Life, an Incredible Opportunity

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Life is an opportunity that over 108 billion people before us have had and then as lost as is the nature of life: there is a beginning and an end. Therefore to be alive is wonderful opportunity to do something!

In addition to biological evolution, there is also the evolution of culture and spirit. Spiritual evolution means becoming more human. As G.K. Chesterton put it: “a dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” We are blessed with brains that create the human mind, which allows not only to go with the flow, but to go upstream or any other direction we wish.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

The difference and human blessing of life lies in our brain, which allows us not only to live, but to learn and live better as well. This means we are no longer bound only to progress through the biological evolution, but through cultural evolution.

Other animals certainly are social and therefore have the ability for cultural evolution as well. However, very few of them are able to stop and contemplate on life on such level as humans can. We learn comparatively fast and therefore our culture, way of doing things evolves as well.

On individual level, it’s our own decision to exercise this superpower of choice each day. Well actually thinking and deciding something new for each day would be possible, but not very convenient. Although we have the ability to contemplate, it is rather energy intensive. Therefore it’s useful to use both of the abilities, the ability to contemplate and the ability to do in a harmonious way.

Contemplate and discover your values and goals. Then work on these goals every day habitually.

Do not dream of life without work. Work is the opportunity, ability to create something greater than what you were given. What will then happen? According to the law of karma, if you do good things, good things will happen to you.

Put your priorities straight using the priority category method and then live your purpose and plan.

In life you will get more things done, if you are really good at prioritizing and deciding what is important and where you can add the most value. You will be able to create more value and well-being to your environment, which then again means that you will also receive more and then we all flourish.

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I’ve taken it as my mission to help other people to realize the love for life. This comes from my personal experience with the meaninglessness of life, which led to depression and sickness.

Have a great evening!

Janne

Unique, Not Apart

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 We are individuals who are who are part of greater self. We seek naturally to be a part of something greater than us. People are hypersensitive pack animals, because this is the way we have survived. Prioritizing first our own safety comes through belonging to group.

Our first need is safety. Only after safety has been satisfied we begin to look for some sort of variance of excitement. On the next level there is uniqueness and belonging. And finally there is fulfillment and altruism.

Because we are pack creatures pretty much all our needs are fulfilled through other people. Sure we can be physically safe alone, but we cannot be psychologically and emotionally completely safe and sane alone.

Once we feel safe within the group, our needs to show our individual and unique side begins to grow. In this way the individual flourishes within the group. We all have need to express our uniqueness and to be ourselves to a some degree.

With the individual now in mind it is easy to think that we are just individual. In reality we are just self that is part of greater self where we all are connected.

Having both interconnectedness of everything in mind, while at the same time seeing each other as unique individuals we are is a skill to practice 😉

Sustainable Happiness is Based on Production Capability

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In all leadership including self-leadership or leading others, it is often one thing to get results or to see long term flourishing.

Execution ability and ability to deliver results under time pressure is a crucial skill in professional business life for example, where the time constraints can determine whatever business goes bankrupt or not.

If we are to operate in sustainable manner, of course we would have the amount of proactivity that we could push the immediate threat of bankruptcy far enough so that we do not have to react to these critical events that require immediate attention so much in the present. So that we could focus being proactive.

Proactivity in this case means also building the production capability, means preparing and training ourselves to meet the future challenges.

External motivators such as rewards can be harmful for the production capability yet they are used all the time to get the result. This results in just golden eggs, while we could focus having more golden gooses.

If we want to have more apples, well harvesting them this year certainly gives us X amount of apples. However, in the long term we do not get more, we get less unless we plant more apple trees.

Same is with the people. Unless nurture ourselves and others, we do not produce more, we produce less.

CFO asks CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?” – Peter Baeklund

In leading ourselves, we need to remember to develop our production capability. Doing more is only helpful until to a point, where our work starts to exhaust us in the long run. We need to work smarter and to build our capacity to produce in limited time.

With people this means training and nurturing each individuals belief in what they have potential to become. If you treat people as what they have potential to become, they just might respond to that. Nurture their internal drive and remember the autonomy, meaning and mastery.


If you are interested in further about this topic see Daniel Pink’s ted talk, his book Drive and Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for starters.

Culture of Extraordinary Results

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Which is more impressive:

  • Oridnary people doing extraordinary things
  • Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things?

I think it’s the ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Especially this can happen when there is a group of people who exceed all expectations. Superproductivity. Flourishing. Thriving. Whatever you want to call it!

What makes this happen, is people themselves. When people feel safe and trusted at work, they know their goals and what’s expected of them this kind of fun creative force starts to take over.

Much of it boils down to the culture. Leaders are the conductors of the culture.

Potential is something unseen and unexpected that can only blossom in a such environment. It’s like a spring: fruitful abundance.

Potential of Your Personality

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 “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Anonymous

I like this quote, because it assumes that when we find our strengths and talents, we may thrive. Yet it does tend to forget that the ‘genius’ needs to be developed before that through hard work, so that aspect I do tend to dislike.

For our self-worth it has momentous impact to discover what we enjoy doing and has benefit for other people. This is what I would wish for everyone, to have chance at doing and discovering their strengths and talents.

I have experienced the discovery as a long process of trial and error, so I see it that way for others as well.

I’ve had trouble fitting in and finding the people and contexts that I may thrive in. Yet in comparison to my beliefs 15 years ago, now I do believe that there are such contexts for everyone, the potential to thrive and flourish.

The culture and people that surround us may not be the one, yet such places do exist and such should be pursued.

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” ― Ian Wallace

Not everybody has the potential of the star, yet they may have the potential of the space.

Planting and growing great ideas

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Living now, in the information age is a blessing from the learning point of view. There have been so many brilliant thinkers and ideas in before us that have already laid down some paths. There probably hasn’t been an issue in human life that hasn’t been already pondered by smarter, more experienced fellow human beings in the past.

Vast repository of knowledge remains, after these brilliant thinkers. It’s really fertile ground to be building upon.

To me personally this enlightenment about the ground covered so far has come relatively recently, only a few years ago. In fact all in all there was barely any intellectual challenging activity in my brain until in 2007 I decided to turn my life around. Since then, I’ve been on a path of conscious growth (with some minor relapses back to the darkness).

Because for me the first twenty years of my life were spent with other things, and less conscious and aware decision making, I’ve thought about really hard about how can I start learning. In fact in the recent years I’ve been spending increasing amount of time asking myself how can I adopt the great ideas to my life and make them work for me?

First I’ve noticed that there is no shortness of ideas, so therefore have to first qualify what kind of ideas I am looking for. It’s ongoing process based on current understanding of reality, thus the qualification process is also always under improvement.

Secondly once there is some kind of idea, what is a great idea I need to somehow notice it. Noticing great ideas is difficult, because human mind likes to reject everything novel. It requires a lots of conscious power and exposure to people who I think might have a glue what they are talking about. Books, audio programs and Youtube are my favorite ways to overcome the rejection and keep the repetition levels high to be able to actually notice the ideas.

Our cognitive abilities are limited. Most of us are around the average, so we need to spend a lots of time and energy to make sure we are getting exposed to new ideas that might serve our lives better in the future.

We can choose to have time and space for these new ideas to grow and flourish.

Who knows how many fruit gardens one seed of learning contains?

Many ways to grow

flower-64118_1920Today I just want to start writing about growth and in how many ways we can consciously pursue growth, or unconsciously stumble upon it.

Often times growth only requires change in mindset as Carol Dweck nicely puts in her book. The growth mindset is essentially way to think about the world that we can learn and grow from experiences. Opposite of the growth mindset is fixed mindset in which we essentially think that our worth comes from succeeding or failing.

To nurture more growth oriented mindset, most of us need to right kind of feedback. I used the growth mindset thinking as a core of my thesis about peer coaching for students. I still think the right way encouraging environment and atmosphere are the keys.

Around 2010 and 2011 I had opened my mind to lots of new things and I did quite a lots of drawing as my hobby. Then one one day I decided to pick up some more skills by actually reading a book. So I did go to the library and picked up a book on the drawing technique that I felt at a glance useful. When I started to dig deeper in the book, there was something really discouraging, which causes me to really think has people actually printed so discouraging words there. It said something within the lines ”if you do not have talent, do not bother”. Unfortunately I do not have much record of the book to know what that book actually was and is my memory correct. However, I remember it as a really discouraging experience.

Now comparing that experience with a more recent one, actually from this morning, where I learned an another thing that lets’ us grow rapidly. It’s a Ted x talk by Graham Shaw, where he teaches us to draw, truly encouraging!

There are incredibly opportunities for growth in the internet, but sometimes the human connection does the trick. Yesterday I was attending my alma mater Haaga-Helia to help them with student interviews. It was through the discussion with my teachers that I realized how wonderful opportunity the small campus of Porvoo is for people who usually don’t have the chance, to flourish. Haaga-Helia has several campuses, two in Helsinki then in Porvoo and Vierumäki. This is also a wonderful and encouraging though.

I think online learning should be that way as well. During recent days and today even, I’ve been watching a lots of videos about the topics of psychotherapy. I am also reading a one book related to that called Road Less Traveled. In any case, this morning I happened to watch a video about Anna Freud’s book and there was listed the the ten types of protection mechanisms we have. This was really interesting to me, although I’ve heard of these before, I haven’t registered the number: there is ten, so may I had just missed a few? In any case as far as I’ve come to understand it there is indeed a lot how we can grow, in safe and nurturing environment even as adults and I think we should.

It would be great to discover and even found more online learning communities that are nurturing in the terms of growth mindset, they are helping to form more realistic beliefs and finally create space for all different kinds of people to flourish.