Present is a Choice

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We go through all ranges of emotional states of being in the present moment. Present is all there is. All the joy all the suffering of life: present.

Your life is where your attention is.

Because present moment is all there is, our presence skills determine how we shape our future present moments. It’s all about our observations and reactions to these observations that cause subsequent present moments.

Within reactions there are three levels:

  1. thought
  2. speech
  3. action

First you need to recognize are you reacting in automatic or conscious way? Conscious way to react is very limited per day. It takes mental effort and puts strain on us. On the other hand automatic reactions are rather effortless and quick.

Forming automatic habits take time and more importantly repetitions. With 100 repetitions you might’ve formed some kind of habit. With 100 I would feel more safely to say it is a habit.

With presence skills you are able to shape your life in your desired direction. Keep in mind that we are all limited and thus vulnerable. Be forgiving to yourself. Direction, and repetition and keeping at it will get you towards anything you desire.

Life is short and there are no guarantees of getting there. Doing a little by little, every day and you will proceed surely. Leverage your strengths.

Present is you choice, how will you use it?

 

 

 

 

Focus on what matters

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Words Choose Yourself, appeared in my mind a few days ago when I was brushing my teeth. For the past few that years I’ve been aware of James Altucher, I’ve somewhat have had defenses against reading his books or blogs. Now that the title of his books appeared to me from somewhere depths of my mind, I rather quickly decided to buy it and read it.

“Only think about the people you enjoy.
Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human.
Only go to the events that actually make you laugh or fall in love.
Only deal with the people who love you back, who are winners and want you to win too.” – James Altucher, Choose Yourself

What James describes here is invaluable. I’ve had fraction of this in use, as I’ve read books that I enjoy. Applying the same principle to the life as a whole is something that I haven’t even considered. Best ideas often are simple, yet not used often enough.

Memento mori, remember you are mortal. Your time is limited. Your attention is limited. Be wise to choose what to give your attention to.

What you focus on grows and gets stronger. Only focus to that which matters to you and it will grow.

Thank you for reading!

Janne

Never give up on your story

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Live your story every day. There is always an opportunity to work towards what you want to be if you choose so.

Remember what you do now, determines your future present moments. What your present happiness or suffering has been caused by actions that have happened before either by you or someone else. Be mindful of what you do and what effects your actions have.

Your deeds have meaning, even more so than you can see. To you the meaning is what you choose to perceive and see. Sometimes we are biased to either negative or to the positive. Sometimes we see what we want to see. We should train our minds to see the present as it is, not as we wish it were. Then we should train ourselves to love the world as it is, love ourselves as we are.

We do not have anything else than the present moment.

You are part of a greater story do not forget that. Your choices make up that story little by little. Small consistent actions through your days will have more impact than you can imagine. Keep on contributing to your story, keep on adding.

The most important and valuable things and thoughts in your life shouldn’t go a day without your attention. That what is important, shouldn’t be left without your attention.

Remember what really matters and do it.

Good Enough

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What about ourselves then. As humans we are going through change all the time. When we are good enough? In eastern philosophy there is thought that when you accept yourself and your life right now as it is, then you’ve reached happiness.

As super social beings we have tendency to compare ourselves to the people around us. Therefore good enough is above average (of people we perceive about) for our egos.

Comparing ourselves to other people is not an ideal practice we should stick with, because well either others might not be as good as we are capable with fresh thinking. We may limit ourselves of thinking what is actually possible. Others might a bad example. Or in the other hand when we compare ourselves with others, who have low standards it might just make ourselves more complacent.

Good enough person tries to figure out ways to be useful to other people. I think key is looking, trying and continuing until you produce increasing returns like a true professional. What separates good enough from the perfect is however, the process of learning and accumulation that the good enough goes through.

We all have some natural tendencies, inclinations as well as those tendencies and inclinations that we’ve learned from our environment. We all have the good enough in ourselves, the question is how we are manifesting and using that good enough in our personal and professional lives to the full extent.

 

From Insignificance to Meaning

 

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As I stopped today to contemplate, I realized I live very much in the present and my days are filled with things I’ve chosen to do. This hasn’t been always so. Even today, yesterday and probably tomorrow there will be things that come to me that ‘I have to do’ -these are called obligations. Sure enough I’ve enough attitude and competence to get these obligations done, then comes the real test: what I do focus next.

What I’ve past few weeks learned is to focus more and more to the work that is not urgent, but brings the fulfillment. By work I do not only mean professional work, but personal & inner work as well. It’s something that I’ve contemplated upon for several years now and only recently I’ve begun to understand.

What it really means to give 100% to something and feel the sense of progress towards something. Getting really the results that I and the world needs to get.

There is limited time in the day, on earth 24 hours per day and on Mars 24 hours and 37 minutes. Yet what really determines life, is our life span. Life is full of uncertainty.

Stoics tend to say memento mori, remember you are mortal. This together with amor fati, love your fate: what ever present moment you are living – love your fate.

These thoughts are powerful and time tested wisdom that I try to remind myself of every day. In the most recent Daily Stoic newsletter also I learned about third phrase that seems equally powerful – a lesson from Seneca: premeditation malorum. Prepare for the worst.

Stoics are hard to disappoint, because they spend their lives preparing for what ever fate or fortune throws at them.

Especially good stoics are at focusing on what matters and why. There is a lot of things that happens and that are out of our control: weather, law, market, you name it. Then there are other people, who we can influence, but cannot control. Stoics do not really put much of their energy to other peoples’ behaviors either. Instead they focus on what they can control: their attitudes, responses and actions. What can I do?

We can control our conscious parts of the mind and that’s about it. In actuality this does not even contain fully control of our body, because there is so much unconscious processes in the background. Therefore, we there is only a level of thinking and response that is in our conscious control.

We can consciously decide what actions to take. At best life is piling upon meaningful action upon a meaningful action each subsequent moment.

I’ve noticed that meaningful life is fulfilling life. It takes conscious effort. It’s about prioritizing: real life versus online. Books versus television or news. Pleasure now versus pleasure later.

Life is full of choices and reasons and they are all connected. We can map the connections and see the causalities, if we so wish to do. In fact if we do it, we can start to move from insignificant towards meaningful. What I find most fascinating is that as our understanding grows, the map gets more accurate and we might revise it entirely at times.

Happy and fulfilling evening!

Janne

Belief Check

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Our beliefs are not necessarily based on facts or understanding, which is problematic for our and the sake of others. What are your beliefs based on?

Most of how and what we do in the world are based on our current beliefs. Therefore checking what our beliefs are based on is rather ongoing project. A good place to start is in parts of life where we are most dissatisfied with. There is probably bunch of beliefs that are not helping our cause.

I prefer checking my beliefs through writing, it’s somehow easier to objectively just question through my thoughts.

By questioning and testing beliefs happens to create a more accurate sense of the world. We may get more complete each day, yet no number of days is enough to get complete. Our quality of life is determined by our beliefs about life.

We get surprisingly lot of our beliefs from our environment. Because we are part of our environment, if we start to do the conscious work of seeing what beliefs serve us and what do not, we already improve the environment as well as our own quality of life.

Meaning is Life Force

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The more I think about it, the more convinced I am about the necessity for meaning in our lives.

Meaning given by others is ever fading and does not feel meaningful.

Meaning understood by ourselves, is ever strengthening.

The difference in here comes in our belief system. In latter example we are connected to the meaning through our own thought and cognitive processes: we’ve asked the necessary questions to understand and connect the meaning of this moment to the next and previous moments.

In the first example on the other hand, we adopt the meaning given by others without many questions. Because we have skipped this vital phase we tend to forget what we did in the first place and why. Moreover, even when we remember the why we are still at the surface level, although we should dig at least five times with why to get somewhere.

What is your meaning of life and what can you do about it today?

I think feeling fulfillment today about the meaning of life is a key. We can teach ourselves to find it in the moment. When we are doing this, we are all good: meaning gives us energy to work and through work we put energy back to it.

Thinking From Needs

Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People taughts as one habit the ability to think from desired outcome.

The ability to think from desired outcome is a process of identifying needs: what is necessary to fulfill the needs. Once desired outcome has been identified you have clear idea what the outcome looks like, so you also know when to stop.

We do not need to do as much as we can, we need to so as little as required. Doing more than needed creates waste and waste is not value.

Success, Goals and Achievement

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How do you know you are successful without any metric, a goal?

Goals matter, because they put us to think. We need two kinds of goals: goals that push for incremental improvement as well as stretch goals, which push us to think in entirely new ways.

Goals do not need to be set in stone. In fact, when and once your understanding deepens the goals get more accurate and you start to realize what you really need to do.

Common denominator for your goal and the “success”, is you. You are always there, you are the vehicle that goes from being something, to being something else. This is why the ancient wisdom to ‘know thyself’ works so well.

Greatest achievement you can achieve, is that of self. Then you can go where ever you want.

All the goals you pursue teach you valuable skills on the way to self-mastery.

Self-mastery is abundant state, you are able to give more out of yourself than you have to take. Because of this abundant state, it means you are able to generate more good karma than bad. You reach a state of sustainable fulfilment. You understand that it is your actions that have causality and you choose to take action that have more positive causalities than negativities.

Thus the highest form of achievement, is that of self.

Ask yourself: what kind of goals you have set for yourself? Why? And what you will learn on the way towards these goals.

What would be your ideal life? What are you lacking? How can you practice virtues?

Power of Positive Visions and Language

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There are some unskillful words in business, productivity and self-help books. I.e. uncomfort zone is such word. I’ve been using it, but to stop and contemplate it’s not really helpful word at all. Why would anyone spend time in their uncomfort zone? The intention to face the uncomfort and grow through that experience is good, however the word when detachment from the context is awful. Perhaps a better word could be curiosity zone or perhaps growth zone?

Words somatize, meaning they affect our thinking, then our speaking, then our physical and emotional states and that does not turn out very well.

After realizing the somatizing effect that the words have, I’ve decided to refrain from as many unskillful words as possible. Such words are for example swearing, words that are directly borrowed from war such as deadline.

It’s good to be mindful about the words we choose. The people who we are with, determine much of the language we use. It’s the surrounding culture that determines what words we do use, however by being mindful we can reduce the effects and bring more skillful practices into use.

Overall, mentioned words: uncomfort zone, deadline are good examples that the language has interesting words that are charged with kind of bad karma, although the intentions are good. Why cannot we have the growth zone and completion date? These kind of words carry more positive, uplifting tone about the whole thing.

When this kind of positive vision thinking is applied a little bit more broadly, you start to see that much of our stories we believe in are stories of loss or fear of loss. We are not taking action from the positive stories: what we all could gain if we succeed for example.

It all starts with the tiny word choices, and makes up the more positive and uplifting vision that energizes us all.