Upgrade the Stories You Tell to Yourself

books-1245690_640.jpg

Be mindful of what you tell to yourself, about yourself, the day and the expectations.

Have positive expectations! By the things you say to yourself you can make each day a wonderful adventure. You would like to think that life is good and the world is conspiring to help you.

We can choose what we believe. It’s much more fun to think that the good things are going to happen today than bad things, right?

Easy to acknowledge, a bit more difficult to do, because this does take effort. However, the best time to start is now so that little by little you are able to remove the unskillful patterns and then manage the rest of the unhelpful thoughts as they come. Finally then you can fully nurture the thoughts that nurture your growth and experience of the life in total.

And your positive thinking does not only affect yourself, it increases primarily the wellbeing of those around you.

What are you waiting for? Create more positive stories about yourself, the world and the people. You will attract more opportunities this way than you will ever by complaining.

Have a wonderful evening!

Janne

Year 2017 Expectations, Outcomes and Summary

IMG_20170717_225917a.jpg

Life is ongoing change project, whatever we want it or not. Consciously we might have several ideas what to change, yet consciously we can only live a moment by moment, doing one thing at a time.

To reflect this, I took a peek into my journals and now offer the same chance to you to see how the expectations turned out.

My 2017 expectations and outcomes:

  • Keep writing and publishing every day. I later adjusted to 330 published posts. With this I’ve been successful and happy with. Important lesson right of the bat: do not be afraid to adjust your goals because the long run matters.

    As I wrote in habit combinations recently, writing somehow links so many important habits for me. Although I’ve recognized that it’s not writing per se what drives me, it’s more about the clarifying thinking, learning and then to be able to share that. Writing is medium for that, however the daily habit of writing ensures all these habits do progress to the currently desired direction.

    Outcome: 337 posts published in my English blog. In addition I started writing in Finnish to Posinkautta blog where I published five a bit more invested posts. To reflect back even further back in 2016 the growth from 261 posts to 337 or 29%! Next year the gains in publishing quantity are marginal, so therefore I’ve to write even better quality 🙂

  • Read 40 books. This I exceed by 42 as of present, audiobooks banzai! As a side note on 2016 I struggled with my reading goal of 36 books, however then I didn’t listen any audiobooks compared to this year 20.
  • Meditate at least 5 minutes every day. Meditation is my refuge even if it’s just as short while. However, especially when I am feeling upbeat I tend to forget about this which is sad. I still have to remind me that meditating does lead to my ultimate goal which is the good karma.
  • Exercise at least 5 minutes per day. While this may sound silly and little on a week level, my idea was more to kick start my morning routine or the jog, my logic went like this: if I’ve minimum standard for starting, keeping going is more interesting and many times I would indeed.

    Exercise goal has changed dramatically during the 2017. In the second half of the year I started Salsa, which I enjoy a lot and I’ve to make time to practice this in the upcoming year.

    Another thing that changed was my birthday gift, a polar watch which allows me to track my activity levels more accurately. Now I’ve daily goal of 10 000 steps which I try to keep on 7000 minimum. This has become rather attainable everyday if I just keep on moving right from the morning. Starting the exercise still feels like a chore so I’ve to work on to make it perhaps more social and through that meaningful.

  • Travel 2-3 times. I’ve tried to follow Dalai Lama’s advice to travel twice a year. During 2017 I felt I succeeded in this especially since I spent most of my summer traveling in Croatia, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. From my previous travels I had also noted that I should allow more freedom during the travel so I decided to try with no fixed come back date and went to solo travel with only one way ticket. That worked wonders! #learning
  • Form a mastermind group around investing. This idea I didn’t manage to further. On the positive side I did meet and befriend several people who are into different forms of investing and I’ve had great conversations about the topic. My network around the topic grew. Actually now looking at this idea, I think it would be more rewarding to over line the investing part of the mastermind group and just to have a group who has ambitious life goals and then to work on attainment of those. Finances are big part of the life, however there is much more as well. I’ll keep this idea in mind.

    Mastermind requires commitment because it’s a regular meeting format around once a month would be ideal. It’s more purposeful and intentional than just the interesting conversations I am at the moment having.

Summary

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Planning is preparing and preparing is everything in succeeding. Yet once the moment is at hand, we must be prepared to discard the plan, because something greater is at hand. Life is constant prioritization if I were to do similar reflection on the other past 29 years of my life, I would be proud and say that the 2017 has been the greatest experience of my life.

Past can be either a prison or a library, source of learning. Therefore we shouldn’t attach too much ourselves to the past. We should learn from our past and then keep on going. Greatest experiences today come when you understand your mistakes before and decide to find or create a new path today.

I started the year with a piece of wisdom from Mark Manson: “Focus to what truly fucking matters.” By now, at the end of the year I’ve forgotten this advice, a failure? My suffering for example yesterday was cured by simply remembering this phrase. Letters and words put together create what we call magic. As a writer I am a wizard.

Life is full of uncertainty of and consciously unexpected events. In 2017 year biggest this kind of change was in my relationship status back to single life in the summer.

Life is too complicated to comprehend and control, yet we are in control of our fates no matter what happens. We are the captains of our own souls and fates. Plans are the blueprints for our fates, and what we do each day towards those plans are the tiny manifestations of that fate.

Human mind tends to overestimate what we can achieve in short time and underestimate what is possible in a longer time frame. Therefore do not think your life only in terms of year, find a bigger perhaps three year plan! Year is a good measure to see some results, yet do not attach or condemn yourself too much because you did not achieve your goals, life is greater than that! Most important thing is to keep doing, keep doing, keep raising up and doing what you want to become!

On the following days I am going to follow Mark Manson’s advice and focus on what matters. And I am also going to follow the advice that I sometimes do not enough: trust my own judgement on this.

What’s your focus for the upcoming year and for your life? What do you want to achieve? What are you going to do about it today?

Janne

The Limitations of Our Attention and the Cure

fantasy-2861107_640.jpg

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.

Meaning of Work in Relation to Life

hands-1139098_640.jpg

 What is the meaning of work in regards to life? Work is literally the meaning: by work I mean the verb of working. By work I mean the elaborate use of the word meaning literally all activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.

As I was reading Bhagavad Gita today on the commute, I understood that too often we attach our minds too much to the end results: the rewards, fruits of labor.

Meaning of work is not the reward on contrary despite all we do and say, but the liberation to give and do without asking. By this statement I do not encourage slave labor, but to find ways to work without the expectation and attachment to the rewards.

Working is part of our nature. In Gita this is described as yoga in practice, however I found the awfully similar idea in Meditations by Marcus Aurelius where he says that it is man’s true nature to work.

Finding ways to work and serve others without any expectation of rewards brings surprising benefits that no fruit or coin can purchase.

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!

First Steps in Getting to Where You Want to Be

walking-2635038_640.jpg

Obvious place to start, where ever you are going to is where you are. Are you sure, you know exactly where you are?

In life, I often meet people who describe their efforts or the results of the effort with words such as “little”, “a lot”, “plenty”… This is not very accurate thinking at all. If you do something, you should quantify that. I.e. in my professional work, where we meet people “I met three people today”, it’s much more accurate than “I met a few people.”

In the end the entropy called laziness will find a comfort zone and then the decay of efforts and results begins.

Start with accurate thinking, where are you now? What is the effort towards your goal as action? How much of that action you willing to take taking a day / a week / a month / a year?

This will create more accurate expectations for yourself and in the big picture does help you measure real progress as well.

Gratefulness for the Present

watering-2389940_640.jpg

As I happened to finish the Obstacle is the Way and listen the discussion / “interview” at the end of audiobook with Ryan and Tim Ferris, Ryan was saying that Marcus Aurelius wrote the meditations to himself.

I might’ve borrowed that book over ten years ago from library. Too bad, that often at that time I rarely read any books, so even that I did not have the focus to read. In any case, this is inspirational thought for me, because most of my life I’ve written just for me. Later on with this blog, I’ve tried to serve some specific people as well as myself, however I guess in the end the final meditations that I do come up with these are primarily for myself.

If they add value to others, that’s great! That’s more than expected.

My recent breakthrough thought has been the gratefulness of the present moment.

This thought appears as feelings such as: I love my work, I love my colleagues, I’ve strong sense of purpose, my life has meaning, etc.

There are moments where these feelings and thoughts are tested through the days and weeks, however I feel like my general mood has been really upbeat and I like that.

It’s the people in my life who make this possible. Mostly the community at work which is the foundation for most of my wellbeing. Even though I probably would be alright without that and I know I would be, I wouldn’t have the sense of thriving so strong as I’ve now.

Present is all we have, so learning to be grateful for what we

Life is Better than We Think

text-1318187_640.jpg

Through my practice with each day expectations and actual outcomes, the outcomes are no doubt better than my expectations. It’s easy to be afraid of the worst case, yet if the fear becomes crippling then that’s too much.

In the past, I guess due to this thinking style, I’ve chosen not to do many things and skipped several others so I know the crippling fear and anxiety very well.

With the expectation and outcome thinking tool, where I write each morning my expectation and after the day the outcome, I am creating myself evidence how many times I’ve been wrong. So far it has been always.

So now I’ve learned a bit question my own expectations and feelings: I am not my expectations.

On the other hand I’ve also learned to use the pessimistic thinking that finds the worst cases so easily, to recognize what might go wrong, then work everything I can do to prevent that and when I’ve done that I’ve to learn to let got of the anxiety and trust that as usual world is better place than I think.

Contemplation on Consistency

 

stained-glass-1181864_640.jpg

Our brains are longing for consistency.

I’ve been thinking that this is the case, yet reality is something different: it’s adapting to the needs of the present. This adaptation causes prioritization which then again means only some of the things we will do done now. Rest have to be arranged, which means there will be some expectations which are met.

This makes me mindful: should the met expectations be trending towards met, rather than unmet?

And if so, that trend would be nice to see with the other people as well.

Learning to say no to some and taking care of the most important expectations, both are skills that are so valuable.

How to Have More Realistic Expectations

refreshment-438399_640.jpg

 Expectations may cause quite a bit of suffering. Reality does serve already plenty of reality, so we should not have too much suffering on something that has not yet happened. Expectations can do this, especially the unrealistic or wrong expectations.

I thought about this earlier this week on one morning and I asked myself: “How I know that my expectations can be in line with the outcomes?” In fact I didn’t have strong idea what kind of outcomes to expect at all.

So I decided that a simple way to start correcting my expectations would be to write down those expectations and then see how it turns out (the outcome), at the end of the day.

Now I’ve been writing down the expectations in the morning metro, just a few lines what I am expecting of the day. And on the way home I write down the outcome.

Writing my thoughts down has been a sort of magic. Although I’ve been journaling for about eight years now, it hasn’t occurred me to do this so realistically on a day level. Even more so to build upon this this idea, I picked up yesterday from Scott Dimsores TED talk the idea to reflect on a day and week level what went right, and what went wrong.

I am quite confident that by observing the expectations and coupling those with the actual results will give us a better sense of realism and ability to have more accurate expectations.