Everyone Wants You to Succeed – How to Overcome a Victim Mentality
According to Wikipedia, Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case in the face of clear evidence of such circumstance.
There are a few distinctions that need to be made. Number 1, Victim Mentality is an acquired or developed trait. And number 2, it relies on attribution that is the process in which humans assign causes to their actions and behaviours.
It is further suggested that in the majority of cases people that have a victim mentality have been wrongly done by through no fault of their own. This leads to the creation of a universal victim mentality, those that constantly consider themselves to be a victim despite evidence that may suggests otherwise. (more…)
The Fly in the Ear of the Bull
In an interview I heard on the James Altucher Podcast, Yuval Noah Harari made this comment,
“In a way, a terrorist is like a fly that tries to destroy a china shop. The fly is so small and weak. It cannot move even a single teacup. So how does a fly destroy a china shop? The fly finds a bull, gets into the ear of the bull and starts buzzing. The bull becomes so enraged that it loses its temper and destroys the china shop. This is what happened in the middle east over the last 15 years,” Yuval said.
Since then I have found another story about a little fly and a bull. The moral of the story was about one’s self-perceived importance. When the fly attempted to get the bulls attention by buzzing in its ear and landing on it horn the bull simply said, “Little fly, I don’t care if you stay or leave. You are so tiny that your weight does not make any difference to me, so please be quiet and leave me alone.” (more…)
Numbing Emotions – We Cannot Target Specific Emotions
I listened to a great Ted Talk by Brene Brown recently titled The Power of Vulnerability. Amazing talk and to no surprise about the great benefits that can come from being vulnerable. More on vulnerability another day.
One thing that she said within her that talk that stood out and was so powerful was this, “We numb vulnerability. We are the most in debt, obese, addicted and over medicated adult cohort in US history. The problem is that we cannot selectively numb emotion.” (more…)
Seeking Change? Use The Minimal Viable Effort Approach
Minimal Viable Effort (MVE) is the minimal effort we can take to achieve the greatest possible outcome. Viable is the key word here.
This is a great way to approach not only change but anything we do in life. It aligns closely with Pareto’s principle or the 80/20 rule – I wrote an article on this sometime aback that you can review here.
First of all, minimal viable effort is not about doing things half-heartedly or simply with minimal effort. It is about achieving the best result without overwhelm, unnecessary effort or waste. (more…)
Powerful Questions That Will Impact How We Live Our Life
If we don’t pause and give ourselves space to ask and answer questions that matter, we may find ourselves living our life without great meaning or purpose. Questions have been the catalyst to my personal transformation and are the source and continually support for living a happy life.
These are a few questions that I ask in efforts to live with greater passion and purpose. There are more – if you haven’t yet please take time to download and review the questions in my Discover Your Why: Life Purpose Questionnaire, here.
I have recently read and reviewed two amazing books that research and address the power of asking questions. You can find the link to both reviews below and pick yourself up a copy of these book by using the amazon links provided. (more…)
In Failing We Strengthen
To fail is to be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal. Failing is tough. Life is tough! If we gave up every time we failed as we grew up how far would we get?
Every time we fail we actually strengthen. Every time we fall we learn how to get up again. Every time we fail we learn, we grow, we progress and in that we strengthen.
In learning to walk we fall many times. As an adult we walk without effort or conscious thought. A mindless action taken for granted. (more…)
The Thought, The Mind, The Influence, Our Reality
I am my reality. Understanding why we are the reality we live will enable us to summon the power to create the reality we desire. This is not supernatural phenomenon or mind tricks of a Jedi, this is the power our mind and body. The reality we live is an extension of the mind.
We are surrounded everywhere by stimulus in life. Whether that be the signboard we drive pass, the coffee we drink or the advice we receive from a friend. In every moment we are receiving signals from what exists in the external world.
These “things” generate our thoughts that become objects of the mind that form how we perceive our reality.
Where does thought arise from? Who is the thinker of the thought? No one knows the answer to this and I am not sure we need to know. This much we know. Thoughts arise within our brain through neural activity. I believe that this activity is stimulated by circumstance and the stimuli we experience.
If you see a bird fly past it may generate a thought. An argument at breakfast with your spouse will generate thoughts. Thoughts are never ending, always arising and outside our control but not outside our ability to influence.
New thoughts will come with new stimulus and circumstance. They will intertwine with past experience, knowledge and thought.
Thought has power to change our mood and how we feel. How we feel also affects the thoughts we have. Feelings are generated from stimuli and circumstance a cause of our senses and emotions. They raise thought that further influences how we feel. In greater awareness we have an ability to choose whether we react or respond to our thoughts.
If I were to cut myself I will bleed. If I were to be surprised without prior awareness I may jump or flinch in response. There is natural phenomenon that our bodies react to, however I believe that this does not affect our state of being. What affects our state of being is how we react to the thoughts that arise in the mind.
When we cut ourselves we will bleed but how we deal with what proceeds is entirely directed by our thought. The mind may react based on past experience to similar situations but how we respond we can choose. The response will be critical to our future responses becoming a benchmark for our reality.
We may cry in pain from shock or sight of blood. We may be angry, curse or become self-accusing. We may simply breath, remain calm, aware of the pain and blood yet present enough to focus on healing. Aware enough to pause, assess and react most suitable.
Being too reactive to the moment lessens our ability to experience the next moments. Responding appropriately allows us to move on to the next moments.
No matter how we feel in such circumstance the moment will never last, another moment will immediately follow. Time is not permanent. What will last is how we attach ourselves to that moment and carry it into other moments.
I believe that we are the creators of the suffering that exists within our life and therefore in charge of our happiness. We may not be able to control all natural reactions both in physical body and in mind but we can decide on how we want to be. It does not mean we need to manipulate our mind or thought. We just need to become more present and aware.
Pain assists us to focus our attention, our natural defence mechanism so we can protect ourselves for further injury or death. Pleasure we often take for granted. The feel the cool breeze or the sound of rain drops on the roof in a monsoon.
The feelings we once received from being, doing or having certain moments are neglected as such situations are common and familiar. The reason we are always in chase of new things to stimulate pleasurable feelings.
A practice of gratitude grounds us and makes us focus on and appreciate what is already available that makes us feel good. A focus on the pleasures of life can enrich our state of being. We don’t need more of anything to feel satisfied.
If the body senses are working, we can feel good. If the mind is aware we can appreciate these feelings. The reality we live is a matter of how we react or respond to the moments of life.
The pain or unpleasant experiences of life need not be pushed down or bottled but rather accepted, appreciated and understood without attachment. For they too will pass.
And the best way we can influence the thoughts that arise is by being mindful of the stimulus we expose ourselves to.
Negative stimulus will poison the mind creating negative thought. Positive stimulus will infect us with positive thought. Both will influence how we react and/or respond. Both will be either good or bad to the reality we live.
We may not be in control of what we think and when we think but we can influence the source of thought and be mindful of how we relate to and respond to thought.
Self-Acceptance, Self-Denial & What’s in Between
In efforts to continually improve myself I find myself cutting out much of what I use to do, what I use to have, what I use to think and even what I use to enjoy. At least for things I thought I enjoyed and perhaps I still would.
I am not sure if it’s in efforts of me seeking some kind of moral victory or if it truly is ambition just to do more what is good for me so I can live a better life.
This leaves me wondering and asking questions.
Are my recent behaviours and motivations driven out of an inability to accept myself and who I am?
Do I struggle to accept what is?
Are my acts that I believe to be bringing with them more good and less suffering in my life simply acts Self-denial and deprivation?
What is in between and is there balance?
I have recently read a book by David Brooks called The Road to Character. A fascinating and insightful read. It is left me thinking about my character, who I am and who I think I am, and what is most important to living a meaningful life.
In David’s book he defines character as a development of good moral qualities that comes by not avoiding one’s weaknesses or sufferings but approaching them head-on. I feel my journey over the last few years has been characterised by this focus on the ill-Self.
As a passionate “effectiveness” enthusiast, I have always been for focusing on one’s strengths over one’s weaknesses. Why focus on that which I may never improve that greatly?
It seems like a waste of energy considering that I could focus on making what I’m already good at significantly better. Besides there are others that can bring balance to me weaknesses.
However, what has been illuminated to me is that there is a difference between skill and character and while it can be effective to focus only on skill strengths, not weaknesses, character strength is built from a focus on character weakness. And for this reason one must continue to confront their Demons.
I am also a proponent of the idea that an amazing life is lived by walking our own journey and to do this we must rely on internal guidance and avoid external dictatorship. This includes dictatorship of the egoic mind that relies on external definition. A familiar belief of mine for those who consume my works.
The greater our character the greater our journey. Those that are driven by the external elements of life seek to only brush up on skill strength in order to direct them forward. In doing so they avoid facing their weaknesses with a belief that it may disrupt their effectiveness.
If one’s weaknesses are exposed this might mean the will be less able to persuade the external elements in favour of the direction in life they seek to progress. The development of deep character is neglected.
I believe character has more powerful influence over the flow of life than skill because skill requires alignment of external elements whereas character does not. Character allows one to adapt to all situations in life, skill may not.
For this reason, I believe we must focus on character, we must seek to improve our internal weaknesses and vulnerabilities and strengthen our moral qualities. Morals are principles of right and wrong behaviour. There are certain morals partial to us and individual morals that become our rules and beliefs on how our life will be best lived.
My morals for living life are created in part by what’s important, my why, and in part by what I feel I am obligated by being part of a collective whole. I wish to improve my thoughts, beliefs and behaviours as to what is ultimately good for my well-being and what I consider good for everything else. As I learn and experience more, these morals grow and seem to become ever more consuming.
Where does it stop?
When will I just accept my Self for who I am, blemishes and all?
And in righteous efforts of Self-improvement and character building what do I deprive myself of?
As I iron out my internally weaknesses and confront those inner battles I seem to destroy older behaviours. Most haven’t disappeared entirely and they may never, but they’ve lessened. Most behaviours weren’t conducive to living a moral life as I perceive it.
Much can be said about reducing the suffering in my life. As I aim for more happiness and realise that most of my suffering is Self-caused I have attempted to gain greater Self-control in attempt to reduce my cravings, a critical component of this “self-caused” suffering.
In such attempts I confront this sense of lacking in life. Thoughts that makes me feel as though perhaps I am missing out on some simple pleasures that maybe aren’t that bad in the grand scheme of life.
As I attempt to find more peace in life maybe I’m reducing my ambitions, desires and dreams. Things that I perceive will make my life greater but without can also find and be with great content.
While in one sense desires and dreams can create suffering, when motivated by external factors, they can also give one a greater sense of meaning in life.
While denying myself of guilty pleasures that may compliment my efforts to improve my character I wonder if these new thought, beliefs and behaviours are inclined to a life of passivity. And what is my real character and what is an extension of my outer pre-conditioned definition of Self.
The roads of both journeys lead to rewards that are highly uncertain and assumptive. While on the road driven by the external guidance of skill and ambition may bring about great success, it may not.
The journey that focuses on character building, soul searching and moral victories may also allow one to live more truly, with ease and happiness and in a sense achieve success, but it too may not.
For that reason, I think there must exist a place in-between both worlds.
If I can focus on character and inner peace by confronting my weaknesses I am sure that moral character will trump all other journeys in life available. At the same time being able to accept what is and who I am so that I don’t make a total sacrifice to what may bring joy today.
Thinking, saying and doing things that on the surface aren’t bad and do not break integrity of character, or cause unnecessary suffering for the sake of pleasure are okay?
These efforts continue to assist me in making better choices around my desires and dreams. Allowing me to act more appropriately, even when driven by external motivation or reward, that still aligns with moral qualities.
Perhaps then will I enjoy an ice-cream on a hot day without feeling guilty or like I am lacking while still being able to have enough Self-control that doesn’t take away from the joys of life but only assists to make them more profound.
Passion & Purpose in Overcoming Impatience & Developing Persistence
I am not a very patient man! Both a strength and weakness. I get bored with things that don’t seem to be going anywhere and easily frustrated and annoyed when I experience delay or face continuing problems that seem never ending.
This is why I sometimes like to play golf and sometimes I don’t. A test of my patience. I grew up in a very stimulating environment. Being the youngest of four boys and having most of what a young fellow could desire, there was never much quiet. At times I still found myself bored. Is this a condition caused from over stimulation and a reliance on external factors to keep me entertained? This might be the why of my impatience.
Waiting in lines is an issue for me. There needs to be a great reward to justify the time spent waiting in lines. There needs to be a great reward for waiting for anything in life. Sometimes I feel I have no choice and must bite the bullet and wait anyway. If the reward doesn’t complement the wait I can be quite disappointed.
The reward for waiting is often attached to some kind of experience or service. Seeking something that we believe will bring us greater pleasure or satisfaction in life. Conversely, we also spend time waiting to avoid a negative consequences or pain. Waiting seems like a bit of an unfair game.
Perseverance and persistence are strong traits. It is the willingness to continue along a course of action or opinion despite being faced with difficulty or delay. So this bears the question, if I lack patience, how can I remain persistent?
The piece to the puzzle is to have passion and purpose. When you have passion and purpose it is easier to persist. When you have a strong why or burning desire you will persevere. How important is the pleasure you seek or the pain you wish to avoid?
You fall for a girl or guy and so the chase begins. You relentlessly keep chasing them and even despite the countless rejections you may receive, you persist. The desire to be with this person is strong and so patience is overcome in favour of persistence. At least for a while, until the energy drains and you realise that perhaps your focus could be better utilised elsewhere, or you win the game.
Desire is the greatest supporter of persistence and perseverance. It will keep one patient even through adversity and challenge. It is what will get us out of bed with a willingness to achieve. It is our why.
When you find such desires, and there need only be a few, you will naturally find your patience towards other aspects of life decrease because anything that takes away your time, attention and energy from that you desire so strongly you will seek to avoid.
When waiting in that line, I will wait, I will deal with the delay if there is greater purpose to being there. If there is not, time is too precious and I will refrain.
When chasing your dreams patience is essential. You need to be persistent, you will need to persevere. You will need to get use to the idea of saying ‘no’ to those things that are not conducive to your dreams.
Do not abandon ship if on pursuit of your desires and in alignment with a why you find yourself no closer near the ultimate reward. Instead spend some time in contemplation and reflection. Is what you desire truly important? At the end of your life will it truly matter? Is it causing more pain then pleasure in pursuit? Is it allowing you to exist greatly now in the moment while also creating meaning and purpose in your life?
If it is important we will persist in pursuing what we desire. As equally in importance is the need to be present in the moment. Pursuit of anything that doesn’t allow enjoyment of the experience is pointless and may be the greatest sacrifice of living a meaningful life.
Sometimes when fronted with challenges and struggles we find ourselves digging a deeper hole. Don’t dig so deep that you can no longer see the light in life. Don’t be afraid to get out and start walking a new path. The happy existence is found in a journey that is continually seeking truth, discovering new and figuring things out.
Be patient and persistent towards all that you desire but avoid spending a life waiting in hope for things that may never come. The greatest sacrifice in life is the sacrifice of all that we have now in favour of cravings for a future that doesn’t yet exist.
Success in Life Come From Dedication Across All Disciplines
Continual commitment to improve across all areas of life is a desirable trait. It is what builds one’s character. It is in the actions that one discovers and evolves their why. It is the glue of life. It is the what gives us meaning, what assists us to remove suffering and raise happiness in life, it is the magic of life. Where does one focus their attention?
The truth is that any practices that assist us to grow and progress in life are beneficial. There are indeed thousands of practices that bring rise to the same or similar results. The practice you choose must be out of what is of priority for you in your life right now and also for what works for you in your current situation.
We are all different in nature and in nurture and for that reason not one rule applies to us all. What is critical is that we constantly seek to improve ourselves. A lack of focus or effort in regards to our personal development will be characterised by focus and effort given to areas of life that are not beneficial for one’s overall wellbeing. (more…)