“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.”
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.
According to Wikipedia James Allen “was British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.” I read his famous book ‘As a Man Thinketh’ a few years ago, it had a profound impact on my life during a very tough period I was living at the time. I have recently found some of the quotes I wrote from the book and decided to post them here.
Compared to Allen and many who have gone through similar life conditions, truly, I’ve had it easy! His dad was pronounced dead two days after arriving in the US where he was seeking after a better life for his family. Allen, age 15 then, had to stop his studies to work and support his impoverished family.
Another site devoted to Allen’s life mentioned that “James Allen is a literary mystery man. His inspirational writings have influenced millions for good. Yet today he remains almost unknown…… None of his nineteen books give a clue to his life other than to mention his place of residence – Ilfracombe, England. His name cannot be found in a major reference work. Not even the Library of Congress or the British Museum has much to say about him.”
“He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.” wrote Mitch Horowitz in his work “James Allen: A Life in Brief”.
Allen’s life was the message, what he had to do was to pack that in writing format and feed it to his readers. And that is where all the power lies. The secret was in the way he lived out his own philosophy, that would empower his thoughts and words on the piece of paper. In orther words, what impact us aren’t when we read his words are not emptied rhetoric but sweat, blood, tears and badassness in face of calamities, challenges and sufferings. Your writing comes alive when it is birth out of the fiery furnace of life torments, words pierce through the flakiness, excuses and comfort of us readers.
From his official webpage we read that “In 1901, when Allen was 37, he wrote his first book, From Poverty to Power. In 1902 he wrote his second book, As a Man Thinketh. Although this would be Allen’s most successful book, it is said that he felt it be unsatisfactory and not worthy of print. It was his wife, Lily, who convinced him to publish it. Allen wrote 19 books in all.”
It is also claimed that Allen sought to live a Tolstoyan life-style, meaning, a life of voluntary poverty, manual labour and ascetic self-discipline. Russia greatest novelist Count Leo Tolstoy apparently had some influence in his life choices, values and virtues.
Below I have copied my favourite passages from his second book ‘As a Man Thinketh’:
“Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”
“Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”
“O my soul, the time I trust will be, when thou shalt be good, simple, more open and visible, than that body by which it is enclosed.”
“Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life”
“They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness , and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe”
“Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought”
“There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice and a man’s worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance”
“Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals ; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditionals, all, heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will, at last, be built”
“Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it”
“You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration”
“The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities”
“Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise without your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal”
“A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought , and as he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene”
“The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart— this you will build your life by, this you will become”
in other words, be MONOMANIACAL ABOUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL LIFE OBSESSION!
“The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character, which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold —yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life— a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm”
“Self-control is a strength; right thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”
In Summary, Allen teaches two essential truths – “today we are where our thoughts have taken us, and we are the architects – for better or worse – of our futures.”
Someone once said that you cannot change anything or any problem in your life with the same mindset that has created it. Many people spend their lives focusing on what they don’t have to sort out the problem they created by negative thoughts and reactions to external situations. They will never be able to experience true freedom that way.
The only way to see changes in the present and move towards a better future and destiny is by nurturing positive thoughts no matter which circumstances one finds oneself in. Thoughts are made of pure raw energy (being negative or positive) and have the power to change our physiology and psyche immediately. It is the only thing we can truly have control over.
After developing good thoughts one should start paying attention in the words one uses. Words have the power to manifest the reality of your thinking, speak sound words and you will be truly whole and happy.
Thirdly: congruency! Acting in line with your thinking and words. Oh, how hard that one is! The worst things anyone can display in their lives are inconsistency and incongruency. Where one acts differently from what one believes and says.
Afterwhile your healthy thinking life, your manifested positive words and your congruent actions will be consolidated as your new habits. Cultivating these new good habits are a powerful way to unlock long-lasting changes in your life but ultimately they should be governed by superior moral and ethical values directing everything you do.
In you keeping with all of them, practising diligently as you go about your business, you will then start paving the way to a great destiny. Try it today!
The only life worth living is the one that is designed as a foundation for future generations to build upon. Living it in full and lighting it up for others who are coming after you should be out life’s true mantra.
“Let us therefore set out whole-heartedly, leaving aside our many distractions and exert ourselves in this single purpose, before we realize too late the swift and unstoppable flight of time and are left behind. As each day arises, welcome it as the very best day of all, and make it your own possession. We must seize what flees.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 108.27b–28a
You woke up today, that’s a great thing for starters, many haven’t. Then you went about your business, afterall we have to live and for that, we must work.
But what if there’s more to our days than what we have to do based on what is expected from us?
What if we can turn things around, decide for a change of action, begin doing those things that really inspire us? Things that leave us with a strong sense of fulfillment.
Perhaps some of us have been doing that already. Some few have reached that level but by experience, observation or even by just reading the news and stats, I’ve learned that most of us haven’t. Most still feel trapped.
The good news is, we all can!
This morning when I got up I was faced with three scenarios and I believe we all face them everyday. Which scenario we will chose is up to each one of us:
I would would have woken up with visions of my past. Somehow I feel locked in my memories, old preconceptions and paradigms. I’m unable to make a clear decision on my life, or to know what to do with it. I’m locked in past fears and traumas, filled with regrets and sorrows, many “if-I-onlys…” or “if-life-onlys”… Thoughts occupying my mind. Basically feeling life has dealt me a bad hand.
I woke up this morning locked in my present, tons or things to do. I’ve got to get going as I’m super busy! Work commitments dominate every aspect of my daily life. This is just business as usual, life as it is and no time or space for anything else. I’ve got to keep going. No time to waste, and that’s the way it is. No, I don’t feel fulfilled, or happy, it feels I just woke up in this gridlock and there’s no way out, I’ve got bills to pay and so on, I’m playing the catch-up game. Get up, grab a latte on the go and get to work. Isn’t the way things are or should be? Aren’t we all locked up in this present rat race?!
I could have woken up with the visions of the future I want to create, and the place I want to be. Knowing that each decision I make today will bring me closer or further away from that future. When I look back to my past I seek to understand it and learn from it, not to relive it. I’m grateful that despite the hardships, trials and tribulations, through fires and storms, hurts and disappointments; I have made it to where I’m and I believe that I can learn from the past, change in the present moment and move towards the future I envision.
This morning we have all woken up with this three scenarios and the decision is ours how we live our lives.
Life is indeed fleeting and we will never be able to have back the time we lost. Seneca admonishes us to make the most of it, make this day our own! This is the best day of my life because today I can decide to change, I can take control of my thoughts, attitudes, my life actions and fulfill my destiny.
Today we can leave aside all the other distractions and set our minds, energy and focus to embrace the future we dream of. So, what is going to be? What is in the menu today for you?
Someone once said: ‘the way you do anything it is the way you do everything’. So, how we will achieve anything in life is directly linked to way we face and takle our daily menial tasks. Even the most simple ones or the ones we feel we should not be doing.
Success does not happen to you by chance, but rather it is born out of a lot of sweat and tears. It is often the result of years of practice and determination, repetition and failures, ultimately of compound actions based on your beliefs and the dreams you might entertain for how you want your future to be.
When you decide to pursue that vision and build your life goals the you set off on that road, your journey to success.
Whatever we want to manifest, it will not happen to us as a matter luck. It is what we do repeatedly until it becomes a habit, then those habits will take us to our destiny.
It might start with something as simple as an idea, as Tony Robbins likes to put it our ‘sweet obsession’. Something that will compel us to keep going, pushing forward.
The road to success is a rocky crooked one, never a straight line and always under construction.
But what is success? How do we know we got there?
We all have our ideas of what success is. For some, it could be financial freedom, for others the limelight, stardom; or both. Some may define success by the recognition they receive based on the intellectual contribution to science and human development. They seek their place in history.
True success is manifested in how deeply our lives are touching others and how much we have become an agent for transformation, peace and love, for equanimity. Success is about building and raising up futures generations and the legacy that survives us after we departure from this life.
What is success for you? Are you pursuing it with all your strength? Are you devoting time and energy to make it happen? What do you want to leave after you? Or what do you want to be remembered for?
“There’s no faith and no courage and no sacrifice in doing what is expedient” prof. Jordan Peterson