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Life

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Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’ – C.G. Jung

I have often been fascinated about why we act the way we do, why we comply or settle for less than we can become, and how people influence us consciously or unconsciously. In my research, I have found that the 3 major tools used for influencing people or emotional blackmail include Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. The people that easily influence us and know the buttons to press are the people closest to us, our family members, parents, siblings, spouse, and friends.

They use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to influence, emotionally blackmail, gaslight, project, split, triangulate and get their way with us. It all started in childhood, we get domesticated the same way cats, and dogs get domesticated. We are handed scripts that influence our worldview about almost anything from finance, health, religion, marriage, etc. Our caregivers were masters at using FOG to cover up, mentally/socially condition and program us. We do question these belief systems. Hence they continuously direct our lives.

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another’s throats. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf.” –  Philip Larkin, High Windows

You get what you tolerate.

We teach people how to treat us, we get what we allow. We live in a world where people would use you if you allow them to. It takes courage to set standards for your life as people would constantly take advantage of your insecurities. If you continue to give people the benefit of the doubt, eventually they would get the benefit and you get the doubt. This is a personal philosophy of mine: If you are not going to be there for me in my struggle, you are not going to come near my castle. As Maya Angelou once said, “If people show you who they are, believe them”. If people are always taking from your cup, you would not have anything to give eventually,

A lot of us allow ourselves to be used because we do not have or set healthy boundaries. I know it can be hard to set boundaries or say no, especially to family and friends. Knowing yourself (self-awareness) makes you see people for who they are: The narcissist, the drama king or queen, the codependent, the manipulator, and the gaslighters, etc. You need to say yes to yourself first, it might sound selfish but you need to care for yourself before you can care for others. We stay in toxic and destructive relationships as we convince ourselves that we can not live life without some people. The challenge with that thinking is that your time here is finite, but you keep allowing toxicity into your short life, which is not sustainable.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.- C.G. Jung

Most of our suffering/stress in life is usually a result of the tension between what we believe should be (our expectations) and what is (reality). The key to everlasting happiness is to radically accept whatever happens to you in life, control what you can, and not worry excessively about what you cannot control. A lot of our shoulds and musts are tools that served us growing up, and it was handed to us as scripts by our parents, society, religion, caregivers, peers, etc., as rules and regulations, dos and don’t. Cultural norms, religious dictums, etc.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs

Learned helplessness is the giving-up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter.

Learned Helplessness occurs after a person has experienced a stressful situation repeatedly. They come to believe that they are unable to control or change the situation, so they do not try – even when opportunities for change become available. It is a behaviour exhibited by a subject after enduring repeated aversive stimuli beyond their control.

Neuroscience

 The brain’s default state us to assume that control is not present, and the presence of “Helpfulness” is what actually learned. First however, it is unlearned when faced with prolonged aversive stimulation.

According to  Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Department of Psychology, Dr. Martin E. Seligman: At the core of pessimism is the phenomenon called Helplessness. Helplessness is the state of affairs in which nothing you choose to do affects what happens to you. Learned helplessness is the giving-up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter.

Helplessness is the state of affairs in which nothing you choose to do affects what happens to you.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out—that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you. FOMO may be social angst that’s always existed, but it’s going into overdrive thanks to real-time digital updates and to our constant companion, the smartphone. 1

With over 2.5 billion active monthly Facebook users, 1.1 billion on Instagram, 353 million on Twitter, 756 million users on Linkedin, users of these social media platforms have an unprecedented array of tools at their disposal to view how others are living their lives, and it is leading more people to have a fear of missing out.

“You Can Have Everything In Life You Want, If You Will Just Help Enough Other People Get What They Want.” – Zig Ziglar

Mother Theresa once said,”‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” When I was an undergraduate, I became a Jaycee. Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a worldwide federation of young leaders and entrepreneurs between 18 and 40. One of the JCI Creed/Values is”Service to Humanity is the best work of Life.” what an insightful and very true statement.

The above motto has been at the core of almost anything I try to do, and I also try to heed the advice of Zig Ziglar, who said: “You Can Have Everything In Life You Want, If You Will Just Help Enough Other People Get What They Want.” I have realized that giving back and having a sense of service is always rewarding and fulfilling. Anyone you see making a lot of wealth has been able to render his/her service to many people.

FEAR is a powerful human emotion usually induced by perceived danger or threat. It leads to physiological, behavioral, and biochemical changes such as fight or flight response to a threat. Fear is a warning signal; it alerts us to the presence of danger, it could also lead to a certain stimulus in the present moment or anticipation of a perceived threat in the future. Fear is a natural human behavior (rational), and it can also be irrational (phobia) based. Fear shows you are human, and we can witness it in different form as anxiety, worry, anger, envy, unhappiness, etc. We can either use fear to push us into greatness or destructiveness.

FEAR can be an illusion as American Author, and Speaker Zig Ziglar noted, “F-E-A-R: has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.” We have the choice to either make fear cripple us or motivate us into action. Fear can be used as a tool for good or a tool for evil. Fear can be commercialized, politicized, spiritualized, used as a weapon of emotional blackmail, or used as a tool to effect positive change. Former American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt implored Americans to face their greatest fear during the great depression. At the same time, Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich, Adolf Hitler, stocked the flame of fear against the jews and orchestrated the Holocaust – the genocide of about 6 million Jews and millions of others.

Swedish runner Gundar Haegg’s 4:01.4 minute time record set in Malmö in 1945 stood for nine years until British middle-distance athlete and neurologist Roger Bannister became the first human to run a sub-four-minute mile. He broke the record on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford.

In 1954, Bannister set himself the target of breaking the four-minute mile barrier. At the time Bannister was a 25-year-old full-time medical student at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. He could only train for 45 minutes a day for the event. The opportunity to break the record came on 6 May 1954, when Bannister was competing in an event for the Amateur Athletic Association against Oxford University. Bannister set a British record in the 1,500 meters at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland where he finished in fourth place.

Roger Bannister broke the record at 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds, and the record lasted for just 46 days. On 21st June 1954, the record was broken by Bannister’s Australian rival John Landy, with a time of 3 minutes 57.9 seconds. The sub-four-minute mile has since been broken by over 1,550 athletes worldwide, and it is now the standard of all male professional middle distance runners in several countries. In the 65 years since the record was broken, the sub-4 minute mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds, and it currently stands at 3:43:13, ran by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, at age 24, in 1999.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi

The greatest investment you would ever make is in yourself; to earn more, you need to learn more. American Author Jim Rohn often said, “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job, you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.” Thinking BIG: Books you read, Individuals you surround yourself with, and Goals you set for yourself. You can not give what you do not have, and you can not take people farther than you have gone. You can expand your imagination through the books you read, you can see the possibilities through the people you interact with, and you can go places through the vision and goal you set for yourself.

If you look at the Forbes list of the richest people in the world, you will notice a pattern or a trend. Most people on the list either inherited their wealth or solved a big societal issue through their enterprise. A lot of the entrepreneurs on the list have a certain characteristic which, among other things, includes an insatiable taste for knowledge, the ability to sell their vision to attract the brightest minds, and the ability to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals as Jim Collins would often say.

The human quest and pursuit for material things and possessions are insatiable; we are always striving for more money, a high-paying job, vacation, a bigger home, and a different lifestyle. We believe that when we get to the destination, whatever we think it is, we would be happy, but the reality of life is that those things would not make you happy, and the zeal for more would always be there. We see many supposed rich people not living a happy life, and they even tell us that it would not make us happy, but we want to find out ourselves.

John C. Bogle, the late founder of Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund, begins his 2008 book, Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life with a story that buttresses the point of never enough. He writes:

At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history. Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . enough.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. – Amelia Earhart

Some days are tougher than the other; sometimes you are upbeat other times you are down. No one lives a problem-free life; the key is to constantly show up, work hard, trust the process and relentlessly execute. Getting anything worthwhile done in life and business requires commitment, patience, consistency, and self-discipline. You do not need to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

You are either preparing or you are repairing. To achieve long-lasting success requires consistent working on yourself, your business, and your goals. Anything worthwhile takes time, dedication, and commitment to the journey and not the destination. The journey is more important than the destination because when you get to the destination, the journey always continues. It is not what you achieve that matters, it is what you become on your path to success that really matters.

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. – Ursula K Le Guin

Life is in stages and seasons, there is a time to work on your project and there is a time to reap the reward of your hardwork, either through monetary rewards, awards or recognition. Success is cause and effect, what you sow is what you would reap. If you work hard, what is hard would eventually work but if you take short cut, you would eventually be cut short. We get rewarded in public for what we diligently practice and refine in private.

You do not need to be great to start but you have to start to be great.

It might not seem so but everyone is trying to figure it out. From your favorite sports athlete, musician, politician, entrepreneur, you name it. Barrack Obama, Beyonce, Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and anyone you have come across even Donald Trump. We live in a world where showing a little vulnerability is seen as a sign of weakness, especially for men, it is recommended you numb your pain, deal with it, hence we have a society filled with people hiding their inadequacies, pretending to be perfect, we are all performing for the world through social media by sharing our well-curated perfect life and in the process making others depressed, envious, jealous and in turn everyone is striving for perfection.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. – George S. Patton

One of the greatest truism of life is that: “You do not need to be great to start but you have to start to be great”. Anything worthwhile takes time, commitment and consistency to achieve your set goals and aspirations. As Earl Nightingale once said “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” My favourite Nursery rhyme is ” Good better best never let it rest until good is better and better is best.”

Every wall is a door.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once quipped: “Every Wall is a Door.” No one has a problem-free life; if it is not this, it is that; It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. We all go through the tough times, the heartaches, the disappointments, the sadness, and depressing episodes. Do not let success get into your head, and do not let failure get into your heart. There would always be a tough road around the corner; whatever would go wrong would always go wrong. You are either going through a storm, coming out from a storm, or heading towards a storm.

“The road to success is not straight, there is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, red lights called enemies, caution lights called family. But if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith, a driver called your conscience, you will make it to a place called success.” – T.E. BOYD

Whether it is losing a job, failing an exam, losing a parent or a child, dealing with infertility, failing to get your dream job, the betrayals and backstabbing from family and friends, life can be tough and hard sometimes, making meaning of the suffering can make it tougher. We ask, Why Me? When the tough times come around, it usually comes in silos, and you wonder why now? We will go through it, but the most important thing is to go through the pain and accept life’s reality. A lot of our unhappiness in life stems from always wanting our expectations to align with our reality. One of the common traits of the highly successful people in the world is their ability to bounce back from their failures and disappointments; they try to get the message from every mess, when life gives them lemon, they turn it into lemonade.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele

One of my favorite things to watch is Award acceptance speeches; I really love seeing people achieve their goals and get rewarded through awards and championships. I live for those moments, and I find it to be very inspiring. I am a fan of award shows, biographical documentaries, autobiographies, and rags-to-riches stories. I really enjoy knowing what makes people tick, the hustle, the grind, the betrayals, the ups and downs, and most importantly, the successful breakthrough,

I know firsthand how hard it is to be a creative, it is a very lonely path, and it is tough because most times, you need to go against the trend, follow your guts, bet on yourself, follow your bliss and trust the process. Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. Becoming successful requires showing up for the practice, rehearsals, following through with the study plan, exercising regimen, and staying consistent with your commitment. Napoleon Hill defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. He also quipped that Success requires no apologies and Failure requires no alibis.

80 percent of success in life is just showing up. – Woody Allen

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” – Indian Proverb

Depending on the part of the world you live in, you have about 30,000 days to be alive. According to Life expectancy and Healthy life expectancy data published by World Health Organization in December 2020, Japan has the longest life expectancy (84.3), and Lesotho has the shortest life expectancy (50.7). The average life expectancy is around 82 years; if you multiply 82 by 365 days, that equates to roughly around 30,000 days, and if you are lucky, it could be more.

Life Expectancy: The number of years a person can expect to live

We cannot control the length of our lives, but we can control its width and depth. Our time here is limited, but we mostly live like we have all the time in the world, so we waste it. As the Buddha once said, “The trouble is you think you have time.” We overestimate what we can achieve in the future and underestimate what we can achieve in the present. We delay living; we say someday I’ll, and we eventually realize that someday becomes never.