Personal Development for the Long Run

Bodhidharma

Gandhi said it best “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

I try to become a better person, because I can be a better person. Originally as I got to know myself a little, I noticed that I was not so good person to be around, and I wanted to change some of those behaviors. Now the reasons to develop myself are more to do with the desire to make positive impact to the world and knowing that I can, makes it very difficult to ignore. So I’ll just have to try.

Zennen has reinvented itself many times during its existence. It is natural growth process, the vision gets clearer and has to be redefined with the new words. Personal development as a term is broad enough to describe Zennen.net and the long run is already reflected in the name itself so I guess this time I have nailed it.

From now on Zennen will focus on growth experiences, ideas and thoughts. The search for the balance continues, I’ll try to raise both the quality and quantity, even thought that sounds like something which is defiantly going to fail. Action will however speak louder than the words, so stay tuned and see for yourself

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Emotions as a Resource for Our Personal Development

180px-Diogenes-statue-Sinop-enhancedEmotions can be a tremendous resource for your personal development. I.e. by controlling our own emotions we can actually feel happier. Another example would be to see the cause and effect, by this we can achieve better long term goals like a healthier lifestyle.

First let’s explore why we feel emotions in the first place. Emotions are simplification from our subconscious mind to our conscious mind, so that’s a message. Since our conscious mind is only about one tenth of the subconscious, it’s understandable that the data we are able to process consciously is limited. That’s why we simply feel, it may be difficult for us to fully explain or put it to words. That’s because we do not have all the necessary data.

We can improve in understanding our own emotions as well as the emotions of others. It is called the Emotional Intelligence, EI. That’s mainly through experience and introspection, knowing your own emotions first as we get better at that.

Let’s focus now mainly to our own emotions, because that’s something within our reach and it is really a prerequisite for understanding those of others.

As in the examples in the beginning, almost everything can be boil down to the emotional awareness, and control that we have of our own emotions. Happiness is a state of feeling, human can actually learn to appreciate less than they have now, just by conscious effort. So in actually feeling happy is more about training yourself to feel and appreciate rather than something which you need to achieve.

Training in the emotion can be tough if you’ve had little training, but gets it easier as it goes. In the end anyone can be happy through emotional training. This is also the reason that people without any possessions can seem so happy and they actually are. Happiness is an emotion, state of feeling that can be trained.

Benefits of emotional awareness and training are literally endless. There are many areas in which we can improve our emotional capacities. My favorite right after the happiness, gratitude and appreciation is the pointers that emotions provide for our own personal development.

As a weak person, I don’t really have that much courage to begin with. However as I recognize the state of the fear, I suddenly feel the need to challenge it. Not that I can be dared to do things very easily, because that’s just foolish. I am of course talking about the irrational fears, which are silly – but they feel very true – however they are not. Let me repeat; irrational fears are not true, thus they must be challenged with truth. This is very closely related to the Project Reality I wrote about the other day : anything that’s not true must be challenged.

Anger can be also very productive emotion. I rarely feel angry or frustrated probably because I’ve learned to direct those energies more productively.

Talking about directing energy! It’s a really good way to become more productive. Let’s take for example “harmless everyday complaining”, at any office, school or other work place you can easily find someone who complains about work. However complaining is not very productive is it? You are basically putting your energy to a express a negative emotion to others, what good that does?

Evolutionary purpose has been probably that maybe someone will come up and solve your problem, that probably happens as often as winning the jackpot in lotto. However, if you complain more you raise your odds right? Wrong again… It’s very one time strategy, even if someone would solve your problem once, but twice? I don’t think so. Also the people around the complaining party are usually quite complainers themselves, or otherwise quite negative. That’s because no-one really forward going and solution oriented person can’t take the drag. On a individual level, best then you can do instead of complaining, is to put the energy in solving the problem. What if you cannot solve it? Define it as well as possible, and then ask for help, that’s very simple. In short: solve & do as much of the problem that is in your power.

Using energy wisely is a very important aspect of productivity and awareness of our own emotion supports that. Our emotions provide us with infinite suggestions to live happier life and create happier life for others too. As we become more positive, we attract also those who are happy and together we can create a positive change to the world.

Picture by Tony f (src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diogenes-statue-Sinop-enhanced.jpg)

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Art of Initiating Conversation

Taking social initiative has very hard for me ever since I started living, after the “no-life period” of my life. Most significantly I think my problems had to do with really low self-esteem, pessimism, timidity, weakness and shyness or any combination of the above.

I could name a dozen problems for inaction, like: really low self-esteem, pessimism, timidity, fear, weakness and shyness. However nothing of these truly prevents action. They are just an excuse after all. Weakness is like a bluff waiting to be called for. Call your bluff.

Ever since then I have been struggling to improve my social skills. Initiating conversations is really a necessity to exist in real life. Now a negative feeling like listed above, for me is more like a red flag, a task to be done, fear to be conquered or bluff to be called.

There may still be some resistance in approaching the interesting strangers. I’ve developed a mental process which works very well for me. As by nature, I’ve been quite a pessimistic, I’ve found it very useful to just be optimist when I plan or take action and deal with the rejection. I interpret the outcome as an optimist and voila, I still feel good.

Here is my process:

    1) Be optimist, see a chance of success.
    2) Prepare for the worst case and try to be optimist about it. Fault is not in you, the other person was just honestly busy with something else.
    3) Initiate with an honest angle. By this I mean be true you, talk about things you want to talk about, that way you make a true connection, if there is any.
    4) Be honest with yourself, reflect, learn what you can and move on.
    5) If you still would like to initiate a conversation: go to step 1. Persistence with a good taste is an attractive quality.

This process helps to keep the negative thoughts at bay, while building experience and truthful connections with other people. Feel free to use and modify it to your personal needs, after all initiating a conversation is a form of art, not science.

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My Experiences with Life & Suffering

I have suffered. Now I have processed some of it and matured enough, that I don’t blame anyone for it.

Most of my suffering is due to my own personality, and the way I interact with the world. The chain of events to which this personality was put in, was not optimum to say the least. Thus I went through a long streak of loneliness, avoidance and escapism.

Result of these behaviors was a mental wreck. Reflecting back from my own point of view, my own tendencies very the greatest challenge. I was compulsive liar and that made living a life very hard. I don’t know exactly when did this habit began to form, but in my teens it was pretty much active, and in my late teens when I didn’t want to lie, I did so anyway on very trivial things too. Most of the time I managed to delay the confrontation for a very long time.

Compulsive Liar and Escapist
My lies were never really confronted even, but I was confronted from different reason, worry. It was due to that experience that I even visited a psych ward for a few days. I hadn’t been attending to school, but a few times during the autumn. I chose to go there, I could’ve easily avoided it, but I wanted change and going there seemed to provide the change I wanted. However as soon as I got there, I knew I wanted to get out as soon as possible, thus I acted accordingly, with lies and got out in a few days.

It didn’t change much, but as an experience it was illuminating. I knew that I didn’t belong there. I got some medication, which I obviously tried and thought that I don’t need such things. For the spring I also got some appointments with a shrink, again which didn’t have much use, because I was still lying compulsively about anything I felt insecure really.

Insecure is quite a key word, when thinking about young me. I was really insecure, and the lying was really just a protective mechanism. The reasons I was that I way, who knows. Why should anyone be insecure? For me lying and running away from problems were the coping mechanisms which I dealt with the world.

I used to escape in video games, those were pretty much the only life I felt I was something. This is true for so many people living in this age, that’s scary. For me the years from about 2002 to 2007 where really about escapism and hedonism through video games and other substances, such as cigarettes and sweets.

Nobody really cared enough to stop these self-destructive cycles, not my family, not the society, well… My friends expressed their concerns, however as I had moved to another town, I didn’t see them that often, I lost them soon enough and replaced them with virtual friends. For me, losing the real friends was a big blow, although I didn’t think it back then, it really affected me as a growing person a lot… Even during my early adulthood, I struggled to find any kind of social life other than online world.

Background of the Problems
Later on the lack of friends was really also a big contributor to the insecurity, although it wasn’t at the time I started plunging into the virtual world. Before 2002 I was living in a small village. Although it was a really tiny village, there was quite many boys around my age, so I had plenty of friends and a few really good friends too.

As a young I was easily influenced to the bad circles, and I soon became a bad influence too. Since I was quite a chaotic personality, even the bad influences didn’t last that long actually, if the people around me disappeared.

The Pitch Black
2007 was a key year. The happenings during the summer, meant my mental breakdown, all my beliefs, purpose and everything had not provided me with the life worth living. I had already exhausted the hedonistic lifestyle, I didn’t’ want anything anymore, but a purpose. My weak, insecure self, didn’t really see a chance at life and was keenly considering and testing the options. My mind seemed to be increasingly fixated on ending my own life, I started testing the limits.

Thankfully the summer in Finland is very short. One message from my teacher pretty much lit up the hope. I considered for a moment: what if I would just pick myself up, and try to complete my studies, since I have failed already everything, I don’t really have anything to lose?

Well, there was A LOT of stuff to do, but since I didn’t really have anything to lose, I started just doing things and getting ready to finish of my studies in a vocational college. This was the first spark to personal development, a test run.

Glimpse of Hope
By seeing a glimpse of light, in the total pitch black night, I would just go straight at it and so I did. I managed to wrap up all my studies during the autumn semester. Pretty good taken that my power level was probably below zero. During the autumn I also did many other things, like quit the sweets, quit the smoking quit also gaming for the most parts, started exercising regularly (from zero too) and started reading. Really positive changes.

However what happens after a reach a goal? I tried to look for a job since I had just graduated, but I wasn’t really experienced in that department either and pretty much blew my own chances by stating that I was looking for a job just a while, until I go to the army. I also didn’t want to settle for “Any job” so I preferred no job. No job, meant unemployment benefits and few week worth of video games.

My habits collapsed during that few weeks, also my unhealthiness became quite apparent. I shrugged it off with ibuprofen and escapism.

Enter Finnish Defense Forces
Then the life changing experience of Finnish Defense Forces dawned upon me. I hadn’t prepared for it much, but probably still more than most people. My physique was quite awful as I had never done any sports, expect the about few months before, that I had actually done some jogging and little something like pushups, sit-ups and stuff. Nothing too serious really. Of course I wasn’t placed in a very physique demanding regiment either. I was a signaler, I don’t know if the term is correct, but we build cable connections and such. I was deemed as an “A-man” meaning normal health, fit for duty. Later on I learned that I could’ve got a exceptions from many causes. I was still so insecure and timid young man, that I really didn’t want to stand out of the flock in any way. I mean in any way, I didn’t raise any concerns of anything unless absolutely something I couldn’t cope with.

The six months in FDF was full of contradictions for me. I tried to keep my recently acquired values, with little success and then battled at the same time against social pressures. I didn’t give in, but I wasn’t really holding on either. After I got out of the army in summer 2008, my life wasn’t getting anywhere…

The Next Depression
I had been pretty much forced to apply for UAS, to some information technology major. I wasn’t really feeling like studying, and I didn’t. I got into the path of vice: skipping the studies, starting smoking, escapism & hedonism. Welcome to the life of no-purpose. Actually I did try to get a job too, with no luck. Recession had just hit the economy anyway and my degree wasn’t really tailored to the job market either. Not that my presence in the job interviews was anything too selling either, if I recall correctly. All this quickly accumulated again to the depression, which lasted for a few months. Up until the spring 2009 I was pretty much sitting at home playing video games and watching anime.

Sustainable Personal Development
However, then the something happened. I got a little bit of fed up. I started to look ways to develop myself. Well once again: quit smoking, quit coffee etc… Start exercising check! The Journaling also started at April 2009. That was a big thing. Most of my ideas at first came from Steve Pavlina, whose blog I had found back in 2007.

Now I really started to figure out my belief system and I started to figure out a way to handle the suffering. Then I stumbled upon Buddhism, Zen and especially Noble Eightfold Path. There was many other ideas too, but this was the one that really hit me. I guess I started changing, I started cleaning the house and trying to look for a job again. Of course failing miserably. My mother however picked up these changes and soon promised me a change as a cleaning staff. I really wanted something to do, so I took up the job.

Adjusting to Working Life
Me in 2009 was as pure computer geek as can be. How did I manage to transition into a cleaning work? Well, I guess my lack of standards, desire to do something and new found value system of Buddhism had a lot to do with it. Reflecting back, I didn’t really have any spine anyway, how would I have had? My transition to cleaning was quite a hard indeed. I didn’t have a good physique and the work was surprisingly physical and tiring. Especially since I in during the summer when there was the basic cleaning going on. However there was quite many interesting people working on at the time, so I quite quickly improved — as the work is just cleaning.

Most notable thing is that I continued to refine my value system through the whole time I worked. It also improved my social skills from the zero to at least to 1 or maybe even 2. Mostly I learned about myself, a little about how I can operate in this complex world. I guess I also forget to mention the important lesson: I had stopped escaping, and started confronting my fears little by little.

I worked for three years total. First year, as in any job is pretty much learning the routine. Second year, I was on my way to build also my work ethic, broader personality, customer service and variety of other skills. Third year was really about mastery, excellence and going the extra mile. Overall the work experience for me did broaden my personality. Now I wasn’t just a computer geek, I was also a cleaner. Shit. :D

During the three years, most significant thing I accomplished was the ability to speak the truth. Although sometimes I would slip in it, I would be able to correct it in quite quick manner. As I began to notice that it is easier to just speak the truth right away, my compulsive lying tendency was overridden through hard work. It still sometimes pop out in unexpected social situations, but then I know better to correct it as soon as possible.

During the third year in work, I felt already that I wanted to do something more, so I applied once again to study. This time out of my own free will, to a field that I had decided. I started my business studies in 2012. What I have learned, or gained during my studies? Most importantly, I have gained the social grounding again. For me that’s been the most important thing. Also I have satisfied my need and desire to learn a lot. Next in the line is to apply this thing in the way of work, that’s the true Wisdom.

Concluding the Suffering, Starting a Fulfilling Life
Truth is very relieving. Now that I have finally decided to employ myself, the most awesome worker I know, I feel like I can express everything more freely. I don’t really have to be a better person that I am. Actually I have never wanted to be, it’s just the human tendencies. Above all, I want all the readers to know, what kind of struggles I’ve gone through personally. There is probably many who cannot relate at all, but the ones who can relate to my story: I feel you.

This blog is about support, hope and inspiration. I hope nobody has to go through that kind cycle as I did. For me, the glimpse of hope got me out of that self-destructive cycle, and I don’t want that anyone has to go through that. That’s why I am writing and planning to expand all my operations so that people who are struggling in similar situations can find help, support and people to talk to.

If you have any questions or comment: use the feedback form to contact me.

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Lion’s Roar

roarI feel strongly about writing this post, with this topic. Mostly because I want to deal with the subject. I am still feeling great. My decision not to take this shit anymore is still feeling right the right thing. I think it is very important to explore all our sides, that makes us truly strong.

I have been living quite a weak life up until now, not really daring to be all I can be. I have tried to be the best I can be, but not dared to do so with a full heart, thus my choice of the topic. Even if I have lived a weak life, meaning not probably standing up to all the things that I could have, despite that I have developed power, power of getting things done. However the problem with being weak is the same as tamed animals: they are obedient and afraid of the stick so to speak. They are not aware of their power. I have been like a tamed pet for so long, and now I have finally taken my freedom.

However in human reality taking the freedom just means taking the power that belongs to you. With power you can choose to do, what you do. Power should be harnessed intelligently and that’s what I intend to do, mistakes and failures on the way are bound to happen, but that’s okay, because the intention is good.

Why the lion has decided to take up it’s freedom? Two big reasons are hunger and values. First thing that I did after the decision was to write down my values, just as a reminder for myself. Second trigger was that I am hungry for success. Defining my success was the second thing I did. As I saw that even my worst case scenario is motivating, I knew that I had made up the right decision.

After directing my burst of emotions to these two tasks, I knew that I still could be wavered quite easily, if I just called the wrong persons. Then again, I knew also the persons who would be supportive and encouraging. Although my mind felt adamant, and I have never felt so sure in my life, I didn’t really want to have a drop of contradicting thoughts with this experience. Thankfully I have been blissed with a few very supporting friends who kind of gave the last touch to my own mental process. Finishing touch is as important as anything in life.

They really helped me to see the important things. There are important things in many levels, first there are the important things for me and secondly there are the important things for the business. Now I notice the overlap in these two, and there is one thing that is good for the business and very much in my own interest. From business perspective it makes sense to spend time creating something, which can be sold again and again. From personal perspective, the work has to be something which I love to do. Now I’ve drawn these two together and one thing indeed which I can do, is to create more quality content.

I see the advancements in personal growth as the most important thing. We as a species need to push our boundaries further and further and to do that we need a lots of different kinds of people. Hopefully this lion’s roar will create many echoes, just as I’ve been inspired by Steve Pavlina.

Picture credits: Robek

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I AM ENTREPRENEUR

I have made up my mind, and I haven’t felt better. I only feel good because the chains of social conditioning have been broken.

I have decided to focus on what’s important in life, and I cannot do that without having significant amount of freedom of action. I need to do my own decision and follow them up with action. I don’t feel like flying with the flock no longer. I don’t want to. I AM NOT A FLOCKING BIRD AFTER ALL.

Humans are actually social creatures, but the best stories are shared by the ones who dare to be different & yet accepted.

I have had the self-doubt for quite long time, without a solid reason. I don’t know why I have doubted myself, even though my thoughts have been very insightful. I should trust myself more and from now on I will trust myself more.

I have been training everyday to become a better person, and yet I have been afraid to fly. Now I will try, I will probably fail, because I hear failure is a common thing. I am not afraid to fail anymore. Life is now, and now it has be lived, experienced fully. I think I crave the challenge of failure, I dare to challenge the failure from now on.

During the past days, I have understood many important concepts which have led me to this decision. Failure has been mentioned, fear as well. Best qualities to battle these things are persistence, and living in the present. Focusing to the present, and doing the stuff NOW. Now is the only time to do anything, and I have been thinking a lot about this.

I started right away to do things. I wrote up my values and a dozen business ideas run though my mind, made calculations and felt really empowered. EVEN MY WORST CASE SCENARIO FEELS MOTIVATING.

In my worst case I would do a twenty hours of paid work per month for little over 10€. I could easily do such business. I AM AWESOME WINDOW CLEANER. I have three years of cleaning experience, a work which I love. It is truly Zen job.

Then I have pretty good computer skills, I could do some stuff there, especially for home’s and companies. I could do websites, help in online marketing, set up intra webs and stuff like that. I guess I could easily do 20 € per hour that.

My most valuable things I could do now, is probably to provide companies with something they don’t have resources to do themselves. I have many ideas for this. this work could be worth as much as 40 € per hour, my objective is however to climb as high as 80 € per hour. I would already be in awe for that, in my current position. Then again I AM A STUDENT :)

Super motivated.

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Failure is Preparing Our Presence of Mind to Succeed

Ahh, now I feel Iike I have selected the right topic for today, after a few! I also got the topic right, even thought it was pretty hard. It probably still got a little bit worse than the original “Failure Process”, but then again, the topic of failure is very much deserved & suitable.

Now more than ever, I feel like doing things, even if it means failing. Meaning that I am not really afraid of failing, at least so much that it would limit me from doing things. I am still a little bit shy to do things or say all my opinions aloud, as I have been, however I have come a long way.

Actually what I have learned from other people, especially those who come from other cultures, is that they express themselves very honestly, I think the “expressive person” would be a really suited to describe them. In the real life I am nothing like that all. I am very thoughtful, I speak only strong points. Even though I have quite strong intuition on something, I may not express the thought, I guess that’s where I feel that I need to improve the most. That is because it could be a valuable perspective which has to be explored the hard way otherwise.

Social expectations are quite easy to fail. Also there is the general forgetfulness, disorganization or inability to plan things all together, thus wrecking havoc to everyone else. This is also a learning experience.

By temperament we are very different, but the institutions and our uprising does the job of “normalizing” about fifty percent of ourselves. Meaning that we learn to deal with people and the social norms, even if we fail.

We have to tools to take action, yet we might sometimes hold back. Best cure is to do it and take action. It is the present and the action that we have to love, because we do not have anything else. So making the present action fun is the key in succeeding doing, once you succeed in doing, you just have to keep doing it until you figure out something else fun to do. That’s life.

Who even cares about “success” – if you are doing what you love and have fun doing it?

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Empowered By Action

Blogging is really empowering me as writer. That’s really a surprising thing. I guess I am quite hard wired pessimist, because at a base level thinking I wouldn’t have thought that if I write, writing would become easier. Now that I give it a SECOND of thought, it makes perfect sense.

I guess there can be colliding beliefs, theories and thoughts that prevent it from sinking in, until I have experienced it myself. If this is indeed the case, action is a whole lot more important than what I have thought.

Especially taking the correct course of action. What is correct? That depends of course what you want to do.

I haven’t had a clear sense for myself, what I would like truly to do. There has been many “maybes”, but the bad thing about maybes is, that nothing gets done. The maybe doesn’t really make you take action & try, nor does it really support you to give it up.

Maybe’s are easy: TRY THEM OUT. If you have many things you would like to try, take one and test drive that particular thing. Make it as real as possible for a time that feels like real. 30 days is the common good test drive period for the reasons, that’s the time it requires one to make a habit.

In fact, I am test driving my life as an active blogger right now. Up until this experiment, I have been on and off. Not really taking it too seriously. However test driving blogging has been so incredible experience, something that I already feel like hard time letting go. Just the habit of thinking & writing & thinking some more makes me tick. It is indeed something that I have been longing for, however always it has seemed to be out of my grasp. However it is out of my grasp no longer. I am very glad that I decided to test drive the lifestyle of active blogger.

If the maybe is something that truly suits you, the action itself will empower you to keep going. You will not care about a failure or few, there will always be obstacles that test you. Heck, failures are actually guiding you towards your destiny.

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Excellence Under Stress

I had written a rough draft about todays possible topic in the morning.

However, now that I have written everyday, I can seen that my thoughts are clearest in the afternoon / evening. It means, that I have thought & pondered these concepts through the whole day and as the evening starts to draw closer, I have come gotten to a conclusion, for that day.

Todays topic of thought was indeed the Stress and how do we all relate to that.

As it turns out, stress can be either good or bad – and most of it depends actually WHAT DO WE THINK OF IT. If we think, that it is positive, preparation for the challenges ahead, it is mainly positive.

Negative beliefs can be a cause of death, which is indeed quite scary thing. Check out the TED speech by Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend, if you want to learn more about this.

Today, I just happened to reinforce parts of my conclusion with this speech. I was actually rejoicing on my way to home, that the circumstances that make me feel pressured, can also make me very rich. Rich in thought, in creativity, in networking, finding support and in action. Also the experience itself has been a very powerful thought as well.

Of course sometimes the immediate stress reactions can be scary, it has happened to me too and quite recently. I have not yet had the 100% belief that the stress is positive, even though I have seen the TED speech above in the last autumn.

Our beliefs are quite a blend of things, and beliefs change too. Although we can hand pick our beliefs, they are constantly influenced by our surrounding world, which shape us as the shapers of our own beliefs.

Belief is a basic assumption, which we know to be true, without thinking it too much. So it is hard notice subtle changes. I guess mindfulness in general is a very virtuous thing if we take it to this level of thought.

So stress or no stress, we can be excellent and imperfect at the same time. There is no need to associate negative beliefs with stress, in fact as I talk about growth, it should be positive altogether. Sometimes we do not feel under control, pressure is high, however we can salvage the excellence from the moment.

Correct action, in the correct moment. Simple, yet beautiful.

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Find and Build Synergy to Achieve Excellence

synergyExcellence is about drive and doing your very best with the limited amount of resources available. The thought of excellence and improvement are driving force behind my thinking. I find it very rewarding to push my own levels, but even more rewarding so to inspire and empower others to action.

Usually the excellence in other people already exists, even before I do anything. However the thing in many cases is that people are quite ‘lazy’ to push themselves to try a little bit harder. We need that outside spark to get truly inspired. I have noticed that it is very difficult to get five star work done all by myself, it requires a little bit of energy, inspiration and empowerment from outside to ignite the spark. However once the spark has been lit, it usually lasts for the task or project at hand. Difficulty is once, everything completed and you have to start over, how to feel the energy then?

Great leaders are of course, great at setting new goals that inspire other people. They are also great at putting people immediate motivations in the same picture with the current action possibilities. Therefore only thing that remains to be done is to see what needs to be done and how the tasks actually can benefit the people at the task.

This sounds a lot more easier said than done. However what everyone in this situation actually can do is, to try to see the peoples motivations and try to find something in common with the goals.

Just today I had a talk with my great friend about the subject and we came in conclusion that in many cases, people just give up the game, before it has even started. In some cases first impressions can cause us to believe something, then base all our actions to that initial belief. In other words, if we do not even try to challenge that belief, the belief becomes self-fulfilling prophecy and voila we have a mediocre result at our hands.

In order to get to the excellence, we have to try to get there. How to get there? Is to find more synergies in the world, rather than give up the game. Finding synergy is all about effort and willingness to do so, also openness to ideas.

Try to find and build synergy everywhere you go, this way we can have more than we have now.

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Project Reality

If you were tasked to build a new world from a scratch to resemble the earth as much as possible, how would you begin? Would you first set up the things you would know to be right? Or perhaps you would go out and interview people who live there and try to find out the truth from them?

The reason why I am asking these questions, is because everyone of us is constantly building sense of reality inside our heads. Meaning, we have a “world” in our minds. Our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions shape that world.

The scientific approach to this task would be of course to get to the original source, to the people and places as much as possible.

In our case, I guess the solution is surprisingly similar: experiencing the world by ourselves is the equivalent of collecting primary data. In order to make our own project reality as close as the reality, we much collect the data by ourselves, and weigh it by ourselves. There is still a danger of bias, but if we strive for neutrality, try to recognize the possible biases and are open to change our views, we should be okay.

I love learning, so traveling is perhaps one of the best ways to learn and shape my reality very rapidly towards the perceived truth. Perhaps the traveler learns even more about him or herself, than the places, cultures and other people. At least the experiences during the travel will have great influence to the travelers.

Diversity of ideas requires tolerance and traveling is a great way to build that tolerance. There is something about openness and willingness to learn that I feel like will take us as a species a lot further.

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Self –Control and Ego Depletion Theory

Self-control is correlated with a lot of positive outcomes in life. It is our ability to delay the gratification of rewards, control our emotions and achieve results that have impact our life in a long term.

Exerting self-control over longer periods of times can also correlate with some negative effects, especially according to the theory of Ego Depletion.

Essentially ego depletion theory links self-control with possible depression. According to the theory high self-control, requires a lot of focus and energy.
I find the Ego Depletion theory very interesting possibility, as it is also something I have noticed myself. Of course the theory provides also answers to counter the ego depletion, it is quite simple: rest and relaxation.
However then again it constrains itself with the meaning of self-control: getting things done. This requires the new kind of self-knowledge. Giving yourself permission to rest and relax after sufficient amount of accomplishment.

In order to differentiate slacking and purposeful relaxation, one way could be to know the proportions of own efforts against the needs, then plan it ahead. By doing so you are not under acting under the impulses or whims of your emotions. Body builders talk about this philosophy as the earned rest, which is important in any activity requiring self-control.

Interesting thing about self-control is that indeed takes energy, especially glucose of our brains to control ourselves. It is also notable that alcohol consumption for example reduce our ability to perform self-control. Although this is could be taken as a granted idea, I find it very interesting to find scientific evidence for this.

It is vital to understand the human self-control mechanisms, in order to perform better.

Read more about Self Control and Ego Depletion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-control#Ego_depletion

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Five Years of Journaling

Exactly five years and a one day ago, I was like a twenty one year old chap with life filled with nothing really. I was recovering from depression or should I say cycle of depressions, but five years ago on that day I used my willpower to write something down. To be honest I don’t remember the time preceeding that really well exactly because I hadn’t written it down. However I know that I had used my willpower to quite smoking already. So it’s not like I didn’t have any guts or willpower, it was just pure willpower without the power of iron discipline.

However, putting that small amount of willpower into critically important thing as journaling was the best decision I could make. Even though I wasn’t very good at describing, it’s really good that I did it anyway.

Ever since then, journaling has shaped my life. I guess one of my favorite impacts it has had, has to do with the new kind of thinking that I have learned. Actually it is the structure of the memories, as I write down, I structure also those thing a whole lot better in my mind and thus it boosts my thinking ability. I have also found a lot of comfort in writing things down. That being said, as a writer, I am still a total novice. I try to practice my writing skills too, this is what the blog is for. I try to take the reader into an account, meanwhile I also experiment a lot with my own style.

Journaling for me was just the beginning to many other paths, and it is the trophy for me to keep pursuing all these other incredible things. I have recommended journaling for many people in my life as the one habit to learn, and I still continue to do so. It doesn’t take time and it helps you to develop yourself in incredible ways. After you have the discipline to write journal, you can create another habit which then carries over to your journal and that creates self-empowering habit.

It’s never too late or early to start, as I said, journaling is just the beginning.

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