We Have All That We Have

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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 🙂

Set Exciting and Empowering Goals

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Did you know it takes just about the same effort to be mediocre and awesome? Well I hadn’t thought about it that much, until now I realized this through listening Success Through Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill.

Let’s say remaining mediocre means you can remain in your comfort zone and does not require much mental effort. In real effort through, which does feel better: accomplishing mediocre goals or accomplishing awesome goals?

Set goals that empower and make you feel excited about life. Do not think in terms of what you can or cannot, instead set the goal first and let the excitement fill you. Good goals should energize you each day.

Keep the goal in mind and start thinking how you could do it. Your subconscious starts to work on that. Keep the goal visible, so that you can each morning ask yourself how I can do it, what can I do for today?

Setting exciting and empowering goals, will energize you to think different and in the end make you achieve those goals.

Today utopia, tomorrow flesh and blood as Victor Hugo said.

If you want to dive deeper into energizing goal setting I recommend listening Awaken the Giant Within Abridged edition by Tony Robbins. It’s just 1h and 30 minutes and you will get to set four of your major life goals in a guided manner.

What You Think Becomes What You Feel  

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Interesting point about us that either can think what we feel, or then change our thinking and then feel what we think. I realized this today morning while listening to Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza.

What you think frequently is what you get used to and what will you gravitate towards. Our brain generates emotions which are in fact chemical mixes and then our brain likes to maintain homeostasis – a familiar mix of chemicals all the time. If this gets disrupted, our consciousness gets signals to restore the balance in form of cravings, wants and annoyances for example.

Considering the difficulty of changing emotional life, it does take a  long time. Yet it appears we have no choice.

As I understood it, the cells in our brains we decay and degenerate if nothing new happens: new experiences of learning. Repeating the same is the way for destruction when we are talking about cells.

This biology seems to support the idea of continuous growth and openness to experience 🙂

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).

Capacity Matters

 

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Today I was reflecting that I am happier when I’ve meaningful work to do, than when I do not. I do not mind the work to get it done.

People make the work meaningful, all the people involved, especially those who I work for the most of the time.

What I like about working, is that it builds the capacity to work more. During last summer I noticed, that both my mental and physical stamina are at surprisingly good levels. Then I started to ponder how this came to be, and mostly I came to the conclusion that it has to be not only the physical exercise and small things I do each, but the mental exercise as well.

Work builds capacity. And above all it’s the capacity that matters.

If I were suddenly taken into less challenging work, it would start deteriorating and in few months I would already be in position where I cannot the old.

I think capacity matters, especially if you ambition matter. And I do think that we all have or should have a purpose that for which challenging ourselves matter and therefore our capacity matters. We shouldn’t settle for just anything, we shouldn’t lower our standards, but to keep challenging our capacity.

What We Do Often Strengthens

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Learning is based on repetition. Yet repetition can sound daunting, boring or unnecessary. Yet the only way we learn is repetition, that’s the way our brains know which is important and which is unimportant. Important things are used often, unimportant things are not used to often.

Some emotions like fear can create a strong memory that will be remembered for a long time after the event. In everyday life it’s a bit challenging to evoke such strong emotions as our learning aids, so the second best choice is repetition and some funny associations.

Life is simply what we do and at what frequency. That which we do often, it’s particularly convenient to remember.

That what we do, and do often strengthens. Think carefully what kind of behavior you want to strengthen.

Work for Yourself

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Work for yourself, so that you may grow and learn to be strong.

Work for yourself, so that you may nurture the growth of many.

Work for yourself with a purpose in mind.  Purpose is something you can work towards for everyday as long as you live, work for your purpose.

We Can Draw a Box, but We Are Much More Than a Box

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The problem of the box is that it assumes we know everything about ourselves and our surroundings. We cannot. We barely even know ourselves. Yet we attempt to place ourselves and others into these boxes. We even cannot measure our minds, so what are we to set any limits?

We can measure the kilocalories in our food, but we do not very well understand all the systemic effects on individuals of the food we eat. Each one of us is rather unique superorganism which is made much more than just our bodies. One third of our bodies is in fact bacteria populations, which are again rather unique.

Boxes, also known as limits are descriptive language, which useful is in existing incrementally the present. However, we must be prepared to discard and challenge these boxes at each turn. They are attempting to describe something that perhaps cannot even be described by words alone.

Learning from the Unconscious

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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.

Be You With Your Strengths

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The lesson that has taken me to about thirty years to internalize has been the “it’s okay to be me.”

My unique tendencies, such as introversion, combined with my keen curiousness towards learning about a bit about everything had me to think that such preferences are “too out of the normal.”

Yet what is normal anyway? Watching TV? Parties?

As I’ve grown older I’ve bit by bit understood to embrace these tendencies, as they’ve made me wiser in the process.

Normal, or ordinary people do not put much effort to their personal growth at all. They say they do not have “time to read”, or even “interest.”

Yet in the world, there is a lot of people who are interested in such intellectual pursuits and use all their time and energy very carefully around both learning and action. Gradually as I’ve learned that it’s these people that are far more interesting to me in any way, that my life has been filled more with meaning and purpose.

A breakthrough for me has been to understand what thoughts or feelings to follow, and what not. Most of the thoughts and feelings that are really just about instant gratification, I should not relate much with. This reflects very well what majority of people do. Therefore it makes it very challenging to resist desserts, or caffeine for example. Following these thoughts is not therefore very advantageous for me, therefore this is something I would rather be not, even though these thoughts might be once in a while in my head.

The thoughts and feelings about delayed gratification might sometimes be almost as strong as the impulses about instant gratification. Often these are battling against the consensus of the group for example, even in mundane situations such as “should we take a stairs or the elevator” – for example. In these cases I would feel inclined to take the stairs (in Finland there is not many tall buildings ) to keep up my daily step goals and above all my health.

Socially explaining some of these inclinations has been the awkward part for me. This is because the delayed gratification feelings might be and feel obvious to me, yet verbalizing them might take time and I might not even specifically remember how was it. I would need to consult some sort of memory aid and all of the sudden the situation has gone past already. So what has been in the background has been that I’ve felt the desire to do the right things, yet haven’t felt secure to do so previously in my life. Presently I don’t feel such pressures as I’ve learned to handle the social situations.

In my case the major block to utilize my strengths has been mainly psychological inability to articulate and then go to a feeling of shame instead of some more productive feeling. Basis of overcoming these disadvantageous moments that I’ve had has been the self-acceptance thought.

I wish to see the strengths and above all the potential in everyone, so therefore I hope you can learn something from this example.