Dodging the Second Arrow – How to Manage Yourself During Difficult Times

One of the most profound Zen parables, “The Two Arrows“, tells the story of a samurai who was struck in the shoulder by a stray arrow in the heat of battle. The wounded samurai looked down at the arrow in his shoulder and was overcome by shock and disbelief. His sword dropped to the ground as his courage deserted him, and when the enemy soldiers saw this, they fell upon him and defeated him.

The parable continues by recounting the story of another samurai who was also struck in the shoulder by an arrow. His injury was equally severe, but when he looked down and saw the arrow in his shoulder, he did not lose courage. Instead, he became even more determined. He grabbed his sword with his other hand, tucked his wounded arm into his armor, and charged the enemy soldiers with a ferocity they had never seen before. In the end, despite his injury, the second samurai survived.

The narrative describes two very different reactions to the same misfortune, but a deeper insight is revealed when we understand the true meaning of the story’s title. Although “The Two Arrows” seems to refer to the arrows that struck the two samurai, the title in fact refers to the two arrows that struck the first samurai. The first arrow — the wooden one — was the one that injured his shoulder. The second arrow — the arrow of doubt and fear — did much worse damage…

The second arrow destroyed his spirit.

When we consider the story from this perspective, we realize that it was the second arrow that killed the samurai, not the first. After all, the other samurai was struck in the shoulder in the same manner, and he survived. There was no second arrow for him. Furthermore — and this is perhaps the most important part — the second arrow did not fall from the sky. It came from within the samurai himself.

We may not battle with swords and arrows anymore, but we all get struck by arrows of misfortune from time to time. Some are worse than others, but the first arrow is seldom lethal on its own.

It’s the second arrow — the negative ways in which we deal with these misfortunes — that can devastate us. The challenge for us is to avoid that second arrow.

Easier said than done, right? Perhaps, but we are certainly not without guidance in this area. There are several short-term and long-term strategies that we can use to manage ourselves during the more difficult times in our lives. Here are a few that I have found to be particularly effective…

Remember to Pray

This is the first thing you should do. First put everything in God’s hands, cast your care for he will take care of you.

Remember to Breathe

One of my family members suffers from dementia, and he is starting to experience some of the behavioral changes that often accompany that disease. The staff at his residence notify me whenever he gets into an altercation, so when I hear the beep of an incoming message from one of his caregivers, I immediately get a sinking feeling in my stomach. That’s when I know it’s time for an old, reliable countermeasure: slow and regular abdominal breathing.

Breathing may be automatic, but proper breathing isn’t necessarily so. During moments of nervousness or stress, our respiration naturally becomes shallow and erratic. This can cause us to become even more anxious, and in severe cases, may even trigger panic attacks.

Slow and regular abdominal breathing, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. It activates our parasympathetic nervous system – a division of our nervous system that calms us down and helps us control our emotions. With a little bit of focus, we can use this connection to our advantage.

The next time a co-worker becomes confrontational and you feel your lip starting to quiver, or the next time you are about to address a large audience and your knees get weak, take a moment to bring your breathing under control. This simple act has a remarkable effect, and is undoubtedly one of the most important life skills anyone can learn.

Recognize the Second Arrow

The story of the two arrows does more than just convey an important idea. It provides us with a contextual reference that can help us recognize and classify our behavior. Armed with this insight, we can reflect upon our actions and ask ourselves if we are reacting to a situation in a positive and constructive way or if we are suffering from a second arrow. When we perform this type of introspection, we can flag negativity early on and manage it more effectively.

Take Back Control of Your Thoughts

As a species, we are evolutionarily hard-wired to give priority to negative stimuli. This instinct gives us important survival advantages, but it also leaves us with a tendency to dwell on the negative. Although that tendency may be overwhelming at times, it is possible to overcome it and take back control of our thoughts.

When my daughter was ten years old, she suffered a stroke while on her way home from school. She eventually recovered (I’m glad to report!), but that first night in the critical care unit of the hospital was one of the worst nights of my life. As my wife and I were preparing a makeshift bed in the waiting room and wondering how we would ever make it through the night, one of the doctors who attended to my daughter dropped by to wish us the best. Afterwards, as I settled into bed, and all the worry and stress of the situation filled my head, I distinctly remember focusing my mind on nothing but a mental image of the doctor’s friendly face. That mental diversion — that one little act of changing my thoughts — helped me nod off and get some much-needed rest.

Worry and stress are inventions of the mind, and if the mind can cause these feelings, the mind can alleviate them.

It’s within our power to direct our thoughts away from the negative and towards, well, anything else. It might require a conscious effort, but it can be done. Evolutionary impulses may be strong, but that doesn’t mean we can’t override them from time to time!

Stay Active

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished work, gone home with the problems of the day still swirling around in my head, gone for a workout, and then wondered why I was so stressed. It may sound cliché, but sometimes there’s nothing like a bit of exercise to help us clear our minds. The effects of physical activity on mental health and overall quality of life have been well documented, and the feeling of general well-being that comes from being active cannot be overstated.

The more active we are, the stronger we feel, and the more positive and self-confident we become. It’s a powerful cycle!

This is a guest post from Ernest Cadorin🙏🙏🙏🙏💯💯💯💯

Image credit: Pinterest

5 Tips for Conquering Negativity When Starting Your Own Business

Guest post from Katelyn Marie

Imagine this. It has been raining for so long, but you want to take a walk and meet your friend who lives a house down. The only problem is that you live on a dirt road. There are no sidewalks or paved walking paths to be found.

So, you decide to walk on the dirt road. As you take the first few steps forward the mud is so thick you can feel the suction on your shoes as they are nearly pulled off of your feet. You’re scared of the step you just took and want to turn around, but you realize that you really want to see your friend.

You push on only to slip and go sideways. You catch yourself and learn from your mistake. Pretty soon you’re walking at a good clip, but you don’t see the stick in your way and trip over it, falling down completely.

Managing to get back up, you notice you’re covered in the filth and dirt. The mud is fresh in your mouth; it tastes disgusting. You won’t be able to wash off until later, but you wipe off as much as you can.

You start to wonder when you’ll get to your friend’s house. It didn’t seem this far away before.

You think about giving up completely, but you realize that wouldn’t be wise. You’re already part way there. You’ve chosen to follow through and if you quit now, you’ll feel cheated. Besides, you want to see your friend.

Finally, you see your friend waving from her porch. She runs forward and embraces you.

“I’ve been waiting,” she says.

Revealing Your Power

  • Now, what if I told you the mud was every negative thought, naysayer, or comment that was holding you back from your dreams?
  • And your friend was success.
  • And that you were carrying a super long hose that could’ve been used to wash yourself clean at any time you chose?

Would you believe me?

When I first started out, I’m not sure I would have.

Right out of college I chose to start my own freelance writing business. That was the scariest decision I’ve made to date. It’s hard and frustrating and sometimes completely baffling. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the doubts and negative thinking that can accompany taking a leap of faith.

But success was calling my name. She beckoned me from her porch, called me to keep coming closer, to keep pursuing her.

It’s easy to get stuck in the mud. To fall victim to the thoughts in our own mind and voices of others who doubt our ability to achieve what we are called to. It’s easy to stumble over an obstacle in our path and let it stop us. But we must forge on.

A lot of people have called me brave for starting my own business. While these things do take courage, I think the bravest people are the ones who start working on their goals and keep working to complete them. It takes grit, determination, and bravery.

I didn’t believe it at first, but I do hold the power. And with these five ways to conquer negativity, you can hold the power, too.

Say No to Negativity When Starting Your Own Business – 5 Easy Tips

1. Not Everyone Will Understand—Don’t Expect them To

There will always be well-intentioned people who will try to change your mind. Who will try to convince you to do something safer or easier.

My advice: don’t let them. Stick to your guns and explain why your dream is important to you. If they don’t come around, they aren’t worth your time.

2. True Haters are Probably Jealous

Ever come across a person who has nothing kind to say about your business venture?

It might be their own insecurities talking. You’re doing something they’ve only dreamed about. Remind yourself that it isn’t you and if you can, distance yourself from the negativity.

3. Find Positive Places and People

Whether it’s friends and family or a group on Facebook, surround yourself with like-minded people who share your goals. It’s much easier to reign over doubt if you have people walking with you. Plus, it’s a great way to network and expand your circle of supporters.

4. Success is Measured in More than One Way

Don’t look at your business purely in terms of profit. While that’s the ultimate goal, there is so much you learn with a start-up. You’re gaining life skills that are invaluable. So, when someone tries to measure your success in monetary terms, know that’s not the only way to look at it.

5. View Mistakes as Lessons

When you start this journey and as you continue to walk on it, there will be times when you mess up. Instead of throwing in the hat and telling yourself you aren’t cut out for this, try to see mistakes as learning experiences. Work through the problem and try not to repeat it. Be as gritty as possible.

A Rocky Road is Well Worth It

It isn’t always easy to follow your dreams. Sometimes they seem impossible. We make excuses: now’s not the right time, I don’t have enough money saved, I’m too old for this, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

But the truth is we can make excuses for days. There will never be a “right” time to start. But if it is something you really want, put on your boots and stick your foot into the mud. It’ll be messy, but there’s a good chance it’ll be worth it.

Image credit: Pinterest

What’s Your Greatest Barrier to Change?

Ever felt like there is something lacking within you or in your circumstances that prevents you from flourishing in your life? It’s common to have times in your life when you feel like there are barriers to the change you want to create.

I am ever the seeker of evidence, so in order to see what was really going on out there among my community of readers and clients I asked the question…

“What do you believe is the single greatest barrier to positive change in your life?”

Below is quick snapshot of the responses:

  • Lack of self-belief and confidence – 40%
  • Unsure where or how to start creating change – 16%
  • Personal circumstances and resources – 15%
  • Lack of time and space to create change – 6%
  • Fear of failure – 6%
  • Fear of judgement and ridicule – 3.5%
  • Lack of support/motivation/inspiration – 3.5%
  • Other (such as ‘a little bit of all these things’, ‘familiarity of current situation is easier than the fear of the unknown’ and ‘uncomfortable being vulnerable/addressing true emotions in order to move forward’) – 10%

What You Believe Becomes Your Reality

You might have noticed that we worded the question, very purposefully, as “What do you BELIEVE….” in relation to barriers to change. That is because your beliefs are what create the barrier/s. And, you have the ability to shift your beliefs. That’s fab news!

It all comes down to how much you want to shift any limiting beliefs. Because you can, it is just a choice and willingness to look at the limitation and to put in the conscious effort (awareness) to retrain your belief system in a way that better serves you. The result will be an empowered version of self for the rest of your life. The effort is worth it! Think of it like a ritual, not a chore. If people put half the effort into themselves as they do into everything (and everyone) else, they would be astounded at the change that results.

A core reason many people don’t put that effort into themselves, is that they don’t put themselves first in their life. They come last after everything and everyone else. It’s time to drench yourself with love and to realise that you are the centre of your life experience, everything stems from you and the best thing you can do for everyone around you is to care for and love yourself (like during aeroplane safety briefings when they tell you to fit your own oxygen mask first before helping others!)

Shifting Yourself – Dissolving Barriers

From your commitment to change, and from your self-belief, stems the endless possibilities available to you. Nothing and no one can tell you what to believe, what to think, how to feel or what to do. You and you alone create your life. You and you alone perceive what stands in your way. You and you alone create or break down the barriers that appear before you. It’s all about lifting your awareness, using your consciousness to your advantage, and starting to make choices moment by moment that will propel you upwards.

So now you might be thinking… “Well, yes I believe that I have barriers to change, and I want to change those beliefs so that those barriers don’t block me any more. But, how the heck do I shift my beliefs?”

I’d love to work with you if you are ready for creating transformation in your personal and professional life, using my simple but powerfully effective techniques and Unleash Your Life coaching method… for rewiring you for inner peace, freedom and success. Get in touch with me directly if you are ready to leave the baggage behind and lift into the next level of your evolution.

Credit: BERNADETTE LOGUE

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.

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!

Video: Joyce’s Thoughts On Tattoos

Popular preacher and author, Joyce Meyer recently got into the mix of trending topics after she released a video where she made a strong case for tattoos explaining why tattoos aren’t a sin and why religious people often take the scripture out of context to suit their narrative.

Midway through the sermon, she also made a slight joke of wanting to get a tattoo in order to“push religious people off the cliff” a.k.a. shake tables.

Joyce Meyer’s argument in the video was based in the premise that God has tattoos – as seen in Isaiah 49 and that the new testament has given us much more “freedom to do”, and doesn’t restrain us with fruitless laws and list of commandments especially when approached with a right motive.

What do you guys think about Joyce Meyer’s view on Tattoos…

Culled from Y!naija

May Not And Perhaps

In everything you do use positive expressions that feed your mind with thoughts of success.

The power of the right words can make the difference between moving forward to accomplishments or the realization of a dream, or staying stuck where you are, or casting oneself in the role of failure.

How You See Yourself
One thing is for certain, though. If you always see yourself as failing, you are more likely than not to be just that. The power of how you visualize the world is directly connected to how you see yourself and how you speak. If you see the world as full of problems , obstacles or roadblocks to change yourself, start or learn new skills, or to begin the adventure of being your own boss in your own business, you already have allowed defeatism to enter into the equation. In essence, you have set yourself up to fail before you have even started.

What Words Do You Use
For example, if you use the words “I probably will not make enough money to make a living” already has a failure element built into this perception, whereas the words, “I will, perhaps, make enough money to make a living”, give potential a fair opportunity to live on.

An Example
A few months ago, I was visiting a couple that I have known for years. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, they began to tell me about a home business they were going to start. It had to do with catering meals to local special events, old age homes, and small office functions like birthdays, or promotions.

The husband said, “that they might make enough money to cover their costs” while the wife said, “they were going to be able to make enough money to expand their business to their own commercial establishment.” He told me that they had to start small and not go to fast while she argued that they should expand as quickly as possible so they could build up a decent clientele that would help spread the word and to make enough money to expand.
In fact, in just a couple of weeks, they had started to secure a couple of clients. From what I could tell, they appeared to have a great idea, and had at least started when others would have simply talked about it. It seemed they were off and running.

In the last couple of weeks, I stopped in to see them again to see how they were doing with their new catering business. As soon as I walked in, I felt a sense that something was wrong. I asked them both if something had happened? The first to speak was the husband who bluntly and concisely told me that they stopped their catering business. He turned and looked directly at his wife and said’ “I told you we had to go slow, but you wouldn’t listen. Now we have been left with a lot of kitchen utensils and equipment that we don’t need and paid for out of our own pockets”.

She looked at me seemingly hesitant to respond but did so after I asked her exactly what happened. She reluctantly told me that they had been doing quite well and had several new clients. But, they had received a visit in their home by an inspector from the local health authority that wanted to ensure that their kitchen preparation area was up to code. It wasn’t. So, they were told that unless they had a proper food preparation area, they must cease operations.

You Can Defeat Yourself
Unfortunately, the defeatism attitude of the husband ruled the day. It was all about blame, and “I told you so” rather than about how to find a solution to this obstacle. It is a situation where one person had started with an “I doubt it” attitude and where another started with a “We can” attitude. Without both parties being on the same page, there was little hope that a solution would be found, or, even explored.

How big a role did selected words have in defeating this new business venture? I would have to say a great deal. Words are powerhouses of feelings, attitudes and reflect what you believe . If you want to succeed in absolutely anything, choose your words correctly, believe what they mean, and live up to these words daily.

The Battle For Your Thoughts

Positive minds full of faith and hope produce positive lives. The opposite is also true: negative minds full of fear and doubt produce negative lives, which can ultimately destroy your life. Some people have been hurt so many times that they don’t think they can face the pain of another letdown. Therefore, they refuse to hope so they won’t be disappointed.

Battles are fought in our minds every day. When we begin to feel the battle is just too difficult and want to give up, we must choose to resist negative thoughts and be determined to rise above our problems. We must decide that we’re not going to quit.

When we’re bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: “I’ll never give up! God’s on my side. He loves me, and He’s helping me! I’m going to make it!”

Reprogram Your Mind

When the battle seems endless and you think you’ll never make it, remember that you’re reprogramming a “worldly” mind to think as God thinks. In the same way that computers are programmed, our minds are also programmed.

From the time we’re born, our minds are like computers that have had a lifetime of garbage programmed into them. But God—the best “computer programmer” around—is working on us every day to reprogram our minds as we cooperate with Him (see Romans 12:2).