Humility

What does it mean to be humble? What is our perception of humility? Is it a trait that we admire or a vague term for associating with the weak? There is an extreme to this virtue. A person can debase themselves and lack self esteem or they can be puffed up with arrogance smothering out personalities around them. The goal is to have a balanced understanding of humility and not to think of ourselves more or less than we are, but have a genuine and authentic appreciation for who we are.

Being humble begins with taking up no more space than is necessary. That means physical space, emotional space, or space in conversation. Always seeking to get in the next word in conversation to talk about ourselves is a lack of humility. Arrogance will impede our ability to reflect inwardly and contemplate areas of character weakness them. A person with too much pride is at risk of becoming overly critical and diminishing the value of those around. Humility is understanding the way we are critical in others is actually an insecurity deeply rooted in our own subconscious. Because they are insecure, they will overlook the strengths and gifts of others, and will keep their position in the social hierarchy. A person with low self esteem that is too low, will withdraw under pressure and not enter into the space that is necessary. This can be problematic in relationships or work environments were conflict needs to be resolved. If issues are not addressed they can compound and become exponentially worse. Real humility has a balanced sense of self esteem and there is an authentic deeply rooted sense of value.

The true definition of a humble leader is a servant leader. Focus on putting the needs of others above yourself. Understand that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room and have to have all the knowledge. Invite others to voice their opinions and offer up solutions to solve problems. It takes humility to admit when you have made a mistake and communicate to others your weaknesses. Rather than focusing on the faults of others, take and alternative approach, and encourage the weaknesses they are struggling with. Focus on being compassionate, listen, and build trust with others by being empathetic to how they feel. Feeling less judged, others can warm up, relax and feel it is okay to be themselves. In a work environment, this will foster collaboration, moral, and creativity. Where are you on the spectrum of humility? Do you tend to be prideful or tend to have a timid low self esteem?

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Simplicity

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Ask yourself a question, what do you want versus what do you need? Take it a step farther, what do you desire? For what we desire will actually take hold of our lives and subconsciously start directing our path. Desires unfulfilled will stir within us anxiety, impatience, frustration, and potentially cause questionable behavior. We should liberate ourselves from enslavement to the material gratification. If the purpose of your life is to acquire more, then what purpose is that? The acquisition of more possessions, results in them possessing us. It takes a lot of time to service and maintain the things we acquire. Then we worry about the condition and the security of them.

There are many benefits to our culture and society. We have one the highest standard of living in the history of the world. However, there is an element of our culture that is in pursuit of material living. Some are immersed and consumed with the desire to acquire more. There is no end to our labor, for there is no limitation to what we want. Wealth can be just as problematic as poverty. Someone who lives in poverty may cling to the idea that money will solve all of their problems. Others who may bask in wealth can possibly become enslaved to the possessions they own. Causing paranoia, they may become threatened by the idea that others are out to get their money. We should not live such an austere and frugal life depriving ourselves of any and all material pleasures, for this stingy and self denial approach would constrict the enjoyment that we could experience. But, understand that postponing the endless pursuit will actually cultivate a spirit of liberation, as we are no longer bound to what we want next.

Rather, we should seek contentment with our lot and be satisfied with little. In a society that bombards us with commercials and advertisements, reminding us of what we don’t have, we must resist the urge to engage the material world. Focus on being grateful and enjoying what you already have attained, and not distracted with what you still lack. Continuously on the lookout for more stuff will only increase the appetite for more. While, that the only way to really satiate the desire is to starve it. Simplifying your life begins with acquiring less and then being satisfied with little. Once there, we will begin to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and begin to realize a greater understanding for our lives. Do you have a lot of clutter, debt, or possessions? Does this add to the complexity of your life, or does it increase the noise and distractions?

Perseverance

What does it take to persevere? In a time of discouragement and failure, where will you find the willpower to move forward? Success does not come easily and failure is guaranteed. When we fall on our faces embarrassed and humiliated, what then is the next step? What will the process look like in slowly regaining momentum forward? Developing perseverance takes practice, commitment, and perspective. We must understand the goal we have set out to accomplish and be 100 percent dedicated to following through.

It will take a lot of conscious effort to persevere. You can’t stop because of failure. Never give up. Figuring out what does not work is part of the refinement process in mastering a skill. When we come up short and fail, always remember to push ahead.  Be deliberate in moving forward. When met with defeat, change your perspective. This is a lesson in what we are doing wrong. When discouraged, take some time to collect your thoughts, and develop a new game plan. Then say to yourself, “1-2-3 GO!”. Launch with a new mindset of accomplishment. Do not abandon one path for another, for you may be closer to success than you realize. Resist the giving into discouragement and comparing yourself to others. We are on different paths writing different stories about our lives. Don’t get into a frantic hurry or desperate to finish the race. Progress will be slow and a lot of time will be required to finish what we set out to accomplish. Despite the delay or difficulty, we remain wavered in seeing something through to the end. The journey is part of the process. Relax and understand your journey will take time. Remain persist in your efforts to solve the problems that come across your path. Don’t lose site of the next step, by getting overwhelmed at the larger goal.

Persistence is an incredible asset and we must understand the obstacles in our way will not be removed until we learn how to work with them. The first attempts are not going to work. You will inevitably make catastrophic blunders and face defeat on a regular basis. This is where learning begins and provides the opportunity to evaluate our weak points. Exhaust every single option at your disposal. We must embrace these challenges to test our resolve, endurance, and determination. Yes, it will hurt. But, be ready and anticipate failure. This will diminish the blow when it occurs and build the foundation for resilience. Knowing that failure is inevitable will better prepare us for the occurrence. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn, for this is bringing knowledge, wisdom, and one step closer to success. We only truly fail when we do not evaluate and learn from our mistakes. This is the feedback we need to learn how to improve. How do you find the ability to move forward after failure? What are the methods you use to recover after a catastrophic mistake?

Silence: Necessary for the Soul

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Our external environment that surrounds us in convoluted with noise. The alarm wakes us up in the morning, the TV news during breakfast, the radio on our drive to work, elevator music up to the office, the phone ringing at work, etc. As we take our vacations, will fill them with one exciting event to the next, trying to soak up a month’s activities in a week, and rarely do we find the time to actually relax in silence. Distracting ourselves with noise has become a routine habit.

We should seek out times in our day and week to isolate into solitude. The pursuit of our lives should be to find silence. Our true identity is discovered when we seek solitude and that is the time for were we can search for our soul and develop its resolve. Only when there is a quiet peace is it possible to listen to the inner voice, and contemplate what has been antagonizing our inner stability. Silence is the source of where I soul begins to rejuvenate itself. This provides an opportunity for mental detoxification. Our mind has the liberty to be creative, find its inspiration, reflect on life, and get in touch with our sensitivity. When our soul is left unattended and neglected, it becomes afflicted and agitated. Silence generates peace, tranquility, and equanimity in our soul. Silence relieves stress and tension. Its where our soul finds rest and our emotions can stabilize to replenishes our mental resources. Her we can be mindful and focus on our muscle tension and relax. Silence has been proven to improve concentration and cultivate patience. Isolating and retreating from the noise is where we can begin to develop our value as we change our perspective on situations and evaluate our inner reality.

Fruits of silence are wisdom. Solomon Ibn Gabirol, “In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence; the second, listening; the third, remembering; the fourth, practicing; the fifth, teaching others”. We can be babbling fools always interjecting with something to say. Instead of foolishly leaping for the opportunity to speak, postpone the desire and this will result in others perception of our character more wise and disciplined. The nature of our character is to conduct ourselves as if though we were mute. Like any other skill, silence is a habit that can only be mastered through practice. We should be mindful of our tongue and keep vigilance over its speech. We can practice silence in conversation by listening. Often times we engage conversation to talk about ourselves. How does this conversation apply to me? What can I say about myself? Rather than waiting for the next opportunity to speak, think of an alternative question to that continue a conversation about the other individual. What are the noisy distractions in your life? Think about taking a noise fast for a week. What would be the result in your life? 

Fear: Raw Pile of Nerves

Often times we can be a raw pile of nerves. Freaking out can become a natural and instinctive reaction. Fear can debase us to an incompetent buffoon, cause us to impulsively react, and significantly debase our decision making process. Losing our control of keeping our nerves steady, control our emotions. Fear is debilitating, exhausting, and irrational. With an understanding of a stressful situation, fear will lose its power. In our relentless pursuit to improve ourselves, we must change our perspective to fear, and start practicing steadying our nerves.

With the exception of life threatening situations, there is an alternative to our fight, flight, or freeze reactions. I propose the concept that is being published in books and studied in universities across the country, “Embrace”. When our lazy incompetent boss unloads all of his work on us, during an already stressful day, how do you react? Remain silent and begrudgingly bear the responsibility of meeting new deadlines? Now, I would recommend communicating your limitations and setting a boundary. However, rather than grumble about taking on extra work, look for the opportunity. Maybe something new can be learned and will be a great opportunity to pad your resume. But when the inbox fills up with requests, the phone is ringing, there are now additional deadlines to meet, how will you respond? Fighting against the pressure in anger will only further contribute to the emotional exhaustion. Running away will only reinforce your incompetence and discourage us from taking on new challenges. Freezing will bring everything to a halt and leave you standing there without the answers.  Fear, it is the visceral reaction to these events the incapacitates us.

Don’t run away, don’t fight, and remain calm. You got this! From Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. When our mind spirals out of control into catastrophic thinking, that is a sign it’s time to take a break. Take some personal time and go for a walk. Come back, simplify the tasks into a list, and start one piece at a time. Without restructuring the assignments into manageable tasks, our thinking process will defeat us. Logic and reason will defeat fear. Becoming overwhelmed and stressed out shuts down our cognitive abilities to problem solve. We have to begin training our minds. If we do not practice, we will not succeed. Familiarity is easy to fix. Training becomes the authority, diminishes fear, and unfamiliarity. Work at catching your mind. How does fear affect you in the workplace? What are some identifying behaviors you display?

Adversarial Growth

Can we come out of tragedy with a better outlook on life? Is it possible to make a positive change? Is it possible to even be grateful to have gone through a devastating experience? Why is it that some people never recover from the emotional trauma of life? While others, may go through similar adversity, and come out ahead? In fact, they grow as a result. They take the life experience and positively change the lives of those around them. What contributes to this adversarial growth?

Events take place in our lives, they are bad, and that is the reality of the situation. In the aftermath of stressful and emotionally devastating experiences in life, if worked through correctly, we can come out on the other side a better person. Having more life experience and understanding, the wisdom learned can be profitable to support and teach those around us. The goal is to not let these events shape how we perceive our identity, but refine our character into maturity. Studies have shown a significant positive change in people who have persevered, learned, and grown from hardship. We become more compassionate and empathetic when comforting others in their own emotional trials. Having endured a great amount of suffering, patience is more easily accessible, when facing the little disruptions in our daily lives. When we see others in lost in the destitution of life, we now have a newfound desire to help. 

One thing to understand, is our limitations without relationships and support. The argument for growth through adversity will fall flat if we do not have others to affirm us, and at times, shoulder the weight of the boulders we are unable to carry. We are not to carry one another’s “back packs”. For that would just keep us enabled to be lazy. However, when faced with a life devastating event, the dimension of the back pack increase to the size of a boulder.

So what are the steps to growth? This requires an intense amount of personal work done with a qualified professional, or possibly a close and trusted relationship, who can break down the details of the event. There are a lot of variables to consider behind emotional loss. Trauma from neglect, abandonment, abuse, or a terrifying event, can have a devastating effect on our relationships and day to day lives. We need to get help and get educated. Secondly, it requires support. Whether is be family members or a therapy group, growth is not solely an individual process. A lot of encouragement and validation is required to complete the journey to healing. Lastly, we need to help others. What really completes the story is when we can liberate ourselves from the emotional loss and give back to others. This will cultivate a sense of purpose. How have you grown from your personal loss? Still struggling to make? Trying to find a break through?

Enthusiasm! Where Did It Go?

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Do you find yourself enthusiastically living every day to its fullest? Is there excitement in your life? Or do you find that anxiety, stress, and depression are wreaking havoc in your inner soul. So, what is it that can hinder us from finding enthusiasm in our daily lives? What is weighing you down? This requires us to take a journey inward to the inner soul. Our emotions can be a huge source of discouragement. Endlessly worrying about our daily lives, catastrophic thinking about our relationships, pressure from the jobs, stressing about the future can all lead to a diminished level of enthusiasm. Maybe you think you are not where you should be and are constantly comparing yourself to others in your social circle. Maybe you have a poor self image and low self worth. Is it the monotonous repetition of the daily grind? Underpaid, overworked, and stuck in a rut has us running on empty. Waking up everyday with no meaning to your life or no purpose will not foster a passionate attitude of excitement.

So, how is it that we find enthusiasm? It is not possible to try and convince yourself to be happy or wish enthusiasm upon your life. It starts by taking little steps. Identify what is holding you back and work to remove the impediments to enthusiasm. Rediscover old hobbies that have long been forgotten and neglected to be developed. If you find you are bored and need more excitement, learn something new. Take a class, join a club, or travel to a new destination. It’s possible you need to take an honest look into your relationships. Do you find yourself envious, and constantly compare yourself to others? Frequently scan social media and fall deeper into your loneliness? Maybe it’s time to find a more positive environment with like minded people that can provide the emotional support. Invest in the relationships that also have the capacity to invest in you. Begin to find opportunities to serve others. Making a difference in people’s lives can be extremely transforming and energizing. It can even be in the form of small random acts of kindness.

Lastly, if you lack adventure in you life, go do something fun! Go do something relaxing that rejuvenates the soul. If you are tired, burnt out, and overwhelmed on a daily basis, maybe it’s time to hit the brakes. Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. Lack of sleep and running on stress and caffeine can drain you. Be conscious of your diet, and infuse your meals with nutrient dense produce. Energy is contagious, positive or negative. If you are not excited about the experiences in your life, others won’t be able to share in any enjoyment in your life. Be excited for yourself. Celebrate your personal achievements and goals, regardless of how big or small the are. Are you able to identify what is draining the enthusiasm from your life? Please share below!