Word #15 – Compromise

Compromise is defined as “an intermediate state between conflicting alternatives reached by mutual concessions”.

A compromise is a sign of a successful negotiation, a situation when everybody wins or at least they feel like that. It’s when both parties leave the table feeling that they have won the battle. In other words, it is finding a way to “meet in the middle”.

In reality, when we compromise we don’t win any battle. Usually, we get something of what we want but not all of what we want. As Stephen R. Covey describes in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “compromise means 1+1=1½… A low form of Win/Win”.

When it comes to business, relationships with partners, family or friends we all make small compromises on a daily basis and as they say nothing comes without a price. What is important is to remember that when we decide to compromise we first need to calculate and appreciate the cost of what we are giving up and how much we are willing to lose.

There are times when we decide to compromise only because we fear change. A certain way of living, the usual habits and the comfort in everyday routines make change challenging and therefore compromise a convenient approach.

There are some elements, however, that we should keep unbroken. These are our core values, needs, wants and desires. It is when we start to compromise these essentials of who we are that make the cracks of a personal or professional relationship more obvious.

So, what are you going to do? Will you compromise for something that no longer serves you? Will you choose to settle for something that doesn’t make you happy only because it’s convenient? Will play you it safe or take the risk?

One thing I know is that happy people don’t settle. They look for new opportunities and take risks that put them out of their comfort zone… Because that’s where the magic happens!

Word #14 – Dream

Dream is defined as “a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep” and when we dream we “indulge fantasies about something greatly desired”.

In his book Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners, Freud defines the dream as “a sort of substitution for those emotional and intellectual trains of thought”.

Dreams can be symbolic, mysterious, confusing and prophetic and most of the time they leave us, dreamers, wondering what they mean and why they happened at that particular time of our life.

Freud and his supporters would say that a dream is the outlet of the subconscious and the repressed emotions and they believe that “every dream is a wish fulfilment”. Some others believe that dreams have fixed meanings that can be found in dictionaries of dream interpretation and there are others who would go with a more scientific approach, which suggests that those images in our dreams result from certain activity in our brain as it tries to “clean” itself in our sleep.

One thing that is impossible to have access to, is our unconscious mind. We don’t know what’s going on in there or how it works. It is also impossible to figure out why sometimes our dreams are so sweet that we never wish to wake up or why others they turn into nightmares and we wish we never slept at all.

Ultimately, the reality is nothing like we dream of. The reality is, more often than not, scarier than our worst nightmare and we have no choice but deal with it day in, day out. So, what do we do? Every night we catch ourselves going to bed wishing for a fresh dream to give us purpose to live, to make us become creative and to give us wings to fly away from our reality.

At the end of the day, what’s more important is to realise, in the face of everything, that the true dream is being able to dream at all!

 

Word #13 – Change

Change is defined as “an act or process through which something becomes different”. Change happens and things are not as they used to be. The ground beneath shifts a bit and your whole world is instantly transformed and looks completely different. There is no turning back and you can’t really do anything about it. Feels like almost as if you’re stuck and the future is looking at you in the eyes and you’re not sure whether you like what you see or not.

Most of the time you think that the big changes – the ones that transform your life – happen slowly. In reality, the serious stuff happens in an instant.  All it takes is one moment and one person to change your life forever. One moment that forces you to rethink everything you know and one person to alter your point of view, colour your thinking, shift your perspective and make you see what you’ve lost.

Change is a funny thing, don’t you think?

Nobody likes change and it is normal to resist and fight it.  At the end of the day, who wants to change the stable routine and the comfort of the old habits? As Stephen R. Covey explains in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People “people can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value”.

The reality is that you don’t resist doing something new or different — in other words, you don’t resist change. You resist doing what you or others think is wrong. But, who gets to determine what is right or wrong? Because when it’s real, you just can’t resist change and walk away.

Ancient Greek Heraklitus said that “change is the only constant thing”. How you experience and react to it… that is up you. You can choose to stand there trembling waiting for the something to happen or you can just step forward into the unknown thinking that it will be brilliant. It can feel like death or like a second chance in life. One thing is certain… when you don’t choose change, change chooses you.

Change is a funny thing…

Word #12 – Love

Love (noun)

  1. a strong feeling of affection
  2. a great interest and pleasure in something.

To be in love… It’s that feeling that you cannot really describe and is commonly known as “butterflies in the stomach” every time you meet that special someone. It’s the feeling that makes you draw hearts on every piece of paper and the constant smile that you have on your face without reason. It’s experiencing hundreds of small feelings – hope, inspiration, possibility, fear, anger, ecstasy, jealousy, hurt, obsession, joy – that you never quite experienced before in that way as if another half of life has been opened up to you.

A definition which in my view has the strongest impact is the one by M. Scott Peck in his book The Road Less Travelled. He defines love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”.

It’s simply showing someone the potential they don’t see in themselves, improving them, making them better in any way. Therefore, love is not a feeling but an action which derives from a committed and thoughtful decision.

Our attention is the number one requirement to show someone you love them and it is an act of will. When you love someone you give them if not all but a big part of your attention; you attend to that person’s growth. You take that extra step and go the extra mile without realising it, without feeling that is a burden or an extra weight that you have to carry. Your attention is given effortlessly and the more you contribute to someone’s spiritual growth the more you grow.

David Brooks in his book The Road to Character explains that “love eliminates the distiction betwen giving and receiving. Since the selves of the two lovers are intermingled, scrumbled and fused it feels more delicious to give to the beloved than to receive”.

They say self-love is a prerequisite to loving others. Carrie Bradsaw from Sex and the City said that “the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship that matters is the one that you have with yourself and if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous”!

When you love yourself you create your own definition for love in general. And love can be defined in as many ways as people are on this planet, because everyone feels it and experiences it in a different and a unique way. What is important is to know what it means to you. And as love is not something that you can really escape, “find what you love and let it kill you… For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover”. Charles Bukowski

Word #11 – Opportunity

Opportunity is defined as “a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something”. Some believe that opportunities are out there for us to grab them and there are others who think that we shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come to us, instead we should create them ourselves.

If we decide to sit and wait for the opportunity to come then the process is easy and the effort is limited to keeping our eyes and ears open in case it comes and knocks on our door. If we decide to create it then that’s another story… more interesting and more exciting!

One of the most important skills that is required in order to create our own opportunities is courage. And most of the time we find courage because there are some things in life that simply cannot be avoided. Those uncomfortable feelings that flood us when we have to make that first move are the ones that help us to step outside our comfort zone. And this is when we create the opportunity.

Usually shame controls most aspects of our behaviour, holding us back from doing what we want or what feels right at any given time. Our shame can rot us from the inside and kills us, because it’s always about who we believe we are. However, in the end we can’t hide and the body cannot lie as it sends out the right signals.

When opportunity is created and life forces us to do something impossible an explosion happens inside us. It makes us stronger, determined, confident and faster. We override fear and make the impossible possible. That’s when magic happens!

*Blog post dedicated to this special person who did not wait for it but created that Once-In-a-Lifetime opportunity for both of us. Thank you Fran.

Word #10 – Happiness

“Are you happy?” When was the last time you asked someone this question? Why do we forget to ask this question? Or better why do we avoid asking it?

First of all it is important to know what happiness is. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is “the state of well-being and contentment”. Ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle asks “what is this goal that is an end-in-itself?” and his answer to this is happiness.

Our happiness can be affected by such factors as our material circumstances, our place in society, and even our looks. If you look at it the way Eckhart Tolledescribes it in his book Stillness Speaks “your unhappiness ultimately arises not from circumstances of your life but from the conditioning of your mind”.

They usually say that happiness can be found in the little things. True, but real happiness is not in the accumulation of anything tangibleDale Carnegie stated in his book How To Win Friends And Influence People“it isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it”. I personally feel that happiness can be found in individual progress and in the process of finding purpose beyond oneself.

Achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort, and as they say things are a bit sour before they taste sweet. Carl Jung said “the word happiness would lose its meaning if it was not balanced by sadness”.

We all can find so many different definitions of hapiness in the dictionary, but what is important is to understand what it is and means to us personally. Being happy is a choice and no matter what the choice is always ours. 

Are you happy?

Word #9 – Loyalty

Sincerity is a great quality that one could possess, but in my eyes loyalty can take any kind of relationship onto a different level. It gives any kind of relationship a different dimension and opens up avenues for a clearer and more effective communication.

But what is loyalty? Loyalty is defined as “faithfulness to commitments or obligations”. It is commonly accepted that loyalty is an essential quality in any close relationship – personal or business. It feels good being loyal and it feels even better being on the “receiving end” of all that loyalty.

However, loyalty is often seen as a sacrifice. G. M. Adams mentions in his book You Can “Loyalty means sacrifice. But sacrifice means Success”. It is true that having to sacrifice can create negative feelings and a sense of obligation which make us most of the time do the opposite and cling even more to temptations. But rather than seeing loyalty as something that we “have to”, we need to see it as something we “get to”.

Loyalty leads to feelings of security which in turn leads to better understanding and the formation of deeper bonds with other people. It takes away the guilt and makes us feel proud for the right decisions we took, for the things we did not give in to.

But what’s more important is not the loyalty we have towards our relationships with other people, but more the one we have with our own self. To quote what someone close to me once said “Be loyal to yourself, who you are and what your strengths are. Stay close to those and life will get a whole lot better”.

Many of us spend more time being loyal to others and we often forget that we need to be loyal to ourselves. Remembering who we are, standing by our principles, sticking to our plans and going after what we want can unlock new levels of our confidence and can be the best mood lifter.

…Because loyalty is more than a word, it’s a way of life.

Word #8 – Sincerity

“Do you date others while dating me?” she asked. “No!” he replied. “You’re lying” she said. He knew that she was right, he also knew that he lied. “I’d never lie to you” he answered. It’s one of those typical relationship conversations when both people know, but sincerity is absent.

Sincerity- what a word! A very important person to me recently tried to describe it… “It’s worth more than money, it could replace ability and knowledge, it is the biggest test of character”. So true.

Sincerity is defined in the dictionary as “the absence of pretence, deceit or hypocrisy”. It’s one of those virtues that you’d wish more people to have.

But why do people lie? Why do they create so much stress around them and other people? People are afraid of what it might happen if they told the truth. We lie because the truth hurts. But no matter how hard we try to ignore or deny, eventually the truth comes out whether we like or not.  So what do you do then?              Don’t you feel bad when the true has reveiled itself? Wouldn’t it be better if we were sincere with each other in the first place? The truth about truth is that is hurts, so we lie.

If you ask me I’d say that sincerity gives a person another value, it attracts respect and appreciation and sets the basis of long lasting relationships. As George M. Adams states in his book You Can “lack in inability and knowledge are many times excused. But sincerity-never”. Be sincere.

Word #7 – Regret

If there was one and only one thing that you’d ever want to say to someone and never did what would that be? Have you regretted for not saying it? How does it feel to know that once you had the chance to say that and now you don’t?

The feeling that deluges us is REGRET and it is followed by that voice in our head asking constantly “what if”. “Regret is defined as a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviours. Regret is often a feeling of sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression, annoyance or guilt after one acts in a manner and later wishes not to have done so” (Wikipedia).

Of course the feeling of regret does not come only from the things we did not say or do but also from the things we said or did. Eckhart Tolle in his book Stillness Speaks probes the question “Do you carry feelings of guilt about something you did – or failed to do – in the past?”. His answer to this question is that “you acted according to your level of consciousness or rather unconsciousness at that time. If you had been more aware, more conscious, you would have acted differently”.

One thing is certain… we don’t have unlimited chances to have the things we want and nothing feels worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed our life forever.

And here is a little piece of advice: life is too short to wake up every morning with regrets. So, do or say what you consciously feels is right.

Did you regret?

Word #6 – Patience

It’s like the noise of an old door. It squeaks every time you open it when you enter the house and you close it behind you when you leave. And every time you remind yourself “I need to fix it” and leave it for tomorrow.

Old things, used by many different people who then moved on. They touched the door, they used it, they opened it and closed it several times, they tested its resistance in time and its patience. Just like we test other people’s patience and other people test ours.

Patience is a strange word. Strong. Appealing. Patience is a virtue and as Aristotle taught us “patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet”. Some of us have a lot of it inside and some of us not so much. In fact, you never know how much patience can someone hide in their soul.

How strong are these patient people for all they take in and never say anything? For all the time and space and air they give to others? They sit and watch others without saying anything. These people don’t waste their words. These people give chances, a first chance, a second chance, a third chance and they give time until others understand and take full responsibility of their actions. Fulton J. Sheen stated that “patience is not absence of action; rather it is timing. It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and the right way”.

How wise are these people? Wise until there is no patience left.

Like that old door. It will squeak and squeak until your patience is gone. Until you can’t stand that noise every time you leave and every time you enter the house.

And then you know… You have to oil it, get a new door or keep that door shut forever… Make sure your choice worth that patience!