Choose Your Response Carefully!

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A bit of continuation to the mature response -blog from last week.

That topic was in retrospect a big hit for myself, because by writing that I had prepared myself for rejection what followed the next day. Now I was ready to deal with it in mature way, because I had just revisited the notes and what it means to respond maturely. Despite knowing and remembering some of this, I have to say that dealing with rejection in personal relationships is never easy.

Even in professional life: sales and marketing people face rejection several or even dozens of times per day it’s not easy even though there it’s not so personal. Rejection hurts.

Here we come to the part what we are actually able to control: our response to the outside impulse. Separation between an animal and a conscious being is the ability to delay the time in between impulse and response. We have the ability to choose our response. This so called last of human freedoms is what many philosophies including stoicism teaches us.

Today I realized that choosing means that there are usually several different options for us to consider. Several paths, from which we can always choose the best suited path for our purposes.

How long can you take in between impulse and response? Try taking a moment of your time.

Usually the powerful have the time to be quiet and think before reply. Do you recognize the feeling?

Be responsible, choose your response carefully!

Tiny Action

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Action is over- and underappreciated word.

Overappreciated as in action without consideration, thought or end in mind.

Underappreciated as in thought without action. Action remains just a word, instead of verb in action.

There is the middle way: thinking, without thinking too much and doing, without doing too much.

My personal fault lies mostly in thinking too much and doing too little. Thus I see this quality in others as well emphasized. And it might be that I am too blind to my own actions that are mindless, so I cannot even name them yet. With a bit of thinking, I think there is indeed also this mindless action in play.

The more I’ve studied about habits and applied what I’ve learned to my life, I am amazed to discover these tiny pockets of time all around me. More efficient actions (=habits) create more time and space. What used require effort, do not any longer. Thus taking action becomes easier.

With habits also the cost of starting doing something (which I feel is immense). Have you tried to start a work out after a long work day? That’s only difficult if you do not already have the neural circuitry in your mind to fire of and start doing it. When you’ve the network however, it will automatically flare up and you will start the work out when you just find the right triggers for that.

The difference between habit and a separate action decision is huge. Habits have little to none starting cost, they trigger automatically. Decisions to do something have tremendous starting cost and when we are tired and hungry we are less likely going to make any good decisions.

Therefore life consists of making these tiny decisions right through the days, these will ensure sufficient energy when we need it the most.

We need tiny action everyday to start building momentum for the bigger decisions and challenges.

 

Random Thoughts: Humility and Potential Paradox  

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I need to remind myself to stay humble. The work I do is yet fairly insignificant what it could be.

Do you see your potential? Even as a collective human species we barely manage to make a dent in the universe. Space is vast and unknown.

This morning, I was listening a podcast where the theme was The Big Leap Book by Gay Hendricks. There are four levels of achievement: the zone of incompetence, zone of competence, zone of excellence and zone of genius. Where would you put yourself?

I mean that is pretty eye opening, because we often settle for competence or even excellence, where the genius would be where we would thrive. Surrendering to the genius is a wonderful idea, yet our egos are terrified by that very same idea.

Humility and the potential, what a paradox.

Learn and Apply It to Your Life

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Alive time or dead time concepts are in Robert Greene’s books. Most of my life I feel like I’ve lived in dead time. I’m now 30 so 21 years I’ve lived in dead time. Only a bit over 9 years I would qualify as alive time.

Or as in Shawshank Redemption they put it: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Many talk about learning. Many go to schools. Many talk about doing this or that as well.

Yet few actually do anything. That includes me personally. Every day I have to remind myself to start doing: often we teach what we need to learn ourselves the most.

One mantra that I have is that only learning that matters is a learning that shows in actions.

“Swords, not words” would a character (Minsk) in Baldurs’ Gate 2 say.

It’s not that difficult: only learning is the applied learning.

There is also more to the learning that just that. There is the wisdom that even if we do something today and then let it be like that, we are going to lose that skill.

“Use it or lose it.”

This is one of my biggest fears with writing and prioritization. I fear that if I would prioritize other things, I would lose even my modest ability to get things done.

We only get to keep those virtuous that we sustain and nourish every day. And if we want to get a head we need to learn and apply to it every day as well.

Light in Blight

 

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Life is full of uncertainty and unexpected. Some of this makes it joyous and exciting, while at times it can be difficult to deal with.

Most common forms of obstacles are failure or experience of failure. Failure is impermanent and there is always something to be learned.

Success is nice when we reach it and while at it, yet success is as impermanent as is failure. If we forget to stay open and humble we will inevitably fail. Thus the success contains a seed of destruction within.

Failure either as it is or after a great success can get us to a dark place. Yet in the darkest days, the rays of hope can be seen most acutely: there is always hope as long as we are alive.

In fact most of the life is like that: we are facing something, then we fail and it is literally what we do after the failure that defines and makes us. It’s how we respond to the failure. If we choose to learn, stay humble and keep building ourselves up, we will succeed – there is no question about it.

Most importantly we shouldn’t be doing anything for success or not, we should do it for the greater good, for the opportunity to do what is true, right and beautiful. We should do the right thing because that is in our potential, that is the virtuous action in practice. That is our best godlike nature in action.

Mature Response

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I read King, Warrior, Magician, Lover and The King Within to support my contemplation on maturity and what does that actually means. It’s clear that not all old people are mature, or all the mature people are old.

Maturity has to do with a quite a different thing than age. It’s more about how do you respond to outside stimuli. Jari Sarasvuo put it very well: “maturity is impulse control.” He further adds that it is either that you cannot be and express yourself or you cannot control your impulses.

Mature response to outside stimuli is to create a win out of everything that happens to you. It’s not only that ability to see and create it, however it’s ability to see the bright side in everything.

World is providing abundant possibilities for us to build the character we want to be, it is up to us to start shaping ourselves through responding more maturely through action and effort.

Observe your emotions and tell me what do you see? Do you see fear, insecure or perhaps it is anger or lust? Whatever emotions you have, does not mean you are those emotions.

We all are incomplete and immature to a degree. Yet the fact that we feel something, doesn’t mean we are something. What we feel we are not. We may still choose how do we act on these feelings.

I.e. I may feel jealous, however once I recognize that it is up to me what to do with this feeling and the energy. Do I put it to work on my own virtue or do I waste it on useless things to feel better or to put it in effort of resentment of others, which does not lead to anyone’s goodness.

Emotions are energy to be used for fuel of our virtue. Mature response is to sublimate whatever you may feel, into something greater for the good of others. If you can keep doing this, you will live the virtuous true and nothing in the world can stop you from enjoying and living a happy life. You are in fact building one for yourself through responding and shaping what the world throws at you.

Whatever the world throws at you, make something good out of it! Take everything as a gift, add you thing to it and give it further 🙂

Examples for such mature response and action would be in my case writing, meditation,  exercise, work or connecting with loved ones.  You will always find ways to channel the setbacks into a virtuous action and if you keep at this long enough, you good things will follow to your life.

Have a great evening!

Janne

A Bit More

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What if everyone tried a bit more, what would follow? Just a bit more at the most important task, how much further would it take you?

A bit times thousand is a lot of effort and trying.

A bit more is not possible in everything, but try not to think it that why. Just try a bit more at something.

Complaining does not help to solve problems or further the cause. How about you instead try to be a bit more accepting instead of complaining?

What would you like to be bit more? Start doing today.

Decision You Make, Make You!

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We have limited attention. Our ability to prioritize this attention is one of the few things we can truly control and is one of our primary sources to gain more power from the world.

Great decision making means you can have more of what you really need. You will have all the time in the world for the most important things. Decision making is powerful: not only does it mean commitment to do something, but also decision not to do something.

Decision you make, sharpen your focus, you will get more productive. Through deciding what to do, you decide what you become!

Decide wisely.

Don’t Let the Limits Bother You

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Creativity blossoms out of limits.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

Excuses are form of our own thoughts limiting our own actions. Let go of excuses.

Beliefs what is or is not possible is a form of limitation. Do not let beliefs hold you back, look to open up possibilities.

What we have achieved before, does not mean something is impossible. It has just merely been done before. Do not let past, history limit you.

What others think you can or cannot do, is not necessarily accurate judgement. Do not let others determine what you can or cannot do. You know yourself best and if you think you have a chance, try it out.

Do not let the limits bother you, even if there are limits, seek to build bridges in between. You will find more strength and are able to summon unexpected strength and creativity. Limits are the construction material for greatness.

Now is the Time to Be What You Can Be

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In short I’ve fallen for stoicism. During the January I’ve re-read two books on stoicism: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday. Also currently I am reading Ego is the Enemy and I will read the Daily Stoic.

Stoicism is a practical and applied philosophy of a virtuous life. If you cannot practice the thought or virtue, it’s not stoicism. Being a stoic means having inner dialogue, finding what you are in control of and then living the best life you can from there with no complaints about the circumstances or about results. Stoicism is about action, not about attaching to the rewards.

Living the best you can in the present, because stoic recognizes life is only in the present. Nobody can change the past, however with the action in the present we create future. Nor does stoic gets attached to the future – everything goes to the plan because we are creating the plan every moment as we go. Stoic cannot be thus harmed by ill will, because stoic turns any obstacle into opportunity or dies trying.

Literally stoic recognizes the shortness of life: memento mori – remember you are mortal.

It’s only now time to be what you can be. It’s now when you should start not only being, but start the doing. Be the doing you can be!

I decided to modify the words of Gandhi: Do the change you want to see in the world. Doing is being, do not just talk, start doing something about what you want! In the end we never cannot be still to long, we are never complete, perfection is just a day dream. Excellence is what we should pursue. Excellence means the best we are capable of with the given time and resources. We do not need to commit overly too much resources, that would be foolish, yet we need just enough to create excellence, the best possible solution.

Excellence requires letting go and yet finding ways to fulfill the need completely. Excellence is the practice of virtues. Every day we become what we can be if we practice excellence. The time to practice excellence is now!