Lighting the fire of your soul (DW #870)

Ever been to camp? And had a campfire in the night? What happened to the fire by the morning? Chances are that it had burnt out. And if you wanted another fire the next night, you had to make another one, right?

Steve Chandler likens our human motivation, inspiration and growth to this campfire. It is an apt metaphor in many ways.

Here is how he puts it: "The human spirit, like a campfire, must be lit again each day.

Unlike the spirit, a campfire is easy to observe and understand, because we can step back from it and observe it. After a night of camping, we can emerge from our tents the next morning and notice with satisfaction that the campfire has gone out. We don’t curse the campfire for going out, and we don’t think life is unfair because we have to start another fire again the next night.

Yet we don’t have that same simple understanding of the spirit. We are confused by the human spirit. We think there is something wrong with the universe in which the...

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Courage is a reward not a requirement (DW #869)

Let us explore the idea of courage a little bit further.
"Victims become passive when they can’t find faith, or confidence, or courage to do something. Then they tell themselves they don’t have the power to do it. Owners know that faith and courage only appear later in reflection. Action comes first. Action comes before the courage to act. Faith and courage are rewards—not requirements—for action. The power to do something often shows up halfway into the doing of the thing, not up front. ‘Do the thing,’ said Ralph Waldo Emerson,’ and you shall have the power.’"
What an amazing way to think, isn’t it? Imagine how much we could achieve if we were not waiting for faith, courage, motivation, inspiration and all sorts of other feelings that we believe are prerequisites for action. Imagine taking action despite the absence of any or all of these motivations and inspiration and recognizing with delight that they are, in...
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What would you do? (DW #868)

Continuing our conversation on fear, courage and action, here is a question for you:
What things would you would do in your life if you had absolutely no fear, hesitation or self-doubt?
  • Start a business?
  • Teach?
  • Quit your job?
  • Make that phone call?
  • Have that hard conversation?
  • Confess your feelings?
  • Apply for that position?
  • Make that request?
Write down a few of them.
Now please
pick one of them to do. And go do it.
Yes, I get it. The thing you’ve picked to do is probably making you afraid right now just thinking about it. That’s okay. Let those thoughts be as they as they are. You don’t have to believe all your thoughts (or any for that matter but that’s for another day ;)  or let them stop you from taking action.
"You will find", as Steve Chandler puts it, "you’re feeling your fear while you are in action conquering it. And as you continue in action, the fear dissolves, like a fist full of salt in the river....
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Distinguishing feeling and action (DW #867)

Do you want to hear a top secret about super successful people?
From what I have heard, read and studied, super successful people also have fears, self-doubts and anxieties - just like you and me.
Yup. The only difference is that they don’t let these feelings get in the way of taking action.
I like how Steve Chandler puts it in Reinventing Yourself:  "Somehow, as grown-ups, we have talked ourselves into assuming that we can’t do anything we’re afraid of doing; that being afraid to do it is the same thing as being unable to do it. But a little practice just doing it shows us that this was a false assumption".
Being afraid to do something is not the same thing as being unable to do it.
Feeling fear and taking action are two separate things.
And those of us who wait till fear is over before we take action need to know this: that taking action can cause a change in feelings. The only...
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The power of language (DW #866)

Continuing with our series on Reinventing Yourself, Steve Chandler emphasizes how important language is in the way we conceptualize "problems" or "challenges".
Here is how he puts it:

"Owners use the words ‘I can’ a lot, while victims favored ‘I can’t.’ Owners had goals, projects, and challenges, whereas victims had problems, hassles, and nightmares. Owners said they were busy, and victims said they were swamped. Owners were ‘designing a life,’ while victims were ‘trying to make a living.’ Owners were psyched and excited about changes in the workplace, while victims were worried and ticked off. Owners looked to see what they could get from an experience, while victims tried to get through it. Owners would plan things and victims would wish things".
In other words, people who take charge of their lives talk about the inevitable bumps of life as challenges to be faced and overcome as opposed to...
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Yes lives in the land of no (DW #865)

Another distinction between owners and victims, according to Steve Chandler, is how they deal with NO: being rejected, refused or confronting failure.
"An owner is not afraid to make a request. That’s why owners do so well in sales and courtship.
Victims fear the word no and will do amazing things to avoid ever hearing it. To a victim, ‘no’ means rejection. Total, devastating rejection. ‘No’ doesn’t just sound like ‘no’ to the victim, it sounds like, ‘No, no, NO, you are NOT WORTH ANYTHING!’
But to an owner, ‘no’ is simply the other side of ‘yes.’ ‘No’ and ‘yes’ live together. Every human being has a perfect right to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and this does not bother an owner. An owner honors that right. Therefore, when owners hear ‘no,’ they don’t think something is wrong with the universe. They don’t...
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Weight lifting (DW #864)

In Reinventing Yourself, How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be, Steve Chandler makes many distinctions between "owners" (who are at cause in their lives) and victims (who believe themselves to be the victims of circumstances).
One of the distinctions is how they approach problems or challenges in life.
Owners, he writes, see problems as bodybuilders see weight: more resistance to build a life with. It’s resistance training, and it feels good.
Victims, on the other hand, don’t want to lift that weight. They look at weights with horror, and they look at problems as betrayals.
The sad tragedy is that the same energy that could be going into problem-solving is used by the victim for problem-avoidance. It takes an ongoing mental effort to push problems out of the mind. It is real work to constantly redirect the spotlight of consciousness away from life so that it shines only on distractions.
Do you ever find...
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Are you aiming for an enlightened state of being? (DW #863)

Do you think that once you get it, that once you understand victim thinking and ownership thinking, you are home free? That you can flip the magic switch into enlightenment?
Oh dear
I have some bad news for you.
There are no enlightened beings. (none that I know of anyway).
There are only enlightened moments.
But here is the really good news: every one of us, no matter where we find ourselves in life right now, can have enlightened moments. Moments when we act in a way that makes ourselves proud.
And the choice to act in accordance with our highest values is available to us in the very next moment. And the next. And the next one as well.
And so although there are no enlightened beings, all of us can string together enlightened moments.

One choice at a time.
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The first step in reinventing yourself (DW #862)

The first step in reinventing yourself and becoming the person you want to be, according to Steve Chandler, is to take ownership of our agency –and accept that we can choose to act differently.

Here is how he puts it:

 "As you look back on your life so far, you will see that you always had two basic ways of being. At any given time, you were either one way, or you were the other; you were either an owner of the human spirit, or you were a victim of circumstances.
One way, the ownership way, reinvents you as you go. It reinvents you outward, in an ever- expanding circle of compassion, vision, and courage. The other way (the victim way) shrinks you down. Just as your muscles shrink when they are not moving, so do your heart and soul when you are in victim mode. ... "
OUCH – that image hit hard. As we age, we know how easy it is for our muscles to atrophy and shrink when we don’t use them. Can you imagine our heart and soul atrophying the same...
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Are you happy with who you are? (DW #861)

Here is your daily dose of Wisdom for Living Your Best Self!

Daily Wisdom is back! Sorry about the longer than intended break – life got in the way somewhat! Back now alhamdullilah.
Let us start the new series by talking about our self-image, about what we think of ourselves.
Over the next few days, we will explore wisdom from Steve Chandler.
If you need a boost of down-to-earth, empowering wisdom, you might want to check out Steve Chandler.
In his book, Reinventing Yourself, How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be, he writes that many of us are victims of  a story that we tell about ourselves.
"Most of us live in a cocoon of personality—the made-up story of who we are.
It seems dark and dusty inside this little cocoon, and we think we can’t get out. We tell ourselves stories about our personality, but these stories aren’t reality. Deep down, we know we’re more than this...
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