Categories
Self-Help

crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal

“Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made”

Otton Von Bismarck

There are many examples throughout history of crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal. We tend to think of the law as an obvious truth, the reality is that society pretty much makes things up as we go along. A brutal statement you may say. But take a look back at history, travel back in time when your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were kids, and all kinds of crazy things were legal from meth to owning people, to be able to legally cut half of someone’s brain out for being gay.

This blog article is not for the faint-hearted. It is historical, factual, and brutal. For the adventurous and curious souls out there, please read on. For the rest, stop reading now, and stay on standby for my next blog article where I will try to serve you something more tamed.

Crazy things you won’t believe used to be Legal.

Smoking everywhere used to be legal.

People used to be able to smoke everywhere from conference rooms in office places to airplanes, movie theaters, and restaurants. If you smoked, you looked cool and for women, it was even considered a symbol of emancipation and equality with men. Edward James Bernays, the nephew of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was an Austrian pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda and was known as the “Father of Public Relations”. He was named as one of the hundred most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life Magazine. His best-known campaigns included a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist “Torches of Freedom”. This phrase was used to encourage women’s smoking by exploiting the women’s liberation movement through to the 1970s. Edward Bernays’ campaign on behalf of the tobacco companies was extremely successful and achieved the desired objective of getting more people and in particular more women to smoke cigarettes in public. For more on this subject please refer to Chapter 22 of my book This Is Your Quest.

Drugs

Crazy things that used to be legal. Photo by Nadia Poliashenko via freepik.com

In the US, pretty much all types of drugs were legal at some point or another, from the soft ones to the hard-core type. This is because most drugs were either developed originally for medical reasons, accidentally discovered in experiments, or just plants growing out of the earth that people have ingested like food since the beginning of time. In fact, drugs as a terrifying boogeyman didn’t become a thing until 1875 when the first drug laws in the U.S. were passed.

Opium, LSD, mushrooms, heroin, ecstasy, and meth used to be perfectly legal in the U.S. You used to be able to get methamphetamines from your pharmacist to treat alcoholism and depression. The drug was FDA-approved in 1944 and became known as Methedrine in the 1950s when it became wildly popular due to its unintentional addictive qualities. However, meth abuse became so common that the government passed the Controlled Substances Act to limit the sale of methedrine – although you can still get it in small doses under the name of Desoxyn.

Cocaine was originally used in the late 1800s as a way to treat addiction to morphine. In 1884, Sigmund Freud (a chronic coke user) even penned a love letter to cocaine, called “Uber Coca,” in which he praised the drug for its “exhilaration and lasting euphoria.” When Coca-Cola debuted in 1886, it had two major ingredients: caffeine and cocaine. Why else do you think it is called “Coke?”

Slavery

Slavery has existed since the beginning of time and was perfectly legal around the world. Europeans enslaved other Europeans, Asians enslaved other Asians, Africans enslaved other Africans and Arabs enslaved other Arabs. The color of someone’s skin was not a key factor to determine whether that person could find himself in the unfortunate position of being a slave. Those who became slaves were chosen because of their vulnerability compared to other dominant groups and not because of the color of their skin.

A slave is a person who is the chattel or property of another. The etymology of the word “slave” finds its origin in the medieval Latin Words “Sclavus”, originally ‘Slav” because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering people. In the U.S, if a slave master was to execute one of his slaves, it wasn’t seen or prosecuted as murder – because this was legally his property, and he could do with it what he liked. In the case of Native Americans, murder wasn’t just ignored; it was encouraged in many cases, with local governments offering rewards for the killing or capture of Native Americans. For more on this subject please refer to Chapter 7 of my book This Is Your Quest. If you don’t have time to read my book or reading history books is not your thing you could instead sit comfortably in your living room to watch “Gone with the Wind” followed by “Django Unchained” and you will get a pretty good overview of what it was like to live in those days when owning people was a thing.

The French Revolution abolished slavery throughout its empire in 1794, although it was restored in 1802 by Napoleon as part of a program to ensure sovereignty over its colonies. Denmark-Norway was the first country in Europe to outright ban the slave trade in 1803. On 25 March 1807, King George III of England signed into law the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, banning trading in enslaved people in the British Empire. Spain abolishes slavery in 1811 including in its colonies, though Cuba rejects the ban and continues to deal with slaves. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” effective January 1, 1863. It was not until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1865, that slavery was formally abolished. The U.N. declared slavery a violation of global human rights in 1948, but it hung around in Niger, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, The United Arab Emirates, and Oman until the 1960s and 70s. Mauritania was the last country to outlaw slavery in 1981.

Lobotomies

Crazy things that used to be legal. Photo by brgfx via freepik.com

Partial lobotomies used to be considered an appropriate way to deal with mental illness – an encouraging procedure to handle schizophrenia, depression, suicidal tendencies, and other unwanted social problems – like homosexuality. (It was even sometimes used to treat backaches.). The procedure became very popular and in 1949, the originator of the procedure, Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz, shared a Nobel Prize for its discovery. The procedure could be enforced against the individual’s will.

After a relatively short surgical lifespan (the Soviet Union was the first country to outlaw the procedure in 1950 stating that it was contrary to the principles of humanity) it was noticed that dulling the emotions produced more than a few negative side effects; namely turning the patient into a vegetable, a living creature with no sign of depression, but a creature unable to focus, unable to make decisions, and unable to operate properly. One doctor described his patient following lobotomy as a “smiling, lazy and satisfactory patient with the personality of an oyster.” According to estimates, the United States was the worldwide leader in lobotomies, performing between 40,000 and 50,000. The practice was formally banned in 1967, but reports suggest that lobotomies still occurred throughout the 1980s.

Eugenics

Eugenics is defined by Wikipedia as a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population historically by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior or promoting those judged to be superior. Eugenics was a popular and well-received idea in the early part of the 20th century. Its proponents claimed that the practice could create a world in which genetic disease would be a thing of the past.

In 1907, the state of Indiana in the US began a policy of forcibly sterilizing the mentally ill, in the hope that they wouldn’t procreate and give birth to the mentally ill babies. By 1938, 33 states had sterilization laws that covered not only “traditional” mental illness, but also the blind and deaf, people who were crippled. Orphans and the homeless were also added to this slate of sterilization because someone with the power to draft laws for the United States of America decided that losing your parents and/or your home was a genetic disorder. By the time the last involuntary sterilization laws were on the books in 1972 (Virginia was the final holdout), it’s estimated that over 63,000 people had been forcibly sterilized by the government for the crime of possessing “undesirable” traits.

History is full of examples of crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal. Going forward, I would be curious to read a blog article from one of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, highlighting the crazy things that used to be legal in 2021.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Life is a journey, enjoy the ride. Sometimes the road is nice and pleasant and other times it is rocky, arduous, dangerous, and most unpleasant. No one voluntarily chooses to go down the unpleasant road, except that sometimes there is nowhere to go but down that road. Life is a road filled with hardships, celebrations, success, failure, heartaches, joy, and special moments.

Route 2020 & 2021 is one of those roads that gives you the chills when you are on it, danger lurks at every corner, there is no good visibility, it is isolated, rugged, with many up and down hills and unexpected turns. We have been driving on that road for a year and a half now and it has been rough.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Imagine you are in your car on your way to Pleasant Ville which represents your ultimate dream destination. You put in the coordinates and drive along quite happily until you realize you are going in the wrong direction after taking a wrong turn. There is no need to panic, the GPS will re-direct you to Pleasant Ville, albeit using a different route. This little detour cost you some time, but you are now more focused on the road, determined not to take another wrong turn or to miss the next exit. You are getting closer to your destination and will get there as long as you stay focused.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed.

There could be times when we encounter rough terrain and end up stuck in dead-ends. Those who can only proceed in forward gear and on a smooth track cannot make it to the end of the road. Being able to turn back and reversing is as important as raw speed and moving forward. This is especially true when we encounter deliberately altered road signs that send us the wrong way.

Now, imagine that you are sharing the road with three other drivers and you all want to go to Pleasant Ville. Driver 1 is the fast-and-furious type who starts his engine and immediately speeds off, impatient to get to his destination as quickly as possible. But, after taking a wrong turn and finding himself in the wrong place, Driver 1 is now annoyed, discouraged, and disheartened by losing his early lead (who said that this was a race anyway). Driver 1 returns home feeling defeated.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. What kind of driver are you? Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Driver 2 is the are-we-there-yet-type of driver who drives around not paying attention to his GPS and turns around in circles thinking are we there yet? Driver 2 eventually gets disheartened by driving around in circles not knowing where he is going. He also returns home feeling defeated.

Driver 3 is the zig-zag type of driver. Before arriving at his destination Driver 3 decides that a different place is better than where he was originally going, so he changes the coordinates, again and again, never arriving anywhere.

Driver 4 is the smart and steady type: focused, and patient, he pays attention to the road and doesn’t fret if he takes a wrong turn, because it doesn’t matter which road you take, there is rarely only a single road that leads to your destination. Eventually, driver 4 arrives at Pleasant Ville and when he gets there, he realizes that it was worth all the time, effort, sweat, and tears and rejoices in the happiness of the moment. Driver 4 had the vision and discipline to keep going on the path that he chose; his journey leads him to his ultimate destiny. His passion was the fuel that kept him along the way. I know what type of driver I want to emulate. Which one are you?

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride and learn along the way.

Road trips are fun, but they can also be filled with unexpected events, delays, and danger, but whatever comes our way we should take stock of all the lessons that we are learning along the way. There are many roads one can take on their life journey; choose the one that defines you the most, the one which has a purpose for you.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Leave a trail. Photo taken by Joanne Reed. Saint Philippe. Ile de la Reunion.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being on a road trip doesn’t mean that you are on the go all the time, there will be times when you will need to stop, have some rest, refuel. Stillness is an important tool on your journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly 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.

Life journeys are not always smooth, throughout our travels, we will encounter many challenges. Some of these challenges will test our courage, strengths, and weaknesses. Those obstacles could be blessings in disguise, but it is hard to realize that sometimes the obstacle is the way. All the obstacles and hardships are a test of our strength and weakness, courage and faith.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Photo by freepk via freepik.com

“A bend in the road, is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.’

Helen Keller

When things don’t go our way we can either focus on the fact that life is unfair and everything sucks or we can take the challenges with courage and determination; whether we end up victorious or defeated what matters the most is the way we carry ourselves when facing those challenges. If we do it with dignity and integrity we can be proud of ourselves. When on the road, do not travel with too much baggage. Excess baggage takes too much space and will hinder your progress.

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror.”

Byrd Baggett

Value the people you meet on your journey of life. Some of the people you take on board will stay with you for life, others will ride with you just for a little while until they jump off to take another road. Value all of them, learn from them, enjoy their company whilst it lasts. Everybody we meet can teach us a lesson, open our eyes, help us look inside ourselves, and help us discover who we really are.

“Never blame anyone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people give you experience. Worst people give you a lesson. Best people give you memories.”

Zig Ziglar

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
Be Happy

the problem with stereotypes

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

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

Generalization v stereotypes

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

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

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

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

The problem with stereotypes

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

Adichi Chimaamanda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bassey Elimian

Personal note.

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

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

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

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

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

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

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

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

Bertrand Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire

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

Act III – The Wise Man believes that he knows nothing

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

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

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

Socrates

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shakespeare.

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

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

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

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

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Self-Help

do you have a scarcity mindset or a plenty mindset?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henry Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Be Happy

Graduating From High School in the Time of Corona – A Parent’s Perspective

Challenges of parenting in the 21st century when your child is graduating from high school

2020 was the year of the Corona and also the year when my eldest daughter Maya was graduating from high school. The biggest challenge as a parent is that we have to guide and prepare our children to enter a world that is very different from the one we grew-up in. Yet, as a parent you still have the challenge of inspiring, supporting, guiding your children and prepare them for a world that is messy, uncertain and full of surprises and opportunities.

There is so much I want to say to her before she leaves the family nest. The world is complex. Things are not always what they seem. Learn to swim in the sea of information and sometimes dis-information. Don’t rush to judgment. Try to discern, connect the dots. Put things into perspective. So much to say, to keep it sweet and short I wrote her an open letter.

Maya Reed – Class of 2020 – A Memorable Year

Live and Let Live


Live fully and courageously,
Let live and understand Human Nature,
Know yourself and your true essence.

Wake up, dress up, show up,
And do the best you can every day,
Until You know better,
Then, when you know better,
Do better.

Treat your body as a Temple,
Attend to it every day,
Nurture it,
Worship it.

Know that early years can be full of tears,
But I know that you are built to face those fears,
And I will always be here to send you cheers.

Do you have what it takes?
A mind of your own,
And the ability to get in the zone.

I wish you clear vision,
So that you can make good decisions,
And not be paralyzed by indecision.

To have clear vision,
Can you master your intuition?
And use it as ammunition.

So, go and shine your unique and natural light,
As bright and as strong as you can,
Be phenomenal!
Be you.

©Joanne Reed

After graduating from high school, what do you want to be when you grow-up?

What do you want to be when you grow up is a difficult question and needs thinking about carefully. Being a doctor, a vet, an engineer, a lawyer, or a scientist are all great options after graduating from high school but what if I said you should consider all of those, but also being a writer? The writer of the story of your life.

People live the story they want to tell. Your life is your story, and your mission is to write the best story you can and have lots of adventures along the way. You are both on a journey to find your own purpose and unleash your full potential.

Becoming successful at what you do should be part of your long-term plans. But how do you define success? It is a fluid concept. Success means different thing to different people. But for me, success comprises three key things:

  1. Success is an Iceberg. When you look at successful people what you see is often only the surface; confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, seniority. Often, what you don’t see is what took them there: persistence, failure, sacrifice, disappointment, hard work and dedication. Thomas Edison said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” don’t forget and don’t be afraid to perspire.
  2. Success is a garden. Everything starts with an idea. “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers, or you can grow seeds.” Plant a seed in your mind and care for it, work steadily towards your goal and be strong enough not to let setbacks defeat you in the accomplishment of your purpose.
  3. Success is about overcoming adversity. No journey will ever be perfectly smooth or proceed exactly as planned. There will be ups and down and unexpected turns, you will encounter difficulties. What do you do when things get a little rough? Well, I suggest that you take advice from Maya Angelou.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
– Maya Angelou

Story telling Time

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer; the farmer was struggling to provide for his family. His hope and vision for a better future for his family was placed in a few bamboo seeds. He decided to dig hole after hole to plant the seeds then he began to take care of those seeds day after day by watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground.

The farmer decided to plant other crops around the bamboo in order to feed his family; but his real hope for prosperity remained with the bamboo. A whole year passes by … and nothing. Still the farmer continued to water the seeds and fertilize the ground every day. Another year goes by … and still nothing. His neighbors laugh at him, they mock his vision and his dreams. He begins to question himself, doubt creeps into his mind, will the bamboo ever grow?

Another year goes by … and still nothing. Three years of pouring water, energy and hope into his bamboo dream and he has nothing to show for it. One day he stands over the spot and cries in frustration. The barren ground seems to mock him yet the wind whispers hope into his ear so the farmer picks himself up and continues to water the seeds and fertilize the ground. Another year goes by … but still nothing.

Five Years have passed, and our farmer is tired. He is tired of hauling buckets of water and feeding the seeds. He is tired of seeing no results day after day. Despair rocks his soul and tears fill his eyes and he arrives home feeling defeated. But, the farmer’s darkest hour is just before his dawn as the next day, a miracle happens. The farmer sees green sprouts coming out of the ground; he cannot contain his joy and runs through the village to share the news with his family. In 6 weeks, the bamboo trees grow to 90 feet tall!

Bamboo forest -5 years in the making – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The Moral of the story

If the farmer had stopped watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground during those 5 years, the bamboo would have died in the ground without seeing the light of day.

If you have a vision and a dream you need the discipline to take care of your dream day after day after day even if you don’t see the result straight away.

Ignore people that tell you it cannot be done.
Learned to push back on your own doubts and fears.
Learn to have faith when there is no reason to believe.
Good things take time. To face adversity you need patience, dedication, perseverance and courage.

Life Can Be a Struggle

The journey to achieve your dream will not be perfect. You will encounter setbacks, disappointment, hurdles, and hardship. In those moments, don’t despair but try to look for solutions to your problems and a clear path to follow. Being in a state of confusion adds unnecessary pain and suffering, but being in a state of clarity, brings hope, joy, and happiness.

Clarity, see things as they are, not how you want them to be – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

How do you find Clarity?

  1. The first thing is to know yourself. According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to know yourself. You need to know where your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can exploit your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
  2. The second thing is to understand human nature and why people do the things they do. Being able to make good decisions will require you to predict the future, accurately perceive your present situation and have insights into the mind of the people around you.
  3. The third thing is to practice the art of being still. You won’t know who you are if your mind is in constant state of agitation and occupied by mindless distractions. Moments of solitude allow you to be more tuned-in to your intuition. Stillness means to be steady while the world spins around you. Stillness can inspire new ideas, sharpen perspective and illuminate the mind.

If you do those 3 things you will find Clarity. Remember Your mind is like water. When it gets agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answers will become clear.

What Makes a Great Story?

So, what you want to be when you grow up? If you want your life to be a magnificent story, you will need clarity because clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions and your actions congruent with each other. Good stories include fun, joy and laughter, but also some drama, tears and sorrow. People like stories where a superhero does wonderful deeds. Try to be your own hero, not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world, but by becoming a better person everyday shining your own light into the world. So, my dear daughters, I wish you good luck and fortune on your journeys, and hope that you write the best stories that have ever been told.

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

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

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Self-Help

The Six Most Important Lessons I Learned This Year

The six most important lessons I learned this year

2020 is getting to a close. Thank goodness for that. If I had to choose one word to describe the year when everything happened and nothing happened all at once, it would be INSANE. I have no qualms leaving 2020 behind me wishing for next year to be much less insane. 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 six most important lessons I learned this year.  

But first, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers and followers.

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 and wisdom,
To persist in things worth doing,
And find solace in the knowledge that,
That in itself is remarkable.

©JoanneReed

The year 2020 has taught me the following lessons:

  1. Learn the art of living in uncertain times.
  2. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
  3. When life gives you lemons, make whatever you want.
  4. Cultivate wisdom.
  5. Patience is a gift when given or received.
  6. And last but not least, feel the power of music.

Lesson 1: Learn the art of living in uncertain times

For the first time in recorded human history, the whole world is simultaneously living in a state of deep uncertainty. People are feeling worried, anxious, scared, and helpless. Nobody knows what is going to happen next, so the lesson I learned this year is that we should get comfortable being uncomfortable while uncertainty reigns.

Do not attempt to predict Black Swan Events but build robustness to their negative impacts – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

“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

We live everyday 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.

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.

In his book, Taleb urged his readers to not attempt to predict Black Swan 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 Swan 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. 

“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

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

Lesson 2: Never let a good crisis go to waste

Life is a journey, sometimes the road is nice and pleasant and other times it is rocky, arduous, dangerous and most unpleasant. No one voluntarily chooses to go down the unpleasant road, except that sometimes there is nowhere to go but down that road.

Never let a good crisis go to waste. Think, create, innovate – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

So much of what happened this year is outside our control. Instead of worrying about things we can’t change, we should focus instead on the things that we can control. There is always a silver lining on the horizon, even if we can’t see it yet. Never let a good crisis go to waste.  One way to achieve this is to focus your energy on a purpose, a mission, a passion, something that keeps you in a state of flow. And this is how you find your opportunity, your silver lining.

For some people finding their passion is easy, they were born knowing what it was. 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 into all the things that we do. If we do this consistently, a time will come when something will stand 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.

It is possible to have a passion and still feel demotivated and deflated because you can’t see any results. The problem these days is that people are impatient, they expect instantaneous results. That’s not how things work. Being successful at something requires hard work, sweat, tears, discipline and patience. Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on the work itself. Pursue the things you love doing and devote yourself to hone your craft on a daily basis. Eventually, people will not be able to take their eyes off you.

If you still feel dispassionate and have no passion to create anything, listen to the philosopher Carl Jung who may give you some ideas.

“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

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

Lessons 3: When life gives you lemons, make whatever you want

You have all heard of the expression When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It is a proverbial phrase that is used to encourage people to stay optimistic and to keep fighting in the face of adversity or misfortune.  Lemon suggests sourness and difficulty in life; making lemonade with lemons that are being handed out to you turns the whole sour episode into something sweet, positive and desirable.

When Life gives you lemons make whatever you want – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

All too often, our circumstances are dictated and influenced by what people tell us is realistic or feasible. Life gave me lemons, but right now I am not in the mood to make lemonade. Actually, I have a better idea, instead of using the lemons to make lemonade I am going to use the seeds and grow a whole orchard of lemons. Now, instead of having a few lemons to make a pot of lemonade, I find myself with tons of lemons that I can sell to people who want to make lemonade.  Not a bad way to use lemons, right?

Now that I have all those lemons, I am thinking that it is time for me to stretch myself a little bit further and instead of lemons I want oranges. How can I turn lemons into oranges? I can become an alchemist. When one mention the term ‘alchemist’ we have this picture in our mind of an old bearded man that looks like Merlin (the greatest wizard of all ), trying to turn lead into gold. But in contemporary society, alchemy is a term used to describe the ability that people have to manifest personal change, an ability that we all possess.

Inner alchemy provides us the means to better understand ourselves, the universe we live in and our purpose in life. But in order to achieve that you have to let go of the old you and make room for the new you.  Think of your negative thoughts, old beliefs and habits as lead.  Your mission as an alchemist is to turn lead into gold which is your new you, the happy, healthy and emotionally balanced new you.

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

Lesson 4: Cultivate wisdom

Energy moves down the path of least resistance in the environment it finds itself, be it electricity through a circuit or water in a river. Just look at the way water runs downhill; it will always find the path that allows it to flow in the easiest way possible.

Be Like water – Choose the path of less resistance Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

To take the path of least resistance, be like water. Bruce Lee’s legacy as a martial artist, movie star and deep thinker remains very much alive today; there is so much we can learn from him, still.

“BE LIKE WATER. Don’t get set into one form, adapt it, build your own and let it grow.  When you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. In order to control myself, I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature. BE LIKE WATER. The nature of water is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it. Strike it, yet it does not suffer hurt. Stab it and it is not wounded. Sever it, yet it is not divided. It has no shape of his own but mold itself to the receptable that contains it. BE LIKE WATER. When water is heated it turns into steam, it is invisible, but it has enough power to split the Earth itself. When frozen it crystallizes into a mighty rock. First it is turbulent like the Niagara Falls then calm like a spring on a hot summer day. BE LIKE WATER.”

Bruce Lee

To learn the path of least resistance, observe nature. Everything in nature has its own purpose.  A tree grows towards the sun, takes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. Take a leaf during fall, the dying leaf does not resist the natural circle of life, it bursts with magnificent beauty in the grand finale before its death, living space for winter to settle in. With spring new leaves will burst into life in an onslaught of colors. Everything follows its natural course. Human nature is no different.

We have to be vigilant because sometimes the path of least resistance disguises itself as the right path for us but it is the wrong one.  Do not equate the path of least resistance with the easiest path to follow. Sometimes, we make choices based on what is easiest, most pleasant or least painful.  When we do this, we may gain comfort in the short term, but we may also end up gaining a lot of pain in the long run.  It is easier and more comfortable to sit in front of the TV rather than go to a fitness class. It is easier to lose our temper than control it.  It is easier to eat ice cream and cake rather than eat kale. In those instances, taking the path of least resistance is an option, but it is the option that will not help us grow and become the best version of ourselves. You can’t get fit by sitting on your sofa eating ice cream every day, you will have to drag yourself to the gym and start lifting those weights. Without the resistance of a barbell, a muscle won’t grow.

To experience the path of least resistance, be like a seed. Our environment is much like a field in which we plant a seed. Depending on the ground and the type of environment where you plant a seed, some seeds will grow well, and others won’t. The seeds that are planted in a nourishing environment, full of good nutrients will grow. We won’t see the results straight away, but over the years the seed to grow into a mature tree. In the same regard, we must learn to treat our mind just like a garden. We must ensure that weeds and unwanted plants are not robbing and stealing the nutrients that are needed for the tree to grow and bear fruits.

“Your mind is a garden. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”

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

Lesson 5: Patience is a gift when given or received

What is patience? It is essentially experiencing a certain period of time without any rewards. Waiting can drive you crazy, make you irritable, angry, frustrated, unhinged, but at the end of the day, those roller coasters of emotions will not affect the outcome one inch. If things are not happening as fast as you expected it, the best thing to do is to go with the flow and make the extra time count for something. Patience doesn’t mean passivity or resignation; it doesn’t make you a doormat or unable to set boundaries with people.

Good Things happen to those who can wait Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Patience is power.  It is a way for you to practice emotional freedom. You can choose to be annoyed and frustrated by the delay or you can choose to use the time and turn it into something productive.  It is your choice.  It doesn’t come naturally but you can learn to transform frustration and adversity into patience.

Patience is essential to daily life and might be the key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmy in the face of frustration or adversity. So anywhere there is frustration or adversity, we have the opportunity to practice it.”

Dr Judith Orloff

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

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

Lesson 6: Feel the power of music

Music has a unique ability to bring people together.  From a national anthem to a church hymn, or your favorite rock or hip hop song, music has the amazing ability to unite us, to pull us together as we listen, sing, dance and rejoice in the pure beauty of the  notes and melody suspended in the air.

Feel the power of music. Music will set you free – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Music is a universal language that can unite, heal, and set people free from their fear, their worries, their loneliness. Regardless of which language you speak and where in the world you call home, music and dance can unite and break down barriers in a magical way. Dance is a universal language and so is music. So, dance your own dance and sing your own song. Work your magic and sprinkle seeds of love everywhere you go.

Music has an amazing ability to speak to our hearts, minds and soul. It is like a prayer that stretches out into the Universe; It is quite telling that the word Universe literally means one (Uni) song (Verse). Where words fail, music speaks, there are times where words will not be enough to appease, heal and convince, so in those moments, it’s best not to say a thing; switch on the radio, listen to your best tunes and dance like nobody’s watching.

The Universal Language of Music and Dance
To all my sisters and brothers around the world
Dance your own dance
Sing your own song
Sparkle seeds of love everywhere you go
Love is spring eternal
It is the healer of all wounds
Do not drown in anger and hurt
When you can swim in a sea of love

©Joanne Reed

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

And this, my dear companion, is your Quest.

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

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

Categories
Self-Help

How to Gain Wisdom? Read some of Aesop’s Fables

How to gain wisdom? Read some Aesop’s fables

Everyone wants to gain wisdom. Wisdom is one of the greatest qualities that human beings can possess. So, seek it, hold on to it, share it and treasure it. Why? Because it will help you navigate through choppy waters, it will lift you up from the depths of despair, it will help you put everything into perspective, and ultimately it will turn you into the hero of your own story. But, how do you gain wisdom? I suggest that you start by reading some of Aesop’s fables.

Never underestimate the power of fables

With the possible exception of the New Testament, no works written in Greek have been more widespread and better known than Aesop’s fables. For more than 2500 years, Aesop fables have been teaching people of all ages valuable life lessons in the most entertaining and cynical way.

Want to hear a rags-to-riches story? Meet Aesop the Wise-Fool

Aesop’s life reads just like one of his fables. Aesop is believed to have lived between the period from 620 to 560 BC. He began his life as a slave and was said to have been remarkably ugly with some physical deformities and as this wasn’t enough misfortune, he was born mute, unable to utter a word. On the positive side, he was intelligent, resourceful and kind. His life took a turn for the better after he rescued a priestess of the goddess Isis from a difficult situation after she had strayed from the road and became lost.

From Slavery to greatnessMeet Aesop also known as the Wise-Fool

His divine reward for this act of kindness was the gift of speech and a remarkable ability to conceive and elaborate wise tales in Greek. His talent for storytelling, his wisdom and wit set him free literally. Aesop acquired freedom, fame and fortune in the same breath. Not bad for an ugly, deformed mute. He acquired some kind of celebrity status by hanging out with the most prominent and powerful personalities of the time offering to solve their problems, giving them sound advice and telling fables along the way. But in the end, it was his very success that lead him to his ruin.

Aesop made a good living as a storyteller travelling from city to city to perform his art, acquiring fame and fortune along the way. When he arrived in Delphi, he realized that his wit and sarcasm didn’t work so well on the Delphian audience, who refused to give him any reward for his performance. Disappointed and vexed by this cold treatment he lashed out and mocked the Delphians comparing them to driftwood (something worthwhile at a distance but is revealed to be worthless when see closed-up). He should have stopped there, but continued his tirade realizing too late how outraged the Delphians were by his insults. They kicked him out of town, but unbeknown to him they hid a golden cup from the Temple of Apollo in his luggage and as he was leaving the city he was arrested, charged, sentenced to death, and executed unceremoniously by being pushed off a cliff.

Moral of the story: Storytelling and wit can set you free; but it can also make you fly off a cliff.

Want to survive a bad situation? Follow the cat and not the fox

I don’t know what was Aesop’s final thought before he died but I am going to speculate that he may have recited to himself the Fox and the Cat fable that he himself wrote a little while before.

Want to survive a bad situation? Don’t follow the fox, follow the cat

The Fox and the Cat

A fox was boasting to a cat of its clever devices for escaping its enemies. “I have a whole bag of tricks,” he said, “which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies.”

“I have only one,” said the cat. “But I can generally manage with that.”

Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs.

“This is my plan,” said the cat. “What are you going to do?”

The fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was debating, the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last the fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen.

Miss Puss, who had been looking on, said, “Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon.

Aesop

Want to hear another truly inspirational tale? Meet The Peddlar of Swaffham

Please allow me to take you to Norfolk, England in a small village called Swaffham, where you will hear the extraordinary tale of the Peddlar of Swaffham.

Gain some wisdom by listening to the tale of the Peddlar of Swaffham

The Pedlar of Swaffham

“Tradition says that there lived in former times in Swaffham, Norfolk, a certain pedlar, who dreamed that if he went to London Bridge, and stood there, he would hear some very joyful news, which he at first slighted, but afterwards, his dream being doubled and trebled upon, he resolved to try the issue of it, and accordingly went to London and stood on the bridge there for two or three days, looking about him, but heard nothing that might yield him any comfort.  

At last, it happened that a shop keeper there, having noted his fruitless standing, seeing that he neither sold any wares nor asked any alms, went to him and most earnestly begged to know what he wanted there, or what his business was; to which the pedlar honestly answered that he had dreamed that if he came to London and stood there upon the bridge he should hear good news; at which the shop keeper lighted heartily, asking him if he was such a fool as to take a journey on such a silly errand, adding:

“I will tell you country fellow, last night I dreamed that I was in Swaffham, in Norfolk, a place utterly unknown to me where I thought that behind a pedlar’s house in a certain orchard, and under a great oak tree, if I dig I should find a vast treasure! Now think you, says he, that I am such a fool to take such a long journey upon me upon the instigation of a silly dream? No. No. No. I am wiser. Therefore, good fellow, learn wit from me, and get you home and mind your business.”  

The pedlar observing his words what he had said he dreamed and knowing they concerned him, glad of such joyful news, went speedily home, and dug and found a prodigious great treasure, with which he grew exceedingly rich; and Swaffham Church being for the most part fallen down, he set on workmen and rectified it most sumptuously, at his own charges; and to this day, there is a statute therein with his pack at his back and his dog at his heels; and his memory is also preserved by the same form of picture in most of the old glass windows, taverns and ale houses of that town unto this day.”

Source: Sidney Hartland – English Diary and Other Folks Tales (London, ca. 1890) which in turn refers to the Diary of Abraham Dela Pryme – 1699. Text available under Creative Commons CC-By-SA-4.0 License.
In this video I am taking you to Norfolk, UK, in the village of Swaffham, where the fable of the Peddlar of Swaffham originates. Come along with me …

This English tale resonates with me because of its candor and the moral that emanates from it.

My own reflection on this tale is that the moral of the story is as follows:

  • Listen to your inner voice, your intuition, your gut feeling, your inner compass;
  • Don’t be afraid to be ridiculed. Be patient. Have grit. Have resilience. Have faith;
  • Have the courage to act upon your dream and remember that a thousand-mile journey starts with the first step;
  • The journey will no doubt be marred with uncertainties, danger, surprises and some intriguing encounters;
  • Pay attention. Listen to the signs. Listen to the messages, the tips you receive on your journey. There may be joyful news awaiting you;
  • In the end, your courage, your efforts, your convictions will pay off and success will flow towards you, abundance will flow into your life;
  • When prosperity falls upon you do not hold tight to the wealth you seek but keep a healthy vision of its power to heal and the power it will give you to fulfil your purpose and spread goodness all around you.

And this, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

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

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

Want Good Things to Happen to You? Try Patience

Want Good Things to Happen to You? Try Patience

Good things do come to those who wait.”

Abraham Lincoln

People don’t like being put on hold, waiting in line, or getting stuck in traffic. In the olden days you had to wait for days for a letter to reach you through the post. Now you can send a text message across the world in a few seconds and expect a response back to you coming from the other side of the globe in no time. 

We are living in a world where easy 24/7 access to technology, laptops, smart phones, regulate the speed at which we want things done.  The expectation nowadays is for things to happen instantaneously; and when it doesn’t, we get frustrated even angry. According to a 2007 study conducted by Fuller Theological Seminar Profession Sarah A. Schnitker people who exhibit impatience and irritability tend to report more health problems and difficulty sleeping.  Being patient is a virtue that has been forgotten. In this article, I would like to help you get re-acquainted with this concept and to help me do that, I have sought advice from Mother Turtle.

Great Turtle Spirit, I seek your lessons of tremendous patience

Seeking Wisdom from Mother Turtle
  • Great turtle spirit
  • I invite you into my life
  • I seek your lessons of tremendous patience.
  • I seek your lessons of the shore
  • Lead me along that place
  • Where water touches earth,
  • The space between movement and stillness.
  • Remind me that I carry all
  • I need with me at all times.
  • Awaken my senses
  • So that I am prepared for
  • Opportunities as they arise.
  • Help me trust that all happens
  • When and how it should.
  • Shield me from harm and share
  • Your primal wisdom.
  • Please, help me remember that
  • My home is with me wherever I go.
  • Mother Turtle
  • I call to you.

The Turtle Prayer was written by Travis Bowman and published in Native History Magazine in 2013. The turtle is a sacred creature among Native American tribes. The Turtle represents longevity and teaches us the meaning of time, it encourages us to slow down the pace of our life, to be mindful, and present and to think carefully before we offer our thoughts or opinion on a particular subject. It is all about the power of divine timing and the ability to wait in a constructive manner and not to rush the results. The magic is found along in the journey as well as at the destination.

Turtle encourages us to slow down the pace of our life, to be mindful, and present

The Turtle represents creativity and abundance. Her motto is, use what you have and start where you are. Turtles are omnivorous, they eat almost anything that comes along their path, whether it be ants or a wide variety of plants or fish, and even occasional small mammals. They remind us that we are surrounded by opportunities that feed us along our path, but most people are too busy rushing around from one thing to the next to pay sufficient attention to what is right in front of their eyes. Be adaptable, awake your senses.

A turtle shell is its home and protection. The turtle reminds us to withdraw into ourselves and examine our feelings when we are bothered by the actions, inactions or words of others, and when we are getting impatient in a fast-moving world.

Patience is a gift when given or received

What is waiting? It is essentially experiencing a certain period of time without any rewards.  We have all heard of the famous marshmallow study conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel at Standford University in the early 1970s, where researchers offered four-year-olds a marshmallow now or two marshmallows if they waited for 15 minutes. In that study, most children tried but failed to wait the necessary 15 minutes in order to have two treats; but for the small group of children who had enough will power to wait,  the study demonstrated that those children had higher test scores and a healthier body mass years later.  This study demonstrates the benefits and power that delayed gratification can have on our lives.

The Marshmallow Test

Waiting can drive you crazy, make you irritable, angry, frustrated, unhinged, but at the end of the day those roller coasters of emotions will not affect the outcome one inch. If things are not happening as fast as you expected it, the best thing to do is to go with the flow and make the extra time count for something. Patience doesn’t mean passivity or resignation; it doesn’t make you a doormat or unable to set boundaries with people.

Patience is power.  It is a way for you to practice emotional freedom. You can choose to be annoyed and frustrated by the delay or you can choose to use the time  and turn it into something productive.  It is your choice.  It doesn’t come naturally but you can learn to transform frustration and adversity into patience.

Patience is essential to daily life and might be the key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmy in the face of frustration or adversity. So anywhere there is frustration or adversity, we have the opportunity to practice it.”

Dr Judith Orloff

For people who have little patience, all is not lost, patience is a skill that can be improved with a little bit of practice. Recent studies have been conducted in order to find out what can be done in order to increase patience; and as it happens, it all depends on the value of the reward, a person willingness to wait patiently for a reward will increase if the reward is large enough. Most people will wait for the newest-soon-to-be-released iphone because it makes total sense to wait a little to get the latest version instead of rushing to buy an old model now.

In public it is the impatient one that grabs all the attention, but patience is a skill that you practice quietly, behind close door, just like professional athletes who step away from the limelight taking some time off to heal their injury so that they can come back stronger, step back into the arena and compete another day.

To reach mastery you need patience

In the olden days, if you wanted to enter a profession you will have to find a master who will be willing to take you under his wings and enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft.  The normal length of an apprenticeship was 10 years; learning the craft required patience, discipline and dedication. The modern concept of this is the 10, 000 hours required to master a skill as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.

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

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

Robert Greene

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

And this, my dear friend is your Quest

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

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

The Gift of Clarity

The Gift of Clarity

The festive season is upon us, a time for celebrations, seasonal gatherings and exchange of gifts.  For the little ones, Christmas is associated with everything looking a little prettier than usual, with Christmas decorations and lights everywhere. But the excitement really comes from the expectation of a visit from Santa Claus who will stop by to drop off lots of presents, assuming of course  that they have been good enough throughout the year. Adults will get presents too, hoping that Father Christmas would have enough insight to have guessed properly all the things on their Christmas list, the list they only wrote in their head and never took the time to send out!  

For me, I am pretty low key about Christmas, if you ask me what do I want for Christmas this year, my answer would be: The ability to live in the present moment and the Gift of Clarity.

Master Oogway Wisdom

There are two types of people in this world, those who see clearly, and those who don’t.

People who see clearly

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 and a sense of purpose and they go through their life journey 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, which brings joy and happiness.

People who don’t see clearly

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 (there 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 head 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 hero 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.

The Gift of Clarity

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 and feel discouraged and drift, not knowing where we are going.

Buddhists 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 appearances, and if we are patient and still the truth will be revealed to us.”

Your Mind Is Like Water

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 to you to experience greater clarity and make better choices.

I would like to wish to all my readers and followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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 and wisdom,
To persist in things worth doing,
And find solace in the knowledge that,
That in itself is remarkable.

I am writing an eBook about this ‘The Gift of Clarity,’ which will be coming out soon. Watch out for it!


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

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

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About the Book

Breaking News! The Second Edition of my book “This Is Your Quest” is out!

By popular demand, the Second Edition of “This Is Your Quest” is out! In this new edition you will find some new analysis on some current events, some points have been refined, and some new wisdom has been added! There is more to it than there was before!

Watch the trailer below:

Second Edition of “This Is Your Quest” is out!

In this new edition you will find some new analysis on some current events, some points have been refined, and some new wisdom has been added! There is more to it than there was before!

Pick up your copy today and follow me on this Epic Adventure!


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

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.