The Choice

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You have a choice; you can choose what you believe. Your beliefs will translate as action, which will then again translate as results.

Beliefs may or may not have some basis. During the weekend, I was discussing with my brother and I understood. I understood a thing about my own past and then I presented a question what causes people to challenge their beliefs?

Answer is something from outside needs to challenge our beliefs, which then with later reflection may tip us to turn into ourselves and ask if it’s true or not. Even more accurately a blog post that I found describes this belief formation and questioning: How Our Beliefs Form and What Causes us to Question Them.

When I think about my own life, nine years ago I did question my beliefs and decided to start test some these beliefs if they are right or not. Turns out most of my beliefs were not true.

As I read that blog and saw the set of questions to challenge some of my beliefs I am quite certain that I’ve still a lot to do.

We have a choice about our beliefs. World is wonderful place when we have more positive beliefs about people and things. When we look at the facts, world is at the moment better than ever before. What do you choose to believe in today?

Values in Action

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Values are wonderful. However, if they are not put in action they are nothing real. Values in action are called virtues.

I’ve thought quite a bit what do I value and so far I’ve been rather satisfied with these seven:

Value Virtue (value in action)
Love Kindness, compassion, metta, forgiveness, mercy
Aspiration Excellence, purpose, openness, curiosity, courage
Responsibility Sustainability, effort, courage
Courage Positive action despite of fear, growth, rightfulness, effort
Truth Seeing the world as it is, open mind and learning.
Gratitude Awareness, meditation, metta
Humility Service, gratitude

 

It’s not perfect, yet it shows what I value the most. While these I review every day, it’s not really the same as thoroughly reflecting and deepening the bond with these values and virtues.

When I read Frank Bettger How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling and Dale Carnegies How to Win Friends and Influence People, I picked up an idea from there that they picked up from Benjamin Franklin about the virtue list. A theme virtue for every week.

First six days are now in behind with the love theme. What the theme does, is forces me to contemplate further how do I practice each day and what could I do more. I’ve found it to work like magic.

What are your values? What do they mean in action? What are you willing to do and on the other hand what are you not willing to sacrifice?

The Limitations of Our Attention and the Cure

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We have limited attention, we can only be at a one place at a given time and we can only focus to one person or a task at a time. In this sense we are rather limited.

Because of our limited nature, we should also be forgiving for those who wrong us and merciful towards ourselves, who cannot always meet our expectations. At very least we can learn at the end of the day and move forward slightly smarter than we were previously on today.

Humans have deep desire for attention and desire. Attention is the currency of power and love. We realize this as children that we are not the center of the world and we are not really omnipotent either. From there on we are seeking for some kind of drought for this deprivation.

A cure that cannot be given, unless we are first willing to give it to others.

How do you treat that who has no power above you? That is the measure of our being. We get that wellbeing which we create to our environment.

It’s not even the ill words that hurt us, it is when we get no attention at all. Yet do not hold grudge to those who ignore you by purpose or without purpose, because most likely they have no purpose they are merely not mindful. And if it was on purpose, who would like to have the attention of such person anyway as it would only mean trouble?

Being present and forgiveness are the cures for our deprivation of attention. We must first administer what we wish to have.

Making a Difference

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 Do you want to matter? I bet you do, many of would like to. Only few of us are willing to challenge ourselves to do it.

Our energy saving programming drives us to do this.

Yet our conscious desire and ambition should every day do something to challenge this status quo of energy saving. We should push ourselves consciously, in order to make sure we are getting most of our lives and that we are making the life better for generations to come.

Yesterday I was under the tutelage of Jari Sarasvuo again in the form of coaching session. Well a good teacher makes all the topics worthwhile going through again. He asked me why do we need to grow?

Spontaneously I answered something, yet missed the core and that’s okay. What was wonderful is that my mind continues to work with that thought “why do we need to grow.” Actually I’ve written about it in February (Why to Grow?) last time. Yet the mark of the master is everyday start to ask the same questions and furthermore drill deeper in to the nature of things.

So this is as always, a kind of continuation to the last thing, every time getting slightly deeper.

Jari said that growth is what separates us from animals, we are the conscious animal and I agree on that.

Yet at the same time, I gotta same time remind that we are an animal. We may have 40 bits per second of conscious bandwidth, but most of us are not using much of it all during day. Adults are mostly operating by our routines and habits.

Here comes the important point: CHALLENGE YOURSELF.

I’ve written about this too. Last time during summer when I was traveling: Challenge Yourself and Survive. Without the challenge, pattern and routine breakers we gravitate to the center of our comfort zones.

Actually the ability to break patterns is at the moment in my mind the most important skill in leadership, no matter are you leading yourself or others. Even in basic things such as conversations, the ability to break the common patterns is the sign of leadership.

With pattern breakers, the common becomes uncommon, it becomes meaningful and that makes all the difference.

Also real difference and progress is made only when we grow. When we grow to handle our emotional responses; made peace and traveled through the vastness of space. Then have made a difference.

Janne

P.s. Because life is so limited, we also should ask regularly what does matter? Are these results meaningful? In the core of the triple loop learning is not only asking are we doing the things right, or are we doing the right things, but to contemplate on what is right as well. Staying humble and asking questions, because humility unlocks the next level (Model for Long Lasting Happiness).

What’s Worth Sacrificing For?

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The more ambitious we the more our life becomes a process consisting of planning, prioritization and doing.

With this this process good question to asks are such as:

  • What is the most important thing I can be doing now?
  • What is worth sacrificing for?

If we are not satisfied with our lives, is mostly because we have wasted a much of it. Ask anyone who feels like they are living a fulfilling life and the reason they are there, because they have made choices to do this specific thing instead of couple, or hundred others. They’ve chosen and sacrificed the alternatives to be doing what they do.

Life is in fact constant prioritization: during a day, week, month or year.

There are several priorities, yet we choose to do some and not to do others, on what basis?

Something has to be sacrificed, what are you willing to sacrifice?

Relating to yesterday’s post about investments, are you sacrificing to invest something, or just to degenerate?

What Are You Investing Today?  

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Exercise is an investment for tomorrow. Well being of others through comes through your health.

Learning is an investment for tomorrow: what you have learned by heart, you get to keep.

What are you doing today, to make your tomorrow better? When I realized this a couple weeks back, it changed completely the way I view my time.

Exercise wasn’t a chore anymore. Learning is a fun opportunity. Well both of these have been part of life for long, however now I found a new fun way to look at it: as an investment for tomorrow.

Exercise builds physical capacity, which enhances in turn the mental capacities to learn. Both of these capacities are at work at work. Working is therefore essentially building your capacity.

From work you might get paid in a way or another. What do you do with the money you get? Are you researching investment opportunities to make the money work for you?

If not, perhaps you should be. Because best investments for you require deep understanding, which can only come if you are looking at what market has to offer.

Investment becomes investment when the investment sum starts to work for you by returning more money that you put in.

Become the Programmer of Your Life by Reflecting on Your Stress Responses

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When we are born into this world and grow up, we cannot choose the environment much at all where we are brought up. From the environment where we grow up, we inherit, learn and copy models for responding to stress. Let’s call these learned models scripts from now on.

Script is essentially a sequence of thoughts, emotions and actions that happen automatically and effortlessly in mostly unconscious mind.

Stress should be defined as influence that alters an existent equilibrium. Therefore inherently stress is not good or bad, it’s merely a sign that something should be done and thus triggers thoughts and emotions in us.

So when we grow up, and a stressor enters our world we automatically take actions according to the learned scripts. If we get hungry, we may go to the fridge and grab whatever we would like to eat at the time.

Since life is complicated, these scripts that are drilled into unconscious mind save a lot of time and energy for us. Yet to live a happy and productive life, scripts we have inherited, learned and copied may not always be optimal. The reason is simply that we are the very first version of ourselves the moment we become aware of this. Before we are aware of this, we are a product, not a programmer.

When we become aware, we become the programmer of our lives. Conscious time and space for reflection is one way to be aware. I write journal every day and try to meditate as well. From these activities I write down all thoughts I can get.

Best of all habits is to have time during weekend for such reflection, because then we can contemplate more deeply on what actions we have taken and have they been optimal.

As an example today I had such a reflective day which I spent mostly in quiet long walk. It’s during this walk I happened to go upon sea where I rested a bit and start my mobile phone and entered upon the realm of social media where I saw an update by a friend.

My reaction then and there was rather negative since the emotions like  uncertainty, inadequacy and jealousy a rose. I caught myself a few minutes afterwards thinking, why would I choose an emotional response to that?

I had to accept that I had a script that lead to rather unskillful stress response. Now that I had become aware of such unskillful script and accepted its existence, I could do something about it. Since I knew, I could choose the way I respond to stressors, I began to think what would be mature way to respond to this? I quickly found more positive things such as happiness for others, belonging and acceptance.

Actually it is through this reflection that changed the whole lense I am looking now at the happiness of others that is shared often through social media. I have to admit my ignorance: it’s a bit scary that I haven’t noticed this earlier in myself.

During the walk, I also decided to start practicing and deepening my bond with the virtues even more. In 2013 I used the virtue list, an idea from Benjamin Franklin. Yet now in 2017 since I’ve put more thought into my values and virtues as well, I thought I need to start practicing these in the same way, one virtue each week. Humility is on that list too.

Remember as long as we live, we are never the final versions, we are always under development. Are you a code produced by the chance and the environment or are you the coder of your own life?

Master the Materials

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Reading quality sources increases our awareness quicker than pure action does. This quality of information is transformed into awareness, which then should be transformed into action as well. Action then in turn provides feedback and experience from which we can build a solid foundation for wisdom.

What is quality information? As example, books that have passed through the filters of many and are recommended by many and the message of the book is relevant to us at the moment.

This is because well researched and written book is certainly standing on the shoulders of giants. There are discoveries, upon discoveries presented there in very thoughtful manner. When you are reading such book, you will know from the first pages and lines that this is a material to be studied for a lifetime.

The more you read, the more aware you become. By starting to have conversation with the quality material you will deepen your bond with the knowledge, and make it easier for yourself to apply the knowledge and wisdom daily. You will start to master the material, eventually becoming master yourself.

Capacity Matters

 

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Today I was reflecting that I am happier when I’ve meaningful work to do, than when I do not. I do not mind the work to get it done.

People make the work meaningful, all the people involved, especially those who I work for the most of the time.

What I like about working, is that it builds the capacity to work more. During last summer I noticed, that both my mental and physical stamina are at surprisingly good levels. Then I started to ponder how this came to be, and mostly I came to the conclusion that it has to be not only the physical exercise and small things I do each, but the mental exercise as well.

Work builds capacity. And above all it’s the capacity that matters.

If I were suddenly taken into less challenging work, it would start deteriorating and in few months I would already be in position where I cannot the old.

I think capacity matters, especially if you ambition matter. And I do think that we all have or should have a purpose that for which challenging ourselves matter and therefore our capacity matters. We shouldn’t settle for just anything, we shouldn’t lower our standards, but to keep challenging our capacity.

What We Do Often Strengthens

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Learning is based on repetition. Yet repetition can sound daunting, boring or unnecessary. Yet the only way we learn is repetition, that’s the way our brains know which is important and which is unimportant. Important things are used often, unimportant things are not used to often.

Some emotions like fear can create a strong memory that will be remembered for a long time after the event. In everyday life it’s a bit challenging to evoke such strong emotions as our learning aids, so the second best choice is repetition and some funny associations.

Life is simply what we do and at what frequency. That which we do often, it’s particularly convenient to remember.

That what we do, and do often strengthens. Think carefully what kind of behavior you want to strengthen.