Day #275:Why Not You?

Why not you? Millions of people have lost their jobs, gotten behind on their bills. Many have gone through the embarrassment and shame of foreclosure or bankruptcy. And yet, they kept on fighting and got back on top again. Why not you?

Many have gone through difficult divorces or lost someone very close to them, through death. Yet, they got through the pain and overcame the grief. Why not you?

Everyday someone stops killing themselves with drugs or alcohol, then go on to live a meaningful and productive life. Why not you?

Today someone woke up and said, “I’ve had it”, then left an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, where they were miserable and dying inside. Why not you?

You have something special. You have GREATNESS within you! Happiness and abundance are your birthright. Everyday is your Super Bowl. Someone is going to win. Why not you?

– Les Brown

Day #274:Quotes From Abraham Maslow To Inspire Your Sunday

Every Sunday I try to find quotes that speak to me and inspire me and share them. Today I want to share 15 of my all time favourite quotes from one of the brilliant minds in the field of Psychology, Abraham Harold Maslow.

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. Maslow was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms. Enjoy.

 

1.“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” 

2.“If you deliberately set out to be less than you are capable, you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” 

3.“It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.” 

4.“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be” 

5.“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” 

6.“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” 

7.“I can feel guilty about the past,
Apprehensive about the future,but only in the present can I act.The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” 

8.“Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.” 

9.“It looks as if there were a single ultimate goal for mankind, a far goal toward which all persons strive. This is called variously by different authors self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health, individuation, autonomy, creativity, productivity, but they all agree that this amounts to realizing the potentialities of the person, that is to say, becoming fully human, everything that person can be.” 

10.“If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told the nearest land was a thousand miles away, I’d still swim. And I’d despise the one who gave up.” 

11.“Self-actualized people…live more in the real world of nature than in the man-made mass of concepts, abstractions, expectations, beliefs and stereotypes that most people confuse with the world.”

12.“It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.” 

13.“One’s only rival is one’s own potentialities. One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king.”

14.“The key question isn’t “What fosters creativity?” But why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might not be why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate?

We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle that anybody created anything.” 

15.“The sacred is in the ordinary…it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard…travel may be a flight from confronting the scared–this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” 

Day #273:Two Questions to Close the Greatness Gap

“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization… It refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming.” – Abraham Maslow

Throughout life, we will constantly be confronted with unfavorable encounters, negative energy, and necessary evils. In moments like these, I’ve discovered two questions that enable me to remain in integrity, at peace, full of purpose and joy, and in pursuit of greatness. They are:

1) What is the the one thing that if I stopped doing right now, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?

2) What is the one thing that if I started doing right now, would have the great positive impact on my life?

Mastering the daily practice of letting go of what no longer serves us and recommitting to what does is what separates those who exist at their highest potential and those who are striving to get there.

Our source of anxiety and unhappiness exists at the gap between what we’re capable of and what we’re actually doing. Therefore, our greatest opportunity in life is to ardently, courageously, and playfully close that gap—to practice and pursue greatness. The faster we do more of what we’re meant to do and less of what we’re not, the quicker we accelerate toward our highest potential.

Day #272:Helen Keller Writes to the NY Symphony Orchestra: ‘My Heart Almost Stood Still’

I recently came across a letter written by deaf-blind author Helen Keller to the NY Symphony Orchestra after ‘listening’ to them play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on the radio .I found it really inspiring and want to share.

On the evening of February 1st, 1924, the New York Symphony Orchestra played Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York, conducted by Walter Damrosch. Thankfully for those who couldn’t attend, the performance was broadcast live on the radio. A couple of days later, the orchestra received a stunning letter of thanks from the unlikeliest of sources: Helen Keller, a renowned author and activist who had been deaf and blind from a young age. It can be read below.

(Source: The Baton, Volumes 2-3, via Marcus Williams)

 

93 Seminole Avenue,
Forest Hills, L. I.,
February 2, 1924.

The New York Symphony Orchestra,
New York City.

Dear Friends:

I have the joy of being able to tell you that, though deaf and blind, I spent a glorious hour last night listening over the radio to Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.” I do not mean to say that I “heard” the music in the sense that other people heard it; and I do not know whether I can make you understand how it was possible for me to derive pleasure from the symphony. It was a great surprise to myself. I had been reading in my magazine for the blind of the happiness that the radio was bringing to the sightless everywhere. I was delighted to know that the blind had gained a new source of enjoyment; but I did not dream that I could have any part in their joy. Last night, when the family was listening to your wonderful rendering of the immortal symphony someone suggested that I put my hand on the receiver and see if I could get any of the vibrations. He unscrewed the cap, and I lightly touched the sensitive diaphragm. What was my amazement to discover that I could feel, not only the vibrations, but also the impassioned rhythm, the throb and the urge of the music! The intertwined and intermingling vibrations from different instruments enchanted me. I could actually distinguish the cornets, the roll of the drums, deep-toned violas and violins singing in exquisite unison. How the lovely speech of the violins flowed and plowed over the deepest tones of the other instruments! When the human voice leaped up trilling from the surge of harmony, I recognized them instantly as voices. I felt the chorus grow more exultant, more ecstatic, upcurving swift and flame-like, until my heart almost stood still. The women’s voices seemed an embodiment of all the angelic voices rushing in a harmonious flood of beautiful and inspiring sound. The great chorus throbbed against my fingers with poignant pause and flow. Then all the instruments and voices together burst forth—an ocean of heavenly vibration—and died away like winds when the atom is spent, ending in a delicate shower of sweet notes.

Of course, this was not “hearing” but I do know that the tones and harmonies conveyed to me moods of great beauty and majesty. I also sensed, or thought I did, the tender sounds of nature that sing into my hand—swaying reeds and winds and the murmur of streams. I have never been so enraptured before by a multitude of tone-vibrations.

As I listened, with darkness and melody, shadow and sound filling all the room, I could not help remembering that the great composer who poured forth such a flood of sweetness into the world was deaf like myself. I marvelled at the power of his quenchless spirit by which out of his pain he wrought such joy for others—and there I sat, feeling with my hand the magnificent symphony which broke like a sea upon the silent shores of his soul and mine.

Let me thank you warmly for all the delight which your beautiful music has brought to my household and to me. I want also to thank Station WEAF for the joy they are broadcasting in the world.

With kindest regards and best wishes, I am,

Sincerely yours,

(Signed)

HELEN KELLER

Day #271:Live for the question, Experience the answers

I often think about the difference between intellectualizing a concept and actually experiencing it. I think about how hearing something versus feeling something impacts how and why we make decisions.

For example: The little kid who you tell ten times not to put his hand on the stove hears you but it isn’t until he puts his hand on the stove and experiences the pain that he realizes not to do it again.

We learn by doing. Change becomes a priority, as the Heath brothers say, when we see, feel, and experience the pain point. No amount of telling someone what to do is necessarily going to spring them into action, at least not in a self-motivated and sustainable way.

Growing up, we hear a lot about what we should and should not do, what will or will not make us “successful,” how to lead a fulfilling life, and so on.

It’s always been in my nature to get curious and question what I’m told. I want to know the intentions and motivations behind the words. (It drives people around me crazy.)

When receiving advice, I always wondered (and still do)… is this person trying to keep me safe? Are they projecting their own past pain? Are their values aligned with mine? What are their motivations? What’s the quickest way for me to experience the lessons first-hand?

I believe the best way to learn is to live for the question and experience the answers — to go through the pain, to feel the trials and tribulations, to see the opportunity — so that you know what does and does not work well and feel right for you.

When I see something important that I want and I feel scared about it (which most important things I want have some level of fear attached to them), I usually dive fully in with my heart wide open.

I’ve discovered the best way for me to learn and realize what’s possible is by giving all my heart and soul, even if things don’t work out. It’s in the times that I fall short, or feel so overwhelmed that I can’t see the light, that I often learn the most about myself and what I’m capable of. It’s in times of despair and cloudiness that breakthroughs emerge. And what emerges is larger than hope—what emerges is clarity.

Clarity is all we’re ever looking for. Clarity on why we exist, clarity on the bigger picture, clarity on what we want, clarity on how we get it.

Clarity. Clarity. Clarity.

So how do we get clarity? We decide to go do something that sparks our curiosity. We take action toward a specific goal. We make mistakes. We experience the answers. We learn about ourselves. We keep making mistakes. We keep experiencing answers. We become far more confident and wise. We remember to stay present. We do the best we can. We keep going. 

Let me repeat: We. keep. going. 

Perseverance is what enables you to experience the answers of why you exist, what matters to you, and what on earth you are meant to be doing with your one special life.

Winston Churchill said that success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill is a smart man.

Keep going. Live for the question and give yourself the time and space to experience the answers.

Day #270:Act how you want to feel

A few years ago I heard a story about success and achievement that deeply resonated with me and has stuck with me since.

A speaker (I can’t remember who) was presenting in front of a room of Fortune 100 executives.

He asked the group: “How many of you achieved success over the last year? You experienced returns on investment and reached quarterly goals.”

Almost the entire room raised their hands.

He then asked the group: “How many of you feel successful in the work that you do?

Three people raised their hands.

Achieving success is not the same as feeling successful.

We think of achievement as doing and having, strategic plans and to-do lists.

But why do we do those things? We do those things because we are driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way.

Being > Doing > Having

The key then is to start with how we want to feel, and who we want to be.

How do you want to feel when you wake up in the morning? Start your day? Walk into your office? Reach that big, scary goal? See the person you love? Close your eyes and fall asleep?

Clarify how you want to feel, in every moment of every day, and build your life around that way of being.

Day #269:Quotes from Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

 

I have never read any of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s books and I wasn’t planning to read any of his books this month. However, when a friend recommended his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running to me, I couldn’t resist.

The book reads like a memoir and gives you a peak into Murakami’s life as a writer and runner. The book is interesting, inspiring and full of great insights. You will love it if you are a runner or if you are a fan of Murakami’s.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book.

1. “I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finger point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I’ve had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.”

 

2.“Quitting smoking was a symbolic gesture of farewell to the life I used to lead.”

 

3.“The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can’t be learned at school.”

 

4.“Sometimes, however, this sense of isolation, like acid spilling out of a bottle, can unconsciously eat away at a person’s heart and dissolve it. You could see it,too, as a kind of double-edged sword. It protects me, but at the same time steadily cuts away at me from the inside. I think in my own way I’m aware of this danger – probably through experience – and that’s why I’ve had to constantly keep my body in motion, in some cases pushing myself to the limit, in order to heal the loneliness I feel inside and to put it in perspective. Not as much as an intentional act, but as an instinctive reaction.”

 

5.“A sense of disappointment set in that all my hard work wasn’t paying off, that there was something obstructing me, like a door that was usually open suddenly slammed in my face.”

 

6.“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

 

7.“I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed — and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.”

 

8.“Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness.”

 

9.“Whether it’s good for anything or not, cool or totally uncool, in the final analysis what’s most important is what you can’t see but can feel in your heart. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts. But even activities that are fruitless don’t end up so.”

 

10.“I had to give it everything I had. If I failed, I could accept that. But I knew that if I did things halfheartedly and they didn’t work out, I’d always have regrets.”