Category Archives: personal empowerment

Listening to Others Generates Creativity and Connection

Listening to others is an art, a path to other people’s heart.

Listening to others, especially those with whom we disagree, tests our own ideas and beliefs.

Listening to others forces us to realize, with humility, that we don’t have a monopoly on the truth.

Listening to others actively and emphatically, or having ears for others is hard sometimes, but we must learn to practice it so that we will be able to master it. We must develop the capacity to hear others. It is important to hear what others say, not just to hear ourselves talk.

Listening to others (Having ears for others) is the third facets in planning a creative day.

The art of emphatic listening to others is the art of understanding; it is the art of progress; it is the art of having a meaningful conversations with others. In this art of listening we have to think of our ears as two extra eyelids, we have to be non judgmental and not making assumptions. By listening to others we learn to open our ears to the opinion of other; we learn that others are just as good as we are, even if they have faults, as we have faults too. We learn to open our ears to reason because reason very often has a difficult time in this world, and people refuse to listen to it.

Listening to others is a path to other people’s heart, an effort requiring patience, sometimes a battle with yourself, and a skill you need to learn in order to evolve as a person and unleash your potential.

Many of us have gotten used to talking without listening to others. This problem unfortunately is common in our modern society; and since the attitude that characterizes our narcissistic society is “no view is as enlightened and informed as my view,” we don’t even bother to consider what others have to say.

When we listen, we communicate. And how we listen determines how well we can communicate.

The word conversation generally brings to mind talking. However, if you’ve ever seen two people trying to talk to each other at the same time, you’ll know that listening is just as important. In fact, listening is half of a successful conversation; you take turns to talk, and everyone feels heard. This is great communication.”

If we listen well and honestly, we become part of a creative communication that invigorates, challenges, renews, excites and may contribute to an exchange of ideas that benefits everyone. If we don’t listen well, we will not grow or learn or interact with others in a way that is rewarding to everyone.

Not listening to others well is to be a selfish act, as we shut ourselves off from others. It is not necessarily a form of arrogance, but it may well be interpreted that way. People don’t like to be around the inattentive, mind-wandering listeners. In fact, people flock more readily to the good listener than to the self-involved, brilliant declaimer, who mainly wants to hear himself, or herself.

Just as we sometimes need to talk out our problems, having someone truly listen to us may make us feel better about life in general. We may not even be looking for advice or counsel as much as we are looking for validation of who we are. Being listened to, is reaffirming and comforting. And listening to others, truly listening, is often the best form of learning about life or helping to solve a problem, either at work or in a personal relationship.

We have to have ears for ourselves too, to listen to the heartbeat of our mind, to the clock within us that clicks away the joys and sorrows we are heir to. If we have to shut our ears, then we have to learn to shut them to prejudices, to skirting around the truth, to the daily threat of negative feelings.

Enterprise is a matter of communication, of self image, of strength, of going toward life without fear. It is a matter in planning a creative day.

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

 


Be True To Yourself and Reach Your Potential

Be true to yourself as it is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Be true to yourself, and your feelings. Those are the only things in your life that will never lie to you.

Be true to yourself, make each day your masterpiece, and most importantly believe in yourself.

Be true to yourself is a statement that we hear all the time, but it is the truth. We all have our own values, beliefs, personality traits, and desires. When we deny any part of our authentic self, we die a little death on the inside. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. By being true to ourselves, we also give everyone else permission to do the same.

To be true to yourself (Return to yourself) is the second facets in planning a creative day. In order not to retreat from life, but return to it during our creative day, we must utilize our potentialities. Thinking is a great gift; it is what makes us superior to the animal. Whatever our capacities, we can think within those capacities. Whatever we think our limitations are, we must think clearly within those limitations we give to ourselves. And we are sure to learn that we are more than we think we are. We must learn that such understanding is not mere meditation; it is a thought in action. Thinking here is not passive but an active process.

To be true to yourself, to the best version of yourself is not a onetime event. It is a continuous decision you must make every day, or even every hour. Sometimes you make good decisions and you can be true to yourself. Sometimes you betray your true self. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up, don’t rebuke yourself, and keep in mind that it takes courage to be true to who you are in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, measuring you up or judging you at every turn. But also know this that whoever you are, you have got that courage within you. And if you make up your mind, you can search deep down and gather that courage to be your true self.

You must take time off every day, even if only ten or fifteen minutes to review yourself, to return to yourself, to return to your realistic self image. You must admit your failures, but realize that they are part of the process of living. None of us is perfect; we dare not to deny ourselves the opportunity to improve.

As a part of your creative day, you must return to yourself and remember:

  1. That you can succeed in your future undertakings as you once did in the past.
  2. That in order to be true to yourself, you can correct mistakes and rise above your failures.
  3. That every day is a new lifetime and you have to start anew to reach your goal.
  4. That in such realization you become your own creator and plan the day for yourself positively.
  5.  That negative feelings take you away from yourself and make you less than you are.
  6. That every day you must fight negative feelings and struggle to arrive at self-fulfillment.
  7. That arrogance keeps you away from learning of how to be true to yourself, to be true to others and it keeps you away from GOD.
  8. That in returning to yourself you have the opportunity to profit from your mistakes. You can compassionately remove self-hatred and improve your self image.
  9. That with a strong self image you will never need to withdraw from life, and you can always be true to yourself.

Why is return to self a face of creative day?

Because when you feel this sense of inner strength, you can be true to yourself and you will not use any excuse to retreat from life.

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

 


Mind Concentration Is The Secret Of Strength

Mind concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.

Mind concentration can be cultivated. One can learn to exercise will power, discipline one’s body and train one’s mind.

The very essence of education is mind Concentration, not the collecting of facts.

Mind concentration is the first step in planning a creative day.  Concentration means taking our mind off many things and putting it on one thing at a time. Mind concentration offers a problem though, and that problem is how to clear our mind of all distracting factors. Can this be done? Yes, and with a simple approach.

First let’s divide up this matter of mind concentration into two categories:

1- There is a long term mind concentration, such as in dieting to lose weight. We have to concentrate our mind on this single goal over weeks and months, without swerving from it.

2- Then there is short term mind concertation; that we have to focus our mind on an immediate problem, such as leading a creative day.

Think of mind concentration in terms of a book or a play, with a beginning and an end. Thought must have a beginning and an end too. Therefore we know that there will be an end to our thought, an answer; and we can feel assured that by reaching that end we will be able to develop the mental muscles of concentration.

A letter must have a beginning and an ending. The difficult part about writing a letter is the act of sitting down and starting it. But when we began it, then the end is in sight. The same way goes for mind concentration, once we start to concentrate on what we want to do, then the end; the living of a creative day, is in sight. And anything that is in sight; well we are almost there already.

Concentration is vital to our well being. When we sweep out everything except the planning of a creative day, we take dead aim at our objectives.

Then the mind concentration will be as simple as this: the mere act of willing to begin.

Begin, try, and you have solved the problem of mind concentration. Accordingly the concentration implies courage, as you must be able to take off and plunge. You must feel a sense of alliance with your internal resources, your inner power, and your self image.

Mind concentration also implies liberation from negative feelings. You must free your self image to grow. Too often we enslave our thinking; we tie ourselves with self-critical abuse; we put chains on our thoughts; and we obstruct our feelings with walls of self-consciousness.

We influence ourselves with rationalizations; we dig up false reasons for our needless limitations; and we sentence ourselves to life imprisonment, where our only crime is a series of mistakes and blunders.

You must free yourself from such thinking which makes a shrinking of your self image, and helps you to come to an understanding of your strength.

People with a good and healthy self-esteem are able to feel good about themselves for who they are, appreciate their own worth, and take pride in their abilities and accomplishments. They also acknowledge that while they’re not perfect and have faults, those faults don’t play an overwhelming or irrationally large role in their lives or their own self-image.”

If you have really big problems with depression, negative thinking and heavy moods, they probably won’t go away without professional help. But if you want to tackle the problem by yourself, the best resource I’ve ever found by far is a book called Feeling Good, written by David D. Burns. If you really want to get rid of your negative thoughts, you first have to understand what they are, where they are coming from, the different types of negative thinking that exist and how to deal with them. You can find all the answers in the mentioned book.

Many historians feel that the late President John Kennedy will grow with the years, as intellectual measure his importance to the world and place him in real perspective. If so, surely it will be a reflection of his ability to concentrate his thinking and to free it from limitations. He encouraged imagination in political life and in international relations.

Our world may not be as vast in scope as President Kennedy’s was, before his tragic death, but it can be just as meaningful to us as his world was to him.

In order to live a creative day you must first of all be able to concentrate with courage.


Creative Day Starts Today

Creative day is motivated by desire to achieve. It starts by doing something which connect the seemingly unconnected.

Creative day summarized in the time you set aside each day to achieve your goal, ignore anything that makes you consider stopping.

To lead a creative day challenge yourself every day. Experience and curiosity drive you to make unexpected, offbeat connections. It is these nonlinear steps that often lead to the greatest work.

Creative day starts when we lose our fear of being wrong. Creative day starts today, not tomorrow, when we hope that all human problems will be solved in Utopian setting. It starts today with all its troubles and calamities; with all its joys and satisfactions.

Creative day starts today, with more and more people crowded into less and less space; with its racial hostilities and nuclear weapons.

Creative day starts today, with its skyscrapers, its machine shooting into outer space, and its huge glass fronted buildings.

Creative day starts today, with its search for new ideas and values, its existentialism, its Zen, its rush back toward religion, and its self questioning.

Creative day starts today, with its car-crowded superhighways, its traffic jams, water shortages, and crippling strikes.

Creative day starts today, with its increased psychological knowledge, its greater awareness of human motivation, its free exchange of ideas, and its righting of ancient wrongs.

This is the most imperfect world, true, but it has its virtues, and these are what we must strive to find. It is in today’s world that we must live; it is in today’s world that we must learn to lead a creative and good life. Forget about tomorrow; think about today.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” ― Albert Einstein

Let us make today a creative day; let us look to the day with objectives; let us regard the day as our opportunity. We must do everything we can to make each day a life in itself.

Every day we must fight off our negative feelings and negative forces in our world, to make that day a creative day, a happy day.

To live creatively means a creative day today. Then another good day, and another good day. One day at the time. We add up a succession of creative days, and we will have a creative life.

We will not achieve this creative day with our modern day mechanical marvels; they may help or hurt. We will achieve it if we can develop our emotional, spiritual, and thinking qualities. We will achieve this creative day if we understand what invisible qualities we need to face up to life successfully.

There are elven components and facts to lead a creative day which I will explain them in details in coming articles. These components are:

  1. Concentration
  2. Be true to yourself (Return to yourself)
  3. Listening to others (Having ears for others)
  4. Affirmation
  5. Self-Discipline
  6. Imagination
  7. Victory
  8. Eagerness
  9. Daily Growth
  10. Adjustment
  11. Yearning for Improvement

Just keep in mind that the person who lives creatively builds a feeling of strength in himself, accepts his failures compassionately, and projects his strength out into the world in the forms of goals toward which he directs his energies. He doesn’t coddle himself with vast amounts of leisure time, which end up by boring him.

He doesn’t place his faith in material things. Expensive automobiles or cloths or houses may be nice, but they are not basic. He refuses to find magic in the names of geographical localities with pleasant climates.

He starts his creative day by placing his faith in himself, accepting himself, and he feels no need to withdraw into a passive pattern. He lives each day with enjoyment and fills his hours with goals.

“If you are pursuing a creative life because you think it will bring you money and fame, just stop now. Anyone who pursues the life of the artist does it because he or she doesn’t know any other way to live.”

In short he starts his creative day with the eager goal-mindedness not with self-pity as he is too busy LIVING.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou

 


Finding Meaning in Life, Key to Satisfaction and Fulfilment

Meaning in life is found by finding your purpose in life.

To discover meaning in life, we have to find the meaning we give to life by the unfolding of our powers.

People from all walks of life share an inborn urge to find meaning in life; to discover direction and purpose in their existence.

This desire to find meaning in life appears to be as vital to our psychological development as eating to our biological continuity.

We all seek meaning in our lives and recognize meaning’s absence in lives characterized by boredom, dullness, isolation, and listless disengagement. But what is meaning in life? Is it distinctive, or reducible to other aims and conceptions? Is it a helpful category for thinking about good lives that are worth living? Is it sensible and coherent to want it in one’s life?

According to Viktor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor: “What man actually needs is not a tension less state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

Throughout our evolutionary journey, many of us spend a lot of time in the search of happiness. We attempt towards a goal more focused on a better paid job, greater status, or acquiring the latest possession, rather than spending our energy and time on things which can contribute more value and fulfillment to our lives.

“Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided.”

Although an unfulfilled life doesn’t mean an unhappy or unhealthy life, but lack of finding a meaning in life can create anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Finding fulfillment and meaning in life is more about giving to others, to the community, to the environment, and to the world.

By giving, and by finding purpose, we discover satisfaction and meaning in life, but not necessarily happiness, even though it can be a by-product. Finding a meaning in life gives us a purpose to go on despite life circumstances.

Meaning and fulfilment can be found in three activities as Viktor Frankl devised in his “meaning triangle“:

  1. Creative Self-Expression: Give something to the world through expressing your own creativity in some form, whether it be through art, music, writing, good deed.  By being self-expressed we let people see our spirit and true character; they will see the totality of who we are.  And sharing of one’s “self” fully is the ultimate in generosity and is vital for finding peace, happiness and meaning in life. It’s really the state of just being yourself. And it’s also what others refer to as the state of flow; that timeless state that we’re in where we are not really aware so much of what we’re doing, it’s more of a sense of being. We’re right there in the moment; we’re in the present moment, expressing naturally who we are. And what we’re really expressing is a state of joy and fulfilment.
  1. Experiencing the world through connection, nature, culture, spirituality: Viktor Frankl wrote, realizing that our lives has reason and purpose, will enable us to understand that we are fully responsible for our lives, and for continuing them. “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.””. Our Why gives us clarity, meaning and direction. It is a filter through which we can make decisions, every day, to bring our cause to life. A Why Statement is one sentence that captures our unique contribution and impact. The contribution is the real applicable part of our Why. The impact is the condition we wish to leave the people and world around us. Together, these two components provide a meaning in life for us and those we serve.
  1. Choosing the attitude toward inevitable situations or suffering: There’s not a single person in this world that can escape from suffering. There is always a time in one’s life that they have to face unpreventable painful situation. Often, the first thing we do in a crisis is to judge what, if anything, we can do to fix the problem. But what if it isn’t fixable?  In that case, the one kind of control we can apply is to change our attitude to this new reality.   Similar to the old saying of turning lemons into lemonade. As Viktor Frankl suggested: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms; to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Suffering comes when things change – a relationship ends, someone dies, we get fired from a job, illness attacks, a disaster happens.  Sadness introduces us to impermanence and so can help us learn to let go. By having the courage to touch our own pain and suffering, we start feeling empathy for the pain and suffering of others.  We begin to see that my suffering and your suffering are the same.  “If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.” ― Viktor Frankl

Remembering and thinking about the story of our lives, will help us to reflect back on what we have found joyful and meaningful. It can clarify the tasks which we have undertaken and have given us the most sense of meaning in life. And it may suggest further goals we might want to set for ourselves now.  These tasks can be in any realm; stories to write, children to care for, lessons to learn or teach, relationships to attend to, artistic ventures such as painting or sculpture, etc.  Meaning in life can be found in the very act of bearing witness to the events of our lives.  The most important thing is that these tasks feel meaningful to us to fulfil them.  It doesn’t matter what other people think of them. It is the knowledge that we’re born with an expiration date that drives our need for a sense of meaning in life to begin with.

As Joseph Campbell suggests: “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.”


The Truth About Lie

A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

A single lie discovered is enough to create doubt in every truth expressed.

If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.

We all know how difficult it is to trust someone again, who has lied to you before.  Trust is an important part of every relationship; and when we lie, even if we think others will never find out, we will create a barrier of hurt in our relationship. Unfortunately, when the other person finds out about our lie, and it usually is the case, it’s nearly impossible to trust again. And the damage that is done to our relationship may be irreparable.
Once we have told one lie, we may need a second lie to protect the first one, a third to protect the other two and so on. After a while our lies become so extreme that even we may have trouble keeping track of them, especially if we say a different set of lies for each person we encounter. Although most of us know this, but we still do it anyway.
Lies may appear to help us in the short term, but they harm us and others over the long haul. No matter how we might be adept at deception but we cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Fear of exposure leads us even more to self-protection, which becomes a vicious cycle. Just as our first cell duplicates itself to protect it from enemies, our ego covers up by producing more lies.  When the truth is our only solution, many of us are unable to make that transition.
Lying may seem simple and harmless at first, but just like any addiction, you’ll soon find yourself trapped and entangled more than you could have ever imagined.
Most people who lie daily have little or no awareness of how they can harm others, and they will likely keep doing it regardless. Their egos believe that their needs are more important than other’s needs, despite the fact that they are the same.
Honesty and dishonesty are learned in the home. And like everything else, children learn to lie from the people around them. Children get a lot of messages from their parents saying that lying is always bad, but at the same time they see their parents telling ‘white’ lies to make life easier.

A parent should lead by example and never lie. And when they are caught in a lie, they have to express remorse and regret for making a conscious decision to tell a lie.   Clear, understandable consequences for lying should be discussed with the child early on.
Parents are the most important role models for their children. When a child or adolescent lies, parents should take some time to have a serious talk and discuss the difference between make believe and reality, and lying and telling the truth. They should open an honest line of communication to find out exactly why the child chose to tell a lie, and to discuss alternatives to lying.
Young children often make up stories and tell tall tales. This is a normal activity because they enjoy hearing stories and making up stories for fun. These young children may blur the distinction between reality and fantasy.  This is probably more a result of an active imagination than an attempt to deliberately lie about something.
But an older child or adolescent may tell a lie to be self-serving, such as denying responsibility or to try and get out of a chore or task. This is when parents should respond to isolated instances of lying by talking with the youngster about the importance of truthfulness, honesty and trust.
There are some people who consider a lie to be acceptable in certain situations such as not telling a boyfriend or girlfriend the real reasons for breaking up because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. But this is deceiving other people because they think it serves their purposes in some way.
The big problem with lying is that it often drives one to continue his/her deceptions, and the result is that trust is shattered, reputations are damaged, and suspicion rules the day.
People lie because of countless reasons. They lie to make themselves look better. They lie to take the credit, to conceal their poor performances and mistakes, to divert the blame, to protect their reputations, and to deceive and manipulate others.
Regardless of the intention, the final results are the same.  “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Dishonesty and lies come in different ways and forms. There may be some people who tell lie by mistake without knowing the fact and they really believe in whatever they say. But there may be others who say lies showing no guilt or shame, knowing full well that they are deceiving others. Yet there may be others who say white lies, wishing to protect themselves or other people from the truth. Although some of these folks may have good intention, but it is all lying just the same.
As a general principle, people are always looking to see who they can trust and who they can’t. And if we refuse to lie at any circumstances, then we will be able to create lasting relationships of trust. This rule applies to all of our relationships whether it’s family, friends, or at work.
To be honest means that we do what we say we are going to do. It means that we believe in ourselves and in everything we perform. It means that we value ourselves enough not to ever live a lie. As the saying goes, “It’s simple. Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you.”
When we operate with complete integrity, what we say will be taken at face value, our intentions will be assumed honourable, and our handshake will be as good as a contract. Most importantly, we can take great pride in the standards that we have set for ourselves and sleep well at night knowing that our conscience is clear. As for others . . . just when they think they’re fooling the world, they’ll realize that they’re only fooling themselves. A promise is a promise after all!


Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment is seeking the solution rather than fixating on the problem.

Personal empowerment is taking control of our own life, setting goals, and making positive choices.

Personal empowerment is a collection of beliefs, actions and skills all working together to help you live a life that you design.
“What is empowerment? It’s not something bestowed on you. Empowerment comes from within.” – Mark Felling
At a basic level, the term ’empowerment’ simply means ‘becoming powerful’. Building personal empowerment involves reflecting on our personal values, skills and goals and being prepared to adjust our behaviour in order to achieve our goals.
Personal empowerment is about looking at who you are and becoming more aware of yourself as a unique individual.
Personal empowerment also means being aware that other people have their own set of values and goals which may be different to ours.
If you’ve ever been stuck in a rut of inertia before, you probably know the sense of helpless futility that takes over your life.  You want your life to change, but you feel powerless to do anything about it yourself.  You may find yourself constantly making plans to improve your life, but never quite getting around to taking action because it seems so intimidating.
Though taking action can intimidate and frighten you, it can also empower you!  If you learn to use it effectively, it can provide the fuel to keep you moving forward toward more fulfilling life circumstances.  When you do this, you realize that there was never anything to fear in the first place, and you’ll never get stuck again!
Below are three simple steps that show you how to get started:

  1. First, take some time to examine your life. Where are you now and where do you want to be? Be sure you understand that your life is the way it is right now because of your hesitation in taking action!  This is important, because you’ll understand the importance of moving forward no matter how anxious it makes you feel at first. Then, decide on one action to take to get the ball rolling.  Think about your life right now, and ask yourself which situations you want to change first.  You might choose your career, relationships, health, financial situation, or anything else that makes you feel powerless and stuck.  Then think about one simple action you can take to inspire some positive change.  It doesn’t have to be a huge action, just SOMETHING to start building momentum.
  2. Once you’ve decided on your action step, you’ll have to push yourself to take it no matter what!  This may seem incredibly difficult or even scary, but remember that most often the things you fear are not going to happen.  In fact, you may not even have a clear reason for feeling scared – you’re just afraid of the “unknown”.  Give yourself a pep talk or push yourself in any way you have to in order to move forward at least a little bit.  After you take that first step, be sure to let go of any expectations of the things that will happen because of it, and allow yourself to feel great simply because you did something about it!
  3. Repeat with the same step, and/or others.  Once you’ve taken one step forward, you’ll need to keep pushing yourself to take others.  Consider this:  Even if you take a hundred small steps in a month, you’ll be putting forth positive effort to make changes in your life, which cannot help but bring about better circumstances!

The good news is that taking action quickly begins to build momentum.Just as chronic non-action can create a cycle of negativity and stagnation over time, being proactive can create a positive cycle that continues to grow! It gets easier the more you do it, which eventually makes it seem almost effortless – and you continue to empower and strengthen yourself with every step you take.