The Purpose of Life

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Throughout my life, I we all have untapped potential, perhaps even areas of genius, to become something entirely different, or somehow more than what we appear to be right now. Each of us has the ability to give contributions that will last longer than our lifespan. Some people have a clear vision of their purpose early on in life, it’s as if their path was laid out for them and they simply had to take the first step. But for some of us the vision is unclear and the path difficult to find. We find asking ourselves: Is this the life I was meant to live? Is this all there is?

“We have one precious life: do something extraordinary today, even if it’s tiny. A pebble starts the avalanche.” ~K.A. Laity

Let us not thinking that there is only one purpose for us and embrace the idea that our purpose in life is to love life fully by putting ourselves into our life! To lead a life on purpose, means to follow our passions and succeed in our dreams. It means that we make more of our talents and live up to our full potential. Whether our concept of success has to do with business, love, friendship, sports, a combination of these or something else, more fully developing our potential will help us to achieve our goals, and that is the purpose of life. If we can learn to assess our potential, set realistic goals, and go after those goals with determination, organization, using our potential more fully, gaining confidence, and be a happier and more successful person, then we will be able to achieve the purpose of our life.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Claim Your Values: Values are the backbone of our life. We all have them, they are ingrained in us as our blood types or our preference for sweet or salty foods. I’m not talking about morals, which are defined by society. Values are who we are, not who we think we should be in order to fit in. If we don’t realize what’s important to us, we spend a lot of time wandering and wondering what we should be doing. There is tremendous power in discovering and living according to our highest values, and experiencing inner peace as the natural consequence. Sometime after evaluating our values, we realize that our urban lifestyle works against those values and leaves us disconnected and drained. Values serve as a compass so that, day after day, we’re moving closer and closer to our definition of the “best” life we could possibly live.
  • Find Your Passions: In this chaotic modern time, most people live in their head rather than their heart. Our heart is our best tool to access our true purpose and passion. “Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you are tremendously passionate about” ~ S. Pavlina. We have to ask ourselves, what we love and take steps to do what we love. When we are inspired and connected to our happy self, inspiration floods our hearts and souls. When we lead from our heart, we are naturally more joyful and motivated to explore. It could make all the difference in our life! If we don’t think we’re in the job that we were born to do, we won’t be able living up to our full potential and lead a life on purpose.
  • Identify Your Strengths: “To express the best of yourself in life and work, you must identify and channel your unique strengths.” If we want to live a life on purpose, we have to focus on our strengths and manage around our weaknesses. In order to recognize our strengths, we need other people to hold up a mirror. When we see our reflection through the eyes of those who know us well, then we begin to identify our most unique talents. When it comes to assessing our own strengths and talents, we’re full of blind spots. If we can see ourselves through the lenses of others, our vision will become less blurry
  • Find Yourself: “The intersection of your true values and super powers, backed with relentless passion, is where the magic happens.” ~ Scott Dinsmore. When we find where those three things intersect, and use it to service others, then we’ll find our purpose in life, and will be able to drive a life on that purpose. The key is to figure out how we can combine our passions and strengths to service to a cause, a person, a community, or an organization other than ourselves. Once we do that, our values will fall into place. Our purpose doesn’t have to be something BIG. The value of our impact on others and on the world has nothing to do with its scale. The fact is that in order for our world to function, we need people living and contributing at all kinds of different levels. “There are people for everything”. If we each could find and inhabit the sphere where we’re supposed to be, and contribute what we were made to contribute, what a beautiful world it would be!

There is a reason that we are all here in this world, and it is all about the discovery of our true Self. That very real part of us that is wanting to bring forth something so spectacular. If we are true to who we are, living our purpose and giving off our talents to the world around us, then we give back in service what you came to share with others – our spirit – our essence. The rewards for sharing our gifts with those close to us is indeed rewarding, much more if it were to be the eyes of a stranger who can appreciate what we have done to them.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out what your purpose is.” ~ Mark Twain

Setting Goals

Setting goals is an important part of being human. Most people understand the importance of goals in living but are too harsh in their demands upon themselves. They feel that their goals are too insignificant, that their achievements will hardly be counted for anything if they are not able to end racial prejudice or the world poverty.

This is a mistake. While we might not be the president of United States, making decisions of global importance; or Richard Rodgers, working on a new musical which millions may see; we are individuals also, we too are made in GOD’s image, and endowed with a wonderful body; we too have mind, feelings, needs, aspirations. We too mean something, if we mean something to ourselves.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score” ~ Bill Copeland

Often, we have trouble getting started with our goals, or we discover that achieving them is going to take more time and effort than we thought it would, and we start to lose our motivation. But we have to realize that living without having goals or plans to reach them, is like a ship which is set to sail with no destination.

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.” ~ Jack Penn

If you are a teen-ager, there is no shortage of goals for you. Mastering a skill, exploring an alien subject matter, hitting a baseball, making new friends, learning a popular dance. And within the span of these broad goals, you can pinpoint daily goals that are satisfying for you.

If you are in your twenties, thirties or forties, your boarder goals may change in terms of specifics, but they are nonetheless potentially satisfying. You may be involved in enlarging your vocational scope, raising a family, managing money skilfully, learning hobbies, from day to day, you may aim at achievements within framework of these larger goals, or spontaneously which are fun. You should think in terms of daily goals too, not just life goals.

If you are older, cooking a good meal for yourself and your spouse is a fine goal; it may be commonplace, but it is productive. You give him or her satisfaction with your labour and the more creatively you work with your ingredients, the more pleasure you give him (her) and yourself. Painting a picture may give many people days of enjoyment, even weeks. Mixing the paints, organizing your materials, brushing on your colours, shading and shaping for subtle effects. It is not Rembrandt? That is not the point. Are you putting the best you have into your picture? Would you like to frame it and hang it in your living room? It is more important to you than the next flight into outer space. And it should be. “Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed by the fire of enthusiasm.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

You must not block yourself off from your goals, and you must move every day, feel a sense of direction toward a goal every day, no matter how small that goal might be. You keep moving in the streams of things, doing the best you can. And if you have no goal, you keep moving anyway, and a goal will catch up with you. Your sense of direction is forward.

The reality is that no matter how smart we may be, we cannot predict the future. Things are moving so fast and we’re so interconnected that it is impossible to predict where we’ll end up five years from now. We just don’t know. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we will not be basing our choice of direction based on a forecast that’s likely to be wrong. By recognizing and accepting the unpredictable nature of life, we can stop over-thinking and over-analysing and start living more in the present moment. This helps us to open our mind up to new areas of possibilities and conquering the limitations which we have imposed on ourselves. You’ll be making your choice on what’s really important to you, right here and right now, not tomorrow.

GOD didn’t put you on this earth to languish in misery; He gave you the success impulses which you have to use them. If you have problems, if you meet obstacles, then you are just like most people. Most of us are familiar with the life of Hellen Keller, who overcame staggering physical handicaps to rise to her incredible achievements. You may not know that Florence Nightingale, the famed nurse, was a confirmed hypochondriac whose services of mercy involved convincing herself first that she was not dying.

The biggest difference between successful people and others isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen. We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure, but we have to trust that if we move forward anyway, then we will figure it out. “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~ Honore de Balzac

If you learn to believe in yourself, and do what you want to do, your accomplishments may amaze you.  Remember that by moving forward and taking small steps each and every day, putting aside over-thinking, and realizing that you have everything you need deep within, you can find the right direction in your life. And while it may not be the direction you expected, it will work out just fine.

Now set goals and make them happen, and when you reach your goals take time to enjoy them and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Life is a learning process! Keep your spirit up and be the best of yourself.

“Every day you spend drifting away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground” ~ Ralph Marston

 

Building Self Confidence

Building self confidence involves encouraging a positive but realistic attitude toward yourself and the world around you and appreciating your worth, while at the same time behaving responsibly towards others.

“Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings” Samuel Johnson

The confidence one has in himself, the way he sees himself down deep, is fundamental in his adjustment to himself and the world he lives in. My aim in writing this article is to help you strengthen this self confidence so that you will tackle your life situations healthfully, without allowing prejudice against yourself to eat his way into your mind.

“Self confidence is a learnable skill, like typing or riding a bicycle. You develop it with practice” Brian Tracy

There is a story about the great Michelangelo. Working in a stone quarry in Italy, the great sculptor was overjoyed at the sight of a huge, oblong block of stones. He touched it. Within it he saw the spirit of Moses. After many, many hours of working on the stone, chipping it, shaping it, he brought forth his great work of art, his great creation of Moses and the Ten Commandments.

Now may I ask you to be your own sculptors, your tools compassion and understanding, so that you can see in your mind’s eye the best that is in you, as Michelangelo pictured Moses, so that you can work to make and keep this best image of yourself as a reality. For your self image and how you value yourself is closely linked with your self-esteem and self confidence.

“Don’t be your own worst critic.  Be your own best coach.  Learn from your mistakes, but encourage yourself to new heights. Each time you fall down, be the first to pick yourself up.  Confidence is a habit you can grow.  The seeds are the thoughts and beliefs that empower you to take action.”

It is your self confidence, which, more than anything, can guide you to years of dynamic living. If you give yourself acceptance, if you see your success and try to perpetuate them, if you believe in your capability, life will hold no great fears for you, and you will remain in the mainstream of life, doing, feeling, relating, connecting.

“Building self confidence is like building muscle, you start with basic structure and then you bund on it”

You can think of confidence as a muscle, then pay attention to all the chances you get to flex it throughout your day.  It even starts with how you get out of bed.  If you don’t think of yourself as confident, then act “as if” and gradually you’ll find your groove.

Keep in mind that while competence breeds competence, confidence comes first – you have to believe to achieve.  Above all, don’t anchor your confidence on external people or things.  Flow it from the inside out, starting with your own belief in you.

I offer you the Ten Commandments for a purposeful and creative living: C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-E:

  • C: Concentrate on a stronger self image.
  • O: Offer it full partnership in your life.
  • N: Never let it disappear; you must work to reinforce your sense of self.
  • F: Fulfil yourself with your self image; it is your best friend.
  • I: Infuse your self image with compassion when you meet setbacks.
  • D: Develop it every day; only your true sense of self can make you strong.
  • E: Elevate yourself with your self image so that you need not fear competition.
  • N: Nourish it; don’t let a false sense of selflessness convince you that it is not basic to your happiness.
  • C: Create a climate in which it can grow; spend time every day thinking, with humility, about yourself and your world.
  • E: Enjoy it; continually reactivate the success instincts, the success mechanism, within you.

“Self-improvement without self-love is like building a house upon sand. You can build and build, but it will always sink” Vironika Tugaleva

Remember this: Only you, with the self confidence you build in yourself, in your mind, and which you carry with you into life, in your mind, can create giving relationships with people, productive relationships in the world of work and interests, which can make your years bubble with life.

Confidence implies forgiveness. You feel too big to be threatened, too self-reliant, too nimble at relaxing away emotional hurts. So you are able to forgive.

You forgive others with no strings attached, a clean slate, and no vestige of condemnation. A difficult task, but you can do it.

And you forgive yourself as you forgive others. For forgiveness is but another reflection of confidence, instant confidence.

As you go through the process of improving your self-image and increasing your self confidence, try to think of yourself as a separate person. Picture yourself as a stranger who is on a path toward positive change. Be sure to celebrate this person’s accomplishments.

“Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy” Brian Tracy

Active Living

Active Living is about getting more out of life by giving more of yourself every day. Having lived by this philosophy for as long as I can remember, I know firsthand how life changing it can be. We all have the power to live a life that we love, and achieve amazing things.

“We become happier, much happier, when we realize life is an opportunity rather than an obligation” ~ Mary Augustine

How do you spend your day? The minutes and hours that tick away on your wristwatch, are they your opportunities or your burden? Or do you move towards life activities, eager seeking new adventures, mastering new concepts, and understanding more about human fellows? Time move too fast for you, you can’t get minutes and hours to embrace your interests in the world.

“Life” is a misleading word because people do so many things with it. The person who frets in self-pity and vegetates while others pass him by is half alive. If you are like this, don’t be ashamed, you have millions and millions of people for company. But realize that you must try to change so that you have a chance to know what happiness is. “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” ~ Wayne Dyer

For there is happiness, there is power in life activities. There is joy and strength in moving forward, toward other people, toward the processes around which civilization has festered its approval or its permissiveness. When you wake up in the morning, you must alert yourself to the day ahead, to the possibilities for joyful living that the coming hours will bring if you use them fully. The things you do during this day may not shake the world, but they may make your world.

Unfortunately, however many people are passive to life and they withdraw from its pleasures. It is this, the moving away from life attitude that must be reversed; it is this rejection of people’s creative potentials that must be exposed as absurd.

When you want to, go fishing and salute the sunshine, but actively not passively, otherwise even the fish will say, “I won’t bite”. Can’t you move about a little more?

Let us first talk about the hysterical flight from work at about five o’clock each day, a flight as urgent as one from an approaching hurricane or from a Marine invasion. Is work such an affliction? Many people these days seem to think so. Work is like an alarm clock to them; they are clock watchers who cannot wait for the signal to get away. I really disagree with this concept. I think that productive work is one of the true goods of life; when you work productively, you manufacture more than money, you also manufacture a sense of self-esteem for yourself. Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist-historian wrote: “Blessed is who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness… Even in the meanest sorts of Labour, the whole soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony the instant he sets himself to work.” I agree with his opinion as I have seen people functioning harmoniously in the world of work whose souls perished once they lost or gave up their jobs.

It is true that some people work at jobs ill-suited to them; their work is enslavement because they do not enjoy it.  They work only for money. They do not feel the exultation of a person who pours his most productive powers into his work.

If this is your situation, you must think about remedying it because your chances for a creative living are slim if you feel dead in your work. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~ Steve Jobs

May be you haven’t given your job the attention it deserves. May be you haven’t opened your eyes completely to the potentialities around you. May be you are not aware of the fact that you, not the job, might be at fault. Try to remember that in many instances, you create the opportunity, not your job.

If your job is at fault, then you have to try to find another line of work if you can. Even a small cut in pay may be worthwhile if you are able to switch to work which makes you feel more alive. If it is impossible you may convert your work productivity in enriching hobbies. Never withdraw from productive work into sluggishness. You are a human being, not a mattress, and you should utilize your human resources all your life to attain a feeling of completeness. “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.” ~ Johnny Carson

Your Time Is Yours to Enjoy:

When you finish work you have the gift of time, but what will you do with this gift? Chances are that your hours are shorter than they used to be, even if you are a house wife, so you still have more time to enjoy yourself.

But you may say, “I don’t know what to do with my time”. This is a terrible problem, or I should say that, time is not the problem, you are the problem. You have to realize this and do something about it. Sometimes a small child in a fit of temper might destroy a genuinely loved object, but if you are reading this article, I assume that you are not a small child, and your period of experimentation is over. You must now know what you are doing. You have tools at your command. One is wisdom, the same values gained from your years of living. Surely you can see the preciousness of your free time. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of”. You must learn to use this life-stuff, to fill it with active living, not with boredom, apathy, resignation. Would you empty your wallet or pocketbook into a trash can? Then why throw away time, which is also valuable? You must use your time energetically, productively, to enhance your feeling of true participation in and enjoyment of the life process.

You must realize that leisure time is just as important as work time. You are a whole person not a working machine, and you and you alone have the opportunity within you to keep yourself whole. Leisure time may mean many things – sport, painting, cooking, card games, gardening and a lot of other activities. You must realize that leisure belongs to you, like your eyes, your heart, take it. You must find one aspect of leisure which will help you reach self-fulfilment. Take a look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself, who you are and what you are doing with yourself. This self-confrontation needs an answer. You can’t be on the fence of indecision. Once you honestly make a response, you will find the activities that will make you happy.  Once you find the activity which makes you happy, then play it to the full. Concentrate creativity on the activity. When you play tennis, play tennis. When you are gardening, garden as if it is for the moment the most important thing in your life. Concentration doesn’t mean exhausting yourself with too many activities. Choose one, and master that, then move on to another. You will find great satisfaction from these leisure-time activities, which you have made them a part of your new creative life.

“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ Nelson Mandela

 

Finding Inner Peace

Finding inner peace is the path of letting go, even though, the path could be as hard or simple as a person makes the journey of self acceptance.

 “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe” ~ Marcus Aurelius

There are always many ups and downs in every one’s life. Sometimes we get stuck in a world of confusion, wondering how we find a constant inner peace in our hearts and lives, when there is always something wrong in our lives or the lives of those we love.

What happens when we start to feel down or stressed?

First of all some kind of negative thought comes into our mind that gets us discouraged and anxious. The next thing that happens, is that we start believing in that thought. And feeding it with more arguments, which in turn gets us into a deeper state of confusion and sadness. Next thing we know, we find ourselves, there in that deep mud hole. We look around and all is doom and gloom.

What can we do so that this does not even happen?

  • Accept what is: Life is unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, everything changes; and of course, a lot of things can happen that will transform who we are and have an impact on our life. The problem is that we need to be prepared to truly accept whatever comes and embrace it. This is what I have noticed with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things which we have no control over. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless. By practicing acceptance we learn to live in this changing world, where we never know what’s going to happen next. Acceptance is like protecting ourselves with our own shields.” You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Spend time in nature: Nature calls you back to reality. We can’t stop it from raining. We can’t delay the setting sun. We can’t set the temperature to a comfortable degree. When we are climbing a mountain, our muscles are going to burn. But with this surrender comes such relief! We awake from a dream and realize how little control we really have. We remember that hardship and lack of control are part of life, and accepting this reality makes it not only bearable, but possible to feel the joy of being alive. By being in nature we feel comfortable in our own skin, we experience our own quiet peace and strength, we sense the inner us that is the true us. The mask we present to the outer world is irrelevant for a time, and put in its proper place. Nature helps us to connect with this powerful, loving presence, whether we call it GOD, Earth Mother, the Great Mystery or any another name. Nature brings us closer to GOD, our own spirit and helps us to live lives of meaning and joy. “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ~ Anne Frank
  • Learn the power of a smile: A smile is a powerful key to living happy from the inside out. The simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you’re happy. And when you’re happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. Smiles are powerful and contagious. Don’t hesitate to smile warmly at friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. Never stop smiling! God smiles on us each and every day. His love has no depth, his mercy no end. His arms are open wide, just step into them. “Smile and the world will smile with you.” 
  • Choose to help others: Care for others genuinely around you. What you put out, you really get back in life. Being caring allows us to have empathy for others and to live a life based on affection, love, and compassion for the people around us. When we make a positive impact in someone else’s life, we also make a positive impact in our own lives. Any act of kindness and goodwill eases our way towards inner peace. When we start helping others, we stop thinking about our so-called problems and then we realize that our life is not so bad after all. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dicken
  • Never lose hope: Never give up. Never lose hope. Always have faith, it allows you to cope better during the trying times. Having hope is a personal decision, a bold conviction—a choice, and with hope we always have a path towards peace. Having hope is an active, decisive mindset etched into every single moment. No matter the haze and fog that clouds our vision, hope’s laser cuts through, and never losing sight of her shimmering stars. Hope is something we can never afford to lose  Who we really are is based on values we choose to live by, such as believing in the possible, believing in the goodness of others, and believing in the power of love and hope. When we decide to passionately pursue our greatest purpose, then we become the hope in our lives and manifest her greatest dreams, because we refuse to consider any other possibility. As Henry James put it, “Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
  • Embrace your beliefs: I am not here to favour any belief system over another, but whatever it is that you are believing in, hold it closely in your arms, accept it willingly and enthusiastically, as by being within your faith, peace will find its way into your heart. We all might have different opinion in regards to our belief systems, but one thing that we all have to acknowledge is that without a healthy and solid belief system, we won’t be able to find a fair conscience which could show us the way towards peace and wisdom“Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. In the   end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves.” ~ Dan Brown 
  • Live in the present moment: When we live fully in the present moment, our awareness becomes completely centred on the here and now. We won’t worry about the future or thinking about the past. How often have you been worrying about things that have yet to come, or how often have you been beating yourself for mistakes that you’ve made, no matter how much time has passed? Too much time, I believe. Not only living in present moment has a significant effect on our emotional health, but also it has a great impact on our physical wellbeing. By living in present moment we live in acceptance; we accept life the way it is, not the way we wish, it should have been. And when we live in acceptance, we realize that everything is complete as it is. We can forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made, and we can have peace in our hearts knowing that everything that should happen will. “If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.”

Finding inner peace is not a simple or short path, but it is a process that we can all learn. It is a journey which needs to be appreciated every step of the way. We have to be willing to let go and step outside the box that we have accepted ourselves to be put into, in the first place and start from scratch. We have to be ready getting to know ourselves all over again and be willing to make mistakes. And most importantly, we have to realize that only we have control over our emotional responses and reactions and they can be changed for the better. And finally when serenity and unconditional love fill our hearts, we will accept that we cannot go back, and will not give up what we have now found, that peace that we seem to have been searching for our whole lives. “Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” ~ Rumi

 

 

Self Image

Self image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. ~ Maxwell Maltz

“Uncertainty” is the key word in our lives. We must live with uncertainty and lead our ship through life’s rugged path, or retreat from life into a womb, an illusion since there are few guarantees to reassure us. We must learn to master these dangers to the best of our ability, and still live contentedly.

“Life Is Like Riding a Bicycle. To Keep Your Balance You Must Keep Moving” ~ Albert Einstein

After the “traumatic” process of our birth, we live the uncertain, minute-by-minute moments of infants in which a tolerant smile is followed by an indignant roar of rage and a howl of laughter, all within the space of thirty seconds.

Then it come the uncertainties of childhood, in which we depend on our parents, where destinies fluctuate according to complex economic, emotional, and sociological factors which we cannot yet understand.

The period of adolescence that follows is even more uncertain. Are we children or adults, or what we are? How should we behave toward adults? What is this called sex; is it good or bad and whose opinion do we ask and what do you do about it? Why do my parents still treat me as a child? Am I grown up, or am I?

Adulthood brings with it new problems, new uncertainties. The choice of vocations, the decisions to be made about marriage, marriage partner, and children, about business commitments and political views, insurance protection and community participations, or non-involvement, gambling or non-gambling strategies. I could write pages and pages on the conflicts a responsible adult must face and the uncertainties surrounding his decisions and the outcomes of his considered choices.

Throughout their lives most people worry about tragedy striking, the breadwinner losing their jobs, a fire that wipes out one’s home, an automobile accident in which a loved one is crippled, and these are real possibilities that one must learn to live without burying his head in the sand.

What is the answer to this dilemmas of life? It is simple, really, more life, reaffirmation of life, while there is life – life, with the help of a healthy self image that will give you the sense of certainty you need.

Some day we will all die, that is GOD’s law of life and there is nothing we can do about it. But while we lived, did we truly live?

Did we really live or just occupy space while we went through motions of living? Did we enjoy every year, every month, every week, and every day – or did we manage to passively endure the dull moments? Did we see the green trees, smell the beautiful flowers, share with our friends, taste our lamb chops, love our work – or were we so obsessed with worry that life could not enter into our troubled minds?

“Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it” ~ Leo Buscaglia

As babies, we are born with smile coming through the first howl of pain, while we live, we must live constructively so that time and again a smile might break through the pain.

Now what about friendship – one of the chief ingredients of a rich life? There is a saying to the effect that “dog is a man’s best friend,” but I do not automatically fall in this silly sayings like this. I am fond of dogs, but if my observations are correct, a dog will be far from your best friend if you do not take care of him in the style to which he is accustomed.

Man’s best friend – any man’s best friend, is his self image. If he sees himself as a good guy, he is on the road to contentment; if he doesn’t, he will cause his own downfall.

“Love yourself and treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. You deserve the same love you give others”

John or Mary or Tom may be your friend and may be a valued friend, but your best friend is your self image. Another person may like you, may even go out of his way to help you in a crisis, but he cannot participate completely in your joys and  heartaches; more he cannot give you the capacity for success or failure, for self-acceptance or self-esteem. Your self image can give you this capacity and a sense of certainty as you live. If you see yourself as agreeable, if your picture of yourself is satisfying, you live with marvellous form of certainty; the conviction that when uncontrollable factors go against you and events temporarily oppose your desires, you will support yourself.

There will always be moment of adversity hitting you from the external world, as well as self doubts plaguing you from within. The real test of friendship for yourself is whether you rally to your own aid when you need the consoling sustenance of your best friend – YOU.

When you are sure of this internal cushion in crisis, then you know how to be certain in this uncertain world.

“We can learn to be our own best friend.  If we do, we have a friend for life.  We can buoy ourselves up, give ourselves comfort and sustenance the times when there is no one else” ~ Mildred Newman & Bernard Berkowitz

You can say to yourself “But the uncertainty is real; how can I relax?” You may protest that my point of view is not realistic. But I assure you that it is. And I assure you that I, too, know of life’s dangers as I have experienced them a lot in my life. We all go through grief, loss, shock, horror, and misfortune at some stage of our lives. There may be times in our lives that we feel tired, depressed and even walking sometimes seems an effort. Our thoughts may be incoherent and we lose contact with reality and retreat from the world of people and pain. But finally we realize that we have to continue with our life. We begin to see friends again. We learn to laugh again, and pick up the pieces and put them together. This is the way you must live your life. You must survive struggles, survive uncertainty, pick yourself off the floor, and go back to a creative living. But you need a friend at times like this, your self image, for a proper self image is the powerhouse within you that enables you to stand up under stress. Indeed, the power of your self image, intangible as it is, can outdistance the uncertainties with which you may wrestle.

Life holds many surprises for us, not all pleasant, and the person who would live creatively in today’s world must develop a strong self image. You cannot rely on luck and you cannot base your life on the opinion of other people. You must do it yourself and do it in a world full of frustrations and dangers. You must constantly work to improve your mental image of yourself, to feel better about yourself. You can do this if you are willing to work hard, without preconceptions of magical solutions, following these suggestions:

  • Every day you have many occasions to look into mirror; when you brush your teeth, when you wash your face, when you shave, when you powder your nose, or comb your hair. Go beyond these simple functions and use the mirror to help you, to become reacquainted with the outer image of a self you may have lost sight of in the rushing pace of life today.
  • Learn to accept this physical image of yourself and the inner self behind it.
  • You must recover your sense of self. Many people have lost this sense and do not understand that they have lost it or the sorrowful consequences of this loss.

You have to understand this: You can have expensive house. Two cars, a sizable bank account, and real estate, and still feel poor, if you have lost touch with a wholesome self image of yourself.

If you feel poor, then uncertainties will frighten you, and you will find them all around you.

Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman writer, once commented that “the only certainty is that nothing is certain”.  But the life insecurities need not worry you; they need not keep you from full living. Not if you feel that you are a worthwhile person. You must be able to allow yourself joy. You must feel at one with yourself. Then a sense of security will replace worry, and you will be able to live happily with a minimum of uncertainty.

 

How to Stop Worrying

How to Stop Worrying – “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Worries are those nagging thoughts about something you fear might happen. They are kind of thoughts which come into your mind and make you feel discouraged and anxious. The next thing happens, you actually start believing in those thoughts and feeding them with more arguments. Which in turn get you into a deeper state of confusion and sadness. Next thing you know, you find yourself there in that deep mud hole. You look around and all is doom and gloom. As Arthur Somers Roche said:  “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained”

How to break the worry habit before it breaks you:

  • Block all negative thoughts from coming into your mind in the first place by keeping busy. If for some reason they do come in- address them right away. “What are the odds against this thing’s happening at all? What can I do to prove that this is not true? Be a lawyer arguing against that negativity. You can write all your thoughts down and counter argue them on paper or you can talk them out with someone you trust.
  • Co-operate with the inevitable. When Sir Henry Fawcett was a young man of twenty-five, he was blinded in a hunting accident. He had just graduated from Cambridge University as one of its most brilliant students and the world seemed like an apple rip for the picking. His own comments on the accident are: “Before twenty seconds had passed, I decided that not even this would hinder me from achieving the highest for which I was intended.” But he went on to become a professor in Cambridge. This man of faith refused to use this incident to build a tower of fear.

By fighting against the inevitable, you are using up a lot of  the energy you require for the more important areas of your life, and by not allowing yourself to let some things go, you will end up constantly tense and stressed out.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Dwell on positive things, and positive ways of happy living. We spend hours and hours dwelling and ruminating on the negative and fearful things in our lives. We worry about what could go wrong, instead of focusing and paying attention to the rational, the positive and the good. If you study and relive your past experiences, analysing them, and “getting in touch with your feelings”, you will only reinforce those feelings. If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it.  Focus on what is rational, the positive, the beautiful, and the nice. When you got worries out of your system you can feel the quiet tranquillity. You can see the beauty, the wonder.

“Your life will follow your expectations. What you expect is what you will get. If you dwell on positive thoughts, you will move in that direction; if you continually think negative thoughts, you will live a negative life” ~ Joel Osteen

Ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness:

  • Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, for “our life is what our thoughts make it.”
  • Get past your enemies instead of getting Even with them. “Let’s never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them” ~ Dale Carnegie. Regardless of how you have been wronged by others in your life, and how justified you might believe you are in seeking revenge, it’s important to remember that life isn’t a game and simply getting even doesn’t mean you’ve won the battle; it just means you’ve lost your self-respect. As Martin Luther King Jr said in one of his quotes: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
  • Don’t expect gratitude. If you go around expecting gratitude, you are headed for a lot of heartaches. There are thousands of people who are ill from neglect, ingratitude and loneliness. They longed to be loved but the only way that they can ever hope to be loved is, to stop asking for it and to start pouring out love without hope of return. If you want to find happiness, let’s stop thinking about gratitude or ingratitude and give for the inner joy of giving. “Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting”
  • Find yourself and do not imitate others. As it says: “envy is ignorance” and “imitation is suicide”, you need to find your true self, and be yourself. We all have a built in set of personal values. If we lose touch with those values we lose touch with our authentic self. When we violate those values we violate our relationship with the person we really are. In order to be yourself, you have to identify those values and make every effort to live by them. We can only be the person we were meant to be, by connecting with our true self and by feeling comfortable with who we are.
  • Forget our own unhappiness, by trying to create a little happiness for others. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” ~ Buddha

Doing things for others, whether small, unplanned acts of kindness or regular volunteering – is a powerful way to boost your own happiness as well of those around you. Kindness and caring also seem to be contagious. When you see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or you are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires you to be kinder yourself. In this way, kindness spreads from one person to the next, influencing the behaviour of people who never saw the original act. Kindness really is the key to creating a happier life. “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.”

“Life laughs at you when you are unhappy. Life smiles at you when you are happy. But, Life salutes you when you make others happy” ~ Charlie Chaplin

  • Count your blessings, not your troubles. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow” ~ Melodie Beattie

Counting your blessings, acknowledging and appreciating all that you already have in your life is a powerful technique that works as an antidote to worries. Noticing what is right in your life instead of worrying about what could go wrong in your life, make you feel happier and in peace with yourself. Always be satisfied with what you have and be determined to get what you want. Life has many ups and downs, but in any given situation if we analyse what we possess instead of what we have lost, we realize that God loves us and HIS blessings are always with us.

“The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.” ~ Zig Ziglar

 

How to Get Motivated

How to get motivated – One of the most important factors that lead one to their goals is the drive. This drive is known as motivation. It is a zest and determination with a kind of excitement that leads one to persevere to reach greater achievements, in no matter what avenue of their life; be it – personal or professional. The factors that motivate an individual keep changing as one climbs the ladder of age and maturity. And also, achievement of one goal sets the ball rolling for another one to be achieved. “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another” – John Dewey

There are times when one faces a period of de-motivation and everything seems bleak. It is then that they need to find what would motivate them back into action.

People who appear to be motivated in everything, are successful in understanding how to motivate themselves in a variety of settings and tasks. Two things contribute to your motivation for any task: what you expect from yourself and what value you place on achieving a goal. The key to motivation is understanding that you have the power to change both your expectations of yourself and the value placed on a task.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” – Vince Lombardi

Now let us look at the tips which can help you to get motivated:

  1. Rise for reason: Find a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most people state that their reason to getting out of bed in the morning is to go to bathroom! Certainly there is something more motivating you can use to get yourself going. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for you is good too, but you should do it for something that you really want to happen, for really good reasons. “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it” – Lou Holtz
  2. Energize yourself: Exercise dramatically affects mood and attitude. You might think working out is about your physical wellbeing, which it is, but it is also about your mental wellbeing as well. Moderate and reasonable exercise will do amazing things to create and keep your motivation high.
  3. Set achievable goals: It is difficult to sustain your motivation if you do not find meanings in your work. Goals can provide you with directions and nurture your motivation. Indeed, long-term goals are like road maps: they can help you envision your paths and give you good targets to achieve. Short-term goals are like checkpoints: they can give you affirmations that you are making efforts and moving forward to your long-term goals. The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain” – Kahlil Gibran
  4. Reward yourself: Everyone likes to be rewarded for completing a good job. Rewards can be motivating and give us the additional push to carry on. Whenever you have accomplished a task or a target you set, give yourself a decent reward. Take time out to recognize what did get done and celebrate the accomplishments.
  5. Be action-oriented: Over thinking give you a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Paralysis by analysis is a very real hazard for people who simply can’t get enough information. Learn what you need to learn, and then get moving. Keep your energy high by jumping in and getting started. As Ian Percy said, “Business needs fewer mission statements and more missions”
  6. See opportunities instead of obligations: Instead of something you have to do, approach tasks, as something you want to do because of what you have to gain from it. Remind yourself that by completing a task or a target you set, you will be one step closer to achieving your goal.
  7. Spend time with people who share your goals and interests. Enthusiasm is contagious. Just talking about something you love can stir up motivation in yourself and the people around you. The people you meet might have new ideas and interesting perspectives that can reignite your passion. Passion is caught, not taught.
  8. Talk to someone who has already achieved what you want: Nothing is more inspiring than seeing that your goals truly become reality. When you want to give up because your goals seem impossible to reach, find someone whose success will inspire you. Ask them about how their success feels and the personal fulfilment they experienced. “Determination – it’s the key to all human success”.

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there” – Zig Ziglar

  1. Be happy: Happiness is largely a choice. As Abraham Lincoln said: “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. If you love life and you love what you do, you will tackle every task with energy and enthusiasm. If you are a “glass half-empty” person chances are that nothing will ever seem good to you. Spend time every day doing something that makes you truly happy.
  2. Visualize: See yourself achieving your goal. View it like a movie in your mind, but make it a complete sensory experience. When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to “see” the possibility of achieving it. Through visualization, we catch a glimpse of what is, in the words of one writer, our “preferred future.” When this happens, we are motivated and prepared to pursue our goal.
  3. Recognize your accomplishments: Acknowledging your achievements, even in a small way, increases positive emotions such as self-respect, happiness, and confidence. Always take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved and be proud. Of course achievements come in all shapes and sizes and while they are all worth acknowledging, some will be more meaningful to you than others. I’d like to suggest that you find ways to create memories around your most important successes, then in the future if you should have moments of self-doubt or find yourself facing a particularly difficult obstacle you will have some tangible reinforcement of what you can do when you set your mind to it and how far you’ve already come.
  4. Set meaningful goals: Meaningful goals are those that are within reach, but force you to work hard. Make sure your goals are measurable within a set time period, for maximum value. Goals that are vague, or that don’t have a deadline, aren’t very satisfying even if you manage to complete them. Accomplishing a valuable goals really means something, because it is a reflection of hard work. As a result you will feel much more motivated to pursue them. “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie

Having enumerated all these tips and tricks to attain self-motivation, but still you seem to feel lacking that much needed drive, there is one last thing that you must try. Whatever it is that you have been meaning to do, or wanting to achieve, JUST DO IT! Keep on aiming high and go for it! Actually getting your hands dirty best solves the problem of motivation. By “forcing” yourself to just do it, your momentum will pick up gradually as you go along and before you know it you have finished the task or have finally achieved your goal. Divide and conquer is the key.

Living A Simple Life

Living a simple life – With the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we can often find ourselves yearning for a quieter, simpler way of living.  If your life has come to resemble an endless race to the finish line, take a look at the suggestions below to bring a greater sense of calm, simplicity and peace back into your life.

1) Less is more.  It’s amazing how much “stuff” we can accumulate in our homes because we think they’ll contribute to our lives.  It’s true that we gain enjoyment from material possessions, but the more we accumulate the more burdened we often feel.  Eventually we find ourselves living under a constant cloud of confusion, scattered thoughts and stress.

Begin immediately to clear out the material possessions you no longer need or want, and donate them to a local charitable organization.  This will accomplish two things:  first, you’ll feel lighter and less cramped in your home; and you’ll also feel good about giving these items to people who need them and can actually use them.

“The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.”   Steve Maraboli

2) Pare down your activities.  An active life is good for you, but not if it leaves you feeling stressed and fatigued!  Most of us take on much more than necessary as far as obligations and even recreational activities are concerned.

Take a few minutes to think about the things you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  Do you really need to do all of them?  Have you taken on responsibilities that really aren’t yours?  Are you spending time on activities you no longer enjoy?  Make a list of at least a few activities or obligations that you can eliminate, and then go ahead and do so – even if you have to pare them down gradually.

“People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life” John C. Maxwell

3) Spend time in silence. There are times when you are so used to doing everything in a hurry that you don’t notice how fast-paced your life has become. A deceptively simple way to live a life of simplicity and ease is to shut out the mental and physical “noise” of your busy life on a regular basis.  Sitting in silence for just a few minutes can drastically reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling calm, centred and happy.

If you live near a park or natural setting, you can even boost the effectiveness of this activity by spending time in nature.  While not completely silent, natural settings have soothing sounds like running water, singing birds and wind sighing through trees – which automatically trigger feelings of peace and well-being. Find fulfilment in the simple things in life by spending time with friends, or building something with your own hands. Intrinsic rewards will improve your motivation and overall satisfaction with your life

“In your silence, when there are no words, no language, nobody else is present, you are getting in tune with existence” Osho

4) Identify your values. Think about the things that are important to you that influence the way you act and ultimately the person you are. These are values. They are a guiding force in decision making. Identifying your values can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort.

To identify your values, think about the times in your life when you were the happiest, most proud, most fulfilled and satisfied. Make a list and determine what you valued about those situations. Perhaps you value the creativity, adventure, loyalty and hard work each of these situations provided. Maybe you realize that you value your family the most. These will be a driving force in everything you do. If you want to live a simple, peaceful life, then you might value serenity, resourcefulness, stability, and health.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”  Albert Einstein

5) Align your activities with your values. Take part in activities which are in harmony with your values and desire to live a simple life. You are more happy and satisfied when your activities are in line with your values. Refuse offers to events that conflict with your intent to live peacefully. Make a decision to live a value-driven life. When you know, what your core values are, you have an incredibly powerful tool to access your ‘sacred gift.’  By naming a value, you can quickly step into what that value means to you; what it really feels like when it’s present in your life.  And, you can use these feelings as energetic pointers when making decisions, big and small; decisions you know will lead you to a meaningful and happy life. This is what living a value-driven life is all about.

“Living in a way that reflects one’s values is not just about what you do, it is also about how you do things”

6) Live in the present moment.  As humans we tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the past or about the future. We think about what was and what could have been. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The key to solving this problem is simplifying your thoughts and staying focused on what you are doing at that moment. You have to realize that the present time is all there ever was and probably will be. By doing visualization exercises to imagine yourself in a simple, peaceful, stress-free environment, and Engaging in conversation or exercise you will be able to help quiet your mind and stay focused in the present moment.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”  Eckhart Tolle

7) Practice empathy and compassion to create peace. Each human being exists within the context of interrelationships that include other human beings, all living beings and the natural world. The ability to appreciate someone else’s struggle is an important skill to develop. You know how you would like to be treated, so use that as a guide when trying to treat others. As Lou Holtz says: “Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated”. Practicing empathy and kindness is the core skill for what psychologists call “pro-social” behaviour – the actions that are involved in building close relationships, maintaining friendships, and developing strong communities. It appears to be the central reality necessary for developing a conscience, as well.

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Lee, Harper

When it comes right down to it, living a simple and peaceful life is about learning how to slow down, connect more deeply with your inner self and live a conscious life.  Whether you do that by simplifying your surroundings, calming your schedule or enjoying a quiet respite each day, the result is the same – having a simple yet meaningful life and a happier and more peaceful you!

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  Aristotle

The Need of Deep Friendship Between People

The need of deep friendship between people, is an urgent need, one that has always been with human beings, as far back as historians can reach in their accounts of human life on this planet.

More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher wrote: “What is friendship? A single soul dwelling in two bodies”

In Apocrypha: Ecclesiastes 6:16 we find: “A faithful friend is the medicine of life”. Better than medicine, really. Medicine is for those already ill; friendship is basically for the well to enjoy, a joy to keep them well throughout their lifetime.

Life without friendship is like cereal without milk; there can be no sense of completion. Real friendship is subtle, trusting interrelationship whose worth is too great to be measured.

In the word of America’s first President, George Washington, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”

Another great President, Thomas Jefferson, once compared friendship to wine. Yes like good wine, friendship can give you a lift. Like wine, it lasts. Inclement conditions do not destroy it.

And as Jefferson points out, it is “restorative”; it renews a person wrestling with life’s problems, refreshing him so that, given a good night’s sleep, he can call once again upon his resources to go toward the battle of life.

It is sad that many of us become disappointed in the results of friendship that instead of enriching us they leave us wounded, causing us to think less of others and more of ourselves. We seldom think that perhaps we have been at fault. It usually seems to be the other person.

Friendship is not what we take from others, but what we give to others, not so much in material gifts as the gifts of compassion, sincerity, and understanding. It is instilling courage in someone else. It is the transfer of some of our self-respect to others. It is sharing of our confidence in ourselves with others. It is the gift of what we are to others.

“Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them…your smile, your hope, and your courage.” ~ Doe Zantamata

We must remember others, meeting them more than half way, giving the best that we are. Only in this way will we be entitled to receive friendship in return.

We must constantly work at repairing our friendship for others. And we must constantly work at repairing our friendship for ourselves. Because to be friendly to others we must be friendly to ourselves. We must always be ready to repair the damage which our failures inflict upon our self-image. We must rise above these failures to maintain our self-respect, which is basic to our respect for others.

“Love yourself first in order to endlessly love others.” ~ Debasish Mridha

Only then our friendship have true value. Only then can it be humble, free of boasting. Only when we respect ourselves can we feel the gift of humility, to others and to ourselves.

If you know the art of friendship, you stay alive. You put a smile of contentment on your self-image. You look forward, not backward. Every day is a new day in which you focus on life. You concentrate on your assets for the new day, refusing to let fear of failure side-track you.

You have foresight. You are a part of human family; you become what you are in relation to others. You expand in your capacity for love in a vast communal sense which incorporate the acceptance of human fallibility. You understand that your neighbour can make errors that distort his perspective; he can mistakenly feel that you are his enemy, not his friend. You forgive.

“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” ~ Steve Maraboli

The whole world is looking for friendship. Everyone seeks forgiveness as ardently as he seeks food and shelter. Yet often we are ashamed to forgive as we are ashamed to make mistake, as if it were a terrible weakness to make mistake or forgive. But this shame destroys us, damages us. It is unhealthy to be ashamed of error in yourself and stubborn not to forgive error in someone else.

The capacity to forgive should be as great as the capacity to survive because you cannot attain true stature in living unless you make as much as habit of forgiving as of eating.

To really get alone with people requires the compassion of forgiveness. To err is human loss; to forgive is human achievement. But, first you must forgive yourself so that you can accept yourself as a human being, as somebody with dignity.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr