Archive for March, 2013

Terminal velocity to nowhere

March 26, 2013
Terminal velocity to where?

Terminal velocity to where?

We’ve all received countless messages throughout our lives telling us that our goal is to be somebody. That’s the great dream, to make it big and be recognised for it. We get it from the media, our families and our friends. We admire those who’ve achieved it.

So we align ourselves with a direction that has a defined outcome. One that provides assurance that we’ll be somebody, get somewhere and, hopefully, be afforded immunity from failure, unhappiness and vulnerability in the process.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having goals, these are good things. It’s when we try to use these aspirations in spite of ourselves that it gets tricky. It doesn’t matter how far we run, or how hard we try, we’re still there. We can’t escape ourselves. We want to be somebody, at some undefined future success point, but we already are somebody, now.

We spend so much time trying to change, to be better, to improve and live an ideal and inspired life, but after all of that we’re still us.

No matter what we do, the promises we make, the diets started, the study undertaken, the career development and the desire to be a better husband and father, we discover that we’re the same person.

We believe that if we’re successful, attractive, enlightened, funny, thin, smart, richer, less anxious, less fearful, then we’d be happy: forever. We can easily become susceptible to this line of thinking. We want to find the thing that will fix everything. Even when things appear to be going well our psyche doesn’t surrender that easily and continues to believe that the next big thing will bring happiness and contentment.

It would be great to have an enlightened guru who, with a few well-chosen words, could render us free from the entanglements that life brings. However this assumes that we need to change, that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t free. Not now, and probably not tomorrow either.

This thinking assumes we can’t manage whatever is happening in our lives. And I don’t want to buy into that when what we should be aiming for is to be the best version of ourselves.

We may not have the ability to transcend the human condition, but maybe that’s the real success: learning how to live within the uncertainty, within the chaos, within the ever-unfolding version of ourselves that remains uniquely us. With acceptance comes the ideal platform for growth, growth that is in alignment with our core. Growth that accepts who we are right now, and that recognises that we already are somebody.


Minding your mindset

March 18, 2013

A positive approach to life

A positive approach to life

Do you remember a time when everything was wonderful and you were in love with the world? Perhaps you convinced the object of your desire to agree to a date, you won your dream job, finally got that new car, had a baby or achieved one of your major goals. How good did that feel, and how great was everything in your world?

Nothing could bring you down; you were happy, excited and walking on air. Your good mood changed how you processed the world, and in turn changed how you reacted to it. Life was seen through a lens of gratitude, optimism, excitement and meaning.

Everything that happened that day was relative to your positive feelings. Things that would normally make you annoyed were shrugged off without a second thought. At that point, your reality was your relative understanding of the world based on where and how you were experiencing it.

Of course, it can flow the other way as well; a day, week, month or lifetime of negativity with every experience building on that negative mindset. People who get caught in this downward spiral look for the worst and usually find it. They’re life’s victims – seemingly always a day late and a dollar short.

It may not be practical to wake up every morning in a state of bliss, although some people do achieve that; our reality is far more variable than we may think and far more dependent on the way in which we view it.

With the right mindset, our power to influence and dictate our reality, and in turn the results of our actions, increases significantly. The key is that a positive mindset just doesn’t change how we feel about an experience, it can change the actual results of that experience.

A positive mindset can give you a competitive advantage, have you operating at a higher level and contribute in a meaningful way to your success and happiness. Anyone for an attitude adjustment?


March 12, 2013
Happiness and success

Happiness and success

Is it possible that average can be the new successful?

Society pushes us towards average. A pass mark is enough to get through, where are you on the bell curve, how do you compare to others? You don’t have to try too hard, every child wins a prize, near enough is good enough in our sanitised world that rewards underachievement.

If we target average we will only ever achieve average. We define happiness in relation to success but have we set success at average or something more challenging? Can mediocrity really make us happy?

So we’re told that average is OK. Then we’re taught to focus on the negative rather than the positive. The habit of focusing on the negative pervades society. Bad news sells. We take notice of it, the news bulletins are full of it, gossip is based on it, and many people seek the attention that tragedy provides.

The point is, what we spend our time and mental energy effort focusing on can become our reality. And society pushes us towards average and mediocrity. We can reject that and push ourselves towards success. What does that look like?
The fact that we need to push ourselves towards success indicates that it’s not our natural state, so it requires effort to break free and seek something more.

We can collect degrees, jump at career opportunities and ‘network’ the right people to get ahead. We can stay busy multitasking our way through a checklist of carefully scripted career building experiences, often at the expense of real experiences. We can be paralysed by the tyranny of expectation we place on ourselves. All of this is playing society’s game, staying busy striving for a sanitised version of success.

We might learn how to get along in the world but miss the one real lesson; how to find meaning and happiness in our lives.
Ironically we sacrifice happiness for this version of success, which ultimately prevents us achieving the very goals we had defined as success: to be happy, content and free.