Tag Archives: wisdom

Take the Bus

There is nothing more frustrating than running late for work, rushing out of the house, turning on to your street and getting stuck behind a school bus…

Something hit me as last week as I repeatedly stopped and watched that dreaded octagon fling open over and over, tacking on precious minutes to my commute during an already busy rush hour. Everything was going to be fine. It always is. There was no need to stress and ruin my morning over nothing.

In addition to this, I realized the importance of throwing up the stop sign and opening my door to a new lesson, a new experience whenever it chooses to present itself. With each struggle comes a new lesson and eventually comes strength. Never did I think a stressful morning would lead to seeing the world in a slightly different way, but it did. Train yourself to never let something control you and your mind to the point where you are blocking out positive things in your life. When you lack control, you will see the most insignificant of things start to control you and your happiness. Sometimes you just need to take the bus…

Wait.

Watch, listen, think, understand, learn.

Ride.

Watch, listen, think, understand, learn.

Teach.

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The Modern Day Samurai

Eastern philosophy and religion has always been something that interests me. The first book I read related to this way back when was the Tao of Pooh. At the time, I think I was in high school, I had no idea what the hell I was reading. It was really the first thing I had read that was phrased in a different way and wasn’t straight forward about the point trying to be proven. The best part was that there wasn’t only one point that a reader could take from any given lesson, it was up to the reader to take what they wanted.

I found that a lot of books about Eastern philosophy and religion were presented in a similar way. After the Tao of Pooh, I read the Tao Te Ching, which was even deeper. I’m sure I don’t understand even half of what’s going on in the book, but I do know that I was able to take some valuable lessons from it. Every time I go back and read some more, I feel like I take something new from it.

This book led me to the Art of War by Sun Tzu. I thought I didn’t understand these other books, but now I was really lost. I had no military experience, no real experience fighting of any kind. So to be honest, this one was lost on me for a while. I was looking for the lessons, but I was thinking way too literal and I just couldn’t’ find the application in my own life. Then, one day it slowly started to make sense to me. No, I was not a general planning for battle. But I was a student studying for a test. I was a college graduate prepping for an interview. I was a young professional working late to get ahead…for all intents and purposes, I was a general planning for battle.

Once this clicked in my head, I started to find a way to apply all of these war and battle references to my own life, to some degree. I started to think of myself as a sort of general, or samurai even. This is a way of thinking that has stuck with me for some time now, finding similarities between my life and that of a samurai. In some respects, I am the furthest thing from a samurai. When I look past some of the literal meaning – I’m not planning on cutting off anyone’s head or riding into battle on my horse anytime soon – I’ve found that I tend to live my life, and want to live my life, with the focus and determination like that of a modern day samurai. I eventually made my way to Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai. There are some great lessons in this book when broken down and applied to your life and your situation. I will no doubt be inspired many a time and reference this book in this blog in the future.

In short, when you are looking for lessons in your life, don’t take things too literal. Look past the literal meaning of things. Use your imagination and creativity to find a way to compare things to your own life. When you start to open your mind, who knows what you’re going to find.

Sharpen your sword and get ready for battle.


Always a Way

It is never a question of whether you can do something or not. The real question is how bad do you want it?

There are countless stories of people from every walk of life beating the odds and accomplishing something that no one, probably even themselves at times, thought they could accomplish. From cancer survivors to successful entrepreneurs to professional athletes, there are qualities that remain consistent.

Drive.

Determination.

A willingness to sacrifice.

A willingness to work hard.

These, of course, are only a few. A quick study or observance of anyone whom you find to be successful in life will easily reveal what’s necessary to become successful. Watch the actions of someone at work. Listen to a parent. Talk to a friend. Lessons can come from anywhere. Use these lessons to help you realize that anything is possible.

Never grow accustomed to losing and remember that if you “want something bad enough [you’ll] always find a way to get through.” – The Stones

Also check out Tim Ferriss’s blog. I recently found Tim’s blog and podcast and discovered that his approach is similar to the thoughts presented in this post. In his book, Tools of Titans, he discusses the different traits that have led to success in a wide array of industries and professions.

Never stop looking for the next lesson and those that have found success in life are a great source for it.


Comfort Zone

 

Chess Life

One of the hardest things to do in life is to step outside your comfort zone. We all like to be around people that we know well and do things that we’re very comfortable with. Being comfortable is a great feeling and one that you should be sure to enjoy when you have it. If we never stray from always seeking comfort, however, our growth will stagnate and over time, you will be less likely to accept new challenges. You will find yourself being comfortable, but never reaching your true potential. For some that is OK…for others, that is not an easy truth to accept. I tend to fall in the latter group.

Take time to reflect on your life and what you’ve accomplished to this point. Is that enough for you? Do you think you can achieve more? If you think you can, then you can. One way to start down the path of continued growth is to find ways of taking yourself out of your comfort zone. Seek new challenges at work and in your personal life. Doing new things will surely bring about fear, anxiety and a general feeling of being uncomfortable. As you learn more about these new experiences, however ,you will find that there is nothing to be afraid of. Knowledge overcomes fear and will lead to strength. In time, you will look back and be grateful that you accepted new challenges. You will realize that stepping out of your comfort zone has made you a stronger person, one that has overcome fear and replaced it with an excitement for becoming a better person in life.

“By deliberately putting yourself in situations where you have to face fear, you familiarize yourself with it and your anxiety grows less acute. The sensation of overcoming a deep-rooted fear in turn gives you confidence and presence of mind. The more conflicts and difficult situations you put yourself through, the more battle-tested your mind will be.” (Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War)

Ain’t nobody been where I’ve been…

They’re at a standstill…

I know that I ain’t got much time here…

Nas – “Let There Be Light”

 


Between the Pages

At one time or another, we have all felt lost.

The origins of stress in this world are countless. Personal struggles, tough relationships, career paths, illness…these only begin the list. We sometimes feel that we have to take on the world alone. In a sense, this is true. With everyone in this world dealing with their own set of problems, it is on you to deal with yours. To do this, attempt to reflect on your own life. Identify and break down each of the origins of stress to gain a better understanding of them. Continue what has worked in the past and change what has not. There is a reason some things do not work out in your life and it’s important to accept them and move on with your life. 

You cannot remain dwelling on endless games.

As you begin to understand more, unanswered and sometimes daunting questions will soon be answered. The lesson will be learned and over time, the student will become the teacher. Stress will begin to wane as you discover the true meaning behind the happenings in your life. This sometimes takes looking at your life from another perspective. Ask questions. Look beyond the things you see everyday.

You can find the world written between the pages.

Soon, you will realize that all along it was you that was able to break down your life into manageable pieces, understand the origins of your stress, become hungry for more wisdom and live a positive life. 

Ryan Egan – “Between the Pages”


Approach

Education is one of the most important things that we can seek in this world. An educated person will be well equipped for success in all areas of their personal and professional lives. As you become more educated, however, you are going to become more aware of the mistakes that people in your life are making. This may be something so trivial as the incorrect pronunciation of a word or something a bit more substantial, such as making a financial or professional decision that will likely lead to unwanted results.

It is natural to want to pass on some advice that you’ve learned from your own life experiences, but in order for your advice to be trusted and followed, it is essential that you find a proper way of educating someone without insulting or embarrassing them.

“By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?” (Hagakure)

If you take a direct approach and call out someone who is making a mistake, they will almost definitely take offense to your correction. Even worse, this approach taken in front of others will certainly embarrass the person. By finding an indirect way of providing the correct information, you will help the person realize the mistake they have already, or were about to, make. This lesson was one that Marcus Aurelius learned from the literary critic Alexander…

“Not to be constantly correcting people, and in particular not to jump on them whenever they make an error of usage or a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something, but just answer their question or add another example, or debate the issue itself (not their phrasing), or make some other contribution to the discussion – and insert the right expression, unobtrusively.” (Meditations)

my_approach_big

Life is all about your approach. Your ability to be trusted by your peers and seen as a true teacher, and leader, is no different.


Break The Law

It’s so easy to get used to what we do everyday, to get used to a routine.

Wake up.

Get ready. Commute. Work. Commute. Eat. Relax.

Go to sleep.

Repeat.

Sometimes we need to push ourselves to do something out of the norm, something that’s out of our daily routine. After you wake up, go out for a run before you get ready for work. Write down some thoughts that come to you while you’re working out. What I’ve found is that this is usually when I do my best thinking. The mind is fresh and it hasn’t yet been polluted with the stresses of the day. It may lead you to thinking more about your life and the lives of the people you love.

Are you really treating yourself and others the way you want to? 

It’s doing different things, maybe things that are typically out of your comfort zone, that start to provoke thinking differently. Maybe the situation I mentioned above is something you do everyday anyway, maybe it’s something you never do. What you should really start to think about is how you approach life and the things you find yourself doing all the time. Growth comes from doing something new and different, and that can only start with you. Know that it’s OK to do something out of the norm and “break the law” every now and then. Not in a literal sense, of course, but you probably wouldn’t have kept reading this blog if you thought of everything in a literal sense anyway…

Mac Miller – “Break The Law”


Things Happen

As much as we’d like it to, life is never going to slow down. It seems as though life even tends to speed up the older we get. When we’re children, responsibilities are typically limited. Of course, this can be drastically different for some, but the only real worry for a lot of children is finding the next game to play and having fun. I can remember the school days and years moving by a bit slower then than they do now.

As we grow older, the responsibilities start to pile up. We go to school and take jobs to better ourselves and provide for our families. We enter new relationships and start families of our own. We exercise and have hobbies to express our creative side and help us relax. We have good days and bad. Sometimes the stress starts to creep in and an overwhelming feeling of pressure develops, affecting not only us but our loved ones around us. We regret things and tell ourselves we will change. Whether we actually do or not depends on how dedicated we are to really changing our lives and the ways we react to the things that happen to us.

At the end of the day, this is life. Life is made up of these “things,” with our reactions to these “things” determining how successful we will be. You’re not alone because plenty of people out there are going through something very similar, although that seems hard to imagine sometimes. Someone out there is going through something similar and is struggling with it, just as you may be. Someone out there is also going through something similar, but has accepted and made their peace with it, and is moving on with a positive attitude to the next “thing” in their life. It’s important to remember that the stress we feel every so often, or even everyday, is something that everyone else in the world is feeling as well. In order to succeed and live a happy life, being able to accept our “things” and find peace is essential.

Clearly, this blog is a vessel used to do just this. For you, it may be going for a walk with your dog. It may be reading or writing. It can be anything, but it must be something you find yourself. Thinking about the “things” going on in  your life and how you’ve dealt with them is step one on a long journey.

Dawes – “Things Happen”


Discipline

Life is filled with distractions and excuses.

Before going to bed at night, you tell yourself you’re going to get in a workout at the gym before going to work the following morning. When you wake up, the snooze button on your alarm looks so tempting and you tell yourself a few more minutes and then you’ll get up. After waking up to the second alarm, you remember the nightly news said it would be quite a chilly morning and to watch out for snow and ice. One more snooze couldn’t hurt. Finally, you realize you’ll be late for work if you don’t get up now and you mosey on to the shower…that whole workout idea just wasn’t meant to be…

Upon your arrival to work, the first thing you see is a stack of papers on your desk and the “to do” notes you left for yourself from a lazy Friday. Today is definitely the day you get yourself caught up, but rather than digging in, you decide to log into your personal email and have a quick chat session with some friends that happen to be online. After this, it’s off to the kitchen to brew up some coffee and make your breakfast. On your way to and from the kitchen, there of course is some small talk with your colleagues. Once you finish up your breakfast and realize your a few minutes late for your first meeting of the day. Next, it’s lunch time. Then running out for a quick errand. One more meeting for the day…getting to all you said you would just wasn’t meant to be…

With your day just about complete, it’s finally time for the hobby you’ve been telling yourself you’d get back into to keep your mind on point and attempt to earn some extra cash on the side. Right after dinner, of course. But wait, the newest episode of your favorite show is on tv tonight! You can’t miss it…getting back to that hobby just wasn’t meant to be…but tomorrow is the perfect day!

I do these same things all the time, but have tried to realize that without focus and discipline, nothing will ever get done. Discipline is essential for success and without it, you will not continue to grow and better your life and the lives of those around you. Train yourself.

People here’s something that you should be considerin’

Things could turn bitter when you don’t use discipline

You might wake up the next day upset and in fear

Buggin out, yappin’ bout “How the f!@# did I get here?”

Gang Starr – “Discipline”


Bridges

Never burn a bridge.

Every bridge was built for a reason.

Art by Lena - "A New Day's Morning"

Art by Lena – “A New Day’s Morning”

 

The reason will reveal itself in time.