This morning I read:
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Chapter on Choices
Formula for getting lucky is:
Preparation (personal growth) +
Attitude (belief/mindset) +
Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) +
Action (Doing something about it) =
Money Trap – when the Tax Bill is due, but no funds are available.
In order to understand how all the money that had been earnt had slipped away, his accountant suggested do an exercise.
Track every penny you spend for 31 days.
All winners are trackers.
Track your life with the same intention.
Bring your goals within sight.
Start by establishing one new habit, for one week.
Give a date/time to the goal.
e.g. Start —–(x goal)—- on —–(y date)—–
Where x is your chosen goal and y is the date you commit to starting it by.
The CEO of a $100M Company walked through the floor, and congratulated staff. Net profits were up 30% following this change in culture. (i.e. staff felt more personally engaged, and wanted to do good work, so that one day, when walking around the floor the CEO might contgratulate them as well).
Darren’s assistant Kathleen who was on a salary of $40k was taught by Darren to start saving 1% of what she earned ($33/month). By the end of the year, she was saving upto 10% of her monthly salary.
By the end of year 2 she had grossed $100k with her $40k base. She then went on to start her own business, and when he bumped into her a few years later, she was making $250K/yr in sales, and had over $1M in assets. This all came about from the discipline of saving $33/month and the habit that instilled in her. That’s how powerful discipline, and commitment are.
The power of a compelling WHY.
If you have to walk between the top of two tall skyscraper type of buildings, you’d hesitate. But if one building was on fire, you would cross a plank of wood at the top of the two skyscrapers.
Book end your days.
Start and stop with consistency. Set schedules/routines into the start and end of your days, so that you can control how you feel at the start, and end of each day, and go to bed with the best frame of mind possible.
A water pump is really slow to produce water at the start, and might only give you a trickle of water, at the start, once water starts flowing. But once the pump is primed to capacity then the water keeps flowing effortlessly as long as you keep pumping the handle.
What thoughts/ideas/media are you letting into your mind. Just like a glass, if you fill the glass with dirty water, or clean water, the glass will take on the appearance of only that what you put in. However if you put into clean water, even a little bit of dirty water, then you’ll still dirty all the water. So what are you filling your mind with on a regular basis?
Media/News = garbage
All they cover is Crime, Violence, Negativity.
What’s influencing you?
Find a Peak Performance Partner.
Invest in Mentorship, develop your own board of advisors.
If you physically change your view, you change your perspective.
Darren Hardy bought the house of his dreams after sitting, watching the house from a distance, and admiring it on a regular basis.
If you plant an oak in a sapling pot, once the oak is root bound, it’s growth is limited. The Oak needs a great big space to become a mighty oak.
Create a positive environment to clear out clutter in your life.
Physical, psychic, every incompletion, every incomplete promise sucks life out of you.
Tolerate disrespect, otherwise you will get disrespected.
Make sure your environment is welcoming and supportive of your becoming, doing and performing at world class levels.
When you “hit the wall” you come face to face with your true inner character.
Do you push through the pain? and continue on? or crack up? like a walnut, and give up?
“There is a point in every race when a rider encounters his real opponenet and understands that it’s himself” Lance Armstrong.
Hitting the wall, Lou Heltz with his team who was losing 46-0 at half time, let the team know that they were picked for their endurance.
Mohammad Ali – when he made his comeback, knew that he would need to tire his opponent down before he could get a strike in himself.
Lance Armstrong – would attack ride his opponents during the torrential pouring rain.
they talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger and his famous “Cheating principle”.
Once you fatigued on perfect form, recruit supporting muscles to push harder.
Oprah Sept 2004, at the start of the new season, she gave away cars to all the guests in the audience.
When Darren Hardy proposed to his wife, he asked her Dad in Portugese, and got permission from all the brothers as well.
Do the unexpected.
Consume popular culture, and you’ll get the same results as the average people.
Instead of sending printed Xmas cards, Darren Hardy sends hand written Thanksgiving cards.
Branson built his career on the unexpected.
A friend of Darren Hardy’s was being interviewed for his dream job in Boston, whilst living in California. Darren suggested he go the extra mile for that interview, and he didn’t and didn’t get the job.
4 out of 5 people like the excess lengths that people go to.
Darren Hardy needed a congressman to sign some legislation, for a project to go through. He went through his network to reach the wife of the congressman. The legislation was signed by the following Tues. (The project related to helping impoverished kids in a school)
Find as many opportunities for “Wow” and the level and speed of your accomplishments will astonish you.. and everyone else around you…
It took me 1 hr 17mins to read the book, and write the notes this morning (Sunday 17th January 2016).
Date: Monday the 13th of January, 2014
Weight: 133.2 kg, 294lbs, or 21 stone
Height: 6ft 2 inches or 187cm
Percentage Bodyfat: 45.9%
Percentage Water: 40.6%
Percentage Muscle: 38.7%
Body Mass Index: 38.9
Basal Metabolic Resting Rate: 2592
Today, I’m publicly declaring my goal, to lose weight.
By December the 31st, of 2014, I will be 73kg (161lbs).
I will lose 60kg over the course of this next year.
That’s almost half of my existing current bodyweight. By aiming for a loss of 5kg/month, over 12 months, which averages out at around 1.25kg/week, I intend to do everything I can to eat less, move more, and get my body back into a state of health and balance.
I’m going to start off using the detailed Meal Plans that Drew Manning shares on his site, Fit2Fat2Fit.com, where he documented his 6 month journey into becoming obese, and then his 6 month journey from obese, back to health. He documented all the meals for each day, as well as workout and exercise, and movement plans for each day, so that it takes all the guesswork out of losing weight, and following a program, that you know is going to get you results.
I haven’t even started to read his book, but when I came across his website, seeing all the details he shares in terms of what he ate, and how he moved, I believe that I should be able to replicate his results, by adopting a strict program that mirrors his progress.
I’ll capture photo’s of everything that I’m eating, and document as often as I can my meals for the day, as well as any activity I undertake.
I’ve been losing weight, for the last few years, in a sporadic manner, and whilst I’ve had great success with using a Paleo diet to control and manage my illness, my compliance with it, wasn’t 100%, and I didn’t commit myself to weekly weigh in’s or public sharing of my daily food diaries, or exercise and activity logs. I’ve made the decision to log, and document as much as I can of my journey.
As someone who’s lived with a chronic physical condition (lymphoedema), I’ve been challenged whenever I attempt physical activities, or try to push myself further than my immune system can handle. This year, I’ve decided I’m not going to let my physical state, affect my attempts to keep pushing the envelope. By being as strict as possible with my diet, and being regimented in my exercise, and activity plans, I intend to pursue my goal, and log, and document the journey to both hold myself to public accountability to my friends, and peers, as well as help show other’s what’s possible, and how it can be done step by step.
I look forward to welcoming the new me, into 2015, and using this year, to finally get rid of the last bits of excess weight, that have always been a struggle to understand how to get rid of.
I have successfully used Juice Fasts, and relied heavily on Jason Vale’s work, advice, and philosophy to help me start the process of losing weight, and begin to be able to manage an active lifestyle. It’s been a while since I’ve used that knowledge and wisdom, but this time, no matter what happens in my life. Be it a tragedy, or a huge success. I’m going to stick to my diet, and routines, as rigidly as I can, in order to reach my state of balanced health.
I look forward to sharing the journey as it unfolds.
I’ll also be writing more about the various health/diet/nutrition perspectives that I’ve reviewed, examined and experienced. I’ll also share information about the many diets and lifestyles I’ve lived on, as well as sharing my understanding of health, and what creates it’s absence.
Expect lots more health, vitality, and diet, and nutrition related content during the coming year!
Have an amazing 2014!
Have you ever wondered what ‘Luck’ really is?
I had always imagined it’s something that some people are lucky, or blessed with. However, as I observe the repeated way in which some people create amazing, and spectacular lives, I came to realise that Luck favours those who go out there and expect it. It seems lucky people ‘expect’ to be lucky. Perhaps it is more a matter of mindset, and expectation, than pure coincidence, or chance.
Recently as I was exposed to two different definitions of ‘Luck’ on the same day, I decided I was going to capture that learning, and record it here, so that I can come back and reflect upon it, as well as to share it with others, as I reflect upon, and learn about consciously creating more Luck in my life.
I had always thought of Luck as an acronym: Labouring Under Correct Knowledge (I can’t remember where I picked that up, but it was from a book many many years ago!)
Lazo Freeman shared his definition, during a recent talk he gave:
LUCK = Location, Understanding, Connection, and Knowledge.
As some context, Lazo was talking to a small group of individuals getting ready to build their PT businesses, and was providing an introduction, designed to help people in building successful businesses helping people get fit, and achieve their health goals as personal trainers.
Then later that afternoon, my friend, and Elite Life Coach Tony Selimi, happened to share the details of how he creates luck.
I’ve shared his original post on creating Luck below. I really liked the way Tony dissected Luck into 12 constituent parts, and then shared in detail what he does to go about creating Luck.
Reflecting on the various different definitions of what Luck is, and knowing that we live in a vibratory universe, I think at the end of the analysis, my core belief is that Luck is fundamentally a frequency that exists within is. It’s activated when we remove our obstacles to receiving from the universe. We’re all destined for great luck, but only some of us ever get out of our own way, and manifest it, as effortlessly, as real masters of Luck do.
Having seen friends like Tony Selimi, Marilyn Devonish, or Maksoom Hussain manifest luck, and miracles in their everyday lives, I’ve come to the conclusion that gratitude, appreciation, expectation, and a sense of self-worth, and self deserving of the luck and miracles are all pre-requisites for attracting Luck into your life. Now I invite you to have a read of the detailed post below, written by Tony Selimi (republished from here with his permission).
If you’re looking for some help in creating more Luck in your life, get in touch with Tony, to schedule in a discovery session with him. If there’s one man I know capable of helping create more luck, magic, and happiness in your life, I can’t endorse Tony highly enough. I’ll be writing more about my experiences of working with Tony in a separate blog post soon. For now, I invite you to start adopting some of the practices below, and watch yourself start to get lucky in life in 2014!
“For most people Luck is thought to happen by chance; it’s not thought to be something you can plan for or obtain by intention. Some say luck is decided by our fates, or believe that some fortunate souls are mysteriously born under a lucky star.
At quick glance, it might look like there is truth to that. After all, some people’s lives overflow with abundance, vitality, successful careers, and loving relationships. Since I left the corporate world I have created a lot of luck in my life.
However, luck is not just a random event. Wikipedia defines luck as “a force that brings good fortune or adversity; a force that operates for or against an individual.” So, if luck is a force, you should be able to tap into it … at any time!
My good friend Farhan saw the luck that I was creating each day in Abadiania. The question my good friend Farhan asked me in the last 5 weeks being in Brasil was how do I do it? So I put the following together to help you all create more luck in 2014.
After a great deal of research and experimentation, I am here to tell you that there are ways in which you can tap into positive force and improve your luck. Indeed, luck is the product of our own mental focus and attitudes. Imagine now that by changing your focus, you can intentionally increase the amount of luck you experience in all areas of life.
1. Tune in to Your Gut
Nearly all of the lucky people I’ve met said they trust their intuition and pay close attention to their gut feelings. A good way to increase your ability to “hear” your gut is to empty your mind. Meditation is one way to effectively clear your mind and tune in to your gut. After all, it’s difficult to hear your intuitive self when your mind is overflowing with thoughts and to-do lists.
2. Face Your Fears
The only way to get beyond a fear is to march straight through it. Otherwise, you will either create a terribly long, circuitous route around it, or you will let your fear totally block your life path. If you hide from your fears, you are hiding from new opportunity that might be waiting for you. So stare down your fears and get back to your life.
3. Expect the best
It’s called the Pygmalion Effect: you get what you expect, and lucky people expect the best. They are certain that their future is going to be full of good fortune. And these expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies. Ask around and you’ll find that “lucky” and “unlucky” people have astoundingly different expectations.
4. Chant to Change Your Karma
You can open yourself up to the forces of positive luck by chanting a mantra. A mantra is a religious or mystical syllable, poem, word, or series of words that is chanted either aloud or silently. When chanted, mantras become vibrations that establish deep concentration in the chanting person. Chanting is, in one sense, the most ancient method of using affirmations to bring about changes in your life.
5. Be Curious
The more curious you are, the more available you will be to possibility and the “luckier” you will become. Open your eyes, look around, and ask questions. Assume nothing! Curiosity will lead you down roads that you might not otherwise have traveled. You just never know how you might bump into, what opportunity might present itself, or what positive change you will affect through your creative and curious mind.
6. Take Baby Steps
Success does not happen overnight. In truth, it takes a lot of work to move forward, and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. The best and most effective way to accomplish what you want, to stay open to the lucky forces of the universe, is to take your dreams one small baby step at a time.
7. Try It: Who Knows What Might Happen!
Two of the best ways to “be lucky” are to be willing to take calculated risks and to embrace unexpected opportunities. Try new things. Go new places. Don’t just do the things for which you know the eventual outcome. Stretch yourself. Go outside your comfort zone!
8. Visualize the Lucky
See yourself as a lucky person, someone who simply gets what they want. Visualize that your soul’s windows are open, fresh air is pouring in, and with it the positive energy of the universe. See yourself in detail. Experience the feelings of a “lucky” person. Take in every detail.
9. Ask for What You Want
It’s no accident that those who are lucky and get what they want, actually ask for it! Trust your desires and make requests without apology. Go for it! And if your request is turned down, consider the answer to be a temporary “no.” It’s okay to ask for what you want again, later, at a different time.
10. Stay Motivated
To get and stay lucky, you need to live from a place of ‘motivation.’ You’ll want to hang out with people who are on similar upward spiral tracks. Read books that inspire. (Might I humbly suggest, “A Path to Wisdom” that is due to be released Spring 2013, you can send me an e-mail email@example.com to be added to the pre-order and launch party list.)
11. Giving UP is NOT an Option
Clearly, the most successful and luckiest people are the ones who fail over and over again and do not give up. No, they learned from their failures; considered them merely feedback and they forged ahead. “Unlucky” people write themselves off. “Lucky” people keep on going!
12. Clear the Clutter
As I am decorating my kitchen today I am also clearing out the clutter from all the cupboards. Clutter can be anything that you no longer use, need, like, love, or appreciate. Clear it out of your path. I suspect that we all have too many possessions, unhealthy habits, antiquated beliefs, and old emotions that drain us. It is energizing, invigorating, and healing to free ourselves of clutter. Clear the way and invite good luck in! If you need some extra help, my friend Helen Sanderson is an expert in clearing your space, home, office and bring in new fresh energy.
And When All Else Fails…Get yourself a good luck charm; Mine is my John of God Triangle, my crystals, the Unicorn Ball. I highly recommend you find your own authentic lucky charm. And last, but finally not least, for those of you who are willing to take risks and go out on a limb, wear your clothing inside-out. I was taught this when I was a little boy in Macedonia, not that I did it on purpose though every time I did it I was told I am lucky. In time I became lucky, as you will read in my forthcoming book, through 5 major breakdowns I created 5 major breakthroughs.
All these superstitions are guaranteed to improve your luck – as well as receive attention and some stares from onlookers, for sure!
If you want to unleash your abundant self, get in touch, PM me and book yourself for a “Get Lucky” two hour coaching consultation starting tomorrow and see how you too can change your world around. ”
Be sure to leave in the comments below, your definitions of Luck, and how you go about creating Luck in your lives. Wishing you a most lucky 2014!!
As there are quite a few Birthday’s happening around me at the moment, it reminded me of a most awesome new birthday song that I had recently heard.
The traditional Happy Birthday song, has been around for the longest time. It’s a bit old, and a bit worn out. Whilst it’s familiar, and it’s used all the time, at Birthdays, I’m in agreement with Amae Love, that it’s time we had a new Birthday song. A birthday song that celebrates life. That is really an expression of happiness, joy, and genuine celebration of the person celebrating their birthday.
With that in mind, I’d like to share with you all a video of Amae Love singing her proposed replacement for the Birthday Song:
I also found this Bandcamp recording of her singing her version of the Birthday song which I thought was cool:
And this is a version of the Birthday song where they end up having some background music, and have a whole group of people joining in, and celebrating the new birthday song together
The second video was shared via Kickstarter, to fundraise the new Birthday song campaign (where they successfully raised enough funds to create the New Birthday Song video they wanted to produce).
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the final video they produced, but if you want to see it, you can watch the final video production of the new birthday song here:
(personally I prefer the second video on the page!)
As I was watching these videos, on YouTube, I stumbled across a performance by Nicole Pesce of the traditional Happy Birthday theme music, but played in the style of some of the great composers. If you enjoy listening to classical music, or fancy a laugh, I invite you to have a listen to the ‘Happy Birthday’ music, played in the style of Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Bach, and Mozart, as well as how Mozart might have played it when ‘really’ intoxicated! (very impressive indeed!) 😉
Feel free to spread the word, use and share the new alternative birthday theme song by Amae Love, or leave in the comments below details of any other alternative birthday songs/lyrics that you think serve a better celebration song, for when it’s somebody’s birthday.
Would you consider learning and singing this new song? Or do you prefer the existing ‘Birthday’ song.. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading around willpower, what it is, and how it affects us.
It turns out, we generally only have a very limited supply of it, and each day, we can potentially exhaust our daily supply of willpower.
We have ‘reserves’ of willpower, that we can build up over time, but once it’s all used up, then we have to either strengthen our willpower muscle, or use it in a more deliberate and conscious manner.
Most people don’t realise it, but making a decision requires effort. So much effort, that when you have to make a consecutive number of decisions, one after the other, it can really take a toll on your wellbeing. Decision fatigue, is the inevitable consequence of living in a society with multiple choices. Where everyone wants to provide you with the personalised, customised experience, but wants you to tell them what it should be, what your preferences are, and which choices you want to make.
Chatting recently with Hamlesh, it became clearer that actually, the fundamental challenge, or problem I face, is decision overload. I have so few consistent, daily habits and rituals that I live my life by, that everyday, I’m being forced to make decisions, and choices, at every step of the way. As I use up all my energy and my reserves on making mundane decisions, that genuinely don’t contribute or add anything of significant value to my day, I end up having some really fundamentally ‘down’ days. Days when there isn’t much happening in terms of forward progress. Days when I don’t feel the strength, or resilience to keep driving myself forward.
As I look back across my days, I realise that there are many many daily decisions that are really not at all important to me, and that I really don’t have to make, but that I end up making, through poor planning, lack of structure, and by not having daily consistent, recognisable habits and behaviours.
The daily rituals of my life, are at present unstructured, and undefined. I end up passing through a day falling into and out of habits more by chance, and circumstance, than through deliberate behaviour, and action.
It’s not for lack of trying. Believe me, I’ve been trying to re-establish structured behaviours, habits and routines for a while now. However, as I discovered during my recent Advanced Level 1 course with the IAC, Focus, and Prioritisation are my key challenges. I need to get better at choosing the activities, and prioritise what’s important, and which order I need to do things in, as I get that more automated, and habitual, I’ll be able to do more with less. I know that it’s just a matter of getting a few simple regular, structured habits/behaviours in place, and they’ll provide the framework, or scaffolding upon which I can build the rest of my life upon. All I need to do now, is discover and cultivate the most critical daily habits, that will form the foundation, or bedrock, of my daily life.
Once those are in place, the rest of my life will be able to be built on top of those foundations, being fully supported, and completely solid and deep in it’s roots. Just determining which habit I begin with, is the real challenge. Perhaps like so much else in life, we have to keep trying, and learning, until we figure out what works for us.
On that note, I’m going to prioritise my sleep now, get this blog post published, and then call it a night.
In the meantime, I would love to hear about what you have done to reduce the number of decisions you make each day? How have you simplified, or cut back in your life? What’s the results or consequences that you experience, of having discipline or leading a decision-less life?
Today, I was having a chat with a colleague about the nordic term/phrase for happiness at work:
It’s an interesting thought/idea/concept, to be happy at work. And that there is an actual word for the phrase, but only in the Nordic languages, makes for some interesting theories, about why they are the only culture who believe in it being possible to experience happiness at work.
There’s a great website that goes into more detail about what is Arbejdsglæde.
It was certainly intriguing today, as I reflected on how I almost always enjoy the work that I do. There has only ever been a few occasions, in a job, where I haven’t genuinely had fun doing it. Most times, the people are great, the work itself is stimulating, and given that I spend most of my waking hours in the office, or working, it’s important for me to be doing something I enjoy. It certainly helps if I have a natural or acquired talent in the skills I need for my work and it is so important to be working with people who are good company, and nice to be around.
The last thing I want, is to take a role where there is just constant stress, anxiety, or a general sense of malcontent in the office, between people, or even from management. Trust is critical, for me, in a role, as if you’re going to hire staff, you really need to trust them in what they’re doing, and be able to delegate to them, and let them do their jobs. Otherwise, there isn’t really any point in hiring a person, if you can’t trust them to do the work. And trust is such a key necessary measure for happiness, as I can’t imagine working somewhere where everyone is suspicious of each other, and no-one trusts anyone.
Whenever I’ve found myself in a role, where I’ve started to lose the ‘happiness’ in doing the work, I know that it’s time to move on. If work is too easy, or simple, then sometimes, it can seem monotonous. Equally, if the job is too difficult, or challenging, and you don’t have the right level of support that you need to develop your skills, then you probably won’t enjoy your role either.
That said, when you do find something you love work wise, and you enjoy the company of the people you work with, then perhaps you are also starting to experience some of that Arbejdsglæde at work.
I’d love to hear from you, do you enjoy yourself at work? Have you ever considered the possibility of doing work that you love? Or does that possibility just seem too removed, or remote to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below 😉
Had a fascinating conversation with my friend Tony Selimi recently, where we were discussing what really mattered.
It also started to distinguish for me those things that are really important for me, as an individual, and what may or may not be important for others, as well as a realisation that many of my deep seated beliefs, and perspectives on life really do shape me, at such a fundamental level.
As some context, I take the position, that fundamentally, nothing REALLY matters.
When we die, we don’t take any of what we have in this world with us, and so whilst it’s certainly more ‘pleasant’ to have the finer things in life, to live a richer experience with wealth, money and abundance, for me, none of those things are of any real consequence, in the ‘long’ term.. When I’m talking about long term, I refer to the life after death, and the subsequent result of what happens when we die, and take that into consideration when forming my perspective on the matter.
As a person who believes that we are not our bodies, that we are not just physical selves, but that we are a non-physical spirit, living a human experience, I believe that when our physical bodies die, that ‘essence’ that is ‘us’ lives on, and continues to exist. I’m happy to discuss, and describe in detail my beliefs around reality, life after death etc, at length, and will do in a different article, but for now, let’s just accept the premise that when our bodies cease to function, we go on to another place.
In my world view, and belief system, that ‘other place’ has a set of ‘brownie’ points, if you will, or a score keeping system, that measures the evolution, or progress of a given soul. Some call it Karma, others refer to it as the ‘day of judgement’ when all your deeds are weighed one against the other. In principle, I believe that a balance does exist, of some sort, and that fundamentally the purpose of our ‘lives’ is to stack the balance in our favour. That innate sense of helping others, of doing good for others, of doing something that helps someone else, all of those things stem, in my opinion, from an ‘inner knowing’ or guidance, that we exist for the purpose of something greater than ourselves.
If the objective of this or any given lifetime (presuming you subscribe to the belief of multiple lives), is to stack up all the good deeds in your favour, or to leave the world a little better than you found it, then for me the only thing that really ever matters is how you behave with others, and your environment. Perhaps I’m taking the Buddhist concept of detachment to an extreme, but genuinely, for me, I believe that the only thing that we have any control over, is how we behave, and how we think and how we act. Which means that making anything matter, that is outside of our control or influence is futile. Of course, we all desire to have fast cars, live in big homes, and have passionate partners, and loving children. (substitute those typical things that are normal to you and your peers to aspire towards).
But fundamentally, if we put our attention to something that we have no control over, and that we can’t actually influence in any direct manner, then we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
The only thing that you can control, or influence, is your thoughts and beliefs. If things happen, that aren’t ideal (accidents, deaths, murders, robberies, etc.) then you have a choice. You can choose to believe that the event served a purpose, had meaning, and presented you with an opportunity to learn and grow, or you can choose to feel as if you are a victim of circumstance.
Being a victim of circumstance, leaves you powerless, and completely at the mercy of the elements. I personally like to take the stance that I’m the recipient of everything that comes my way, and that each thing, good or bad, is just a learning opportunity. When I look at life, through the lens of learning, and growth, each experience presents the chance to grow, to demonstrate my growth, or to learn where my current limitations might exist.
In all those possibilities, the actual experience doesn’t in and of itself matter at all. As fundamentally, in my world view, the belief I choose to hold, is that all experiences are an opportunity to learn, and grow.
If I become attached to wealth, then I could become greedy, and negligent of the people around me. If I become dismissive of wealth, and cling to poverty then I could become attached to neediness, and a sense of low self worth, and low self esteem.
I believe, it’s entirely possible to live a rich, and fulfilling life without the attachments to things, people, places, or any particular outcome.. But in order to be detached as fully as possible, we need to make sure that what matters to us, is not what happens to us, or what we accomplish, but rather how we act, behave, and think in any given circumstance.
Of course, my family matter, my friends matter, and even the strangers I pass on the street matter. But regardless of who they are, I should be as loving, caring, kind and unconditional in my regard, in my behaviour, and in my respect for them.
I’m only acting from a place of deep respect, and gratitude towards the example of the other, because I know that they merely reflect a dimension of me. Something within me, that has been externalised.
My ideal perspective is one where I have absolutely no attachment to anything external to me, for then it means that I have no attachments internally either. That state of ‘complete’ detachment, for me, is akin to nirvana, boddhisatva, bliss, at one with reality, haquiqat, absolute truth, absolute unity. In that place, that I strive towards, everything I see, is a reflection of my inner being, and so to say that any one part of my inner being matters more than another, is to deny the complete integration of the entire of reality, with the essence of my being. But I shall share my perspective on the divine, and the essence of reality in another post.
For now, I want to end by saying that absolutely nothing matters, and in the same moment, absolutely everything matters. For I am everything, and nothing in the same instant.
I’d be interested to hear, what matters to you in life? and why?
Ramadan Kareem, Ramadan Mubarak, Happy Ramadan, Ramadan Greetings.. These, and variations of these greetings will have been shared across the globe over the last 24-48 hours, as the Muslim month of Ramadan begins.
With 23% of the world’s population identifying as Muslim, that’s about 1 in 5 people in the world that will be participating in the annual tradition of fasting.
As someone born into a Muslim family, I grew up with the tradition and practice of fasting, as a young child keeping ‘half’ day fasts, in my youth (really only not eating or drinking anything until lunch time), before being allowed to keep a ‘full’ fast on the weekends.. Gradually we were allowed to keep fasts during the weekdays, and eventually we started to fast the whole of Ramadan.
As a celebrated and special part of the year, I was brought up excited, and eager to fast each year. It was something that only the adults did, and as a child, keen to show our growing maturity we eagerly wanted to join in, and be like our elders, fasting for the whole month of Ramadan, observing the practice of abstaining from food, and water during the daylight hours.
I remember how fasting was a special time of year, as in the mornings, the whole family would wake up before sunrise, to eat something, before the fast of the day began, and then in the evening, we’d all gather, sometimes with relatives, cousins, and family friends, and break our fast together. and other times, we’d sneak a date into our mouths during lectures, classes, or whilst at work, drinking a bit of water with our dates, to break our fast, before stepping away from the desk, to properly eat something.
I’ve experienced fasting at University, away from everyone, and all alone, and after a few years, realising there were other Muslims at the uni, and that I didn’t have to observe the whole of Ramadan entirely on my own. I spent a Ramadan in Switzerland, in San Francisco, and in South Africa. Each time discovering different, and special traditions in each local area, as well as learning a little bit more about myself in each different country, surrounded by different communities of people.
When I was in San Francisco, I was staying with Bill and Lynne Twist, observing Ramadan in their home, and was priviledged to be able to share a Ramadan with them. It was a real pleasure, and a gift, for it was the first time that I had ever met friends, or people of any kind, for that matter, that weren’t Muslim, but observed the fast of Ramadan as diligently as any Muslim I knew, when it came to the abstinence of food and water. Their reason was that they chose to fast, in solidarity with the millions of Muslims around the world that were fasting.
That there will be people out there fasting, who barely have enough to eat, on a good day, and that there are people out there who may break their fasts, with water, and go to bed hungry makes me determined more than ever to do all I can to strive for creating a world where everyone has enough food to eat, that they don’t have to experience hunger, other than through choice, and abstinence.
I pray that this Ramadan be a blessed month for everyone of my family, friends, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and every member of my extended family, in the brotherhood of humanity. With each coming year, I pray that I’m able to contribute and make a difference in the lives of a few more families, and able to cleanse, and purify myself a little bit more, so that we each can share in the abundance of food, that exists on this planet.
Like my friends Bill and Lynne, who observe the monthly fast of Ramadan, for no reason, other than because they can, I extend an invitation to each of you reading this, to take up the practice of fasting. If you’re able to make the commitment, I invite you to spend the next lunar month, abstaining from food and water, alongside the many Muslims who will be fasting. I invite you to wake up before sunrise, and have a meal, ahead of Suhur (the start of the fast, and Fajr prayer time), and I invite you to break your fast at the time of Iftar (Sunset, or Maghrib prayer time). For those of you in London, you can find a timetable you can use here: http://www.salahtimes.com/uk/london/ramadan
If you do decide to observe the month of Ramadan and fast, then let me know, and let’s break our fast together. I’ll be happy to introduce you to the myriad of dimensions of fasting, not least the mental, and spiritual clarity that you get to experience when you start to spend less time eating, and more time reflecting on, and remembering your purpose for being alive, and rediscovering your relationship with your creator, or divine inspiration.
Basics of Ramadan:
No food, drink, or water, during daylight hours.
No physical intimacy with a spouse or partner during daylight hours.
No negative or degrading, or belittling thoughts about yourself, or anyone else.
No harsh words, rude manners, or obscene behaviour towards any others.
Be as kind, loving, generous, giving and nurturing as you can be to all the people and to yourself as you can be.
I look forward to sharing more of my experiences, and reflections, as this month progresses, and learning and hearing from those of you who are fasting alongside me, or joining me for the first time in the month of Ramadan.
Tags: Cousins, Daylight Hours, Elders, Family Friends, Fasting, Fasts, Kareem, Lunar Month, Lunch Time, Maturity, Month Of Ramadan, Mouths, Muslim Family, Muslim Ramadan, Muslims, Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak, Special Time, Time Of Year, Variations, Weekdays
It’s easy to make commitments for the New Year. It’s much harder to stick with them. Oftentimes, people use the new year to create ‘resolutions’ like going to the gym, or losing weight, and then fall off the wagon. For me New Years is about starting a new habit. Creating a new routine. And whilst the routine won’t be something I’m able to necessarily perfect in a single day, or by making the commitment, I know that through practice, and repetition, I’ll be able to form a new habit over this coming year. A habit which could serve me well in 2013. The habit of waking up at 5am each morning.
Through this habit, I intend to start perfecting my morning routine, and introducing a daily exercise habit back into my life.
Hat tip to Joel Gascoigne, and Steve Pavlina for sharing their tips, and advice on building habits, and starting new routines, along with Hamlesh Motah, for constantly reminding me of his 5am habit, those three have inspired me to make this commitment for the coming year.
Now it’s off to bed, to get that early start in 2013, and start the year off right.
What is failure? What does it mean to you?
Your answer to that question reveals more about how you think about yourself, and others than you might realise.
In the past, I had understood ‘failure’ in an exam, or test, to mean not getting a high enough grade. With regards to my health, and fitness, I used to think failure was not exercising regularly, and having lots of energy. With my mental state, I used to think of failure, as not being always peaceful, composed, relaxed, and mentally neutral.
Most importantly, I used to think that failure meant that I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, disciplined enough, or skilled enough to be able to reach a level of success, or accomplishment that would make me ‘happy’.
I hadn’t ‘failed’ or ‘succeeded’ in any significantly different manner than any other kid at the time. I was smart, regularly achieving top grades in my classes, and being in the top 3 students academically in each of my classes. I was physically active, always aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise each morning, and doing at least an hour of sports every other day. I ate a balanced diet, and had a physically fit body. But I wasn’t as good as the kids who were better than me. There was always someone who was just a little bit smarter, a little bit faster, a little bit stronger, had more endurance than me, or appeared to always succeed where I would ‘fail’.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was stuck in a ‘fixed’ mindset. Because of the level of ‘relative’ success that I accomplished, I was regularly congratulated, and praised for my ‘intelligence’, or ‘natural talent’, and so I thought that clearly I had to be smart. That naturally, I’m gifted, and that my ‘limits’ were in place, but that I had to do everything I could do be as good as I could. Ironically, in spite of being told how smart, and intelligent I was, I didn’t ever feel it inside. Things just seemed easy for me, and instead of going deeper into the subjects, or the disciplines that I found easy and effortless to study, I kept wanting to push myself further, to the edges of my limits. I wanted to get to that point where I could grow, and learn more, and develop further.
Enter Farhan at 16. As an accomplished ‘A’ Grade GCSE student, with everything going well for me, I switched to the IB Programme, instead of A’ Levels. Eager for a challenge, and drawn by a curious desire to study French, as well as focus on the Sciences and Maths subjects that I would need to follow my chosen passion of ‘technology’. (Chosen more by the people around me, than myself might I add). For once, I found myself at the bottom of the class. It didn’t help, that I transferred into the IB Classes a month into the term, after starting A’ Levels, and realising I wouldn’t be able to study the combination of subjects that I really wanted to. I was overworked, under prepared, and had to work as hard as I ever had, to just keep my head above water.
If I had thought I was smart before, now I was really failing. I was the dumbest kid in most of my classes. And in some of those classes, that was being kind. Then at University, if I couldn’t have felt dumb at the IB Level, I felt even dumber. Part of my challenge was that all the people I was studying with had a much deeper curiosity and interest in the subjects that we were studying. They had a much deeper and keener interest in what we studied. I realise now, that my real passions, and interest weren’t in pure Computer Science, and that really I did enjoy Business, and Psychology more than just the technical aspects of what makes a machine work. But most importantly, I was flunking big time. From being one of the proverbial ‘smart’ kids, I was now a bonafide dumb ass. I couldn’t figure the stuff out, even if I spent hours and hours looking at it, trying to make sense of it all. Of course I was too proud to ask anyone else for help, and even when I did, half the time it didn’t make any sense, and I still couldn’t understand, or make sense of it.
What I realise now, many years later, after much reflection, and having learnt about the distinction between the fixed mindset and the growth mindset, was that I was deeply entrenched at the time in a ‘fixed’ mindset. I saw myself as being of ‘fixed’ ability. Of being super smart and intelligent, and that I had a limited ability to grow, and become smarter. Heck, when I was younger, I felt so smart, I didn’t think anyone could be as smart as me, and then over time, as I stopped studying, trying, and learning, and growing, and started being surrounded by people more competent, more able, and more intelligent than me, I realised that I was actually quite dumb. Being the proud ‘smart’ person though, it was unbearable, failing to understand or comprehend high level programming concepts, getting numb at the theoretical principles in Computer Science, whilst having to implement obscure, conceptual programs, that appeared to have little or no basis in any practical ‘human’ applications of the knowledge. My mind just couldn’t get itself around the fact that clearly I wasn’t smart, I was dumb. Fortunately, I was able to hide behind that failure well. Because of course, when you fail from high enough up, it doesn’t look so bad. I graduated from University, got an Honours degree, and managed to leverage my language skills to land up in a high paying job in Switzerland, straight out of University. Result! Or so I thought.
But I couldn’t have been more miserable, or unhappy. I had stopped ‘studying’ which meant learning, or growing. I was working a job that I didn’t really have any significant passion or challenge from. I was increasing in weight, exercising next to nothing, and getting by on pretty much will power alone. Living alone, even though it was in a spacious 3 bedroom apartment, with views from the car park of the Jura mountains. I worked in Lausanne, sitting on the borders of Lake Geneva, with views of the Evian mountains. But for all intents and purposes, I was miserable, lonely, depressed, and morbidly obese, and getting ever more fatter. Whilst I had all the ‘material’ trappings of success, I didn’t feel like a successful person. Unless I spoke with friends and family, and then of course, I had to sell them on my ‘success’ and the ‘big life’, and all the perceptions of success that I could leverage, to make it sound like everything was perfect, and that life was great.
But I had failed. I had failed big time. I didn’t really love my work. The passion for learning was gone. There was no growth. Everything was stagnating, and eventually, it all came undone, when I tried too hard, to try to make a difference, to matter again. When I tried pushing the envelope at work, to take on more responsibility than my role had required of me, to try to be more helpful, than I needed to be. It turns out that German line managers prefer it if you do what your job is, not more, not less. A real shocker for me at the time, as I had been used to working in London, where as a temp, people used to appreciate me doing more not less. I had failed to learn about the cultural differences, of working in London, and Switzerland.
Fortunately, fast forward ten years, and I suddenly realise that actually I wasn’t a complete failure. I hadn’t reached my intellectual peak at 16, and I really wasn’t as smart, or as skilled as I could ever be. Having over time, forced myself to continue to try to grow, and develop into the person that I needed to become to succeed, I realised that actually, there are no limits to what we can become. With the right coaching, mentoring, teaching, and mindset, we can learn anything. We can become the best in any field, or any discipline, given enough practice, and training.
All of a sudden, every failure had become a stumbling block to growth. Whilst during the experience, of it, I had thought I had limited potential, that I was naturally at the end of my ability to grow and develop, I had kept trying, and gradually I had started to break through.
You see, super successful people ‘fail’ all the time. They fall down. They tumble. They make mistakes. They screw up. The difference is, they do it fast, frequently, and often. They ‘label’ failure as part of their growth. As part of their learning. They reflect on the experience, to learn from it, take what learnings they can, and then move on, letting go of their attachment to what happened, and any ‘negatives’ that don’t help or serve them in their growth.
Now that I understand that we are only as smart as our training, our studying, our coaching, or our mentoring, I embrace growth. Which in the past, I thought was failure. You see, growth can only occur, when you hit a limit. When you reach a boundary of yourself. When you come to the edge of your existing knowledge and experience, and experience something that you don’t know, that you don’t understand, that you couldn’t predict, and that you just couldn’t have considered or known was going to happen.
Failure means you’re growing. If you choose to learn from the experience, and make a change. Do something differently as a consequence of your experience. Most importantly, you can only grow, if you don’t attach your identity, or competence to your result. If you see ‘failure’ for what it truly is. Learning. Feedback. A result. Nothing more, nothing less.
I invite you to consider the possibility that perhaps there are no limits to your intelligence, competence, abilities, or skills.
With the best coach in the world, you would be guaranteed to succeed. If you don’t know how, or you don’t even think it’s possible, I invite you to consider what if it is possible? Just yesterday I learnt of a man, who completed the London Marathon at the age of 101 in 2011.[youtube http://youtu.be/gCY0Xx92YvQ]
It put me to shame, and at the same time, made me realise, I really have a lot to learn. I just need to find solutions, answers, and most importantly, I need to start asking the right questions.
So the next time you have a less than optimal result or an experience, don’t ask yourself why did I fail? Instead ask yourself what did I learn? and how can I grow from this experience?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on growth, learning, and your perceptions of failure in the comments below.