Peace Found in Objectivity

When was the last time you had a false perception about either a situation or a person? Situations like this are common as human beings, who are always looking to reason, draw conclusions and make up our own elaborate judgments for ourselves. Simply based on the look of someone, tone of voice, or wording in a text message, we can be given a negative impression of a situation.

These sorts of interpretations are due to the subjective nature of our mind. Mostly, I am sure this is an evolutionary trait which would have previously allowed for us to defend ourselves against the enemy in the wild. Now, as a more evolved species, it is the precise things that can cause us confusion in the wild and defense us from our truth.

I recently accidentally texted my co-worker “JK” following the exclamation, “Cute!” referring to the picture she sent me of her niece. I then quickly texted the correction, “Cute!*” again to hope she interpreted my “JK” as a mere slip of the finger. However, this got me thinking about how my co-worker could have interpreted this meaning without ever having known the real nature of the mistake.

My co-worker might had read that as a joke to imply her niece was in-fact not cute at all, which would have been a disaster. She also might have interpreted to be something I might have typed but accidentally send, resulting in the same rude and horrific interpretation. Or she might have found it to be the mistake it was.

Objectively, I believed her niece to be very cute, but expressed myself a bit improperly. If everyone was to only be able to think objectively, a mistake like this could be seen for what it was. Since we more often think subjectively about instances, we can draw various conclusions about the same, solidary event.

If we were all to think more objectively about situations, we would be able to find more peace with ourselves and the world. There are times I find myself questioning what seems to be almost everything and anything going on in my life. I judge whether or not it is good, bad, right, wrong, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, etc. By viewing things in life more objectively, we do not worry so much about what it good, bad, right, wrong what it means or doesn’t mean. Conversely, we focus only on what it is or what has happened without interpretation. Without this interpretation, our reactions can be pure, for they are not influenced by our own prompted thoughts or dwellings. We can see people, places and things for what they are and not for what we judge them to be.

If things feel like they are going well in the moment, let them continue free from judgment. Judgments can dilute the truth in the moment. The truth is what is actually occurring, while judgments are merely the interpretation of the truth, or in other words, the not-truth.

By allowing ourselves to experience the present free from judgments, we can find the truth in these moments more clearly, and see them for what they really are.

The clarity given to us when thinking objectively is a feeling of freedom. Freedom from attachment and excessive thoughts. We accept events things at face value, and recognize the moments when our mind wishes to judge them, but we know better.

This practice comes along with the practice of self-awareness. Try to be more aware of situations where you feel you are passing judgment on someone or something. Then question whether you are feeling this judgment because it is the truth of the situation, or is it your own conditionings, experiences and beliefs that have caused you to interpret this “truth” into something it is not. When we are able to be aware of why we are interpreting the truth for something it is not, it can bring us peace in being more accepting of situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Choice to be Free

I hear the sound of my heart bumping through my ears at the same pace as I feel it pulsate against the balls of my feet.

I stand there, still, free from judgment of myself as I know no one is watching.

“I am beautiful. I am smart. I am bold. I am loving. I am kind. I am caring,”

Mantras I repeat to myself as I am erectly planted with my stems to the ground.

I sway as if in a slight wind, as I feel my body shift weight to one side of my body to the other.

I love being here.

A feeling of calm engrosses me with the exhale of every breath.

If I can stand here alone free from judgment, why can’t I stand in a populated area all the same?

Why am I timid to speak up in a group but have the gusto for constant debates with myself?

Why can I dance alone in an empty yoga room but I am frozen in the presence of others?

Why?

To be free from judgment of ourselves is to be free.

To be accepting of ourselves—insecurities, thoughts, and fears—is to be free.

Do I wish to live a life of freedom and wander, or would I rather be bound by my own mind, shackled in a room which has been hoarded with insecurities, thoughts and fears blocking the door out.

What is the choice?

 

Change.

“ Live dangerously, take things as they come; dread naught, all will be well.” – Winston Churchill

The quote by Winston Churchill are truly words to live by when dealing with change.

There comes a time in everyone’s life where we experience change, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. At times we are in a place in our life when we might feel too comfortable, and are ready for a new challenge to take on. Or, perhaps there is a more unwelcomed, unpredictable change in which we cannot control. Regardless, our initial reactions to any change can be intimidating. By reframing change in our lives, we can move forward with positive disposition and excitement for a new beginning.

We can all relate to a time we have worked at a job for a number of years, and simply feel like we are not growing anymore. The decision to take on a new job, at a new company, with a new staff of people might frighten us to the point of discouragement from taking this action at all if we allow it. As human beings, we are instinctually programmed to protect ourselves from threat. Change can often trigger a threat response and cause this debilitating fear. We are then in control to respond to this fear. Are we going to allow fear to take over and remain comfortable where we are? Or will we embrace fear and take a leap of faith into a world of the unknown?

Conversely, other changes we have no control over and are oftentimes unwelcomed occurrences, such as a job firing, for example, to stick with the theme. Perhaps you are satisfied at a job, you feel motivated to work and feel you are continually developing, and suddenly, you are handed a pink slip for your departure from the company. Unexpected. Unpredictable. Yet, highly adaptable. Once again our choice in how we react comes into play. We can frame this occurrence as an opportunity or we can continue to sulk in the woe of a job had lost.

We will miss out on many growth opportunities in life if we do not embrace change, regardless if voluntary or involuntary. Personally, I am constantly reminded that we cannot predict the future as much as I would love to believe I have such a sixth sense. All we can do is go by intuition in the moment and taking a leap of faith into something that may or may not work out. Trust and faith in this change may just lead to a more rewarding outcome than you could have ever expected. Releasing ourselves from the anxieties of the future by remaining in the present and submitting to trust and faith can lead us through any change.

Comment with a recent experience you have had with change and how you have adapted!

What is My Intention For Today?

Take a moment to first ask yourself this question, and keep your answer in mind.

Recently I listened to an interview of Jay Shetty, who spend almost three years living as a monk. He has since been a public figure, promoting mindfulness and positivity, in short. During this interview Shetty says he begins his day with one question- “What is my intention for today?” The thought behind this question is to recognize what is the most important work for you to do today. Shetty encouraged us to focus on intention rather than what he calls the “weeds” or distractions that will inevitably come along with the day as well. The “weeds” represent the impurity of our true intention. In the example Shetty provided was his intention each day is to educate and inspire people. The weeds that get in the way of this pure intention is the money, the number of followers, and the fame that inadvertently comes along with it. Though it is easy to get caught up in these weeds, he focuses on this sole intention.

So, “What is my intention for today?”

As I ask myself this question, and my mind diverts to thinking about wish to accomplish professionally today. However, I interrupt this thought to reflect on my personal mantra—to be a source of peace and inspiration to all who surround me today. This begins to put my true intention into perspective. My true intention is to live out this very mantra. Initially, I believed my intention would be to close a sale and obtain a commission. But, this is not my intention for the today. Perhaps that is a personal goal I have for myself but it cannot be confused with being my intention. The lust for a royalty is a weed which may even distract me from executing this true intention.

What can possibly get me down or distract me if this is my sole intent? How can unsuccessful cold calls or a lull in a sales closing possibly get in the way of this? It cannot.

Focus on your true intention for today, and don’t let the weeds get in your way.

It’s Not “Not Having the Time”; It’s “Not Being a Priority”

How many times do we exclaim, “I just don’t have the time!” However, what we really mean to say is “This is not a priority I am willing to make time for.” Whether or not it is for valid reason, we prioritize time for the things at the top of our list and as a result other tasks fall on the back burner.

A classic example is “I don’t have time to go to the gym.” Now, maybe you don’t because you have to work early in the morning, you have to be up for the baby after work, you have to go to work and work through your lunch break, etc. so it is impossible to get to the gym. Ok, of course these are valid excuses as to why you may not be able to go, but this really just means the gym is not a priority, not that you don’t have the time. You know you can make the time for a task such as this but you choose not to because you can make use of that time for a more important task. And, there should be nothing to feel bad about because of that!

By viewing this common exclamation in this perspective, it allows for us to reflect on the way we are using our time and if we are in fact using it for our top priorities or if we are using it to watch another season of Game of Thrones. Applying this perspective to our everyday can help us be more productive with our time.

A personal example I can think of for myself is “Not having the time to make cold calls for real estate leads” at my part-time job as an agent. It is something I say often, but is this really true?

Well, I wake up around 4:00-5:00 am on a typical day, go to the gym, do a morning routine, go to my 7am-5pm job, take a 30 minute lunch break in the day and get out at 5pm.

Though most of my day is occupied at my job, it is still not that I “don’t have the time,” it is because my job is currently taking priority over my need to cold calls. Furthermore, after work at 5pm, I have this time until about 8pm free to make cold calls. However, I also have friends and family I want to spend time with after work. So what is the priority? To make the calls or to spend time with family and friends? This is the type of question we are really asking ourselves when we claim we “don’t have time.”

Think about how you use your time throughout the day to improve the way you are prioritizing for tasks.

 

Ask yourself:

What is most important for me to make time for today?

The Meaning Regardless of Answer:

I need to make time for X, and at the cost of not making time for X.

 

Perhaps you can improve the way you are prioritizing time, or maybe you can simply accept that you are using your time for priorities, but just inevitable at the expense of another non-priority task.

Not Sweating the Small Stuff

“The attention you give to action should be proportionate to its worth”- Marcus Aurelius

As we spin our wheels throughout the day, we can become overwhelmed by life in general. We rush to work, rush to school, and rush to make it to the post office before it closes. How much does all of this running around and energy spent on these worries mean at the end of the day? Did it mean you were going to lose your job if you were 5 minutes late? Did it mean you would flunk class if you missed the beginning part of a lecture? And would the post office not open again tomorrow or the next day or the next?

How much time do we spend on tasks that truly do not matter? And, furthermore, how much worrying do we do when we do not complete these tasks with perfection?

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Think about what is truly important to you in life. Then think about how much attention you give to these important things or people relative to the attention you give to trivial annoyances or tasks.

“The attention you give to action should be proportionate to its worth.” Marcus Aurelius is encouraging us to stop for a minute and observe our actions. I do not think that Marcus Aurelius is telling us to necessarily quit giving time to the tasks we do not enjoy doing, otherwise, many of us would no longer have a job and some of us may never shower again. Ew…

Anyway, what I believe Marcus Aurelius is trying to convey here is the importance of prioritization. There will always be tasks and jobs we do not wish to give time and attention to but it is our obligation. Still, the time and energy spent on these tasks should be lesser relative to the attention we give to what we define to be most important to us in life.

In my life, I can become frustrated with having the wrong size shoes delivered, having 18 of the 20 cold calls go to voicemail, or being stuck in traffic when I am already running late. Events I am sure all of us can relate to being consumed by in one why or another.

However, these small frustrations are worthless in the grand scheme of what is important to me in life. Big picture, do they get in the way of my family, my health and my relationships with my partner and friends? Possibly at a given time, but not in the long-run. Soooo, why sweat it? The reality is that you can return the shoes and get your money back, people will eventually pick up the phone and you will ultimately get to where you need to be even if it is late.

We are reminded that time is our only non-renewable resource, so why choose to spend it so frivolously?

Focus on the three things that are most important to you in life. What can you do differently to spend more time on what is important and less time on that of lesser importance?

Stop for a moment when you observe a feeling of worry. Then ask, why am I worried? And, finally, ask yourself, how important is this worry in my life? If this angst is not regarding the three things you listed to be most important in your life, FORGET IT. It is not worth it to sweat the small stuff.

 

Learning New Skills

“I suck.” “I’m not good at this.” “I should just quit now.”

These are all common phrases we tell to ourselves when we begin learning a new skill. This negative self-talk will definitely not help us improve, but it is sure to discourage us enough to quit.

Learning a new skill is one of the most exciting, yet challenging situations we can put ourselves in. Think back to when you were first learning to ride a bike. I am sure you fell numerous times, cried, felt discouraged and wanted to give up. After each of these falls, though you did not recognize it at the time, you were becoming a better rider. Fast-forward a few weeks and many falls later, I bet you were riding up and down the street like it was second-nature. How awesome!

We have to remember this experience and understand that learning ANY new skill is no different than learning to ride a bike. Though failure can be tough, know that even your failure is getting you closer mastering that skill!

As we grow older, many of us give up on developing our skills. We begin to believe we are too old to learn new things, and are not as willing to learn as we used to be as kids. Basically, any skill was a new skill to learn as a kid, from the basics of reading, writing and even tying our shoes. However, we were always excited when we finally accomplished these simple feats! Let’s embrace that same excitement as adults!

For example, I recently became a local real estate agent in my area. Initially, I believed I would only use my license for myself because I was not interested in getting into the sales side of real estate. As an introvert, I was convinced sales was a skill too far outside of my wheelhouse. I assumed it to be a skill it I could never be good at.

Eventually, I decided to take on the challenge of embracing the sales side of real estate, and see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill, the very skill I deemed impossible for me to learn, sales!

“Oh my! How could you ever step so far outside of your comfort zone, Alex!? You better come back!” my mind tries to convince me daily.

Though it is still early in this skill development, and I have already failed many times, I am excited to witness my progress come to fruition down the road no matter how long that road may be.

We must all understand that falling on your face only gives you the opportunity to get right back up! It is up to us to choose whether to stay down or keep going.

Take hold of the opportunities to learn a new skill when you get the chance! Maybe there is an Excel class or writing workshop at your place of work or local college that you can sign up for. It is never too late to learn something new! Get excited! Be patience! And watch ourselves grow. J