Finding Your Way - Through Your Why

Tag: personalgrowth

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
Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com

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
Photo by jimmy teoh on Pexels.com

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
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com
  • 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
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

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.

accomplishment action adventure challenge

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?

silhouette of tree near body of water aligning with the sun as with living as your authentic self
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

notes on board describing living as your authentic self
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

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

high angle photo of person going down with confidence living as their authentic self
Photo by Leon Macapagal on Pexels.com

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

women looking past her inner critic to live as her authentic self
Photo by Michelle Leman on Pexels.com

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

disappointed black woman crying and touching head in pain
Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

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

a person holding a growing plant
Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

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
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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
Photo by Roman Pohorecki on Pexels.com

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

group of people studying together
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

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!

woman sitting near stacks of books and reading
Photo by Ichad Windhiagiri on Pexels.com

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

person writing on notebook and learning online
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

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

woman presenting learning objectives
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

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.

Powered by WordPress.com.