Growth. Something in physical terms would mean to increase in size or mass. In emotional terms it would probably means mature response versus immature response. In spiritual terms, I don’t know. In intellectual terms it would perhaps mean better performance in a quiz or test.

Around 2007 I found the idea of conscious growth from Steve Pavlina’s blog and around 2009 I think I’ve been practicing daily.

Growth is always in relation to who are and where we want to be. We cannot compare ourselves to anyone else and we shouldn’t. Bill Gates would have said that comparing yourself to anyone else is an insult to yourself.

To grow then, we would need an understanding of our present state, to understand that we are but in the beginning of our journey.

To grow, we need to accept that we are all beginners. Masters are the masters at this skill, humility.

Humility opens up the mind for learning. So the way to grow is to start a fresh.

Good luck!


Quiet Contemplation on Decisions

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On occasion it’s good to have no structure and enjoy the chaotic connections and insights that arise. In order to prioritize we must determine and decide what is important. For that the time to reflect and weigh different options is necessary.

It seems I need to spend at least a day of a week in this kind of quiet and reflective in order to stay operational and to be able to function.

Life is rather easy if we think about it: we just need to prioritize spiritual, social and physical wellbeing and then when the time to do something comes, we are able.

Yet a life of growth is a bit different, because we are not facing the same challenges every day, instead we are facing progressively more difficult challenges.

Stress challenges our mind, body and spirit, and with rest all these grow stronger. Rest is much more than sleep: in physical terms it’s also everything that maintains our body. Our mind also needs healing: thinking practices, social bonding and emotional intimacy. Our spirit needs also nourishing: from social life and spiritual practices.

If we each day and week face increasingly more difficult challenges, how come we spend so little time to prepare for such?

I feel that we have plenty of time to prepare if we do it economically, each day a little bit. To do it economically only thing we really need to do is to keep doing the practices and reinforce the decisions we have made for example to exercise, meditate and socialize with friends and loved ones. Quiet contemplation lets us to appreciate and feel grateful for everything good we have in our lives and to work for those most important things even harder.

What Are You Investing Today?  


Exercise is an investment for tomorrow. Well being of others through comes through your health.

Learning is an investment for tomorrow: what you have learned by heart, you get to keep.

What are you doing today, to make your tomorrow better? When I realized this a couple weeks back, it changed completely the way I view my time.

Exercise wasn’t a chore anymore. Learning is a fun opportunity. Well both of these have been part of life for long, however now I found a new fun way to look at it: as an investment for tomorrow.

Exercise builds physical capacity, which enhances in turn the mental capacities to learn. Both of these capacities are at work at work. Working is therefore essentially building your capacity.

From work you might get paid in a way or another. What do you do with the money you get? Are you researching investment opportunities to make the money work for you?

If not, perhaps you should be. Because best investments for you require deep understanding, which can only come if you are looking at what market has to offer.

Investment becomes investment when the investment sum starts to work for you by returning more money that you put in.

Capacity Matters



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.

At the Top Differences Are Slight

Anyone who has strived to become great at anything knows that the differences at the top are just ever so slight. At times a person has combinations of qualities that secure slightly more advantage that seemingly cause the person to seem dominant. As seen here:

(Image credits: PhotoBobil – originally posted to Flickr as Bolt. Usain Bolt winning the 100 m final 2008 Olympics)

Seemingly slight differences make huge differences in the end result.

This is both physical, mental, emotional or spiritual qualities. Small things add up!

Those who strive to be the best version of themselves, get to be just that by trying to do it by doing the small things well. In the end we are all imperfect, however doing those small things just so right bring us as close to the perfection as we can.

Any closer we cannot come or go, we did our best.

With doing the best and doing the small things right, my point is that journey and effort that matter. When we challenge ourselves to do our best and then something, we are in fact learning. We might be succeeding sure, however at very least we are increasing our own and hopefully the knowledge of all humanity.

Records are created to be broken, and challenged.

Meaning of Work in Relation to Life


 What is the meaning of work in regards to life? Work is literally the meaning: by work I mean the verb of working. By work I mean the elaborate use of the word meaning literally all activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.

As I was reading Bhagavad Gita today on the commute, I understood that too often we attach our minds too much to the end results: the rewards, fruits of labor.

Meaning of work is not the reward on contrary despite all we do and say, but the liberation to give and do without asking. By this statement I do not encourage slave labor, but to find ways to work without the expectation and attachment to the rewards.

Working is part of our nature. In Gita this is described as yoga in practice, however I found the awfully similar idea in Meditations by Marcus Aurelius where he says that it is man’s true nature to work.

Finding ways to work and serve others without any expectation of rewards brings surprising benefits that no fruit or coin can purchase.

Be Present and Create Value


Ability to produce value in the moment is the driver of growth and fruitful relationships.  Ability to create value is based on understanding and the consideration, take the needs of others into account and then from the personal experience, skills and knowledge able to produce something that is valuable to other as well.

Value is the driver that everything else obeys and follows.

Understand and create value.

To be able to create value we need sufficient energy and attention in the moment. Do the basics right: physical (health & fitness), mental & spiritual (clear mind) then stay present and you will start seeing the each moment as several opportunities to create value.

Designing Week Around Energy, Instead of Time

WayOne of my long term aspirations would be to improve my storytelling and writing skills. Obvious way to improve in that area would be to write. I gave a chance for unstructured way of writing and working without specific outcomes in mind, that didn’t work.

I acknowledge that with just hoping, the stuff won’t happen. However I’ve just the right tools to make it happen and even more! This time I’ve both the firsthand experience and some new ideas to tryout. Now I am intending to design my life in a way that will allow me to accomplish everything I expect on a week level.

In the core of this designing my week idea, is the thought about designing it around of energy, not time. Energy on the other hand is the capacity to get the work done. Results shall speak for themselves.

Now I shall be writing twice a week. Writing is exciting format for me to start with, however I might want to be doing something else in addition to this. Also I would like to shift the writing to a different & fun direction soon enough… That’s something I shall work on a bit by bit from now on! Maybe In year I’ve crawled somewhere.

So how does this designing life stuff work out? There is a tool called effect map, which can be used to connect the goals, to metrics and finally to the actions. So I use this to map out everything. In the first version I am mostly focused on every day and every week actions thought, I map these all. Then I take it one step further and add time guestimates.

Now that I’ve day and week based action mapped out, with time guestimates, I see that I am using 171 hours of 168 hours available! No wonder it feels like there is never enough time to do everything I am expecting myself of.

Just a side note for reader: since these are based on approximations, I am not taking the dead seriously. However they do serve as great guideline and bring also visible, where I am putting time.

As I said however, the trouble isn’t the time. The results matter and to get the results we need the spark called energy, or ‘ability to get the work done’ by scientific definition. From literature comes to my help one great book called ’The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal’ by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

The book does divide energy levels into four categories: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And furthermore each subcategory then has the ‘recovery’ or ‘stress’ state.  According to the book stress is good (especially boundary pushing stress), since it increases the total energy capacity. Stress only starts to cause trouble, when it’s not balanced with the proper recovery.

So according to this books model I did a bit of Excel work, where I listed all the activities, and what kind of energy effects they’ve on my life. Turns out it is mostly balanced. On physical side I’ve more stress than recovery, however then again on spiritual side I’ve more recovery than stress.

All in all this is still very much work in progress. However the book has finally convinced me about the importance of the exercise in order to increase capacity to work. Wow, this has been really something I’ve had HARD times convincing myself…

If you happen to know any good books on ‘managing energy’, I would love to learn about that. Either by email (janne at Zennen dot net)or twitter (@janne_piiroinen) or other ways.