Self-Help Signals

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I used to get easily annoyed by almost anything. In fact word “self-help” itself was a bit red alert for me. Yet I felt like this is exactly the time I need to use this word that I’ve almost banned from my dictionary.

This is so fun topic: the signals that we need to find in order to help ourselves.

Helping ourselves is the second best option, right after the fact that there might be someone who is more qualified to see what we really need. Self-help is almost the best option!

How do we know that we need self-help? I think understanding that we need to help ourselves and to accept this are the most difficult parts. Who would like to admit that they are insufficient? Who would, because we are not!

In fact we are masterpieces in construction and never to be completed. Life is an oscillation rather than linear start and finish point. However, it’s each day we must wake up and start to chisel at our masterpieces.

Have you ever wondered how do the masters know that their masterpieces are ready? I think there are several unfinished masterpieces of art out there in the exhibition.

In the same way, ourselves we are an unfinished masterpiece which we must ourselves work on each day. This is why we need self-help: it’s part of the cure, not the only cure. Rest of the cure comes from those who can see what we really need.

Good way to know if you need some self-help is that if you do not get any help from outside. So then you might need to help yourself a bit, so you can receive a bit from outside 😀

Have a great day!

Janne

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 🙂

Multiplying Effect

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Not all work is equal. I.e. you could do spend the time doing the same thing. Or you could spend few hours to teach someone else to do the work and then continue teaching the next one.

Soon we have a multiplying effect.

What if you then would teach others to teach to teach? That effect would again be manifold to the previous one and many hundred times more effective than the first approach.

I noticed that it does take courage and win-win-win thinking to actually do what is right. Yesterday I had to make a stand by saying no and then understanding and teaching.

Gandhi taught millions or even billions of people to operate differently in new way, which was based on values, truth and courage.

Where are the multiplying chances in your life?

Repetition – Simple Way to Get More Out of Reading and Learning

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When it comes to reading or learning anything worthwhile, repetition is underappreciated. Common arguments go like “why bother learning anything at all because you can Google it.”

Well certainly you can Google, however you are just relying on outer source of information which may or may not be available. Another thing is that you are just processing information, you lose wholly the ability to understand deeply and synthetize deeply on based on this and other knowledge you have.

To simply put, that which you do not know and remember are not in the domain of your thinking, you cannot use it very well.

Simple way to get more knowledge, is to read more. And then read again after sometime, in order to understand what you have read even more deeply and from other perspectives.

After each reading time it’s good to have some key takeaways and put them in to action. And when you read it the next time you are more proficient in everything the book discusses and you can dive deeper.

When you repeat the repetition eventually you become the master, you could write it on your own, because you have done as you preach so long.

We Become What We Do, We Do What We Think

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If we become what we do and we do what we think, then if we ought to become something we ought to think more along the lines what we ought to become.

To put it more simply: if we want to acquire a quality, we should also improve the quality of our thoughts.

Better outcomes rarely come by coincidence, therefore studying others who have already achieved what you want to achieve is a good place to start. More specifically it could be useful not only study those who have achieved what we want, but also to study their ways of thinking, their thought processes to understand what exactly they are thinking with actions they are taking.

Deeper understanding opens up the ways of thinking, and therefore the ways of becoming.

Rediscovering Enthusiasm

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Enthusiasm can be rediscovered. It means you can get enthusiastic about something that you have been doing for a year, a two or decade.

I am beginning to suspect that enthusiasm is a sort of skill even.

Often in my work I meet people who get bored of the task within a week, month or a year. While this is natural and understandable, I am also amazed how much people are in the convinced belief that they do not have anything anymore to learn about the task.

Mastery comes through pushing the layers of resistance and rediscovering enthusiasm. Learning to look at the ‘familiar’ activity for example through different perspectives (like six thinking hats) is key here.

Enthusiasm is a form of curiosity and how it is connected to everything else, a skill to see and always look again with fresh eyes.

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.

Fulfilling the Needs at a Higher Level

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Need is a feeling of lack. It’s important to separate the needs from the wants. You can’t have all what you want, but you can have all you need.

The thing isn’t even trying to figure out what all you need is, but to figure out what you can do to fill the needs of others at high levels.

In turn and in time, world will find ways to fulfill your needs as well. You will get what you ask.

I used to think needs a lot in through the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is alright theory. However, later on I’ve learned a better framework from Jari Sarasvuo (and I don’t know where he learned this from):

Individual level

Variation

Safety

Communal level

Oneness

Uniqueness

Life level

Altruism

Fulfillment

However, this framework gives much better way at looking others and what their needs are. Everything starts from the individual level and finally when these needs are met we are able to live a fulfilling life. When we do have achieved fulfillment we want to share some of it with others.

We have different mixes of each of these levels. For some variation is buying different kinds of candies at store, while others have to go to backpack in a different continent to feel any sense of fulfillment.

With this framework of needs, it’s easier to spot what kind of needs they are and then try to understand the depth of the need in each category. Then we can better serve others and ourselves.

Identifying Needs

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Today I learned interesting things about needs and wants. I.e. that wants are indeed expression of needs, although they are not really that accurate. We even may be unaware of the underlying needs, even though the particular want may point direction (or not).

Next question is indeed, how to identify the needs in self and others with higher accuracy.

First thing to do would be to define a need.

Merriam Webster has several definitions, but the psychological definition would be a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism.

To put it more simply: need is the feeling of lacking something (in order to feel happy).

We are always expressing our needs. This helps ourselves to understand our own and the needs of others better.

What Do You Need for Fulfilling Life?

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Understand yourself: your needs, your strengths, where you are now. To find this out you will need to do quite a bit of introspection and assessing. This creates insight and understanding.

  • For needs, I found online pretty neat and quick self-assessment, which you can use or find another one. If you do find a better one please let me know as well 🙂
  • To understand strengths, asses them too. You can either reflect by yourself and create personal SWOT analysis. Or you could use tool like Clifton StrengthsFinder.
  • Where you are now, you can rank different parts of your life. I’ve been using the self-assessment by Steve Pavlina (2010) for years and I still do it about four times a year.

You can do these every year, every half year, every quarter or every month – whatever feels like good interval. I’ve whole folder for these personal development assessments so I can see how my life has been changing through the times.

Journal then further gives me deeper qualitative insight what has been going on particular days, weeks or months.

Fulfilling life requires deep understanding what are your needs and at what level they are being met. When you’ve this crystal clear, you will use your limited resources a lot better to meet those needs at highest possible levels. Or if you notice that it is not possible in this current life situation you can begin to leverage your strengths in the long term to work into a different position.

Insight to your own needs and strengths are the key. Remember, your needs are often met by other people. Fulfill the needs the needs of others at high levels and they will seek to fulfill yours.