How much stress and life-struggle comes from watching other people’s movies? How often do you “watch your own movie?” We want what our friends have. Their social media posts seem better than ours. It seems their children are more well behaved than ours. Vacations they take are even more extravagant than ones we get to take. The constant daily grind often is perpetuated when we tune into the broadcast life of others around us. Peace, serenity, meaning, and happiness is brought to you through watching your own movie, not the movies of others.
But how do we steer clear of the traps of watching others movies so that we can maximize the lives we live?
Here are some tips and life hacks that you can implement to continue living as your authentic self, rather than envying those around you.
Get Comfortable in Your Own Skin
Look, by now we’ve all heard about body shaming, confidence issues, and the like that force some people to look at others with envy.
Stopping this infectiously bad habit takes some rewiring of the mind. Start with these steps:
Assess yourself by your health – not your bodily figure
Depending on your physical fitness, decide what steps you need to take to be more fit
Set S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) physical health goals such as
walking / running at a certain pace
how much weight you want to be able to work out with
what is your cholesterol level and where should it be?
blood pressure and what target you should be at?
By using actual health and fitness goals, you begin to see yourself in a better light. Gauging yourself against how physically fit you should be for your age is far better than trying to pin yourself against others in terms of how they look versus you.
There is no telling how physically fit someone is that “looks attractive.” However, you working to become your best self health wise, will begin to add more confidence and security of mind. It will help you live as your more authentic self. This is just one step in watching your movie over the movies of others.
Discover Your Life Passions and Live Them
So much in our lives comes from watching others. When are we going to jump into the water of life for ourselves?
We look to others that are living what we enjoy, yet often don’t believe we can do what they do.
What are your interests? How about your passions? Would you be doing something different in life if you could?
Make a list of all the things in life you love. Be as far reaching as you want. Here are a few that I am very passionate about:
My list could go on quite while longer, but I think you get the point. If you are going to watch your own movie and not the movies of others, we must find a way to intertwine your life passions into purposeful intent within your daily life.
Discovering your purpose in life is where you begin to really entwine more meaning and excitement into your life. You begin to focus heavily on what it is you can do for yourself and others rather than wishing and hoping after what you see others do.
What does the world need that you love to do?
What are your passions and talents that you can bring to the work you do to serve those world needs?
Take these passions and talents and put them into practice in all you do!
Even if you aren’t 100% in the chosen career field you want, you can still bring your talents and strengths into your everyday job to begin living your purpose. Want to find purpose at work? Change your perceptions. This will give you more meaning and you’ll quickly find yourself watching your own movie, rather than hoping for a new job or career change.
Live and Be at Your Best
Rest easy if you know you’ve done the very best you can.
I go to bed and sleep easy at night if I know I have any problem or life situation the best I had to give. When asking yourself that question honestly, only make adjustments if you know you could have put in more effort. If you know you gave the maximum output; rest easy.
Know and live by your values. Develop a code of conduct that you can live within. These are values you will not compromise and will look for in others you bring close in your life.
When you authentically live as your best self, it is far easier to live with and watch your movie over getting caught up watching the movies of others.
What it all boils down to is life is about YOU. Not those that you watch around you. What are you doing to live as your best most authentic self?
Are you living out your purpose and passions? How can we be better at this together? Would love to hear thoughts and comments as we aim to grow and achieve more together.
What is it that matters most in life? Is it personal gain? What about recognition and status? When we sit back and ponder on what we want to achieve and attain in life, hopefully we think about the impact we make on others. This is where our truest moments of self-worth and accolades should be found. These 12 lessons for life and leadership will not only help you attain more, but also leave a lasting legacy.
1. Lead with Love
Leading with love will ensure that you begin and end each day with the right mindset. It is my personal belief that when we serve others, we gain back more in return. Therefore, upon leading with love and true care for others in the world helps keep us within the right frequency to gain the same back.
It sounds cliche, but who doesn’t want more love in their lives? Putting it out to those we interact with, even love and care for everyday strangers, it going to help you get back what you put out. And that is far better than the opposite effect.
2. Allow Leadership into Your Life
Who or what is guiding you?
Set up the mental construct for what you believe in and how you want to be lead. What is your purpose? How does that purpose guide you? Upon figuring out this important aspect of life, you can begin to look for more learning, teaching, knowledge, and leadership that can help you further round you into your best self.
This learning and leadership you gain then can be put into place into your life for greater impact for those around you.
3. Listen More than You Speak
The famous phrase – “we have two ears and one mouth for a reason” rings true here.
Don’t be so apt to jump into conversations with your opinions and validations. Rather, choose to speak with intent and purpose. Listen to conversations rather than trying to speak over them.
Upon practicing this “more listening and less talking technique” it also will hep others realize when you do speak up, it is going to have a lot of insight and meaning.
Resist always being the squeaky wheel and instead work to become the calm, collected, stoic; then when you speak, others truly will listen.
4. Keep Others Remembering their Essence
When you are true to yourself, it helps others become more true to their self. The saying of “Lead by Example” is the foundational principle here.
When we as leaders or people of purpose, vivaciously live our lives through meaning, others can’t help but take notice. Even those without their true “North Star” will want to find one.
Why not better others around you through keeping them honest about their truest purpose? Helping others in this manner truly generates great lessons for life and leadership.
5. Watch for Repetitions
When we are carefully looking for the patterns in life and how it unfolds, it helps us be better prepared for our futures.
Life happens in the ever present moment only, but through becoming watchful of the pendulum swings we can better anticipate challenges or ensure we don’t get too high in the positive momentums.
In all our lives, we’re going to experience the pendulum swinging – we need to be watchful and observant of it.
6. Live with Balance
Try your best to not do anything in excess.
Proper balance in life is important for any leader, entrepreneur, or purposeful individual. It is easy to get caught up in the excessiveness of life. This can be in things that are good for us like exercising or of course in the more negative aspects such as binge drinking to forget a stressful event.
Life is meant to be lived in balance. Even the earth, moon, and seasons move within the same balance. We need to live in accordance to a similar cadence. Nothing in excess – but enough of what we need. Enough work / enough time off. There is no trophy for who works the hardest or longest.
7. Reflect Often
How can we see where we are going if we haven’t paused to look at the path we’ve traveled?
Making time to reflect on your decisions, progress, failures, and victories is important. Reflection is what purposeful individuals do. It is a lesson for life and leadership that no one should do without.
Whether it be weekly, monthly, or quarterly, plan some time into your calendar for a day to go on a retreat. Make it just for you. Could be for a walk in the park, a hit in the mountains, or a trip to a new town just to sit at the cafe.
Whatever works for you, just ensure you make time for that reflection. It helps to write those moments down in a journal so they can be reflected back on through time. It will make you a better leader and individual and certainly is one of the most important lessons for life and leadership.
8. Be Aware of Your Emotions
Too often people feel they need to be the boulder that slams into the lake falling high from the cliff.
What comes of the individuals around you after those massive waves calm into ripples on the water? Even after the water is still again the emotional scars can remain.
Purposeful individuals and great leaders are aware of their emotions. They do their best to ensure they don’t rock the waters as they pass by. The waters of life can be choppy enough, why add more waves?
9. Be a “Net-Giver”
Ever meet those people that always take from you but never want to give? It can be your time they want, your money, your toys, or anything else. They want, want, want!
Don’t be that person! Be the person that shows up for others and asks how you can be of service. I promise you’ll find yourself happier and always receiving even more in return. It is universal law.
I don’t mean “over-give” either. Be respectful of your time, money, and resources. But with the right balance, aim first to give; rather than take from others.
10. Be Authentic and Transparent
Once you begin to live with purpose, it becomes easier to be authentically transparent.
Most human beings like to avoid confrontations, but it’s a fact of life. We are going to face them. Being truly genuine with others and having their best interests at heart means telling them the truth.
Once you get a few genuinely, transparent, and authentic conversations under your belt, it becomes easier. No person of purpose is going to go far in their goals without these lessons for life and leadership.
11. Rely on Great People and Systems
There is no easy way to accomplish all you want in life completely on your own.
You must attract, development, and retain great people around you if you are in leadership. And if you are simply battling to accomplish your own cause, it helps to have a great community and support system around you.
There is always power in numbers. Never try and go it alone.
12. “Done” is Better than “Perfect”
Finally, simply remembering that it’s better to get to the finish line without achieving your perfect record setting pace versus never crossing it at all.
Too many people in this world are “afraid to finish.” We consume ourselves with new projects and always looking for excuses to procrastinate or find reasons to not begin that new project.
Put it out into the world and just start. Then get it to completion. In most cases, whatever it is you are working on you can always make it better later. But you won’t have that finished project to edit or improve if you don’t start or finish it.
I hope this post helped jog some points of discovery and epiphanies for anyone that comes across it.
We are always a work in progress. The key is realizing that and putting in the effort for constant improvement.
What is it that you are working on in terms of becoming your best self? What lessons for life and leadership have you discovered that have been the best teachers for you? I’d love to hear from you and what it is that you are working on so we can continue to grow into the best human beings possible.
Pam Reynolds was a songwriter and orchestrator. She lived in Atlanta and at the age of 35, she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. This aneurysm was a particularly challenging one to address as it was located in her brain stem near the base of her skull. There was one procedure that she was told gave her very little chance of survival, but that it was her only hope at continuing her life. To address the aneurysm, part of the skull is removed, including the base of the eye. This creates a space that allows access to the base of the skull. The body temperature was lowered to 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Her blood was then drained to allow the aneurysm to flatten out. Upon clipping the aneurysm, blood was then pumped back into her body as she was warmed back up. While the surgery was a success, Pam was conscious during the experience. The following description is from Pam Reynolds herself and describes her actual death experience.
Doctor Robert F. Spetzler performed the operation, but there were more people in that room than I would have ever guessed to be in an operating room. They cooled my body down and my heart stopped. My brain waves stopped functioning. They tilted the end of the gurney up and drained my blood, like oil from a car, into a heart lung machine. I’m told that’s what happened but, understand, I was not there when this was happening.
I had been put to sleep. Dr. Spetzler has since assured me that I was nearly comatose. There was no way that I could have heard or seen anything. My eyes were taped shut and my ears had speakers inserted in them making a loud clicking sound. These speakers were used to monitor the response of my brain. Nonetheless, I began to hear a tone. It was guttural, it was unpleasant, I did not like it. It drew my consciousness like water from a well. And having done that, I sort of popped out of my head to see what this horrific noise was.
At first my vantage point was rather like sitting on the shoulder of the surgeon. In his hand, I saw the instrument that was making the offensive noise. I have heard the word “saw” all my life – my father used a saw, my grandfather used a saw, brain surgeons use saws. I had assumed they were going to open the skull with a saw. But this was no saw. This think was held more like a pencil. It looked like a drill and actually reminded me of an electric toothbrush.
This was the thing that was causing the noise that disturbed my very, very, very, deep slumber.
An Out of Body Experience like None Other
The feeling of exiting the body was incredible. I’ve never weighted five hundred pounds, but if was as if I had and just lost all the weight. I could move around at will. My thought process took me where I wanted to go. I felt no pain, no more suffering, no more fear. I was free to wander around, at will, unobstructed.
I heard a female voice describing that my arteries and veins were too small.I thought they may be working in the wrong areas since they were doing brain surgery. Out of concern I tried to communicate with the female but she could not hear me.
It was indescribable but beautiful to know that I was no longer part of that thing lying on the operating table. “I” was outside of my body.
I began to sense a presence. The feeling was rather like having someone looking over your shoulder and yet there being no-one in the room. I turned around to look at it and instead of seeing a person, I saw a very tiny pinpoint of light. As I started focusing on the light, it started to pull me and the pulling had physical sensation with it. It was like from my tummy, going over a hill real fast. The closer I got to the light, the better I could see and discern figures.
The first figure I knew was my grandmother. I heard her voice calling me. But it wasn’t a voice made of vocal cords, it was something different. Therewere so many people there, many I knew, many I did not know, but somehow I knew I was connected to them. I didn’t know how I knew this, but I knew.
The people were wearing light, they seemed to be made of light. The ones I recognized, it’s as if there had never been a separation between us. There was love, warmth, and protection and I felt all of it.
I then saw my uncle, who had passed away at the age of thirty nine. He didn’t use his mouth to communicate. He did it in another way that I remembered from my early childhood. He had the look. He would look at me and I would understand. It didn’t take long to understand that this was how everyone here communicated.
I asked my grandmother regarding the nature of the light. My communication to her was, “Is the light God?” and there was great laughter and she said, “No, sweetheart, the light is not God. The light is what happens when God breaths.” That was the communication.
The landscape was nonexistent. It was as if the bodies were floating tin midair. There was light and shadow, but it didn’t seem to fall on anything. That’s what convinced me that I probably was not in “heaven.” It had colors like you wouldn’t believe. I was probably in an “in-between” place. Perhaps I was on some sort of bridge on the way, because, let us not forget, they would not let me into that light.
I became concerned as to whether or not I was really there. I looked at my own hands and held them up to my face. I saw something, I knew I was there, I could feel “me.” The odd thing was, I didn’t feel so very different than I feel here. And yet, there was no density in the flesh, but still, I held them up to my face to secure the knowledge that I was there.
There came a time that I knew I had to return to the body. My uncle was going to take me and that was fine. I was okay with that, until I saw the thing and I was not at all pleased. He told me, “Think about your favorite food…Won’t you miss your children?” And then he told me, “It’s like jumping in a swimming pool, baby. Just jump.” I looked down and saw the body jump with the first defibrillation. I definitely did not want to get in the thing then, because, to be honest with you, it looked like what it was — dead. I knew it would hurt. My response to him was – no. So then he pushed me.
I hit the body at the second defibrillation of the heart, and there I was alive and somewhat uncomfortable. Getting back into the body was kind of like jumping into a pool of ice water. It was shocking. I could feel the shock and it was very unpleasant.
I woke up in the operating room and was told I wasn’t supposed to wake up until I was in the recovery room.
Validating the Out of Body Experience
Afterward, Dr. Spetzler listened very closely to everything I said to him. On the following day, he very firmly explained to me that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was not a hallucination. He told me that what I described actually occurred. For example, they had to defibrillate me twice.
The voice I had heard was indeed female, and later my doctors introduced me to her. She was the head of the cardiovascular team and she was doing a “cutdown.” this is the methodology by which they drew the blood from my body.
I was able to eventually see the Midas Rex bone saw and indeed it did look like an electric toothbrush.
I was a believer when I left the hospital and I wasn’t the only one. There were several staff members there who said I wasn’t the only case they had seen that was unusual in this regard.
I know that consciousness survives the death of the physical body because I’ve had that experience personally. Beyond that, I cannot, in truth, know anything. In my opinion, what happened to me is evidence of an afterlife.
Having had this near death experience, I no longer fear death. I fear separation. I thought at first that I wouldn’t even fear separation, but there is no experience that makes the separation okay when you lose someone. But when my time comes, I will embrace death.
I find it extremely interesting that others from all over the planet, regardless of culture, religious bias, or political lean defy coincidence by reporting the same basic elements with their near death experiences.
Do Your Own Research – Form Your Own Conclusion
There are thousands and thousands of documented cases surrounding that of out of body, near death experiences, and actual death experience.
She gives both sides to the arguments of consciousness and what happens before and after death. Actual death experiences are examined as well as cases of real life examples of reincarnation.
The soul and spirt that embodies us within the physical reality we call life deserves to be studied. Science likes to have concrete and absolute proof of existence so within these cases it is often difficult to lay claims to truth.
But there is documented proof out there if we want to find it. The evidence is mounting more and more. We can choose to deny these facts and turn a blind eye, or lean into the possibilities and form our own conclusions.
It may not take an actual death experience for us to discover more evidence. There are ways for us to work to discover the power of out of body experiences through focus, mental work, meditation, and other practices. I know this borders on the lines of speculation, but there are people out there who absolutely know that we continue life after death due to their experiences.
I am one of those people. Perhaps at a later point in time I will tell my story here in my blog posts. For me, it wasn’t an actual death experience, but rather the practice of daily focus and effort to experience an out of body experience. Upon that successful completion, my life was also forever changed.
My reason for being became clear – and I had to begin sharing my life experiences in hopes that others may benefit.
For more insight and information on Pam Reynolds, feel free to watch:
What are your thoughts, questions, or even experiences around all this? I would love to have you engage in the conversation.
To me, these are some of the most fascinating questions that we should be exploring in life.
My search for truth will never cease, and I welcome you all along for the ride with me.
What happens after we die? Do we have a soul that continues on? What exactly is spirit? Is there an afterlife? These are just a few of life’s greatest questions that mankind has asked internally and externally for millennia. For those with inquisitive motives around these topics, evidence of life before and after death is surfacing. We just have to know where to look for it.
For those of us born and raised in the western world, there has been a reoccurring dismissal or downright denial of reincarnation. That is all beginning to change as we are being forced to peel back the layers of some profound, real, and life-changing stories.
If you find yourself as a western world believer of “Yolo,” (you only live once), bare with me and keep an open mind. What you are about to embark upon in this reading may shake and challenge you to your very core.
The Curious Beginnings of James Leininger
James Leininger appeared on the surface to be like all other two year old boys. However there was one very troubling issue his parents Bruce and Andrea couldn’t figure out. He would have terrible dreams at night often ending with screaming and recounting a plane crash.
“Airplane crash on fire! Little man can’t get out!” Little James would scream these words while amidst his night terrors. His parents first believed he was suffering from “typical nightmares.”
The nightmares persisted to a point where Bruce and Andrea became increasingly more concerned. They would ask him about the specifics of his dreams. “Who is the little man?,” his mother would ask him. “Me,” James would reply. His father got more involved in the questioning.
“Son, what happened to your plane?” James replied, “It crashed on fire.”
“Why did your plane airplane crash?”
“It got shot,” James would reply.
“Who shot your plane?” James then twisted his head up at his father as if he should know, “The Japanese,” James replied with some discontent in his voice.
How does a two year old respond with such conviction? How could it be that little James seemed to be describing life before and after death? Either it was one wild reoccurring dream or something else was amiss.
Specific World War II Memories Recalled
Future occasions of these night terrors continued and James would eventually tell his parents specific details that continued to baffle them.
He explained that the type of airplane he flew was known as a Corsair. At that time, these aircrafts were the elite fighter planes that the marines and navy pilots would fly. He also told them that the plane took off from a boat called the “Natoma.”
Little James seemed to be describing the fact thathis plane he flew took off from an aircraft carrier. Lastly, little James was adamant that his plane was shot in the front engine, where the propeller was.
Upon hearing this information, his father did some research and found a black and white picture of the Natoma Bay, a small United States aircraft carrier that saw battle in the Pacific during Work War II.
Jame’s father Bruce was absolutely stunned. Convinced his son was making this all up in some way, he pressed on determined to disprove the evidence his son kept placing in front of him.
After all, Bruce was a devout Christian, taught that we live only once. What was happening before his very eyes threatened every belief he was raised under and within his faith. His faith taught that there was no physical life after death. Could his son actually have lived a previous life?
Further research from Bruce concluded that the USS Natoma Bay had been commissoned by the Navy in October 1943 and entered naval service in 1944.
Specific Names Further Credit the Story
By now Jame’s parents were on a serious case of conducting reincarnation research to either disprove or prove their son’s reoccurring dreams.
Jame’s began to refer to himself as “James 3.” This puzzled his parents as to why he would call himself “James 3.” He responded to them with, “I’m the third James.”
Through conducting tireless research, Jame’s father was able to connect with some family members of a friend that James began describing in his dreams. The name Jack Larsen came up and James would tell his parents that Jack was his friend and that he flew planes too.
They believed that Jack was likely dead, but to their astonishment they found that he was actually still alive at the time of doing their research and living in Arkansas. This information was divulged to them while Bruce was attending a veterans Natoma Bay reunion in San Diego, CA in 2002.
Within this reunion Bruce discovered that there was also a “James M. Huston Jr.” This James was killed during an attack of the island of Chichi-Jima, about 150 miles from Iwo Jima. The only details that were known were that James Huston was the only airman killed in that battle.
This explained why their son James called himself “James 3.” If he had been James Huston reborn, he would now be the “third James.”
Only one discrepancy now remained. Little James had said he was flying a Corsair when he was shot down. The documents shown that the plane James Huston Jr. was flying when he was shot down was an FM-2 Wildcat. But there was soon to be more facts that supported this life after death story.
The Remaining Puzzle Pieces
For Christmas Jame’s parents bought him some G.I. Joe dolls which he named, “Billy, and “Leon.” He would play with them for hours and grew very attached to them. When he received a third doll, he named it “Walter.”
With such peculiar names, his parents asked him why he chose to name them those names. James replied, very quickly and precisely, “Because that’s who met me when I got to heaven.”
His father conducted further research and found that a Billie Peeler, Leon, Conner, and Walter Devlin all served on Natoma Bay. They were killed in 1944 and were already dead when James Hutson Jr. was shot down.
Through some census records Bruce found that James Huston Jr. had two sisters, Ruth and Anne. At the time of doing his research, Anne was still alive and eighty-four years old. Upon reaching out to her, she sent him some photos of James.
The first was a photo of the entire squadron with a plane behind it. The second showed James Huston Jr. standing alone in front of and airplane. The image clearly was that of a Corsair fighter plane.
Jame’s Huston’s military records show that before joining his squadron, he flew the Corsair and became quite good at it. When he joined his new squadron however they assigned him to fly the FM-2 Wildcat that he was eventually shot down in.
Form Your Own Conclusions
The evidence of life before and after death is there. We just don’t often hear about it. When we do, it often receives great criticism, at least in the modern western world.
There is plenty of documented research you can conduct on your own with this case and many others. I believe part of our journey on this planet is to do our own work to discover ourselves and our true nature.
Today James lives as a normal adult and has largely put his past life experience behind him. However it took him some time to move past the pain and trauma he was recalling.
Whatever energy his soul carried over to this next life of his was still highly effected from his last life. Perhaps it is the reason why most of us don’t remember our pre-existing lives. Sometimes they end traumatically. Or maybe we do remember at a young age until we grow older and begin to face the challenges of the world and adulthood.
Have you ever had reoccurring nightmares as a child? If so, it is quite possible you were re-expieriencing a past life…
In a way, I feel we do “only live once.” But just as this current body. I believe the soul lives on infinitely with the possibility to come back and learn more and grow through earthly experiences. The evidence of life before and after death is there for us to look at if we want to see it. It is life changing for some to discover this potential reality.
So even if you do think “YOLO,” you’d be correct…until the next incarnation with the same soul – in my humble opinion at least. Or perhaps we just keep at it until we become so experienced and “pure” of love and overall consciousness that we then do “join” back with our source or higher power.
Whatever your belief, I think you can at least attest, this is quite fascinating and exciting stuff!
The benefits of the stoic mind are relevant perhaps now more than ever. Even though the teachings and philosophical views go back to around the 3rd century BC, the learnings may be even more practical today. Our lives are full of social, political, career, personal and media driven distractions. It is often hard to center oneself on what is necessary to focus on let alone deal with the challenges that the modern life is placing in front of us.
Here is an old story that helps frame up the teaching of stoicism quite well:
An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is angry, jealous, greedy, resentful, lies and and has a big ego. The other is Good. It is full of joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.” The boy thought about it, and asked, “grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
Which wolf are you feeding?
Introduction to Stoicism
Let’s shed some light on the belief system that Stoicism operates within.
In the most simplistic terminology, Stoicism was designed to help people live their best lives possible.
Stoicism is a life philosophy that centers around positive emotions. The goal becomes reducing negative emotions and helping individuals to develop virtues of character.
Stoicism provides a framework for living a life well-lived. It teaches what is truly important in life. In addition, it also centers on providing tactics to bring more positive outcomes into our circle of influence.
Stoicism was created to be understandable, actionable, and practical. Practicing Stoicism doesn’t require learning an entirely new philosophical methodology or meditating for hours a day. Instead, it offers an immediate, useful and seamless way to find tranquility and improve one’s attitude, behaviors, and overall state of mind. It is a life practice that not only can improve our way of living, but also help us discover our purpose.
The Foundation of Stoicism
Stoicism was an attractive school of thought during the 3rd century BC because it provided compelling answers to anxiety, stress, fear, and troubling questions to life at the time. The Stoics offered an operating system that dealt with the trials of the human condition that are quite relevant today.
The teachings largely center around pulling into the front and center of one’s mind more positive behavior. Thus, that focus resulted in a more positive mindset. All of this focus was targeted to avoid the negative focus and negative outcomes of life.
A handful of thinkers helped to form the Stoic philosophy:
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Zeno of Citium
Our ancestors have taught us the benefits of the stoic mind. They have helped us pave our way to understanding life so that we can attain the most positive outcomes we desire.
The Four Habits of The Stoic Mind
Accept What is only True
We often can get caught up into gossip. It is a human condition that we must resist. The reason being is, more often than not, gossip drives negativity in our lives. When you hear gossip, ask yourself where it is coming from? Does the affirming party truly have proof of this gossip? Ask them if they have proof. If they do not, then kindly ask them not to tell you or do not reciprocate.
Work For the Common Good
Do right by others. Be a good humble individual. Give more compliments than complaints. By being an overall kind, empathetic, loving individual, you will attract more of those traits into your life through giving them off.
Match Our Needs and Wants with what is in OurControl
Life is neither good nor bad; it is the space for both good and bad.
Think of life as a hand of cards. You didn’t control the hand you were first dealt. However, you do control how you play that hand. Essentially, even with a more difficult draw of the cards, we can win. Conversely, with a great hand we can overestimate our good fortune and still lose. The situation we are dealt in life is mostly neutral. It is the actions we take after the hand is dealt that matters.
Embrace what Nature has in Store for Us
O world, I am in tune with every note of thy great harmony. For me nothing is early, nothing late if it be timely for thee. O Nature, all that thy seasons yield is fruit for me.
Let us work to control only our direct surroundings. Even those at times we can’t fully control. Bringing fear and anxitey into our lives over issues we aren’t generating isn’t healthy. What we do control is how we respond. We always have the power of “choice.” Place our focus there.
Putting into practice the benefits of the stoic mind can help change our lives for the better. It does require some action and effort around mindset.
Take one of the four mentioned habits of the stoic mind and put it into place immediately in your life. You’ll see instant benefit if you adhere to the practice daily.
Once you gain the benefits of others, work the other mindsets into your daily life as you are able. Pause and reflect on what is happening in your life. With the benefits of the stoic mind fully employed, you will find your life with:
better health & wellness
more focus and mental fortitude
more meaning and happiness
What benefits have you had from practicing more of a “Stoic Mindset?” However we are living now in these challenging times of change, we stand to benefit even more through practicing the Stoic teachings.
I’d love to hear from here from you! Feel free to post a comment or engage in the conversation.
I’ve always liked to believe I’m living life as my authentic self. However, for most of my life I have often thought about how others view me. It used to be something that I put a great deal of precedence behind. Having lived in the corporate eye for the majority of my adult life, I’ve always been wary of what others think of me. I’ve had to ensure that the corporate view aligns with the “real me” as much as possible. We often reserve our views from the public eye and hold back the “real self” in order to please others. However, living life as our authentic selves first, helps us align to our life purpose.
One of my methods for deciding one’s purpose in life is to use the following formula:
What the world needs
Heed your talents
Your passions in life
I call this the WHY model. Beginning with WHY is vital over the HOW or the WHAT. The “why” is what defines us. To start to think about your purpose or mission, begin with what you think others in this world need help with. This is “what the world needs.”
Next, we call into play what your talents are. “Heeding your talents” brings to the forefront where your strengths are. What do other people come to you for? What support do you find yourself giving in everyday life? These are likely your natural talents.
Lastly we look at your passions. While our passions don’t always lead us to our purpose, it is a good indicator of where to begin our “search for meaning.” This is how we begin to ensure we are living as our authentic self.
Living with Purpose
I have defined my purpose statement as:
“Empower and inspire others to find their purpose in life through helping them deprogram their outdated education and indoctrinations, so they can achieve greater levels of meaning, happiness, and overall success.”
This purpose statement is in my phone, printed in my home office, and put in the forefront of my mind to remind me of WHY I do what I do. It helps me make decisions, prioritize my work, and even align goals in my personal life.
Once we have efficiently aligned on our purpose, our daily mission becomes more clear. Thus, it helps more align how you can begin living as your authentic self.
Fulfilling your Mission Breeds Confidence
Once we have affirmed our reason for being, we are more aptly able to live in truth and honesty. What does this mean? I’ll give just a few examples in my own life:
Despite how others may view me in the corporate space, I have grown more comfortable in my skin with my views. As I am working to generate a platform and community, many of the corporate people I am working with are hearing of my endeavors. It can be a little uncomfortable at first as my personal and life views gain recognition from my peers.
However living as your authentic self has ways to re-affirm if you are on the right path. Many of the corporate people that have discovered my work continuously reaffirm my goals and aspirations with continual accolades and affirmations.
The final part of living as your authentic self has to do with seeing past the inner-critic. This is the part of us that is always questioning how others view us through their own eyes.
Once we have affirmed that the universe is on our side, we need not worry about that inner critic in our heads. As long as we are living with authenticity and integrity, we can say our mind and live to our guidelines.
I’m not sure about you, but this has been one of my biggest hurdles as of late. I know that I’ll never compromise myself morally, legally, or within current social issues. However, the views I have in my life are largely not discussed in the corporate arena. I don’t make it a point to bring these views up in my corporate position, but if someone asks my opinion, I’m not very hesitant to give my view. I’m always cautious to mention my views are my opinions and also my truths through my life experiences.
I know that part of who I am as an individual and living through my purpose, means I have to authentically give my perspectives. How can we live our purpose and mission if we hold back on enlightening conversations with others?
In the end, this is how you can take steps that lead you closer to living as your authentic self.
If you’re at all in the same camp with me here, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or engage in the conversation with any struggles or success stories you’ve had in your life.
Most of us in life are looking for a means through which we can classify ourselves as “successful.” However, the majority of people frame this up backwards. What exactly is success? How do we define it and attain it? In my life, I have lived the experiences that have taught me that when we become a person of value instead of success, we obtain more from life.
What does it mean to become a person of value? How does this lead us towards more meaning, happiness, fulfillment, and success? If these are questions that you asking yourself, then you are walking the path of self-discovery. You are beginning to see how the world and the energy within it works. It is a masterful design that once truly seen, yields amazing and life changing benefits for ourselves and those we interact with.
We Tend to Want More than we Need
In this modern world and time through which we live, we tend to be drawn into a over-abundant mindset. While we should be abundant in our thinking, we need to ensure that is is not in a materialistic manner. Part of the human experience is waking up to the fact that we are not our materialist selves. Discovering ourselves requires that we address this key aspect in life.
There is a distinct difference between thinking with Abundance and constant want and desire for materialistic gains. Society has trained us to believe we need all the latest gadgets, trinkets, and doodads that we MUST have to show that we are successful.
When we can successfully deprogram ourselves of the materialism belief system that we think defines us, we take one step closer towards self-actualization. We begin to ask ourselves if our things if life don’t define us, then what does?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is a great reference tool to assess where each of us sit in our own lives. In order to become a person of value instead of a person of success, we have to understand our human psyche.
If you are reading this blog post, chances are you have the first two rungs of the ladder met. We first have the innate response of ensuring we have food, water, a place to sleep, along with safety. Once we check off those aspects of life, we look for belonging and feelings of accomplishment. Most of us want to feel we are part of something greater. We want and crave recognition and acceptance.
Where we often trip ourselves up is in this middle of the pyramid. We listen to the ego and chase after the materialistic gains that we think define us. We are not these things, but we often believe they define our self-worth:
The money we make in life
Our title and career labels
The house or apartment that we live within
What type of car we drive
All the toys and latest gadgets of life
However none of these define us. This is where a fundamental shift in our mindset makes a great difference for us. Realizing that when we become a person of value in service for others; that is when we begin to obtain more real abundancein life.
Generating the Necessary Mindset Shift
To become a person of value instead of always chasing down success, we begin with how we better serve others.
As long as you are a person that has the base essentials of life met, you can begin to define your self-worth through what you bring to others in your life. Meaning, how do you better serve those you come into contact with in your life? Here are some ways to frame this up for everyday living:
How can you make even the smallest interactions better? I.e. smiling at people, holding doors for them, and random acts of kindness.
As you learn and grow, how are you sharing that learning and knowledge that may better serve others in their lives?
If monetary means allow, how can you provide for other people in need without depleting your own resources?
What are you really good at doing? We each have a super power that can be used for good in the world. Define yours and bring it to others every day.
This “value” that you begin to generate every day for others in your life begins to define you. It will become your success. You will begin to embody the abundance that the universe will draw back into your life. It is through this Law of Attraction that the universe begins to put back into your life what you are giving out.
Always remember that as you become a person of value, you are defining your currency. Through defining your currency as a person of value and giving that currency to others in life, you become successful. That is the the proper mindset we need to set in motion for the betterment of ourselves and those around us.
Implement this mindset shift in life and watch the powerful and positive transformation occur around you…
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently while traveling to a mastermind retreat. The podcast is hosted by Alex Sanfilippo and is centered around creating a brand. In one of his podcast episodes, the phrase, “There is no “I” in “dream” was brought up. I absolutely loved this concept. While this message seems simplistic enough, I thought I would try and elaborate a bit more on its truth.
We have to Lead before we Achieve
As I reflect back on my life, what becomes ever more clear is that “I get” when “I give.” Now, that said, the giving has to come from a place in the heart that is genuine and without reciprocation. What I mean by this is simply doing right by others out of pure compassion, understanding, empathy, and love.
The universal constant in my life has proven this to be true. When we come to the table with the right intention of truly giving and serving, our world of potentiality really opens up. We get back more than we often give – at least that has been the case in my life.
When I say we “have to lead,” I’m not talking specifically about needing to be in positions of leadership. Rather, what I am saying is we have to think of others before we think of ourselves. As long as we have what we truly need in life, we need not seek over-abundance. When we lead our lives in this manner, we receive MORE in return.
It also need not be about only giving in forms of charity. Instead, it is more about leading with your thoughts more for service and how you help raise up and support the people around you. This can be done in any of the below following ways:
Offer support and be a good sounding board when needed
Provide random acts of kindness
Give people more compliments over criticisms
Begin your goals with how it improves the lives of others over yourself
Live the “Golden Rule” – doing unto others as you want for yourself
Begin with “Why” over “What” or “How”
When we are seeking how to achieve our dreams and goals, we must begin with the end in mind. Why are we aiming to achieve what we want? This is the underlining starting point.
When our objectives are completely about us and how we attain more without regard to the impact on others, goals are harder to achieve. It’s not impossible to obtain goals that are “self-centered.” However we are far more likely to see long term benefit when the main goals are focused on what we give to each other by attaining our goals.
Take health goals for example. Most people would likely see that attaining good physical and mental health is solely the benefit of the individual. In actuality when we achieve overall good health and wellness we are then able to better serve our purpose to the world. Without good mental and physical health we will never be our best selves, limiting our potentials.
Too often we begin with “what” we want to do or “how” we are going to do it. Beginning with “the why” is crucial for the purpose. “WHY” do we want what we want? The ego will often spill over into our thoughts with its own desires and needs. It tries to help us with this instinctive process as its only trying to improve our living situation. What the ego can’t see however is that we will benefit far more through the proper intention.
Nearly all dreams and goals can be thought of this way. It does require some mental reconditioning, but we can rewire our thinking so that we’re always in the right frame of mind when it comes to our goals.
Life need not be all about You
When it comes to understanding the concept of “there is no “I” in “Dream,” – it simply comes down to realizing what we do can’t always be about us.
I’ll never suggest that as caring individuals we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. We do need to keep our guard up enough to not fall victim to ill intent. However, with enough of the right intention, it is my belief that the Law of Attraction will guide us.
When we put out the right intentions we are going to receive those same intentions back into our lives. Once we climb Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to a high enough point of perspective, we have a choice to make.
Once we have the basic physiological, safety, and connection – we then decide if we are going to make life more about ourselves or the betterment of society.
There is nothing wrong with improving oneself. But that should be our main focus. The only competition we truly need is internally against ourselves rather than outdoing our peers and neighbors.
It is at this point that complete self-actualization occurs and we begin to think about leaving our legacy. Our dreams can become more about improving ourselves along with those around us. We come to understand that there is no “I” in “Dream.”
How do you feel about this perspective? Please feel free to leave a comment or speak to any life experiences that you would like to share. I’m always looking to engage in more thought provoking conversations…
What is that voice inside our heads? Is it our consciousness? How about our thoughts? Maybe it is responsible to play the devils advocate game with us? The human psyche can be a very peculiar thing. As humans have gained the ability to think and act independently over time, we have developed a self-identifying mechanism known as the ego. The ego has benefits, but also can be very crippling. Breaking free of Ego – the voice inside your head, can be a tall order. However, once able to see it for what it is, our world of limitations turn into super highways of open potential and possibility.
What is the Ego?
Our egos help define our character. It generates our personality. Without some ego, we would all be rather robotic in nature.
Most people when they hear the word ego envision the pompous, outspoken, overly-confident, rich person that can’t help throwing around their opinion. While this is part of the definition, it goes well beyond that often misunderstood interpretation.
The ego also impacts the quiet, bashful, recluse kind of individuals as well. It comprises our fears, insecurities, limiting beliefs, and self-doubts.
Everyone is impacted differently through their ego. As we grow up, we begin to believe certain stories about ourselves. These stories can come from our parents, friends, social culture, and surrounding environments. The ego begins to develop a sense “of self” through our life experiences. Before too long and often at a young age, we begin to form our personalities alongside the development of our egos.
For many, we begin to unknowingly identify with our ego. A type of entrapment often happens and we wake up at some point in our lives believing whatever it is that the voice inside our head tells us.
How the Ego uses Guilt to Hold us Back
“A Course in Miracles” has become one of my greatest learning assets on what ego is and how breaking free of ego is so important in our lives. The Course teaches about our separation and splintering off from our higher power. Like our soul and spirt connects to this higher power, so does the ego connect with the physical world in which we live. ACIM, as it is known, teaches about our separation from our higher power and the guilt that the ego identifies with it.
To think and align with guilt is to fear punishment. The ego believes in and aligns with division since we splintered off from our Source. What we accept into our own minds begins to generate our realities. When thinking in a guilty manner, it automatically generates a feeling of fear. As many have come to understand – fear is one of the most crippling of all emotions we experience in life.
Choosing to live our lives through our empowered spirit and connection to our higher selves is how we overcome this feeling of guilt. When we choose to see in alignment with the ego, we are identifying with the physical realm and aligning with separation. In reality, we are always connected to our Source. Through using our spirit to allow our higher selves to live with us while in the physical world, we are choosing not to see ourselves as separate.
Many of us have become disillusioned in the belief that we are separate from our Source and that fuels the ego. Thus unconsciously, our guilt rises and begins to side more with the physical reality we see in front of us, rather than the empowering life-force we are still connected with.
While our ego is attached to this physical life we are living, we must discover that we are not our hierarchy, wealth, physical looks, among many other things.
Eckhart Tolle and his incredibly enlightening book “The Power of Now,” dictates the point of identification quite well. He explains the following:
Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgements, and definitions that blocks all true relationship.
It is through this “screen of thought” he describes that creates the “illusion” of separateness. We begin to believe that there is a “You” and a totally separate “other being.” Through this illusion we then can no longer see that we are really “one with all that is.”
Freeing Yourself from the Ego & Mind
We all hear the voice inside our head – that doesn’t make us crazy. That voice or ego we have is always commenting on what comes up in our minds. It makes judgements, comparisons, complaints, likes, and dislikes. This is not something that will likely change. However, we can gain some level of “impartialness” to that thought. Here are some ways that we can begin breaking free of ego and mindless chatter:
Pay attention to repetitive patterns of thought
Do not judge or condemn the thoughts you have
Listen to the thought impartially
Begin to “watch” and “listen” to the voice – become the observer of it
Do not think along with it – simply observe it without judgment
Playing the “watcher” of your ego and mind helps bring you more towards consciousness and becoming ever more present. This is how we begin to disengage from the mindless chatter. Therefore the involuntary mind chatter begins to lessen.
As Eckhart Tolle teaches, “Instead of watching the thinker, you can also create a gap in the mind stream by directing the focus of your attention into “The Now.” Each time we create a gap in the mindless wonderment of our thought stream, our consciousness grows ever more aware and powerful.
If the ego were to have its way, it would forever keep us living in the past and future. Stuck in our blunders and mistakes and forever fearful of how those errors will craft our misfortune of our futures.
Our liberation away from the mindless chatter and fear generation of the ego, is generated as we focus evermore intently into present moment awareness. “Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.”
We can begin to see that we are no longer “the emotions” of our lives, rather we are the watcher or observing presence.
It takes some practice, but with enough effort we can learn to see ourselves as never separate from our higher Source. We can “watch” our egoic mind and bring ourselves ever more into present moment awareness and happiness.
What is the difference between education and learning? Education is the process of being told what one needs to learn through the perspectives of society. Learning can be self-directed and often driven through the ambitions of the individual. It is often far more beneficial to the growth of the individual that they are empowered to seek learning and knowledge into aspects of life that most interest them. That was certainly the case in my life. I didn’t enjoy being “educated” in school. I much prefer to seek out information in life that intrigues me. There are certain aspects of life we need base education in, but I would much rather seek the learning that inspires and motivates me. With that in mind, here are the five books that impacted my self development the most in my life.
The Law of Attraction – How Life Works
In 2006 I came across the now renowned and infamous book, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. In this book the author speaks to her discovery of how the non-physical aspect of life works in conjunction to our thoughts.
Deep within I could feel this truth. At the time I was 26 years old and had begun successfully putting my life in order.
It was through the realization that our thoughts are connected energetically through our physical reality that hit home to me. The mind is truly more powerful than given credit for. It isn’t just responsible for intellectual intelligence and the functions of our body, it also acts as like a software program for the hardware of our lives. What we think and believe, eventually manifests itself into existence over time. Sometimes faster and othertimes times longer, but without a doubt we are programming our realities through each thought.
The Law of Attraction is real in my life and I’ve witnessed its authenticity so many times. As I often say, your truth will come through your own experiences.
Belief of a Higher Power – Or Not?
Shortly after discovering “The Secret” I began wondering more about the significance of a higher power. Does God exist? If so, what exactly is God’s purpose?
Did God just create us and then take a back seat in our lives, or is God more active in our everyday lives?
These are questions that we likely may not be able to 100% answer, but the point in asking them in my opinion is necessary.
In the book “Is Belief in God, Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?” – the lead singer Gregg Graffin, of Bad Religion, and his friend Preston Jones debate the terms of “God” and other religious aspects of life, their relevancy, and other big questions that many people ask.
This was one of the books that impacted my self development the most because it put into focus front and center, that our belief system doesn’t necessary matter. It opened my perspective to “Naturalism” and wanting to know more about “Universal Law.”
Non-Believer to Believer
Reading “Is Belief in God Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?” led me to “Proof of Heaven” from Eben Alexander.
The author is a neurosurgeon that was an atheist until he had a near death experience during a coma and bout with Meningitis.
While in his coma, he remembered specific awe-inspiring details of being reunited with his sister in the afterlife.
Eben Alexander awoke from his medically induced coma with a brand new “truth.” He had experienced the very real aspect of his spirt or consciousness leaving his body for a period of time. This differed in specific ways from a dream.
Because of this book, I began wanting to understand more about the non-physical aspects of life. What is the spirit? What is consciousness? Do either of these exist once the physical body ceases to exist? These are questions that demand more exploration.
Out of Body Experiences – Not a Myth
What Eben Alexander was experiencing during his coma was and OBE or “out of body experience.” People that have “near death” experiences often experience OBE’s. However, they are still very much alive, just not always in the physical sense. It is beginning to become more clear, that when the body dies, life continues. Just not in the way we are accustomed to.
In “Journeys Out of the Body,” Robert Monroe tells the story of his experiences of being able to “view” life while not “in” his body. Bare with me here…
This is not a new concept. During the Cold War, the CIA recruited “Mind Readers” to spy on the Soviets. The CIA declassified 12 million pages of records. The reveal from the CIA speaks to previously unknown details about a program, which eventually became known as Project Star Gate. The program was shut down in 1995. But the study revealed how psychics known as “remote viewers” took part in a variety of operations, from locating terrorists to helping free hostages.
This book led me to study how we get our minds and bodies into a meditative state that allows the consciousness to “experience” life in real time outside of the body. Through these practices, I have been able to discover the very real truth that our life extends beyond the physical realm we see each day.
Being Healthy in the Here and Now
Although there is much more to life than just the physical, we still need to tend to “our capsules” we refer to as bodies. Of all the books that impacted my self development, this one made the most impact in my health.
In “Super Human,” David Asprey brings attention to how important healthy functioning mitochondria are in our bodies. All the physical aspects of our bodies rely on healthy cells.
For all the attention we place on the outside image of our body, we neglect the internal workings. Much of the degeneration that occurs as we age is due to the cellular breakdown we endure. However, there are many natural supplements that aid our different cells in slowing the break down that occurs as our bodies get older.
When we learn how to supplement and eat a more balanced diet, we can begin to “age backwards” or slow the aging process. David has a life goal of living to be 160! In this book, he speaks to the many different tactics that can be put into place in practical ways.
With proper health, supplements, and modern science, the only thing that keeps us from living vibrantly past 100 is typically our belief and mindset.
Let Your Intuition Guide You
We each are walking our own path and journey in life. The books that impacted my self development might not be the ones that you need the most to impact yours. The key in our individual journey’s are to pause and reflect with our intuition. Where does your intrigue lead you? What topics in life inspire you to learn more about?
So many people are simply “moving through” life. They often don’t pause to discover needed personal awakenings. When you do pause and generate the questions you seek, pay attention to what life puts in front of you. That is how it has worked for me. One discovery leads to the next, and then the next, and before you know it you’re well on your way to finding your specific answers.
What has been your path? What self-awakenings and discoveries have you had? Which of these left the biggest lasting impacts in your life?
I’d love to hear from you and your experiences in personal awakenings and self discoveries. All of us walk different paths, but all our paths are unique and beautiful in their own ways.
Let your intuition continue to be your life guide…if you pay attention, you will see it is taking you to the discoveries you need for your own personal awakenings.