Finding Your Way - Through Your Why

Tag: personalgrowth

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Misbeliefs on Meditation and Mindfulness

If you are like most people, you have many misbeliefs on meditation and mindfulness. However, you need not be most people. You can find the time, practice meditation and mindfulness daily, and reap the many benefits that it gives us. All you need to understand is what meditation and mindfulness really is. Once this framework is understood, you can be on your way to meditating multiple times each day. This will help calm the mind, and open your intuitive pathways to more insight and guidance.

Misbelief #1 – Meditation takes too long

photo of man touching his head in frustration
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Too many people picture the practice of meditation taking up hours of their day. This is one of many very big misbeliefs on meditation. People often don’t even begin to practice because they don’t think they have the time.

The fact of the matter is that mediation can be as short as 30 seconds of quiet time. It need not take up hours of time.

Chances are you have many opportunities throughout a given day to meditate. Do any of these moments in time sound familiar?:

  • riding on public transportation
  • going for a walk or run
  • sitting down to eat
  • driving to or home from work
  • or any other mundane daily task

These as well as many other moments of time throughout our days are all opportunities to meditate. We have more time than we often realize to create space, pause, and practice mindfulness.

If nothing else, dispelling the belief that meditation must be “so many minutes or hours” of time is crucial. Once we get past this first hurdle we can move onto another misbelief – to meditate we must clear our minds.

Misbelief #2 – To Meditate properly, I cannot allow any thoughts into my Mind

woman showing stop gesture with hand in front of her head
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There are a lot of people that have misbeliefs on meditation and mindfulness because they believe they aren’t doing it right if thoughts enter their minds. This is so damaging because most people can’t avoid this when they first begin. They instantly want to give up since they think they are doing the practice incorrectly. The fact is, even very seasoned and experienced practitioners of meditation watch thoughts creep into their minds while meditating.

The trick too kicking this misbelief to the curb is to allow thought to enter the mind. Observe it and then quickly and quietly dismiss it.

You will find it often and frequent at first to see thoughts coming and going into your frame of reference. This is completely normal. Dismiss the thought and tell yourself you are here in this time to observe the practice of meditation. Do not beat yourself up or become discouraged if thoughts continue to enter your headspace. Simply acknowledge them and let them go. Bring yourself back into the present moment and continue to put out the intention of practicing meditation.

The more you make the effort for a few minutes each day and continue to allow the passing thought, the more you’ll find yourself with periods of calm mind and thoughts.

Misbelief #3 – Meditation must be done in a certain posture

healthy woman meditating in garden
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The above image is a typical representation of what most visualize meditation to look like.

The fact is that meditation can be done sitting, laying, standing, walking, running, and in many other points of posture. This is one of the biggest misbeliefs on meditation. For myself, the typical “sitting lotus” position is not comfortable. I prefer sitting in a chair, with my back relatively straight and my feet on the floor, or when lying down.

You need to find a position that you’re comfortable in. Once you find what works best for you, then work to get your body and breath work in proper synchrony.

The position of the hands can become relevant for certain different types of mediation, but the placement is not overall related to the practice of meditation. The key is get your body relaxed and comfortable so that your mind doesn’t naturally wonder due to your body being uncomfortable.

Explore and find what positions work best for you. There really is no one best position that works better than others.

Misbelief #4 – I’m going to see immediate benefits

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While you will feel more calm and collected immediately upon completing any amount of time of meditation, the vast improvements in your life come later.

Like in all things, the real benefits take some time. We’ve all heard the analogy of working out in the gym – muscles don’t grow after just one workout. We need to apply ourselves routinely in order to notice changes. The same can be applied here.

Over time the many benefits become noticed. They are, but are not limited to, the following:

  • lowered blood pressure
  • lowered anxiety
  • increased focus and awareness
  • increased levels of intuition and “gut instinct”
  • ability to enter “flow state” and maximize idea generation

All it really takes is a small amount of time each day or even small increments multiple times a day. I find myself making a game of it to see how many times in one day I can bring myself fully into the present moment. This is one simply way of practicing meditation – the more presence you attain in one day, the more you are practicing meditation and mindfulness.

Misbelief #5 – Meditation is hard

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Another one of the big misbeliefs on meditation and mindfulness is that it is too hard.

This is simply not true. The fact is that meditation is actually quite easy. All you need to do is rewire your mind to understand that anytime you bring yourself into the present moment – you’re practicing meditation. You become more mindful when you are not dwelling in the past or future. There are many great benefits to becoming more present in life.

When you frame it up this way, you can really make some great progress in the meditation and mindfulness space. Think of all the times through the day you get stuck in forward thinking aspects of life or issues from the past. Just make more of a commitment to bring your thought and focus into “the now” or present moment.

There may be no better way to do this than observing nature. I find nature as the most calming and ever present aspect of life. Perhaps this is because nature itself isn’t stuck analyzing itself. It just simply – “is.” There is no past or future in nature. The time is always “now.”

So even if you’re stuck in traffic, in a boring meeting, or worried about a future project; just take a peak outside or get outdoors and notice the present beauty in whatever is happening. You’ll likely find you have far more ability to meditate and practice mindfulness than you once realized.

Here are some easy steps to get good at using nature to become more present.

What misbeliefs on meditation do you have?

photography of a woman in black bikini meditating
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I’m sure those reading this have heard of the many significant benefits in meditation. However, they often talk themselves out of getting serious about the habit.

Part of my purpose in life is to remove limiting life beliefs for people that don’t see themselves in the most empowering light.

Are there any other aspects of life that deter you from the ability to make a great daily mediation habit? I’d like to hear them so that we can together work to dispel any misbeliefs on mediation and mindfulness that keep us from attaining greater levels of happiness, wellness, and meaning. As well as sharing any best practices that help aid the cause towards more meditation and mindfulness.

Please feel free to share a comment or perspective. I’d love to hear your thoughts…

lest we forget tombstone

Never Forget We are All Connected

Never Forget…

No se olvide (Spanish)

jamais oublié (French)

Niemals vergessen (German)

Не забывайте (Russian)

דו זאלסט נישט פאַרגעסן (Yiddish)

别忘了 [bié wàngle] (Chinese)

忘れないで (Japanese)

잊지 마라. [ij-ji mala.] (Korean)

لا تنسى [la tansaa] (Arabic)

मत भूलो (Hindi)

Unutma (Turkish)

Those words live in infamy across the globe. Some of the phrases above translate to “Don’t Forget.” Nevertheless, these words are solidified within the hearts, souls, and minds of billions of humans across the globe for different reasons.

I remember where I was that day when I watched the towers burn and crumble…many of us do.

But now 20 years later – what do the words “Never Forget” mean through my own interpretation, growth, learning, and internal development?

Never Forgetting the Lives Sacrificed

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While many see war as a necessary means to an end – I no longer do. That said, I will never forget the millions of lives sacrificed around the globe for what these men and women believe to be the greater good, on all sides, not just from the standpoint of an “American.”

These brave souls stand, fight, and often die in the line of duty for their nations. As human consciousness continues to evolve, I can see a day in the not so distant future through which we do not solve conflict through acts of war and further violence.

War is an outdated belief system that can be un-programmed in the minds of our leaders. We need not resolve disagreements through acts of violence and murder. There are other, more spiritual and soulful answers against those actions that are more egoic and worldly in nature.

All of that said – I will never forget the tens if not hundreds of millions of souls across the globe that have given their physical lives for what they believed in. While I don’t find it necessary any longer, I acknowledge the “up to now” aspect of the human consciousness. I respect and appreciate all lives around the globe that have served their countries and died for their respective causes.

My hope, belief, and meditation is that all soldiers around the globe lay down their arms before their leaders and commit that they will fight no more.

For we need not sacrifice another human soul through the act of war if we choose not too listen to those calling upon us for more war. There are better ways – better solutions to resolving conflict and disagreement.

Never Forgetting to Bring More Love to the World

i hate nothing about you with red heart light
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Love is the antithesis to hate as well as the overarching answer to solving it. Without sounding too “hippieish” – all we need is love.

This is a fact. As human kind moves up the spiritual levels of consciousness, love is where we begin to show more care, appreciation, and connectedness with the world. Above the levels of love are joy, peace, and enlightenment:

Never forget we are evolving consciously together
Human Levels of consciousness by Dr. David Hawkins

I will never forget that we are all human first. No matter our difference of opinion, political alignments, spiritual belief system; we are in this human playground experience together.

In this hyper-polarized world in which we live, I continue to work to observe the pendulum swing of the principle of rhythm.

As the power controllers of the world aim to stay within power, I believe it is often intended to generate more hate, division, opposition, and in-fighting. It is my opinion that this is by design to hold humanity back or slow our progress of collective consciousness evolution.

I will not forget that humankind is wising up to these Hegelian dialectic tactics:

Never Forget we are purposefully positioned against each other politically
Hegelian Dialectic Example in Politics

Thus, I will not forget to see you as a “human being first” over all other labels that we have given ourselves or have received from society.

Never Forgetting that United We Stand – Divided We Fall

Never forget united we stand divided we fall

Above all else…

I have learned in the last 20 years that we are connected on this planet not only through a physical nature, but spiritually as well.

We truly are all connected. There is no force on this planet that can stop us if we collectively bond together. Yes, there is work to be done. All of humanity is slowly waking up to the fact that there are manipulators abound that are trying desperately to hold us back.

Every tactic in the book of psychological warfare is being cast upon as globally. I believe the archaic operating system of power and control is crumbling around us. Thus it is why we are experiencing such extremes.

Never forget that we are many, they are few. Their intentions are to hold us back, retard our spiritual, collective conscious evolution.

Never forget that it is humanity’s destiny to push forward and reach it’s full potential.

Perhaps the pivotal point that took our breath away and caused our collective hearts to skip a beat twenty years ago to the day on September 11th, 2001 was the beginning of the outdated oligarchy beginning to crumble apart.

I will never forget those lives lost then, after, and continued.

For it is through them, that my then closed eyes – are now wide open…

focused architect drawing on paper in studio

Personal Growth – Deciding on a Coach, Mentor, or Consultant

The title of “Coach” seems to be a buzz worthy descriptor in the modern era. But what exactly does a coach do and do you need one? Is a “Mentor” just someone that you look up to with more experience that can help you? Perhaps you just want a “Consultant” to give you the best advice possible on your business or personal life. Differentiating between the three terms can be helpful towards your personal and professional personal growth. They all do overlap some in defination, but understanding the key points can help you decide which is best for you.

Defining a “Coach” for Personal Growth

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The term that gets thrown around most in the personal growth space is “coach.” But how exactly does this term relate to your personal or professional life?

A coach is definitely someone that is playing on “your side” in life. They are close to you and know what you are working through. Coaches have a level of expertise and tend to know more than you on the topics you are seeking to understand. A coach is someone that is going to play the game of life with you, not above you or below you.

Coaches “sponsor” you – they help bring you along in life. They work with you on the specific areas of personal growth you feel you most need. A good coach isn’t going to alway tell you how to achieve what you want. Rather, they guide you along your authentic path towards your goals. Often, they have walked similar paths and can provide necessary perspectives.

Ten plus years ago, people that needed coaches were typically behind in their business or personal aspects of life. This has changed in the recent past. People that seek out the expertise of coaches today are some of the most successful and ambitious people. They aim to achieve the highest level of impact, purpose, and meaning in life.

Many of the most successful people today ALL have “life coaches.” This encompasses Executives, Entrepreneurs, Writers, Influencers, and many more walks of life.

How Mentors Impact your Life

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“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”

Bob Proctor

A mentor is an individual that you will aim to share 100% of your life with. This includes the good, bad, and ugly. They are going to support you regardless. Mentors may not necessarily know more than you around what you are bringing to them.

Often times, mentors are people that are older than you and have more “life experience.” They differ from a coach in this regard because a good coach doesn’t have to have a particular age. However a good coach needs to have a deep understanding of the topic you wish to grow within.

Mentors need not give advice simply on professional careers. Like coaches, they can provide insight and guidance on personal lives too.

You go to mentors with all sorts of aspects of your life. Perhaps before committing too much in a relationship. Or possibly before investing into a certain business. They don’t tell you what to do – but through their experience they help you figure it out.

We need mentors in our lives that we can bring ideas, problems, and needed points of perspective from all aspects of life. They may not always have the perfect answers, but their level of experience often outweighs yours due to the time they’ve experienced life over you.

Does this mean that ALL mentors need to be older than you? Not necessarily – but this tends to be the norm to the definition.

How Consultants fit into Personal Growth

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Coaches and mentors tend to be more personal when it comes to their services and advice. This is one of the delineating factors between those two titles and that of a consultant.

Consultants tend to be “less personal.” You generally aren’t going to hire a consultant to give you personal advice regarding your love life. The relationship with a consultant is more business to business and more “transactional” in nature.

Consultants often have a level of expertise that pertains to certain aspects of business. They are hired to provide you a level of view that perhaps you aren’t seeing. Often they possess a knowledge advantage that can assist you.

Maybe you want more understanding of how to maximize labor in your business? Perhaps better marketing? These are avenues most left for professional business consultants.

You would likely want a consultant when it comes to higher levels of your business over your personal life.

Summary

handwritten texture writing display with the word "summary" of personal growth
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The modern world and the smart people within it are always looking for the edge when it comes to achieving their purpose.

As we seek to live more as our authentic selves we should aspire to seek the knowledge others can provide us. It comes down to understanding what you most need and specifically what aspect of life or business you are aiming to improve within.

I define myself as a “Possibility Mindset Coach.” There are many, many different types of coaches out there. The term “life coach” has the most uniform understanding for coaches that aim to help people in different aspects of their lives.

But remember that our lives have many different bridges we are building towards our success. Be sure to identify what specific area you most want growth and coaching in. Ensure that your goals align with those of your coach, mentor, or consultant.

What areas of life do you find yourself needing the most advice, support, or perspective within?

I’d love to hear from you…

achievement confident free freedom

Want More Meaning in your Life? Follow these five steps

The world is going through a human consciousness shift. We are beginning to realize the old way of earning a living is melting away to a higher and more purposeful one. Making an living used to only be about how to best take care of you and your family. In the new world consciousness that will matter too, but also at a “higher collective” level. Living with more meaning is about making a difference in life on multiple levels. Do you want to live as your best and highest most purposeful self? Read on for more understanding and institution of these powerful mindset shifts.

The Different Layers of Meaning in Life

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When we think about making more meaning in life we generally start with us. That’s a good and natural place to begin. But what comes after when we are provided for at a sufficient level? That’s the million dollar question that more and more people these days are seeking the answer to. Let’s sum up the different layers of impact in life:

  • Self (personal)
  • Personal tribe (those closest to you)
  • Outer tribe (those you don’t know on collective level)
  • Global (Earth level)
  • Universal (All consciousness)

It makes sense that we begin with us. We must first have ourselves in order before we seek to make any higher level impact. This is a key attribute through the entire plan of making more meaning in life and those around us. Our health, safety, and financial needs must first be met before we can satisfy the needs of anyone around us.

Once that base need is met, we can look to those closest in our lives such as our families. This is our personal tribe. Our families, friends, and co-workers that we interact with on daily / weekly / monthly levels.

Beyond our closest family and friends comes our outer tribe. These are people that hear of us and find out about our work and purpose. As we look for more meaning in life, we begin to branch out and find ways to make moments of impact in lives of strangers and people we don’t know as well.

After generating more meaning in the lives of others we can begin to care more about the global level. This does not only pertain to the environment, but also all the human, animal, plant, and other consciousnesses on the planet.

Lastly, we can begin to see consciousness at an even higher level that permeates through the entire universe. Making more meaning at this level transcends time and space into all things material and non-material.

Step 1 – Start with your Purpose

colorful cutouts of the word purpose
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The first question we all must ask ourselves is – “What do we stand for?How do we discover our purpose?

When it comes to what you do for work, is that work aligned with a higher calling? Can you feel that you are able to make a difference on a level that is greater than yourself?

Begin to ask yourself – what is your vision of this “new earth consciousness?” Define what that vision is and ensure that no matter what walk of life you are earning income in, that you vision aligns with the work you do.

It is ok if your actual job doesn’t 100% align with your purpose or mission. But let me stress that it cannot be 100% out of alignment. For example, if you are passionate about helping others as I am, you can find ways to make impact in your current job. As long as that job involves working with others.

However, it would not make sense to work for an organization that is completely out of alignment from what you want to be known and recognized for. If this is the case, then it would behoove you to find a new place of employment or begin your own venture that aligns with more meaning and purpose in your life.

Step 2 – Recalibrate on how you View your Life

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After we have become crystal clear on what our purpose and mission in life is, then we can move onto recalibrating and watching the life film that is our own movie.

This step involves getting very clear on the details involving our life. For example, what do we say “yes” and “no” to? Who do we allow into our lives and what do we allow to command our time and attention?

Our very most important resource in life is time. Where we spend it and allow our attention to go becomes of the utmost importance at this step. When we are aiming to expand to our highest self, we must aim to “flow” with the universe and aspire to surrender to what comes into our life for good. Once our intentions are made clear around our purpose, the universe will bring those opportunities before our very eyes. We just have to be aware and say “yes” to those opportunities while saying “no” to what won’t serve us or our journey for more meaning.

By “recalibrating” we begin to “allow” more good to come to us. We shift out of the “controlling” mindset so many of us have been accustomed to. In this new mindset, we can begin to see the “micro-moments” of life as we make decisions to allow vs. control. We need not hit rock bottom as it is often believed in order to allow our lives to flow in unison with more meaning and purpose. The old belief of needing to hit your “low point” in life in order to see life differently isn’t necessary. We need only begin to catch ourselves in old habits of micromanaging and controlling others around us instead of allowing life to flow into and around us.

So if you find yourself wanting to have that “controlling” conversation with your family or coworkers, just notice the moment and settle back some. Get back into the “expansion” mindset over the “contraction” version that you may be used to.

Step 3 – Embody your Highest Self

photography of person on green mountain high above cloud cover
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We don’t always get what we dream of, but we do get what we settle for. This third step is all about shifting your awareness to bring more abundance into your life.

People are beginning to realize what many for generations past didn’t – that time is not linear. We see ourselves living one day at a time, week at a time, month at a time, and years at a time. Yet, the information of our “highest self” and best self is available to us now.

We need not wish to know how we are living 5, 10, 0r 20 years from now – we can call for that insight into our lives now. It doesn’t take some long drawn out super focused meditation, but rather a simple genuine asking and expectation that our higher self embodies into our lives now.

After committing too and living with more meaning and purpose now, we can guarantee that our future self will be all the better for it.

We have the ability to “bend” time and space in order to access our higher self to help us live in “the now” or every present moment. All it requires is for us to geniuinly and compassionately receive this information.

What does this “higher version” of myself say? Who does this higher version of myself associate with and spend time around? What does this higher version of myself say “yes” and “no” too?

This ability embody your higher self is going to help you stay on track towards more meaning, a higher calling, and more purposeful intent in you life.

Step 4 – Redefine your “Minimum Standard” of Living

grayscale photo of the back a U.S. $1 bill
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Ever wonder why the “all seeing eye” is on the back of the U.S. $1 bill? While I’m not completely sure, maybe it has something to do with the worlds currency being tied back to the almighty dollar in some way. Perhaps it is on the back of the 1 dollar bill as this is the first of the paper currencies printed in the U.S. It is the minimum paper standard currency. You can have very few $1’s or very many. Most would like many of these!

Once we have tapped into our higher self and are living in alignment with more meaning, we can begin to work on our self-worth and net worth.

For so long in the old paradigm of the “old world consciousness,” it was – I provide a service and I get paid for that service. My “pay” is only identifiable with what my services provide. This old outdated thinking is beginning to shift.

Now, we can begin to shift our awareness towards the value we bring others dictating our net worth. As we aim to bring more service and value in the lives of others, we will continue to be rewarded for it.

As long as our hearts are in the right place that is. We cannot come from a place of greed. Doing so will not yield good results.

Tell yourself that you are fun of abundance. Make it a daily mantra. Write it down where you can see it. Repeat the phrase daily:

“I am abundant and receive more abundance daily.” You will find that as you serve the greater good with more meaning, you will be rewarded at your standard expectations.

If your minimum standard is “always just enough to get by,” that is what you are going to continue to receive. To serve the world with more meaning, you need more abundant resources.

Continually redefine your minimum standard of living.

Step 5 – Enact Leadership for More Meaning

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This last and final step is all about leading at authentic and genuine levels that encompassess more meaning and purpose in your life. It will be required of you since you only associate and operate at that frequency. You now know your truth and nothing can come between you and it. The world consciousness will vibrate and be in alignment with you.

You become your own currency. The vibrational frequency that you operate within brings you more abundance. Everything is now in alignment with more meaning and you purpose.

The world is full of noise and chaos right now. This is because the old paradigm is breaking down. How the world used to work and operate will end. A new operating system is being generated. This is what is causing the chaos. This chaos is actually a good thing. It is necessary for us to begin seeing the “old system” is no more.

What the world needs is more leaders that are aligned well with more meaning and a new “world consciousness.” The days of achieving more and more money to satisfy ones’s happiness are ending. We are waking up and realizing there is more to life.

The beauty in all this is we just need to continue leading at each appropriate level:

  • Self (personal)
  • Personal tribe (those closest to you)
  • Outer tribe (those you don’t know on collective level)
  • Global (Earth level)
  • Universal (All consciousness)

Don’t jump to another level before you take care of each sequentially. This process doesn’t allow for “skipping” layers. Check yourself in relationship to where you are in each of the above layers. Progress accordingly after ensuring you handle each layer. Lead well within alignment to your purpose at each level.

This is how you find more meaning at all levels of impact in your life and continue to live with more abundance.

bust of ancient philosopher on grey background

The Benefits of the Stoic Mind

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

old domed ceiling with sunlight shining through to show the enlightenment benefits of the stoic mind
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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

ancient greek temple to contextualize the benefits of the stoic mind
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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:

  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Zeno of Citium
  • Epictetus

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

notebook checklist to put into practice the benefits of the stoic mind
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  • 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 Our Control

Life is neither good nor bad; it is the space for both good and bad.

Seneca

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.

Marcus Aurelius

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.

Taking Action

person holding world globe  and taking the benefits of the stoic mind into practice
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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:

  • less anxiety
  • lower stress
  • 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.

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Living as your Authentic Self

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.

What do You Stand for?

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Deciding what you stand for should align with your purpose and mission. Have you thought about your personal mission in life? Many of us have passions, and these ultimately can align with our mission in life.

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

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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

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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.

This helps grow the confidence level and in my own belief, is the universe helping solidify in me that I am on the right path. There are some amazing benefits to living a purposeful life as well. All of this helps us live and fulfill our purpose with more confidence.

Looking Past Your Inner Critic

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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.

young man in sleepwear suffering from headache in morning

Staying Present Through Pain and Suffering

I love life. The learnings and lessons I’ve experienced continue to have profound and forever lasting effects on me. We all are undoubtably forced to experience the highs, lows, twists, and turns of the game we play called “life.” Some of these lessons leave imprints of loving memories while others force us to our knees in agony and heartache. This life is lived in a world through which the Principle of Polarity is absolute. Regardless of whether we desire it, we always live through moments that are inspirational as well as full of heartache. It is easy to enjoy the good times, but we never want to embrace the more challenging times. However, staying present through pain and suffering is a necessary and an important aspect for becoming our best selves.

Embracing the Heartache

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I’m not sure about you, but I’ve mostly been the type of person that pushes negative thoughts from my mind. Even as I see life running its course, I push the finality of the end of life as far away from me as possible. Recently I was forced to face another loss in my life. Every ounce of my being wanted to resists and run from the pain I was feeling. I faced extreme temptation to make the moment more about me rather than the reality of the situation. After all, I wasn’t dying, but a part of my life that I loved was.

I believe we have come to live these physical lives for all the benefits and challenges that come with them. We can better ourselves through facing the heartache and loss head on. There is a lot to gain when it comes from tackling the reality of life directly. Here are just a few:

  • The benefit of support for others around us. It would be easy to run, but staying present can provide the support for others around you that you love.
  • You learn a lot about your ability to cope. If we don’t face our worst moments of life we lose the ability to build up strength for our futures.
  • Others are watching. We have the ability to make others in our lives better by how we face our unique challenges in our own lives.

Growing and Rising Above the Pain

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Perhaps it is because I’m a forever optimist and I never want to address the negative aspects of life. Regardless of our how strong our positive intentions are in life, we are going to face the stark reality of life. Here, in the physical world, all of us will experience this over and over whether we ask for it or not. Trying to push it away and running from it will likely only create more pain and suffering for us.

The last time I had suffered loss in my life was five years ago. While I was there supporting my wife through our loss of a loved one, I only really showed up the final day.

Staying present through pain and suffering means being there through the entire experience. Thankfully, I have the ability to put my life on pause if need be to step away and be supportive where necessary.

While this recent experience was gut-wrenchingly painful to watch, I showed up in every way possible to be with my wife and support her through it. Through the daily heartache that lasted about a week, my wife and I grew stronger together. Each of us, together, drew closer. She saw my commitment and was so thankful that I stood with her through it rather than pressing on in my business and work.

I could have pushed the pain away and only dealt with it on it’s final day, but by staying present through pain and suffering we became unified and united.

Presence Builds Character

look yourself in the mirror. Reflect on your character
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While no one on earth enjoys life’s more challenging moments, the challenges we face don’t only build character, they define it. Grief can change your personality. As described by Gabrielle Applebury:

“Grief can change your personality on a temporary or more permanent basis based on various factors including how profound the loss was, your internal coping skills, your support system, your general temperament, your general stress tolerance, and your outlook on life. Grief can alter your thoughts and emotional process, as well as your behaviors. Keep in mind that your personality develops based on both environmental and genetic factors, meaning that it is malleable and able to change due to circumstances and experiences.”

By staying present through pain and suffering we experience the totality of life. The heartache is difficult, but the moments of joy through life with the ones we love is called further into our line of sight. It helps us be more “aware” so that we don’t let those joyous moments in life wisp away too suddenly.

Upon the passing of our third family pet, a good friend of mine reminded me that, “brining a pet into your life is a ‘Mitzvah.’ A powerful good deed that ripples through your life.” This was in response to my questioning of why my wife and I continue to bring the eventual pain of the passing of our beloved fury friends into our lives.

The good times far outweigh the more painful ones – and thus staying present, even through the eventual pain and suffering, will help us see and appreciate more of life.

woman holding fan of us dollar bills

Five Ways to Invest in Yourself for Long-Term Gains

How often do we look at ourselves as personal investments that can yield high dividends and returns? Most of society likes to wager bets on external facing prospects that don’t always produce returns. Personally, I would rather place my bets on me. Predicting and measuring my daily ROI is far easier when I have control over the environment. Here are five ways to invest in yourself for long-term gains.

#1 – Consume & Learn while on the Go

person using smartphone for audio learning and investing in their growth while traveling in car
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We have information at our fingertips. We live in an age where we can learn about everything and anything our hearts desire. There are countless apps, podcasts, and audio books that we can listen to in order to develop the mindset and habits of a life-long learner.

Whether we are driving to work, taking a walk on our lunch break, or hopping a flight – we have our trusty smart devices along for the trip. Rather than drifting away to the tunes of your favorite band or artist, try finding something you want to learn or understand more on.

Apps like Blinkist make consuming audio of books easy. You get the key points of any non-fiction book from twenty-seven different categories. Certainly we know of Audible and other book reading apps that can read our favorite books to us.

Find your favorite podcasts that help you discover new perspectives and ideas to listen to during your workouts. What better way to habit stack than getting in a great workout and learn while you invest in yourself both mentally and physically.

For all the challenges technology can sometimes bestow upon us, let’s leverage it for personal gains that further our learning. It can make us better leaders, mothers, fathers, and overall the best human beings we can be.

#2 – Join a Mastermind Group

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Learning within a community can lead us to some of the most beneficial and productive insights we can gain. Mastermind groups are not that new, although there are still many people that haven’t yet heard of them.

The purpose of a mastermind group or community is to bring people together for group learning and accountability. When we are a part of a community, we gain the benefit of having others to bounce ideas in front of and gain new perspectives. Often times, there are members of the mastermind that have faced similar challenges that you may be up against in which they can offer valuable advice.

There is also the network effect that comes from masterminds as well. When it comes to investing in yourself, it becomes critical to have a network of people you trust to provide valuable connections to other avenues you may need. For example, if you are looking to venture into entrepreneurial aspects, you may need advice from others that are entrepreneurs that can provide invaluable advice.

When you find the right mastermind group of people, you are going to grow, learn, develop, and become more successful. This is due to the compound effect of having others learning along with you. You will be challenged, held accountable, serve others, and also become a better individual and human being.

#3 – Leaders are Avid Readers – So actually READ!

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Whether we are trying to become better human beings, leaders, mothers, fathers, or simply aiming to pass time – there is little argument against reading to help aid our cause.

Too often we get caught up in leadership books and while they are good, they aren’t the only reading we should be consuming. I believe in life-long learning. If you want to invest in yourself, few things take place of reading books. Even though we have technology and audio versions of books, each of us should have our own personal list of growth reading that we are absorbing.

There are many science backed studies that prove actual reading increases intelligence and vocabulary. Most people that claim to not have time to read just need to reassess their day. Chances are the opportunities exist, but we aren’t prioritizing our growth. If you want to invest in yourself, make reading a priority. Find what you like and what to learn about – and read!

#4 – Take Advantage of Online Learning

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Online webinars, workshops, and educational courses are great resources to invest in yourself. Never see learning as complete after school.

I see education as indoctrination. Some of it is necessary for basic life skills. However, successful learning is self-driven. How do you feel when you are researching info you want versus being told you have to? When we are self-driven, we are more motivated to learn.

One of the best online learning workshops I’ve come across is Akimbo. I learned of it through Seth Godin’s podcast of the same name. Akimbo is a small team of learning professionals that is actively creating a future of learning. They aim to generate a chance for people all over the world to enroll in a journey that opens doors at the same time it transforms.

There are many other online workshops and seminars like Akimbo. I have no affiliation with them specifically, but I am a very big fan of Seth Godin’s work.

Find the online learning workshop that resonates with you and do your own homework. Often times you can join for free for a period of time to see if it’s a good fit.

Remember, learning is a choice. It shouldn’t end after any level of education; unless we choose to let it end.

#5 – Teach what You Learn

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Studies prove over and over that after we learn, the best way to retain that information is to teach it back. Not only do we solidify it for ourselves, but then we spread the wealth.

There is also a feeling of self worth that we generate when we share with others. Whether it is sharing with your family or those you work with, teaching back what you learn is a great way to invest in yourself and others.

When we share our learnings it also helps us become better presenters. Perhaps it is presenting verbally with just one person. Maybe it is in front of a group. Or perhaps it might be in recorded content such as a podcast.

Part of the reason I generated the “Ungraduated Living & Learning Podcast” was for my own ability to cement what I am learning and share it with others. It is also why I have generated this website and blog. I am very serious when it comes to always learning. For me to be at my best, I am sharing what I learn with others that may have similar interests.

No matter how you choose to invest in yourself – I hope these five tips help you.

Please feel free to join in the conversation and share other tips and personal investment learning strategies that have worked for you. Let’s continue to learning journey together.

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