Power of Positive Visions and Language

font-705667_640.jpg

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

half-dome-918596_640.jpg

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

cactus-2643512_640.jpg

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

worker-30240_640.png

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.

From What Priorities Do You Start At?

new-1045954_640.jpg

What is the most important thing to you? When you’ve determined this, does your daily routine follow that up?

The most important things should be done in that order.

With this argument we all should start with health first, because without taking care of our health we cannot increase the wellbeing of others.

In practice the thought is more complicated. Yet if we try to stick to the simple principle as much as we can, then good things are bound to happen.

We should take care of our most important priorities first, duh!

From Hesitation to Hell Yes

kyoto-1976538_640.jpg

I pondered why I am hesitating in some areas of life. In life I’ve followed the advice Jari Sarasvuo gave during Trainers’ House Growth Academy about prioritization: If it’s hell yes, then do it. If it’s anything less do not.

In order to recognize a hell yes, we need to recognize it from no and regular yes. Hell yes is based on deeper understanding what you want and why do you want it.

Hell yes is difficult to get to in some areas, such as relationships. How do we know a hell yes? And how can we be sure?

At times, it is our thinking that is flawed. Sometimes what we need isn’t at all the thing we want.

It may take to change our understanding before we get to a hell yes.

Whose Glass Do You Fill and In What Order?

lemonade-932761_640.jpg

Even the best of intentions can do harm. Altruistic giver who gives always first away from even what little they have with all their energy and might will not end up serving any sustainable good cause.

To make the world flourish, we need to think in terms of sustainable giving. Sustainable giving starts with our selves: correct understanding, intention and speech. We need to learn to treat ourselves with compassion in order to benefit others with our actions.

I am not saying you cannot be beneficial to others before you have acquired such enlightenment, I am saying you should start each day by developing such understanding and mindfulness from where you are first aware of yourself, your limitations and capabilities.

Develop mindfulness and compassion towards life. Or as Ajahm Brahm says, develop kindfulness.

Start with yourself. Love yourself first, that’s the most important relationship you have.

Love is a verb.

Dr. Scott M. Peck defines love as “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth… Love is as love does. Love is an act of will — namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

Love is about spiritual growth and we need to start from ourselves before we can start benefitting others. In practical terms this would mean every day we would need to prioritize ourselves first, in order to ensure the sustainability of our love for others as well.

When we ensure in the morning that our own spiritual growth needs are being taken care of, we can truly start benefiting others. That’s from where flourishing relationships and societies rise from: love which is spiritual growth.

How Do You React?

landscape-3361927_640.jpg

 

Observe yourself how do you react to the unpleasant or surprising events. Then ask yourself, does this further what I want to see in life?

I find a lot of learning and relief in this exercise. Many things in life are achieved by consistent conscious action. Not everything, but many things. And to make consistent conscious decisions, we need to know what we need to do in order to get there.

Those people who have capacity (i.e. physical, emotional, social) can react to almost any stressful situation with ease, because they have capacity to handle the situation. When you have capacity, you can react to the situation with curiosity, learning and laughter rather than to treat is a threat.

How could one develop such mature response then? By building the capacity then at all levels. Physical capacity increase through exercise. Social through social interactions and emotional capacity increase with our ability to consciously recognize and acknowledge the existence of the emotions.

Our responses to the stress vary. That’s why scary things for one, do not necessarily work for others.

Keep observing on how do you react to various happenings, keep a log and get to know yourself. Once you know yourself then you’ll be able to further

Growing Young

landscape-3155182_640.jpg

It’s fascinating thought that instead of growing old, one could grow to be young. Not in physical, but in mental sense. To learn to acknowledge the imperfections of oneself, and life and then to embrace everything in life regardless.

“It takes a long time to grow young.” ― Pablo Picasso

I think growing young is not a journey of irresponsibility or immaturity, but rather the art of retaining best of both worlds.

Growing young involves growth, curiosity, energy, cheerfulness and optimism.

What We Focus on, Grows Stronger

apple-3341245_640.jpg

Focus is magic, for that which we focus on grows stronger.

I.e. if you focus on value, you are more likely to create some value as well.

If you focus to the irrelevant, then you are likely to be a distracting force around others.

Conscious focus is powerful human ability. Ability to consciously learn to focus habitually and effortlessly makes us exponentially more powerful.

In his book Focus Daniel Goleman writes “our own inner voices are our biggest distraction.”

If our ability to focus determines what we can achieve in life, we seem to be our own worst enemies. It’s a bit similar thought to Ryan Holiday’s “ego is the enemy, every step of the way.”

Amplification of that which we focus is strange, wonderful and powerful. It’s our choice how that power will serve us and it’s our responsibility.

Personally I’ve found both great suffering and great joy from focus. It’s our habit of relating with our environment that directs our focus. Often I’ve found that I am in environment that does not support optimal focus.

In human constructed environments there are often other interests than my true long term wellbeing. Shopping malls or supermarkets for instance have a hidden agenda and great effort have been put there together for specific products to have my attention.

In home environment I’ll try to arrange it so that the powerful thoughts have a lot of my attention, thus I’ve arranged life board in a visible part of my room so that I’ll get back to it often. I believe it’s from these thoughts that better life will sprout from. Making these thoughts into actions, actions into habits and habits as my character. Eventually this will become my life.

It’s our decision to choose where we focus: is it that what is right with the world, or what is wrong with the world?