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.
Growing up as a kid that has always seem to be one of my greatest areas of concern. The future is shaped but the decision we make in our present time. Those decisions are shaped by the state of our minds. Our destiny for better or worse is determined by those choices.
No matter who you are or what you do, where you work, how much money or friends you have, whether you are successful or not, there are three realities affecting us every day – time, our mind and our actions.
We are all engaged in the physical world around us, the first reality we are welcomed in when we are born.
Secondly, as our awarenesses grow as humans we realise we can think and engage with others in this physical world. Our thoughts start then reminding us that we do not only have a conscience but we also have feelings and emotions to deal with. Though we haven’t got a clue how to handle them, we have decisions to make and barely any time given to think about them.
Thirdly, in the world we live in today, we are surrounded by an invisible yet prevailing cloud of information, data and digital technology forcing us to learn fast how to navigate through the challenges presented by this new environment or risk to be left behind.
I’ve diligently set out to explore and research the intersection of those three realities and how they are now and will continue to shape our lives in years and decades to come.
The future is the only destination we have, but we look to the past and learn from our history, our personal stories and narratives, we learn to make decisions in the present that eventually will affect where we will be tomorrow.
I would like to invite you to join me in discovering together what all that means to us. How we can build better relationships, business practices and learning systems to empower people to be and to live their life given dreams. Help business to grow ethically and sustainable, and hopefully to become better human beings.
“…Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.– CHRISTOPHER LLOYD, AS DOC BROWN (Back to the Future)
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.”
That’s because your life philosophy, or to put in layman’s term, the way you see things, your worldview and the values that underpin your choices will become the factors determining whether you will be successful in your endeavours or not.
“Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” Plato
What Plato is saying is that what you do comes from material produced inside your mind, aka your mindset. The combination of those three factors will form your values or your philosophy, that consciously or unconsciously. So calibrating your desires, emotions and building a solid healthy knowledge will increase your chances for better outcomes.
Jim Rohn, throughout his highly successful career as a motivational speaker and life coach, always gave emphasis to developing your life philosophy and inner values. Jim, as well as many before and after him, developed and build their life upon their values and philosophies.
“If you work hard on your job, you make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune. What is the reason for this truth? Success is not something you pursue. Success is something that you attract by becoming an attractive person. The way that you become rich is not by wishing your life were easier, but instead by focusing on making yourself better.” ― Jim Rohn, My Philosophy for Successful Living
James Allen, British philosopher and writer, famous for his inspirational writings, wrote in his book As A Man Thinketh“Men do not attract what they want, but which they are”, in other words, your outcomes are the fruit of who you are inside, of what drives you and your behaviour. All our impulses, perceptions, sensory motivations, impetus or inertia, decisions, choices, fears, etc are born and exist and are shaped by our own philosophy and creates our identity. They are determined by how we see ourselves and the world around us, our values that will guide us to whatever outcome they are set to achieve good or bad.
Most people think they are not in control of that but that is exactly the only thing in the universe we have control over.
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca