Socrates, perhaps the wisest person to ever live, used to say that “nobody does wrong willingly.” Or as Deepak Chopra said “People are doing the best that they can from their level of consciousness.” Or “All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” —Brené Brown. Or as Jesus said, praying from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”Meaning that no one is wrong on purpose either. Nobody thinks they’re wrong, even when they are. They think they’re right, they’re just mistaken. Otherwise, they wouldn’t think it anymore!Could it be that the slights you’ve experienced or the harm that others have done to you was not inflicted intentionally? What if they simply thought they were doing the right thing—for them, even for you? It’s like the memorial for Confederate soldiers at Arlington (obviously a cause that was wrongly fought for by people doing wrong), which states in part, that the Confederate soldiers served “in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it.” Again—they understood wrongly, but it was their gen...read more
We’re all complicated people. We have multiple sides to ourselves—conflicting wants, desires, and fears. The outside world is no less confusing and contradictory. If we’re not careful, all these forces—pushing and pulling—will eventually tear us apart. We can’t live as both Jekyll and Hyde. Not for long anyway.We have a choice: to stand with our Self and focus strenuously on the inside, or to behave like a leader of a mob, becoming whatever the crowd needs at a given moment.If we do not focus on our internal integration—on self-awareness—we risk external disintegration.
“Duh” something I say when stating the obvious! The NFL season starts next Thursday, September 10th, amid empty stadiums, parking lots and sports bars. Not to mention the absence of college football. Football season is always good for business. But this year, football related sales should be much, much better! Time to aggressively promote, advertise, sign, and merchandise game day recipe ideas, party foods, grilling favorites, snacks, beverages and more. Fans have football budgets to reinvest, so make this football sales season your best ever! Duh!
It is possible to hold no opinion about a negative thing.
Here’s a funny exercise: think about all the upsetting things you don’t know about—stuff people might have said about you behind your back, mistakes you might have made that never came to your attention, things you dropped or lost without even realizing it. What’s your reaction? You don’t have one because you don’t know about it.In other words, it is possible to hold no opinion about a negative thing. You just need to cultivate that power instead of wielding it accidentally. Especially when having an opinion is likely to make us aggravated. Practice the ability of having absolutely no thoughts about something—act as if you had no idea it ever occurred. Or that you’ve never heard of it before. Let it become irrelevant or nonexistent to you. It’ll be a lot less powerful this way.
You may be the very source of the disaster you so fear.
“Only the paranoid survive,” Andy Grove, a former CEO of Intel, famously said. It might be true. But we also know that the paranoid often destroy themselves quicker and more spectacularly than any enemy.The combination of power, fear, and mania can be deadly. The leader convinced that he might be betrayed, acts first and betrays others first. Afraid that he’s not well liked, he works so hard to get others to like him that it has the opposite effect. Convinced of mismanagement, he micromanages and becomes the source of the mismanagement. And on and on—the things we fear or dread, we blindly inflict on ourselves.The next time you are afraid of some supposedly disastrous outcome, remember that if you don’t control your impulses, if you lose your self-control, you may be the very source of the disaster you so fear. It has happened to smarter and more powerful and more successful people. It can happen to us too.
The anxious father, worried about his children. What does he want? A world that is always safe. A frenzied traveler—what does she want? For weather to hold and for traffic to part so she can make her flight. A nervous investor? That the market will turn around and an investment will pay off.All of these scenarios hold the same thing in common. It’s wanting something out of our control. Getting worked up, getting excited, nervously pacing—these intense, pained, and anxious moments show us at our most futile and servile. Staring at the clock, at the ticker, at the next checkout lane over, at the sky—it’s as if we all belong to a religious cult that believes the gods of fate will only give us what we want if we sacrifice our peace of mind.Today, when you find yourself getting anxious, ask yourself: Why are my insides twisted into knots? Am I in control here or is my anxiety? And most important: Is my anxiety doing me any good?
Humility is indicative of expertise, wisdom and maturity
The most important quality necessary for true growth and evolution is the practice and principle of humility. It is far less painful to voluntarily adopt a fundamental attitude of humility than to have it thrust upon oneself as the painful consequence of ineptitude. Despite its negative public and social image in some quarters of society, humility is indicative of expertise, wisdom and maturity. Because truth is the very bedrock and ultimate reality upon which humility is based, it is not a vulnerability in and of itself. Rather, humility reveals that the mind can only “know about,” and that it cannot differentiate between appearance and essence.
“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”—Marcus AureliusWhy do athletes talk trash to each other? Why do they deliberately say offensive and nasty things to their competitors when the refs aren’t looking? To provoke a reaction. Distracting and angering opponents is an easy way to knock them off their game.Try to remember that when you find yourself getting mad. Anger is not impressive or tough—it’s a mistake. It’s weakness. Depending on what you’re doing, it might even be a trap that someone laid for you.Fans and opponents called boxer Joe Lewis the “Ring Robot” because he was utterly unemotional—his cold, calm demeanor was far more terrifying that any crazed look or emotional outburst would have been.Strength is the ability to maintain a hold of oneself. It’s being the person who never gets mad, who cannot be r...read more
One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: “I don’t know.” Or, more provocatively: “I don’t care.” Most of society seems to have taken it as a commandment that one must know about every single current event, watch every episode of every critically acclaimed television series, follow the news religiously, and present themselves to others as an informed and worldly individual.But where is the evidence that this is actually necessary? Is the obligation enforced by the police? Or is it that you’re just afraid of seeming silly at a dinner party? Yes you owe it to your country and your family to know generally about events that may directly affect them, but that’s about all.How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?
A worker asked: “Why did you do it this way?” The answer, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done things.” The answer frustrates every good boss and sets the mouth of every entrepreneur watering. The worker has stopped thinking and is mindlessly operating out of habit. The business is ripe for disruption by a competitor, and the worker will probably get fired by any thinking boss.We should apply the same ruthlessness to our own habits. In fact, we are studying philosophy precisely to break ourselves of rote behavior. Find what you do out of rote memory or routine. Ask yourself: Is this really the best way to do it? Know why you do what you do—do it for the right reasons.