Word #5 – Hope

So you checked all the options, you tried your best, you did everything you can and still it didn’t happen. The next thing you do is wait and hope because as Paulo Coelho stated in The Alchemistwhen you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.

The most common thing we do when we try to achieve something and doesn’t happen is to hope. We are trying to convince ourselves that we have tried everything within our power. But have we tried enough before giving everything up to hope? In most cases the answer is no and as Thomas Edison said “when you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t”.

So we cling to hope thinking that this is all we have left. And it’s easy to sit and hope for the best. But what happens when the universe doesn’t send anything back? That is the moment when we decide to stop hoping for the best, because too often the best just doesn’t happen…

And there are times when something extraordinary happens and suddenly best case scenarios seem possible and we start having hope again!

Seems like a vicious circle and I guess HOPE is LIFE!

Word #4 – Habit

On the most powerful words in our days. Habit is a subject which has been trending for quite a while now with many writers reminding us the importance of forming good habits as the secret to success and happiness.

According to Cambridge dictionary habit is “something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it”.  Oxford dictionary defines habit as “a settled or regular tendency of practice, especially one that is hard to give up”.

G.M. Adams in his book You Can states that “all life is but a set of habits”. It’s true that life is determined by factors we never fully notice: our habits… those automatic choices we make without even thinking at all. They affect us in every step of the way and they instantly guide us in taking the decisions we take.

They say there are good habits which when forming them can lead individuals to achieving great results in life. And there are the bad ones that we need to break.

V. Ranadive & K. Maney in their book The Two Second Advantage mention that you need 10000 hours of practice to learn a new skill and according to ancient ancestors “repetition is the mother of learning”. But why spending time in forming a habit or doing something repeatedly so you can master it when at you don’t even know if this habit will bring you closer to success or not?

There are no bad and good habits. In my opinion, habits are negative by definition. And even if we say there are good and bad habits, who determines which are the good or the bad ones? And what if we chose to form the wrong habits? Furthermore, learning to have good habits it’s not a guarantee that you will end up being successful. There is no time for forming habits.

I strongly believe that if there is passion and desire in achieving a goal every human being will do whatever it takes to get what they want. If we desire something  badly enough we will find the right way to get closer to it and the one thing that one will think less is to how to form habits to get us there. So, have a strong desire for what you want and it will surely happen. After all it’s all our head!

Word #3 – Time

And since we’ve been talking about time and its importance when it comes to sacrifices, this post will be about… what else? Time!

Time according to the dictionary is defined as “a continuous, measurable quantity in which events occur in a sequence proceedings from the past through the present to the future”.

Everyone experiences time differently, but when we think about it as we grow old it seems that time passes quickly. It feels as we want to do so many things, but time is not enough. It feels like life is not long enough to live all the experiences we’ve dreamt of.  Ancient philosopher Seneca on his  Stoic writings On the Shortness of Life explained that “life is long if you know how to use it” and I am sure he knew better.

The past belongs to the past. We can’t touch it, we can’t change it. What we all are concerned about is the future… we worry about it, we make lists and plans and try to predict it and we forget that our time is now, that life is happening now. But most of the times one thing is most likely to happen… when future reveals itself it will be completely different from what we have planned or imagined.

Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Nowargues that “time isn’t precious at all because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

So, ask yourself:

  • How do you spend your Now, just now?
  • Are you spending your Now wisely?
  • Are you doing now what you really want to do?
  • Are you spending your Now doing something that will make you a better human?
  • Are you spending your Now with the people that you want to have around you?
  • Is your Now making you happy?
  • Is your Now good enough right now, just in case there is no more Now?

Live now and experience as much as possible, because time is the only thing that never comes back and cannot be bought even if you had all the money in the world!

Word #2 – Sacrifice?

Would you? Would you sacrifice? Are you sure it’s worth it?

If not on a daily basis, at some points in our life we all have been at a crossroads, we all have had to take a decision on giving up something for something else more important. That’s life anyway… full of sacrifices!

When it comes to taking a decision on whether to sacrifice or not, we put everything into our head’s scales of justice and wait to see which side the scales will go. The scales will instantly calculate all costs, measure the benefits and come up with a result with the less possible risk for us in order to achieve what we want. The result is mainly based on our knowledge, experiences, thoughts and desires.

The only valuable thing that we would ever sacrifice in our life is time.

It’s what they say “it’s not about having time, it’s about making time”. We all have the same time to use within a day and certain tasks that we have to accomplish in order to come closer to success. Prioritisation of those tasks is key to making sure that we sacrifice as less time as possible on things of less importance. Time is the only thing that we all are running out, therefore we need to use it wisely. If we need to break down what we actually sacrifice because of our limited time, here a short list:

  • Personal Life… 

Personal life is related to our time and our priorities and it adds an emotional touch to it as it has to do with the relationships that we have with others (family members, partners, friends etc). We all are determined to achieve our goals and succeed; therefore we need to make sacrifices and changes in our personal lives, in our relationships and friendships. It’s us who suffer giving up on a night out because we need to spend that time working, it’s us who suffer not spending time with our family and loved ones because of certain responsibilities. M. Scott Peck analyses the subject of self-sacrifice in his book The Road Less Travelled and states that “whenever we think of ourselves as doing something for someone else, we are in some way denying our own responsibility.” It’s necessary to think of our needs first, however a simple compromise will make ourselves and the important people in our lives a lot happier.

  • Sleep…

There is this rewarding feeling that we get when we accomplish our tasks over the reduced amount of sleep. It’s true that a few more hours of sleep will not bring us closer to our dreams and goals and being awake is better than sleeping, living every single moment is better than missing it while staying longer in bed. Of course it’s important to get the necessary rest that our body needs, but sometimes losing sleep over an important task won’t cause any harm.

  • Desires…

Procrastination is one of the most discussed subjects nowadays and that is because in most cases we choose to give in to our immediate desires. We choose to fall for our temptations because in that given time they feel as the only right choice and it’s absolutely normal to feel this way. Too often though going after what it feels good means letting go what it is right. And when we realise what is right, in most cases it’s actually too late!

There are times that make the sacrifices worthwhile and there are times when everything feels like a sacrifice. And then there are sacrifices that we don’t even know why we are making them. Unfortunately, nothing in this life comes without a price and the toughest sacrifices are the ones we don’t see them coming. And sometimes those scales of justice might need calibration…

So here is a little piece of advice… before deciding what and how much you will sacrifice, better think first how much you are willing to lose.

Word #1 – Inspiration

Well, following the previous post, words can destroy if we won’t use them carefully but they can also inspire too.

According to the dictionary inspiration is defined as “someone or something that gives you ideas for doing something” (Online Cambridge Dictionary). It sounds really easy, but for someone to actually be inspired it takes a little more than that.

Inspiration is an essential tool of the mind and a fundamental way for creative thinking.  It awakens us to new possibilities and has the power to transform the way we perceive our capabilities. The inspired state makes us dream more and forms enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation which makes us find ways to bring us closer to our life goals. This state of mind that inspiration takes us to is also called “flow”, which is when we reach the state of optimal challenge as Daniel H. Pink explains in his book Drive.

But what or who is giving us the inspiration and how can we get into that flow state?  Although flow states, as S. Kotler and J. Wheal describe in their book Stealing Fire, are often triggered by physical activities and movement, they certainly can’t be found in our normal daily routine.

Here are some possible ways to get inspired:

  • Taking a break from the mundane and testing the uncommon
  • Listening to unfamiliar music
  • Trying some new food
  • Speaking to strangers
  • Traveling to new destinations
  • Surrounding yourself with people who have aims and goals

Some of us get motivated by listening to inspirational speakers.  We aspire to be like them, because they have achieved certain things in life and teach us how to be greater. We all have our heroes, but if we look closer they are regular people just like us. They are not special, they just constantly search to get inspired even by the little things and see the opportunities behind them.

When inspiration is activated it has a significant effect in life outcomes. It makes us feel so powerful and unstoppable that we can do anything, achieve everything and nothing can stop us. So if you have a bad day at work try to take another route home. The change of the scenery might lead you to other destinations!

The Power of Words

Everything starts with a word… it takes just one word to open a conversation, to initiate a  new relationship, to start writing a letter, a book or a blog…

This is how everything starts, with one word…

One word is enough to get into a deeper understanding of a topic, an idea or a concept. One word is enough to make someone happy, to make someone sad, to change someone’s day or to an extreme degree destroy a whole nation. Even so “Words, just sometimes, can set you free” as Matt Haig states in his book Reasons To Stay Alive.

Most of the time we, as imperfect human beings as we are, underestimate the power of the words we use. We express ourselves according to our personal thoughts, experiences and desires without thinking the impact that they might have on other people. Words are not just sounds, they do more than just passing information, they have a great power and they can create feelings.

Of course, we can’t always be right, we don’t always know if what we say has a positive or negative effect on someone else. What is more, we can’t control other people’s feelings and how they might react to what we say… There are times that we want to take back what we just said, press undo and start all over again. But there’s no undo button and words once spoken cannot be recalled. However, there is always something we can do and that is in the power we have to think twice and choose our words carefully.

Because just as everything starts with a word, everything can end the same way too.