauty of the world hits me like a truck. This is when I look out my window and see a bright sunrise marking the dawn of a new day. As the sun makes it steady ascent, it brings the excitement of new possibilities with it. Light bursts forth from the horizon in an onslaught of colors, forcing the darkness into a hasty retreat. In these moments, everything is picture perfect and it only magnifies with the growing light – the world radiates alacrity.

The sky is painted in stunning streaks of red, pink, purple, and blue and the birds sing their delight to the heavens. With sunlight already streaming through the window, my eyes turn to a world blanketed in tranquility. Leaves dance in the wind, taking my mind with them. People amble down the street, content clear on their faces. I see a couple as they walk by my window. They stroll hand in hand, simply appreciating each other’s touch. Birds soar through the sky with effortless grace, trees sway in the wind, and everything is infinitely beautiful. I can see all the wonder the world has to offer.

Somewhere, in the distance, a newborn takes its first breath. Elsewhere, jobs are being offered, vows are taken, homes are found, love is declared, sickness is overcome, and countless more bring a smile to my face. It is as if the sun’s rays illuminate anything and everything worthwhile and lift them up on a shinning pedestal. In this merry state of mind, negativity is easily overpowered, but the light that ensures this sanctuary is not constant.

Light brings wonder to people’s lives, but it is not possible for light to exist without darkness. I once again find myself taking a moment to properly look out my window. However, after a long and strenuous day, the sunset is upon me, and as I watch, the sun is slowly but surely beating back under the horizon.

My eyes scan what’s below me and a vague familiarity resides beneath the layers of dense darkness, but my optimism died with the sun. The light is gone, and with it, the happiness it brought. Now, all the wrongs the light refused to expose become painfully clear. In my mind’s somber restlessness, the shadows jump out with murderous intent, and the darkness is suffocating.

The same couple walks past my window, but this time I notice the strange tightness in which he grips her hand, and her refusal to look him in the eye. The amblers’ steps are reduced to depressed plodding, and even the breeze seems to whisper threats. It soon becomes achingly clear that the songbirds fled long ago, and the silence they leave behind is deafening. The glass is the only thing that separates me from the world where evil lurks around every corner, but the darkness threatens to break the seal.

In an instant, the darkness thickens and every shadowed window hides a depressed, overworked child. It is far too easy to notice that every second, a driver’s mistake becomes a death sentence, tears tun like rivers, blood taints the soil, someone takes the fatal jump, maledictions are hurled at one another, lives are shattered, and the savage reality of this world cracks down like a whip. In the same way, the light blinded me to anything I didn’t want to see, the darkness is enough to suppress everything worth seeing.

The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see in the world. Some days it will go through the terrifying, disheartening, and even confusing process of freezing to gawk at the shadows. Other days it will inexplicably decide to turn it back to what lies in the darkness and instead ogle at the brilliance of the sun.

In fact, the true nature of the world is rarely seen. Constantly fluctuating emotions act as lenses for our window. They can taint, brighten, dull, enhance, blind, illuminate and change the view of different surroundings. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden

‘The eyes are useless when the mind is blind”

African Proverb
Things are not what they seem, first mpression deceives many. Photo by Ilin Serguey via freepik.com

The truth is not the truth anymore. Video games aren’t real life. Gambling isn’t really investing. Social media isn’t really social. The news isn’t real facts anymore but more like a propaganda machine.

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

Malcolm X

We think that we are living in a peaceful time, but in fact, life is a battlefield. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare spiritual warfare is a common occurrence.

In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it. The world is not black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platform to tell you how to think and how to act. You can think for yourself. Passive non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world. They see things in black and white, as either-or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understandings. They see questions as yes or no, with no subtleties. They fail to see linkages and complexities. They fail to recognize related elements. They take their facts as the only relevant ones. They take their perspectives as the only sensible ones. They consider their goal as the only valid one.

Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it, because that makes you predictable, vulnerable, and controllable. Be your own person, be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, spot all the inconsistencies. If you know how to observe, listen, think and act accordingly, you become a dangerous person.

“I’d rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.”

Unknown author

No one wants to hear this, but we are all being mind-controlled, and the truth is not true anymore. Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. Controlling human perception can therefore become a weapon used to control what people think. The best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda, or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

George Orwell

Life is not what it seems, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

And this my dear friend, Is Your Quest

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy

The Secret to Survive and Thrive in This Crazy World Is That, There Is No Secret

Wherever we are in the world, we all want the same thing. We all want to survive and thrive. We want to be happy, healthy, and wealthy. Surely, there must be a secret to get to this Eldorado. I’ve got news for you: the secret to survive and thrive in this crazy world is that, there is no secret.

We are living in a world where everybody’s life is on display for all to see. People will generously display on their social media their amazing lifestyle, careers, looks, clothes, six packs, etc, for all to see. There are two ways to react to those picture-perfect images: they can either motivate you to wake up, dress up, show up and do your thing or they can make you feel like a total failure and red with envy.

We have a tendency to describe certain successful people as lucky because they just happened to be born with talent (that eludes the rest of us) and that talent and maybe a certain amount of luck, is what ultimately made them succeed. Certainly, talent and luck play a role, but if we look a little closer, we will find out as Thomas Edison famously said that “success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Success is an iceberg. What people see on the surface: confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, seniority, often don’t see what is hiding below: persistence, failure sacrifice, disappointment, good habits, hard work, and dedication. Some people will pay a tremendous amount of money to get access to gurus, life coaches, influencers in order to obtain their secrets. I repeat. The secret to survive and thrive in this crazy world is that, there is no secret.

The secret to survive and thrive …

The secret to survive and thrive in this crazy world is that there is no secret. Photo by Look Studio via freepik.

All the information we need to survive and thrive in this crazy world is already out there. The only skill you need to find this secret is to know how to use a laptop or a smartphone, and then you need the drive to do something with the information you found online. There are two types of people in this world, marathon runners and sprinters.

Marathon runners are those who are curious enough to observe the world they live in; they ask themselves questions and take the time to look for some answers. Once they have the information, they act upon it. Then you have the sprinters who get excited at every shiny object that sparkles in the distance. They are attracted by the prospect of quick success, they start the race without preparation or training, they lose interest quickly because of the lack of preparation and also because they are lagging way behind the experienced sprinters who spent years working on their skill. So, they end up stopping this race early on deciding to wait on the sideline for the next shiny object to present itself in front of them.

Those who survive and thrive have the fortitude, discipline, willpower, and patience to work on the information they have gathered. Every day they wake, up, dress up, show up, and do their things. Those who are struggling are those who complain all the time, think of themselves as victims, they want the rewards without the pain, they lack discipline, patience, and willpower.

“Timing, and perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”

Christopher Isaac, Co-Founder of Twitter.

The secret to survive and thrive in this crazy world is that, there is no secret

The secret to survive and thrive in this crazy world is that there is no secret. Photo by Look Studio via freepik.

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

The motivational speaker Les Brown articulated the concept of struggle and adversity pretty well. What he explained in one of his memorable speeches is that one of the greatest tragedies of our time is the way we perceive success:

“We perceive success as the belief that successful people just happened to be successful because they were lucky enough to have been born with some talent and that talent is what got them there, and destiny is what brought them to the finishing line. That belief is wrong because that kind of thinking takes the journey, the struggles to get to the top of the mountain, the setbacks, the pain, the fear and throws it all out of the window.

It completely mitigates what is most important. In the real world, it doesn’t matter who you are. You are never entitled to a result. Victory is a product of the fight and the biggest favor you can do yourself is to progress through life’s ups and downs and keep fighting the fight. Struggle is perfection in progress. It is a sign that you are in the midst of what separated the great from the average.

It is a necessity, and it is the most important step you will ever take because 99% of people cannot see past it. The world sees struggle and hardship as the time to pack their bags, to walk away, to be intimidated.”

Les Brown

Everybody knows that in order to have a healthy body you have to eliminate toxins as much as possible from your environment, eliminate tobacco and alcohol, eat healthy nutritious food, exercise and keep active. This information is no secret. It is out there, and it is available to everyone. Those people who walk around on the beach in their bikinis with a toned body and a six-pack didn’t get there by accident, they worked on it days in and days out. They didn’t take a secret pill that gave them a fit body overnight, they honed their skill quietly and patiently.

The expectation nowadays is for things to happen instantaneously; and when it doesn’t, we get frustrated even angry. Being patient is a virtue that has been forgotten. We should get re-acquainted with this concept. In public it is the impatient one that grabs all the attention, but patience is a skill that you practice quietly, behind a closed door, just like professional athletes who step away from the limelight taking some time off to heal their injuries so that they can come back stronger, step back in the arena and compete another day.

And this my dear friend, is the secret recipe to your success.

The Secret to survive and thrive in this crazy world is that there i sno secret. Photo by Vectorup Studio via freepik.com

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Do You Handle Adversity? Are you a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

How do you handle Adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? The story of the carrot, egg, and coffee bean is well-known; for those who have already heard about it, read it again, it is worth it and for those who are hearing it for the first time, you will enjoy it. It is a story about perspective, adversity, and freedom to choose how you react to things happening in your life because there are always two sides to every coin; your perspective is your reality.

Full credit for this article should be given to the author of this story who is unknown; I am taking you to my kitchen table today to serve you this story because those words of wisdom are worth spreading. Everyone wants to gain wisdom. Wisdom is one of the greatest qualities that human beings can possess. So, seek it, hold on to it and treasure it. Why? Because it will help you navigate through choppy waters, it will lift you up from the depths of despair, it will help you put everything into perspective, and ultimately it will turn you into the hero of your own story.

How Do you handle adversity? Are you a Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee bean?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, and egg or a coffee bean? Photo by Stoccking via freepik.com

The story is set at home in the family kitchen, where mother and daughter are having a chat. Mother is really happy to see her daughter who recently left the family nest to do her thing and live her life in the big wide world. But the daughter is feeling quite unhappy at the moment, being an adult and being responsible for your own decisions and your own life happened to be much harder than she expected. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of struggling and fighting. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother listened to the tale of her daughter’s demise, and at the end of the tale, she filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last one, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word waiting for the water to boil; twenty minutes later she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. She ladled the coffee into a cup.

Turning to her daughter, she asked: “Tell me what you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee” she replied. The mother brought her daughter closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity… boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg went in as fragile, with only a thin outer shell to protect its liquid interior. But, after being through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however, because as they were in the boiling water, they changed the water.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, and egg or a coffee bean? Photo by Stoccking via freepik.com

“Which are you? she asked the daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after a break-up, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? “

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

How Do you handle adversity? The moral of the story

Life is often difficult. It can be harsh, stressful, and feel like a pot of boiling water. The environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test what we are made of. We can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like the egg that hardens. Or we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment.

Things are never as bad as they seem and they are never as great either. Maintaining our perspective on things helps us overcome adversity even if we struggle. Life is not made of butterflies and rainbows. It is made of a whole bunch of things. Sometimes it is sunny and sometimes it is rainy.

Talking about rain, I take this opportunity to share with you my youngest daughter’s latest YouTube Video – Don’t Rain on my Parade

“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.”

Bob Marley

You need the rain to make you appreciate the sunny days better and when it rains, instead of letting the grey sky gets to you, choose instead to dance in the rain, or in this case, make and drink the coffee.

Talking about coffee, my eldest Maya wrote a blog article a while ago titled Things to be Grateful For and she makes reference in her article of the book Thanks a Thousand written by A.J. Jacobs who wrote an entire book based on the idea that the little things in our lives aren’t so little. Thanks a Thousand tells the story of Jacob’s mission to thank everyone who was involved in making a small, but important part of his life: his morning cup of coffee. His quest took him months to complete and had him flying across the entire globe to thank delivery drivers, factory workers, bean farmers, and everyone in between. His story is an inspiring one and is a great example of how beneficial showing gratitude can be, and what we also have to take away is the intricate and detailed process it took to make Jacobs’ cup of coffee and the same process is true for every other little luxury of modern-day life.

So, the moral of the story is, when adversity is knocking at your door, make yourself a cup of coffee and be grateful for all the little things that made it possible for you to enjoy that cup of coffee.

Joanne Reed

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

Life Is a Battlefield.

Life is a battlefield. Nothing is easy, we have to fight our way through everything, and with this, in mind, it would be a good idea for us to familiarize ourselves with combat strategy and learn the best tricks in the book from trained warriors. In military strategy, before combat units are sent to combat zones, they have first to learn the art of mobility, protection, and precision firepower.

No one battlefield look alike, they come in all shapes and form. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare, spiritual warfare is common occurrence.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of mobility

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

In the military world, the ability to maneuver cross-country and in the most restrictive terrain is essential. During World War II tanks brought tactical mobility to the battlefield, helped reduce the number of casualties, and disrupted the enemy through decisive action. The ability for tanks to maneuver off-road created tactical options for soldiers on the ground, increased their unpredictability and allowed them to surprise the enemy and operate with greater effectiveness.

In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it. The world is not black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platform to tell you how to think and how to act. You can think for yourself. Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it, because that makes you predictable, vulnerable and controllable. Be your own person, be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, think for yourself. If you know how to observe, listen, think, and act accordingly, you become a dangerous person.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of protection

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

In the military world, when you have a good protection system in place you maximize the mission performance with minimum casualties. Psychological operations (PSYOP) are a vital part of military strategy. PSYOP enhances combat power and offers some level of protection from the enemy, through the use of information, and disinformation.

Intelligence gathering is an important aspect of warfare. Knowledge of the enemy, of the weather conditions, and the terrain are of paramount importance and are used in the planning and conducting of combat operations. During the 1940 Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe often struck and bombarded London under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British Government issued city-wide blackouts. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was able to repel German fighters in part because of the development of new secret radar technology. The onboard Airborne Interception Radar (AI) was invented and first used by the RAF in 1939 and had the ability to pinpoint enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

To protect their secret weapon, British Intelligence invented a propaganda campaign that claimed that British Pilots could see in the dark because they ate a lot of carrots! There is no denying the fact that carrots, by virtue of their heavy dose of vitamin A (in the form of Beta Carotene) are very good for the health of your eyes; but this truth was stretched a little by granting carrots the “superpower” of improving your night vision and give you the power to spot enemy planes in the dark?! The truth is that eating carrots does not help you see better in the dark any more than eating blueberries will turn you blue. That said, the carrot campaign of subterfuge helped hide a new technology that was critical to the Battle of Britain, a major campaign fought entirely by air forces and the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces, and to the eventual Allied victory.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of precision firepower

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Once you are positioned strategically, you can use your firepower against the enemy. Overwhelming precision direct firepower will have the effect of intimidating, demoralizing your adversaries, and imposing unacceptable costs on the aggressor, leading to victory. In life, you need to have courage in order to fight those battles. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficult challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today, we typically associate courage with heroic deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

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

In life you have to choose your battles carefully; some battles are worth fighting for and others aren’t. Some situations may require an immediate response, others may not. Sometimes patience is required. Do not come rushing and roaring at your targets because this could be the easiest way you can lose them from your grasps. Take a step back and think of the best approach. Sometimes to be successful, you have to forgo speed and aggression; slow down, listen closely, and wait for the perfect timing. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

Life is a battlefield. Learn the art of mobility, protection, and firepower.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Quotes Self-Help

Wake up, Dress up, Show up and Do Your Thing

Today (18th October), I wake-up, dress, and show up to celebrate my birthday. Happy birthday also to Russell, my dear husband we are sharing the same birthday. I have been on this earth for a few decades, and I am grateful for every single morning when I got to wake up and do my thing. My loyal readers would know that I rarely talk about myself in my writing, because, who cares, really?! I write to educate, entertain, and inspire. I am not here to impress people and seek instant fame and fortune (a fate only reserved for a tiny portion of writers) but to impact people. The words I write are more important than the person who is writing them; but if you want to know about me, you just have to read my writing and you will catch a little bit of my soul.

I like my birthdays to be low-key, but because this is a special birthday, I decided to celebrate me through all my writings. Today is another day when I decided to wake up, dress up, show up and shine my light as far and as bright as I can.

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

Anne Lamott

Every day I wake up dress-up, show up. I am passionate about life and about my writing.

Wake up, dress up, show up, run and do your thing. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. There are no tricks on this picture just me, a scuba diver photographer and an amazing dress.

I am passionate about life and about my writing. I like to describe myself as a law-abiding-free-spirited-rebel who just happen to write about this and that. I didn’t decide to be a writer I discovered I was one. There is an intimate relationship between the writer and the reader. The writer makes the first move and takes the leap of faith, releasing their inner markings to the world for all to see. There is a great risk when it comes to writing and releasing content freely and openly. Content can be received graciously and given applause, simply dismembered, torn apart by readers and reviewers, or just completely ignored and left to rot in the ether.

The likelihood that a word, sentence, perhaps a book, or a phrase can bring about a change in readers’ life or implant a seed that may nurture and grow into a reformative idea is an impulse that excites me as a writer. Writers can change the world for their words know no boundary. It reaches across borders and ages.

We should not underestimate the writers’ role in society. From the beginning of time, knowledge was shared from generation to generation thanks to storytellers who used their artistry to pass on information, knowledge, and wisdom to their community. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into us when our spirits are broken, revive us when our bodies are weary, lift our spirit up when we lose ourselves in an ocean of despair, redeem the wrong we feel, and make us stronger than we know.

A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point to fraud, to start arguments, to shape the world, and stop doing it going to sleep. Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest place in human society and in the human spirit, where I go to find out not absolute truth, but the truth of the tale.

Salman Rushdie

For me, writing is a search for something meaningful, a longing to create something of value; to have an impact. Whether people admit it or not, most of us have a desire to make a difference, to have an impact or some level of influence on others. It is part of human nature, and it is admirable because it implies that we want to live a life that is bigger than us and our immediate entourage. We want to leave something of value after we leave, we want to leave a legacy.

To be or not to be impactful? You may find this to be an odd question to ask, but some people are content with a quiet life away from the hustle and bustle. They are happy the way things are and don’t have any inclination to change things and even less inclination to change the world, and that is OK.

You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.

Charles Bukowski

Sadhguru (my favorite yogi, philosopher, sage) has an interesting point of view on this issue. He believes that every one of us is free to capture as much life as we want. If you capture a substantial amount of life, you will become a significant presence, you will radiate, and that presence will draw people to you. It is not the knowledge you accumulated in your head, nor the social status, the successes nor the muscle you built upon your body. It is just how much life emanates from you. If you have the opportunity to go out in the world and do something impactful. Good, go out there and be impactful. But if not, don’t worry. Concentrate on being happy and content. The world needs more of these types of people.

An oak tree sitting outside is not trying to create a significant impact on anyone. By just sitting there in a calm and assured state of being, the oak tree by its mere presence is being impactful without even trying. If someone just happened to walk past that oak tree on a hot and sunny day, wishing to rest and cool down for a little while, that person will find refuge under the oak tree and will appreciate its presence and the shade it can offer on that day, at that particular time. The oak tree has had an impact on that person, just by being there.

Every day, I wake up, dress up, show up. I am a constant work-in-progress.

Wake up, dress up, show up. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff@terydiving featuring Joanne Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. There are no tricks on this picture just me, a scuba diver photographer and an amazing dress.

Something you should know about me is that I don’t like when people try to put me in a box and stick a label on it before they even get the chance to know me. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable and also spontaneous and unpredictable. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a giver, but I need to give myself enough time and space to advance my interests too. Today I can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as I want and tomorrow, I can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if I feel like it. I don’t gossip but I read and write. I am all of that and more and I am a constant work-in-progress. So please don’t put a label on me.

Something else you should know about me is that I am nice and lovely, but I can be dangerous too.

“The most dangerous person is the one who observes, listens, thinks.”

Bruce Lee

I have always been a curious person in nature, and I like going down the path less traveled by, the one taken by critical thinkers. Going down that road requires some fluidity of mind, some discipline, and the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what. Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Before you talk, listen. If you want something from someone express yourself clearly. People are not mind-readers. If you use the right words, the right tone of voice, and the right body language, you are increasing your chance of having your wishes and aspirations in reality. I observe, I listen, I think, and I act accordingly. That makes me (according to Bruce Lee) a dangerous person.

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I had to write my memoir one day, I would call it – Work-In-Progress. That is how I see myself. Talking about work. For a lot of people, work is just something they have to do to earn a living, put a roof over their head, pay their bills, and put food on the table. For the lucky ones (a small minority) work is their passion. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to turn their passion into their work? For some people finding their passion is easy, they were born knowing what it was; what is less easy is to get started and to do it consistently.

[Just in case you are wondering – I have no intention of writing my memoir, because who cares, really?! But I am totally committed to continue writing and blogging about this and that and I will try my best to continue to inspire, entertain and unveil for you some interesting stories.]

But I digress, for other people finding their passion is not so obvious. The problem is that a lot of people believe that their passion is hiding somewhere, maybe behind a tree or underneath a rock. The truth is that our passion comes first from doing things, and then doing them right. We should get into the habit of injecting passion into all the things that we do. If we do this consistently, a time will come when something stands out above all the other things, and that is the very thing that we should devote more time to doing passionately. That is all there to it, just do it. Work it! But what if you have no passion to create anything? In that case, the only thing you have to do is to listen to the philosopher Carl Jung.

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

Carl Jung.

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

Wake up, dress up, show up. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. There are no tricks on this picture just me, a scuba diver photographer and an amazing dress.

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

Richard Taylor

I think of myself as Work-In-Progress. I work hard, perspire a lot during the process. I cry many tears along the way, get deflated when the outcome doesn’t match the input of energy I invested in the project, but I made it my Quest to make my life a work of art. If you are struggling to find your passion, then you should consider Goddess Athena’s advice – How to find your passion .

When you glance over my work, you are catching a glimpse of my soul. I march to my own beat, and wildly dance to my own rhythm, as I turn my passion into my work.

Make your life a wort of art.

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

Honey, Don’t Follow the Crowd. They Are Lost.

Everyone on social media is looking to gain more followers on their social media platform. I say, stop following the crowd. They are lost. In order to stay sane, our brains create the illusion that all our thoughts are completely rational and independent. But, no matter how independent-minded you think you are, it is easier – and unknowingly more seductive – to follow a widely accepted dogma, than create your own. Human beings have a natural desire to be accepted into a group or community. Being an outsider is not a good place to be, it is lonely and uncomfortable. That is why a lot of people prefer to follow the crowd, without realizing that it could lead straight to the slaughterhouse.

Why do most people decide to follow the crowd and adopt a herd mentality?

Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t be a sheeple. Photo by Aleksandar LittleWolf via freepik.com

A herd, as defined by the Cambridge dictionary, is a large group of animals of the same type that live and feed together. Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher, said that man is by nature a social animal, inferring that humans prefer living within a group than alone. From this vantage point, it seems perfectly appropriate and not at all demeaning to describe herd mentality as the tendency of people to conform to the behavior or beliefs of the group to which they belong.

Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the actions of a large group greatly influence an individual’s decision. Pushed by the herd, people act the same way or adopt similar behaviors as people around them, ignoring their own feelings in the process. Are most humans sheeple? Sheep are docile, compliant, kind, quite pleasant animals – and very tasty too; being described as a sheep, has no doubt pejorative connotations. The truth of the matter is that most of us are more sheepish than we might like to admit it and we would rather follow the crowd wherever it goes, than venture on our own lonely road.

A study conducted by Professor Krause at the University of Leeds showed that humans flock like sheep and birds. In his experiment, Professor Krause asked groups of people to walk randomly around a large hall with a select few receiving additional instructions about where to walk. Participants were not allowed to communicate and had to stay a minimum arm’s length from everyone else. As the experiment unfolded the informed individuals ended up being followed by others in the crow. Actions taken by a minority of just 5% of informed individuals influenced the behavior of 85% of the remainder of the group, and more importantly, without them even realizing.

Professor Krause’s experiment showed that in a group setting humans have a propensity for copying behavior. This copying can lead to a type of collective madness when inaccurate or harmful knowledge goes viral. The scientific term for this is maladaptive herding, which can push groups of animals, like sheep, to make critically stupid decisions like plunging over a cliff.

Some people operate under the disguise of acting for the common good of the people and take on the role of our shepherds to guide us on the right path. Sure enough, it is good sometimes not to worry about anything and follow the person ahead of us; but is this really the right path for us? If you act sheepish, you won’t even ask yourself this question because,

“Most people would rather be wrong within the company of the herd than be right outside of it.”

Unknown author

Honey, don’t follow the crowd, they are lost.

Sometimes following the crowd can be the smart thing to do if instead of acting sheepish we emulate the honeybee

Dont’ follow the crowd. Act like a bee. Photo by Wira Korn via freepik.com

Honeybees are known for their ability to work together in a group and collectively make decisions in the search for food or sites for new nests. Perhaps lesser known is how honeybees use their communication system to allow good decisions to spread and bad ones to stop dead in their tracks. Good decisions go viral. Bad decisions are being stopped. How do they do that?

Austrian behavioral biologist Karl Von Firsch found that worker bees use a kind of waggle dance to communicate with other bees. These waggle dances are the bees’ version of an online shopping rating system; instead of stars or good reviews, the ratings are based on the duration of the dance. When bees find a good source of food, they dance for a long time. When the food source is poor the dance only lasts a short time or is non-existent. With this sophisticated – and rather fun communication system – honeybees can skillfully identify the most profitable nectar sources amongst the sites they have visited and can rapidly shift their foraging efforts following updates from other bees in the colony.

The beauty of this system is that even if each forager only knows about its own nectar source together they generate a coherent colony-level response that enables better resources to be exploited and poorer ones to be abandoned. When bees happily dance the night away the information quickly goes viral and other bees will congregate to that spot. This behavior is neither triggered by a control center nor enforced by hierarchy, rather it results from effective communication or collective wisdom.

The madness of the crowd or collective wisdom?

Don’t follow the crowd. Practice collective wisdom. Photo by Ruksutakarn via freepik.com.

Groups of humans sometimes exhibit the madness of the crowd but at other times they are capable of exhibiting collective wisdom. As social animals, humans seek information from others when making decisions. Good marketers and social influencers perhaps know this best. When more people exhibit any given choice, be it fashion, politics, books, etc… the more people will follow in tow – in the same way, that people might choose to trust Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts with a large following. The name of the game these days is Trust me I am an influencer. I know what’s best for you. Sure thing, except that some of those influencers have taken residence in Idiocracy Ville, which is run by a bunch of bad actors who believe themselves as morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, the common people. They appropriate themselves the right to influence the rest of us and tell us what to believe, what to like, and what to buy.

“People are sheep. TV is the shepherd”-

Jess.C. Scott

Studies have shown that in a large group setting, humans are largely unaware of their herd instincts or sheep-like behavior. Collective wisdom on the other hand is a source of collective intelligence that emerges from the collaboration or collective efforts of many individuals. To overcome herd mentality and its negative impacts, drop the sheepish behavior. If you are convinced that an idea is irrational or incorrect, don’t follow the crowd, they are lost, and adopt the collective wisdom of the bee, instead.

Advice from HoneyBee. Create a buzz. Sip life’s sweet moments. Mind your own beeswax. Work together. Always find your way home. Stick close to your Honey. Bee yourself!

Illan Shamir

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

Don’t Put a Label on Me!

Don’t Put a Label on Me. Don’t put me into a box and stick a label on it before you even get the chance to know me. I am not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 years old. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable and also spontaneous and unpredictable. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a giver but I need to give myself enough time and space to advance my interests too. I am nice and lovely, but I can be dangerous too. Today I can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as I want and tomorrow, I can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if I feel like it. I don’t gossip, but I read and write. I am all of that and more and a constant work-in-progress. So please, don’t put a label on me.

Don’t put a label on me. The problem with stereotypes.

Don’t put a label on me – Photo by Yarruta via freepik.com

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

Stereotypes are like air, invisible but always present.

Unknown Author

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

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

Adichi Chimaamanda

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

Generalization is a concept that is flexible and can subsequently lead to increased cultural awareness and thereby improve intercultural relationships. Generalizations become stereotypes when all members of a group are categorized as having the same characteristics. Stereotypes are typically inflexible and resistant to new information. They can, and often do lead to prejudice and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Cultural stereotypes do not allow for individual differences and interfere with efforts to understand an individual on a personal level.

Stereotypes make us lazy and encourage nonchalant judgment because we assume things about people based on stereotypes. It drives and nourishes racism, sexism, and all form of discrimination. I have a strong aversion to labels and being put into a box and I don’t allow people to do that to me. As soon as someone puts a label on you or throw you into a specific box, you lose your identity as a unique and free individual who may or may not fit into that stereotype, and who is free to be whoever they want to be.

Don’t put a label on me. The problem with being put into a box.

Don’t put a label on me – Photo by Yarruta via freepik.com

The problem with being put into a box with a label on it is that it considerably restricts your freedom to think and act the way you want. We are all unique and different from each other. What makes us different is not the color or our skin or our geography, it is the fact that there isn’t another person like us anywhere else. All around us, there are spheres of authority always dictating what we should do, how we should act, and what we ought not to do. Aside from the formal structure like laws, there are also informal powers dictating our actions lifestyles, speech, thought patterns, education, cultural upbringing, religion, politics, etc… This invisible current forces us to travel a certain path, act a certain way, and be a certain type of person. Much of our individualistic tendencies do not develop as freely as we think because we have to conform to societal expectations of ourselves and stay well within the groupthink model.

The next question you should ask yourself is who has an interest in putting people into a box and stick a label on it? People who seek power and control do thrive on sticking a label on you. Because it is easier to control people this way. Once you belong to a certain box you are expected to walk on a straight and narrow line. Venturing outside that path is frown upon. Dissenting views and actions are not allowed because dissent is being viewed as being disloyal to the group. Nowadays if your thoughts and ideas are not in line with the rest of the group you will have to face the new social media Thought Police, because the chance is you are going to get canceled and censored. From a difference of opinion, you can quickly move to fragments of intolerance to violent factions. And just like that you have a 1984-Dystopian-type of society where it is not very pleasant to live in and where Big Brother is watching you all the time with the Thought Police ready to storm in and take you away.

This phenomenon is very much into your face in the political arena, where everything is partisan, and where groupthink ideas are shoved down your throat. The ideas of the group are sacrosanct even if they go against your personal interest because the group knows what’s best for you. When you submit to the group you acquiesce to everything that the group asks you to do. You don’t have to use your ears, your mouth, or your brain anymore. The group tells you where to look and what to see. And if you dare to look the other way and start questioning things, they tell you what you are seeing is not what you are seeing and they proceed to interpret what is going on for you.

One way to free ourselves from the shackle of societal restrictions that impede the originality and flexibility of each person would be to develop our individualism and sense of freedom. Freedom of expression is the lifeblood and cornerstone of a free society, without the freedom to think and express ourselves freely, there is no free society. So, we’d better start thinking for ourselves quickly before it becomes illegal. Don’t get all romantic about your ideas or the ideas that the group promotes. You are not married to those ideas. Some ideas are good and others not so good. Stay free to adhere to the ideas that are congruent with your outlook in life and toss aside anything that makes you uncomfortable.

People should be able to stand for what they think is right. They should be able to fight for what is honorable and acceptable and they should have the freedom to reject what is slimy and unacceptable. The problem these days is that everyone believes that they hold the absolute truth of the matter; except that no one can legitimately claim to have such clarity of mind that they know the absolute truth. Truth is a very fluid concept, what’s true today may not be true tomorrow.

Things change all the time. It is perfectly fine to have strong convictions about this and that, but you should do this with humility. You should hold those convictions and make them contingent on whatever facts, data, arguments, life experience, etc… that come your way with the result that your original convictions can be shaken and made less potent.

You can stand your ground and be open-minded enough to seek common ground. And, don’t try to put a label on me, because I won’t let you.

Joanne Reed

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

Given The Choice, Would You Rather Be A Good Person Or A Dangerous Person?

Given the choice would you rather be a good person or a dangerous person? What an odd question to ask, you may say, of course, I’d rather be a good person! For those of you who know me and have read my work before, you would know that one of my favorite things is to tackle difficult subjects, look under the surface, lift the veil, and shake things up a little. This article definitely falls into this category, it is not for the faint-hearted. What if I tell you, that if I was given the choice to be a good person or a dangerous person, I will choose to be a dangerous person. Before you give up on me and react in shock and disbelief, bear with me a little because my whole thinking on this subject was inspired by Bruce Lee and Jordan Peterson.

“The most dangerous man is the one who observes, listens, thinks.”

Bruce Lee

“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who voluntarily put this dangerous side of him under control.”

Jordan Peterson

The most dangerous person is the one who observes

The most dangerous person is the one who observes – Photo by user 14901510 Studio via freepik.com

According to the Oxford dictionary, “observation is the action or process of observing something or someone in order to gain information.” Our observation skills inform us about objects, events, attitudes, and phenomena using one or more senses. Improving your observation skills allows you to “listen” with more than your ears and make better decisions. We all have eyes but a lot of us don’t really use them to observe; we look at think without really observing them. Just looking at something produces nothing.

Observing produces insights. When we observe we are able to take a step back to peer into ourselves and others. Observing ourselves is essential, but observing others provides another angle. When you combine the two, the observation of ourselves and others you get valuable insights that you can use to better connect and communicate with people. Developing our observation skills is critically important.

Get into the habit of observing the world as it is, in all its variety, learning from it, and put what you learned into use in your decision-making process, in improving your intuition, in building your relationships.

The most dangerous person is the one who observes.

The most dangerous person is the one who listens.

The most dangerous person is the one who listens – Photo by kuzmich Studio via freepik.com

“When you talk you are only repeating something you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new.”

Dalai Lama

Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Before you talk, listen. Listening is the key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.

Effective communication also starts with the understanding that people are not mind-readers. Expecting people to guess your wishes and aspirations is only going to bring you frustration and resentment. If you want something from someone, express yourself clearly. If you use the right words, the right tone of voice, and the right body language, you are increasing your chance of having your wishes and aspirations in reality. Listening requires more than hearing; it requires focus and concentrated effort. Listening means paying attention not only to the story but how it is told. The use of language, the tone of voice, and how the person uses his or her body. It means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.

Every problem big or small starts with bad communication. Someone is not communicating their message clearly and/or someone is not listening. Did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal, 38% is tone and infliction of voice and a staggering 55% is body language? Your facial expression, hand movements, gestures, eye contact, attitude, tone of voice, the way you look, listen, react, speak far more about your feelings than words will ever be able. The way you feel about a particular subject matter will affect your non-verbal expression; if you feel angry, sorrow or fear those feelings will transpire in your facial expression and tone of voice.

This is why listening is an important aspect of communication. Effective listening is not just the understanding of spoken or written information, but also an understanding of how the speaker feels during communication, it is the ability to listen with empathy. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feeling of another regardless of whether we agree with it or not.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”

Aristotle

The most dangerous person is the one who listens.

The most dangerous person is the one who thinks.

The most dangerous person is the one who thinks – Photo by Jnemchinova Studio via freepik.com

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

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

Thomas Sowell

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps us determine what is real and what it is not. But before we are able to exercise our cognitive ability to think critically, we need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. We can only think critically about things we have knowledge of. Critical thinking can be understood as a deep activity, one that requires the development of new habits of mind. It is not something that comes to us naturally, it requires extensive study and practice.

When we have our critical thinking hat on, we develop our problem-solving capabilities and our ability to look at the strengths and weaknesses of an argument; the result is that we are more able to see things clearly and this can help us make better decisions. We should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

We live in a world of double standards, flagrant contradictions, and intolerance. It seems that people these days are incapable of having adults’ discussions with someone with who they strongly disagree, and have a civilized exchange based on reason rather than rage. It is a very sorry state of affairs. Preaching intolerance in the name of tolerance is a frightening contradiction that doesn’t seem to faze some people.

The most dangerous person is the one who thinks critically.

Coming back to Bruce Lee’s quote “The most dangerous man is the one who observes, listens, thinks” I would like to tweak it a little bit: ‘” The most dangerous person is the one who observes, listens, thinks and then acts accordingly” because knowing without doing is like not knowing at all.

Joanne Reed

And this my dear friend is Your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Can We Find Hope Amid Uncertainty and Conflict?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne Reed

How can we find hope? Find Hope in action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Wise Man

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

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

metamorphosis – How does one become a butterfly?

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

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

Unknown Author

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

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

Metamorphosis. How does one become a butterfly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The caterpillar stage.

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

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

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

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

Robert Greene

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

The Chrysalis stage.

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

Socrates tells us that philosophy begins with wonder, and wonder is rooted in stillness. Other philosophers from various schools of thought have come to a similar conclusion, namely that the ultimate destination in our life is to master the stillness that is required to become masters of our own life. Stillness is an important tool on our journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly not only when you are meditating but in the midst of conflict when you are frustrated, angry or scared, will help you find a more logical, less emotional response and give you choices to do things different of do nothing at all.

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

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

Unknown author

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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