What Do You Want to Be Known For?

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Life is complex. Making simplicity out of the complexity is the primary ability of the leaders and we all are the leaders of our own lives.

To proceed better towards our purpose, we ought to also tell others what we are up to.

Personally I’ve struggled with this communication and simplification aspect of my writing for example. It has been hard to say “what I am writing about.” This doesn’t make any sense, shouldn’t I be able to easily tell in one or few words tell what I am writing about? Conclusion is that yes this is exactly how it is.

Same simplicity rule of 1 – 3 words applies to whatever we want to do and achieve in life.

How well what you want to achieve matches with what you are known for?

For longer time and even still sometimes my extended family knows me as the guy who to call when something goes wrong with the IT. I see these people rarely, that they still connect me with an idea and identity that perhaps did better describe me about 10 – 12 years ago. And all the way to the this point I haven’t updated them with what is important to me at the moment and what I am up to in a simple way.

In professional life this is even more important, because meetings are short and memory is short. We need to simplify hard and get the right association. Therefore to be known for one thing that best describes you is the way to go.

What do you want to be known for?

Live Your Purpose and Plan

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Do you have a dream? Have you made the dream into a goal by setting some due dates?

My purpose is good karma, which means trying to live everyday virtuously according to my values so that the after the day I would’ve done more good than harm. This is a bit difficult to assess to be honest, because even with best intentions one can end up causing harm. Knowing this, I try my best to do good and mostly that starts with myself.

My purpose shows in daily actions as following the vegetarian diet, exercising, writing journal, reading books and meditating. I try to apply it to everything I do and work, this is described as “karma yoga” or yoga of action as described in Bhagavad Gita.

After the important daily actions which I mentioned, I still usually have quite a bit of energy left: this goes to work of serving other people. Usually most of my energy goes to my professional work. After my professional work has been done and the daily actions are done, I do not have much energy left for the day. Usually with the reminder depending on the day I spend with friends, family and finally try to write and publish a blog post. Then there is also perhaps a bit time during the week or perhaps weekend for reflecting and planning for the future and reflecting of the past. Especially life planning and financial planning are perhaps weekly themes that I check, if everything is going as I feel they should.

Even though I feel like I am living a purpose, I feel like I must still have some sort of action plan and vision for life. I’ve vision about better future, where we could succeed together in bigger and more audacious projects such as discovering the potential of the human mind, space travel and exploration.

This requires learning and that’s why I am big advocate of learning: I wish everyone would have the opportunities get the basic schooling to be able to read and write. Then get the access to knowledge through teachers, mentors, and coaches. Internet is important place to learn and share the learning,

Civilization, becoming civilized I think is the answer and that happens through learning. With learning there are few necessary skills such as critical thinking and learning and the abilities to learn and required. Then with reading and language skills, access to knowledge such as teachers, internet and libraries we are finally unlocking the vast potential of human curiosity. I value highly projects such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Khan Academy.

Planning and having this positive desire, does not need to mean to having to attach to this plan or the result. Life is prioritization all the time, it’s not skillful to get attached.

Karma yoga

Your work is your responsibility,
not its result.
Never let the fruits of your actions
be your motive.
Nor give in to inaction.

Set firmly in yourself, do your work,
not attached to anything.
Remain evenminded in success,
and in failure.
Evenmindedness is true yoga.

—Bhagavad Gita, 2.47-49

Yet having a plan, means that you’ve given a thought for the future and when the future meets present, you’ve ore options. At best you’ve a different plans plan a, plan b and so worth and then you can choose the closest options or the hybrid of these plans and continue with that. Planning is proactivity and probabilities. Planning means recognizing risks and working to minimize those risks.

Life is rather short and no one exactly knows how much time we have left. Thus living a mindful, present and happy life with a sense of purpose is a sound piece of advice. Yet what could be more inspiring reason to get up than inspiring vision, that today’s actions do good today, but perhaps tomorrow as well?

Because of the shortness of the life, we have to live the purpose every day. Where we spend most of our time we should stay focused there. Yet we should be aware of the future potentials, plan for different skenarios and be awake to take advantage of them. If we could be even greater service through planning, shouldn’t we take advantage of that?

That’s exactly what I had in my mind today as I broke down my previous cash flow calculations into a more actionable goals. About a year ago as a part of the real estate investment coaching I calculated the following cash flow requirements from assets per month to feel secure, wealthy and rich.

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It’s still holds true I feel. However, as I had these stages thought out, I didn’t have much plan to how to achieve them. I had a bunch of separate ideas hanging around, yet crystal clear action plan or scenarios thought out.

Three scenarios I did manage to write for the near future, that was rather rewarding. Then in regards to this stages, I also considered the potential vehicles. Mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that real estate investing is the way to go, the vehicle of the choice so to speak. What now made these stages now really feel achievable was that I was about to calculate with my conservative numbers how many apartments I would have to own in order to achieve these goals. First earned euro from real estate asset is of course the first step, however now I also know that the first milestone is 13 apartments. This feels very energizing and great to know that it is doable number, although there is a bit of how still remaining: planning helps us to visualize the potential outcomes.

Then it is just up to us to live the life mindfully in the present and enjoy whatever life brings without an attachment!

Problems or Suffering Are Never Going to Cease

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Solving a problem leads to a multiplying amounts of tinier problems. We have the power to create happier problems.

Since problems are not going to cease, we just might pick one that is interesting and start chipping at it. If we just worthy problem, solving that just might become our purpose.

Like Schopenhauer said, our mind swings between boredom and suffering. Mind will always find a way to do one or another. I’ve found that it’s easy to suffer although things are very well. It’s unless we teach ourselves, what is real suffering and what is not, we will suffer no matter how well our life is.

Any suffering is tolerable with a right and just purpose. Our purpose may become our legacy and legacy is one form of immortality that is within our reach.

Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

 

Happy Way to Get What You Want In Life

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Think for a moment, what it is you want in life? Let’s say next three years. Set an audacious goal.

Isn’t it so that you probably have to face some kind of adversity in order to get that? If it was anything daring, out of your current level of competence, this is definitely case. Audacious goals are audacious and meaningful exactly because they are just beyond our current level of operating.  Does what you what bring happiness or just gratification to you? Make sure to pursue the kind of goal that brings something more lasting than the instant gratification.

Okay now we have an audacious goal in three years, what are you going to do now towards that? Crawling millimeter by millimeter towards the goal is the key to the success as I wrote in the Climb.

Also another trick towards being more productive and getting to your goal even more sure AND feeling happier now is being happy now. Well while of course that won’t happen just because I tell you so, here are some ideas to get a boost in your both present and long term happiness:

  • Giving
  • Sharing
  • Kindness
  • Gratitude
  • Going extra mile to smile

That which we focus upon grows. That’s why I am always looking opportunities to help, give and share. I’ve been writing gratitude’s to my journal, actually anything positive. My favorite addition to my routine this fall to start giving positive feedback, so now I try to use every opportunity to do that as well.

So now you have an audacious goal, that is probably connected to your bigger purpose. Give your daily tasks your everything, you are surely to develop very good at them. Crawl forward and remember to be happy first 🙂

Janne

Small Steps Taken Daily  

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Wishful thinking about big changes is easy, yet not very realistic fantasy. At the same time human mind tends to underestimate the change that is capable by doing small things every day.

List your most important priorities. Okay now go through the list, what are you doing today for:

Health

Loved ones

Financial status

Purpose / career / dream..?

You need to know what is it you want to achieve, and then ask yourself what it is you can do for it today. Then simply start building the discipline to do it. Eventually that discipline becomes habit, your identity and your identity is the biggest leverage you can get. You’ll start doing things because you are the action, you are the verb, you are your own doing.

You are the master of your fate.

It’s not the achievement that matters, but the journey. It’s the sense of progress that brings lasting satisfaction, not the single achievement. Even when you happen to achieve the object of your desire, you do not last very long satisfied. At best it is about five seconds.

However, nothing expect yourself can take away the sense of progress and that you get from taking a step each day towards the grander horizons.

Only by trying out how far you can get, you’ll know how far you will get. You might surprise yourself, or the world might surprise you. However what won’t change is the satisfaction you’ll get from the journey and from each step.

Start valuing the small steps and the journey. Start walking now, because present is the only moment we really have control of.  Every day is like a new life, we can remember some of the lessons of yesterday and we do not know yet if we can make it until tomorrow. Place emphasis on the journey today and take the step!

Virtue is the Purpose of Life

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Doing good, doing the right thing in whatever position you are in life is the purpose of life according to the Stoics. Take responsibility of your soul, of what you can do, because that’s all you can do.

Do not judge, writes Marcus Aurelius.

Do not judge, always seek to praise were Abraham Lincolns words according to Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Virtue is doing the right thing when we have the freedom to choose otherwise. Marcus Aurelius is fascinating example of this, because he was the emperor of the known world, ruler with absolute power. Yet he was living in virtue.

Trying to put this to the scope of personal life: should I discard all my desires I ask myself again? Then I remember the difference between a desire, lust and a positive desire.

What causes us to be virtuous? What causes positive desires?

Sigmund Freud suggests that it may be sublimation. Something negative we have done earlier in life may cause to turn into something major positive later in life.

Reflecting on my own past, I certainly feel that the reason I contemplate so much on the virtues, what is right and best for everyone is because I feel that when I was younger I wasn’t very good example. Due to that earlier experience I certainly want to go to the opposite direction as fast as I can, which is a very positive.

We want to progress and above all we want to be something more than we were before. As stoics put it, at least we should try to be better than animals. And the way to do that is through civilizing ourselves and taking responsibility of our souls. By putting our values to work and working from where we are now.

 

Further info

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius on Wikipedia

Marcus Aurelius Lecture on Stoicism

Freud on: Sublimation

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Influencing with an Impact

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Life feels meaningful when we have a purpose in mind and we are progressing towards the fulfillment of that purpose. On the way to the fulfillment, we already have to make choices: what to do and what not to do. If we do whatever we want to achieve that purpose, then it might feel meaningless, because we haven’t worked to sacrifice for it.

To have something so important, that we are willing to sacrifice something else for that purpose. Fulfillment of purpose feels meaningful because of our values and because we are willing to pay the price for our values both in emotional and real cost.

Meaningful life is despite of these costs, we are progressing towards our purpose. It’s our own choice.

Once we have thought of our values, we start to make these choices, and sacrificing other choices. We become a person of virtue. We should focus to our own doing, in that way we become the shining example for others, the greatest way to influence others is through prime example.

Living Meaningful Life

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Living full life to me means much of the time and energy is focused to action, movement, doing something meaningful and then taking care that there is enough energy in both short and long term.

In between the action and movement, I’ve inbuilt moments for quiet pause as well. These pauses can be either meditation, just stopping in front of mirror and dropping the worries of the life for a moment or taking a short walk. Often the sacred time is the mornings and evenings, when I am with my journals.

Through every day experiences I try to record as much what I am going through as possible. If I’ve particular concern, I might use my previous journals and knowledge to reflect upon the issue as I’ve already dealt with similar situations, there is often a lot of buried wisdom that I’ve forgotten.

If nothing else, when the weekend when I don’t have any particular plans comes up, I get super excited. There is mountains full of information on my computer that I am ready to reflect and contemplate upon. Often time this contemplation reads to further study and research and compiling of the already learned wisdom into a new kinds of formats.

Today was Sunday, and I had a day for my favorite reflection. There is nothing like revisiting my current goals and purpose to question their relevance. Today I found out that many of my priorities have changed since the past year and a half. I clarified my current priorities in satisfying manner.

As we never have time for everything, yet we have always time for the most important things. It’s alright to revisit the priorities and goals as well. For priorities I recommend a three category system critical, big, small, which I use.

  • Critical priorities are things worth sacrificing for, virtues and values that are not up for negotiating.
  • Big categories are the important things in my life.
  • Small category is the things that are nice, they come last after the big categories are done each day.

I realized that our purpose should be at the top of the critical category, because our purpose makes us immortal in a sense. When we are living our purpose, we do not fear death. My second priority is good health, so that I may live up to the purpose. As third I list metta (loving kindness), which again guides how I do things.

Big categories are more every day, where I’ve again prioritized learning and results over people and selfless service over positive cashflow. Final item on the list is a reminder to love myself too, which is a tendency that although should be included in metta, is easily forgotten.

Small category has things I enjoy: salsa, games and red wine.

To my surprise overall number of items on my list has gotten smaller. Above all it means I managed to combine many of the qualities I appreciate. I think that having less priorities is better if we consider focus and focus is good for the results. I’ve more time for the most important things and I feel like I am progressing more.

And I think you should clarify your most important things too: think what really matters in your life and what do you feel meaningful. You have only one lifetime to live, so cut out things that do not further your purpose.

Takeaway from Bhagavad Gita: World is Us

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Arjuna – pic by Ilussion – Own work, CC BY 3.0

Bhagavad Gita is a book that is little known in western world. It’s called the holy book of Hinduism, however it’s actually just a part of greater epic. Bhagavad Gita or Gita just in short is rather practical guidebook to living a life.

Gita is written in the form of dialogue between an Indian Prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna. Krishna represents selfless servant, who gives advice to the prince who struggles with the questions of life: love and war.

The themes in the book are very practical. As example, Arjuna is in a difficult position where war seems inevitable and yet he wouldn’t want to go into a war where he would have to face his relatives and in the end he wouldn’t be happy even if he would go to war and win, so he is struggling with the fact that should he then just accept defeat and be done with the life?

Krishna teaches and clarifies Arjuna’s thinking through giving Arjuna a better understanding what really matters. As Krishan is representation of something greater, his advice has perspective about purpose of life.

Krishna helps Arjuna to see his life as part of something greater as well and therefore helps Arjuna to see purpose.  Basic message is that there is a greater self beyond what we can see. A self, that is interconnected.

World Is Us

World is us, even though we live ourselves in the illusion of separateness.

Also because we can observe ourselves, it means we are greater than merely our thoughts, emotions and our bodies. While this concept is a bit difficult for me, it could be either the greater self, or soul in more Christian way thinking. The greater self or soul is indestructible unlike the body.

Because of this indestructible part, our purpose is longer term than just this life. This life is wonderful opportunity do take this longer term perspective and start doing the good and right things for the whole interconnected system we are part of.

This concept could be described best as the middle way saying no the bad options, yet being courageous about values and virtues. From this kind of thinking, the greatness has risen, as example the non-violent movement: people remain courageous while still withholding their human rights and not succumbing to the oppression.

Because world is ourselves, it would be foolish to hurt ourselves purposefully. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. Therefore the suffering we cause the others is also suffering caused upon ourselves. Cycle of suffering continues and increases. This was communicated in such clarity that I decided to go vegetarian.

Values are Worth Sacrificing for

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Unless you are willing to pay a price, either actual or emotional for something, you do not have any values. Having values means to have suffer the consequences.

Usually having to make a choice, involves a consequence and suffering. Because choosing also means not choosing something else, and it is saying no to something, in order to say yes for something.

You have chosen something in hopes that it will lead to a change in circumstance or outcome. Making a choice, means that the destiny has been set. If you change it, then the destiny has been changed again. If you stick to it, you might eventually might manifest something out of it.

Put your values to work. Virtues are values in action. When it comes to virtues, usually most highly esteemed are the ones that put the collective good before the individual. We arrive at selfless service and purpose of life.

What is your purpose? How does your values reflect that? What are your values in action?

If the purpose is worth striving for, so are the values worth actualizing for. You are choosing to go through the jungle without hurting a thing, it might require tremendous effort from your part, but will make a better person out of you in the end.

Values are worth sacrificing for, because through them you will become what you are capable of becoming.