Living Philsophy, Overcoming the Resistance

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With philosophy there comes responsibility to live it.

Wisdom is knowledge in action.

Sometimes the distance in between knowledge and action is long, because we have internal resistance to overcome Seth Godin talks about this resistance in his book Linchpin. I revisited my notes and highlights of the book today as I was overcome with huge resistance to finish my company’s website.

Seth Godin writes that the purpose of beginning is to finish. It’s our job to deliver and it is often our fear of inadequacy that keeps us from delivering.

First version of the website is ready www.amorfati.fi/en

Most meaning we can get is through serving others, and to serve others we must begin and finish.

In writing these is this thing called “the first ugly draft.”

In life we are often afraid to be defined by this first ugly draft. Then the one draft becomes hundred, or a thousand and we have not published anything.

When I follow professional work I am often surprised at how high levels people are holding back.

At the same time I’ve great feeling of inadequacy with my own work, own writing, pretty much anything I d so I can understand: it’s easy to tell others what to do.

Mostly our life is a struggle against ourselves, our beliefs about ourselves what we can or cannot do.

I’ve just started on the path of entrepreneur. I’ve a long and rocky way ahead of me. I know this, because big part of me still would like to take the safe and comfortable path of employment, not failing, not starting and trying to do something different.

Yet I choose to try. I want to grow and keep growing.  I also don’t want to buy into the mass hypnosis of not good enough and to break out from that I need to do anything differently, even if it fails.

Must is a powerful reason for action. I believe, I do what I must when I must.

Until then I’ll try to do something different, because there is also part of me that thinks that asks maybe I am good enough and at least some of my work is as well.

Truth (Accountability Mirror / David Goggins Challenge #2)

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Yesterday I started listening the David Goggins’ Book Can’t Hurt Me as I wrote in Owning Myself (What is Your Bad Hand? / David Goggins Challenge #1).

Anything that was holding me yesterday back, I wrote there and came to the conclusion that only action was left for me. I cleared the challenges I set for myself yesterday and planned progressively challenging tasks for today both mental and physical uncomfort.

In the first half of the day as I’ve done most of the physical challenges I set for today, I realize that there is something else. One reason from my past came to my mind in shower: the reason why I’ve unconsciously avoided getting strong is from my childhood experiences with my other half-brother who is nine years older than me. He kind of used me as a living punching bag when ever he felt frustrated and that has caused me to avoid physical confrontation as much as possible because well who wants a fight they can’t win? I can forgive him and now start owning this pain and weakness as well and grow something else in place instead.

Life is about growth and we grow through challenge. Sure at times environment challenges us. But then at times it doesn’t, especially in the dimensions we need that challenge. It is up to us to do that and that’s what drives me now.

Instead of speaking of ideals, I would like to live them. Like in this order: Read a book. Live the book. Write a book.

Let’s see what part of the many ideas I can carry until completion. That is my mission, what is yours?

Clarity and energy to you!

Janne

Owning Myself (What is Your Bad Hand? / David Goggins Challenge #1)

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Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

I started reading Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins today. My friend has been talking about the book for at least six months. I’ve seen some David Goggins videos in the past and I definitely have thought that it has been a plus.

There is abundance of great quality content out there and I am definitely a person who does not need more quality content. I need more action. One good example of this is the way I wanted to read LESS in 2019 and do more.

On 2019 and 2020 I’ve been doing quite a lot, but many of them are wrong things. Job for example. And the reason I quit my job as well. After a work week and party on Friday I groped an employee after she had fallen asleep. She woke up though and left the apartment. I was overcome with shame and guilt, only thing I could do is to sleep. After I woke up I realize this is real. I texted her with a message where I acknowledged what I had done and expressed deep remorse. I did not get response. In the end she had brought the topic to my superiors which then asked to hear my part of it. After hearing we together decided that it is right thing to do for me to quit, so I did. This was the conclusion that I had come to in three days of contemplation by myself as well. In a sense it was a relief.

My identity is based on truth, and that’s my part of the story. For me it cost my work and position immediately. I had been working for that company for more than 5,5 years and intended to do so in the future.

Of course my mind I also had other aspirations every now and then. One is to see where I could go by myself as an entrepreneur. Now I’ve that opportunity which I intend to take.

Davind Goggins has challenges in his book. First challenge is about bad hand. So what else has been holding me back in my life? What is my bad hand?

I don’t need to think about this, I know this:

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Picture is more powerful than the words. However, my physical body has had serious effects on my mentality as well. Mostly I am ashamed of my body and keloid acne scars, which have become a symbol for ugliness, unworthiness and failure for me.

There has been a little success in in treating those scars physically. Cortisol helped to the ones on my shoulders, however the ones on chest did not much budge after two or three shots of it.

Eventually I’ve tried to accept them as part of me. Even so, they affect me. I am a prideful person and I would not liket o put myself into situations where I need to be. I don’t like to be around strangers shirtless at all. At times I’ve tried to condition myself for such occasion as well, sometimes succeeding better than others. However as long as they are physically there, they remind to myself of my own unworthiness which is the story that most frequently pops into my mind.

Now what this Goggins does it to recall my fighting spirit towards that which I hate most in my life. It’s not even the physical appearance, but the weakness and perceived social status that hurt me the most I think.

As a cure for myself I decide that the story must be rewritten. Let the truth be myself. I’ve noticed that even so I may fear death. And what if death actually comes and I’ve not faced the fear of death?

I have, several times. Yet when it comes to the fear of losing my face, fear feels overwhelming.

Question is, what I am going to do about it?

There are some things in life which we can do. Some actions produce desired results, others do not.

Doctors and people around me have been helpless in perceiving and easing my suffering. What is left there, but to help myself?

I’ve felt deeply guilty of these scars and of myself. In the past 32 years they’ve shaped me in both good and bad. In good, they’ve lead me on the path to grow in other ways. In bad, they’ve left me isolated and fearful of what might happen if and when I’ve to face the reality.

I can only embrace what I’ve: a healthy body with a few scars. Scars that are physical reflection of my mental and emotional pain that I felt at that time. From doctors I have not received understanding how the scars became to be, however I know for sure that those are the physical reflection of anxiety, stress, isolation that I felt at that time about fifteen years ago. All that combined with aimlessness and bad habits created that physical expression that lasts probably as long as I live.

What is done is done, all that is left is for me to embrace who I am and what I can do for the world. There is nothing more left to say than just do (challenge #2), I don’t believe that no thing more than these two things are currently stopping me from being me at my best.

Truth hurts, only once. Lies frequently.

Perfection is a myth. Most of the trees are crooked. It’s about life after the crookedness that matters the most. Better to view the crookedness with light, that allows healing to happen.

What is your bad hand?

Joy and energy to you!

Janne

P.s. Those who are suffering with body image problems I highly recommend Brene Brown book Gifts of Imperfection.

Focus on What You Can Do

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Input is the work you do. You should do work every day to make greatest contribution (read Tiny Action Towards the Greatest Contribution).

You should design your days therefore action oriented.

Action is something you, yourself can do and decide about.

It’s about the use of your time and attention within that time. Where are you going to focus your attention to? You can choose and decide where you put your attention.

Where you put your attention, grows and gets stronger.

If it’s not in the right place, wrong things will come to your life and you will feel dissatisfied.

If it’s in the right place and right things, you’ll feel deep satisfaction and sense of progress with your life. Even if the actual outcome is still far ahead.

We are not our outcomes. We must understand that outcomes are shaped by small frequent actions piled on top of each other.

At best there are even many tiny, frequent actions working in harmony (other people), towards the similar purpose or goal. This is what I call the harmony of virtues.

What actions today, would bring about the greatest contribution to others?

Where is your attention?

Where do you spend your time?

How do you measure the actions within that time?

What you measure, can grow stronger. What you measure can be improved.

Measuring gives you feedback. If you do not measure it, it’s not clear enough. Measuring is a key.

Effects usually are seen in single metrics such as sales or cash flow. Yet those metrics are outcomes of actions.

When measuring the actual doing, there needs to be taken account both volume of action and the quality of action. This contradiction is hard to grasp. There are people who vouch loudly for volume or the quality. Yet both can be true at the same time. What times of benefits would the increase of volume and quality bring?

Everything has to start with the volume. Passivity has to be transformed into action (volume and frequency of doing), before it can be transformed into harmonious action (quality).

Keep your focus in the present. Do not cling to past. Do not cling on what other people are doing.

What matters is your virtue in the present. As Jordan B. Peterson puts it: what is the smallest thing you could do that you would do?

Do those tiny things that you do as well as you can. That’s your effort, that’s your energy, that’s your contribution and a gift for the world.

From Taking to Giving

 

Mature men and women are givers. Immature people are takers.

Mature people seek to give value, where as immature people are looking what to take and gain.

For men, it is difference between boy and man psychology. For women, between girl and a woman psychology.

In the book series King, Warrior, Magician & Lover, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette focus more on the mature masculine psychology and how that happens i.e. how a boy dies and becomes a man. Traditionally it has been through rituals in the guidance of elder wise men acquainted with the sufficient knowledge. Writers also point out that most modern societies have transformed many of these rituals into mere impotent ceremonies, which do not have sufficient energy to make the transition.

As example they use a scene described from the movie Emerald Forest where a boy dies during the ritual in the deep jungle and when the sun rises, is born anew as a man.

In the book series also work with the shadow forms are emphasized before starting deeper work. Each archetype has two shadows. So a hero boy could be a bully or a coward, which is then further transformed into a mature warrior archetype which has also it’s shadows the sadist and the masochist.

I’ve found the framework inspiring for my personal development and growth. Through my life I’ve been able to recognize moments where the thoughts, words/lines or actions have actually been categorized as shadow work versus being fully mature. These are exceptionally educative moments.

Sometimes shadow do take us over, and when that happens we have to be ready. Shadows are part of us, and in a healthy mind they become part of the whole. “Not too much, not too little.”

Healthy psychology and healthy giving is like that as well. When we give too much we make people weak. When we take too much, we become weak.

Giving should also be focused on more lasting giving.

When eating a fruit, how often do you thank the person who planted or nurtured the fruit tree? Or picked that fruit up?

Nature contains many blessings even without us. I live in Finland and Finnish forests are abundant of various berries during summertime. Having lived in countryside for my childhood, I’ve learned to respect everything in the nature. Few days ago I realized that I could be doing still much better work in my present life and condition and I should. Let this be my lesson and decision to start contributing more towards the nature from this day onwards.

What are value you going to give and how?

 

Peccatum originale & apokatasis panton

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Blessing bestowed,

Life to be enjoyed,

Within the limits issued,

How long until you are bored?

 

Cast a blessing, cast a light,

What remains in the other side?

Shadow, shadow of a man,

What potential there see you can?

 

Something in the darkness, where the light cannot shine,

Will you turn and will everything be fine?

Dare you to explore the darker side,

And leave the comfortable, warm light.

 

Can there be good intention in offense,

Or are we just stuck in a form of pretense?

Do you have trust? Do you have faith?

We all must grow, to become something great.

 

You are me, me are you.

Two vices and one virtue.

How one can exist without the other, is good to argue?

There are no angels, there are no saints.

Not without the animal, remember the grace.

 

Knowing when to start,

Knowing when to stop,

That’s the key for raising the crop.

 

Story of perfection,

Is more like a reflection,

That makes truth seem like a deflection

 

Morally superior,

Willfully right,

Who we are to judge?

What is wrong, what is right?

 

Power to give,

Power to sustain,

Yet, who has the power to refrain?

 

Complying seems meek,

Doing wrong seems weak,

Where is the peak?

Where is that virtue we seek?

 

Through wrong we grow,

New karma seeds we sow,

Status away we throw,

Desires to ourselves we show.

 

What happens next,

To start from nothing is a test,

No time to rest,

Virtue is the best.

 

Tired to play,

Tried that way,

And now please pay.

By going away.

 

Back to work, back to pit.

If you might take one blessing with you, what would be it?

Grab the tit,

or grab the grit.

 

Foolish one you are, for grabbing the tit.

At least fun you have while working in the pit.

Enjoy the fires, all around you lit.

And the smell of shit.

 

What is shit, but the manure for the paradise?

Joy and success are just a disguise.

Can above the sin anyone rise?

To the gods, we are lice, with the habit of dice.

 

Comfort we seek, yet change we need.

Where is the end of the greed?

Where is the power to be freed?

Is there Graal, the ultimate mead?

 

Fooled by men,

fooled by gods.

Totally broken,

With minimal odds.

 

Start again,

Start from zero,

You have all the Zen,

You are on a journey of the hero.

 

You are marked,

Negative example,

A whim of a shadow, also something positive sparked.

Others this do not yet see, yet you have it in ample.

 

Darkness and light,

Weakness and might,

Too much, and none,

What is done, cannot be undone.

 

Where is the understanding? Where is the truth?

Become what you seek in your quest for youth.

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.

Be the Awesome Person Who You Would Like to Know

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Have you heard the adage that you are the average of five people you spend most time with?

Aren’t you with yourself first and foremost, so shouldn’t you include yourself there, what kind of person are you for those people?

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

First relationship that comes, is the relationship with ourselves. We have to start with ourselves: we have to define our what it means to be awesome for ourselves and for others.

There is the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. Keyword there is the treating, it’s a verb that requires action. We are defined by our actions, we become what we do.

Change then means taking more virtuous actions than before. Define what do you value and take action, make the values as verbs, as virtues.

Personally I’ve defined seven values from which I think the truth, love and courage are in the core. The other four: aspiration, responsibility, gratitude and humility are fine tuning for what kind of person I really want to be.

Value Virtue (value in action)
Love Kindness, compassion, metta, forgiveness, mercy
Aspiration Excellence, purpose, openness, curiosity, courage
Responsibility Sustainability, effort, courage
Courage Positive action despite of fear, growth, rightfulness, effort
Truth Seeing the world as it is, open mind and learning.
Gratitude Awareness, meditation, metta
Humility Service, gratitude

 

In the right column there are thoughts, what the value would look like as action. I’ve done this table two years ago. As an advice it could be helpful to write even specific examples such as:

  • Gratitude: give one written positive feedback a day.
  • Love: apologize if you notice yourself swearing and make yourself socially accountable so you could use kinder words in the future.
  • Truth: when you catch yourself exaggerating, stop, apologize and correct yourself immediately.
  • Responsibility & courage: when you see opportunity to take responsibility take action despite your fears and worries.
    • Example how I applied this on yesterday was in a rather small restaurant where there wasn’t any table for four. Waiter was young man whose solution to find the table was rather burdensome for the whole restaurant (to move the tables in tiny space). I quickly figured out a couple better solutions, from which the best in my judgement was to ask a other customer who had just before ordered to move to a smaller table. I did this this as kindly as I could and he did it gladly.

Fears and social behavior is contagious, therefore it is important to notice the that when do you need to rise above the surroundings and take the initiative.

Personal growth is all about initiative to do things differently.

Now take a moment to write down your values and write next to it how you could apply it as a virtue. Make at least one action for each virtue. You may add more actions to this list as you live on more days and weeks. By continuous practice of values and virtues, you will become the awesome person that you would like to know.

You are awesome!

Janne

Defenses are Cues for Growth

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Mind has a tendency to construct a model of reality, which is largely just a crude representation of reality at it’s best. It’s this reality that we are all living in. We are living a lie narrated by our minds.

When mind gets confronted by something that threatens the reality, defense mechanisms kick in. First defense mechanism is denial. In fact for information we learn for the first time we outright dismiss, it has never happened to us before. Often to get even our attention, new things require repetition.

There are exception, in familiar and safe environments any changes in the environment gets right away our attention.

There seems to be a kind of filter of expectation. Our minds is at peace when everything goes as expected. Like a radio channel which plays the sort of music you are expecting. If something does not work as expected, your mind wakes up and starts to react.

We do not necessarily notice new elements in familiar kind of pop song only until much later on. This happens all the time. Our minds get enough of the familiar, so we do not even pay attention to the slight changes that have happened.

All this is natural and automatic. Consciously we can become aware and mindful about these and at key moments take a moment to consider what is going on. This is especially good practice when you notice defenses.

15 Common Defense Mechanisms is good place to start identifying which of these do you use most often and then to start practicing the more mature responses in situations.

Adversity Builds Strength

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If you are facing adversity in life, think of it as a training regimen ordered by life just for you.

Adversity feels like adversity as long as you remain weaker than the challenge. Once you’ve faced similar challenge once, twice or few times and especially if you’ve learned from it, adversity starts to lose it’s feeling as uncomfortable. In fact, the better you get at it, the less adversity feels like it used to.

Road to mastery can in fact feels at times satisfying. Once you’ve certain degree of confidence and competence over the things, you might even enjoy some sorts of adversity.

Life with the attitude of growth is great: there are no “good” or “bad events”, there is just opportunities to practice virtues.

With the habit of loving what you have and then practicing virtues in those moment you’ll grow strong.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” ― Bruce Lee

There is wisdom in Bruce Lee’s words. Pray for strength. And I would change even the praying to acquire strength, because life offers plenty of changes to develop strength.

By strength I do not only mean the physical kind, but also, spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social strength. We all have the strength potential in different degrees, however what doesn’t change is that we can train all of these through adversities that are presented upon us.

Adversity builds the strength and often the adversity is tailored exactly for you, it’s what you need to overcome, in order to acquire strength.

Embrace the adversity, love your fate and build your strength.