Know What You Really Want

Stephen Covey once said, “Be sure that, as you scramble up the ladder of success, it is leaning against the right building.” 

Many people work hard to achieve goals that they think they want only to find, at the end of the day, that they get no joy or satisfaction from their accomplishments. They ask, “Is this all there is?” This occurs when the outer accomplishment is not in harmony with your inner values. Don’t let this happen to you.

Socrates said, ” The unexamined life is not worth living.”

This applies to your values as much as to any other area of your life. Values clarification is something you do on a go- forward basis. You continually stop the clock, like a time out in a football game, and ask, “What are my values in this area?”

In Mathew 16:26, the Bible says, “What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

The happiest people in the world today are those who are living in harmony with their innermost convictions and values. The unhappiest people are those who are attempting to live in-congruent with what they truly value and believe.

Advertisements

Things You Learn When Life Doesn’t Turn Out The Way You Wanted

We often grow up with an idea of what our life will look like when we are at a certain age, more often than not, it is a realistic image, and more often than not, life doesn’t necessarily mirror the image we had for it. At that moment, we can feel inadequate, we can feel like a failure and we can feel that we failed to create the life we want or deserve, but if we take a closer look sometimes the magic is in the journey rather than the destination, it is in the lessons we learn along the way and the changes we have to go through to become the best versions of ourselves.

My life didn’t turn out to be anything like I imagined, in fact the image I had for my life doesn’t even come close to what it is now, and even though I do have my days when I brood about it and wonder where I went wrong, I still smile when I look back at the things I learned when the pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit.

1. You Learn To Steer The Wheel In Another Direction

You know how the saying goes “If you don’t bend you will break” You will find yourself face to face with your fears and your worst nightmares, but you will have to face them, even if you don’t win, even if you fall short, even if you will never be the same person again, you will navigate through them to reach your destination. It is exactly like driving, sometimes you get lost, sometimes you take roads you don’t want to take, sometimes you drive alone at night and it can get scary, sometimes you will have to stop at a red light even though you can’t wait to go home, sometimes you will get into an accident and it may or may not be your fault, but the key will always be to keep driving and steer the wheel in another direction, whatever direction leads you back home.

2. You Will Be Forced To Look Within For Validation

If you are a people person like myself, you get your energy and your validation from those around you, you always wonder do they like me? Did I say the right thing? Are they going to speak well about me? Does my boss think I’m smart enough? Will this man stay or will he get bored and leave? You constantly expend your energy on those around you and that sometimes can be the demise of your own identity and personal growth. This may sound like a cliché but it is true, the best way to use your energy is to consume it on yourself first, and be in touch with who you are regardless of what those around you think of you. You have to embrace your flaws and shortcomings while working on them rather than seek validation from those around you. It helps when someone sees something good in us that we ceased to believe and it helps when someone picks us up when we fall, but at the end of the day, it is temporary relief. If you want long-term relief, you need to seek validation from yourself first and welcome the validation of others second, but you should always come first.

3. You Might Want To Reconnect With God

“When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough.” This is one of my favorite quotes to sum up faith and life too. When things don’t go as planned, and when life gets hard, it is easy to sink in a dark hole and drown in a sea of anger, negativity and despair; also known as rock bottom. The good thing about hitting rock bottom is the fact that it allows you to reach to a higher power, ask for help, pray and seek guidance from the creator. If it takes a toll on your faith, let me assure you that you will not make it out of rock bottom easily, however if you use it as a tool to reconnect with God and strengthen your faith and the belief that God has a better plan for you and that his plans will make you happier than you ever thought you will be, you will be just fine. God sometimes gives us what we need rather than what we want, sometimes it is best not to ask questions and try to go against the ebb and flow of what God brings to our life, sometimes it is better to look up and say I know you got this, let go and keep the faith.

4.You Are Going To Lose Some People

It is a part of life, the more you know who you are and seek validation from within, the more people you are going to lose. Some people will not like it, some people will try to bring you back down, some people will hurt you, some people will walk away, some people will give up on you, and others will stab you right in the face. Only a few good ones will stick around and respect the transition, those people are the ones that are in your life to stay and will help you become your best self. I must say this is the hardest lesson, it doesn’t only require strength and self-control, it requires you to never look back, to close some doors that you so wanted to remain open. The hardest part is not letting them go, the hardest part is letting them go knowing you will not let them back in again, knowing that deep in your heart this person will cause you more damage than good and they have to go. In some cases, losing is winning.

5. It Will Make You A Better Person

Finally, when your life doesn’t turn out the way you wished for, it will humble you. It will make you a kinder person, a more sympathetic person, a wiser person, a stronger person, a less judgmental person, a deeper person, or simply it will make you human. You will learn that you can’t be perfect and you never will be, you will learn that you will fail at things you thought you were good at, you will learn that you can be hard to love sometimes, you will learn that you have bipolar tendencies, you will learn that you cannot control your surroundings and you cannot make someone change or someone love you. You will learn to accept your fate and stop trying to change it. You will learn that life will scar you, and it will hurt you but it will also surprise you-sometimes in a good way, and one day you will look back and be able to connect the dots, one day you will look back and make sense of all the confusion, one day you will surprise yourself when you look at the image you had for your life and realize that it doesn’t resonate with you anymore and it doesn’t matter.

Ways To Make Peace With The Things You Can’t Change

1. You stop assuming what you lose is for the worst. I just realized that I lost my favorite book of all time. I’ve had it for two years. The pages are barely hanging on by threads, and it’s filled with notes and thoughts and underlined sentences and paragraphs. I’m pretty sure I left it in a coffee shop. My friend turned to me today and said: “It’s okay. Somebody who needed it — and your notes — got it. It was time to pass it on, and buy a new one, to highlight the things you didn’t see before.”

2. You stop assuming you know best. Inarguably, I am an idiot when it comes to my own life. I admit to this. I will be the first to laugh and tell you all the ways I’ve screwed up. I have wanted relationships that were objectively terrible for me, questioned the things that were so genuinely best for me it’s perplexing how one could mistake them. I’ve sullied my own happiness with worry, tried to control that which I couldn’t. Of everything, do you know what I’m most grateful for in this world? The fact that it never listened to me and some other force lead me to where I am. I am so grateful I never got what I thought I deserved. It’s the only thing I can bring myself to consider when I similarly believe that I’m wrongfully not getting something I want now.

3. You meditate on impermanence. Maybe not through literal, actual meditation (though that would be great of course) you have to remind yourself that the root of suffering is not just the impermanence of things, but our attachment to the things that are inevitably not going to last. If something isn’t enough for you in the time that you have it — be it a day, a month, a year — it’s never going to be enough. At the end of the day, you can’t keep it forever. You’d be losing it sooner or later. What’s more important is whether or not you appreciated having it in the first place.

4. You consider what you can change externally. Granted, external control is an illusion that will ultimately fail us all; attachment is a river that inevitably runs dry. But sometimes when you’re treading water, you need a little something to hold onto, no matter how temporary it is or mildly delusional you are for it. If there’s something you can externally change about your situation, do so. If there’s something you can say, a line you can draw, an opinion that’s yet to be voiced, go ahead and make sure you’ve exhausted all your options.

5. And then you focus on what you can change internally. I said this once (I don’t remember what article it was in, sorry) and I stand by it: most little things can be solved with a nap, a drink or a long talk with someone who wants to listen, and most big things have to be solved with an inner reconciliation. Allow that of yourself.

6. You face it until it doesn’t hurt anymore. I once heard someone explain our grown up fears as being similar to how we were afraid of the monster in the closet when we were little. All we really have to do is shine a light inside and realize that there’s nothing there. This kind of acknowledgment is different from attaching to it and creating and manifesting it in your life. It is different than holding onto a perception and then making it your reality. This is just acknowledging what is, and saying it out loud again and again and again until it the weight wanes off. Anybody who has done this can tell you how much it eases your heart and chest and soul. Don’t let the nonexistent monsters haunt you because you just don’t want to open the door.

Terrified About The Future? Read This…

Rania has something to contribute to this interesting topic on if you terrified about the future, then you in the right place.

“How do I prepare myself for the worst?” A friend of mine asked me the other day, and I started wondering why do we always assume the worst first? Why are we so scared of the unknown that we think it’s going to attack us and stab us in the back? Why is the future associated with trepidation instead of tranquility?

We are always scared of the unknown considering that we fear the future will mirror our past, because we are born to believe that history repeats itself. But human beings are not history, they reinvent themselves instead of repeating themselves. If you are scared of the future, I ask you to try to see it as a challenge rather than a threat, a pleasant surprise, or a compelling story that is still unfolding. Sometimes knowing the ending ruins the story, and life is all about the story.

If you are scared of tomorrow, think of the things you can control today, the things you have now, think of just today and how you can get through it. Think of how you can make today slightly better, think of how you can make this day a good day in case history repeats itself tomorrow. Think of making today count, maybe that is the only possible way you can prepare for tomorrow.

If you are scared of the worst that can happen, think of all the times in the past you were scared of what may come, and thought of worst case scenarios that never happened.

If you are scared of failure, think of the past regrets you had because you didn’t try, think of the “what ifs” and “if onlys” you asked yourself when you felt that life is passing you by. Think of failure as not trying rather than winning. Think of failure as a battle you lost but a war you could still win. Think of failure as a complicated friend rather than a vile enemy.

If you are scared of not being enough, think of the story of the twenty dollar bill, when the speaker held it up after he dropped it on the ground and fumbled it in the dirt, after he almost ripped it apart, and yet many raised their hand and still wanted it because it was still a twenty dollar bill.. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, good enough or not good enough, your value never changes, you are still priceless to those who love you and those who will love you.

If you are scared of heartbreak, think of the wisdom and strength you gained from your heartbreak, think of the self-discoveries you made out of your isolation and introspection. Think of the times that your brokenness inspired you to write, or sing, or dance, or just pack your bags and travel. Think of how you were not afraid of love once upon a time, and why you should never be afraid of love again. If you are afraid of love, perceive it as an act of giving rather than receiving. If you are afraid of love, think of how you can be even more afraid of loneliness.

If you are scared of death, think of the many times you died inside and how you came to see the light of day again. Think of all the near death experiences you had and remember how those experiences made you a lot more aware of your life and a lot more appreciative of it. We are mortal and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. You are here now, so be here, let the threat of death pave the way for you to live a daring life. Let’s live like we are dying, than die like we had never lived.

The comment section is opened for your thoughts and views about this.

Repost: How Many Celebrity Tragedies Before We Understand That Fame And Money Don’t Mean Happiness?

There are many conversations to be had in the wake of Robin Williams’ death. About the perils of depression; the silent weight of scrutiny that’s internalized when we treat famous people like characters, not humans; and the love a generation could have for a man, though we hadn’t taken a moment to discuss him until he was gone.

When tragedies like these occur, the only thing there is to do is take something and grow collectively. At the end of the day, the million+ tweets and posts and discussions about Robin are (for all we know) unbeknownst to him. They’re for us. So while we’re at it, let us take this too: You will not be happier tomorrow if you do not create happiness today.

We are aggregators and perpetuators of the idea that external success yields internal fulfillment. We spend our whole lives seeking that greatness: a physical body others can appreciate, stacks of money you can measure, material items other people can get wide-eyed and jealous of, attention and admiration that we believe will fill some emptiness within us.

External success — success that is sought because other people can perceive it — is a dark and winding path of putting our whole lives into something that never does fill the gaping, heavy hole that sent us running away from ourselves to begin with.

I have a hard time believing that Robin — or really anybody who has perished despite a seemingly phenomenal life — wouldn’t want us to understand this. More importantly, because of those people, but more due to our own internal convictions of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and disconnectedness (that we all at some level understand) I believe that this is what we need to start understanding.

Despite the endless feed of overdoses and tragedies, we remain a culture that is, for the most part, decidedly unaware. If you asked someone, in theory, does money and fame mean happiness? They’d probably say no, because they think that’s the right answer. And yet. But still. It’s easier and more instantly gratifying to keep seeking the external. It’s common, it’s normal, it’s expected, it doesn’t require much by the way of fiercely letting your own light refract into the untouched darkness of others’.

We are a society driven by ego. We have monopolized even the most natural and simple of processes for the sake of these empty, meaningless, physical accolades. We took control of animals to help discover/conquer new territories, then put them in concentration camps to be slaughtered (though, then again, we’ve done that to each other.) We’ve changed more on the Earth in 50 years than in the last 13,000 combined. Industrialized farming poisons our food for the sake of cheap, exponential growth, and our food workers wear radiation suits. Everything has been cloned, standardized, copied and individuality has been destroyed, ironically, in the face of our very isolation that has to be mentally resolved before anything else can be. We just continue to take and take and take and take.

And when other things aren’t enough, we take control of each other, and in the interim, we monopolize ourselves, too. We do this every time we police someone into behaving one certain way. Every time we believe what we’re conditioned to and don’t think for ourselves. Every time we allow something ultimately meaningless to control our lives because the one thing we have not learned to do is find something that does mean something to us.

We created a culture that cares far more about how things appear than how they actually are. As long as this carries on is as long as we’ll be seeking a great nothingness.

And the funny thing, the important thing, the only thing worth knowing here, really, is that if every one of us took it upon ourselves to fill ourselves with deep understanding and conviction, to perceive unity rather than isolation, to learn to embrace individuality in harmony with everyone else, these problems would disappear. We do not have to fix the outer. We do not have to deconstruct the society we live in to fix it. We have to deconstruct the illusions within us.

This is not something we vote on. This is not something we influence others to do. This is not what happens when we take control of other beings and things. We cannot keep perpetuating the world that we do, and losing the things that we are, the people we love, and ourselves. We do not just owe this to our heroes and our children and the people who have passed. We owe this to ourselves. We owe it to our own happiness to stop feeding into the incessant cruelty, to stop judging other people and policing them into a life we deem acceptable. We owe it to ourselves to ask for help when we need it. To help others when they do. To let our suffering move us toward deeper, internal acceptance and awareness and okayness through the external knowing that all is one and one is all and to know that no matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

Credit image: Pinterest

Don’t Wait To Be Inspired, Don’t Only Act On Passion

The feeling of being “inspired” is very often just finding something brilliant, and trying to emulate it. The rush and desire makes us manic and driven because we think we are actively becoming greater than ourselves. We find something we perceive as so great, we want others to perceive us – our take, our idea, our belief, our creation of it – similarly. But the foundation of that is what we are not. That’s why we have to find it, that’s why we run dry. It is not inherent or internal – at least the whirlwind, overwhelming kind of inspiration isn’t.

Acting without feeling inspired is us saying what we naturally know, feel and think, and this is vulnerability. When we believe that we must be inspired by an idea to create something of it, it is a mechanism to avoid placing ourselves bare into something that other people can judge.

The same goes for the idea of “passion.” Passion is the crazy, grandiose, brilliant idea for the epic novel, but it is not the every day work that gets it written. Ryan Holiday just wrote about this idea, in that Passion Is The Problem, Not The Solution.

Passion does not get the work done. Passion does not sustain you for more than a moment’s worth, neither does inspiration. It is not what gets your heads on the floor and your fingers on the keyboard and your mind in a space of determination. Please take my word for this.

But we’ve based most of our cultural aspirations on these ideas. That is to say, we’re supposed to choose what we feel consistently strongly about, and pursue it madly and wildly and at any cost. It’s why, I think, so many people feel lost. Because they don’t feel compelled by a single, conveniently-career-transmutable activity or idea (and most people aren’t supposed to… I have a hard time believing that “life purpose,” if it exists, is an isolated experience or job or action.)

You’ve probably heard (and read countless articles and studies) on why “following your passion” is the worst career advice you can get (“passion” is something you build; it’s what comes after you do something you enjoy repeatedly and gain skill and accolade, etc.) It’s not something that comes over you one day, at least not to any conceivable end.

But we don’t want to misstep. We want to base our decisions on something solid, on a singular purpose, on the truth gauge we’re promised we have. We are basing our life choices on feelings that other things give us, rather than the instincts we naturally have, and we’re calling that intuition.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea that you should do something each day that is fulfilling, but there is something dangerously misleading about the idea that you should feel passionately inspired each day (it insinuates there is no work, or rather, work shouldn’t feel like work.)

This makes happiness “good” and anything else “bad.” This makes the spectrum of emotions that human beings are meant to experience obsolete. This closes us off and stoppers our progress. This is how we induce our own suffering, by believing that the things that are “meant to be,” that are actions of passion and divine grandeur are going to make us feel consistently “good.”

If we were “meant” to feel good all the time, it wouldn’t be such a struggle. And we create that struggle for ourselves. Every time we look to something else to give us that high, we externalize our purpose. We step over vulnerability, we idealize a certain feeling, a certain job, a certain partner, and that’s it, it becomes the end goal, the only goal, the only way we’ll be content.

Passion is not what gets the job done. It is not what sustains a relationship or a career. Inspiration will not “find you” every single day. If you believe it’s supposed to, you’ll only be a failure in your own mind.

These things are drops, not constants. They are sparks, not flames.

You can prove this to yourself by the sheer fact that in retrospect, you probably realize you do not value the isolated moments of inspired thought as much as you do the work and love you consciously choose to put into them every single day to create something out of them. You value what you make, what you choose. Not what happens upon you.

What do you guys think about this article on passion and inspiration. Please let us know your thoughts and also share on your platforms too.

You Choose, You Decide

Continuation from the last post..

You have determined your entire life up to, now by the choices and decisions you have made or failed to make. If there is anything in your life that you don’t like, you are responsible. If there is anything that you are unhappy about, it is up to you to take the necessary steps to change and improve it so that it is more to your liking.

As the President of your own personal services, you are completely responsible for everything you do and for the results of what you do. You are responsible for the consequences of your actions and your behaviours. You are where you are and what you are today because you have decided to be there.

In a large sense, you are earning today exactly what you have decided to earn, no more and no less. If you are not happy with your current income, decide to eaen more. Set it as a goal, make a plan, and get busy doing what you need to do to earn what you want to earn.

As the President of your own career and life, as the architect of your own destiny, you are free to make your own decisions. You are the boss. You are in charge.

Be motivated and inspired to want for more….

Practical Ways To Cope With Stress

When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, you may feel that there’s nothing you can do about it. However, no matter how stressful your life seems, there are a few strategies that will help you cope with stress and release some of the pressure in your life.

1. Identify the source of your stress. Ask yourself what it is that’s causing you this stress, some reasons are more obvious than others; such as work or family problems but sometimes it’s our own fears and thoughts that are contributing to our stress. The best thing you can do is to write down what you think is causing you this stress and the best way to solve it.

2. Take a time-out. Sometimes you have to take a step back to avoid making quick or irrational decisions. Going for a walk, practicing yoga, listening to music or any other stress-free activity will help you get moving so you can prepare your mind for better thinking and regain control of the situation.

3. Accept that some things are out of your control. If the cause of your stress is something you can’t control then you should subtract that from the list. Try to accept the things you can’t change and focus on coping with the things that you can. It will put your stress in perspective.

4. Ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for support instead of bottling your feelings up. Let your friends or family know how they can help you and communicate your feelings to them.

5. Engage in social activities. The best way to de-stress is to go out and have a good time with the people you enjoy being around. Engaging in social activities that make you happy is a good distraction and helps you find motivation again.

6. Look at the bigger picture. Reframe your problems by asking yourself if they will matter in the long run. If the answer is no, then you have to start redirecting your energy to the stuff that really matters and declutter your mind.

7. Make sure it is not your vulnerability. Being extra sensitive or vulnerable makes you stress over the smallest things. If you are in a bad mood, even the smallest stressors can have a huge impact. Try to distinguish between your mood and your problems.

8. Get enough sleep. When you are stressed out, your body and your brain need more sleep to recover. A good night sleep can fuel your productivity and help you manage your stress better.

9. Manage your time. Don’t fill your calendar with plans you can’t commit to. This will only add to your stress and blur your vision even more. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you’ll find it easier to stay calm and focused.

10. Monitor your environment. If the people around you are stressing you out or bringing in more negativity, try limiting the amount of time you spend with them. If your social media feed is full of depressing news and negative statuses then maybe you should consider deactivating your accounts for a few weeks. Minor changes in your environment will help you reduce the stress and get back to calmer state of mind.

Watch: Why Women Are More Anxious Than Men

By: Brianna Weist

I recently watched (and some of you may be familiar with) a set of social experiments in which a group of men and then a group of women agreed to go on a date with a person they met on Tinder – a model, who would be in a fat suit when they arrived.

The experiment claims to be based on the fact that number one fear for women dating online is that they’ll meet a serial killer, and the number one fear for men is that the woman will be fat.

Low and behold, when each of the men arrived and met their date, they were… offended. They were mad because they felt lied to, and did little to cover their displeasure with the woman’s appearance. Only one of them didn’t walk away or excuse himself to the bathroom – never to return. But none gave her a chance, or took any interest in getting to know who she was, all because she wasn’t thin.

Now, as I was watching this, I’ll be honest. I was thinking, well, okay, it’s not completely unreasonable to be off-put if you’re expecting one thing, and get another…

That was, until I saw the women’s video.

Not one of them walked away. They gave the guy a chance. They connected with him. They laughed at his jokes. They did acknowledge that they were disillusioned about his appearance, but they were not rude or entitled about it.

… And one of them kissed him at the end. Another offered up a second date. They got to know who he really was, because they were able to see past their expectations about what he should be.

Click to watch video for men

Click to watch for women

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that research shows women are twice as prone to anxiety as men, are twice as often diagnosed with anxiety disorders, and that women are significantly “more inclined toward negative emotion, self-criticism, and endless rumination about [their] problems.”

But here is the important part: we also know that this is not the result of a biological or hormonal difference. Indicating that it is, unsurprisingly, cultural.

Simply, women are not encouraged to honestly acknowledge their feelings and cope with them in proactive, mindful ways – and this is mostly to maintain how others perceive them.

Taylor Clark dubs this the “skinned knee effect,” wherein from a young age, boys are encouraged to confront their fears, and girls are encouraged to hide them. “If little Olivia shows fear, she gets a hug; if little Oliver shows fear, he gets urged to overcome it.”

And when these emotions “go underground,” they become ingrained in the subconscious, and then begin to have a huge and often overlooked impact on day-to-day interactions.

Studies also tell us that women tend to be insidiously competitive, jealous and spiteful toward other women, especially those they are close to. Because they are taught not to win at someone else’s expense (to be a perpetual people-pleasers and peace-makers) their healthy, natural, normal, innate competitiveness must become tempered.

And the more it is inhibited, the more it remains unacknowledged. As anybody can tell you, as soon as you pack a feeling away in a dark closet… it becomes a potential monster that you have to prepare yourself for – and that feeling of dread and suppression begins to bleed into otherwise unthreatening, daily situations.

Though these are just a few examples plucked from the pile of research on the anxiety gender gap, the point is that anxiety is, in an abstract sense, the anticipation that something ‘bad’ is coming, or the fear that one cannot handle it.

More accurately, the fear that they cannot hide it.

It’s the running idea that bad things cannot be dealt with because feelings cannot be felt. And so the fear of them, the fear of losing culturally-induced composure, compiles into anxiety. Intense anxiety. Unbearable anxiety that remains dormant until something sets it off and it crops up endlessly. “I know this sense of panic and urgency is coming from somewhere… and so I must search for it, project it and deal with it in ways that aren’t actually addressing the root of the problem.”

Women suffer greater anxiety than men because they’re taught… not to. They’re denied simply being honest about their feelings, and most often in a way that convinces them it will yield positive results. It will make people love them. They will seem “together.”

But at what cost?

In terms of the women in the experiment, certainly they were kinder, more positive, and opened themselves up to the possibility for real romance, but only because they were conditioned to be just that: open, accepting and willing, no matter what.

Who is to say they were actually interested in that man? I certainly am not. But what we do know is that the men who were not interested in their date didn’t have to pretend for the sake of someone else’s feelings.

There isn’t an anxiety gap. There is an honesty gap, and there is a decency gap. There’s a middle ground on which we each need to rest a foot: that you can be honest without hurting someone intentionally, that you can cope with your feelings without being violent or cunning about it, and most importantly, that it’s human to feel on edge when your instincts are being compressed. That the most we need to do is let our inner demons out and discover they were nothing more than the fear that they could be something else.

Let me know what you think about this by commenting your opinion.

The Incredible Power of Taking Risks in Life

There are many ways to change your life for the better. And one simple, yet seemingly scary choice we can make is to be taking more risks in life.

The problem with this path to positive change is that most of us fear taking risks!

may fear rejection, failure and change. We may fear uncertainty.

We think about taking a risk and our innate fight/flight response kicks in.

On top of that, many of us have a warped relationship with fear, where we think fear is bad, and that we should stay away form it.

But actually fear isn’t bad, and neither is risk!

In fact, risk is the very thing that can make us feel alive, and the fear we get with taking risks is just a feeling message to tell us that we’re going outside of our familiar comfort zone.

What’s the worst that could happen?

For many of us, it’s all too easy to get stuck into a routine that provides comfort and safety. But, we have to ask ourselves, are we truly living?

Yes, some risks shouldn’t be taken because the consequences could be disastrous. Howeveyourself. a little bit of discernment, we can take calculated risks that will benefit us regardless of the outcome.

Say for instance, you see an attractive person in a coffee shop, and you want to say hi. What’s the worst that could happen? They’re not interested, but you took that risk which ultimately didn’t hurt you in the end. And doing so likely boosted your courage. So no regrets! It’s all about the attitude you take.

Or there are more serious risks that you could be taking, such as leaving the job you aren’t so thrilled about, or moving to a new country. Again, what is the worse that could happen? If things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to, at least you learnt a lot more about yourself and the world in the process. Plus, you can always go home and go back to the same type of job if you want to!

Risks help to build confidence & open up possibilities

By taking risks, you give yourself permission to try things out, to learn, to fail, to grow and to explore. You get to test your limits and go beyond what you believed was possible. You can to go after the things in life you really want!

By doing this, you naturally build up your self-confidence, growing as a person and opening up a whole new world for yourself.

By taking risks you get better at knowing what you want

Risks helps you to get clear on what you want out of life.

They make you more consciously aware of what is important to you, what you want and don’t want, as part of your planning and decision making process.

Just the level of clarity you get from planning to take a risk helps you to feel more empowered and in control, as the leader of your life and the master of your own destiny.

Risk taking builds self-trust

When you take a risk, you generally do so with awareness after balancing your logic and intuition, to decide what is best for you. By taking action aligned to your own inner compass in this way, you build a level of trust in yourself.

And trusting yourself and knowing when to take action on something you really want only serves to further elevate your self-confidence.

Risks make life exciting and colorful

What would happen if we never took risks?

Life would become monotonous and boring. Nobody wants a boring life, yet it’s such an easy option to resort to, in order to stay safe and in our comfort zones.

It boils down to making a decision.

Although your heart may be racing, and your palms many be sweating, think about what would happen if you didn’t take the chance?

Would you regret the missed opportunity?

We only have this one life, why not stretch yourself to new heights! You never know what could happen… and isn’t that exciting?

Take action starting from today

You don’t need to jump head first into a tonne of risks, but you can practise the art of taking one small risk each day.

It can be as simple as saying hello to someone new, learning a new skill or applying for a new job. Whatever your comfort threshold is, start testing it out each and every day.

Because this is where real growth happens. Ultimately, this risk-taking habit alone will transform your life!

Powerful Lessons You Can Only Learn Through Experience

No matter how many degrees we have or what kind of education we received, there are some thing that only life can teach us-lessons that we only learn in the school of life.

1. The meaning of purpose.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”~Friedrich Nietzsche.

We may graduate with honors and pick a great career, but it can still make us feel unfulfilled, this is when we learn the importance of finding meaning and purpose in our lives that goes beyond the realm of a secure job and a good education.

2. How to be independent.

“To find yourself, think for yourself.”~Socrates

We learn that we have to stand on our own and take care of ourselves. Our parents and teachers won’t guide us anymore, so it’s just us against the world and we have to be prepared for it, because no one is better equipped to answer our own questions but ourselves.

3. We can’t control time.

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”~Oprah Winfrey

Life teaches us that we won’t always get what we want right away, it teaches us that we still don’t have control over time no matter how good our time management skills are and no matter how good we are at predicting our future. If it’s not our time yet, we can do nothing about it.

4. How to move on from failure.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”~ Winston S. Churchill

In school when we failed a class, it was easy to make up for it or study harder for the next one, but in life, failure can scar us or even change our whole perspective on the meaning of life. Life teaches us that failure is a part of it, and that success can only come after so many failures. We learn how to move on from failure and accept it as part of our journey.

5. How to be patient.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”~Aristotle

If we can’t control time, then we must be patient enough to wait for what we want. Life doesn’t have a specific timeline set for us by our teachers, we now have to be patient and have faith that the things we want will come when we are ready for it rather than when we want it.

6. We all need love.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”~Lao Tzu

Not the puppy love or the high school love; we need the real kind of love, the love that is reflected in the support of others, the kindness of others and the love that elevates our lives. We never studied how to find love or how to be loved, so we keep learning as we go, even if it means that we won’t find it right away.

7. Life is difficult.

“Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”~M. Scott Peck

As we grow up, we learn that life is not going to be easy, it is not like a hard semester that will pass and we will never have to worry about it again. We learn that it can actually get harder as your responsibilities grow. Life teaches us how to roll with the punches to survive and that it is not always smooth sailing.

8. We will scatter our hearts in the wrong places.

“Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.”~Mark Z. Danielewski

We will pick wrong careers and wrong partners that will not be very kind with our hearts. We may not always understand why we wasted our deepest emotions over something that introduced us to misery but life will let us know the reason eventually-in time-or maybe we will never know.

9. We have a choice.

While many things will be out of our control, we still have a choice. A choice in the way we see things, a choice in the way we react to things, a choice in the way we become more cautious in the future, a choice in the way we let our circumstances define who we are.

10. We all need help.

“God gave us crying so other folks could see when we needed help, and help us.”~Joshilyn Jackson

No matter how independent we are, we will need some sort of help along the way. We are not immune to disappointment and heartbreak and sometimes we just can’t find the strength to pick ourselves up. Life will teach us that we can’t make it alone even if we try.

11. Everything is temporary.

“Everything in life is temporary. So if things are going good, enjoy it because it won’t last forever. And if things are going bad, don’t worry. It can’t last forever either.”~Unknown

Pain is temporary. Feelings are temporary, even our time on earth is temporary, which is why we have to make the best out of this temporary time and try not to give power to temporary emotions to ruin our lives.

12. Nothing is impossible.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”~Shel Silverstein

Life is difficult but it’s also fascinating. In the blink of an eye it can present us with a wonderful opportunity that can change our life around. It can bring us closer to our dream job or our dream partner. Life can make our dreams come true.

13. Never get attached to plans.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”~ Woody Allen

It’s good to have a blueprint of how we want our lives to look like in 5 or 10 years but we must not get too attached to it because we change and our plans surely change too. Life teaches us that we need to have plan b, and c and d.

14. We have to face our fears.

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”~ C. JoyBell C.

Life teaches us that at some point we will be faced with things that absolutely terrify us. Losing someone we loved, losing our job, moving away from home,…etc. We can’t escape fear so we have to learn how to face it and walk with it.

15. We have to love who we are.

“If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”~Unknown

If we want to make our lives a bit easier than we have to love ourselves- not in a narcissistic way- but in a compassionate way. We have to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and failures, we have to believe in ourselves even if those around us aren’t believing in us, we have to learn when to walk away from people who are not good for us, and we have to love ourselves even if we are not who we wanted to be or where we wanted to end up.

Are We Over- Protecting Our Children?

This post was first posted on Breakpoint.

Maybe you’ve heard that phrase “killing them with kindness”? According to some, that may be what our culture is doing to today’s college students, at least psychologically.

Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, sees what he calls “declining student resilience.” At one major university, “emergency calls to counseling had more than doubled over the past five years. Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life.”

Gray said that one student felt traumatized because her roommate had called her a nasty name. Two others sought counseling because they’d seen a mouse in their off-campus apartment. They called the police, who, he says, “kindly arrived and set a mousetrap for them.” The Atlantic calls this kind of thing “the coddling of the American mind.”

Many of these emotionally stunted students can’t handle a bad grade, and their professors live in fear of negative student reviews or lawsuits. Or as one director of counseling said, “There has been … a decrease in the ability of many young people to manage the everyday bumps in the road of life.”

What’s going on? Dan Jones, the past president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, points at parents, saying, “[Students] haven’t developed skills in how to soothe themselves, because their parents have solved all their problems and removed the obstacles. They don’t seem to have as much grit as previous generations.”

In other words, there’s been way too much helicopter parenting!

Cameron Cole, a youth pastor in Alabama, knows that overly protecting our kids isn’t biblical. Pain, after all, is part of spiritual growth. “On Jesus’s way to redeeming the world he encountered betrayal, injustice, torture, violence, condemnation, imprisonment, and alienation,” Cole writes. “How deluded I am when I think an alternate path exists for my child’s ‘hoped for’ service to God’s kingdom. He will not wear the crown … unless he bears a cross.”

Too many kids take the easy path, which is the only path they’ve ever known. They’re afraid to fail so they avoid risk at all costs. But our faith teaches us risky obedience to God, knowing He’s in control.

I’m reminded of this point every time I speak with my friend Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed. Jesus said, “I’m with you always.” And let’s not forget, “Nothing shall be impossible.” So let’s share this bracing perspective with our sons and daughters, and live by it.

And let’s not forget that college students in former generations followed this God of the impossible. In 1886, Dwight L. Moody presided over a meeting of 251 college students in Massachusetts. They came from all over the country, and eventually an interest grew in foreign missions. As ChristianHistory.net reports, one of the students, Robert Wilder, organized a meeting for all of those interested in missions, and 21 young people showed up. He later wrote, “Seldom have I seen an audience under the sway of God’s Spirit as it was that night. The delegates withdrew to their rooms or went out under the great trees to wait on God for guidance.”

When the conference was over, 100 students had committed themselves to become overseas missionaries. It was the start of a movement that saw tens of thousands of people carry the gospel around the globe. Is such a passion still conceivable for us?

Yes! But the key is what I learned in my years of teaching teens and college students: Remove the bubble wrap. And like Moody, encourage them toward a God-sized vision for their lives. Help them see their giftedness and how it relates to the needs in their world, so that they can pursue their role in God’s restoration of all things under the lordship of Christ.
And as their leaders, parents, and mentors we need to give them permission to try . . . and room to fail.

Source: Breakpoint

Choices To Make Today That You Won’t Regret Tomorrow

1. Fighting for a career you love. You will never regret fighting for the job you really want or struggling to make it happen. It is a choice that will upgrade the quality of your life and give you a better shot at success.

2. Letting go of unrequited love. Or waiting for someone to make up their mind. You will never regret letting them go because you are paving the way for someone else to come in and you are being honest with yourself about the possibilities of being with someone who is not on the same page.

3. Apologizing to someone. You are a human being who is prone to making mistakes-a lot of them. Saying sorry to someone you care about and appreciate is the only way to redeem yourself and try to save the relationship from falling apart. You will never regret patching things up with the people who deserve it.

4. Learning something new. Whatever that may be; a new language, a new course, a new sport or a new meal, you will never regret investing time in a new skill. Learning drives us to be more productive, attentive and gives us the motivation we need to rejuvenate our lives.

5. Taking a break from social media. Unplugging is therapeutic in this ever-busy and chaotic life. Sometimes it’s really crucial for your sanity to take a break from social media and re-shift your focus and energy onto something better and more meaningful.

6. Exercising. The benefits of exercising are not just physical, they are also mental and spiritual. Taking a run or hiking can really help you feel better about yourself and inspire you to think clearly and make more coherent decisions.

7. Expanding your network. Building more relationships and expanding your social circle and your network will open new doors for you and will add value to your personal and professional life. You never know who you’ll be able to connect with and where that connection will lead.

8. Not taking life too seriously. You will not look back and remember the times you cried and the times you broke down. Don’t let pain or sadness drag on for too long. Try to look at the good in every bad and do your best to get over the disappointments quickly so you can be able to enjoy most of your life.

9. Loving yourself. With your flaws, with your quirks, with your mood swings and your eccentric habits. Be kind to yourself and try to love the different parts of you. You will never regret being your biggest fan because you know you can always count on yourself. Also, when you love yourself, you are more likely to find someone who loves you too.

10. Believing that tomorrow is a better day. You will never regret looking on the bright side, or being hopeful, or starting the day with a smile. You will never regret having a positive mentality and an optimistic outlook on life, you are more likely to achieve a positive life this way.

Dealing with Grief and Finding Hope

Nobody wants to die but want to go to heaven.
Death is inevitable. But death─ sudden or expected─ always brings sorrow and grief to the ones who are left behind. However, life still marches on. It is hard, but we must remember that as humans we have an immense ability to cope with anything that life brings. Although we all have different levels of coping abilities, there are several basic and universal steps to dealing with grief and finding hope again…

Allow The Feelings To Flow: Losing someone you love will conjure all unimaginable emotions within you, sorrow, regret, guilt, pain, grief, heartbreaks, misery, anger, sadness and many more. Feeling these emotions all at once can be extremely difficult. It is quite normal, so let them flow. You do not need to suppress them. Cry all you want. With time and allowing grief to be released, it will become less painful. It is an important process that will help you in dealing with grief and accepting your loss.

Talk About It When You Can: Talking about the death of your loved ones can be a way of remembering them and can help you understand what happened. It will give you the opportunity to start the healing process. Denying the death of a loved one can result in isolation and you pushing away your family and friends.

Find A Support System: Coping with a loved one’s death is never easy; especially if you are dealing with it alone. You need support coming from your family and friends so that you can find comfort and overcome grief faster. Moreover, while your family and friends can be your greatest source of support for overcoming the death of someone, but it is also advisable that you take advice from professional people when you find all the emotions and pain too hard to handle. Psychologists give professional advice and develop strategies according to your needs to get you through the grieving process.

Understand The Grieving Process: Dealing with grief and bereavement is a process. It is quite important to allow yourself to experience every stage of the grieving process for you to completely heal. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief in her book titled “On Death and Dying.” These stages are not necessarily experienced in order and some stages can be revisited. These five stages are:

  • Denial: Dealing with death can be overwhelming. It is an incomprehensible experience and you can find it hard to believe that your loved one is gone. You continue to deny that it is not happening and there is no way that your loved one left you.
  • Anger: As you realize the reality of your situation you begin to feel angry. Your anger or fury might be directed to your loved one for leaving you, to the doctors for not doing their job and healing your loved one, to God who took your loved one or even to yourself for maybe not being a better person to your loved one. All of this is quite normal and will pass.
  • Bargaining: It is quite common for an individual to start bargaining or negotiating with a higher power, like God. Do not be surprised or think that you are crazy when you start making deals with God like: “I will be better, just please give him back to me.”
  • Depression: The sorrow and overwhelming sadness you feel after the death of a loved one is normal. It is common to feel that your life will never be the same again. This feeling does not last forever and will pass with time.
  • Acceptance: This stage does not necessarily mean that you accept or come to terms that your loved one is already dead. It does not mean that if you are already at this stage, you will not revisit the other stages above. But rather, it means that the pain and grief of losing someone you love will reduce and become more manageable.

Celebrate Life: You need to mourn the death of your loved ones, but there comes a time when you need to turn from the mourning toward a new stage, of celebrating life again. Understanding that death is inevitable and that we will all die someday will give you an opportunity to live your life to the fullest. Remember that your life does not stop when someone you love passes away. Ask yourself this: “Would he or she be happy seeing me like this forever because they passed?” Cry as much as you need to, but know that your family and friends are still there for you, ready to walk forward and to live life fully with you now. Celebrate the fact that you are living.

Preserve Precious Memories: Someone so special to you might be gone but their memories stay. Keep all photographs, things he or she gave you, or create a memorial like planting a tree to remember your loved one. This will help you keep all the memories you shared together and overcome your loss.

Final Thoughts: It always feels so unfair when someone you love passes away, but that does not mean you have to stop living. God created us, human beings, to be strong and to survive anything. So, grieve as much as you need to, and remember you will be able to stand up and smile again. After all, your loved ones may not have stayed with you, but the memories you have with them will forever stay in your heart.

I can testify to each and every point stated here. I don’t know about you but if you have anyone facing the difficulty of not passing through grief and lack hope. Please share this with them.

Have a blessed day!!!

By: Brian Zeng

    Should Young Christians Rush to Get Married?

    True or False?

    Am not into relationship or marriage writing, but this caught my attention and needed to be shared.

    For young adult Christians who have grown up believing that sex outside of marriage is wrong, it can be understandable that they might rush to the altar with the person they feel so strongly in love with. It’s no shock to anyone that young people are flooded with feelings and desires that lead them to wanting to be physical with whoever they are attracted to, and when sex is known as a sin unless it’s with a spouse, the rush to get a ring on that finger makes sense.

    With a culture that so readily promotes the “happily ever after” path and seems obsessed with the latest pop culture couplings, marriages, divorces, and drama in between, it’s not surprising that many young people would view marriage as the ultimate destination and goal in relationships. Even in the church, marriage is often lauded as the best thing, the highest achievement, the greatest gift, and it can lead young people to feeling like they have to get to that point quickly for their lives, their relationships, and their presence in that community to really matter and have value.

    Ethan Renoe recently wrote an article for Relevant asking “ Should So Many Christians Push to Get Married Young? ” and he zeroes in on one famous Bible passage about singleness and marriage: 1 Corinthians 7 . This passage has been often debated, and it raises some important (although controversial) questions.

    In verse 8 of that chapter, Paul writes, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.”
    This is a very different stance than what our culture and our churches tend to promote. “But what if Paul was telling the truth?” Renoe asks. “What if it really is better for us to remain single instead of diving headfirst into marriage?”
    Wouldn’t that be something?

    It’s a helpful and healthy question to ask ourselves, though. As a single woman in her mid-twenties, it’s one I find myself pondering often. The expectation seems to be that I will get meet the man of my dreams someday and then get married shortly thereafter… but I’m not so sure that’s what’s meant for me. I’m definitely in no hurry to get there if that is what the Lord has in store, that’s for sure. As I see more and more friends getting married (even friends quite a few years younger than me, which feels strange), I return to this question, wondering if marriage is really the ultimate good thing we should be striving for, or if Paul was right in encouraging singleness instead.

    For the Christians (young or old) who pursue marriage as a way to justify their physical and sexual desires, it seems clear that the focus is misplaced. “As Christians,” Renoe explains, “our primary calling in life is not to gratify our sexual desires first and foremost. It is to glorify God, enjoy Him forever, and bring others into this sphere of blessedness. For this reason, I’ve come to see many of the young marriages of Christians as more of a detriment to the work of the church than a blessing.”

    He goes on to say, “what I mean by that is, if we really believe that Jesus, not sex, is the source of our satisfaction, it should affect the way we live our lives. It means perhaps we would spend years of our lives giving to the world in sacrificial and beneficial ways before settling down with our sweetheart to raise children rather than diving into marriage for the wrong reasons.”

    Now, this does assume that sex and a desire for physical intimacy is the driving force behind young couples getting married, which isn’t always the case. But he does make a good point that the Lord has great opportunities in store for us in our twenties and thirties when we free ourselves to follow his leading and serve him with our lives, unencumbered by such a serious relationship commitment. It’s not that the desires for intimacy go away, but instead that those who choose to embrace singleness instead redirecting those desires toward Jesus and the work he has for us instead.

    We can pursue intimacy in other ways — in our prayer life with the Lord, in our Bible studies and conversations with close friends, in sharing our stories vulnerably with one another, and with sharing common interests and bonding with others around us.

    While there have admittedly been times or seasons of my life where I have felt the absence of a meaningful relationship or longed for a husband, there have been many more times where I have been grateful for the freedom that comes with singleness, especially when it comes to service opportunities and ministry work in my church and community.

    “We have become blinded by a culture that teaches that the truest source of satisfaction is sex, so it makes sense that many of us would marry young for a taste of that ecstasy,” Renoe writes.

    What if we saw our lives instead as something so much greater? What if we saw our singleness as a chance to truly give ourselves to others? What if we saw our free time as a gift from the Lord allowing us to serve the people around us and expand the Kingdom? What if we reprioritized our desires and what is important to us, putting satisfaction in Christ above all else?

    Like Renoe concludes, there is no hurry for us to get married. There are so many opportunities before us in the seasons we are in now, and there is so much goodness to be found in a life wholly committed to serving the Lord and others. Pursue him first and foremost, and discover that he, better than any other, can and will fulfill every desire of your heart, no matter your relationship status. The rings can wait.

    Credit: Christian Headline