Day 399: Directing Fear

Having a career can be pretty stressful. To me – the stress is primarily related to three aspects. One aspect is performance anxiety or in other words – the fear of making mistakes. The second aspect is the fear of not being successful. The third aspect is the responsibility that a position of influence/power entails. In my line of work – If or a moment take responsibility for important parts of someone else’s life – and hence – I can cause major consequences if I am not thorough and specific.

All three of these aspects are part of the anxiety I at times experience towards my work. And the fact is that I enjoy my work a lot – it fits my character and skill set perfectly. Thus – when I am able to let go of tensions and get into my happy-place – work is fun, challenging, stimulating and interesting. However – when I get caught in the mentioned fears – work becomes a weight on my shoulders. It is fascinating to see just how much perspective and my emotional participation in relation to a point in my world changes the way I experience that point. It is literally like two different worlds – even though it is the same kind of work.

My conclusion is that I have to let go of these three fears. And in this blog my aim is to design corrective solutions to each of these fears.

Fear of making mistakes

Finding a corrective statement to the fear of making mistakes is pretty easy to me. I already clearly see that unless you dare to make mistakes – you will not progress. Mistakes, failures, mishaps, difficulties, problems, that is fertile soil for growth, development, expansion and movement. If everything is just perfect all the time – we are either not sufficiently critical or – we do not challenge ourselves enough. Both are pretty bad. Thus – a healthy portion of mistakes is an indication that we are in a challenging position and that we have an opportunity to improve. Obviously though – making the same mistake 2-3 times might indicate something different – such as arrogance for example.

Thus – when I become anxious and worried that I am making, or I have made a mistake, I instead change into looking at how I am able to improve and expand. I look at what I can learn and become better at – and allow myself to be grateful that I have seen that there is something I have to practice and expand upon. And I dare myself to go for it – and understand that mistakes is a natural part of growth – and that what matters is that I learn from my mistakes and correct myself.

Fear of not being successful

The fear of not being successful is interesting. It is like the fear in itself hinders success – because what will that fear create? It will hesitation, doubt, worry, insecurity – characteristics that does not induce success. To be successful – I have to be bold. I move when see that there is an opportunity and do not hold myself back – and if failure strikes – no need to become emotional – I simply re-aim and yet again focus on what I want and where I want to get to.

Success requires me to be determined, patient and motivated – and I have to keep my focus on what I want to achieve. Each and every fear energy that comes up within me will only cause me to shift my attention and focus from what I want – to a pretty worthless experience that I simply do not need. And if I do not manage to reach success – well there is nothing to do about it. In all cases – I would not have achieved success if I was afraid of not achieving it. Hence – my corrective statement will be to go forward boldly – to move, act, walk, and direct – to grab the opportunities and keep the momentum – and keep in my vision the future I want to create.

Fear of responsibility

The fear of responsibility is an interesting one – because it is not necessarily the responsibility that I fear – it is rather what happens if I do not handle the responsibility in such a way that everyone involved are pleased. Thus – it is the fear of being the target of criticism later on. And not because I fear criticism from others – it is because I tend to judge myself harshly when I do not meet my own standards. Hence the real face of the fear is that of fearing my own judgment.

However – what I can see is that responsibility is a skill – it is something that I will learn, become more comfortable within, and get better at doing as I practice – and as is the case with so many other things – I will naturally fail sometimes as it is a part of the expansion. And it does not help anyone that I judge myself when I fail. I need to be able to stand and look at my mistakes objectively, learn from it and enhance my ability to take responsibility for the life’s of others – just as I must learn to expand this responsibility towards my own life.

Thus – what I will state to myself when this fear arises is that I am going to push myself to take responsibility – and I am going to learn from my mistakes and failures and expand. And I will stand and practice to stand as this responsibility naturally and comfortably – and understand that this is simply me extending my responsibility unto others. Hence – it is nothing to fear – nothing to judge – it is a learning process.

Conclusion

Fears are interesting – they always indicate a misalignment – a point where I have not sufficiently created and directed myself. Hence – fears are show us opportunities for expansion – where we exist in a state of being diminished and where we are able to go beyond our beliefs. It is problematic when we fear our fears – however easy to understand. Fear is an uncomfortable experience – and easily convinces us that something is TERRIBLY wrong. Though – if we would slow down, take a breath, and study the nature of the fear – there are definitely many gifts to be found.


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Day 398: Eqafe – Probably the Best Self-Help Library That There Is

I have been a user of Eqafe since its inception and seen the self-help library grow, from a couple of interviews, to an impressive selection of several thousands of interviews covering a myriad of topics. And this is somewhat a hallmark of Eqafe – consistent and continuous growth. And even though the interviews are at this point ranging in their thousands, there has never been an interview that I have listened to, where I have felt as if it was becoming repetitive. There is such a variety, such a creativity, freedom and depth in the recordings – it is truly remarkable.

When I have faced difficulties, or questions has arisen, the Eqafe library has been my go-to resource. It has seldom failed to bring a new understanding or insight to what I have been walking through. Whether I have been looking into issues with regards to relationships and sex, or in relation to my career – the search function on the Eqafe site has supplied me with answers. And what truly makes Eqafe fascinating is that you do not get the normal lovey-dovey, fluffy, positive, new age advice. You get the hard facts. That might not necessarily be very nice – or what you want to hear. Though fact is that we are not the pleasant, sane, and cordial people we want ourselves and everyone else to believe. The truth is that we are all in some way fucked up. However – the truth is as well that we can change ourselves – and Eqafe supplies the PRACTICAL tools to make that transformation a reality. Here I want to emphasize PRACTICAL. You will not need to listen to advice that makes no sense – like for example – that you should ‘love yourself with all of your love-energy and then send that out into the world with a thought’. No, no – you will get a practical suggestion on how to deal with a point – a step-by-step method. I would say that this is what separates Eqafe from the other self-help gurus you are able to find on the web. In Eqafe – things are kept real, grounded,  accessible and applicable.

Eqafe has impacted many aspects of my life, though one of the most memorable is with regards to my studies and my career. Early on in my university studies I had difficulties creating relationships and get a hang of the social games that were being played. It frustrated me – and I noticed that I was usually paying more attention to these games – than to the studies at hand. Then I found a interview on Eqafe – where this behavioral pattern was addressed. It was explained that  relationships in school are not as valuable as we want to think. Most of them end after school. Very few remain – and still – we put SO MUCH energy into creating and maintaining them. And in-fact – the reason why so many of us dislike school is because we get so immersed in the social role-playing that we forget all about who we are, where we are and where it is that we are going. We forget that it is in school, with our grades, and our in-depth learning, that we are shaping our future. It is that productive time that is going to stick with us and help us get ahead. Not how many parties we went to or what friends we managed to acquire.

After I had listened to the recording I made some practical adjustments to the way I approached my studies and the social circles. I decided to put my focus and attention unto the courses at hand – that became my main priority. I decided to align with people that were as intently focused on their studies and on their future as I were. Thus I picked my friends because of our interest in the subjects, drive in school and our future. My relationship to friends and acquaintances changed to become a positive side-effect to my determination with my studies and something that enhanced my participation in school and it was not a goal in itself. And that made a huge difference to me – and it allowed me to move through my university studies, acquire effective marks and a deep as well as lasting understanding of the course materials. I sometimes surprise myself by having a detailed knowledge and understanding of a topic even though it has been several years since I finished school and studied the subject.

I can honestly say that without Eqafe – I would not be where I am today. It is the greatest self-help library on earth – and I would dearly recommend everyone to subscribe. You will not regret it – and you will have several years of investigation and studies ahead of you because the material is vast. It has been one of the best investment I have ever made and that will definitely be the case for you as well – because the investments we make in ourselves both in our formal and informal education – that is what is going to stand the test of time and last for life.


Day 397: Romanticism Fucked Up Love

Romanticism Fucked Up Love – it sounds pretty bold – however – it is true. For context I recommend listening to Alain de Bottons lectures on love, romanticism and sex – they are available on Youtube.

Love is actually a modern concept. It was birthed somewhere around the 18th century along with the ideas of romanticism and it came to impact the way we had up until that point understood marriage and relationships. Before love, marriage was an act of reason. We married a person on the basis of their wealth, family lineage, their skills, and compatibility. What was of main importance was the survival of ourselves and our genetic pedigree – love in the sense of finding our ultimate partner to satisfy our romantic needs – that did not exist. Marriage was a practical institution that granted stability, status and security.

Then love came about – and was forced unto the institution of marriage, naturally causing a lot of conflict. Suddenly, our life partner was not only supposed to stable, wealthy, bring security and be otherwise compatible – he or she was also supposed to make us feel whole, loved, excited, be good in bed, be mysterious, passionate, and fulfill our dreams and desires in all possible ways. It is pretty obvious to me that expecting such a range of experiences to be evoked by only one person is pretty unrealistic – especially considering that most of us are deeply flawed as persons and for the most part incapable of even fulfilling ourselves.

Today we still live in the remnants of the mentioned love/romanticism endemic – and our relationships are as a result more volatile than any time ever before. And my theory as to why is because we have been fed with completely unrealistic expectations as to what a marriage is and how and what our partner should be. The first mistake we make is that we believe that our partner will be able to fulfill our emotional needs and forever make us feel whole, content and satisfied. It will not happen. All of us are flawed – without extensive self-work we are not able to give anyone that deep and unconditional embrace that we expect to find in relationships. And still – that is an expectation we hold unto and walk into a marriage with. It is bound to bring problems.

Another problem is that marriages has become about self-realization. We want to realize ourselves – and our partner has become a form of product that we purchase because we feel pretty confident he or she will able to bring us those experiences. Marriage and relationships have as such become a form of consumerism. We want to consume an experience. The daily reality of practical survival – which will show its nasty face when the honeymoon-phase has come to its close – that is not considered in the initial decision – and is many times considered secondary to that which we call love – even though it is far more important practically speaking.

A more realistic starting point for a marriage instead of love and the hope for perfection is that our partner is an idiot. Not a idiot in the sense of someone that is deliberately mean and hurtful. Rather an idiot in the sense of somebody that just does not get it. He or she is simply a bit retarded, stupid, dumb. And we all know that we hold such a condition of being a idiot – in some area of our life – we might try to hide that we are flawed, weak and stupid – however our lifelong partner is bound to find out at some point. And when we do find out – it is important not to judge the flaw. Try instead to look at the person as if they are a child. Would we ever judge a toddler because of their weaknesses? No – we would look a what is causing their weakness and help them to strengthen that part of themselves.

Thus – our question should not be ‘Have I married the wrong person?’ – it should be ‘What is wrong with the person I married, and, how can I help them and myself to fix it?’. Hence – we will never marry or enter into a relationship with the ‘right person’. There is no such thing. What we can do is marry a ‘good enough person’ and then build on the relationship – support our partner and ourselves to develop the qualities and experiences we want to have. That is possible. It takes hard work and it is not remotely romantic – however it is rewarding because at some stage the changes are going to come through – and the relationship will be a lot stronger compared to if everything just worked out pretty okay from the beginning.

The way I see it – the future of love is to be found in self-created relationships. When we realize that there is no prince charming and no princess either – then we can step into our real potential and start creating the experiences we want instead of waiting for them to show up at our door step.


Day 396: Satisfaction and Success

As of late I have listened to a podcast with some highly successful Swedish entrepreneurs. It is both inspiring and fascinating to hear them speak – because just as much as they share relevant principles and understandings – they also share fear-based misconceptions of reality. Whenever I  find new information – the principle that I stand by is to take the information that makes sense to me – regardless of the source. I care about the content – not the persona. Hence there is a bit of sifting required.

I realized and was also reminded of a couple of points by listening to the interviews. One point I was reminded of is that there is no objective definition of success. For some people – success is to have a lot of money. For other people – success is to be able to live on the vegetables you have grown yourself. Success is not meant to be one thing – because we are all different. However – one important aspect that we tend to forget implementing into our definitions of SUCCESS is that of GIVING to others. Success is mainly seen through our own individual experiences – however – what kind of success is it when it only impacts ourselves? Real success is when that forward motion can be shared and help empower others as well. And that can be done regardless of our base definition of success. If our definition of success is to make money – then how about showing others how to make money – and make sure that all involved in your success gets a sufficient piece of the cake – SHARE the success with the world. And if our definition is to grow veggies – then how about SHARING the veggies, and showing others how veggies are grown and the pleasure and joy that can be found in such a simple act.

Thus – what has become clearer to me is that success in its limited individual definition is empty. And perhaps that is why many of those that have reached a significant monetary success never feel satisfied – they always strive for more. It is as if there is a deep hole that cannot be filled – and so to avoid seeing and experiencing that hole – they have to constantly move forwards – constant and continuous motion. The hole can then be filled – albeit momentarily – with adrenaline and other chemically induced experiences – such as dopamine. There is a constant and never ending chase for more. The reason for this – as I understand it currently – is because there is a lack of a higher purpose. Especially in the western world we live in tightly structured highly individual bubbles. We have ourselves and maybe a few other people that are really close to us. And our lives circle around gratifying the needs of those few people – and our compassion, our love, aspirations and meaning also many times exist in that isolated zone. And it makes sense that when we do not have any value or meaning to the world – and when the world does not have any value or meaning to us – that we are going to feel empty – because hey – we are actually leaving out the ENTIRE world from our lives.

In comparison – take a look at nature, or the lesser developed countries of Africa, or the clan societies of the middle east. What we can see there is that the individual acts in awareness of his context – and he is connected to that context. A bird for example lives in a balance, harmony and equality with its surroundings. It is specialized to its surroundings and perfectly created to relate, to take, and to give, in that particular environment. It exists in a greater context. And the same is true with lesser developed societies – where the family is still very important. Here the individual exists in the context of his family – and that is what is important. Your life is only as valuable as the value you are able to share with your family – and in turn you receive the same gifts. There is a balance, a equality, a receiving and a sharing – and that gives meaning, context, and equality.

Unfortunately, that type of relationships are mostly gone in the western world. What has replaced our close bonds, or dependency on the family and each other, is the state, the big governmental agencies – the impersonal , cold, bureaucratic  and distant treatment – or the monetary institutions – the corporations. And this kind of structure makes it possible for us westerners to create isolated lives where the our individual needs/wants/desires takes the front seat. We have the ability to cut off all relationships and still be able to survive and flourish. Both young and elderly are put into institutions so that our focus and intention can be placed on supporting the system – that in turn – supports us to retain our individual lifestyle. Because without the system – our immediate relationships would take on a completely different meaning. Here retaining the family and our close intimate relationships would become a matter of life and death – and hence our purpose, focus and intention would be to support the family unit – and not that of striving for our own individual success.

Giving oneself a purpose that is based on one’s context and especially as to how one is able to give and share with one’s society/world is however possible even though we in the western world for a long time has been phasing away the notion of contextual/relation-based living. And my experience is that giving oneself a purpose/direction that is based on an assessment as to what is best/needed in relation ALL is far more satisfying than living a isolated individual lifestyle. Actually – I will say that it is only from such a way of approaching life that we are able to experience lasting satisfaction and enjoyment. And this is what modern entrepreneurs and others trying to achieve success tend to forget. We put all our focus on OUR success – without making sure that our success is defined in the context of the world – in the context of what is BEST for everyone.


 

Day 395: Politics and News

To keep up with what is happening in the world I have begun reading the news regularly. At the moment – the big news in Sweden is that we have difficulties creating a government. The political parties cannot come together – they are too far apart in their political views – and instead squabble, argue and debate. I find this interesting in many respects.

One point that fascinates me is the very notion of democracy and different political views. The popular consensus in Sweden is that democracy, freedom of thought and pluralism are good things that allow us to have a functional society. My one question is – how are we even able to have different opinions about how to make decisions for our country? If everyone wanted what is best for everyone – which in my world is the natural position to take – would we even have different political parties? Would there be a need for such a thing if we came together to create what is best for everyone?

No – and that is why political parties is an externalization of our separation from what is best for all. It is a reflection of our inner division where we have defined ourselves as an individual, separate from the whole, apparently entitled to our own opinions. And oh my god, there are so many opinions. The newspaper is literally invaded with opinions. Each of us wants our opinion to be the best opinion – and get attention for our opinion. We become tied to and define ourselves according to our opinions – and then look for a political party that aligns with our opinions. However – what if we did not have opinions? And instead – we had a will to understand, forgive and formulate the best possible ways to live for everyone? Democracy would not be needed in such a world.

We have accepted a dwarfish way of life and our parties reflect this back to us. No party offers any particularly new or revolutionary ways to deal with the real problems that exists in this world. It is just the same old shit over and over again. Monetary growth, more jobs and less expenses – individual survival trumping the will to make life good for all of us. It is as if we are so settled into the current way of life that we believe it is the only way of life. However – it would be pretty easy to change a lot of bad things in society – if we would come together and make an effort. Unfortunately we are divided, split into opinions, groups, subgroups, cultures and subcultures – all of us with our own individual life, individual desires, wants and needs, and goals we want to reach – and all of this serves to keep us dwarfed.

This is why I easily become bored and frustrated when I read about politics. It is just – for a lack of a better word – meaningless. There is no substance it – no understanding – no drive to make the BEST out of life – there is only that weak and diluted voice of survival – opinions about things without any purpose. And a recurring aspect in newspapers is the investigation of problems – there are so many problems discussed – and once and a while – there might be a solution. And when a solution is discussed – usually it will be criticized in some form of debate article or chronicle. Newspapers function the same way as our minds – a lot of words, reactions, games, experiences, tons of movement – however no substance. It feels as if there is a lot going on – but on a deeper level – most articles are empty and the majority of news is only put out there in the search of selling more newspapers.

However – looking beyond all the negative aspects with newspapers – what I appreciate about them is that I am able to follow along in movements of the world and learn more about society and the country that I live in. And to end of with a solution – if we overlook the gossipy, propagandist, fear-mongering aspects of news and politics – and look at the structures – the information that in there somewhere – usually there are some cool things to learn.


 

 

Day 394: Creating My Self-Definition

Last week I visited a convention and met with many new people that are walking a similar career path as I am. It was interesting because it revealed a pattern of comparison and inferiority within me. I noticed how I was comparing myself to others, in particular looking at the perceived status and importance of my job in relation to that of others. I had thoughts enter my mind that I should have decided to do something differently and that I should have ventured into a more lucrative and desired career. I should have apparently moved to a bigger city and gotten a job with one of the major employers – because then – I would have been successful.

When these thoughts came up – I took a couple of moments and applied self-forgiveness – and I realized some interesting points. Firstly – I can never really enjoy, explore and expand naturally if I am continuously focused on what others are doing. Because where am I in that equation? I will never be able to acquire a sense of ease, purpose, fulfillment and direction, if my inner vision is blurred by the movements of others. I need to have my eyes set on myself. I need to have my focus fastened in my life – otherwise – I will go astray – and I will start chasing mirages – things I believe to be important but that really are not.

And how many of us live our lives this way? We determine what we want by looking at what others want – and we determine what is important and what is not by looking at what is important for someone else. How can we ever live a meaningful life if we are a copycat?

I have realized that this pattern partly originates from inferiority. Somehow I have determined on a deep level within me that I am less than others – and that I thus need to achieve a position of status and value in the eyes of others in order to equalize that inferiority into a equality. And because I am inferior – apparently I need someone else to tell me and show me what I need to do to reach an equality. It makes no sense at all – and it creates the consequence that I will live my life to reach a point only to prove a point that nobody else cares about – not even myself.

When I chase after an idea I will forget about myself and what is important to me. And to me – on a deep level – I do not care about status – I know it is only a dream. What I care about is being of service to others. I find it enjoyable, rewarding and satisfying to genuinely care for and help someone else with their problem and to be a support for them in difficult times. To achieve a position in society is a learned desire – something that I have copied from others – and when I look at the point intently – I can see that it also has to do about satisfying my parents.

If I look back at my life – a tendency that I have had is to choose my direction haphazardly and mostly by looking at what my parents deemed to be the best route for me. It is not that I lacked interests and passions – I have always had many of those – rather what I lacked was the courage and the self-value to follow my interests and passions – to stick with them and make them part of my life on a bigger level. For example – when I was to choose the orientation of my upper secondary school – I did not look within me to determine my direction. I did not do any particular research. I settled for one of the established schools and choose the orientation that my parents had suggested. And it worked out fine – however – I find it problematic that I did not engage in the decision on a deeper level – and that I allowed myself to be satisfied with the ‘normal’ route that it seemed as if everyone else also decided upon – and that I choose it without any deeper self-reflection.

It is fascinating when I look back – because I can see that one of my issues was that I did not take the time to establish my self-definition. In many respects – I was a blank slate – and in such a condition – it was more comfortable to follow the example of everyone else and do what everyone else seemed to find the correct way to do it. To create my own path would have meant a lot of research and self-reflection – because understanding and seeing what is best for oneself is not something that just happens – it must be created. And if I bring this point of understanding back to my current life – I can see that this is something I have not done for myself. I have not yet established a life-plan – the direction I want to take in life because it is best for me. Creating such a plan would require me to firstly establish my self definition – who I am and who I want to become.

Thus – what I can learn from the reactions I experienced at this convention is that I have not yet clearly established my self-definition. This is something that I will put time into and refine for myself – so that I can stop desiring and wanting what I perceive others want – and instead walk the direction I have decided upon for myself and that I know is best for myself.


Day 393: Structures and Systems That Support

I am a bit in love with the word structure at the moment – and closely related to that word is the word system which is also a word that I am opening up in my life. These two words are powerful when applied with common sense in everyday life.

For example – in my work – I have many responsibilities stretching over a variety of different areas – and many of these responsibilities are closely tied to deadlines. There are too many responsibilities, and too many deadlines for me to remember. The only way for me to manage my responsibilities is through creating structures. And by trial and error I have established a functional structure – a system – that supports me to handle my responsibilities.

In summary – my structure/system is a data-table with all the information of a particular responsibility fed into the different columns and rows of the table. In the beginning and at the end of each week I take a closer look at this table to establish what deadlines are coming up – and thus – what responsibilities that I must tend to. During these moments I plan my week and the coming weeks by referencing my table – I project myself into the future – and assess how much time I need to be able to reach the deadlines. And then I schedule my time more thoroughly in writing for the coming week.

Then the week starts – and I am in the middle of the heat. And usually at that point – there is no time for me to take a look at the bigger picture. Deadlines and responsibilities merge into one flow – and here my structure/system/plan helps me immensely – without it I would loose myself in the waves of information and movements that occurs. However with my structure – I am settled – and when I need reference I take a look at my structure to see where it is I am going next. My movement is already decided – all that is required from me is that I animate it and put life into my structure – which practically means that I follow, that I am present and alive within my structure.

By using this system I have managed to create a comfortable and effective workflow. And I would say that is possible to create structures and systems in all areas of life that helps us to reach our best self – that removes undue pressure and hardship – because what systems and structures do is that they automatize – and they put the pressure unto physical reality. And the cool thing about physical reality is that it handles pressure without any limits. A calendar will be able to store massive amounts of information effortlessly – all that we have to do in order to utilize that potential is to create a routine where we use and counsel our calendar on a daily or weekly basis.

A mistake that I have sometimes made is that I forget the support available in structures and systems – and believe that what is important is to take action and just get things done. Thus I have in my past felt as if it is not worth my time to sit down and plan my week – because apparently I am then loosing valuable moments where I could have taken action. The reality is that this perception value is faulty. When a effective structure and system is in place – this makes the following action so much easier and faster – because I know where I am going and I know what I am doing – I can place ALL of my focus on the CREATION – instead of having to juggle between focusing on the task at hand and keeping the overview at the same time.

However – there are times when there can be too much structure – it then suffocates rather than supports with expansion. This is for example the case when tasks and responsibilities are micro-managed allowing for no creativity or flexibility. In such cases structure becomes a nuisance that creates anxiety and pressure. Hence – for me – I enjoy tasks structured with much room for flexibility, changes and unforeseen happenings. A structure or a system is a support – a means to reach an end – and not the goal in itself.