Quiet Contemplation on Decisions

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On occasion it’s good to have no structure and enjoy the chaotic connections and insights that arise. In order to prioritize we must determine and decide what is important. For that the time to reflect and weigh different options is necessary.

It seems I need to spend at least a day of a week in this kind of quiet and reflective in order to stay operational and to be able to function.

Life is rather easy if we think about it: we just need to prioritize spiritual, social and physical wellbeing and then when the time to do something comes, we are able.

Yet a life of growth is a bit different, because we are not facing the same challenges every day, instead we are facing progressively more difficult challenges.

Stress challenges our mind, body and spirit, and with rest all these grow stronger. Rest is much more than sleep: in physical terms it’s also everything that maintains our body. Our mind also needs healing: thinking practices, social bonding and emotional intimacy. Our spirit needs also nourishing: from social life and spiritual practices.

If we each day and week face increasingly more difficult challenges, how come we spend so little time to prepare for such?

I feel that we have plenty of time to prepare if we do it economically, each day a little bit. To do it economically only thing we really need to do is to keep doing the practices and reinforce the decisions we have made for example to exercise, meditate and socialize with friends and loved ones. Quiet contemplation lets us to appreciate and feel grateful for everything good we have in our lives and to work for those most important things even harder.

Attention is Our Might


Deep down, we crave for attention. Attention is the currency of love and power.

What makes life so difficult, is that we do not recognize our own might. We crave something, which makes fools of ourselves in the process.

We do not need the titles of kings and queens, gods or goddesses to have such like powers. When we are given life, we are destined to become the creators of our lives. This creation begins which the consciousness and ability to choose how to respond to that feedback which life constantly gives us.

The cognitive ability to choose our emotional response what makes human.

What will be the definition of homo sapiens? We can still influence this. Will it be the being who found the way, or lost the way?

How you will use your attention, will contribute to this definition and to the story of our species. Recognizing that all the power is in the present moment and how you will use each moment will determine everything.

We should direct majority of our attention to the present moment, because that is the source of our love and power. When we love ourselves, we become more lovable. When we do good to others, they will want to reciprocate.

World is abundant place when we start to see everything that is available in the present moment.

Positive Emotional Spiral


We are not our emotions. We’ve little control over our emotions they occur, however what we can control is our response to those emotions. Our response dictates our emotional life, how we respond creates either positive or negative spirals.

Thought -> Emotion -> Action

However, that cycle works also other way around action -> emotions -> thoughts. In a way our actions can bring us joyful emotions.

Happiness as a feeling may not be easy, but it’s a choice as well.

John Wooden said it well:  “True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you. Making the full effort to do the right thing can never be taken away from you.”

We can put our full effort into things, then we do not really have any other choice but to feel satisfied and happy. Because nothing else could’ve been done any better, we gave our best.

Learning from Stress



Much of the results we achieve each day are dependent on how we can handle stress and what our relation to stress is.

Personally I’ve come to think that the how very important. Even so important we could ask it several times in five why’s fashion how, how, how, how and how? How do we respond to stress tells so much about our beliefs, decisions, priorities and choices. How we react matters, even though under stress it might seem uncontrollable, however that tells us that we believe the stress is something bigger than us.

On the other hand there are people who respond to stress in quite different way, with focus and clarity to what they can control. Many of my colleagues are such people and it is indeed very pleasure to work with them.

Stress is merely a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Tension then is the act of stretching or straining.

When walking the middle way, we recognize that too much or too little of anything is likely to have negative cause to our life. To grow need to stretch, but also recover.

To know when we are having too much stress is to simple observe our stress reactions: when reactions start to become harmful, it is time to take some time to calm down, and take a deep breath.

In life, all situations affect each other and thus they form the totality of our stress load. I.e. relationships do affect work and vice versa. When traveling, under pressure and enough many things go wrong.

Recognizing how our own stress reactions and what do we do with it is helpful to know if there is anything we could perhaps to do more skillfully in the future? Also objectively observing the stress reactions from people close to us, will reveal valuable clues and insights how we can live in harmony in the future.

Designing Week Around Energy, Instead of Time

WayOne of my long term aspirations would be to improve my storytelling and writing skills. Obvious way to improve in that area would be to write. I gave a chance for unstructured way of writing and working without specific outcomes in mind, that didn’t work.

I acknowledge that with just hoping, the stuff won’t happen. However I’ve just the right tools to make it happen and even more! This time I’ve both the firsthand experience and some new ideas to tryout. Now I am intending to design my life in a way that will allow me to accomplish everything I expect on a week level.

In the core of this designing my week idea, is the thought about designing it around of energy, not time. Energy on the other hand is the capacity to get the work done. Results shall speak for themselves.

Now I shall be writing twice a week. Writing is exciting format for me to start with, however I might want to be doing something else in addition to this. Also I would like to shift the writing to a different & fun direction soon enough… That’s something I shall work on a bit by bit from now on! Maybe In year I’ve crawled somewhere.

So how does this designing life stuff work out? There is a tool called effect map, which can be used to connect the goals, to metrics and finally to the actions. So I use this to map out everything. In the first version I am mostly focused on every day and every week actions thought, I map these all. Then I take it one step further and add time guestimates.

Now that I’ve day and week based action mapped out, with time guestimates, I see that I am using 171 hours of 168 hours available! No wonder it feels like there is never enough time to do everything I am expecting myself of.

Just a side note for reader: since these are based on approximations, I am not taking the dead seriously. However they do serve as great guideline and bring also visible, where I am putting time.

As I said however, the trouble isn’t the time. The results matter and to get the results we need the spark called energy, or ‘ability to get the work done’ by scientific definition. From literature comes to my help one great book called ’The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal’ by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

The book does divide energy levels into four categories: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And furthermore each subcategory then has the ‘recovery’ or ‘stress’ state.  According to the book stress is good (especially boundary pushing stress), since it increases the total energy capacity. Stress only starts to cause trouble, when it’s not balanced with the proper recovery.

So according to this books model I did a bit of Excel work, where I listed all the activities, and what kind of energy effects they’ve on my life. Turns out it is mostly balanced. On physical side I’ve more stress than recovery, however then again on spiritual side I’ve more recovery than stress.

All in all this is still very much work in progress. However the book has finally convinced me about the importance of the exercise in order to increase capacity to work. Wow, this has been really something I’ve had HARD times convincing myself…

If you happen to know any good books on ‘managing energy’, I would love to learn about that. Either by email (janne at Zennen dot net)or twitter (@janne_piiroinen) or other ways.