Day #428: Satisfying others at your own detriment.

A couple of days ago I was in an interview with a lady who went to University to study Economics and was making career changes to work in media and advertising. I asked her how come she studied Economics and now she is interested in media and journalism? She told me she had to study Economics because her da wanted it. He was an economist and gave her no choice but to study Economics or he wouldn’t fund her tuition. To be honest, I didn’t know people still did this. While I was feeling sad for her that her dad forced her into studying something she didn’t really like, she told me, ‘ I didn’t know how to say no because I don’t want to offend my dad’. Now thinking about it, I realized perhaps I am not seeing the whole picture. I don’t understand why people work to satisfy other people even at their own detriment.

Sometimes we try to satisfy our parents, teachers, spouses and peers by walking a particular path in spite of the fact that our own inner GPS advises otherwise.  Then, not surprisingly, we wake up one day and we feel completely lost.  If you’re feeling a little lost now, its time to change course.

Life is too short to spend all your time trying to make everyone else happy.  Besides, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time anyway.  At some point, you’ve got to stop caring about what everyone else wants for you, and start actually living for yourself.

Make choices that take your mind, body, and soul into consideration.  You are the only person who knows what’s best for you.  It’s impossible for anyone else to know.  No matter how much you share with them, they are not connected to your deepest desires, intuition, hopes and dreams.  Always, ALWAYS listen to yourself and what you want first.

But what do I know? Perhaps might be wrong.

Day #427: “Promise Yourself” By Christian D. Larson

Christian D. Larson was an outstanding and highly influential early New Thought leader and teacher as well as a prolific writer of New Thought books who believed that people have tremendous latent powers, which could be harnessed for success with the proper attitude.

In his book: Your Forces and How to Use Them , Larson explores how our thoughts manifest our reality, and how you can learn to use the power of your own thoughts to create the reality you want. I want to share this little piece on how to deal with life and be happy titled ‘Promise Yourself’ here.

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”

Taken from Your Forces and How to Use Them

Day #426: Get comfortable with not knowing what other people think.

When I first started writing on this blog, I’d agonize over whether people would think what I was writing was good enough.  I desperately hoped they’d like it, and oftentimes I’d catch myself imagining they didn’t.  Then one day I realized how much energy I was wasting worrying about it.  So I’ve gradually learned to relax with simply not knowing.

Some problems in life, such as not knowing what others think of you, are not really meant to be resolved.  How people perceive you may have more to do with them than you anyway.  They may even like or dislike you simply because you’ve triggered an association in their minds by reminding them of someone they liked or disliked from their past, which has absolutely nothing to do with you.

So here’s a new mantra for you – say it, and then say it again: “This is my life, my choices, my mistakes and my lessons.  As long as I’m not hurting people, I need not worry what they think of me.”

Day #425:Having too many choices interferes with decision making.

Here in the 21st century where information moves at the speed of light and opportunities for innovation seem endless, we have an abundant array of choices when it comes to designing our lives and careers.  But sadly, an abundance of choice often leads to indecision, confusion and inaction.

Several business and marketing studies have shown that the more product choices a consumer is faced with, the less products they typically buy.  After all, narrowing down the best product from a pool of three choices is certainly a lot easier than narrowing down the best product from a pool of three hundred choices.  If the purchasing decision is tough to make, most people will just give up.

So if you’re selling a product line, keep it simple.  And if you’re trying to make a decision about something in your life, don’t waste all your time evaluating every last detail of every possible option.  Choose something that you think will work and give it a shot.  If it doesn’t work out, choose something else and keep pressing forward.

Day #424:Quotes from Meditations By Marcus Aurelius

In the final decade of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ life he wrote a series of personal philosophies intended for himself; these would later be published as Meditations. Some are quotes, most are prescriptions for self-improvement. Aurelius was a student of stoic philosophy. Stoicism deals with emotional intelligence, mind over matter, being tied to nature, and exercising philosophy through actions over words.

Meditations is repetitive of it’s central themes. Considering that this was essentially his notebook, he was most likely engaging in behavior modification through written affirmations.

Here are some my favorite quotes from the book.

1.“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

2.“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

3.“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

4.“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

5.“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you .“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” together,but do so with all your heart.”

6.“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

7.“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

8.“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

9.“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”

10.“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”

Day #423: Alain de Botton on What we Understand About Success

In his terrific 2009 TED talk , Alain de Botton offers a cursory look at what we think we understand about success. The whole talk itself is loaded with life lessons.

My favourite part is here below:

One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They’re sucked in from other people. And we also suck in messages from everything from the television to advertising to marketing, etcetera. These are hugely powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves.

What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.



Paul Graham, founder of Y-Combinator is one of the voices in the business world constantly preaching the gospel of doing what you love.In his fantastic 2006 article, How to Do What You Love ,he challenges the reader to never give in to doing work for the sake of work but to find something you truly love. The article is brilliant in its entirety, but the part I find of especial importance and urgency is his meditation on social validation and the false merit metric of “prestige”:

What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world.

Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.

Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself.

Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.

I suppose most of us grapple with this everyday. Seeking the approval of our peers and the prestige and recognition that comes with choosing a particular career path is not only tempting, it is what our society endorses. We must strive to not fall into this trap. We must chose to do what we love because we love it not because it gives us prestige but because it fulfills a deep yearning we have.