Friday, 29 November 2013

Tapping Into Past Happiness

We can increase our current level of happiness especially in difficult times by tapping into good past memories. This provides more stability where your state of mind is determined by more than your mental stamina and current environment.

We are in control of how we interpret the past. Selective memory by means of capturing and recalling specific moments or associated feelings is vital in controlling how we see the past. We are both the lead character and the author of how we tell and relive our life stories. Forming a story that we remember in a positive light does not require a holistic and step-by-step factual description. You take what you want and ignore the rest, even if it means reconstructing it with a different underlying message than you first thought it told. We change and so can our interpretation of the past.

If you don't like the stories you have or feel there are some missing be sure to push your unwanted past back by forming stories you can tell with pride. Take control of today as it is in your grasp and own your experiences with confidence. Remember the focus is today. Do not live in the past, but use it to enrich the present.

Choose your recollection method. If it is from a healthy memory choose the moments you dwell on carefully. If you use photos or videos don't hesitate to capture often and find time and means to relive them. If the trigger is music or locations make time to revisit them and build up references. This is a form of reconditioning that helps you to appreciate your past rather than let it bring you down.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Wall up knowledge

Don't flood people with your knowledge. Live in your full awareness, but only reveal your depth up to the level it is understood and appreciated.

If you release an excessive wave of knowledge people will be unable to properly interpret and build associations (people can only learn that what they almost already know) and quickly loose interest.

It's not the facts that make up knowledge which change us, but our approach towards assimilating it into our way of thinking (See 'Own It'). By releasing knowledge in bite size chunks we can increase the probability that our shared knowledge will make lasting contributions to others.

Do not let your words lose their weight by wasting them on an unappreciative audience. Take time to continuously assert their interest and ability to comprehend the conveyed knowledge before continuing. The weight of your words is not measured in quantity, but in the movement it inspires.

It is important not to confuse the level of comprehension with the target audience's intelligence. Engagement is more often build up from related experience that forms a contextual platform.

Just because something intrigues you doesn't mean others should share your 
interest or choice in conversation.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Own It

Where does our strength come from? People are empowered by concepts like their career success, riches, heritage and past experiences. Why do some fill you with pride and determination while others pass by without a second thought?

I believe that the core activator is the individual's ability to 'own' an idea by assimilating it into who they are. This is an active commitment to the affiliation; not observing from a distance, but making it part of you.

It starts with exposure. You cannot draw power from something you don't know. Ideas do draw the individual with different intensities - these forces are a complicated mixture of sources, like past experiences, culture, environment and friends. They act like a catalyst and can help you in making the commitment, BUT they are not the source which you will draw from. Your ability to take ownership of the idea will be the measure.

The 'what' is less important than the depth of the concept’s integration into the individual’s way of life and the regard in which is held.

We tend to incorporate many ideas and beliefs. These are the pillars that define who we are. Keep in mind that a wider pillar selection can provide strong support, but can also increase internal conflict and require much effort to sustain a deep commitment. The purest and strongest form of empowerment is a single complete devotion that directs every aspect of your life, a single truth you live by. The danger of this is clear, and its effect undeniable.

Quantifiable skillsets and training is slightly different, because the result is measured not by the individual’s value system but from a shared perspective. The core principle, however, is still applicable: in order to gain the most from new knowledge you will need to assimilate it into your practices as your own.

Finally it is important to master incremental assimilation. You do not need to wait until you have a complete understanding before committing to an idea. Learn to assimilate in bite sizes so that you can draw from underlying principles while you are discovering it in depth. This will give you a competitive advantage to those who are more reluctant to commit in stages. Another valuable practice is to link the learning to other areas to allow you to add to a global body of knowledge/taxonomy for a more complete view on life.

These pillars inspire and empower us to go beyond our limitations, grow them and not hesitate to draw power from them when needed.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Flash of Good

It can be difficult to spend time with anyone without picking up traits or habits that you dislike in them.

For many people these negative elements quickly shape into the dislike of the person. Without allowing room for differences and mistakes our journey can be littered with a sequence of shortlived engagements. This in turn can result in having a very select group of friends with a narrow spectrum of insight, potentially limiting both your personal growth and exposure to the diversity of life.

The 'Flash of Good' principle challenges one to invert your thoughts by searching for the one key aspect you can respect and appreciate from every person you meet. This can be a skill, accomplishment or even  something as superficial as aesthetics. Make this your key association, and as you become aware of issues force yourself to focus on their ‘Flash of Good’ so that your feelings don't easily get routed by negativity.

Try to separate a person from actions, behavior and faults. Throw emotions at events, not the person. This is not forgetting, excusing or supporting the differences; it is purely an approach to abstract negative feelings from how you treat people.

Have a very low baseline expectation from everyone. People are self-serving, weak, overbearing, untrustworthy, cold and unforgiving. Every single exception that contradicts the dark corners of our nature is something worth appreciating and a potential candidate for their 'Flash of Good'.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Mental Reconditioning

How do we define what we are? We have impulses, desires and feelings within our environment that forms strong gravitational forces. These forces influence our decision making and how we interpret the outcome.

Two extreme views:
1.       What we feel is what we are. The belief that our nature is given to us; our emotions are our guide on the path of self-discovery.
2.       We become what we want to be. Nothing is set in stone, we are who we choose to be, a constant work in progress.

Fully understanding yourself is difficult. The intricate journey that comes together in our present self is very difficult to express in black and white ideologies. With that said, my philosophy is heavily weighted towards crafting yourself into what you want to be.

Some points I take to heart from the opposing viewpoint include:
·         Some behaviors are near impossible to alter after passing a certain point.
·         Simply embracing life is more spontaneous.

My primary concerns:
·         The belief that our nature is provided puts distance between us and the results of our actions. Removing the need to take responsibility for your actions, because as long as it feels right, it must be.
·         With no direction there is no control of what one becomes. I have little confidence in the general good of humanity. We are not isolated and our choices affect those around us. If not for one’s self the individual should be mindful of who they are becoming to those around them.

Can we change our nature?

I believe that these Silent Forces that come from within is our minds interpretation of a very complex assimilation of our complete past and current environment. The part that we could gain some control over is the interpretation - the area I refer to as your Inner Core’s 'Chamber of Thoughts'.

Stop believing in your feelings. You might be surprised to find how much of your nature started with a flip of a coin and slowly grew into the pillars you hold them to be.

Most people treat this room as a black box, a magic Eight Ball that has the supposed wisdom of their true self. This is because the outcome can become fairly predictable even though the mechanism seems mysterious. Complexity is, however, not a reason to shy away from self-discovery. Start by firstly identifying the forces (observe inner responses to a wide range of situations) and then methodically dissecting them into raw principles and finding their potencial origins. By reflecting on them you are able to make adjustments to your current foundation.

An effective strategy for reconditioning is ‘Black Bagging’ (See previous post) unwanted thoughts as they form, declaring your new view and quickly moving on.

This takes time and dedication; it is a slow disciplined process that requires continuous introspection. The more time you spend in this room the more you will develop a thought-driven lifestyle that will allow you a deeper understanding and control over your nature. Take time to think, organize and examine what happens around you. Making a specific alteration is heavily dependent on how deep you allowed yourself to go down the opposing rabbit-hole and how strongly you want to change.

The philosophy:
I am the result of past choices and experiences, my character and emotions are a result and not the origin of who I am. My life is my responsibility, even in areas influenced by others; I solely take responsibility for who I am today as well as working towards what I want to become.

1.       Change your thoughts, as they are the seeds that form your nature.
2.       Change your actions. Make conscious changes to align to new viewpoint.
3.       Allow the new actions to fall into predictable behavioral patterns.
4.       When the new view is in harmony between what you think, what you do and how you feel then you have successfully reconditioned yourself.

The longer you continue on this path the easier it will become. Do not get over confident in your ability to change. There is no easy removing of the old ways - only creating new ones over them. Avoid triggers that can pull you back e.g. fondly indulging memories that are in opposition to your current viewpoint.

The battle is in your mind and usually happens long before you are faced with a choice.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Circles of Importance

It is human nature to draw into smaller circles of people; mostly these groupings are done from some form of commonality as it is easily leveraged to suggest an existing bond without any need of prior engagement. This can happen horizontally across a wide spectrum of subcultures in isolated areas in your life or as a vertical filter that narrows the same group of people repeatedly into a much more intimate group.

What these common aspects are is unimportant. Whether it is family, politics, gender, race, sport, etc. it is all just a manifestation of our attempt to satisfy our need for acceptance. If you take away one, it will be replaced by another. The connections you make however are extremely important. Be aware  of the social stigma around the labels associated with you. Not only do they influence each other but they also provide a baseline for others to form opinions about you.

We hunger for companionship. It’s a void that exist from birth. We view our relationships as a means to validate our existence and in many cases they play a key role both as a motivation to live and in the quality of life. The urge for companionship is as primal as hunger and forms part of our survival instinct.

As a side note: I think that the deeper our connections are with others the fewer people we need in our lives  to fill this need and the less complex it is to sustain these connections. This can also leave us more vulnerable and isolated, bringing us to the alternative of having many connections that are more superficial but that satisfy the same need.

The irony is that the deeper a relationship grows the less important these labels tend to become. We are an extremely adaptable species with amazing capabilities once when we commit to something. The biggest hurdle in networking is to nurture an almost invisible spark into something tangible and ultimately motivation to invest ourselves in an uncertain outcome. These circles contribute by providing us with ground zero, a platform to explore new connections.

Do not blindly go through life's motions without understanding the
underlying need that drives us to it

We need to know the rules before we can break them. We are either a chess player that understands the opportunities and the restrictions of the board or we are the pieces that are moved around by others ignorantly thinking that we are in full control of our lives.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Successfully Losing

Life happens. One moment we are on top of the world, and the next moment the world shifts beneath us and we find ourselves wishing the earth would swallow us up.

The more experiences I gain, the more I realize that true failure lies with the inability to recover when life throws you a curve ball. It is seldom what happens, but rather how you react to it that will define how that experience will shape your future.

There is a web of complicated social cues that influences the outcome of an awkward moment or a perceived failure by an ever watchful audience. A good starting point is not losing control of your reaction. It might be the only thing that you can control and will play a key role in providing a platform that will allow you to influence other people’s responses.

Take a breath; don't react suddenly, but calmly and without hesitation and redirect the focus of the audience away from you. The worst atmosphere is one of uncertainty, where each individual is forced to decide for themself how to proceed.

How can I practically take back some control? Here are some pointers:
  • Acknowledge the incident, play it down as unimportant and change focus by asking a question to a specific person that will guide the conversation back to the previous topic. This strategy requires them to respond and breaks the immediate tension.
  • As with the first point, acknowledge the incident, but blow it humorously and completely out of proportion, before changing the focus away from you. This makes the actual event seem much less intimidating.

This boils down to experience, confidence and redirection, all of which can be learned and developed over time. People seem to think that some people are born with social super powers, but really all it takes is dedication to change and the will to improve ourselves.

In the end these potentially unpleasant experiences are part of life and they carve on our character. We only seem to reach the pinnacle of potential for change in the face of our darkest moments.

Lastly, don't linger on past mistakes (once you have learned from the experience). It should serve only one purpose and that is to guide us into a better future.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Shadow Falls

"Shadow falls is the technique of finding the area of enlightenment in each story, not passing up opportunity because you find inconsistencies."

We are continuously exposed to stories. Origins stretch from a wide variety of areas such as culture, movies, series and many from religion. Most of the time we feel obligated to come to a single conclusion in regards to agreeing or disagreeing and in case of disagreement we tend to discard it all.

Poking holes into a story is easy, most things in life are flawed. If we look closely at even the most beautiful things we will start to notice imperfections. Shadow falls challenges us to go against our nature and look past these within each story and rather focus on the pockets of valuable truth. Taking a step back, firstly appreciating the opportunity to see and discover through someone else (a completely different being) and mentally pivoting around the information shared, to learn as much as the opportunity presents.

There is much to learn from seemingly insignificant facts, do not close yourself to experience life only through your eyes. Try to experience the story from the story teller’s perspective.

  1. Try to find an angle or context where intent of the story (the intended learning) can resonate with your views. Sometimes it might just be an edge case far from the norm.
  2. Search for different forks in the story, play in your mind different paths the story could have taken if different choices or incidents occurred. We can learn as much from what didn't happen as what did.
  3. Learn to engage with the story teller (or audience). Pull them into a deeper conversation by playing the devil’s advocate, even if you are in agreement. This will aid your understanding as how people get to their conclusions can bring forward hidden depth into the topic at hand. Be mindful of your body language and learn to hide your emotions.
Only directly oppose (different to discussing opposite views) story teller if you have responsibility over people listening and you don't want them to be confused. If you have strong convictions and you know the other party is not open to another opinion do not force yours. If you have a strong conviction there is no need to prove it to others. In contradiction to your feelings if you are able to humour the situation you could potentially gain a deeper understanding when the opposition is not guarded or feeling cornered.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Divorce - My resolve

My life and strength are slowly returning. That stolen will not be allowed destroy that what remain.

A new breath, a new beginning, my character molded under pressure. My life story forced to change in mid chapter.

Key lessons learned, their essence burned into my soul. My eyes opened to humanity's raw and uncompassionate nature. Not to love recklessly but selectively, my heart hardened from the harsh circumstances and the sudden need to defend against its own. My life open for all to judge my story reduced to a sad statistic, my accomplishments swept away by cold forceful actions of another.

In this and from the acknowledgement of my flawed and failed self I find some comfort in my innocence of this crime.

I felt happiness, I experienced joy, I know burning anger, I know deep pain, I know disappointment... I knew love. Be that what it may, I will survive.

I am tainted, marked for life with a public scar that stands against everything I believe in. But with this I also discovered inner strength I didn’t know I possess as well as my misplaced roots in Him.

No longer excuses, I will live life as I see fit and to its fullest! No more self-sacrifice only limited compromise to precious few I choose to accommodate. My choices define me, not the cards that I have been dealt.

This is a flag in the ground, a bone rattling echo of a life placed on hold snapping back into motion. This with a soothing feeling that the unknown future holds a promise of healing and self-discovery gives me new hope and the strength to continue.

For those walking with me, please find a gesture of appreciation for the received support and a promise of a valuable friendship. I will not forget this, I will remember it all.