Monday, May 30, 2016
So why is kindness exhibited more frequently on a daily basis?
Some people are so afraid of being taken advantage of by others that they purposely hide and restrain their desires to be kind.
These words from Mother Teresa should allay such concerns:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
This article is excerpted from the top-selling personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Extending Kindness Creates Authentic Happiness In Ourselves
While kindness was not one of the universal values identified by Professor Seligman and his group, in many ways it is the universal value that every human being appreciates and is capable of delivering.
As Henry James wrote, "Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind."
Kindness to others takes so little effort, yet it is so rarely displayed, especially to strangers and to the multitudes of people that we "interact" with throughout each day.
In fact, the word "interact" does not adequately describe how most people relate to one another. Our "interactions" tend to be gruff expressions of meaningless chatter conveyed to ease the social awkwardness of people being forced to intermingle with others by the circumstances of yours and their daily existences.
We all too often go through the motions of living and conversing with others without truly thinking about those we interact with and what is their state of mind. Just imagine the impact we could each have if we were able to help others take their minds off their problems, even if only momentarily, simply be interacting and engaging them more fully and more kindly.
Not only would we put more smiles on faces, we would all feel personally better for our efforts. Talk about a win-win!
Kindness requires just a tad more effort over the empty and insincere expressions of "how's it going?" and "what's up?" and the equally non-committal replies of "not much" and "the usual" that permeates so many daily encounters between people. A smile, combined with the sincere interest in another and an oral exchange of an explicit personal nature, will make a huge difference in the lives of the other spirits you interact with, as well as in your own life.
When you see others as spiritual beings resident in a human form, rather than as just other human beings living lives of quiet despair, you will no longer want to keep your daily interactions with others on the periphery of your life.
Instead, you will come to realize that extending kindness and truly felt pleasantries to others is one of the core components of authentic happiness.
This article is partially excerpted from the top-selling personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Your Values Define Your Character
A global study headed by Dr. Martin Seligman found six core values across all cultures and races:
Wisdom and Knowledge
Love and Humanity
Spirituality and Transcendence
While these universal values pose a great start for thinking about this topic, here are some other core values commonly associated with Living A Determined Life:
As we wrote previously on Living Up To Personal Values: your values define your character and living your values means having character.
We believe having a clear understanding of our personal values is critical in making decisions when facing life's challenges and opportunities.
In fact, we encapsulated our personal values into a set of Project You Life Rules, which you can read on the Project You Life website (feel free to make a copy for yourself if you'd like).
What other Project You Life Rules would you suggest? Please add your suggestions and ideas in the comments section below.
This article is partially excerpted from the best-selling personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Understanding Others Is Enhanced By Understanding Their Values
Scientists believe there is a gap, or space, between stimulus and response. What occurs in this space affects your personal development and, eventually, your happiness.
If what happens in this gap is molded, shaped and guided by your values, the resultant outcomes will be more in agreement and harmonious with your true self. Naturally, this will lead to greater self satisfaction and authentic happiness.
However, if you permit factors other than your own values to influence your decisions and actions, then the results are less likely to be congruent with who you really are, leading to disappointment, self doubt and dissatisfaction with yourself.
Be forewarned, however, that sometimes your values may lock you into a course of action that is detrimental to you, particularly over the short haul. When this happens, how it impacts you over the longer term will be determined by what you learn from the experience and how you evaluate the final outcome.
Also, sometimes you can experience a problem caused by conflicting values. When this occurs it is useful to have a ranked hierarchy of your values, so that you can utilize the most important one or give greater weight to the most cherished one when deciding what to do.
Not all personal values are equal, and only you can decide which ones are the most important in your life. As famed science fiction write Isaac Asimov has advised, "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what is right."
One key to understanding other people is to realize that their values drive their decisions and actions. You do not necessarily have to agree with their values, or with their actions and decisions. But simply knowing and understanding their personal values will make it easier for you to comprehend and figure out the basis for their actions and decisions.
This does not mean, however, that you have to share or even accept another person's values, only that understanding these will enable you to better understand their actions and decisions.
As the Native American Indian proverb goes, "Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins."
This article is excerpted from the best-selling personal development Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Knowing Your Personal Values Enables Easier Decision Making
It is interesting that some people's values are formed in their early years, while for others these become cemented later in life. Also, for some people recognition of their core values comes only through facing hardships, heartaches and difficult challenges, while for others the formation of their values comes through contemplation, reflection and various other cognitive approaches.
Core values unconsciously, and sometimes even consciously, guide and govern our decisions, particularly our major decisions. Hence, they help determine and steer us toward our futures.
When we know what is important to us ── when we know what our values are ── making decisions and taking action is so much easier and comfortable.
When decisions and actions are taken with the perspective of your values in mind, your confidence in these decisions and actions is increased and you are more readily able to put self-doubt aside and cast off the criticisms of others. As Roy Disney, brother of Walt, points out, "It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."
Adds novelist William Faulkner, "I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem with decency and self-respect and whatever courage is demanded is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from."
Likewise, when you take action or make decisions that are not in alignment with your values, three things happen almost automatically:
1) Your self-doubt escalates.
2) Your confidence level drops.
3) The criticisms of others have an air of truth about them.
In fact, the criticisms of others will sting sharply, because deep inside your spirit is being pinged by the error of your ways. Even though the "mental you" and the "emotional you" may not admit or accept your spiritual reaction, your body will receive signals from your soul that something is not right (often a gut feeling, clammy hands, or a sense of anxiety).
Unfortunately, due to ego-led stubbornness or a false sense of self confidence created by talking to yourself, you may try to override your spiritual sensations by trying to rationalize or justify your misguided action or decision.
Trying to convince yourself to ignore the signals of your spirit is most assuredly a sign that you actions or decisions are not in alignment with your core values.
Consciously living your values will result in a more rewarding life.
As author Ayn Rand said, "Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values."
This article is excerpted from the Amazon best-selling personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Living Your Values Is Not Always Easy
Your values define your character. Living your values means having character.
At the end of the day, what you are ─ your character ─ is vastly more important than what you do, especially in terms of your vocation, career or chosen lifestyle. What you do for a living is not truly who you are, although this concept has been greatly misplaced in the materialistic, economy-driven focus of the past few decades.
J. C. Watts, an American football player and politician, has one of the best definitions of character: "Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that is right is to get by, and the only thing that is wrong is to get caught."
Living your values is not always easy. As the old saying goes, temptation is always just around the corner. It is often far too easy to pursue short-term amusement or glee that is in conflict with your true values. When you don't live your values, however, trouble inevitably crops up (witness the disaster that Tiger Woods made of his once seemingly perfect life).
One of the causes of such problems is that too many people do not give enough thought to their values. They know they have values, deep down, but they fail to take the time to reflect upon them and use these to guide their decision-making processes (especially once under the influence of alcohol, drugs or peer pressure).
Those who are in close touch with their own personal values tend not to have major catastrophes and calamities in their lives, unless of course they engage in actions or activities that are not congruent with their personal values. Such people tend to be very comfortable with their own actions, even when others around them get enraged when they cannot understand the decisions made or actions taken.
As Stephen R. Covey wrote in First Things First, "The essence of principle-centered living is to create an open channel with that deep inner knowing, and acting with integrity to it. It is having the character and competence to listen to and live by our conscience."
The bottom line is that the actions and decisions of people in tune with their core personal values fall within their own comfort zones because of the alignment with those personal values.
This article is excerpted from the best-selling personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Only you know and understand what you can become
The foundation of your own self definition will be expressed in your own self image. What you project to the world, and to yourself, reflects how well you understand yourself. The better this understanding, the greater will be the satisfactions you feel and experience.
For, as the acclaimed actor Sir John Gielgud said, "One's self-image is very important because if that's in good shape, then you can do anything, or practically anything."
Remember, there is nothing obvious or apparent in a caterpillar that foreshadows it becoming a butterfly. Only the caterpillar knows it is going to be a butterfly. Likewise, only you know and understand what you can or will become.
As Buddha said many times, "be a lamp unto yourself," so that you have the insight and understanding of a caterpillar.
And in doing so, always recall the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing; others judge us by what we have done."
This planet is a laboratory of experiences and an infinite university of potential learning for the evolution of our souls.
Use these experiences and lessons to cultivate a deeper, richer self understanding and you will find a greater balance and harmony in the spirit of your true self.
This article is excerpted from the top-selling personal growth and development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Moving from the ego-centered self to your absolute self.
The self-help gurus will inundate you with messages along the lines of:
Any day you want you can discipline yourself to change anything and everything about your life that does not satisfy you or make you happy. It is only up to you to decide to make changes and then to take action to instill these changes within your life. It's only up to you!
The Project You Life message is that yes, you can make any change you want, but that any such changes will only satisfy you and make you happy if they are predicated on a clear sense of authentic self awareness and self understanding.
Otherwise, it is like putting icing on a cake. Doing so does not change the texture or flavor of the actual cake; it just changes the eating experience by coating the cake with a preferred topping.
In his book Zen Bow Zen Arrow Awa Kenzo writes, "No matter the art, the most important thing is to establish who you really are. That is, move from the ego-centered self to the absolute self."
As we wrote several weeks ago in our blog post on Self Awareness and Knowing Yourself, it is always a good idea to take time to pause and get to know (and understand) who you truly are.
This article is partially excerpted from the top-selling personal growth and development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Only You Can Determine Your Self Worth
Self worth can be built up through one's own stimulus, actions and thinking.
There's a great deal of truth in this quote circulating on the Internet from someone named Kim Jeffery, "I was worthless, until I decided to be worth more."
In a similar fashion, your ideas are worthless, until you decide what worth they have. Likewise, your actions are worthless, until you decide what worth they have. And so on, and so on.
The singer Pearl Bailey may have summed it up best, "No one can figure out your worth but you."
On the other hand, if you do not deem worth in yourself, or in your ideas and actions, then you will be placing your own limitations on these.
As Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and several other outstanding books, wrote, "Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours."
Similarly Denis Waitley chimed in with, "The greatest limitations you will ever face will be those you place on yourself."
Fear is a major conduit of self-limiting beliefs. You need to develop the skill of understanding and controlling your fears, to ensure you do not act or react out of fear.
Bertrand Russell, a noted philosopher, wrote: "Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear."
David Patchell-Evans, an author and Canadian fitness expert, wrote the following in relation to physical exercise programs, but his message actually has broader connotations for life in general:
Most of the limitations you think you have are the ones you have decided on. They are often entirely self-imposed.
You might think "I can't do this, I can't do that, I would never do that, my parents could never do that, I never played baseball, I never climbed a mountain, I never, never, never."
It's the old broken record in your head. Throw out that negative thinking right now! Learn to play a positive message in your head because it's all about attitude.
Hopefully you can see now why we believe self esteem is a core component of Living A Determined Life.
This article is partially excerpted from the top-selling personal growth and development book Project You: Living A Determined Life. Get your copy today at Amazon in either Kindle or paperback format.