Use Negative Swing to Create Positive Momentum

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Power of perspectives is so powerful, you can literally turn anything upside down and build upon the momentum. This applies in good and in bad. Usually people would rather have more of the good and less of the bad.

It’s completely within our power to decide how each event will serve us: is it a lesson or a burden. Masters find the lesson in everything and everyone. It’s sure to be there, if you look deep enough.

Then use those lessons to create habits.

Use those habits to create combinations of habits that shape your days.

Use those days to make your dreams reality.

Win Your Fears Quickly

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Today I realized that when I win my fears quickly, life is awesome. Quickly means without a delay and without a delay means right now. When there is no delay there is also no time to suffer about anything.

I cannot believe how much of my life I’ve wasted over being afraid something could happen and then letting that fear cripple me – even when what I feared never very likely happened. Fearing causes world to shrink and pain inside us.

Fear is meant to keep us safe and it does that rather well. However when it is about mental dimensions of present day social life, not many of the perceived fears are not real.

In society there are also people who are ready to exploit the fear to a direction and another. From personal standpoint it is important to notice where do the fears are baseless and when there is a justified reason. If we can do this separation we are going to be alright and we shouldn’t stick with our fears too long. Winning fears quickly before they take a root is a good habit that builds up courage and joy in your life!

Tiny Action

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Action is over- and underappreciated word.

Overappreciated as in action without consideration, thought or end in mind.

Underappreciated as in thought without action. Action remains just a word, instead of verb in action.

There is the middle way: thinking, without thinking too much and doing, without doing too much.

My personal fault lies mostly in thinking too much and doing too little. Thus I see this quality in others as well emphasized. And it might be that I am too blind to my own actions that are mindless, so I cannot even name them yet. With a bit of thinking, I think there is indeed also this mindless action in play.

The more I’ve studied about habits and applied what I’ve learned to my life, I am amazed to discover these tiny pockets of time all around me. More efficient actions (=habits) create more time and space. What used require effort, do not any longer. Thus taking action becomes easier.

With habits also the cost of starting doing something (which I feel is immense). Have you tried to start a work out after a long work day? That’s only difficult if you do not already have the neural circuitry in your mind to fire of and start doing it. When you’ve the network however, it will automatically flare up and you will start the work out when you just find the right triggers for that.

The difference between habit and a separate action decision is huge. Habits have little to none starting cost, they trigger automatically. Decisions to do something have tremendous starting cost and when we are tired and hungry we are less likely going to make any good decisions.

Therefore life consists of making these tiny decisions right through the days, these will ensure sufficient energy when we need it the most.

We need tiny action everyday to start building momentum for the bigger decisions and challenges.

 

Breakthroughs in Your Daily Actions

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“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.” – Upanishads

While there is connection between, thinking and talking, sometimes the connection between the talking and doing seems to be far away. In my mind the phrase “there are those who talk and those who do” lives strong. This despite the knowledge that while this may apply, it does not apply hundred percent, and that there are always exceptions to the exceptions.

Action is the only thing that does make thoughts and words visible and concrete. It is through work and action that great things get made.

Action then repeated often becomes a habit. With thinking combined, habit can improve drastically. You will of course improve a little by little over time which is nice. However, at times you are bound to reach also breakthroughs, at times you will reach a completely new level of doing and being.

Key with the actions and habits is that, you need to stick with them a particular amount of time for breakthroughs to happen.

Not only starting an action is the challenge, sticking with it until it becomes a habit and then keeping the small pressure to challenge yourself in order to gain small wins is the key. This is called character: something that becomes part of your identity. If you manage to do this you will reach breakthroughs in the ordinary things you’ve just kept long enough with.

15 Thought Provoking Quotes and Book Recommendations

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Line taken from its original context may be surprisingly curiosity arousing, thought provoking or even misleading. Fifteen lines from some of my favorite books:

  1. Sugar is cancer” – Tom Rath, Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes
  2. Everybody is in sales.” – Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human
  3. Everybody works on straight commission.” – Brian Tracy, The Science of Money: How to Increase Your Income and Become Wealthy
  4. There are leaders and there are those who lead.” – Simon Sinek, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
  5. Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.” – Bob Chapman,  Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family
  6. What if optimism is a learned skill, one that can be permanently acquired?” – Martin Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
  7. Spend your free time the way you like , not the way you think you’re supposed to .” – Susan Cain Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
  8. There’s a common belief that creativity flourishes when criticism is withheld, but this turns out to be false.” – Adam Grant, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
  9. You can’t extinguish a bad habit , you can only change it.” Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
  10. Once a person stops searching for information and self-knowledge, ignorance sets in” –  Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not!
  11. We give too many fucks when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend.” – Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
  12. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life.” – Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything
  13. One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
  14. People often experience big breakthroughs… and then find a way to avoid relishing their achievement.” – Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
  15. Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people.” – Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future

Habit Combinations

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Living the last week of 2017 has again draws the mind to the contemplate how did this year go and what  to focus on upcoming years.

This year I’ve become more aware than ever so far about the power of habits. On my own eight and half year conscious growth journey majority of the time I’ve spent unlearning habits and then a bit by bit finding more healthy behaviors. With the exception last two years I’ve dedicated more conscious effort into two habits that seem to reinforce each other very well: reading and writing.

As I pondered a bit about this, I understood that most habits do work in combination. I.e. it’s not only reading nonfiction that turns into writing. It’s the whole process of study, application, dialogue and experience that makes it meaningful.

Best habits work in combination with each other.

What is difficult about habits is thought rarely we can really know if a habit is suited for us and how it is suited for us with too short time span. In the beginning of my personal development journey I read about 30 day trials on Steve Pavlina’s blog. Idea seems to be fine, however now equipped with the experience and understanding I have now, I don’t think the 30 days is nearly enough to test drive any significant habit.

On the other hand I’ve come another interesting way to look at the habits. The advice was originally from some dating scene,  however I think the application is very same with the habits as it is with the partners: we should see through a year first before making any significant advances and commitments in the relationships. Just as with the habits: see the full year first, then decide to move ahead or not.

One year is interesting time, because as humans our moods are also a lot different depending on the time of the year. One year will give the full experience of the year and certainly the timeframe to really know if this habit is for us.

As I mentioned this is for any significant habit, any significant life choice that you would like to make.

Within year the habit starts to solidify as part of your identity. Then what you can do after a year of doing having the habit, is to start experimenting with habit combinations.

I think and talk a lot about writing. At times I feel like writing is the only thing I’ve wanted to do and often times I am craving to write. Yet at times, I wonder, if this is really the thing that I am most enthusiastic about?

However, I’ve noticed writing is a great way for me to express myself and my various ideas. So it’s probably so that writing by itself is more like a medium of communication for me rather than my thing in itself. Despite being a mean of communication, it still is important way to process and think as well, so definitely a habit that I keep experimenting with and finding a way to keep in my routine in combination of all the new and exciting habits to come.

Happiness, Wealth, Success and Love is in Our Minds

 

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Our minds create meaning. Consciously we can choose what kind of meaning we give to what happens in life.

With the same principle our happiness is in our minds.

Our wealth is created by our mind, creativity, imagination, habits and actions.

Our success is the result of our actions.

Love? Actual love is doing rather than a feeling. Feeling is a mess in brain chemistry, real love is actions. If you do good, you will find eventually that it resonates back to you from people.

We become what we put into our minds. This includes the environment we are in as well as where do we spent our focus: i.e. is it in watching entertainment, pursuit of knowledge, building relationships or doing good deeds.

Making a Difference

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 Do you want to matter? I bet you do, many of would like to. Only few of us are willing to challenge ourselves to do it.

Our energy saving programming drives us to do this.

Yet our conscious desire and ambition should every day do something to challenge this status quo of energy saving. We should push ourselves consciously, in order to make sure we are getting most of our lives and that we are making the life better for generations to come.

Yesterday I was under the tutelage of Jari Sarasvuo again in the form of coaching session. Well a good teacher makes all the topics worthwhile going through again. He asked me why do we need to grow?

Spontaneously I answered something, yet missed the core and that’s okay. What was wonderful is that my mind continues to work with that thought “why do we need to grow.” Actually I’ve written about it in February (Why to Grow?) last time. Yet the mark of the master is everyday start to ask the same questions and furthermore drill deeper in to the nature of things.

So this is as always, a kind of continuation to the last thing, every time getting slightly deeper.

Jari said that growth is what separates us from animals, we are the conscious animal and I agree on that.

Yet at the same time, I gotta same time remind that we are an animal. We may have 40 bits per second of conscious bandwidth, but most of us are not using much of it all during day. Adults are mostly operating by our routines and habits.

Here comes the important point: CHALLENGE YOURSELF.

I’ve written about this too. Last time during summer when I was traveling: Challenge Yourself and Survive. Without the challenge, pattern and routine breakers we gravitate to the center of our comfort zones.

Actually the ability to break patterns is at the moment in my mind the most important skill in leadership, no matter are you leading yourself or others. Even in basic things such as conversations, the ability to break the common patterns is the sign of leadership.

With pattern breakers, the common becomes uncommon, it becomes meaningful and that makes all the difference.

Also real difference and progress is made only when we grow. When we grow to handle our emotional responses; made peace and traveled through the vastness of space. Then have made a difference.

Janne

P.s. Because life is so limited, we also should ask regularly what does matter? Are these results meaningful? In the core of the triple loop learning is not only asking are we doing the things right, or are we doing the right things, but to contemplate on what is right as well. Staying humble and asking questions, because humility unlocks the next level (Model for Long Lasting Happiness).

Why Do We Compare Ourselves with Others?

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Good thing about suffering is that is that it’s mostly subjective experience. This morning I noticed that I am again in the present state suffering quite a lot, because of unskillful habit of comparison.

So I decided to take a moment and reflect upon this question. Quickly I decided to take Google with me and I asked the question there. So then I found Quora reply by Awdhesh Singh to this same question.

I am not surprised that I found answers online, however the particular answer put me to work some more. What I love about world and net, is that our understanding is not perfect yet. We can construct upon it, and even challenge the knowledge we have and this is exactly what I did.

I think this kind of positive constructive dialogue is way ahead. So instead of accepting wholly the original reply, I began to break it down, reflect and comment upon it.

Awdhesh begins by writing that “We have a natural desire” and contradicts this in the next sentence with “We are not born with the desire of comparison.”

In life often many things can be true at the same time. I considered here the possibility as well. However, after reading through it several times and reflecting these statements to all my previous knowledge, I would argue that the first statement is wrong. We do not have natural desire to compare, instead we have a habitual desire like he mentions in the second paragraph. Mostly my argument would be founded to I’ve learned in the Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habits and Gretchen Ruben’s books.

In third paragraph he mentions a brilliant keyword “believing.”

“However, slowly we were told that we must be better than others. This starts happening since a child goes to the school. You are constantly told to get the top rank in the class or stand among the top. If you play a game, you must play to win and be the best player. If you get a lower rank, you are shamed and even humiliated. Gradually, we start believing that in order to be happy and make others happy, we must be better than others. You must work harder to be better than others by any means.”

This was a breakthrough for me personally, because I am fascinated by habit and belief formation. As I mentioned earlier the Power of Habits book, that habits have three elements: cue, routine and reward.

When I began to reflect this question “Why do we compare ourselves with others?” in the habit context, I see that these three elements are in place:

  • Cue, for example work place results or in games the scoreboard. In life we have all kinds of scoreboards as well such as status symbols, clothes etc. All of these are triggers for the habit routine.
  • Routine, “how well others are doing vs. I am…”. Personally I noticed that the routine itself is deeply rooted in our identity and memory, what we have done, who we are now, who we are striving to be…
  • Reward: at simplest forms it is the feeling of momentarily gratification of being better. However when I started to probe deeper I noticed that for me it is linked with a belief of being worthy as well. Being good, means being loved, means attention is the currency of love. Belief that the better we are, the more we are loved.

From here we get to the belief levels: beliefs what we focus the most are the strongest. I.e. this belief that the better we the more love we deserve is not necessarily the best belief to hold. In the end, we want to be loved, we want attention. Surely at the top we get attention, however what kind of attention it is we so much desire?

Also aren’t we worthy of the kind of attention already as we are? I think we are. Our own beliefs just might contradict each other and if we end up thinking that we are worthy only when we are better than everyone else, we might not end up so well.

Be careful on which kinds of beliefs you decide to focus on. The reason why we compare ourselves to each other is a result of a belief and habit. Habits cannot be simply discarded as Awdhesh mentioned, yet like Charles Duhigg points out in Power of Habit, habits can be transformed. Awdhesh suggests some positive practices such as Count Your Blessings, Learn from Others, Respect Good Qualities which are actions in the right directions.

However, personally I do not feel like these are merely enough. I notice that the process needs to begin much earlier by being mindful of cue-routine-reward situations and the beliefs we operate on. Then we need to start working towards transforming the unwanted patterns into more healthy and helpful ones.

Power of Full Focus

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Yesterday I was lagging three books behind my reading goal for this year and now I am lagging two books behind. I am really proud that I was able to read and study both of the books in such focused manner.

Both of the books had to do with personal development, one book was by Lauri Järvilehto, a Finnish philosopher and his book Tee itsestäsi mestariajattelija (“Make yourself a master thinker”) and the second one was Sisäinen sankari (Inner hero) by Jari Sarasvuo.

Some topics can feel rather intimidating as the Lauri’s book did for me. I had browsed and glanced through it several times, however never quite got there to read it deeper. Not until on Friday I happened to see what the book description promised “a stress free life.” On conscious level I didn’t particularly feel like I am stressed however, that promise seemed so good that I decided I’ve to read the book. So on the Saturday I decided what’s important: my reading goal and to read the book.

I am amazed what this kind of decision to focus does: I made quite a bit progress and by lunch time I had finished 60% of the book. Next I took fresh air and ate lunch outside. After lunch had a rather long nap, after which I was able to continue reading and finished the book in timely manner.

From the book I actually also learned about human mind and focus as well. Unlike my earlier understanding that came from Mihaly Chikzenmihalyi it appears human consciousness appears to be more limited than I’ve thought. Instead of 110 bits of conscious capacity, according to Ap Dijksterhuis and Loran Nordgren have estimated our conscious capacity varies between 10 – 60 bits per second. If one unit of information is about 8 bits it would be about 1 – 7 units depending on how tired, hungry and what else we are.

We are more unconscious than we know. This is interesting topic that I’ve been pondering a lot. Most of our seemingly conscious actions become so automatic that they are being done unconsciously. In fact if you look at drunk and tired people, they may be unconscious and not register much what is going on at all, yet they somehow find their ways to operate in the world.

Key take away here is that the conscious is more limited than we know. We should use the limited consciousness to harness the capabilities of habits, which is essentially outsourcing the important things to our unconscious which is far more powerful than we could hope our conscious to be.

We can learn all the important skills and habits, most important decision is what to prioritize and finish right now?