Remember to Be True To Yourself

bird-383245_640 (1)

Yesterday’s decision making process put some interesting energy on the move. It’s the kind of energy where I remembered who I am and decided to live true to that.

We need to remember to be true to ourselves, and then we will find the energy to do the things that matter.

To be to oneself requires decision making based on self-understanding. Self-understanding requires listening and accepting that which is evident.

We get to be only ourselves in this life. Although what makes life fun is that we get to play many roles during our lifetimes. Still some roles fit us better than others and here the listening part comes crucial.

Listen, understand and say no to what isn’t you. Stay true to you.

Love yourself as you are. We need to love ourselves first, because not necessary there will be no-one else to do so either. We need to learn to be by ourselves first.

When we are able to with ourselves, it’s much easier to be with others and be of value to other.

Therefore remember to be true to yourself.

Do not listen (too much)


For long time I used to think that listening is my strength.

Then I read a book[1]  and there was a note that perhaps listening too much is not so good idea. Not a good idea because there is a lots of all kinds of stories that we are playing over and over again and most of these stories we are playing unconsciously to others and to ourselves. Mostly we are unconscious about this, until either we or someone else makes us aware of this.

In everyday life our minds are too busy to become aware of ourselves, unless we set out to do deliberately through practices such as mindfulness, yoga or meditation.

The constant playback of the stories means we are being influenced and also influencing our environment in unexpected ways. To others listening, it means we are rather boring.

And to listen others too intently means also to allow those same stories to begin to play in our heads. That’s why it is better not to listen (too) seriously and too much.


[1] Sisäinen tuli by Jari Sarasvuo

Learning from the Unconscious


To take advantage of human mind, we need to remember the strengths of the mind: creative and associative force, which consists of both the conscious and unconscious elements. We often relate to what we are consciously, although much of our true wealth, spiritual and intellectual comes from the unconscious parts.

Unconscious pushes thoughts, feelings and images to our consciousness, the more we try to repress it, the more frequently and certainly the unconscious will try to communicate those to us. Unconscious mind is too much for mere consciousness to handle, it’s rather complex to process all at once. Yet the relationship between the conscious and unconscious works rather well: unconscious pushes things that seem the most important at a time to the level of consciousness.

When these thoughts, feelings and images from the level of unconscious surface, we should take a time to listen as this will certainly be a clue to help in our own growth.

In addition to listening skill, we need to be open and accepting, because we are learning about ourselves. For our own growth, we need to be able to process all this constructively, if we are not able to do this the thoughts will get repressed again and will appear later even stronger than before and the pattern will repeat until it’s so strong that we need to seek help, which in itself is an advisable on the path of growth. It’s only limited things we can achieve by ourselves, after all.

To summarize, learning from the unconscious takes both listening and acceptance skills, then some constructive reflection and action make the necessary improvements in everyday level.

Mindful Listening


We can be prisoners of our own narrative even while other people talk. I’ve noticed that not many people even hear the exact words what they are being told (especially under pressure). Instead listeners produce whatever they think.

Under pressure is where many biases of the mind are revealed.

It takes trained mind to see and listen objectively.

Practice is the way.

Try this: listen audio or even video of a speaker. Listen up until ten minutes and try to explain what they just said. Then repeat and see what they really said word for word then compare these two.

This is the reality gap. By mindful listening I mean the ability to hear what has been said as it is, this makes growth very fruitful, because you are able to process speech more objectively.

Listening to Improve Our Will and Focus

Today as I was reading upon Road Less Travelled by Dr. Scott M. Peck I got reminded again of the importance of listening.

Deep listening does take effort. I remember when I was first listening Jari Sarasvuo speaking and even with all focus I could muster most of what he said didn’t seem to click or connect in my understanding. I still feel like I learned a lot and I wrote down as much notes as I could. I still hold have the notes and through them I can partially recall points he made.

After the lecture I was amazed also that some people who didn’t seem to put much effort in listening seemed to be disappointed.

Although becoming great speaker and thinker is a one thing, to get anything we would need to become great listeners as well because only in the combination with thinking for example we can start to cocreate something greater.

Listening takes effort, however exactly through that effort you will develop greater capacity for other cognitive skills such as attention and focus as well.

Deep Understanding for Better World


dogs-2222801_640.jpgWhat is the best way to help people? Is it in the service of many?

I had the default quick rationalization that it’s better to serve the many, until I came upon the words of  Dag Hammarskjöld in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.”

I realized that even one person can have huge impact, so therefore all interactions are in equal value in that sense. All interactions are worth investing!

So what is the best way to be of use? Value can only be provided when we understand. Understanding can be acquired by relating to the other person(s) point of view.

To understand we often need to stop, listen and observe carefully. Most needs are not so obvious, although some low level (Maslow’s’ hierarchy of needs) needs like hunger or cold in other people for example may be such easily observable. Needs get more complex as we progress in the hierarchy, so therefore the amount of time, attention and ability are needed.

Careful listening, observation and great question skills set apart the best friends, doctors, therapists and sales people. Great doctors take their time to diagnose.

Understanding is our map, our compass or should I say the GPS? How could we expect to help, unless where the other person is at all?

If we take our time to deeply understand each other, we will change our world.

Ignorant Expression, Humble Knowledge & Quick Learning



“Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite. “ – Karl Popper

In my work I meet lots of people.

Some know a lot and talk a lot.

Some know a bit and talk a lot.

Then there are people who talk little and know a lot.

Nothing wrong with any of these. It reminds me that in other parts of my work I talk about big concepts, with little knowledge of depth and sound confidence.

Also some people might have valuable, almost perfected thoughts that rarely do get chance to vibrate as a sound in the air, even though these thoughts should.

It just reminds me that the humble knowledge is desirable, although then again we should take a risk more often and fill the void by speaking anyway, at least someone might learn something. Testing the knowledge under more knowledgeable people is surest and quickest way to learn.

 “A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” ― Alexander Pope

Negativity Can Help You


Two days ago, I had the deepest meditation I’ve had as far as I can remember.

The prequel to this meditation was kind of realization from the Mark Manson’s book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It all had to do with accepting and acknowledging the negative feelings. It is indeed beneficial and healthy to feel these emotions. As I did this, I was able to accept reality more as it is as well and then start to work from there.

I had been in the “must be positive” –trap for a while. Thanks to reading this book I was able to receive a different kind of perspective and thus finally give up on just trying to be positive and acknowledge things as they are.

Accepting negativity allowed me to pinpoint the current state of things. I had to accept the reality, which I was twisting with hopeful thinking and whatever things are gonna be alright. Although sometimes we should lead ourselves to think positively, it does not mean it solves every problem we have.

When there are negative signals, it’s good to listen and take them into account. Just by acknowledging the reality, we can begin to heal and improve it a lot.

If we do not acknowledge the negativity, it’s going to grow stronger and deeper, better to acknowledge it when it’s still manageable size.

Life comes with all sorts of twists and turns, we shouldn’t act as if we are untouched and unscathed by these events – we are not. Therefore take a moment to listen yourself, accept the negative things as well as the good things and you will have a much more grounded sense of reality and you will have a happier life.

Waterlike way from resistance to action

Life is a complex system, and our mind is trying to manage that. As long as there if conflicting interests there is resistance. Contradictions in life are the cause of resistance.

What causes these contradictions in our minds? Essentially our minds are trying to sum everything we want and need from the life and trying stay sane.

Our minds have to work really hard sometimes with little information to understand a lot and in the other hand there maybe even a information overload. From all this we should be able to make the best decisions of our lives? Right.

All the time especially subconscious mind is processing information for us, from which a tiny portion ever actually pops into our conscious minds (mostly because our conscious minds are so tiny anyway and take a lots of energy to run).

Subconscious has more effective way to convey the messages, it is through feelings. Basic feelings like hunger, anger or fear. Or more sophisticated combinations like the resistance that hinders our efforts to start or keep doing something beneficial.

Simple cure for resistance is the “just do it” -phrase.

However, what when we feel the resistance despite weeks of keeping on with it? 

As far as I’ve experienced resistance will always be there. Sometimes it’s almost hidden, sometimes it’s stronger.

What I’ve noticed though that if the contradictions are stronger so is the resistance.

On the other if we manage to justify ourselves with the urgency and/or purpose of particular action we feel less resistance.

This brings me to notice interesting connection between justification, identity and action. When we feel we are justified to the action and that this is us, we’ll have no problem executing the action.

I believe this is when we are at the most powerful, when we feel that we are on a justified mission. This is the waterlike mind that flows, instead of forces.

To achieve this kind of state, we need to also listen to ourselves. Therefore, I am saying sometimes forcing action can be harmful. Not all action is golden, not all action is helpful.

Let’s walk the middle way in a waterlike way.

We are the end users of really sophisticated user experience

Saturday morning study is my favorite study time. I usually wake up relatively early after the work week, not so well rested yet, but enough to have the time for contemplation.

This morning I stumbled upon my thoughts about the unconscious mind. I haven’t given the idea much thought in a long while. I remember that when I begun writing my journals around 2009, I was quite interested in what’s going on in my head and I did record dreams quite meticulously. I had zero idea what to do with them and as I begun journey of curiosity and learning I became quick to dismiss the idea of interpreting dreams as pseudoscience and I did not see the matter in hand to have any connection to real science.

Now I’ve opened my mind for another kind of perspective through the book that I’ve almost now finished:  Road Less Traveled. This book was actually a second or third push for me to consider this topic, I remember first two pushes have come from Jari Sarasvuo, who has talked about the power of unconscious. However, I’ve not had much anything to grip on.

Inspired by the book and the coaching by Jari, I decided to study on my own a bit about the topic. I did not even need to go far in order to get some thoughts of my own. Merely got beyond definition and a bit about the background of the unconscious mind when actually some ideas were thrown to my awareness.

Does there have to be an unconscious mind? I started to think this from the point of biology and “hardware” what we are equipped with. So our conscious attention span is really limited, only around 110 bits which means we can barely pay attention to two people talking to us. I wrote more about this conscious attention, flow and everything before, when I was considering how we should invest our attention.

So our conscious mind has limits and we know it. Our sensory input, which is essentially everything that sends information to elsewhere in the body is huge network and it has huge capacity. From the sensory input from outside world alone, and there is massive amounts of data alone: hearing, vision, smell, touch, speed, balance etc.

Based on these observations I decided to do a simple model like this:



(Image 1)

Essentially in from the biological standpoint everything that comes into our bodies sensory system is at first data, potentially useful so that has to be first processed into information.  So who is gonna do this, if not the conscious mind? Well, I guess we could call it whatever, but let’s stick with unconscious mind.

To the image above I also put some things that the unconscious mind has to do from information processing standpoint.

Prioritizing is a no brainer, when our very basic survival is at stake, some things are more important than others. Prioritizing is also about task division, what can be done automatically and which require conscious attention. With conscious practice I’ve come to understand that it is possible to reorganize even the deepest unconscious priorities. This gives me some sense of belief that with training we are quite a conscious being around of iceberg of unconscious influences. We’ve the potential of awareness in us, yet it’s mastery over ourselves that the awareness demands.

Filtering I decided to leave with question mark for now. It’s hard to say if the unconscious mind in the long run does filter anything or does it merely wait for better moment?

Categorizing makes essentially data some kind of information and it’s also related with packaging, making information more effortlessly process able. It takes less effort to move a loaded truckful of stuff than for example stickful of individual pieces of items without any tool to aid.

Finally there is editing which I know happens with vision and hearing. For example the vision from two eyes is combined into an binocular vision, which is partly illusion. If done the right way for example some things such as your nose in your field of vision is edited out. I’ve got stratibismus since I was a child. I got treated really early so it’s mostly okay, however it has made me quite conscious about the connection between the brain and the vision.

Since most of the input and stuff that’s happening in our bodies, cannot be processed by our consciousness, there is something taking care of all that. It’s our unconscious mind tirelessly at work.

Could we improve our own life and the lives of other people around us, if we would listen more of our unconscious mind? Undoubtedly yes. And what I mean by listen, is of course just listen and considering what is the link our own conscious experience?

As I studied this morning this topic and considered what are the ways unconsciousness communicates with as. I turned just to the quickest source and most reliable source of information, Wikipedia. According to Sigmund Freud main three ways the unconsciousness mind represents itself are in dreams, slips of tongue and jokes. Of course any kinds of thoughts that intuitively slip to our minds are also messages from the unconscious.

In my mind, I’ve often admired and been awed by the creative genius in me who comes up with jokes. So far, I’ve only seen glimpses and glances of that side of me. That unconsciousness is in all of us and it represents our potential.

Today I realized it’s a conscious power to start to listen to the unconsciousness.

Also somehow, the field of thought who tries to expand our consciousness seems to be a wrong approach. How about just try to work better with what we have already? When I started to look at the amount of work that the unconsciousness is doing (Image 1), it was another awe moment. In Road Less Travelled, Scott Peck says unconsciousness represents 95% or more of us and that image certainly fails to represents that scale.

One more thought from my unconsciousness this morning I want to share, in the form of the question: have you ever heard of the Moominvalley?

Exactly that question, in Finnish thought, popped into my head earlier. And what connection I made of that when thinking about this very topic of consciousness and unconsciousness.

For Tove Jansson, the author of Moomin, the Moominvalley was a special place of imagination. Artists have been the artists of unconsciousness for long, we’ve a lot to learn from them on our journey to understand ourselves better. We are really blessed to be the end users of really sophisticated user experience called consciousness, however to change our world to better we must learn to listen our unconsciousness as well as only unconsciousness has more information about ourselves than anyone else alive.