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.

About Human Thinking Capacity

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Ability to think and not act on impulse is one great feat that most of us humans are capable of.

Being able to do, does not that we are doing it all the time and in all circumstances.

Thinking as an ability can bring tremendous value to where ever you are. The value of thinking is high, yet I fail to see abundance of thinkers who can also sell their high value at a high price. Therefore great thinking often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. Yet thinking also provides intrinsic value for the one who is doing it, it gives meaning and deep satisfaction to be able to serve something greater. Purpose and meaning is often times the main reason to engage in thinking activity.

“What is most thought-provoking in these thought-provoking times, is that we are still not thinking.” — Martin Heidegger

When I read this quote by Martin Heidegger, I thought it was spot on. Then my judgmental mind turned on and thought “wait, Heidegger…” I proceeded to learn more about him in Wikipedia. I am no-one to judge.

He even wrote similar thoughts what I’ve had “Agriculture is now a motorized food industry, the same thing in its essence as the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps, the same thing as blockades and the reduction of countries to famine, the same thing as the manufacture of hydrogen bombs.”

Who could say that any life is less valuable than human life? Of course there are long traditions of believing and acting otherwise. Yet, for example does long tradition of human sacrifice or slavery make it right?

These are deep questions and I am no-one to judge. This is why we need to stop and think for ourselves.

Is what I am doing is it right? What it is based on? Is it fear? Is it love?

Read Deep Work by Cal Newport, if you want to understand more deeply what value your thinking can do.

Joy and energy to you 🖖

Janne

You Are Safe: Feel Assured

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Fear of death is hard coded into us.

As representatives of lives we have survived and continue on.

You have something to give. What parts of it you can give today?

Giving is a form of love towards. It’s part of the love story that is in between life and death.

Death is stagnation.

Life is movement.

We should rather be in movement, giving to and of ourselves than stagnate and die.

Fear cripples. Breathe shortens. Hasn’t death yet won?

Every moment we have choice to either move or stagnate.

Stopping is different than stagnation. Assurance and calmness are different than fear. Yet all look surprisingly similar.

Fear creates scarcity.

Love creates abundance.

Love is connection.

Fear is disconnection.

Ambassador of which you would like to be or become?

What you feel, you’ll represent. You can choose your feeling through your breathing. If you breathe deeply you are connected to love, if your breathing is shallow and non-existent you’ll join the ranks of death.

Breathe deeply,

Janne

Tiny Action Towards the Greatest Contribution

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Taking action and making yourself to move towards your purpose is more important than the results of your actions.

Bhagavad Gita says this about energy: it must be first changed from passive to action, before it can be transformed into harmonious action.

Any movement is better than standing still.

Having written this, instantly my moral philosopher hat on my head I feel contradicted.

In my mind some action is better left undone in the sense of the total good. Yet action over passivity is right in most cases, we just need to recognize the limit. There is also this phenomenon called illusion of action.

Action is the first answer, not the only answer.

Taking more of the right actions is the key. And to take right action means to stop the wrong actions.

More and more of the right actions.

Daniel Pink had a short interview of Tom Rath in Pinkcast about the Life’s Great Question book. Tom Rath advises there to focus on the greatest contribution instead of passion. Greatest contribution is a clue towards the right action.

At the moment for me getting the book published is the greatest contribution I can make. I feel that writing the book was easy, now I am totally in my uncomfort zone with actual steps towards making the publication happen. Yet I’ve made decision and commitment to small incremental action every day to make it happen. Sometimes it might be more, sometimes less. I am making small progress every day that’s what matters.

In the same time as I am making small progress everyday and I am satisfied with that I am also able to keep what I most value in my life which is the habit of writing. Writing is the habit which I wouldn’t want to give up and after finishing my book I had a little bit over a month where I did not write every day. Then I realized writing is something I must do. I’ll figure out everything else in tiny bits and keep on doing the writing because writing is my creative medium which allows me to contribute the most.

At the same time I realize mere writing is not enough at this point and I need to get these writings published as well in order to continue growing as writer and in order to contribute more to the world.

You can do this as well. Understand your strengths, understand in what direction your greatest contribution is and take action towards that, every day. No compromises. You develop your greatest strengths in the direction what the world values and needs most. Both of these things may change shape during the journey and that is okay. By doing this, you’ll take a step by step. Always keeping on taking the step and you’ll see that the steps you’ve taken will form a path. Eventually a road. Travelling will become so much more easier. You’ll become the path, you’ll become what you’ve been doing, and you’ve become great at it because of the effort.

Joy and energy to your life 😊

Janne, writing and scribing on an apartment floor because writing is what I must do

Work for love

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I heard this cliche “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

And then I began to think: Work is the ability to get the desired results.

Why not to work for love instead? If you work for love, you’ll find what results the world needs and are able to give it.

Life is about giving after all.

Work to love.

“You can’t burn out as a giver, as long as you see the impact you create.” – Adam Grant

Remember though that you cannot give what you do not have. You’ve to take care of yourself first. It’s your own well being that limits your giving. The more you take care of yourself, the more you are able to give.

Work on yourself also to give more.

The more you give, the more you’ll receive in the end.

However, do not give to receive. Do not attach to the fruits of your labor. Attachment causes suffering.

Practice to give without an attachment. That is unconditional love. You’ll learn to love the process of giving, giving is joy in itself. And if something comes back that is joy as well.

Then life will be a pleasant surprise.

Work for (unconditional) love.

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

How Do You Like to Be Alone?

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We human beings are social animals. We simply cannot survive for long just by ourselves.

Yet the belonging and the other side of the belonging which is being alone is big part of our lives.

Stoics, the philosophy that concerns on how we can overcome our destructive emotions and focus on what we can control, has the concept of inner fortress. Inner fortress means preparing ourselves for what ever life will present us with.

Preparation in the present is all that we can do. It’s very closely intertwined with amor fati, the love of fate. To love what ever is right now and then work from there towards the desired goals.

What ever happens, that is the practice and preparation.

These are the thoughts I’ve lately noticed myself repeating to myself over and over again to make them instinctive. I’ve noticed that my personality is rather volatile. At parts in my life I’ve been fine being alone for extended periods of time, however then there are times I crave for company. Recently it has been so that I’ve been around so many people that I’ve forgotten how to be quiet by myself.

However, it is today that I realized it is exactly the amount happiness we have in our lives that we have no matter what the other people do. If we are happy by ourselves, in our inner citadel, that is the happiest we can be and nothing can take that away from us.

It’s the building of the inner citadel that we should put this time and then to enjoy it’s fruits. The more prepared your fortress is, the more you prepared you are for anything that the life will throw at you, the better you will be able to enjoy it, be it alone or with others.

The way you enjoy being by yourself is a good indicator thought, how well you are prepared.

Life is short, we better get ready.

When was the last time you listened to yourself, your mind, your body?

By listening here I mean just that listening if there is something to learn. Listening is different from taking action based on what you learned. Taking action based on impulse is animal behavior. Taking action based on considering all the relevant facts is considerate behavior.

We need to operate from our current state of affairs. For that we need to know in which kind of state our body and mind are. Sometimes even as adults we lack even the words to describe the feelings, states and thoughts and recognizing that is a good start.

Life is cyclical in nature. Our bodies to live through cycles and cycles within cycles.

Self-awareness helps us to be more forgiving and loving towards ourselves and others.

POEM: Wave and Island

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Man like a wave,

Coming and going away,

She’s an island,

Mostly so distant.

 

Once they got near,

During a day so clear.

They met during with one gush,

Then it was all over like a flush.

 

There was fear,

And some tears.

Memories felt unreal,

What is there left to feel?

 

Island full of denied mystery and beauty,

How to get to the hidden booty?

Wave trapped in something deep and complex,

Will wave find a way to get out of the vortex?

 

With a little help from the friend wind,

Wave finds the strength to unbind,

Now focusing what waves do the best,

Sailing seas and forgetting about the rest.

Love is Actions; Action from Where We Learn is Growth

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Interesting and great things in life call for action, also known as work and love of that work. It’s everything from what we do, to who with we do.

Why to love?

Love is life itself, abundant, going against the law of entropy. Love takes energy, we have to give our all. However, energy what we have during our life will only increase during our lives through the action and work of loving the work and people in our life.

Energy consumed just changes form.

Once we use our energy, we build up the capacity for the energy.

The more of the energy we will use, the higher capacity for energy we will develop. In other words the more we love, the higher capacity to love we will develop.

And if we keep an open mind, we keep on learning from our endeavors we will grow. And as we will grow, we have more and more opportunities to teach others and share the love.

In this way the ideas get to ever larger audience, or reach even better those who really need it. Love and growth are deeply interconnected forces that create order and structure to life. They are what makes life exciting adventure.

With nature of love and growth are the obstacles, the entropy. Entropy is all around us. Even in us the entropy takes places. The can only retain so much of what we have learned. We are limited.

As limited we may be, but we need to consciously keep increasing our capacity to love (which equals action, which requires energy). We need to consciously put our energy to use every day for others, for ourselves.

Life rewards those who strive and in the end we all will die, and who knows what the universe has in store for us. May our atoms (and all the smaller bits) serve the universe well.