Pressure Reveals Ourselves and the Culture We Are Surrounded by.


We can become that which we learn to be under pressure. By observing our thoughts, we can change our response, we can change our action and we can change our habits. We can change ourselves to take smarter action under pressure.

We can become smarter by taking smarter actions.

Top performers perform better under pressure, because they have more time to choose a better response. So can anyone become better at chosen action is the responses are better and you have more time to respond.

Pressure reveals how prepared we are, and how do we react to the pressure: do we have time to evaluate the best choices or do we mindlessly react like animals do?

More than ourselves, the way we react reflects the culture around us. For those who are in the culture, it is difficult to see. From outside its easier to observe that under pressure our behavior is often based or even copied from those who are close to us.

Pressure therefore not only reveals ourselves, it reveals the culture we are surrounded by.

Of course we do influence and get influenced by culture at the same time. What is in our own control is the respond to each situation and that’s it. Do you breathe for four seconds before reply or do you respond straight away? Do you have multiple choices or do you go with the first one that pop  into your heads.

Be Calm and Prepare

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Calm and preparation make life to seem to be under our control. Of course even at best we have illusion of control, because life is way too big to be controlled. We at (best) can control our own impulses and responses to what life throws at us.

The calm and the preparation both help us to choose even better responses. And what makes life wonderful are those best thought out responses to whatever happens!

If we are calm, we have all the time in the world to make the right decisions.

If we are prepared, we are never in a hurry because we already are prepared and ready to go.

The sense of calm comes ability to see the reality as it is, not to take it too personally. In fact, the very nature is change between huger and huger forces at play so it’s just easier to remain calm because that’s the only thing we can control: how do we respond when everything comes crashing down.

We have to ability to remain calm and prepare for tomorrow, until sadly the tomorrow one day doesn’t come. Yet if we are calm and in control of ourselves we should have a lot of fun while at it. While others depress or worry, we remain calm and enjoy the life as it is!

Wonder of the Present Moment


Present is the wonderful state, in which you have everything you will ever have or ever need. Your past cannot be taken away from you, or you cannot lose your future just because it has been promised to you. Only real time is the present, others are just fragments of the past and future has not yet decided how it will appear.

Do not worry about past, you cannot change it.

Do not worry about future, you cannot control it.

Focus to the tiny portion of the present in which you are in control.

“Present is all we have, no past or future cannot be taken away from us.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Be fully present, inhale, exhale! Those are the joys of life. Just as the breath, life is full of energy going in and out. World has plenty of energy, plenty of possibilities, plenty of time!

World is abundant place when you sharpen what it is you want to do in the present moment. At the present moment you only have a space for one thing, you have chosen wisely, make sure to keep choosing wisely!

Have a great present moment!



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I’ve spent whole day preparing for Tuesday’s speech at work and important component there is motivation. Because it has been all I’ve been thinking today I shall write something about it here as well.

Interesting thing about motivation is that although it is very popular concept, the scientific definition behind motivation tends to be forgotten. Then you can easily find articles which describe motivation or sources of motivation without really defining what the motivation it is.

One particularly satisfying part was for me to deep into the etymylogy of the word and break it down. According to motivation appeared in English around 1870 consisting of the word motive and suffix –ation, meaning action. So motive for action could be understood. The source for the word was in latin “movere” which means to move.

Makes sense!

Motivation has been theorized and researched a lot, no wonder many businesses are interested what makes us tick in order to make more profit.

To put it in simple terms there is internal world: your interests and strengths. From this internal world you can decide quite a lot, or little depending on your own decision. Those who are conscious and control are strongly driven through these internal worlds.

Then there are people who do not ask themselves these questions such as, why I do this, where I am good at and what else there is I could do to increase the wellbeing of others… Are instead moved by external world’s demands such as having to pay the rent, then they motivate to do that in order to be motivated to pay the rent again in 30 days.

Internal needs are always there. External pressures only add to those.

We all actually can operate from internal world if we come to accept our current situation, what we can control, what we can decide about. Then we should work to clear the urgent external demands out of our needs list and lastly focus to prepare for the important things in life.

This is the nature of motivation. Reasons for action.

Often our basic needs are rather simply taken care of. Then there are loved ones whose basic needs we want to take care of. After that we are not driven so much by needs, we have time to contemplate greater things.

We still could be fooled to be driven by external needs, demands, however we could choose as well not to.

Ask yourself why you are doing what you do five times, find the underlying reason and think if there could be better match for your strengths, interests and the external worlds needs.

The Happiness Equation: book highlights


Out of 34 books I’ve read this year and out of 36 that I read last year, there are few gems in there. Among all the books, one that makes almost any day better for me is the Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha.

Yesterday I reviewed my notes thoroughly and they made me so deep impact that I ought to share the main points with you today.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future”

Life is happening now, we must learn to be present is the present for a reason. To be more present, mindfulness is a good practice it makes us happy and success follows happiness. Be happy first.

Distractions in life are major obstacles for happiness. Like we are in the present, we shouldn’t focus to external goals, but to internal drivers. Internal motivation is a driver of excellence. Happy people do things, because they are happy and interested about doing things.

While external motivations can get ourselves distracted, it is only our own judgements and criticism that often makes us discouraged and sad.

Buddha says, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

Be happy first, and start with yourself. You are worthy of attention, love and affection. We cannot control most of what happens in life, however we can control how we react to it.

So now we have the groundwork covered. Next is the difficult part: the purpose, the work and social life. To put it shortly, we are social animals and we need social context. We should work in something where we can increase our collective happiness. As it is pointed out: giving is the simply best way to increase your own happiness. Doing good for others.

We need to stay active with the giving and kindness as well, here we get to the purpose or what is described in the book as ikigai. Never retire, what you do not use you lose: this applies to happiness, your brain and your health as well.

Like Gandhi said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

I ought to read the whole book again soon and I recommend it to you too.

Three Poems, Three Reminders



I am awestruck by some of the poems we have chance to enjoy at this day and age, i.e.:

Invictus by William Ernest Henley (YouTube)

A Million Pieces by Jon Jorgenson (YouTube)

No Man is an Island by John Donne (YouTube)

Lesson we all can learn from these poems are boundless. From key reminder in Invictus for me it is to stick with what I can control.

A Million Pieces keeps giving me goose bumps, because in fact it’s a reminder that we are the makers of our life, often through apparent suffering we are going to make our life. What hurts and breaks us is in fact making us ever more unique.

And finally, No Man is an Island reminds us that everything is interconnected.

We can control our lives. We will get hurt while trying to live, however that hurt makes us stronger. If however something unfortunate happens, it’s good to remember that any loss is collective loss.

Small Steps Taken Daily  


Wishful thinking about big changes is easy, yet not very realistic fantasy. At the same time human mind tends to underestimate the change that is capable by doing small things every day.

List your most important priorities. Okay now go through the list, what are you doing today for:


Loved ones

Financial status

Purpose / career / dream..?

You need to know what is it you want to achieve, and then ask yourself what it is you can do for it today. Then simply start building the discipline to do it. Eventually that discipline becomes habit, your identity and your identity is the biggest leverage you can get. You’ll start doing things because you are the action, you are the verb, you are your own doing.

You are the master of your fate.

It’s not the achievement that matters, but the journey. It’s the sense of progress that brings lasting satisfaction, not the single achievement. Even when you happen to achieve the object of your desire, you do not last very long satisfied. At best it is about five seconds.

However, nothing expect yourself can take away the sense of progress and that you get from taking a step each day towards the grander horizons.

Only by trying out how far you can get, you’ll know how far you will get. You might surprise yourself, or the world might surprise you. However what won’t change is the satisfaction you’ll get from the journey and from each step.

Start valuing the small steps and the journey. Start walking now, because present is the only moment we really have control of.  Every day is like a new life, we can remember some of the lessons of yesterday and we do not know yet if we can make it until tomorrow. Place emphasis on the journey today and take the step!

Who You Are Makes Up Your Life: How You Are and What You Have


After thinking and pondering, I’ve changed my mind since I wrote the two leverages. Although time is leverage, it becomes relevant only after we know who we are, we know what we want and we think we have control over our lives.

The most important leverage in our life is identity and through identity we use time to our advantage.

I learned these three questions yesterday as I was reading Aki Hinta’s The Core – Better Life, Better Performance. The core is our identity. I realized that this book made the biology and positive psychology click together: being happy and wellbeing leads to success.

This connects very well what I’ve learned from Tom Rath from his books as well as Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz from The Power of Full Engagement.


How You Are Depends on Who You Are

Our wellbeing and happiness is tightly connected to our identity.

Healthily diversified identity can process all kinds of setbacks, rejections and bounce back rather quickly. This is because a failure in one or two areas of life, is not the end of the world. One still gets support from other areas of life. More about this in Increase Your Liberties with Alternatives.

Being happy with who you are now, takes a lots of work! Mental work that is, to accept ourselves, reframe our failures as sources of learning experience. This is however, exactly what I would suggest you to do: to learn the habits to love yourself as you are, to enjoy what you have, be grateful and joyful about the life.

Focus on the good, and that will grow.


What You Have is Outcome of Who You Are

Your life up until now, is the sum of your actions, habits and beliefs. Outside influences have a role too, however it’s not a role we should be focusing on, because that we cannot control at all and at best just influence.

We should focus on what we can control. Essential in the WHO, is your identity. From identity comes your attitude, beliefs and action. These are completely under our control.

Aki Hintsa asks three questions:

  • Do you know who you are?
  • Do you know what you want?
  • Do you believe, you can control your life?

Answer to these questions.

When I did this exercise yesterday, I noticed that my identity part was the shakiest of these all, so I needed to remember again who I am. That’s why I went to research my strengths as well to remind myself who I am and then again, what I want to accomplish. Belief in that I can control is strong.

I noticed that my self-definition had become a bit blur in time. Actually even just a few weeks makes any definition obsolete, as human beings we are rather fluid. As example I’ve written this kind of description to my twitter which doesn’t anymore feel completely in sync with who I am: Marketing/Sales/Coach/Creative/Blogger.

Good about this description is the wide array of labels, that overlap many areas of my life. Wider and more general description serve my mental health very well. Previously in life, I’ve seen plenty enough of examples, where the identity is too narrow, and when that part is taken away from you this causes great anguish and collapse. From such experiences, I’ve decided to be keep my identity balanced and tied to many activities, rather than just focusing deeply in just few.

Therefore now I decided to clarify just for myself a few new more accurate labels. And since I am this far in the writing process I might share it with you as well:

Creative – Creativity and ideas have so many forms and it is my job to bring them alive in all areas of life.

Strategic – My major strength according to Strengthfinder 2.0. I hear strategic thinking cannot be taught. So therefore, I try to use this to benefit more people in my life.

Writer – Like I breathe, I want to write. It’s a form of habit and this habit is the savior of my life. In my priorities it’s right there with breathing and sleeping. Sometimes sleeping wins and it should, because in the long run sleeping is more important for the sake of the writing.

Coach – Coaching is teaching. Above all I love to think and learn in life. And what could be more fulfilling that to teach what I’ve learned to someone who actually needs and benefits of it?

Friend – With all the striving going on, I should remember to accept people as they are, where they are like they do accept me. Friendship is wonderful.


Once you’ve figured out the answers to the three questions, you have the leverage. Then there is the work.



Two Leverages in Our Life


Life is rather simple: what we do in present become the past tomorrow. These actions then stack up and build the both mental and physical palaces we habit tomorrow.

First leverage: TIME

We are in control of our present moment and in the present we can control how the future flows into the present. Calendar is one of the oldest ways to manage time. Important addition to the calendar is the personal priorities and personal mission.

Time is the most important and valuable leverage we have over our life. We’ve the choice how to use that time.

Next one week is 168 hours. We can spend an hour in a thing we love, what the world needs, what we are good at, or what we are paid for. There are several options to do or not to do in one hour. If we choose the path of action the Ikigai is a good way to think about time the time as well:


(Image 1, Ikigai)

Let’s say we have one hour and we spend one in each four circles alone. That amounts to four hours of our life. Is it wise way to use our own time that’s for us to determine.

However, what I’ve learned recently it is in fact the ability to make as many circles overlap as possible that starts to make the life feel meaningful.

For example my next 168 hours looks like I am going to spend 89 % of the time sleeping, working, commuting and writing. Most of that time overlaps with my passion, love and vocation. If I am not good at what I do, at least I am getting better. I am quite satisfied with this time spend. Almost all the rest of the time goes to the important relationships I’ve.

How does your next 168 hours look like and do you like what you see? What purpose your upcoming week does serve?

Second leverage: CAPABILITY

Second leverage is our capability for action in the present moment. We can invest in our energy, knowledge, strength and ability in the future, by practice and exercise in the present.

As an asset our bodies are rather irreplaceable and our minds are supercomputer class. Except unlike supercomputers, our minds are carried with us everywhere, highly mobile and adaptable to our interests. On top of this our minds can leverage those actual supercomputers if we so wish to do. And through the means of language we are also connected to other humans, which is in a sense a network of supercomputers. In fact the relationship between two people can become so much more than just two separate supercomputers. Napoleon Hill described that the two people or more forms also a third mind, so called mastermind.


Especially because of the second point, I am always interested in discussing and talking, and connecting with new people. Send me a message (jhapiiroinen[ät] or leave a comment below. We can chat, or make a Google hangout. 

Choose Yourself


Everyday experience of life can feel out of control. Even though this is the life we’ve chosen, we might forget it when we wake up. So reminding of the choice, is a good idea.

I was reminded by this choice today, as I was reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. As inspired by the book, I also started to pay attention to my internal dialogue and quickly noticed interesting “have to” –structure there. Quickly I reminded myself that in fact I do not have to, this is what I’ve chosen and this morning too I choose it.

This was a reminder for me, as I’ve sketched out my plan and connected that plan with actions. Those actions do include things like going out to work, writing each day and other things such as exercise, meditation and prospecting for investments. Because I’ve done this groundwork, reminding myself how this action is a choice was rather easy this morning.

Sense of freedom or illusion of the control is requirement. We can choose to be happy or to be anything as Stephen Covey puts it. That which we focus to grows. If we choose to be happy, our happiness increases.

Choose the yourself what to be and do then claim responsibility over it.