Living Your Own Dharma

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 Where Wikipedia starts with “There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages”, I’ll just use one definition in this blog for dharma: nature of reality.

To elaborate, nature of reality is the way things are so called cosmic order. Cosmic order is not a fixed concept, but as dynamic and ongoing process as life itself. Nature of reality is change and cosmic order meets the needs of the present moment all the time.

You as a living being therefore are part of this ongoing process of reorganization through your presence as a living being. Each moment is opportunity to live and fulfill your dharma by being completely mindful. You can think that there are different kinds of option in each moment: the option of passivity, the option of too much action or unskillful action, or the option of right and skillful action. Although not limited to these categories, mostly our thoughts, words and actions fall into these categories when we think of the opportunity cost to fulfill our dharma.

We are creatures of habit, because of our physical survival needs. We want to conserve energy in this chaotic and complex world in order to survive.

When we are born into this world, most of our habits we adopt come from reactions and the example of our surroundings. Even if we would be surrounded by enlightened beings even then it would be better for us to look how our habits serve our own dharma.

Not even the best habits and example of enlightened people will serve you, because you are you and your dharma is your responsibility.

Succeeding in our own dharma is the greatest challenge, purpose and contribution. Your gift for the universe.

It’s not your bosses dharma. Not your parents, or your children. Not your spouses. Not your friends dharma. Your dharma.

Be present now and you will know what it is you need to do if anything.

Joy and energy!

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

Be What You Can Be

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As human beings, we are both similar and different. Belonging is our basic need, so is being different, unique, ourselves! When both of these needs are being fulfilled, we can start to make most of what we can be.

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” ― P.T. Barnum

The latter need, of being unique is takes virtues such as courage. Rejection at point or another is inevitable.

What you experience, makes you stronger.

If you are willing to listen and learn from it, you’ll become wiser.

You will not be like everyone else, you’ll be different, and you will make a difference.

Observe and reflect, write your thoughts, feelings and experiences down. They will lift you up one day.

A lot of what you can be is determined by who do you lift up. We are not in this life alone, we are looking to belong to something greater than ourselves.

See the potential for good in others and treat them better than they deserve. Eventually you will find that it’s those people that will help you to become what you can be at your best.

Batching and Chunking Down the Work

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Batch the similar tasks to a greater slots.

Chunk the difficult tasks into easier tasks.

Sounds simple, yet to masterfully do this through the day is what shows at the end of the day as productivity.

I’ve noticed that the essentially chunking and simplifying the work is one of the most important phases when dividing the work for others. Work has to be as simple as it gets, then it’s easier for the cognition. Usually the easier the work the faster it’s done.

Essential question to improve the work flow is to ask why this needs to be done. Five why’s drill into the core of the need and when we are at the core we chunk down effectively the tasks core purpose. When we have clear purpose in mind, we can effectively batch the most important works together as well.

Transforming the Energies and Identity to a More Mature Form

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Wow what an interesting topic! I am so excited about life. Recently I’ve been attracted to things which have very positive energy. Although I cannot see energy, I think everyone can feel or sense the energy of others somehow.

I believe we are attracted to the people that somehow have the energy level that we either desire or otherwise are in harmony with.

My knowledge is based on just a few different books and personal experiences. However, the topic of personal energies and the idea that our identity is somehow connected to the energy that we are projecting outwards is tremendously exciting topic to me.

There is energy all around us. When we do something (=work), we certainly use energy. However, energy does not disappear it just changes a form. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed. In the same way what we choose to do, our decisions, our personality, our very identity creates and transforms energy.

What makes this part very difficult is that we cannot really measure these changes is energy, so therefore from scientific point of view we are on a very thin ice. We cannot measure the mind either.

We cannot measure ourselves.

Yet we can have tremendous impact on the visible world. We can measure our own doing thought. And if we keep track of our own results, perhaps we can track what is “good” and what is “bad” for us from personal identity stand point as well. Although the problem here is the timeframe: often what is good in the short run, is not the same as longer time frame.

We are all born with infantile energies, and we must work to transform this energies into a more mature form. This could be called spiritual or intellectual evolution. Often the process of transformation requires a guide, a wise man or woman. These are the passages of the ancients.

In the modern world we have less and less such passages in order to transform the energies, so we are increasingly left to our own devices, our means to transform our personal identities to work to a higher level.

For as long as we live, I believe we either must work within ourselves, or when we achieve the maturity, we must start guiding others. First steps would be to identify what would be truly mature and skillful level of operation. Then we should accept our present state and start sublimating the energy.

A good book, I recommend starting out, written especially from the masculine point of view is: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine.

Today I began to read this book for a second time and picked out a few important ways to recognize the archetypes we are running in our minds and then to shape them into a more mature version. Here are some tools which you can use to transform your energies into a more mature:

  • Meditation
  • Psychotherapy
  • Active imagination

Full list is provided in the book for those further interested.

On the path of growth, perhaps most important abilities are the ability to read and think critically. In this way you will find better quality information for your personal transformation. So then you may transform your whole very being into a more mature, responsible adult, whose destiny is like that of all living beings. Yet our lives have a purpose and we may touch the lives of many before we perish!

Keep on sublimating!

Janne

What Do You Want to Be Known For?

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Life is complex. Making simplicity out of the complexity is the primary ability of the leaders and we all are the leaders of our own lives.

To proceed better towards our purpose, we ought to also tell others what we are up to.

Personally I’ve struggled with this communication and simplification aspect of my writing for example. It has been hard to say “what I am writing about.” This doesn’t make any sense, shouldn’t I be able to easily tell in one or few words tell what I am writing about? Conclusion is that yes this is exactly how it is.

Same simplicity rule of 1 – 3 words applies to whatever we want to do and achieve in life.

How well what you want to achieve matches with what you are known for?

For longer time and even still sometimes my extended family knows me as the guy who to call when something goes wrong with the IT. I see these people rarely, that they still connect me with an idea and identity that perhaps did better describe me about 10 – 12 years ago. And all the way to the this point I haven’t updated them with what is important to me at the moment and what I am up to in a simple way.

In professional life this is even more important, because meetings are short and memory is short. We need to simplify hard and get the right association. Therefore to be known for one thing that best describes you is the way to go.

What do you want to be known for?

Live Your Purpose and Plan

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Do you have a dream? Have you made the dream into a goal by setting some due dates?

My purpose is good karma, which means trying to live everyday virtuously according to my values so that the after the day I would’ve done more good than harm. This is a bit difficult to assess to be honest, because even with best intentions one can end up causing harm. Knowing this, I try my best to do good and mostly that starts with myself.

My purpose shows in daily actions as following the vegetarian diet, exercising, writing journal, reading books and meditating. I try to apply it to everything I do and work, this is described as “karma yoga” or yoga of action as described in Bhagavad Gita.

After the important daily actions which I mentioned, I still usually have quite a bit of energy left: this goes to work of serving other people. Usually most of my energy goes to my professional work. After my professional work has been done and the daily actions are done, I do not have much energy left for the day. Usually with the reminder depending on the day I spend with friends, family and finally try to write and publish a blog post. Then there is also perhaps a bit time during the week or perhaps weekend for reflecting and planning for the future and reflecting of the past. Especially life planning and financial planning are perhaps weekly themes that I check, if everything is going as I feel they should.

Even though I feel like I am living a purpose, I feel like I must still have some sort of action plan and vision for life. I’ve vision about better future, where we could succeed together in bigger and more audacious projects such as discovering the potential of the human mind, space travel and exploration.

This requires learning and that’s why I am big advocate of learning: I wish everyone would have the opportunities get the basic schooling to be able to read and write. Then get the access to knowledge through teachers, mentors, and coaches. Internet is important place to learn and share the learning,

Civilization, becoming civilized I think is the answer and that happens through learning. With learning there are few necessary skills such as critical thinking and learning and the abilities to learn and required. Then with reading and language skills, access to knowledge such as teachers, internet and libraries we are finally unlocking the vast potential of human curiosity. I value highly projects such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Khan Academy.

Planning and having this positive desire, does not need to mean to having to attach to this plan or the result. Life is prioritization all the time, it’s not skillful to get attached.

Karma yoga

Your work is your responsibility,
not its result.
Never let the fruits of your actions
be your motive.
Nor give in to inaction.

Set firmly in yourself, do your work,
not attached to anything.
Remain evenminded in success,
and in failure.
Evenmindedness is true yoga.

—Bhagavad Gita, 2.47-49

Yet having a plan, means that you’ve given a thought for the future and when the future meets present, you’ve ore options. At best you’ve a different plans plan a, plan b and so worth and then you can choose the closest options or the hybrid of these plans and continue with that. Planning is proactivity and probabilities. Planning means recognizing risks and working to minimize those risks.

Life is rather short and no one exactly knows how much time we have left. Thus living a mindful, present and happy life with a sense of purpose is a sound piece of advice. Yet what could be more inspiring reason to get up than inspiring vision, that today’s actions do good today, but perhaps tomorrow as well?

Because of the shortness of the life, we have to live the purpose every day. Where we spend most of our time we should stay focused there. Yet we should be aware of the future potentials, plan for different skenarios and be awake to take advantage of them. If we could be even greater service through planning, shouldn’t we take advantage of that?

That’s exactly what I had in my mind today as I broke down my previous cash flow calculations into a more actionable goals. About a year ago as a part of the real estate investment coaching I calculated the following cash flow requirements from assets per month to feel secure, wealthy and rich.

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It’s still holds true I feel. However, as I had these stages thought out, I didn’t have much plan to how to achieve them. I had a bunch of separate ideas hanging around, yet crystal clear action plan or scenarios thought out.

Three scenarios I did manage to write for the near future, that was rather rewarding. Then in regards to this stages, I also considered the potential vehicles. Mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that real estate investing is the way to go, the vehicle of the choice so to speak. What now made these stages now really feel achievable was that I was about to calculate with my conservative numbers how many apartments I would have to own in order to achieve these goals. First earned euro from real estate asset is of course the first step, however now I also know that the first milestone is 13 apartments. This feels very energizing and great to know that it is doable number, although there is a bit of how still remaining: planning helps us to visualize the potential outcomes.

Then it is just up to us to live the life mindfully in the present and enjoy whatever life brings without an attachment!

Problems or Suffering Are Never Going to Cease

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Solving a problem leads to a multiplying amounts of tinier problems. We have the power to create happier problems.

Since problems are not going to cease, we just might pick one that is interesting and start chipping at it. If we just worthy problem, solving that just might become our purpose.

Like Schopenhauer said, our mind swings between boredom and suffering. Mind will always find a way to do one or another. I’ve found that it’s easy to suffer although things are very well. It’s unless we teach ourselves, what is real suffering and what is not, we will suffer no matter how well our life is.

Any suffering is tolerable with a right and just purpose. Our purpose may become our legacy and legacy is one form of immortality that is within our reach.

Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

 

Happy Way to Get What You Want In Life

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Think for a moment, what it is you want in life? Let’s say next three years. Set an audacious goal.

Isn’t it so that you probably have to face some kind of adversity in order to get that? If it was anything daring, out of your current level of competence, this is definitely case. Audacious goals are audacious and meaningful exactly because they are just beyond our current level of operating.  Does what you what bring happiness or just gratification to you? Make sure to pursue the kind of goal that brings something more lasting than the instant gratification.

Okay now we have an audacious goal in three years, what are you going to do now towards that? Crawling millimeter by millimeter towards the goal is the key to the success as I wrote in the Climb.

Also another trick towards being more productive and getting to your goal even more sure AND feeling happier now is being happy now. Well while of course that won’t happen just because I tell you so, here are some ideas to get a boost in your both present and long term happiness:

  • Giving
  • Sharing
  • Kindness
  • Gratitude
  • Going extra mile to smile

That which we focus upon grows. That’s why I am always looking opportunities to help, give and share. I’ve been writing gratitude’s to my journal, actually anything positive. My favorite addition to my routine this fall to start giving positive feedback, so now I try to use every opportunity to do that as well.

So now you have an audacious goal, that is probably connected to your bigger purpose. Give your daily tasks your everything, you are surely to develop very good at them. Crawl forward and remember to be happy first 🙂

Janne

Small Steps Taken Daily  

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Wishful thinking about big changes is easy, yet not very realistic fantasy. At the same time human mind tends to underestimate the change that is capable by doing small things every day.

List your most important priorities. Okay now go through the list, what are you doing today for:

Health

Loved ones

Financial status

Purpose / career / dream..?

You need to know what is it you want to achieve, and then ask yourself what it is you can do for it today. Then simply start building the discipline to do it. Eventually that discipline becomes habit, your identity and your identity is the biggest leverage you can get. You’ll start doing things because you are the action, you are the verb, you are your own doing.

You are the master of your fate.

It’s not the achievement that matters, but the journey. It’s the sense of progress that brings lasting satisfaction, not the single achievement. Even when you happen to achieve the object of your desire, you do not last very long satisfied. At best it is about five seconds.

However, nothing expect yourself can take away the sense of progress and that you get from taking a step each day towards the grander horizons.

Only by trying out how far you can get, you’ll know how far you will get. You might surprise yourself, or the world might surprise you. However what won’t change is the satisfaction you’ll get from the journey and from each step.

Start valuing the small steps and the journey. Start walking now, because present is the only moment we really have control of.  Every day is like a new life, we can remember some of the lessons of yesterday and we do not know yet if we can make it until tomorrow. Place emphasis on the journey today and take the step!