In short I’ve fallen for stoicism. During the January I’ve re-read two books on stoicism: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday. Also currently I am reading Ego is the Enemy and I will read the Daily Stoic.
Stoicism is a practical and applied philosophy of a virtuous life. If you cannot practice the thought or virtue, it’s not stoicism. Being a stoic means having inner dialogue, finding what you are in control of and then living the best life you can from there with no complaints about the circumstances or about results. Stoicism is about action, not about attaching to the rewards.
Living the best you can in the present, because stoic recognizes life is only in the present. Nobody can change the past, however with the action in the present we create future. Nor does stoic gets attached to the future – everything goes to the plan because we are creating the plan every moment as we go. Stoic cannot be thus harmed by ill will, because stoic turns any obstacle into opportunity or dies trying.
Literally stoic recognizes the shortness of life: memento mori – remember you are mortal.
It’s only now time to be what you can be. It’s now when you should start not only being, but start the doing. Be the doing you can be!
I decided to modify the words of Gandhi: Do the change you want to see in the world. Doing is being, do not just talk, start doing something about what you want! In the end we never cannot be still to long, we are never complete, perfection is just a day dream. Excellence is what we should pursue. Excellence means the best we are capable of with the given time and resources. We do not need to commit overly too much resources, that would be foolish, yet we need just enough to create excellence, the best possible solution.
Excellence requires letting go and yet finding ways to fulfill the need completely. Excellence is the practice of virtues. Every day we become what we can be if we practice excellence. The time to practice excellence is now!
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!
We do not have anything more than the present. We do not have our past and certainly not our future.
Suffering is created by clinging either to the past or the future.
If we go to past or the future we are distancing ourselves from the present. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of suffering, because if we are going to past or the future, we will lose present again.
All that we have is now, the present. Present includes everything. Buddha understood this very well and he also understood about the thinking and action which leads to these results.
In addition to the present, our present mindfulness or our thinking is all that we have. In fact we are not our thinking, because we can observe our thinking. Yet only few of us consciously exercise this human superpower called ‘thinking critically what we are thinking.’
We shouldn’t let our thinking taint our present experience, because present is all that we have. We should come to accept what we have and be happy with that 🙂
We live life forward, from the present moment onwards. I remember browsing some strategy book at my friends place, where I took one idea: that we should live 70% in present, 20% in the future and 10% in the past.
By these portions of course that the includes preparing and planning, and then 10 of the past % reflection and learning. While giving absolute portions for life is difficult, as a guideline I like the idea.
Good questions to ask:
- how does future look and feel like? I think it should be more like an utopia, that makes life worth living for.
- is the past a prison or building ground for your future endeavors? We can learn a lot from our past, but as the 10% suggest we shouldn’t spend too much there. Just to take what we need and then get back to living.
With this, living in the present is easier. We can proceed from the present towards our goals and ambitions if we know exactly where we are. Sometimes even when we think we know where we are, we do not, because of some sort of error. Therefore remember to figure out first where you really are, then check if you really are there and then start to think which direction you would like to go.
Use the past experiences as a source of learning, however do not attach to them too much, because that information may not be valid any longer.
There are actions which make everybody’s future better.
There are actions which make everybody’s futures worse.
Know these two, it’s easier to choose to put any extra energy to make the future better.
For longer time now, I’ve been drawn to writing. I’ve had to be rather internally motivated, because there has been very little extrinsic motivators. Or perhaps there has been, but I’ve haven’t been really interested in looking those up.
1,5 years ago as I was starting my writer journey, I got a piece of feedback & advice from authority figure: apparently my thinking and writing is clear, but the writers are not gonna get paid.
Well this didn’t bother me, as I hadn’t done it for the money in the first place. It still doesn’t bother me, because writing is just a way for me to crystallize thinking and share interesting and helpful ideas. External feedback is appreciated and the comments etc. are the best part of the writing.
Of course writing has a purpose, but first and foremost it’s a service: value to the audience first. If audience has a feeling that it’s valuable, of course then the feedback response is very much appreciated.
Therefore for me the writing is first and foremost a way to channel my reminder energy into a service that I feel is a most natural way for me to create value. I do it, because I can and I am able. Then I think how I could serve best today. With the serving focus I do write and as I am done, I publish my blog for example.
Anything that happens after that is just rather a nice addition and possible new ideas to elaborate what I’ve done days before 🙂
What are you inclined to do with your excess energy?
Any one of us can make the decision to be happy right now. We cannot choose our emotions what we are feelings, we can choose how do we respond to the emotions. And by choosing the right responses we will inevitably feel good too in the long run. This means, happiness is in our control to decide.
By making the right choices consistently happiness is inevitable. There are even shortcuts to happiness, for example gratitude, giving and positive thinking.
Human is highly social animal, so the best we can do is to be grateful of what we have and share our happiness with others.
There is enough for everybody in this world, if we think through the lens of creating. Human creativity has created the well being that exists. Human doing is also the suffering of our planet and fellow species.
It is our next actions and decisions that determine what will follow. Therefore we can be happy with what we have now, contemplate on our virtues: what are we willing to sacrifice for our future?
We get only that well being which we are able to create for the world.
Ideas can be powerful drivers: they either can lead us towards fulfillment, or astray. We must be careful in determining which ideas are worth pursuing for. Ideas take away energy, and time. So unless, we have a system of focus, we may end up losing a lot of time and energy.
Just like we need to keep up and develop media literacy, we need to develop and keep up idea literacy, or the ability to read and determine when the idea is good for us.
Smart people can entertain several opposing ideas at the same time, yet they carefully consider the applications, timing and the fit for the complex system of their own lives and situations. They understand that in the information age there is no shortage of the ideas; therefore they need high filtering ability to determine the suitable ones from the unsuitable ones.
An awesome idea might be unsuitable for the moment. To make that idea work, might require something else, it might need to wait a bit. For times like that, it would be awesome idea to have a system to store the ideas 😉
Once you know, who you are and where you want to go you can start aligning rest of your life around those ideas. To get there, mere ideas are not enough, we need to the power of habits. Habits are the vehicle to make the ideas reality.
We are the sum of our habits. Some are more natural inclinations, while others are more consciously picked routines. Yet what we are now is thanks to our habits. And the potential from this point onward relies much in our habits.
Of course habits are not fixed, new ones can be learned and old ones can be transformed. Yet old ones cannot really be forgotten at all, they are always lurking underneath, so therefore we need to be mindful that habits are in fact us and how we shape them in the future is going to make the future for us.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Do you have a dream? Is that dream connected to goals? Are those goals connected to actionable tasks?
Well achieving grand dreams is really that simple.
On a company, organizational level that grand dream could be described as a vision.
For anyone I hope there is something beyond the hassles of everyday life.
My dream is not that clear, I would like to see greener future thought. And since I like the things that grow, I’ve dubbed my dream as sustainable growth. I like the idea of things growing in sustainable manner.
Although I am concerned about our ecosystem, I am also concerned about the sustainable growth of human beings. We also need to keep on learning and growing, and how we are supposed to do that? Well first part is the access to information. Although internet is doing good job in terms of access, there is still a lots of information that’s not accessible. Books are, however they are behind closed systems. Ideally I would like to see a world where we are spending most of our time learning and striving for higher heights.
As far fetched as it all seems, that’s what I am working for and my goals and choices in life point that way. Where does your path lead?
It has been about seven years since I listened Ekhart Tolle’s Power of Now book. I guess I found it somewhat momentarily inspiring and then I forgot mostly about it.
In the recent days however, I’ve been pondering more deeply on how I should describe the way I relate to the present moment and “fluid” –word keeps popping to my mind. Fluid resembles and reminds me of water and the waterlike mind is pretty much all I can remember from the Ekhart Tolle’s book. In fact I couldn’t even remember the title or the author right away.
Why to be fluid like water?
Fluid is non-attached. Water is not attached to any form or shape or place, instead it smoothly takes any shape or place there is. We should strive not to be attached to the ideas about future, allow present unfold itself and then make the most out of that.
This morning I had weird and clear first thoughts when I hit the alarm: we are really algorithms that process the present moment and transform it into different kinds of energies.
Life happens in the present. We are what we remember, and how we future prospects may influence how we behave in the present. I.e. if we know that we are receiving enough passive income to sustain our expenses for indefinite time then we probably will spend our time differently, than if we know that we do not have any passive income what so ever and therefore we must actively work for the survival.
Future prospects do matter. Past does not so much, because past is remembered differently and you can always rewrite your own story.
Present moment on the other hand matters a lot! Suffering in the present is because of the wasted future. Do no not waste your present moments, because you only have one at a time.
How is the present moment related to the energy? Well, I would rather be positive in the present than negative. I feel that everything achieved through positive state of mind will have also larger impact, and it is nice to return to that as well.
We can interpret present in many ways. Taking each moment as a present like kung fu Panda said and making most of it is the key. We have choice in the present: preferring the proactive and positive will also build our capacity for experiencing the positive energies.
That to which we focus will grow. I am currently reading the Big Leap Book by Gay Hendricks, and the one big idea there is that, we all can build our capacity to experience positive emotions. Most of us deny this from ourselves, so we sabotage ourselves the possibility that we could be feeling more positive feelings all the time. Unless we build the capacity this remains true, however we can build it.
So in that sense, present moment is the place to enjoy being more positive.