Are You Negatively Influencing Your Children (or the Younger Generation) With Your Attitude?

 

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image by williammarlow

 

I recently wrote a post on medium, Let the Caterpillar Die, and shared it on various social media. It created bit of a discussion in one of the groups.

The post is about accepting life’s changes, letting go of the old so  you can embrace the new. The discussion included some comments which I find to be very negative outlook of life, of progress, of the human behaviour. 

The point one commenter made is valid, that the proof of our progress is in the weapons of mass destructions, famine, poverty, and greed. 

But is it all there is? 

Without progress, we would not be here, reaching out to each other across continents, communicating instantly. Without progress, we would not have the freedom to pursue the careers we want. Without progress, we would not be able to develop medicines that has prolonged life to the extent that most people live until they are 70. 

Yes, I am aware that the same opportunities are not available to everyone across the world. I am also aware that there is unthinkable amount of suffering in this world. 

But, I am also aware that there are more opportunities now than ever before. I am aware that there is much joy, kindness and hope to be found. 

None of us alone are going to solve all of humanity’s problems. I don’t believe they can ever be eradicated completely, because that would be utopia, which with the existence of free will is unlikely. But that is an article for another day.

The point I want to make today is this: if you choose to focus on everything that is wrong with the world, what kind of message are you passing onto your children? To the younger generation? Perhaps it would be something like this:

Just look how shit this world is, and shut up about your happy land. Never mind your cheeriness you young-non-cynical-idealist, just look at the starving children, and commiserate with us instead of trying to make things better in your small way. 

This is important, particular for people who don’t have children. You think you have no responsibility, because you are not raising a child. You are not passing down any values. But you are. If you are in a profession where you get to mentor or advise younger people, you are in that position. If you are using social media as a platform for your opinions, you are influencing people who may be of any age. Sure, you could say it’s not your responsibility. Well in that case, you are contributing to the shittiness of the world. 

What do you do when your child tells you they want to be a musician, or a writer, or a movie star? Do you tell them to be realistic, pick a career that can pay the bills, or do you tell them to follow their dreams?

What do you do when someone is enthusiastic about their plans to ace their exams, or start a new business? Do you tell them about chances of failure?

What do you do when someone is head over heels in love, and dreaming with open eyes? Do you tell them to be careful, and give them statistics of divorce? 

You cannot fix the world immediately. You cannot completely eliminate prejudices, unfairness, and sheer cruelty that exists. You cannot change every human heart. 

Therefore, don’t focus on what you cannot do. Focus instead on what you can do.

You can choose to be a better person. You can ensure that you never prejudice against someone because of their colour, race, or any part of their upbringing that they have no control over. You can ensure that you never treat someone with cruelty or unfairness. You can ensure that you deliberately don’t hurt people. You can ensure that you contribute positively in this world, in whatever way you can. You can make someone feel better with a genuine smile, or a heart-felt compliment.

There is enough cynicism in the world. There is enough negativity (watch any news channel). There is enough misery. 

Yes it is important to make people aware of the sufferings of others. But what’s more important is to take action that attempts to  balance the scales. You may not change the world, you may not help all the starving children, but if you influence one life, that is enough. 

That is what great teachers and mentors (parents, writers, leaders in their  fields etc.) have done through centuries. They may not have changed the world themselves, but they have influenced those who do. 

Who are you going to be? 

Are you going to be a person that influences the next generation to be more cynical and negative, or are you going to be a person who tells them to go for their dreams and make this world a better place?

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Pay attention to your current attitude. How much negativity comes out of your mouth? How are you unintentionally influencing your children or the people around you?

Do you think you need to change? How? 

 

 

My New Book & List of Winners

 

 

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On Kaizen Journaling’s second birthday I made an announcement about publishing an e-book. Well, folks, it’s available now on Amazon (worldwide) with its shiny new cover art.  :-)

I also said that everyone whose entry I include in the book will receive a free  copy. 

Here are the FOUR awesome winners:

Rena Tucker
Kate
Bakari Chavanu
Susan Godwin

I will email each of you with your free copy within the next 48 hours. 

 

Please show some love, and spread the word about this book. If you do buy it (or in the case of the winners, use it) please show some review love on Amazon. 

Thank you so much guys! All this is possible because of you!

 

 

Should You Follow Your Dreams or Your Heart?

 

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image by epsos

 

People often talk about following their hearts and following their dreams interchangeably. But, what if you have too many dreams? What if some of those dreams are incompatible? What if your dreams change as you grow and your life changes?

Following dreams is a good thing, but what’s even better is following your heart. When you follow your heart, you are doing what is really right for you. It may not be right forever, but it is right when you make the decision.

The difficult part is knowing, being absolutely certain that you are following your heart.

You do have to follow your heart, otherwise you’re living a false life.

– Eric Mabius

People get it wrong all the time. They take pride in passing off their bad decisions by saying they followed their heart. Usually, it’s just an excuse for not having thought things through. The truth is, if you are in touch with your inner self, if you know who you are, then your heart never leads you to making bad decisions. It may lead you to make a decision that feels like a mistake in hindsight, but mistakes are not the same as bad decisions.

Bad decisions are things that you regret, things that you accept to be blatantly wrong. Bad decision is developing a drug or smoking habit. Bad decision is submitting to violent behaviour from someone, just because you love them. Bad decision is marrying the guy who has never respected you, and has been lying to you from day one, but your illusions of saintliness makes you think you will change him.

Mistake is taking a job you loved, and ending up getting stuck in a career. Mistake is falling in love with a nice guy, getting married too soon, and realising you are not right for each other. Mistakes are not bad decisions by themselves. They are simply the thing that add detours in your life, but also on the positive side, add invaluable life experience that adds to your character growth.

A large part of becoming a Kaizen Warrior, of living a Kaizen Life is gaining a level of self-awareness that allows you differentiate between an impulse and an intuition. Following our hearts becomes much easier when we get better at listening to it. When you consistently start following your heart, the path leads you automatically to following the best of your dreams.

It’s not an easy thing to achieve. It’s also not infallible. I have been working towards attaining self-awareness for over a decade and there are still times when I don’t know what my heart says. But fortunately, there always comes the time – usually momentous moment – when instinct screams and I listen. But I keep focusing on learning to listen to my heart better, so that I wouldn’t need the screaming instinct. 

Do you agree with the difference between following your heart and following your dreams? How well do you listen to your heart? Share in the comments below.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Do a quick free-writing exercise about how well do you listen to your heart.

 

 

 

Kaizen Journaling: Two Years On…

 

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image by d3bz

 

Kaizen Journaling is two today. On occasion like this, I always try to do something new. This time, it’s going to be a new book. I am currently working on a book, Journaling to Self-Awareness in 30 Days, which will be available as an e-book from Kaizen Journaling Academy, as well as on Amazon. 

I am really excited about developing journaling products that help people to enhance their journaling experience. This book takes the last November’s journaling challenge, and expands and improves the entries. It will also include several example entries from various Kaizen Warriors who participated in this challenge. 

Why the book? 

Things become much more do-able when they are presented in an easy-to-see, and a step-by-step method. They also become much more achievable when they are provided with examples, when you can do them in a way that suits your timetable and your life. Having an e-book that you can keep with you, access any time, and use again and again will enable to you continue working on journaling for self-awareness with relative ease. 

I hope you will find it useful, and enjoy it. 

The Future of Kaizen Journaling

I hope that together, we will see a great many more birthdays of Kaizen Journaling. The future of Kaizen Journaling is to continue to bring together a community of journal keepers, and to continue to promote journaling as a means of continuous personal development. Journaling as a way to channel your ambitions, to be audacious, and to always be authentic. 

As always, if you have any suggestions to improve Kaizen Journaling, or there are things – posts or products – that would like to see on here, then send me your suggestions (either by emailing dolly [at] kaizenjournaling [dot] com or through comments in the post} and I promise to consider them, and I will execute the ones that are appropriate. 

You – The Kaizen Warriors

Without you, this cannot be a community. So thank you for being here, thank you for reading, and thank you particularly to the people who are active both on the website, in emails, and on the Facebook and Twitter pages. The more you guys participate, the more we will all get out of this. The more you guys participate, the more you make Kaizen Journaling ours, not just mine. 

Keep Journaling!

 

The Present Moment = Life

 

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image by 55948751

 

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

– Buddha

I happen to one of those people whose natural inclination is to focus far more on the future than the present. You might be the same. Or perhaps you tend to focus on the past. Neither the future nor the past deserves much of our attention. This attention deserves to be focused so much more on the present moment. 

Life is the present moment.

The past is only contained in our memories, which are fallible as well as coloured by perceptions and prejudices. The future is merely a figment of our imagination, intentional or unintentional daydreaming. 

Neither the past nor the future actually exists. The only thing that exists is the present. When we are busy dwelling on the past or planning the future, the present moment – the life itself- keeps flowing through time like grains of sand. 

The present is where you are, so focus on being here completely with not just your body, but your mind and the heart. The present is where you are living. This is when you are alive. Past has already happened, and the future will never arrive. Therefore, start appreciating the NOW.

It is difficult. It’s hard to stick to the present moment when you want to interrogate the past, or plan the future. But some things – no matter how difficult – are worth the effort, because they can transform your life. 

The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.

– Eckhart Tolle

When we spend time on the past or the present, we are not actually doing anything. We are not performing any action. We are merely wasting time. If we spend that energy on the present, doing something constructive with the present moment, then we are doing something tangible. We are taking one small step that could change our life. When we commit fully to the present moment, we are living. 

Isn’t that what the life is for? To live? 

The present moment is the life. It is all we have. So focus on your now. Now is the only thing you have. Now is your path to creating a better future, and now is your path to celebrating or overcoming your past. 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Think about whether your natural inclination is to focus on the past, present or the future. If it is not the present, then take steps to actively change so that you can start living in the now. 

 

 

Your Chance to be Included in My Book

 

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image by olivander

 

Kaizen Journaling will be 2 years-old on April 17th. I intend to publish an e-book on or around this time. 

The E-Book will be Journaling to Self-Awareness in 30 Days, which will include and expand upon the November 2013’s Journaling Challenge. The e-book will be an easy way for people to develop a habit of journaling regularly, as it could be used again and again in a handy format. The prompts are ideal way to continually keep digging into one’s inner self. 

HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE [PLEASE READ CAREFULLY]

For those of you have completed this challenge (or are still working on it), post your entries for particular prompts, either in the comment section of that particular prompt (i.e. your entry for Day 2, should be in the comments section of Day 2), or if you can’t be bothered to click back then post it below this article – HOWEVER, MAKE SURE YOU STATE WHICH PROMPT YOU ARE ANSWERING TO. 

I will include any and all entries I like. There is no rule about how many will be included. If I don’t find any of them to be a suitable addition to the book, then I won’t include any. 

WHAT YOU GET

Everyone whose entry I include will receive a free copy of the book, and of course have your name inscribed in the pages of history for a future journal-loving archaeologist to discover ;) 

DEADLINE

ASAP, but last date is 15th of April. 

 

 

Compete With Your Self

 

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image by notionscapital

 

We live in a very competitive society. It is particularly true if you live a big city life. Everything is a competition. In many places, parents have to compete to get their kids into a good play school. Then kids have to compete to get top marks in school. Thus, it begins and we are forever competing – for grades, for a job, for potential romantic partners, for money, for status, and god knows what else.

The problem with this is that there is never an end to this competition. There will always be someone who is better than you at something, cleverer than you, has a more attractive spouse, earns more money or lives in a bigger house.

It is also not a fair competition because each of us are different, unique individuals. My values are not precisely your values. My beliefs are not your beliefs. My past, my experiences, and my insights are not yours. If none of these are identical, how can we possibly compete at the same level?

Competing against others, especially when you are striving to make your life better, is a pointless exercise. It is far better to compete with yourself.

If you want to see tangible improvement in your life, in your self, then focus on what you do today and strive to do just a little bit better tomorrow.

When you compete with yourself, you are competing with the current version of yourself, so that the tomorrow version of you will be more evolved. As long as you keep striving to be the best you can be, you will remain on the right path. As long as you keep striving to break your own personal records, you will see tangible improvement in whatever you choose to do. 

This is the healthiest form of competition you can indulge in. Your success or failure is irrelevant when compared with others, because you are then viewing yourself against someone else’s measures. Their successes or failures can never be replicated exactly, because you are not that person. 

So don’t attempt to replicate them.

Focus on being authentic. Focus on improvement, but measured against an earlier version of you. Compete against your self. 

Remember, if you are not improving you are not stagnant, but rather declining. Stagnation is an illusion, which hides decay. 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE  TODAY:

Think about where you have been competing against others, and how you can change that to compete against your self. Journal: What steps will you  take, and what measures will you use to note your progress? 

 

Journaling Exercise: Lessons Learned

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image by johnonolan

 

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

– George Bernard Shaw

 

We’ve been conditioned to be afraid of mistakes. Ever since childhood, both in and out of school, we’ve been taught to avoid making mistakes so that we don’t have to suffer the consequences. Thus, we’ve been conditioned to create a bubble of safety around us. 

But no matter how strong this protective wrapping, mistakes are unavoidable. Whether intentional or unintentional, there are no doubt times or events in your life that you regret. Decisions you wish you could change, or results you wish had been different. 

The point here is not to obsess over mistakes, but rather to focus on what you learned from them. Regretting the past – whether you consider it your own fault, or someone else’s – achieves nothing. It will only ruin your present. But learning from your past, can improve not only the present, but also your future. 

Without mistakes, without risking failure, there can only be accidental success not deliberate success.

If you never fail, you are not trying hard enough at whatever it is that you want to achieve. 

For today’s journaling exercise, think about lessons you’ve learned from your previous mistakes. Think about the times you have taken risks or when the risks have been thrust upon you, when you stumbled or fell, when you pushed your self. Write about what you learned from these times. No doubt things looked bleak when you were going through it, but now look back at it with the advantage of hindsight. 

What did you learn? Perhaps you learned how you could have reacted differently, or done something different. Perhaps you learned whom to trust, and whom not to trust. Perhaps you learned what not do. 

No matter how tiny the lesson you learned, write it down in your journal. Read it. Consider it. Then ensure that you remember it for the future.

These lessons hold the key to your future, and to you fulfilling your potential. 

 

Notebooks & A Journal from India

 

It wouldn’t surprise any of  you regular readers to read that I love notebooks and journals. One could (well, “the normal people”) say I am obsessed by them. So it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that I didn’t return from my four months long trip to India without new notebooks and journal. 

The great thing was that I found really gorgeous products, of superb quality, for a fraction of what I would pay in the U.S. or the UK. The reason being the currency difference. The kind of prices I paid for these notebooks, most normal locals wouldn’t dream of paying. My own family looked aghast when I said, each notebook cost about 220 Rupees (equivalent £2.20, which actually would buy me an absolute crappy notebook in England). 

Even in India, people use these products, but they are not the majority. But the western equivalent of moleskine buyers, wouldn’t hesitate to spend 220 Rupees on a notebook. 

So here are the goodies: 

These are Nightingale Notebooks, by far the best quality product I found. 

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These are five-subject, ruled notebooks.

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Then there is the gorgeous, leather cover journal

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And inside…

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With all these amazing beauties available, how could I possibly give up on writing by hand

Do you get crazy about notebooks and journals? What are your favourites? Share in the comments below. 

 

Striving for a Secure Life? Look No Further…

 

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image by mssarakelly

 

If you were brought up with standard values, or have lived for those values, you probably believe that security is important. It prevents us from falling too far when things go wrong. If you have a secure income, you are unlikely to end up bankrupt. If you have a secure marriage, you won’t end up alone. If you have secured your savings, you will be able to pay for your kids’ college. If you keep working in one company, in one field, building up experience, you will be able to have a job security. 

These are the kind of things you might have heard, or may even have repeated to someone else. These are the kind of things a large population of our world strives for. 

I am not saying there is anything wrong with it. We live in a very uncertain world, and life itself is unpredictable, so it makes sense to create as much security as possible, even an illusion of it, just to give yourself peace of mind that you are prepared for the future. It gives you a sense of control over things which you really have no control over. 

But have you ever considered the cost of this illusionary security? 

There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity.

—Douglas MacArthur

Are you trading your opportunities in favour of the illusion of security? 

What paths have you not travelled on, because you have stuck too hard on the path you decided to stick with because it’s secure? What potential rewards you have missed out on because you haven’t been willing to take any risks? 

There can be no joy without sorrow. No beginnings without endings. There can be no rewards without risks. No growth without change. 

Striving for a completely secure life means striving for a life under a shell. It means you are not allowing yourself to be fully open to all the opportunities that come your way, to all that you could be. 

Don’t run after the illusion of security, run instead after living the life fully and completely. Yes, it’s scary. Sometimes you have no idea what the next step is going to be. But as long as you know you are doing the right thing at any given time, as long as you feel like the path you are following is the right path, follow all the turns and twists that come along the way. 

For most of us, there is rarely a clear destination, because life is a journey-in-progress. Perhaps, if we could look back at our life after death, we could see the purpose and the pattern more clearly behind all the turns we took, and twists that seemed to have gotten in the way. But hindsight is not offered to us when we are in the process of living. So all we can do is make a decision to live honestly – not just with the world, but with our selves. To be true to who we truly are, and if we don’t know who we are yet, then to keep trying to discover it. 

There is far more security in being who you were meant to be, to reach your full potential, than the security any material goal can offer.

What do you think? Are you striving for security, or are you striving  to be YOU?