Sunday, 27 May 2012

School of life - The art of learning

Humanity is able to evolve by means of learning and passing down knowledge. We have structured educational systems to facilitate the consumption of information that spans over centuries. Worldwide societies are moving towards a specialist approach where the individual is encouraged to have a narrow but advance skillset, leaving little regard to other areas of general life. This works well for the larger vision for society but can leave individuals lacking and unbalanced in not having a diverse knowledge of life.

Embracing learning as part of your journey not just a destination will allow more freedom and enrich your life continuously. This will happen as your understanding of life will broaden allowing you to see more options in your choices and giving you more confidence in what their results will be.
  • Have a teachable nature. Valuable life lessons come from the most unlikely sources. In case of advice offered, always make room to listen but be firm in the understanding that it will be taken under advisement with no promise to comply or agree.
    • Try not to draw conclusions before engaging. Always listen then speak.
    • Learning from someone more advanced than you is the easy part; the more difficult task is the ability to learn from people equal or below you within community structures without losing their respect. This is a skill that requires practice with variety of methods from openly giving them the credit to taking the lesson to heart without skipping a beat.
  • Think outside the box. Seek life lessons from stories, encounters, friendships and everything else life throws at you.
  • Be unbiased while exploring cause and effect, do this by playing the devil’s advocate. Do not be satisfied with one side of any point, consider all the options that you can think of
  • Learning from other people’s insights and theories one should focus on finding nuggets of truth not simply accepting or disregarding it as a single concept. There are many truths that seem to be opposites yet their value lies in their application (Exp. Proverbs), try to understand and find the right place to apply them or find some core principles to learn from.
  • Form your own opinions. Forming our own hypothesis and theories on life is different from learning from others, start from single truth which you believe you have gained a deeper insight into and build a basic theory. Going forward you should not purely defend yours but put it to the test by searching for inconsistencies that can shed more light or change the direction of the current hypothesis. Each time you are forced to adjust it means you have either gained a deeper insight or explored alternatives which is the result of personal growth.
Life is too short to learn only from our own mistakes. We are continuously exposed to the results of choices, everything from important decisions to smaller almost invisible cause and effect situations. As our lives fork into a complex web of cause and effect we should take the time to see and understand the seemingly hidden details of life so that we are not merely a pawn but becoming the chess player.

This goes for understanding human behavior, self-improvement but also very important to partake in opportunities to form new life experiences. Fear of fears, if your hesitant to try something new replace that with the fear of withering away without experiencing life and only being a mere shadow of what you were meant to be.

Remember the fastest way to fail learning is by thinking you have completed the course. This lures you into false sense of fulfillment which will slow any additional progress.  The more you learn the more you should understand how little you do know in regards to the vast knowledge that is out there, understanding this will keep you motivated to progress even further. That being said having no targets can leave you directionless so try to set milestones, NOT finishing lines, while learning.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Inner Core - Black Bagging

We are what we think. What we present to the world regarding ourselves can range from slightly altered to something completely unrecognizable to who we are in our inner core. The more these are different the bigger your inner struggle will, this struggle can easily take casualties as low self esteem and self loathing. The goal of this concept is to get these worlds closer together from within rather than focusing on the exterior.

"Beware of the dog"

Some ways people cope with the inner darkness:
  • Embrace it. Some people do not pretend to fit in or be 'good'. Although this has severe consequences, the individual can be at peace with them self and their nature.
  • Hide it. Add more distance to what you are when no one is looking and what you present to others as a show. This tends to result in extremities and serious impact when in a moment of weakness you give a glimpse into your core.
  • Fight it. This is refusing to conform to your urges and instead standing up for what you want to be.

Can we truly change our nature? Maybe not, but that does not mean we cannot control it.

We might be taken aback on how many characteristics of our so called nature is nothing more than by-products of life experience, choices and the culture we are exposed to. Surprisingly not something as unchangeable as we would like to believe, we tend to rather shy away from taking responsibility for our bad characteristics by labeling it under 'our nature' than owning up to it. That being said, I do believe that some people have a real darkness that transcends just normal thoughts and urges, the key difference between these are that one can be changed and the other only kept under control.

Our inner core is one of our greatest gifts, the one thing no one can own or see without you allowing them in (*Links to attributes of a character with depth), and yet people live outward without even considering it. Going even deeper, the main chamber for our consciousness is our thoughts and many problems come from entertaining chaotic and uncontrolled thoughts. The ability to think is a very powerful tool; it forms us from within, acting as filter, allowing us to be more than mindless animals. This 'room' can be what you want it to be, its application capabilities is truly endless.

Controlling the ideas and urges that just appear is vital, and as inner thoughts are the seeds that drive our actions it should be the first and foremost battleground. Utilizing your thoughts as an additional filter will help you
 gain the upper hand in the dark corners in your mind. This can be viewed as closing distance between your inner self, by getting closer to what you want to be, and what you present to the world.

Some ideas in handling these: 
  • Black bag unwanted thoughts. It takes practice but find a way to clear all present thoughts. One way is by imagining a pitch black screen with a powerful blanket of silence. Keep your focus until everything else is drowned out.

  • Stop urges through pain redirection. Urges are stronger than just thoughts and as such might require more persuasive measures. A pinch or pressing nail against finger should be enough to break the immediate impulse. You can use this with the above veil of nothingness to endure a clean break.
We are continuously formed by our thoughts and actions. Do not linger on unhealthy thoughts, take control as soon as it confronts you. Keep in mind the more you feed your monsters the harder it will be to take them down!

Be careful to use these tactics as a means to avoid dealing with issues that exist because of real experiences you had. Work through issues that require time and attention until your inner turmoil has calmed down. You should be at peace with yourself before you can be at peace with everything else around you.

*Future read

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Isolation from status rules

Society has many ways of determining an individual status in relation with others (wealth, fame, accomplishments, company he/she keeps, etc.). People continuously both consciously and unconsciously place others and themselves in ranking orders. These rules govern most of our choices, influence our approach towards other people and also the way we see ourselves. 

We might have some control of the journey through life but ultimately we cannot change our origin or our final fate as inhabitants of mortal bodies. In essence, human life is a gift and must as such be valued equally. The idea of influence or cultural structures is only our attempt to control the environment we live in. These structures however are a necessity for our modern way of life. We seem to confuse the value of human life as something that is directly related to our status and also accept the same treatment when passed down to us. The empowerment you feel when dealing with someone ‘less’ than you and the ‘intimidation’ of meeting with someone more accomplished than yourself has not only been used to determine your position but also how you value yourself and others. 

To break free from these constrains we put on ourselves and the limitations pushed down on us, we need to embrace the very simplistic but powerful approach to view all people as equal and still understand the importance of each individuals cultural role without looking at them as more or less than yourself. 

This is much easier said than done as these rules are everywhere around us, ignoring the system will cause ripples and although you will feel improvements it might not be understood by everyone. This is a life approach and requires a recalibration of your view on life that filters past the obvious to the smaller almost invisible mannerisms. Evaluate your thoughts and actions that other people don’t see, like what are you thinking when you give money to a beggar or will you open the door at the office for the cleaner as well as the CEO without even thinking about it? The opposite is also true, when you have mastered this you will be able to comfortably function in the presence of someone much higher by social standards because you are not intimidated by it (you understand their role in society without acknowledging it as something that has power over you). Practical skill-sets will still affect your professional profile within an organization or community but after understanding the difference you won’t use this as a validator, either increasing or decreasing your self-worth, but look at people around you as equals no matter of their social standing.