Courage is the Key to Learning and Growth

 

tiger-2895617_640.jpg

If we want to have something different than what we have now, we must be prepared to risk it. Without a risk position, nothing can be gained. All growth is based on taking a risk, accepting it and then working so that the risk will not ever come true.

Sometimes despite all the work, the position does not succeed. What does a wise person do? Learn.

It is through courageously taking risks, and then learning from each position that creates growth. Sometimes we fail, yet we always learn. Sometimes we succeed bigger than we ever imagined possible.

Risking to get no, is better than never trying. At least you know.

Where are you developing your courage?

What are you risking today?

 

Poem: The Change Makers

 

Ignorant we all are, I must admit.

Yet there are those who to this do not submit.

These people are the shapers,

The change makers.

 

Those who are courageous enough to seek truth.

And stand to face the oppressive Brood,

Who do not care where the truth stood,

Or what was for everyone’s good!

 

People like Mandela and Gandhi,

Have become such examples, how handy!

Equipped with truth, love, and courage,

Have built their wisdom and virtue while pulling the carriage.

 

Suffering of the wheel,

Is imaginable and real.

They made no squeal,

Because it was in their interest to heal.

 

With grace they endured,

To the inner work they spurred.

Through work they developed,

And a new kind of thinking enveloped.

 

Wrong they faced,

Pain not only grazed.

They got to taste the pain of living,

And transformed it in their minds into a giving.

 

Yet people were astray.

Not caring what they had to say.

Thus they were sent away.

Only to return; and light the way!

 

They learned to care first,

To quench another one’s thirst.

People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care, said Teddy.

 

World is not so steady,

You better get ready,

Your ignorance is unstable,

To care you are able!

Takeaway from Bhagavad Gita: World is Us

320px-Arjuna_statue.jpg
Arjuna – pic by Ilussion – Own work, CC BY 3.0

Bhagavad Gita is a book that is little known in western world. It’s called the holy book of Hinduism, however it’s actually just a part of greater epic. Bhagavad Gita or Gita just in short is rather practical guidebook to living a life.

Gita is written in the form of dialogue between an Indian Prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna. Krishna represents selfless servant, who gives advice to the prince who struggles with the questions of life: love and war.

The themes in the book are very practical. As example, Arjuna is in a difficult position where war seems inevitable and yet he wouldn’t want to go into a war where he would have to face his relatives and in the end he wouldn’t be happy even if he would go to war and win, so he is struggling with the fact that should he then just accept defeat and be done with the life?

Krishna teaches and clarifies Arjuna’s thinking through giving Arjuna a better understanding what really matters. As Krishan is representation of something greater, his advice has perspective about purpose of life.

Krishna helps Arjuna to see his life as part of something greater as well and therefore helps Arjuna to see purpose.  Basic message is that there is a greater self beyond what we can see. A self, that is interconnected.

World Is Us

World is us, even though we live ourselves in the illusion of separateness.

Also because we can observe ourselves, it means we are greater than merely our thoughts, emotions and our bodies. While this concept is a bit difficult for me, it could be either the greater self, or soul in more Christian way thinking. The greater self or soul is indestructible unlike the body.

Because of this indestructible part, our purpose is longer term than just this life. This life is wonderful opportunity do take this longer term perspective and start doing the good and right things for the whole interconnected system we are part of.

This concept could be described best as the middle way saying no the bad options, yet being courageous about values and virtues. From this kind of thinking, the greatness has risen, as example the non-violent movement: people remain courageous while still withholding their human rights and not succumbing to the oppression.

Because world is ourselves, it would be foolish to hurt ourselves purposefully. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. Therefore the suffering we cause the others is also suffering caused upon ourselves. Cycle of suffering continues and increases. This was communicated in such clarity that I decided to go vegetarian.

Dare More, Break the Routine

winter-2111838_640.jpg

Repeating the same thing with the familiar expectations and results is boring.

Repeating the same thing with increased expectations and progressive results will results in much more fun things to come.

Seriously dare to break the routine. Even if you are taking the long road to learn something, break the routine. Only those who are willing to ditch the routine, trust the moment and their knowledge will be able to level up.

Dare to set higher goals. Build on the positive momentum and see how far it can carry you!

Break the pattern, do the unexpected. Dare to do more in smarter ways!

Best Parts of Life Are Unknown Before They Are Known

wormhole-2514312_640.jpg

This phrase keeps coming to my mind. Whatever it is growth, learning or leadership, we often need to have the courage to face the unknown, a life without any assurances.

By unknown I mean that something that is unknown to us. Meaning we do not have personally experience with that. If we do not personally experience something we cannot really know what is anything like, no matter how hard we try.

Try simulating weightlessness (microgravity) for example? In a pool we might get pretty close, yet that is pretty far away from the actual experience.

Only way really to know is to see ourselves, to experience by ourselves. Only by getting to know the unknown for as long as we live, we can have more accurate sense of reality. We need to go towards the unknown to know what life has in for us.

Summary of Seth Godin’s Linchpin

arrows-2034022_640.png

Today I decided to revisit my highlights of the Linchpin. It is the book that literally made me to write every day again and I hold it in high regard. Although I had tried with my previous blog writing everyday for month, I didn’t stick with it. And even this time I had from different sources and different reasons to stick with this (Steve Pavlina and Neil Pasricha), Linchpin despite was the book that convinced me to start again.

“Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people.”

Quite simply and shortly put the Linchpin is a book about being you, and stop hitting your head to the wall. It’s about creating the art (what ever you want to do) that is meaningful.

I’ve found my most meaningful time of the day to be thinking and clarifying my thinking as a text. While the medium might and change from person to person, you should put the effort there. Seth’s advice is to put the hour to your art no matter what. Do not mind the defects, as art is never defect free anyway.

The lesson is to commit to an hour a day to the art and then deliver.

“In everything you do, it’s possible to be an artist, at least a little bit.”

Life is not about the dull work, it’s about the wonderful art. Seth spends quite a lot of time and space in the book to talk about what are the common causes that people do not follow this advice: fear and resistance rise up, which I can totally relate. He had inspirational lines like “I realized that my lizard brain was afraid of this book, which is the best reason I can think of to write it.”

Creating art does require courage and less resistance.

“You become a winner because you’re good at losing.”

To conclude, the key is about creative action that is not just any action, but work that brings meaning to the peoples’ lives. Such action is called art, and almost any action can be art if it’s done with creativity and sense of purpose, not with just the bored everyday routines. What does prevent us from doing to ordinary extraordinarily well is our lizard brain that is afraid of failure. The way to overcome this is through the practice of delivering and doing it because it is meaningful and it deserves to be done and delivered.

Today’s Lesson: You Are Your Own Bliss or Bane

I keep today’s blog as short learning experience and reminder, because today is mostly about action.

Taking the first step is nervebreaking for me. Meeting people for the first time, entering new social circle. Even in existing cases sometimes my mind starts to sabotage my conscious efforts by inventing all kinds of unsupportive narratives.

Dealing with these unsupportive narratives requires mindfulness and often mental preparation as well. Today I entered into Salsa dance intensive which is totally new experience for me: I don’t have any dancing experience or self-concept as a musically adept person. However I’ve determination to learn and I’ve made decision to challenge myself earlier. I got attracted to Salsa because of the energy, I feel like I have a lot to learn from there. On the other side I also feel like it would be an outlet to spend my own energy and desire for dance.

Sounds perfect? Well with one days experience it was awesome. Yet my inner dialogue could have very well prevented me from trying. Even at the last moments my inner dialogue would have wanted me to stay mute and not to say hi to anyone. Often based on my previous experiences this then leads to the desire to flee.

This time that didn’t happen. I felt safe. Reasons for this are many. I feel that my preparation had a part to do with it. Most importantly my realization just before I entered the building: measure of my success is my own development.

This summarizes very well that all life we should compare ourselves to ourselves, not to anybody else.

Become the Master of Your Thoughts, Emotions and Feelings  

 

the-scenery-679011_640.jpg

You are not your thoughts and emotions. Phrase, actually for me a mantra that I learned from Jari Sarasvuo.

Thoughts and emotions are not us. If we are the observer on the river, then the thoughts and the emotions are the water and everything that goes down with the river.

When things go better, I remember this.

When things start to get worse, I’ve forgotten this. I get tricked by my emotions and thoughts to believe they are actually me. Therefore I wrote, so that I might remember. I write to remind myself and others.

Our life becomes the reflection of those feelings and emotions that we take refuge in when we are sensing a challenge arising.

As observer of the river, we may choose the way we respond to these thoughts and emotions. When a fish jumps, what do you do?

What about when you see a black tentacle monster beneath the water surface glaring you with gleaming eyes? Is it courage? Curiosity? Compassion? Or perhaps it is cowardice?

Personally my habit in such strange situation would be probably cowardice. It’s not my desired habit, therefore I would like to transform it into something mix of courage, caution, curiosity and compassion.

More than our thoughts and emotions, we are collection of the habits by which we react to feelings. In Power of Habits book, there was a case about a man who had lost his memory, yet his habits did remain.

Winston Churchill said that the primary virtue in life is the courage, because it’s prerequisite for any action. I happen to agree on this one.

About ten years ago I learned from Steve Pavlina’s blog that the courage is like a muscle. Since then my life has been transformed. However, somewhere in between, I’ve stopped training my courage like at my greatest moments I’ve been: consciously and proactively.

So I’ve recognized at least one habit response to an emotion and it is cowardice. I would like a better habit and that would be courage.

In the same way I learned to observe other thoughts and feelings too. In case of feelings, what kind of thoughts precede? In case of thoughts, what kind of feelings or emotions follow? Becoming aware of the stream, makes you master of the stream.

Practice every day until the behavior is your nature.

Only Others Can See What You Need to Level Up

Vuorikiipeilijä, Kiivetä, Kiipeilylajeista At times there is a need to level up. Sometimes, you need a special person to point that out, to give the spark for just that.

Leveling up in life happens in bursts. Like a bonfire, you need something to burn first. For me and in my life, I’ve probably collected lots of stuff to burn. Yet what was missing the spark. Therefore I am extremely grateful to Stephanie who made this possible for me at this point in life to recognize such an need which I was completely unaware of.

Stephanie pointed out to me, that I could use some confidence. As intuitive and reflective person, I do pickup on this kind of meaningful feedback keenly and you could say that through the two days I vigorously reflected my thoughts to journal.

As a conclusion I understood human needs a bit better: Only someone else can give you what you need, and sometimes it’s tiny and meaningful hints like these that change the whole game. My horizons have broadened since then, actually proper metaphor would be that my eyes have been opened again after two years of walking blind (and of course occasionally walking to the right direction).

Now I’ve understood that in order to keep my courage at a high level, I need to constantly keep challenging myself. Therefore I happened to combine a want with a challenge: now I’ve a one way ticket to Paris, where my first plan is to see the Coldplay concert. This is a perfect opportunity for me to see how far I can go and with how little.

Life is about constant prioritization of multiple goals at the same time and to make that happen requires handling and clearing progressively harder challenges. I haven’t had enough progression lately on meaningful goals lately, so thanks to the feedback I’ve understood to fix that. It’s time to challenge myself and level up, in order to help others grow more (by the way this is the definition of love by Dr. Scott M. Peck as I mentioned in previous article).

Thank you Stephanie!

 

Janne

P.s. On a bigger scale, as an inspiration I remembered today that Elon Musk had a challenge to live with less than a dollar a day. Perhaps that could be something to try in a year. Just to see if I can do it of course.

Creative Habits

What separates people who create from those who don’t? People who create start and are willing to start with imperfect ideas and develop them further.

Most importantly creatives are willing to make the ideas real and deliver each day.

Taking the risk takes courage and effort. Courage it takes because once you deliver the work is out there for the public eye to criticise. Effort because you have you work with incomplete ideas and make them more whole under all the constraints.