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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth | TED Talks Education

The number one determining factor of success is grit. Grit is the intersection of passion and perseverance for long term goals. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Cultivating and building grit is not related to talent, IQ, or social skills. Rather, building and cultivating grit in ourselves is directly related to having a growth mindset – the belief that the ability to learn, to improve, and to become better at anything, is not fixed; it is malleable and fluid.


Author: Angela Lee Duckworth

24 Evidence-Based Ways to Train and Track Resilience | By, Grant H Brenner

Resilience has emerged as key to health and recovery from traumatic experiences.

Source: Medium

Author: Grant H Brenner

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D., about his newly updated book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. DePierro is associate director of the Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth (CSRPG) at New York’s Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. The book provides pragmatic practices based on years of clinical research with Vietnam veterans, 9/11 recovery workers, and others, backed up by inspiring stories of endurance and transformation.

What Is Resilience, and How Can I Build It Up?

Resilience can be hard to measure, and many longstanding ways to assess resilience, while helpful, have fallen short. For instance, resilience is not simply the absense of post- traumatic stress disorder; it is the presence of health and, often (but by no means exclusively), accompanied by post-traumatic growth.

Regardless, resilience serves to buffer PTSD such that people with greater resilience are less likely to develop pathological outcomes following significant trauma. Not only that, but while many aspects of resilience are innate (related to biological factors affecting brain plasticity, for example), many resilience factors are learnable (“modifiable”). It is these modifiable factors people need to target, train, and track.

DePierro and colleagues have developed the Mount Sinai Resilience Scale (2023, © Icahn School of Medicine 2023. All rights reserved), which enhances the capacity not only to assess resilience but whether its component factors are being applied effectively. At face value, its 24 items serve as an evidence-based framework for self-assessment as well as a means of identifying areas where resilience can be further trained.

Increasing resilience correlates with enhanced long-term health outcomes and has been shown, at the organizational level, to be a cost-effective strategy. Investing in resilience now saves organizations significant costs in the future. Nevertheless, relatively few organizations actually implement robust and demonstrably effective resilience training into their key performance indicators and other measures of progress.

Mount Sinai Resilience Scale

Each item specifies a behavior or mindset likely to increase resilience and is rated on a scale from “Not at all true” (0) to “Almost always true” (4). For each item, the scale asks, “How useful/effective was this strategy?”, highlighting the pivotal role of ongoing nonjudgmental self-appraisal. The scale can be used to track progress over time and identify areas where additional training is helpful.

  1. I confronted or faced my fears and problems directly.
  2. I actively tried to change or challenge negative or critical thoughts about myself or others.
  3. I attempted to become a positive example or role model of how to handle challenges.
  4. I turned to friends, mentors, family members, spiritual leaders, or teachers for advice on how to handle challenges.
  5. I made efforts to stay hopeful about the future.
  6. I sought the support of others.
  7. My choices and behaviors were consistent with my convictions of what is right and what is wrong.
  8. I told myself that the challenges in my life can lead to personal growth.
  9. When given the opportunity to choose my food, I chose foods that were nutritious or healthy.
  10. I did my best to get enough sleep.
  11. I participated in activities that gave me meaning and purpose.
  12. I took time to notice and understand my emotional and bodily reactions to stressful situations.
  13. I accepted that there are difficult emotions, situations, or people that I cannot change right now.
  14. I felt the positive impact of my religious and/or spiritual beliefs in many areas of my life.
  15. I took active steps to emotionally recover from stressful situations.
  16. I provided emotional, financial, or other types of support or donations to those in need.
  17. I offered support to others.
  18. I slowed myself down “in the moment” to handle intensely negative emotional reactions.
  19. I worked to forgive myself or others for doing something that was not in line with my values.
  20. I dedicated time to my hobbies or interests.
  21. I took the time to learn new skills or things that interest me.
  22. I made an effort to exercise.
  23. I held on to my sense of connection with a higher power or deity.
  24. I sought solace in spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, or faith meetings.


There is certainly more to the story of satisfaction, wellness and health, recovery from trauma, illness and adversity than simply resilience. Resilience is, however, at the heart of the conversation and, while not a panacea, a foundational ingredient in a life well-lived, in hard times and all times. An updated manual of resilience, geared toward action-oriented steps as well as reflecting deep understanding, provides tools people can immediately deploy-tools sorely in need in today’s increasingly stressful, crowded, and confusing reality.

Over time, incorporating resilience strategies leads to a shift in one’s overall approach to adversity and can be part of a plan for pursuing personal development. Small changes add up, but trying to do to all at once is the antithesis of resilience. It’s wise to pick a couple of areas, work on small changes, see results, motivate persistence, and create a virtuous cycle. The goal, in a sense, is to cultivate a resilient personality.

From sleep and exercise to cognitive flexibility, to finding meaning and/or faith, to being supported by others and supporting others, there are many relatively accessible, high-impact ways to begin to bend rigidity into resilience. Change that starts small and builds strength and flexibility over time also benefits from self-compassion, so that when we falter, we pick ourselves up with firm kindness rather than descend into self-criticism.


DePierro, J. M., Marin, D. B., Sharma, V., Katz, C. L., Pietrzak, R. H., Feder, A., Murrough, J. W., Starkweather, S., Marx, B. P., Southwick, S. M., & Charney, D. S. (2023, October 5). Development and Initial Validation of the Mount Sinai Resilience Scale. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. For inquiries:

Note: This Blog Post (“Our Blog Post”) is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. We will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information obtained through Our Blog Post. Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion, advice, or other content. We are not responsible and will not be held liable for third party comments on Our Blog Post. Any user comment on Our Blog Post that in our sole discretion restricts or inhibits any other user from using or enjoying Our Blog Post is prohibited and may be reported to Sussex Publishers/Psychology Today/Medium. Grant H. Brenner. All rights reserved.

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Source: Medium

Author: Grant H Brenner

Know Your Self | By, Dan Pedersen

photo source

Source: Medium

Author: Dan Pedersen

The biggest problem the world has isn’t a lack of scholars, but a lack of people who are self-aware, possessing “emotional intelligence” (to borrow a term from Daniel Goleman). Peace is essential to prosperity, and the biggest threat to peace is misunderstandings — not understanding ourselves and not understanding others. The better you know yourself, the better you can know others.

Blaise Pascal was right, “all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Inner wisdom is discovered in such moments. We spend much of our time running from ourselves, when we should be running toward ourselves.

Self-discovery is about becoming aware of who you really are, rather than what culture has told you that you should be. Self-discovery is about no longer striving to be what you think others will admire.

Listening to others is important. We learn from their perspectives. But equally important is spending time alone, in peaceful surroundings. Peaceful surroundings doesn’t mean absolute silence. It means the absence of distractions and outside influences. If you’re always listening to others, you’ll just become the sum of everyone else’s ideas.

Your deepest thoughts can’t be heard unless you make space for them to be heard. Without time to think, you’ll have difficulty developing a personal philosophy. Without time to yourself, you won’t have anything to keep you grounded. You’ll fall into all sorts of traps, and you’ll find it difficult to resist the negative influences of others.

You have to guard your quiet time and really make use of it. This is sacred time. This is when you connect with your true self. This is when you are reminded how to be at peace in the storm, and the importance of love. This is where you’ll find comfort and guidance.

Source: Medium

Author: Dan Pedersen

The Power Of Inspiration: How To Find Your Passion And Live Your Best Life | By, Tony Fahkry

Photo by Leo on Unsplash

Source: Medium

Author: Tony Fahkry

Inspiration May Be Calling You

“The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives — the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men in yourself.” — Norman Cousins

In his book, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone takes the reader on a detailed journey of Michelangelo’s life, from his early days with the Medici family to his detailed sculptures and paintings at the Sistine Chapel.

The common theme depicted in the book was of an inspired painter and sculptor who lived for his art. Although Michelangelo was supremely talented, he still devoted much of his waking life to developing these talents.

He spent numerous hours working throughout the night to dissect cadavers to have a better understanding of the human form. He tirelessly sketched and sculptured the purest Carrara marble, turning blocks of stone into the finest masterpieces the world has known.

He once remarked that when sculpturing, the marble took on a life of its own and would tell him how it was to turn out. He was merely the conduit between the marble and the masterpiece revealing itself through him.

Therefore, inspiration is the call from the soul to express itself through you. It is no secret that inspired people engage in life with every faculty of their being. They are happier, motivated, and in love with their passion.

They embody their passion with every part of their being and think about it every moment they are awake. It consumes their life. Inspiration is the expression of creativity and the mind of the universe flowing through you.

And it is not just for artists. If you yearn for direction in your life, inspiration may be calling. Most people don’t know what inspires them. Let us look at ways you can find inspiration in your life.

While some artists are inspired by nature, others are inspired by humans and their ways of living. We all have different inspiration sources. Some of us need to look within for inspiration, while others have to look outwards.

There is no golden answer to finding inspiration, and there can be multiple answers for an individual. Nobody can tell you what should or should not inspire you.

Looking back at my life, I have been inspired by different things at different times. As a teenager, I was inspired by my favorite band. I wanted to be a musician like them. As times change, our inspirations and role models change.

Focus On What You Want Now

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.” — Helen Keller

What interests and pursuits do you regularly undertake that bring you joy? Don’t worry about whether you can derive an income from it. Is it something creative, or do you find inspiration in tasks nobody else seems to have time or patience for?

How do you know that you are inspired by your pursuit and not just happy to be doing it? Well, inspiration is something that brings you deep joy. When you are inspired and pursuing your passion, time stands still.

When I am onstage speaking in front of an audience or writing, time stands still, and I am absorbed in the moment of my craft. Words pour forth, and I am neither attached nor invested in the exact words I write or speak.

I have often finished giving a seminar, for example, and cannot remember a single word I said despite even having rehearsed and planned the topic. I feel joy and bliss when I am present and aware of the moment. I have no desire other than to be the conduit for my thoughts to manifest as words that resonate with my audiences.

You may have a similar experience regarding how inspiration looks and feels. Connect with that feeling of inspiration daily by tuning into its frequency.

Inspired people often comment that they don’t mind whether they are paid or not to pursue their passion. They could work tirelessly for days, weeks, or years, yet the common element of their love is their joy and the fulfillment of them.

There is a well-known passage by Patanjali, who wrote the ancient yoga sutras that reads:

“[When] you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, and all your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

I have shared this passage with audience members, and I am still surprised to discover how deeply the passage’s meaning resonates with people. Patanjali advises that when we are connected with a deeper purpose, our thoughts transcend their limitations as our consciousness expands, and we find ourselves in a new and wonderful world.

Our hidden talents come alive as they shine forth, and in doing so, we discover ourselves to be greater than we ever imagined. The passage suggests that when you align with a greater force, this is the essence of inspiration.

People who are inspired act from a deeper place within. They are not concerned with accolades and recognition from others; they strive for personal satisfaction and a sense of purpose and meaning, which derives from their work.

Motivation vs Inspiration

“ Strong emotions such as passion and bliss are indications that you’re connected to Spirit, or ‘inspired,’ if you will. When you’re inspired, you activate dormant forces, and the abundance you seek in any form comes streaming into your life.” — Wayne Dyer

It is essential to understand that inspired people view their work as play. For instance, I recall times when I have worked over sixty to seventy hours for weeks, yet when I reflect, I can see that my work was an opportunity to play.

Knowing this, how do you know you are inspired? What does inspiration look like when you become aligned with this faculty? Here are some thoughts on how inspiration may show up for you:

  1. Time stands still, and you are caught up in Flow moments
  2. You love what you do
  3. You cannot wait to wake up to pursue your passion.
  4. Time is irrelevant when you are pursuing your passion.
  5. You are energized and full of life when pursuing your passion.
  6. It does not matter that you are not getting paid since you gain a great deal from your work.
  7. Being creative is an opportunity to display and reveal your hidden talents.
  8. So absorbed in your work you are unaware of anything else in your life.
  9. You are continually looking for new ways to improve upon the work that you do.
  10. You approach your passion with a sense of humility and gratitude.
  11. You feel an inner sense of peace and security when pursuing your passion.
  12. You might notice anxiety and tension when you go without pursuing your passion.
  13. You love the satisfaction it brings you if others compliment you on your work — you do not necessarily seek approval from others.

It is evident from the characteristics above those pursuing their passion do so with a level of inspiration that is beyond the call of duty. Inspired people work from the inside out rather than needing motivation. There often needs to be more clarity between inspiration and motivation.

From the list, you can see that an inspired person does not require motivation. However, people who require motivation need an external source to keep them progressing along their path.

An excellent example of looking at motivation might suggest that to motivate someone, you would have a hand on their back, nudging them forward. When you take your hand away, the person is less inclined to stay motivated. Inspired people are their motivators.

They do not need the motivation from an external source to keep them inspired. The source of their inspiration comes from a deep place within. Inspired people are deeply aware of the inner source of their motivation, which emanates and creates the passion and enthusiasm they feel toward their work and purpose.

Knowing this, what are your sources of inspiration? What brings you great pleasure and joy? Do you devote enough time to these pursuits throughout the week? Contemplate your answers to these questions and try to make time to nurture inspiration in your life. After all, it may be the very thing that sets your world alight.

Source: Medium

Author: Tony Fahkry

Viktor Frankl’s 5 Most Profound Perspectives For a Truly Meaningful Life | By, Thomas Oppong

Source: Medium

Author: Thomas Oppong

Think of existential freedom as a basic human right to choose the trajectory of your experiences

As a renowned psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the influential book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl’s experiences and observations have resonated with countless individuals seeking purpose and fulfilment.

Through his unique blend of existential philosophy and therapeutic approaches, Frankl challenges us to explore the depths of human existence, emphasizing the significance of finding meaning even in the face of adversity.

“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure, says Frankl.

Viktor Frankl’s journey was one of unimaginable hardship and profound self-discovery. As a Holocaust survivor who endured the horrors of concentration camps, he bore witness to the darkest aspects of human nature.

Yet, amidst the bleakness, he emerged with an unwavering belief in the human capacity to find meaning and purpose even in our most difficult experiences.

His most outstanding work, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” outlines his groundbreaking concept of logotherapy, a form of existential analysis that centres on the quest for meaning as the primary motivation in human life.

Frankl posits that in the face of suffering, people can still choose their attitude and response, allowing them to transcend their circumstances and discover more profound significance in their existence.

Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude,” he said.

His profound perspectives challenge us to confront life’s existential questions and search for purpose in our daily pursuits. He encourages us to tap into our inner resilience, emphasizing personal responsibility’s importance and human agency’s power.

In this short piece of Frankl’s teachings, we will delve into the transformative power of his ideas and how they can guide us towards leading lives of genuine significance and purpose.

1. The search for meaning is not a superficial desire but an existential longing

Humans possess an unparalleled level of self-awareness and consciousness. Unlike other creatures, we can reflect on our existence and contemplate our purpose in the world.

Self-awareness raises a fundamental question: “What is my life’s purpose?” This existential query is inherent to our nature and shapes our thoughts, actions, and decisions throughout our lives.

“Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life,” says Viktor Frankl.

Frankl argues that we are driven by an inherent need to find purpose and meaning in our lives. And that the search for meaning is not merely a superficial desire for pleasure or dominance but rather a profound longing to understand why we exist and what our unique contribution to the world might be.

The quest for meaning becomes a driving force that guides our actions, shapes our values, and influences our personal development.

Frankl suggests that pursuing pleasure and power may ultimately leave us unfulfilled. Pleasures are often temporary, and pursuing power may lead to isolation and disconnection from others.

In contrast, the quest for meaning transcends individual desires and reaches beyond the self. It involves connecting with something larger than oneself — be it spiritual, moral, or creative.

Finding meaning in challenging circumstances allows us to endure hardship with greater strength and determination.

Embracing this philosophy may lead to a richer and more purposeful life, fostering a sense of interconnectedness with the world and the people around us.

2. Think of existential freedom as a basic human right to choose the trajectory of your experiences

At the core of Frankl’s philosophy is existential freedom — the belief that, regardless of external circumstances, human beings possess an innate freedom to respond to any situation.

While external events may be beyond our control, we can shape our attitudes, thoughts, and behaviours in response to those events.

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation,” writes Frankl.

Frankl also highlights the inherent dignity and autonomy of human beings. Even in the most oppressive or dire situations, people can assert their humanity by taking ownership of their responses and actions.

The dignified stance allows people to transcend victimhood and empowers them to reclaim a sense of agency over their lives.

Frankl’s philosophy underscores that the last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude. In the face of suffering or tragedy, you can choose hope over despair, love over hatred, and resilience over resignation.

Your choice of attitude profoundly shapes how you experience and navigate life’s challenges, fostering a sense of inner strength and empowerment.

Frankl’s statement also introduces the idea of transcendence — the ability to rise above your circumstances and find higher meaning.

Even in the most adverse situations, people can transcend their immediate reality by holding onto values, beliefs, and aspirations that extend beyond the present moment.

3. Happiness is a side effect of transcending self-interest and ego-driven pursuits

“Success, like happiness, is the unexpected side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.” — Viktor E. Frankl

Frankl underscores the significance of transcending self-interest and ego-driven pursuits in this quote. When people dedicate themselves to a cause greater than their own immediate desires, they move beyond the confines of narrow self-centeredness.

Expanding perspective allows them to connect with larger values and purposes, fostering a sense of belonging to something meaningful and impactful.

Commitment to a more significant cause gives you a clear sense of direction and purpose. You become more focused and driven as a meaningful mission guides your actions.

The dedicated effort to serve something beyond yourself can lead to outstanding achievements and success, often surpassing what you originally anticipated.

Frankl’s assertion that success is an unexpected side effect highlights that genuine success often arises when people are not solely focused on achieving it. Instead, success emerges as a byproduct of sincere dedication and pursuing a meaningful purpose.

When you are immersed in the pursuit of something you truly believe in, you channel your best efforts, creativity, and talents, increasing the likelihood of remarkable outcomes.

4. Perspectives shape our experiences

Circumstances alone do not determine our ability to cope. While we cannot always control the external circumstances that life presents, we can choose how we perceive and respond to them.

A meaningful purpose can serve as a lens through which we interpret and navigate life’s challenges, making even the most difficult situations bearable.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” — Viktor E. Frankl

Frankl’s statement acknowledges the incredible resilience of the human spirit. People have shown throughout history that they can endure immense suffering and still find strength in their search for meaning.

Life can feel empty and unbearable when we lack a sense of purpose or direction. Whether through personal relationships, creative endeavours, or contributions to society, pursuing meaning creates a more profound sense of fulfilment that sustains us even in challenging times.

A clear sense of what we stand for and what gives our lives meaning can help us find purpose and direction even in the face of hardships. It gives us a reason to keep going, even when the path ahead seems challenging or uncertain.

5. The freedom to create your future consciously — create meaningful memories

“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.” — Viktor Frankl

The quote can be interpreted in a few different ways. One interpretation is that it is a call to live each day as if it were your last. It’s a challenge to live a life of purpose. Frankl believed that everyone has a unique purpose in life and that we should strive to fulfill that purpose.

That means being mindful of your choices and ensuring they are aligned with your values. It also means being grateful for the present moment and not taking anything for granted.

Frankl also suggests that we should imagine ourselves living a second time, emphasizing the value of time and the preciousness of each moment.

When we envision a second chance at life, we become more aware of the limited nature of our time and are motivated to make the most of the present.

He is also reminding us that we all make mistakes. Acknowledging our past mistakes and wrongdoings allows us to learn from them and avoid repeating the same errors. It encourages self-awareness and personal growth as we strive to improve ourselves.

Living with the consciousness of having acted wrongly in the past encourages us to make amends, seek forgiveness, and strive to positively impact others. It prompts us to be kinder, compassionate, and considerate in our interactions with those around us.

Finally, the quote echoes the sentiment of “carpe diem” or “seize the day.” It reminds us to live fully in the present rather than dwelling on the past or anxiously waiting for the future. Seizing opportunities and experiences that come Your way to enrich your life and create meaningful memories.

Source: Medium

Author: Thomas Oppong

Discover Your Inner Power: Why Life Happens For You, Not To You | By, Tony Fahkry

Photo by Andreas Selter on Unsplash

Our Journey Of Self-Discovery

“Whatever happens, happens to you by you, through you; you are the creator, enjoyer and destroyer of all you perceive.”

— Nisargadatta Maharaj

Do you believe life happens to you or for you? Take your time to reflect on this because your answer will give you an insight into how you relate to life. Many people are certain life is external to their experience of it. The problem with this is that it takes away our ability to make empowered choices.

If we think life is being enacted upon us, we are likely to surrender control and become victims of our circumstances. Like many others, I was certain life was happening to me until I realised the source of my power was within me.

For a long time, it seemed life was out to get me and that my illness and father’s passing resulted from karmic forces I had little control over. I upheld this belief for many years until I realised I am creating my life’s condition, whether consciously or unconsciously.

In fact, life happens for me, not to me as I once thought. It took years of pain and suffering to come to this realisation. When I look back, it is difficult to comprehend how I assumed otherwise. It is why I sympathise with those who think this way because we are conditioned to believe life is external to us and not within our control.

Can you see how adopting this way of thinking can be of great benefit to you? Victimhood is not an empowering state because we blame circumstances and others for our problems instead of taking charge of the outcomes. Victimhood robs us of our capacity to create choices in line with our greater good.

Not all of life is smooth sailing. When we were born into this earth school we didn’t sign up for good times but a journey of self-discovery. This means we are likely to experience circumstances that challenge us and compel us to awaken our greatest power.

But how can we awaken our greatest power when we are asleep at the wheel of life? Nothing significant arises from the familiar other than boredom and listlessness.

Make Choices That Serve Your Highest Good

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.” — Byron Katie

Humankind has an inherent need to create meaning while realising their purpose and potential. Animals instinctively know their role within the ecosystem of life. It is only mankind that looks for his purpose outside of him when it lies waiting within.

If life is to reveal itself through us, we must let go of the storyline that we are external to life. In doing so, we appreciate that every thought and action serves a purpose for our greatest good. I don’t believe there are accidents within a purposeful universe, only the opportunity to align with what resonates with our deepest self.

I admit, finding our way within this purposeful universe is difficult and why I empathise with those who become lost. Yet, what we perceive as being lost is part of a grander narrative of our life coming together as it should. Here’s something to consider: What if every wrong turn, every wrong decision, every failed relationship or career choice, still lead you to the life you’re meant to live?

How would you feel? Whilst my question may sound like a riddle, life still functions within a container of wrong turns and dead ends, yet it is the outcome that matters. Often, when coaching clients I like to use the metaphor of finding their way out through a maze, analogous to our life’s journey.

When entering the maze, we will take wrong turns and yet these are purposeful to help us find the exit. Unless we are looking down on the maze from above, we cannot possibly know the shortest route to the exit, so we make mistakes to get there.

And that is the essence of what takes place in our lives: our mistakes help us find our way if we are willing to learn from them. Are you beginning to see how your life can still be purposeful even if it doesn’t look that way? This is something worth considering because knowing you are at the wheel of your life’s journey, allows you to make choices aligned with your core values.

Even mistakes and their second cousins, setbacks and obstacles serve a purpose within the backdrop of life. The key is to keep moving and become aware of our choices that serve our highest good, instead of being dictated by unconscious beliefs.

If we subscribe to the latter, we are no more than automatons having life imposed upon us and wrongly mistaking it for how life should be. As you will come to realise, your life choices will be reflected in your expanded awareness, thus leading you to a life filled with fulfilment and your destiny.

Source: Medium

Author: Tony Fahkry

Lifelong Learning Is an Infinite Game You Can’t Lose | By, Thomas Oppong

It requires a growth mindset

Photo by fabian jones on Unsplash

Life is finite. Learning is for life.

As long as you live, keep learning how to live,” Seneca, a Roman philosopher, statesman, and playwright said.

He believed seeking knowledge and wisdom were key to living a fulfilling and meaningful existence.

Lifelong learning, the process of acquiring knowledge and skills throughout one’s life, is a mindset that emphasises the importance of continuous learning and growing, not just in our formal education but also in our personal and professional lives.

It can take many forms: reading, listening to a great podcast, watching reality-altering videos, taking courses, attending meaningful events, or simply experimenting with new things.

The important thing is to be open to learning and never to stop growing.

The beauty of lifelong learning is that it’s an infinite game you can never lose. The more you learn, the more you grow, and the more you grow, the more you learn.

It’s a never-ending cycle of growth and development that can lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

It is an infinite game you can’t lose because you will stack wisdom for life. From acquiring new skills to staying updated with emerging knowledge, and trends, lifelong learning is a continuous process that keeps you ahead of the game of life.

It helps you adapt to new situations, challenges, and opportunities and enables you to make better decisions in all aspects of your life.

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live, author Mortimer Adler said.

In a finite game, a definite outcome means an end in site.

In contrast, an infinite game has no specific endpoint or winner, and the goal is to keep playing and continuing the game.

In the lifelong learning game, there is no losing; you will keep winning for life — the focus is on the learning journey itself.

You become a self-directed learner for life.

Self-directed learners take responsibility for their learning, setting goals, and developing strategies for acquiring knowledge and skills.

They proactively seek learning opportunities rather than waiting for someone else to provide them.

Self-directed learners tend to be more adaptable and resilient in the face of change. They can quickly acquire new skills and knowledge to meet the demands of their changing environment.

This adaptability is particularly important in today’s rapidly changing world, where new technologies and industries are emerging at an unprecedented rate.

It requires a growth mindset

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is,” writer and professor Isaac Asimov said.

The good news is it’s not constrained by age, education level, or previous experiences. Anyone can continue learning and growing, regardless of background or circumstances.

But it requires a growth mindset.

That means you must be willing to embrace challenges, persevere through difficulties, and view failure as an opportunity for learning and improvement.

It also means being open to new ideas and embracing a curiosity to learn.

It offers limitless opportunities for growth and personal development and helps you thrive in an ever-changing world.

Lifelong learning can be a daunting experience.

But it is also an exciting one.

That means that you have the opportunity to grow and change your life for the better, no matter how old you are or what your circumstances are.

If you’re looking to improve your life and career, lifelong learning is a great place to start.

The only limitation is a fixed mindset.

There is no one right way to do it. The most important thing is to find what works for you and to never stop learning.

It’s the beginning of conscious living

A commitment to lifelong learning is a natural expression of the practice of living consciously,” psychotherapist and writer Nathaniel Branden said.

When we live consciously, we actively engage with our experiences, thoughts, and emotions rather than just going through the motions.

When you commit to lifelong learning, you are choosing to approach your life with curiosity, openness, and a desire to learn and grow.

You seek new knowledge, skills, and experiences that can enrich your life and help you become a better, more fulfilled person.

By doing so, you are living consciously because you are aware of your potential for growth and pursue meaningful knowledge to fulfil it.

We are also aware of the world around us and how our actions impact others. This awareness can lead us to a desire to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.

The practice of living consciously involves being aware and intentional in how you approach your life. It means

A commitment to lifelong learning is a natural expression of this practice because it involves being intentional about your personal growth and development.

Here’s how to start your infinite lifelong learning journey.

  • Start with a goal. What do you want to achieve through lifelong learning? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start planning how to accumulate knowledge one topic at a time.
  • Find a learning style that works for you. Some people learn best by reading, while others learn best by listening or doing. Experiment with different learning methods to find what works best for you.
  • Make time for learning. Lifelong learning doesn’t have to be formal or expensive. You can learn new things by reading books, watching videos, taking online courses, or simply talking to other people.
  • Be patient: remember, it’s an infinite process. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep learning and growing, and you will eventually stack knowledge for life.

When you commit to lifelong learning, you approach your life with curiosity, openness, and a desire to learn and grow.

Lifelong learning is an investment in yourself. It’s a way to stay ahead of the curve, improve your life, and make a difference.

Source: Medium

Author: Thomas Oppong

Richard Feynman: For The Full Life Experience, Create Yourself Endlessly | By, Thomas Oppong

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Source: Medium

Author: Thomas Oppong

How to continuously shape and evolve your sense of self

Life is a journey of learning and growth, and to experience it to its fullest, we must embrace as many experiences as possible, especially those guaranteed to bring out the best in us.

This concept has been echoed by many great minds throughout history, from Aristotle to Warren Buffet. It is a call to embrace life and all its experiences, never stop learning and growing, and always strive for personal excellence.

This journey of self-discovery is not without its challenges, but by pushing through the difficulties and embracing life’s opportunities, you can unlock your true potential and discover a life of joy and fulfillment. Through this journey, you can become the best version of yourself and experience life fully.

Richard Feynman was a famous physicist and Nobel laureate who made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

He was known for his curiosity and love of learning, and his quote, “Create yourself endlessly”, reflects his belief in the importance of continuous self-improvement and lifelong learning.

“You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously, he said.

Feynman’s quote is a call never to stop learning, growing, and evolving. By constantly challenging yourself and seeking new experiences and perspectives, you can continue developing and improving throughout your life.

This personal development approach aligns with Feynman’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge and understanding. It can be applied to any area of life, whether personal or professional.

Creating yourself endlessly also means being self-aware and reflective, understanding your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and taking responsibility for them.

Creating yourself endlessly is also a reminder that we are not fixed entities but dynamic and constantly changing beings, with or without our conscious efforts.

We are not only shaped by our experiences and surroundings but also can shape ourselves. By actively working to improve ourselves, we can create the person we want to be.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death,” Albert Einstein said. Feynman’s approach to learning and personal development is closely tied to his “curiousity-driven learning” philosophy.

He observed that an essential aspect of learning is curiosity and desire to understand something rather than external rewards or pressures.

Whether mastering a new skill, taking on a new job or simply exploring a new hobby, the full life experience comes from pushing boundaries, taking risks and challenging oneself.

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy,” says Susan Polis Schutz.

To continuously shape and evolve your sense of self;

Take on new challenges and experiences: Things like traveling, taking on new challenges, trying new hobbies or activities, or taking on a new job or project broadens your perspective and perceptions in life.

Reflect on and work to improve oneself: This can include setting personal goals, journaling, or seeking out therapy or self-help resources.

Surround yourself with diverse perspectives and people: By exposing yourself to a range of perspectives, you can broaden your own understanding of the world, challenge your own assumptions, and gain new insights and ideas.

Stay curious and open-minded: That means questioning your assumptions, admitting when you don’t know something, and always looking for opportunities to learn and grow.

As we grow older and begin to settle into our daily lives, it can be easy to feel like we’re running out of time. Years seem to tick by at an ever-quickening pace. But no matter how many years you have left, there are so many ways you can live your life to make it exciting and fun.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly,” Henri Bergson said.

The more time and energy you put into yourself, the more possibilities open up for the full life you were born to create.

And creating a complete life experience doesn’t just mean having fun and staying happy — it means doing everything that will bring your sense of self-worth to new heights. It also means being open to change, growth, and self-improvement in all areas of life.

“Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough,” Richard Feynman said.

Creating yourself continuously requires ongoing effort and commitment, and it can be a lifelong process, but it can lead to greater self-awareness, self-esteem, happiness and overall well-being.

Source: Medium

Author: Thomas Oppong

How To Change Your Self-Limiting Beliefs | By, Rebecca Roache

Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash

Source: Psyche.Co

Author: Rebecca Roache

Let Descartes, Kant and other philosophers help you view the world through a more positive filter and you’ll bloom

Need to know

Have you ever decided not to go for that job promotion because you believe you’re not qualified enough? Or avoided asking a neighbor for help because you feel you’d be a nuisance? Or taken your failure to get what you wanted as confirmation that, yes, your hunch that it was never going to work out was obviously correct? Yep, me too. Pessimistic beliefs like these are common, and they hold you back more than you realize. Perhaps it’s never occurred to you that it’s possible to change these attitudes, let alone how you might go about it. Perhaps you wouldn’t even want to change them even if you could – after all, who wants to be that person who is arrogant enough to think they’re definitely in with a shot for that promotion despite being under-qualified, or who doesn’t think twice about making demands on their neighbors, or who approaches their goals with an unwavering confidence in their likelihood of success?

Philosophy and coaching are a perfect – and under-explored – partnership. Doing philosophy involves identifying and challenging hidden assumptions, using analogies to reveal double standards, and exposing dodgy reasoning: all things that are helpful to coaching clients who are burdened with beliefs that get in the way of their success, who are compassionate to everyone but themselves, and who overlook their own errors in reasoning because they are too busy criticizing themselves. Often, too, the thoughts of philosophers – including René Descartes and the other thinkers that I’m going to mention here – find fresh application in providing a helpful new perspective on the difficulties that many of us face every day.

First, find your limiting beliefs

In fact, you can and should change the beliefs that hold you back. Doing so will make your life go better. First, though, you’ve got to find these beliefs. That’s more difficult than it sounds. Often, the beliefs that hold us back are so much a part of who we are that we don’t realize we have them. We don’t realize how they’re shaping the way we perceive the world. We think we’re viewing things objectively when we’re not. What one person views as a job for which she’s under-qualified and therefore should not apply, another views as an opportunity that it would be daft not to go for – because, who knows, it might all work out.

When it comes to finding and digging up problematic foundational beliefs, dusting them off, and holding them up to the light for a closer look, philosophers are old hands. It’s at the core of what we do. This process is vividly illustrated in the writing of Descartes, the 17th-century French philosopher. In his essay Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), it occurs to him that everything he knows might turn out to be false, since it’s based on information that initially came to him through his senses, and our senses can sometimes deceive us. He set about rejecting absolutely everything he thought he knew, with the aim of allowing back in only those beliefs that he could be absolutely certain are not mistaken. Eventually – and famously – he arrives at one undeniable truth: that he exists. ‘I think, therefore I am’ expresses Descartes’s observation that, as long as he has thoughts, he can be sure that he exists.

You don’t need to throw away everything you believe, Descartes-style. But you could benefit greatly from taking an audit of your most deeply held beliefs. It’s only fairly recently that I’ve realized just how important and potentially life-changing this can be. I’ve been a philosopher for (almost) my entire career, and a couple of years ago I started using my philosophical skills and training to coach people to overcome their difficulties. What sort of difficulties? There are many, of course, but something I encounter again and again in my coaching clients, who are invariably smart and switched-on people, is a bewilderment about how to get to where they want to be. They just can’t see a path to that job, that career, that family life they’d like, given their current commitments and situation.

Now, many of the obstacles in their paths are structural and result from factors beyond their control; factors like sexism, racism and other forms of inequality that make it harder for some people but not others to succeed. It’s harmful to overlook these external obstacles while offering advice for success, as Ephrat Livni argued in her Quartz article ‘All Career Advice for Women Is a Form of Gaslighting’ (2018). But some of the obstacles to our success are ones we’ve put there ourselves, often without even realizing. Digging into my coaching clients’ most deeply held tenets has often unearthed beliefs that the clients themselves recognize as ridiculous, even while continuing to be influenced by them. Common examples of such beliefs include I’m not entitled to rest unless I’ve been productive and If I can’t do something without asking for help, I’m incompetent – as well as the one I hinted at in the opening paragraph: Taking a more positive view of myself would make me unbearably arrogant.

Perhaps, reading this, you’re reflecting on what your own limiting beliefs might be. How do you find out how to change them once you’ve found them, and what can you expect to happen if you do?

Think it through

Accept that you view the world through a filter

None of us perceives the world as it ‘really is’. The 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant distinguished between noumena (things-in-themselves) and phenomena (things as they appear to observers). We can never know noumena, according to Kant; we can know only phenomena. And what we perceive when we perceive phenomena is as much about us, and the spin we put on reality and our interaction with it, as it is about the world itself. To put it somewhat clumsily: the idea is that, when you look at the screen on which you’re reading this essay, what you’re seeing is more about you and your relationship to what you’re looking at than it is about the world as it ‘really is’. This distinction between the world we perceive and the world in itself underpins the entire sub-field of philosophy known as phenomenology. Kant had his own thoughts about what it is about us that determines the particular spin we put on reality – but we needn’t get into that. Our lesson here can be: we view the world through a filter. That filter comprises our deeply held beliefs, among other things. And once we recognize this – even before we’ve reached the stage of identifying these reality-shaping beliefs, let alone trying to change them – we open up the possibility of using a different filter to view the world, and the question of how different the world might look if we did.

Slow down and articulate it

My graduate supervisor, the late professor of philosophy Hugh Mellor, used to say to me: ‘You don’t understand something until you’ve written it down.’ This is as true in coaching as it is in philosophy. Our ideas – including those we find most compelling – often come to us only semi-formed, and this can disguise their flaws. Simply articulating these beliefs enables us to understand them better, and sometimes reveals that they are just bonkers. (You might have had the experience of articulating an idea to someone and then saying: ‘Now that I’ve said it out loud, I realize how ridiculous it is!’) This is true in spades of our limiting beliefs. The problem is that we often shy away from articulating these beliefs, perhaps because they make us feel uncomfortable. Being brave and looking directly at them is worth it, though.

One recent client of mine, who felt that it would be lazy and selfish of her to spend 20 minutes a day relaxing with a novel, found herself unable to come up with any satisfactory way of articulating this feeling when I pressed her. She tried out and rejected Resting for 20 minutes is selfish and I should be able to work all the time without a break, both of which statements – though clearly expressed – she found implausible. She realized that her discomfort with resting was ‘just a feeling’, unsupported by any convincing claim. Another client felt that she wasn’t getting enough done in the course of the day, but when asked to list all the things she thought she should be doing, she realized that there weren’t enough hours in the day for even half of them.

So next time you find that you’re reluctant to do something that would make your life easier, ask yourself why. How do you complete the sentence that begins: ‘Because …’? Journal your reluctance. Explain it to a friend. Imagine you’re making a case for your opposition to the activity in question. Does your explanation make sense? If not, perhaps it’s time to throw out that belief, Descartes-style.

Try a different filter

If you’ve dug deep into your reluctance and uncovered some of your limiting, filtering beliefs, take a pause and congratulate yourself. This process can be really uncomfortable; after all, you’re pushing against some of the fundamental ways that you relate to the world and the people in it, and that can be really unsettling. So unsettling, in fact, that when we encounter evidence against these beliefs, we often prefer to dispute or dismiss that evidence than to give up our more fundamental beliefs. I’ve seen this in coaching sessions: one client insisted that he was much less smart than his peers, and when I asked him about the feedback he receives from his supervisor, he admitted that the feedback is positive but waved it aside with: ‘But she’s not saying that because it’s true, she’s saying it to try to motivate me.’

This client, finding that his belief in his own shortcomings conflicted with his supervisor’s encouraging feedback, chose to believe his supervisor to be insincere in order to preserve his negative attitude towards himself. It’s surprisingly easy to do this. The 20th-century American philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine argued that our beliefs don’t stand or fall depending on some objective test of their veracity; they stand or fall depending on how well they cohere with our other beliefs – and, when our beliefs conflict, it’s not always clear which we should reject, and which (if any) we should keep. To express this in our ‘filtering reality’ terminology: let go of any expectation that there is a ‘correct’ way to filter reality. In Quinean terms, there is no one right way to do it. There are just more and less useful, internally coherent filters.

Since it’s so uncomfortable to reject even our negative fundamental beliefs, I’m not going to ask you to do that yet. Instead, try something gentler. Just for fun, ask yourself how the choices you make might be different if your fundamental beliefs were different. In the case of my client, I asked him to imagine what it might be like if, instead of believing that he’s not very smart, he believed that he was just as smart as his peers. How might his attitude to his work be different? What new things might he be emboldened to try? He came up with plenty of ideas – apply for this job, ask to collaborate with that colleague – that were previously off-limits. In doing so, he gained insight into some of the ways that his beliefs about himself were affecting his choices, and how different beliefs might open up new opportunities.

It’s easy to underestimate the significance of such a shift in perspective. Changing our fundamental beliefs can radically change the way in which we view the world – so radically, in fact, that the 20th-century American philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn used the word ‘revolution’ to describe the replacement of one set of fundamental beliefs with another when it occurs in science. Such revolutions – for example, the replacement of Newtonian mechanics with Albert Einstein’s relativistic view in physics – can be very unsettling, as Kuhn explained in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962):

[D]uring revolutions, scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before. It is rather as if the professional community had been suddenly transported to another planet where familiar objects are seen in a different light and are joined by unfamiliar ones as well.

Scientific revolutions, while unsettling, are important for scientific progress; similarly, overhauling your own fundamental beliefs, while unsettling, can be important for personal growth. Be brave and try it. I’m going to bet that, once you start, you’ll become aware of reasons to believe that there might be something to these alternative beliefs, after all. Don’t expect to change your long-established limiting beliefs in an instant, though. Merely recognizing that you’re viewing the world through one of many possible filters is important progress at this stage.

Reject double standards

Often, we believe things about ourselves and our choices and opportunities that we would never dream of believing about other people. That makes thinking about the advice we’d give to friends, relatives, people we’re mentoring (and so on) a useful way to assess whether we’re believing sensible things about ourselves. Let’s return to your reluctance to ask a neighbor for help. If a friend of yours was considering asking a neighbor for help, would you advise them against doing so? I’m guessing not – at least, not unless there’s a history of hostility between them and their neighbors, or some other good reason for caution. The sorts of beliefs you use to justify your own reluctance to ask your neighbors for help – Because people don’t like to help their neighbors, and so on – would likely strike you as absurd if you thought of applying them to a friend.

Likewise, without good reason, you wouldn’t advise a friend not to go for that promotion; and you wouldn’t respond to their failure in some area by saying: ‘See? I told you it was never going to work out!’ If you were to treat your friends like that, you wouldn’t have friends for very much longer. These are unsupportive and even downright abusive things to say to people. But you’re a person too. If there’s something you wouldn’t say to a friend, then you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself either. Why not? Well, there are (ethical, social, etiquette and so on) norms that govern our behavior towards people. Examples include: Do not stealSay thank you when someone shows you considerationDon’t question new acquaintances about their sex lives. These norms are not exceptionless – it’s OK to steal medical supplies to save a life if there’s no other way to obtain them, for example – but, exceptional circumstances aside, we take them to apply to everyone equally. So, Do not steal means ‘Do not steal from anyone’; not merely ‘Do not steal from people you like’ or ‘Do not steal unless you’re in a bad mood.’

Put this way, there is no justification for not applying the same norms to your interactions with yourself as you apply to your interactions with other people. If you think it’s important to avoid using hurtful language when speaking to other people, then avoid it when speaking to yourself; if you don’t think it’s appropriate to assume that people view your best friend as a nuisance, then don’t assume that people view you as a nuisance; and so on.

Accept that you’re not a rational robot

A word of caution, though. Don’t expect too much of yourself. In particular, recognize that none of us are powerhouses of rationality. It’s possible to recognize that we hold a belief that we know to be false, or even preposterous, yet still be influenced by it. In fact, this is extremely common. The 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume argued that we have no good reason to hold many of our most fundamental beliefs – including, notoriously, our belief in causation – and yet we continue to find them persuasive anyway. In A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), he wrote: ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.’

Plenty of what we believe seems not to make sense. As you uncover your limiting beliefs, you might find yourself saying apparently nonsensical things like: My neighbor has offered to help me, but I still feel like I’d be a burden if I were to ask for help. This happens because the beliefs that we hold about ourselves are as much about feelings as they are about facts – and feelings don’t change overnight. The heart takes a while to catch up with the head, which can be frustrating, and can lead us to criticize ourselves even more harshly. Resist that temptation. To help you, I have a podcast episode that deals with this. In some cases, changing our fundamental beliefs requires us to change our character traits – for example, we might need to learn to be less self-reliant and more open to accepting help from others – and that takes time and practice. Aristotle wrote about the process of developing the right character traits, or virtues, and he recognized that this could take years of work, supported by immersing oneself in the right sort of community and following the right sort of role models. The key here is to be patient with yourself. Accept what you uncover about yourself. Feelings do change, with time.

Key points – How to change your self-limiting beliefs

  1. First, find your limiting beliefs. You almost certainly hold beliefs that stand in the way of your happiness and success, but don’t expect it to be obvious what they are. They’re often so much a part of us that we don’t see them. Open your mind to discovering and challenging beliefs that you don’t yet realise you hold.
  2. Accept that you view the world through a filter. We don’t see things ‘as they really are’. Our reality is shaped by what we believe. Getting comfortable with this idea helps open up the possibility of changing the filter that we place on reality.
  3. Slow down and articulate it. The beliefs that hold us back often aren’t fully formed, and that prevents us from understanding and challenging them. Practise articulating your reluctance to make choices that would help you move forward. If you feel guilty about taking a break, or if you’re convinced that you’re lazy or not very smart – why, exactly? Write it down clearly. Explain it to a friend. Does it still make sense?
  4. Try a different filter. If you can’t bring yourself to reject your limiting beliefs outright, perhaps you can practise imagining what it would be like if you had different, more positive beliefs. How would you live differently if you believed that you were smart, after all? Thinking this through helps show how your beliefs are standing in your way, and how things would be different without them.
  5. Reject double standards. Those negative things that you say to yourself: would you say them to another person? If not, there is no justification for saying them to yourself.
  6. Accept that you’re not a rational robot. Our emotions change more slowly than our beliefs. Expect to feel the influence of your limiting beliefs even after, rationally, you’ve accepted that they’re false. That will change eventually.

Why it matters

What can you expect to happen if you follow the advice I’ve offered here, and set about identifying and rejecting the beliefs that are holding you back? Let’s answer this by way of a thought experiment. Imagine that someone you know is in a toxic relationship. They live with a person who constantly says to them the sorts of things you say to yourself: You’ll fail at this and You’re not good enough for that. Can you imagine that friend of yours reaching their full potential in those circumstances? I doubt it. Those sorts of remarks wear us down and undermine our confidence and motivation. Any success in those circumstances would be hard-won.

But now imagine your friend cutting out that toxic person from their life and becoming involved with a more loving, respectful person who believes in them, encourages them, and reminds them constantly that things might just work out. What would you expect to happen to your friend as a result? I’m going to guess that you’d expect, over time, to see your friend regain their confidence and become bolder and more ambitious in making positive changes in their life. You’d expect to see your friend blossom. You can expect to see yourself blossom, too, if you work on replacing the beliefs that hold you back with ones that drive you forward. Beliefs that hold you back can be like people who hold you back. Once they’re gone from your life, new perspectives open up.

Source: Psyche.Co

Author: Rebecca Roache

How to Be the Chief Well-being Officer of Your Own Life | By, Jen Fisher

Source: Thrive Global

Author: Jen Fisher

In these unprecedented times, well-being isn’t something we can outsource. We all have the power to prioritize our mental and physical health.

It goes without saying that this has been a stressful year for everybody. We all have our unique challenges, and we all react to stress differently — but we can all benefit from strategies that make it easier to prioritize our well-being. My job title at Deloitte is Chief Well-being Officer, and I have to admit, it’s a pretty great role! But the role that’s even more important is being the Chief Well-being Officer of my own life! And I think everyone needs to take on this same leadership role when it comes to their own lives.

So what is well-being? For me, it means taking a holistic approach, focusing on body, mind, purpose, and financial health. The truth is, although we generally know what we should be doing to take care of ourselves, we often don’t do it. And that’s because we’re not strategic; we’re not intentional about it. But the problem is that with the pace of our modern lives, day after day gets away from us and we fall to the bottom of our priority list. Our tendency as human beings is to take care of everything and everyone else before taking care of ourselves.

And when we allow that to happen, we can pay a heavy price. Daily stress can become chronic stress, and before you know it, that can lead to burnout. But your path to realizing you need to nurture your own well-being doesn’t have to involve burning out first. The key is to create a mindful and intentional system for being in charge of your well-being. Here are six lessons I’ve learned that will help you be successful as the Chief Well-being Officer of your own life.

Set priorities

The first thing to realize is that your well-being has to start with you. You can’t wait for others to take care of it for you. As they say, secure your own oxygen mask first. And just like any executive has to set priorities for his or her department or organization, you have to set priorities for yourself. And you need to be on the top of your priority list. 

Next, realize that well-being means something different for everybody. There are many definitions of well-being. So what’s important to you? What do you want to work on? What do you enjoy? What are your non-negotiables? Think about it. Write it down. Setting priorities for yourself helps you own your own self-care.

Involve others

As a Chief Well-being Officer, you need a team. Well-being can’t just be an individual effort; it needs to be embedded in your team and how you work together. I encourage my team to set and share goals with each other. Everybody’s goals are going to be different, and that’s OK. If one of my co-workers needs to leave at 2 p.m. to pick up her children, I can support her in that because I know that’s a priority for her, and she can support me because she knows I need to exercise at 10 a.m. By collectively stating our goals, even though they’re different, we can support and hold each other accountable.

Schedule it

The number one comment I get about well-being is, “I don’t have time to take care of myself.” Well, you have to make time. And the way to do that is the same way you make time for other things in your life: Schedule it. Use your calendar and your technology to schedule time for self-care like your most important meeting, and stick to it. And then guard that “me time” from other things and other people.

Allow for failure

Being the Chief Well-being Officer doesn’t mean you get everything perfect all the time (believe me, I know I don’t). It doesn’t mean you won’t feel fatigued, or that you won’t eat a less-than-nutritious meal, or stay up late one night bingeing your favorite show instead of prioritizing a good night’s sleep. Prioritizing your well-being sometimes looks like taking two steps forward and one step back, then another step forward — and that’s OK. Just think about how you can learn from each experience, and then move on. 

Revisit your well-being goals regularly

Businesses revisit their strategies on a regular basis as the market changes. And the same principle applies in our own lives. By regularly checking in and revisiting our well-being strategies, we can change course if we need to. So ask yourself, what’s working, what’s not working? Have your well-being goals changed? Are they still aligned with what you value in life? Then celebrate the successes and figure out what needs to be adapted moving forward.

Find joy and give thanks

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my job and in my own life is the value of finding joy every day. We don’t want to become so scheduled that we don’t have time and space for things that give us joy. Also, bring the power of gratitude into your life. Expressing gratitude for those who support you, or even just giving thanks for the small blessings in your life will lower your stress, improve your well-being, and make you more joyful.

Your duties as the Chief Well-being Officer in your life will be unique to you. But it’s important to take charge of it. And once you make your own well-being a priority, you’ll be able to inspire and encourage others to do the same.

Originally Published October 21, 2020 on Thrive Global

Source: Thrive Global

Author: Jen Fisher

The Most Important Question We Don’t Ask

Happy 2023 Y’all!!! :-)))

New year, new insipiration, new insights, new empowerment, new lessons, new wisdom, and new growth!

Woohoo! Let’s get to it!

Let’s make 2023 our best year yet! We have that power – it’s baked into our agency and our sovereignty as humans.

We forget that sometimes…we forget our own power. 

We live in a world, a culture, and a society that is constantly habituating us to focus way too much on the power other things and other people have over us; rather than reminding us how much power we truly have – over ourselves and our own lives!

We’re incessantly bombarded (without us even realizing it, and to a point of permeating normalization) with notions, definitions, and standards that put all of our attention on how our life looks on the outside, rather than how it feels on the inside – to us.

We’re seduced by the accepted benchmarks and paradigms of what success looks like, what happiness looks like, and what a good life is supposed to look like.

We’re beguiled and lured by those exemplary representations and depictions, but in a way that surreptitiously deludes, misgiudes, and convinces us into thinking and believing that if we model ourselves and our life to look like that, then it will surely also be what feels good. 

And sometimes it is. But sometimes, it isn’t. 

And eventually, at some point or another, in some way or another, we come to realize that the synchronicity between what looks good on the outside and what feels good on the inside is so often ephemeral, illusory, or only surface-deep.

We come face to face with the truth of ourselves and understand that there’s often a difference that exists between how your life feels to you and how it may look on the outside, and to everyone else. 

So remember to ask yourself – how does this feel to me? It’s a question between you and yourself alone, and only you can answer it. It’s a question that has the power to change everything!           

Does it feel right, does it feel aligned, does it feel true? Does it fill you with pride, love, and gratitude? Do you feel at peace or at war? Do you feel fulfilled and full or do you feel lacking and empty? Do you feel strong and hopeful even through the tough times, or do you feel powerless and unworthy? Is something missing, is something off, or do you feel stuck (perhaps even trapped)?

Be radically honest with how you answer yourself, completely and utterly regardless of how it may look on the outside.  

Asking and answering the simple question: How does this feel to me? Asking and answering it honestly and without beating yourself up for whatever the answer may be, is one of the most powerful and life changing things you can do!       

When we remember to ask ourselves that question, we realize that focusing on what feels good, right, and true to our own self is often not the same as what may look good, right, and true to everyone else.

When that moment arrives, we all have a choice: to either start focusing on and working towards how we want our own life to feel to us – to feel proud of who we are, to feel valued, appreciated, and loved, to feel meaning and purpose and fulfillment, to feel joy, peace, passion, and strength, to truly love ourselves and our life – OR to continue pretending that how it looks on the outside and to everyone else is what matters. 

To choose the former is one of the hardest and bravest choices we will ever make, and for a while it may also be one of the loneliest… But ultimately, there’s no other choice that’s more worthwhile.

Choose you! It’s your life. No one owns it except for you.
And above all else, stay true to you!

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