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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

Categories
Be Happy

Nature Speaks – Advice from a Lake

The best way I know to get away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living is to take a walk and immerse yourself in nature. Nature speaks and it has a lot of wisdom to share; but you need to pay attention. I just came back from a three-day trek in the mountain; it was one of the most difficult and one of the most beautiful experiences I had lately, and I learn a lesson or two from the various lakes that came my way.

Advice from a Lake.

Be clear. Make positive ripples look beneath the surface. Stay calm. Shore up friendships. Take time to reflect. Be full of life!

Ilan Shamir

Nature speaks – Advice from a lake – Be clear

Nature speaks advice from a lake – Photo by Alize Reed – Riviere des Galets – Reunion Island

People who see clearly are confident in themselves and in their abilities. Confident people know who they are, what they want, and how they should go about it. They have a road map, they have a destination in mind, and have planned the journey ahead. They have determination, discipline, a sense of purpose and they go through their life in a state of joy, happiness, and grace. The quest for clarity is an endless pursuit. We all seek it. We all want clear answers to our questions. We all want clear solutions to our problems. We all want clear paths to follow along the road to a happy and successful life. We all want to move from a state of confusion, which brings with it a lot of suffering to a state of clarity that brings joy and happiness.

People who don’t see clearly are lost, they drift, they are discouraged, they keep changing their mind, and instead of going forward towards the light (they is always light at the end of the tunnel) they turn around in circles wandering endlessly and compulsively but not really going anywhere; and their life journey ends up being a journey full of pain and suffering. The lack of clarity triggers different types of reactions in people. Some people will opt for burying their heads in the sand and continue operating on autopilot. Others will sink into despair or run around in a state of panic not knowing what to do, holding on to their anger, resentment, and suffering.

Suffering is part of life, everybody has problems, issues, dramas to deal with. Jordan Peterson advocates that we should bear our own cross, our own suffering, transcend it and then try to reduce it by becoming some kind of heroes to ourselves and to people around us. How do we become heroes? Not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world. We become heroes by becoming a better person every day shining our own light into the world, and the gift of clarity helps us do just that.

Nature speaks – Advice from a lake – Be clear – Make positive ripples – Look under the surface – Shore up friendships

Nature speaks advice from a lake – Photo by Valerie Leperre- Cilaos – Reunion Island.

All of us without hesitation would prefer if given the choice, to be in the skin of one of those people who can see clearly. However, life is never black or white, life is a lot more complex than that; and you can bet that all of us will have periods where we experience moments of clarity, where everything is in harmony, where we feel that we are on top of the world and we know where we are going; but we will also experience moments when we lack clarity – when we are filled with doubt, when we feel discouraged and drift, not knowing where we are going.

Buddhist believe that “the world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearance, and if we are patient and still the truth will be revealed to us.”

Nature speaks advice from a lake – Photo by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed – Cilaos – Reunion Island.

“Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But, if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”

Master Oogway
Nature speaks advice from a lake – Photo by Philippe Payet – Riviere des Galets – Reunion Island

If clarity was a commodity that could be purchased, the chance is that commodity would become the most precious item one could own. The problem is you cannot obtain clarity from someone else; you cannot buy clarity and you cannot, unfortunately, receive it as a gift from someone else. You will have to find it yourself. Clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions congruent with each other. We should also accept the fact that if you are not present in the moment, you will not be able to see clearly. Being present in the moment is a very powerful tool for you to experience greater clarity and make better choices.

According to the Native Americans, in order to conduct your life as a human being, you have to watch nature and imitate it. If you watch the land, you will see that all the plants and animals co-exist in their natural environment. When you look at a poisonous plant, you will see that it is bare all around; a poisonous plant has no friends. The same applies to humans.

You watch the animal kingdom and you realize that there are no predators; there is only natural law. Animals and humans have one thing in common, we don’t want to be eaten. So, what should we do to avoid this fate? We should learn everything that life can teach us and applies those life lessons into our day-to-day life in order to not only survive but thrive.

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
Be Happy Self-Help

Mind-Blowing!

If you could describe in one word the world we are living in right now, what would it be? Tricky question, right? True, but it is a useful and fun game because it forces you to gather your thoughts in a precise and concise manner and pack everything of importance into one little word! Coming back to my original question, describe the world we are living in right now in one word. I would say, MIND-BLOWING!

According to the Cambridge dictionary, mind-blowing means surprising shocking and often difficult to understand or imagine. Just looking at what is happening around the world right now, I feel like I am on a movie set taking part in a dystopian movie, full of drama, natural disasters (fires, hurricanes, floods), war (overt and covert), topped up by a worldwide pandemic. I wish this could just be a movie that I can pause or stop because really it is a bit too painful to watch; except that we are not on a movie set, we are living in this world I just described. Mind-blowing!

The anger, fear, and desperation are mind-blowing. We are living in an age of despair and fractured communities, the world currently is filled with fear, stress, anger, frustration, rage, and sadness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal, more dissent than we can mediate, and more uncertainty than we can comprehend. People don’t know what to do and where to run to. Where can we run to get away from the fires? Where can we rush to get away from the floods and hurricanes? Where can we escape from the virus? Who can we turn to when we get disconnected from our family, friends, and colleagues because we have very different opinions about what’s going on?

But underneath all that muck there is something good that is happening. Whether we like it or not these past two years forced us into a kind of rehabilitation center where we had to face our fears and come to some harsh realization. i.e there are some things that are essential and there are a whole bunch of things that are not. We have all been forced into this Back-to-basics-religious- kind -of-experience, where food, water, shelter, health, resources (including, human & financial), and connection are of paramount importance. The rest is superfluous. Maybe we had to go through such pain to become more aware and conscious of our purpose and the need for us to become stronger, healthier, more resilient, and more aware.

There has never been so much chaos in recent history, it is mind-blowing

Mind-blowing – Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

Life is not always a party; we need therefore to learn how to shoulder the burden of being. Everyone experiences the world through chaos, order, and something in between called consciousness. We eternally inhabit order, surrounded by chaos. Chaos is unexplored territory. Chaos is the sickness or death of a family member. It is the place where you find yourself when things fall apart, when your dream dies, when your career collapses, or your marriage ends. Chaos is where new ideas destroy old and comfortable certainties. Chaos is where your well-thought project is canceled at the last minute because of some force majeure event (pandemic) and the implementation of new regulations. Chaos is when we don’t know where we are. When we don’t know what we are doing and where we don’t know where we are going.

Chaos is a place where everything is complex and unpredictable. Order is explored territory; it is the authority, the structured society. Order is tribe, religion, home, and country. It’s the warm, secure living room where the fireplace glows, and the children play. It’s the flag of the nation. It’s the floor underneath your feet and your plan for the day. It’s the greatness of tradition, the row of desks in a school classroom, the train that leaves on time, the calendar, and the clock. We’re in there when things are going according to plan, and nothing is new and disturbing.

Order is the place where all things turn out the way we want them to. In Order, we’re able to think about things in the long run. There, things work, and we are stable, calm, and competent. We seldom leave places we understand – geographical and conceptual – for that reason. Order is where everything is certain. Order is the political culture, the government, the corporate environment, and the system.

But Order can also be the place where things are so rigid that it’s repetitive and restrictive. Order can be tyrannical when it demands certainty, uniformity, compliance without the right to think critically. Order can become tyrannical when it becomes too one-sided when you preach intolerance in the name of tolerance. Order, when pushed too far, can also manifest itself destructively and terribly and lead you straight to tyranny.

When the ice you’re skating on is solid, that’s order. When the bottom drops out, and things fall apart, and you plunge through the ice; that’s chaos. We eternally occupy known territory, surrounded by the unknown. There are so many ways that things can fall apart or fail to work altogether, and it is those with fortitude and perseverance who valiantly fight their way through chaos who will come on the other side, battered but victorious.

“Order is Masculine, and Chaos is Feminine. Therefore, to move towards Order, we all need to man up.”

John Crace

The solution is mind-blowing: Learn to navigate between order and chaos.

Mind-blowing – Photo by Master 1305 via freepik.com

Order and Chaos are the yang and yin of the famous Taoist symbol: two serpents, head to tail. Order is the white, masculine serpent. Chaos is its black feminine counterpart. The black dot in the white – and the white dot in the black – indicate the possibility of transformation: just when things seem secure, the unknown can loom, unexpectedly and large. Conversely, just when everything seems lost, a new order can emerge from catastrophe and chaos. For the Taoists, meaning is to be found on the border between the yin and the yang, between the ever-entwined pair, i.e. the Middle Way or the Divine Way.

The same idea is expressed in Matthew 7:14: “Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’

To saddle that fundamental duality is to be balanced: to have one foot firmly planted in order and security and the other in chaos will lead to growth and adventure. Everyone understands order and chaos, good and evil. We all have a palpable sense of chaos lurking under everything familiar. We’ve all been to both places many times. No matter where we are, there are some things we can identify, make use of, and predict, and some things we neither know nor understand. No matter where we are, some things are under our control, and some things are not.

Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable and secure and unchanging because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control, and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged.

So, in order to cope, survive and even thrive in a world that is mind-blowing you have to learn the art of navigating between Order and Chaos.

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

A Mother’s wish for her daughters

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

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

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

3. Learn to think for yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

Maya Angelou

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

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

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

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

Nelson Mandela

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

John Wooden

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

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

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

Barbara Bonner

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

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

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

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

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

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

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Sure thing, but how? You can become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from our diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes. You can become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to unexpected events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise. You can become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.

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

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

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

Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge.

Carl Jung

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Can We Find Hope Amid Uncertainty and Conflict?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne Reed

How can we find hope? Find Hope in action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Wise Man

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

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

metamorphosis – How does one become a butterfly?

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

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

Unknown Author

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

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

Metamorphosis. How does one become a butterfly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The caterpillar stage.

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

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

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

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

Robert Greene

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

The Chrysalis stage.

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

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

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

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

Unknown author

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

work it.

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

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

Work it.

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

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

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

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

Robert Greene

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

Women’s work by Maya Angelou

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

The floor to mop. The food to shop

Then the chicken to fry. The baby to dry

I got company to feed. The garden to weed

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

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

And the cotton to pick…

Work of art.

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

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

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

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

Carl Jung

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

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

Richard Taylor

Work-In-Progress

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

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help

when the going gets tough, be tougher

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

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

Erich Fromm

When the going gets tough, be tougher.

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

We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your quest as a Human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. When the going gets tough, be tougher.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl Popper

Four tips to become tougher.

1. Become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing, sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from your diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes.

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

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

3. Become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to Black Swans Events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise.

4. Become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help

Essential Life Lessons. Me, Myself and I.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Essential Life lesson number 1.2: Stillness is the key

What does stillness mean? Stillness means to be steady while the world spins around you. Socrates tells us that philosophy begins with wonder, and wonder is rooted in stillness. Other philosophers from various schools of thought have come to a similar conclusion, namely that the ultimate destination in our life journey is to master the stillness that is required to become masters of our own life. Ryan Holiday’s book Stillness Is the Key, describes the philosophy of stillness, or the art of being still, and how important stillness is for self-mastery, discipline, and focus in our modern noisy world.

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

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

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

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

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

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

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

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help

deep impact

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

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

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

Whether people admit it or not, most of us have a desire to make a difference, to have an impact, or some level of influence on others. It is part of human nature, and it is admirable because it implies that we want to live a life that is bigger than us and our immediate entourage. We want to leave something of value after we leave, we want to leave a legacy. The thought of being forgotten and having had not much impact during the course of our life is troubling and distressing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be or not to be impactful?

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

To be or not to be impactful? This may seem to be an odd question for some. Some people are very content with a quiet life away from the hustle and bustle. They are happy the way things are and don’t have any inclination to change things and even less inclination to change the world. Fair enough.

Sadhguru (my favorite yogi, philosopher, sage) has an interesting point of view on this issue. Every one of us is free to capture as much life as we want. If you capture a substantial amount of life you will become a significant presence, you will radiate, and that presence will draw people to you. It is not the knowledge you accumulated in your head, not the social status, the successes nor the muscle you built upon your body. It is just how much life emanates from you.

If you have the opportunity to go out in the world and do something impactful. Good, go out there and be impactful. But if not, don’t worry. Concentrate on being happy and content. The world needs more of these types of people. An oak tree sitting outside is not trying to create a significant impact on anyone. By just sitting there in a calm and assured state of being, the oak tree by its mere presence is being impactful without even trying. If someone just happened to walk past that oak tree on a hot and sunny day, wishing to rest and cool down for a little while, that person will find refuse under the oak tree and will appreciate its presence and the shade it can offer in that particular day, at that particular time. The oak tree has had an impact on that person, just by being there.

Storytime. The man who wanted to change the world

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

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

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

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

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal note.

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

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

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

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