Protect your serenity at all times. The world is busy, flashy, it distracts you. It invades your mind with thoughts and images, news and appeals. Many things drive your actions the challenge is to only allow the very thingsyou should be think and doing to direct your path.
Below is a meditation from ‘Lifelines’ by Rabbi Avi Shulman to calm the mind and help us to focus as we go about our daily business and life pursuits.
“I am calm, serene, and in total control at all times. I am unaffected by the emotions of others. I will not allow anyone to unerve me, or project his/her problems on me. I am clear, assertive, pleasant; I speak in a low voice, never degrading or negative. I do nothing rash, accept no conditions unless every financial, organisational, and emotional factor is met, and I can succeed.
I am nice, but firm;
Pleasant, but resolute;
Delightful, but determined;
Cordial, but tenacious;
Respectful, but unyelding;
Gracious, but immutable;
I may not be able to control other people or situations, but I can always control my attitude.”
It is your choice what to think and how to react in any circumstances, stay focused on the target, on what you want to build and create for your life. To set yourself on the right path you must be calm and serene at all times.
“My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of a happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and noble-minded sayings capable of immediate practical application—not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech—and learn them so well that words become works. No one to my mind lets humanity down quite so much as those who study philosophy as if it were a sort of commercial skill and then proceed to live in a quite different manner from the way they tell other people to live.”
Why are we not taught about the time when we are children? Why our parents don’t tell us why we should be mindful about it? How can we make the best use of time?
We are what to do but now why we are doing what we do. What do we do the things we do the way we do it?
Our time is not our own; we never learnt how to use it or why we are using it. We focus on what we were told we should do; we comply, we get distracted and unfocused. We then see the time passing, and we feel powerless.
To meditate about the time and how one ought to use it is the doorway to wisdom.
“Stop wondering about! You aren’t likely to read your own notebooks, or ancient histories, or the anthologies you’ve collected to enjoy your old age. Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hope, get active in your own rescue – if you care for yourself at all – and do it while you can” _Marcus Aurelius
Time spent purposefully is a time that will revert with good things and positive results. Learning about time is a life-long application; the better one gets, the happier and more prosperous one’s life will be.
It is always important to remind ourselves of those things that are truly important in life. It also helps us to prioritise our daily life, our decisions every day and aim for what will add real value to us and others. So, here they are…
“Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future.”
“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”
“But excess in any sphere is reprehensible.”
“As far as I am concerned, I know that I have lost not wealth but distractions. The body’s needs are few: it wants to be free from cold, to banish hunger and thirst with nourishment; if we long for anything more we are exerting ourselves to serve our vices, not our needs.”
“Life is long, if you know how to use it.”
“All life is a servitude.”
In summary, there are Five Things to Consider as we start the new year:
1 – What should my focus be every day this year?
2- What should I eliminate from my life?
3 – Stop procrastinating, show up and get on with it!
4 – Work hard and smart in the present, seize the moment, and the future will look after itself.
5 – Define what is ENOUGH and live by it, one can find meaning and happiness there.
Have you all a very peaceful, blessed and successful 2020!
I do not want to sound ‘Grinchy’ about Christmas but I must be honest; I do struggle with the whole polite ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting that goes around this time of the year.
If an alien landed on Earth on December 25th and was greeted by “Merry Christmas Visitor”; what would she/he think about it? Let’s say our dear visitor friend would ‘Google it!’ from her/his spaceship, the results would be thoroughly confusing. What on Earth is Christmas? Why having a ‘Merry One’ matters so much?
I often wonder what people really mean by ‘Have a Merry Christmas? What shall I reply to it? Should a be polite or dismissive? When asked whether I like to celebrate Christmas, I normally reply with a Jordan Peterson type of reply – ‘It depends on what you mean by Christmas’.
Of course, people do not want to hear that, and they are not prepared to engage in a debate there and then. There is no time to think about such trivialities. So, just say – Yes, sure, Merry Christmas to you too! – and move along. Why bother!?
I recently realised that the longer I live, the older I get, the more I start looking like Diogenes, the ‘controversial philosopher’, not that I consider myself one. I just have to say something cynical or provoking. For my own regret, I can’t resist. Merry Christmas might mean an awful lot or nothing at all to you depending on what you do with it and how you deal with it. It is not about beliefs as much as it is behavioural or traditions. Some traditions are worth keeping, some others we must challenge, change or leave them altogether.
Does Christmas mean the birth of Christ (surely not in historic terms)? Santa (that’s very good news for Coca-cola)? Consumerism (been there, done that!)? Or, perhaps, having a break from work and not seeing your boss’ raging grumpy face for 10 days or so (that’s fantastic news right)? Whatever your reply might be, you would always give a polite one right?
I have friends from all cultural and religious backgrounds. I myself was brought up within a Christian-Judeo tradition. Most of them, including Sikhs and Muslims, like the Christmas time, for them, it is a time for getting together, eating, celebrating, being with their family. We all like to exchange presents, sing, play and dance, be happy, to be merry! What is wrong with that after all? We can all say yes to such a nice time together no matter which religion or phylosophy we subscribe to.
But there is an invisible Christmas, the one of the homeless, the destitute, the employee who got laid-off and now are contemplating suicide, the daughters whose mom is dying in the hospital, the hundred of thousands living below the poverty line, the couple who is splitting over unpaid bills, the working man who can barely afford the food, the single mom who is using the last few pounds on her account to buy gifts to their children, you can fill your own here. Would they also have a Merry Christmas? Is that possible?
For me the preferred one would be to disappear and get into my own thoughts, to read, reflect and contemplate about the year that has gone. I do not subscribe to any tradition neither like the glittering meetings and parties.
I like to think, meditate about my decisions in the past year the results achieved looking into the year ahead for new opportunities and possibilities. A time to seek wisdom for self-improvement. That would be my preferred ‘Merry Christmas’ but in reality most of this time is take up by family and friends still expecting you to show up, or to play your part. The Management of expectations comes between them and a real self ‘Merry Christmas’.
“Ask yourself at every moment. Is this really necessary?
Merry for me is ‘simple’, quiet and reflective. I time to see the world, its needs and find ways to play my part to improve it. Being grateful for the life I have whlist questioning what can be improved? Above all it about escaping from overindulging marketing and consumerism appeals with the promises of happier moments once we have bought the new set-of-something we do not really need.
What does ‘Merry Christmas’ mean to you? Would you be able to have one this year?
“All life forms drive to the maximum of its potential except human beings”
Your motivation is a good starting point but after while you will not be able to rely on it. It might fail you. You get distracted, you get sidetracked and betrayed by your own feeling.
What drives you must turn into an automatic self-discipline system. Only motivation cannot take you all the way to the finish line. There will be days that you do not feel like doing it. In those days, only habits and self-discipline can get you to pass your feeling.
Today is Sunday, I’m on holiday, or at least I’m supposed to be, but I made a commitment to myself. I have gotten up 5:30am, I did not feel like, my mind was saying ‘f#$k that s@#t I’m going back to bed’, my commitment and self-discipline drove me here not my motivation.
We are constantly bombarded by hundreds if not thousands of different stimulus. Most of us live with the pressures of our social lives, people around us, family and friends and loved ones. Powerful branded messages from products, entertainment, useless shopping gadgets, etc. All that sensory messages play a powerful role in our feelings and emotions, ultimately in our decision making. We can get easily demotivated and sidetracked. We get pushed away from our vision and goals. Our motivation betrays us.
“Let all communication devices serve you but let no one interfere with you”
We think we can postpone, do it later, after all, just a bit of distraction will not make any difference. A bit of this, a bit of that, and suddenly the week has gone, the months and the years. I can attest to that in many areas of my life.
In reality tomorrow doesn’t exist. it is invisibly shrouded and seeded in the actions we take today. Take a close look at this, do you remember how many tomorrows have since passed and have become nothing more than of a shadowed yesterday’s memory. Today when you ponder upon, you wished you had taken a different set of action and achieved a different outcome.
Self-discipline will make you work harder on your self than on your own job. Good habits will spring you into success and fortune. That’s why most people do not achieve anything, it is easy to get sidetracked and stopped.
As Jim puts it, you must develop “The ant philosophy”. They never quit, the think winter all summer and they seem to be in a hurry. All stoics philosophers told us to plan all the negative scenarios when all is positive. The ant thinks summer is winter. They are not motivated, they are discipline to achieve their goals.
Les Brown says “do what is easy and your life will be hard, do what is hard and your life will be easy”. Self-discipline is the key to take you all the way to the finish line.
The odds for you to be alive right now is practically zero according to do Dr Ali Binazir. Let’s start with the odds of your dad meeting your mum (1 in 20,000). Then multiply that by the chances of them staying together long enough to have you (1 in 2,000). If you keep going along those lines you will eventually get to the following probability of you existing 1 in 102,685,000.
Based on this perspective, the reality of our lives and the narrative we can create become unlimited and powerful. We are a freaking miracle of nature!
If you only looked at the probability of the right sperm meeting the right eggs in isolation to any other variables that would be one inf 400 quadrillion.
Start living today with that perspective, make decision and choices based on the fact that you are a freaking odd miracle, you are here to change things, to leave a mark, as Jobs said, a dent in the universe. You life is not a mistake it is a celebration, a joy no matter the circumstances that brought you here.
“A miracle is an event so unlikely as to be almost impossible. By that definition, I’ve just shown that you are a miracle… Now go forth and feel and act like the miracle that you are.”
You should never never ask the question again. Why you? Because you are unique, an effing miracle, there is only one YOU. For Dr Binazir the odds of you being alive are zero. Still, you are here. Stop b$#@ing about and get on with your life, do epic s#&t.
Dr Binazir explained the odds with the following example:
“Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water — in the middle of that life preserver. On one try.”
Don’t get stuck in your old ways. Change happens in an instant; it’s a conversion, a turning of direction. The philosophy, worldview and the lenses by which you see everything must be in congruence with your goals and visions for your future; otherwise nothing will work. Change your philosophy is the starting line and the best way to achieve anything is by optimising your life for the starting line, not the finishing line. .
Don’t get stuck in your old ways. Change happens in an instant; it’s a conversion, a turning of direction. The philosophy, worldview and the lenses by which you see everything must be in congruence with your goals and visions for your future; otherwise nothing will work.
Change your philosophy is the starting line and the best way to achieve anything is by optimising your life for the starting line, not the finishing line…
Some claim they want to change the world, some others want to win the world, a large number of people just want to get by. No matter what you have chosen your life by your own philosophy. It ultimately informs your beliefs and values, shapes your choices, habits and decisions.
Whatever you want for you, it will be achieved or not by your own views of the world and the reality around you. That is what Jim Rohn is telling us here. The biggest giant lies within, without defeating him/her first you will never feel free to be what you have got to be. Your own self-limiting beliefs and philosophy is preventing you from growing and from success.
This blog aims to address the needs of those two initial types of people in the paragraph above. The ones who want to change and affect the world as well as the ones who want to win. And many times they are but the same people. You can’t conquer the world unless you truly affect lives.
You must affect your world first, to be able to influence others’. You must adopt a new mindset first then you will realise what steps you need to take to fulfil your dreams. You have to adopt the right attitude, the correct set of behaviours and values.
What is the minimum change you can promote today, right now to start the process? What should you think differently about? What kind of thinking is not supporting your vision for your future?
There’s angst that rises from within, a silent cry. We reach out to our own identities in a busy, loud world that forces us to have, to own, to go, to do, force a smile, fake happiness. It wants our constant unswerving attention; it wants to master us, keeping us distracted, discouraging us from stopping, thinking, reflecting and discovering out who we are. That can only be found reaching within.
We exchange peace and solitude for constant limelight, the social media spotlight. That is killing us; our species is living a severe existential crisis. For most, that angst is kept silence within while striving to ‘get by with a smile.’
When we forget the simple we neglect the essential; we become blind to what is truly beautiful in this world.
Too much social yet not much living. Too much attention-grabbing effort very little delivering value affecting the lives of people in a meaningful way. The numbers battle, we all want a piece of the action, a dive in the money stack, a ride in the Lamborghini, a nightstand with the blonde of the hunk with six-pack with a bright smile.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have written an amazing book on slowing down and reducing your living so you can live a more fulfilled life – Minimalism: Essential Essays. The essence is to look inside of you and ask the question how much do I really need to be happy?
“Happiness, as far as we are concerned, is achieved through living a meaningful life, a life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which we can grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways. Growth and contribution: those are the bedrocks of happiness. Not stuff. This may not sound sexy or marketable or sellable, but it’s the cold truth. Humans are happy if we are growing as individuals and if we are contributing beyond ourselves. Without growth, and without a deliberate effort to help others, we are just slaves to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success.” ― Joshua Fields Millburn, Minimalism: Essential Essays
In Walden, transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau encourages us to pursuit nobility in living a simple life surrounded by nature. He is on a journey towards natures and his own nature. In 2015, I decided to start this journey, the one I’m still on and have not to regretted an inch. When you stop living under the pressure of others, society, family and friends you can finally stop and breathe.
Fact is we have never had so much ‘social’ online time and never felt so much isolated and lonely. We have traded living for existing. What should we do then?
STOP – TURN AROUND – TAKE A BREATH – SMILE INSIDE – BE THANKFUL – JUST BE
In Thoreau’s case, The Minimalists guys and even myself we discovered that going back to nature as well as going back to one’s nature was the key to leave a life of social conformity and embrace a life of true self-reliance and self-actualisation.