Our wellbeing matters (DW#960)

As we head into the weekend, let us reflect on our internal world. Are we internally thriving? Outwardly flourishing? Are we satisfied with how satisfied we are with our life and our circumstances?

Why are these questions important to ponder over? Because our mental and emotional wellbeing matters.

A LOT. And not just to ourselves either.

Life is too short to be miserable – this is not a dress rehearsal and we don’t get any medals for suffering!

While there will always be challenges in this plane of existence, we have more influence on our wellbeing than we often accept.

2. Our wellbeing impacts others.

For sure. One of our guiding mantras in our MEM community is that When mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy!

This goes for fathers too, by the way.

And for spouses. If you are a grumpalump, most likely, your spouse is having a hard time dealing with it!!

3. Our wellbeing frees up emotional and spiritual energies to focus on what...

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A foundation of virtue (DW#959)

The positive psychology movement is often reduced in social media and popular culture into the idea of "positive thinking and positive feeling at all costs".
The beginnings of the movement could not be further than this.

The foundational theory of positive psychology has spiritual underpinnings: that true happiness and wellbeing comes from living a life of virtue.

The positive psychology movement started by analyzing all the old wisdom and faith traditions and concluding that there was an astonishing convergence and agreement on six primary virtues (which of course differed in context and culture).
In other words, the major faith traditions all came back to the same six virtues, again and again.
What are these virtues?
Wisdom (Knowledge), Courage, Humanity (Love), Justice, Temperance, (or self-control), Transcendence (Spirituality).

[For those who are curious about how this translates into Islamic Spirituality, consider the concept of living with...

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You will not be the first (DW#958)

When we are talking about actualizing our potential, we are NOT saying that our best selves are perfect.
Nope.  Another one of Maslow's great lines is that there are no perfect human beings.
[And we are highly unlikely to be the first!]
He explains that there are good people, even great people but no perfect human beings. In other words, it is not about being or becoming perfect [a long discussion which we will get into at another time!]
It is about choosing our next action based on our best self, rather than our reactive self.
Moment by moment by moment.
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What you must be (DW#957)

Abraham Maslow is often credited as being the first [in modern times] to study what human beings are capable of. He explained that human beings have some basic biological and psychological needs, and as these needs are met, humans can and will aspire to "actualize" themselves. In other words, to be all that they can be, to actualize their full potential.

What you can be, you must be.

Failure to do this will result in dissatisfaction and distress. According to Maslow, the impetus to actualize is a human need, just as real as the need for food, water and love.
In other words, this desire to actualize is an impulse within us to become what we are destined to be and to the extent that we ignore that, we are going to suffer.
It  is like Soul oxygen.

It fuels us and our actions and gives us meaning and purpose in our lives and contributes to our wellbeing in the deepest sense.

Now, instinctively we have experienced this, right? There is a best version of ourselves,...
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The science and practice of flourishing (DW#956)

A warm welcome to the new season of Daily Wisdom! Am delighted to have you as a fellow traveller on the journey of self-growth and wellbeing.
We are going to be discussing the science and practice of flourishing and as always, the intention is to share really practical ways that we can take baby steps to improve and optimize ourselves and our lives.
And as always, we start with a tiny bit of theory and background [I am an academic at heart :) ]
So let’s begin today by defining what we mean by flourishing.

When a plant which is healthy and blooming we say it is "flourishing" or thriving and when a business is booming and raking in lots of profit, we say that it is "flourishing." In other words the plant and the business is doing really well, they are thriving.

But what does it mean for a human being to flourish? For this we need a 60 second dive into the history of psychology.

The concept of flourishing is fairly new to the world of psychology which has...
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The Daffodil Principle (DW #955)

PLEASE NOTE: Starting Monday Daily Wisdom will be on summer hiatus until late August. I am taking some much needed time off and I hope you will also find time to slow down, enjoy the summer with your loved ones and be inspired by today’s story to plant something beautiful!
I wanted to end this season of Daily Wisdom by sharing one of my favourite inspirational stories which ties together so much about the power of taking baby steps and enjoying the process.  
Enjoy :)


Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.

"I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The...

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The Progress Principle (DW #954)

Here is one more reason to focus on baby steps.

It is called The Progress Principle.

This is Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer’s The Progress Principle in a nutshell: "Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work."
Amabile and Kramer’s research found that by creating, completing and celebrating "minor milestones" on a journey towards a large goal, employees could keep their motivation high and this greatly impacted their "inner work" lives.  

While we often imagine how good it feels to achieve a long-term goal or experience a major breakthrough, we need to recognize that these big wins are great—but they are relatively rare and often far into the future.

While working on a large or long term project or goal, it can be challenging to keep motivation constant and to experience a sense of achievement which feels good.

The Progress...

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Goal setting to the now (DW #953)

Yesterday we chatted about the concept of reverse engineering your goals.
Today, let’s look at this from Gary Keller’s perspective. He calls it "Goal Setting to the Now". Here is how puts it in his book, The One Thing:
"Goal Setting to the Now will get you there. (to your big goal)
By thinking through the filter of Goal Setting to the Now, you set a future goal and then methodically drill down to what you should be doing right now. It can be a little like a Russian matryoshka doll in that your ONE Thing "right now" is nested inside your ONE Thing today, which is nested inside your ONE Thing this week, which is nested inside your ONE Thing this month. . . . It’s how a small thing can actually build up to a big one. You’re lining up your dominoes."

Keller says "Connect today to all your tomorrows. It matters."

How? By connecting this moment to your long term vision.

SO. This is a VERY powerful way (and doable) way to set up success...

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Reverse-engineer your goals (DW #952)

Even when taking baby steps, it may be a good idea to begin with the end in mind. In other words, you have a big goal you want to achieve down the road? Great. Start with that.
And then work backwards through time to right now.  
Need to read 50 books in the next 2 years? That’s just 25 per year, or about 2 per month. Half a book per week. Which you can then do by consistently planning an extra 20 minutes a day (or reading 10-15 pages in the morning and again at bedtime and an hour on the weekends. And perhaps join a fast reading book club.

As a bonus, your mind will be on your side if the task is as simple as a half-book per week or 20 pages per day, where you might self-sabotage yourself thinking about the huge goal of 50 books over two years or even 25 a year.

We will discuss this further tomorrow inshallah. For now, play with this idea. Break down your big goal to baby steps.

This is a HUGE baby step!!
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Micro focus to win big (DW #951)

Have you heard of Sir David Brailsford? A British cycling coach, he became famous for the concept of 'marginal gains':
The principle that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.

He came into the spotlight when he took over the British-based professional team, Team Sky in 2010 and declared that they would win the Tour de France within five years.
At the time when he declared this, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France -in over 100 years of entering the race.

So, not surprisingly, people thought he was a bit mad.

Until that is, the British team won it in two years. Oh, and then they won four of the next five races as well!

With results like this, we should probably pay attention to his methods, no?

He did not start by telling them to train harder or go faster. Instead he focused on small areas where they...

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