10 Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

10 Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight is worth to read article.

FitVeggieLife

artificial-background-birthday-1073776Make these small changes for a healthier you, with slimming benefits for that stubborn weight!

  1. Not knowing why you want to lose weight.
    A lot of people like to dive right in, skip the planning, the why, and lose weight quick. It could be for an event, summer, or just because they are tired of not loving the body they’ve got.

    But, seeing true weight loss success and keeping it off takes planning, determination, and staying motivated. Not only that, but your “why” for doing it has to be better than “because I want to wow everybody at the wedding in March with my hot new bod.” That can definitely be a reason, but most of the time reasons like those don’t provide long lasting results. When I was able to finally see changes, it was because I decided I wanted to change my lifestyle. I was tired of feeling…

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To Fulfill Your Destiny  

Not Achieving Your Goals May Actually Put You On The To Fulfil Your Destiny

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Unexpected Twists and Turns

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” — Barbara Hall

To a woman who complained about her destiny the Master said: “It is you who makes your destiny.”

“But surely I am not responsible for being born a woman?”

“Being born a woman isn’t destiny. That is fate. Destiny is how you accept your womanhood and-what you make of it.”

Anthony de Mello evokes the essence of your destiny coinciding with fate when you are attentive to it.

We are born with the seed of potential within us. Some are called to awaken their potential through fate or destiny while others have it thrust upon them.

I’m reminded of the tale depicting the unending search for wisdom outside of us when it waits to be discovered within.

The Creator of the universe gathered all of creation and asked: “I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realisation they create their own reality.”

“Tell me where I can hide this wisdom so they will never find it.”

The eagle replied: “Hide it beyond the furthest star. They will not find it there.”

“Not so, said the buffalo. One day man will learn to fly and find his wisdom in the furthest galaxies. Hide it on the floor of the sea and they will never find it.”

“Not so, said the wise bear. One day humans will learn to swim to the bottom of the ocean and find their wisdom there. Hide it deep within man, for he will never think to search for it there.”

So the Creator did precisely that. He hid the wisdom of life deep within mankind.

The quest to fulfil one’s goals and dreams is a journey many go in search of. Whilst there is no roadmap marking the route, you must take a leap of faith and trust your journey is following in the right direction.

However, along the path, you may encounter unexpected twists and turns that look like you have lost your way, when in fact you are exactly where you need to be.

“A man staring down at his shoes, each on one side of the yellow street line” by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Your Destiny Calling

“Sometimes, perhaps, we are allowed to get lost that we may find the right person to ask directions of.” — Robert Brault

I revealed in earlier articles how I studied to become a menswear fashion designer at university and spent time in Italy before my life was transformed.

Within the years that followed, I went from fashioning fabrics to writing and speaking about self-empowerment because I felt a pull to explore this path.

I had little experience as a writer and speaker, yet everything fell into place as I moved forward.

What I experienced at the time is best depicted in the quote by the American novelist Wendell Berry who said: “It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”

What I thought was my ambition to be a successful designer soon became a distant fantasy.

I was asked in the years that followed whether I missed working in design. Frankly no, because my time as a designer had run its course and I was excited about exploring life as a writer and speaker.

Does that mean you shouldn’t chase your goals and dreams?

Certainly not.

My goal was to become a designer working in Europe and by that account, I fulfilled my ambition until life had other plans.

Author Alan Cohen said: “Every choice before you represents the universe inviting you to remember who you are and what you want.”

In pursuing your goals, you may encounter adversity and hardship. However, challenges may be your destiny calling.

I don’t know and neither will you until you step into it.

One thing is for certain, if your world is falling apart, it may be a sign your previous life is collapsing to give way for the new life to develop.

“A woman with her arms spread out on top of a mountain.” by Kristina Wagner on Unsplash

Embrace the Journey

“Destiny has two ways of crushing us — by refusing our wishes and by fulfilling them.” — Henri Frederic Amiel

There’s a Japanese Haiku that reads: “I have always known that at last I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today.”

There is no certainty in life when faced with these intersections and the sole guidance to draw on will be hope and faith.

Hope you will overcome the pain and faith your new life will fall into place better than expected.

It was the French author André Gide who wrote: “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

You must go forth in the direction you are called, for that is the greatest act of courage you can undertake. It signifies your willingness to trust in the unfolding of your life’s narrative.

You are never presented with circumstances you cannot overcome because the seed of potential has been implanted within you.

Whilst it may not appear that way, when you move forward with conviction, the path will be reveal itself, but not a moment sooner.

If it seems your goals are out of reach, you may be progressing more than you realise, but not in a linear direction.

The universe comprises many moving parts.

What looks untenable now is nothing more than life orchestrating the pieces of the puzzle so your life comes together as it should.

However, if you look intently on the chaos, you are likely to think circumstances are not unfolding in your favour.

They are, but not in the way you think.

For now, follow the trail and embrace the journey while making the most of it.

Take the road less traveled and follow it with openness, knowing it might lead you to fulfill your destiny sooner than you realize.

Fair Fighting Rules for Relationships

By Dr. Perry, PhD

 

Man and Woman Hugging Each Other Near Body of Water

 

 

“An eye for an eye will only make the world blind” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Arguments and relationships go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Unfortunately, arguments are not as sweet as jelly and don’t go over as smooth as peanut butter. When we argue with our loved ones, it is important to remember that it’s not necessary to deliver a knock out blow. Think of the argument as a heart to heart conversation and not a bare-knuckle showdown.

Here are some simple steps to remember when arguing:

1. Pause
Before you engage in an argument with your loved one, take a moment to reflect on your feelings. Ask yourself, “Why are you upset?” Are you really upset because he or she was late or could it be your partner has not been giving you enough attention? It is important to know why you are upset so you can communicate this clearly.

2. Discuss one issue at a time 
Once you clarify your feelings you can begin to discuss why you are upset. Many times in the heat of the moment we bring up past digressions and end up arguing about something else entirely except the matter at hand. Try to keep the argument about the current disconnect by remembering to discuss one issue at a time.

3. No degrading language
Discuss the issue, not the person. All attempts must be made to keep the conversation civil. It is important to avoid name calling, swearing or put-downs. Keep in mind that negative words are a manifestation of negative feelings. There is never a good enough reason to call your partner a derogatory name. There are unpardonable words that can leave a partner feeling emotionally scarred making it harder for them to receive your love. Remember, this is someone you love and you really do not want to hurt them.

4. Express yourself
Use words to express how you feel and take responsibility for those feelings. Start your statements with ” I.” I feel angry. I feel hurt. By starting statements with “I” you are able to connect with your words with your emotions. Avoid using statements beginning with “You.” Statements starting with “You” tend to make the other person feel attacked which often leads them to shut down emotionally.

5. Take turns talking 
It is important to take turns speaking. Once you have had your turn, it is important to listen to what your partner has to say. If this is difficult, use a timer and a set amount of time for each person to speak. You can also designate an item to use like a talking stick. Whoever holds the item can speak. Just make sure you remember to pass the item! The talking stick method has been used for hundreds of years by indigenous people. The “Talking stick” can be any object.

6. Knock down the walls
Stonewalling is the refusal to communicate or express emotions. It is very common during conflicts. People often do this when they want to avoid an uncomfortable conversation or prefer not to engage in an emotional discussion that may lead to a fight. Stonewalling can include a refusal to discuss feelings or walking out of a conversation. When you are both in a “sober emotional state,” make a pact with one another that you will not stonewall and will engage in a meaningful discussion no matter how challenging it may be. If one of you feels the issue warrants a discussion, the other person must respect the request by engaging and listening.

7. No Yelling
It may feel great to unleash your frustration on your partner by yelling at them, but many times this only adds fuel to the fire. When a person is yelled at, they tend to yell back in self-defense. This often results in an escalation of self-defensive responses from both parties. Yelling typically results in further alienation and frustration. Sometimes, a partner will not engage in the yelling but will passively accept the treatment. This only leads to fostering resentment by the person being yelled at. Remember, remain calm and use words to make your point, not volume.

8. Take a timeout
In a perfect world, we would all be able to communicate effectively with each other and have no need for rules. You are not expected to print up this page and follow each step while you are arguing. This is not a script for the perfect fight. In the real world, voices will be raised and perhaps a few hurtful words will be used. When you feel that the temperature is rising, take a time out until both parties cool off. Agree on a time to continue the conversation. It is important to agree on another meeting to continue the discussion so one or both parties do not attempt to stonewall.

9. Compromise 
If you reach an impasse in the argument, try to come to a compromise. If you can’t reach a compromise then agree to disagree. Try to understand each other’s point of view. Discussing and attempting to understand will help soothe negative feelings. Communication is one of the strongest pillars of the house of love, so it is important to reinforce and strengthen this skill whenever possible. Good luck! If you found this post helpful please don’t forget to like, comment and share!

Do Things You Hate, Love Yourself More

People would always tell me, do what you love.

It’s sound advice, and I get that they only want the best for me — which is being happy and fulfilled in life. But the truth is, doing things you love makes you weak.

For me, I’m obsessed with Yelp. Every day, I spend a good 30 minutes scrolling through the “hot and new” restaurants that I want to try out — similar to how people on Tinder swipe through a list of candidates, hoping to find the ‘one.’ Any restaurant I bookmark, I end up eating there within that week.

I just love the feeling of being the first to try out brand new restaurants and expand my taste buds (as many of you would too). But then this created a bigger dent in my wallet, a very uncomfortable feeling for someone struggling to make ends meet. And because I had one extra thing to worry about, that meant one less task I couldn’t bring myself to finish at work.

Takeaway: The things you love doing can bring you instant gratification and make life worth living for. But in the long run, it may end up hurting you, especially if you go overboard.

Eating fried foods. Smoking. Online shopping. Drinking booze. Playing computer or video games. Netflix binge-watching. Gambling. Sleeping in.

It’s not until long before we become weak in our ability to control our temptations. The thing is, when we get too comfortable with our lives, we no longer have that fiery drive to be better.

Which is why I honestly respect those who tell others to do things they hate. Because what truly makes us better, smarter, and stronger is simply building discipline — for both our bodies and our mind.

Exercise: You look good. You feel good. There’s less problems you deal with when you become old.

Eat vegetables: Those fibrous goodies you pushed to the side of your bowl, well, that’s the secret to slimming down and living longer.

Go to school: All you need is a college degree that tells companies that you’re worth paying for. Plus, you get the opportunity to meet very smart people, who you never know might become the next Steve Jobs.

Clean: Little would you know, cleaning is a huge stress reliever and can reduce depression. Not to mention, studies show that productivity shoots up when there’s fewer distractions in the room.

Take medicine: It’s not tasty, but the sooner you take it, the sooner you can taste. 😉

Wake up early: One of the habits successful people do, and something you should do too. Because when you wake up early, you train your brain to stay on top of things.

Write: Writing helps clears your mind like how yoga rejuvenates your body. It helps you focus better while talking, working, and thinking.

Argue: If possible, we would avoid any argument. But actually, arguing helps us make better comebacks and expand our logic for reasoning. More importantly, it brings out our real voice.

Work: How else are you going to pay the bills and live your dream if you don’t work?

Words of Advice

You might shut your mind to what I’m suggesting here, but let me tell you this. If you always avoid what you hate, you can never get better. And it’s not until long before everyone else transforms into someone you respect (more than yourself).

So do yourself a favor and do the things you’ve always been avoiding that is good for you.

In the beginning, you may feel stupid while learning a new skill or frustrated while sacrificing current pleasure for a future payoff, but when you make the choice to go through the pain early, you get to enjoy the benefit of delight later on.

~James Clear (written on Buffer)

Be persistent. Be patient. Push your limits.

Because once you’ve reached your greatest pain, it becomes your greatest strength. That’s when you’ll realize how much potential you have to be better, and that’s when you’ll look back at your old self and love yourself even more today.

The Real Key to Success


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We need to understand how we can present ourselves to the best advantage and to know what role the ego plays in our life. Your unknown is God, and the self is otherwise considered to be the known. But when you want to know what you have yourself, do you really know your self? Do you want to know your self? Have you worked to know your self? My self is very important to me. Yet this is the only thing which I ignore in my life. I want to be known as a doctor, as an attorney, or I want to be known as a business manager. Because I have never worked on my self. I have never introduced my self. I have never cared to represent my self. I do not identify with my self. I do not proportionately appropriate my self. I do not proportionately understand and distribute my self.  And still, I want to be very successful, myself.

I’ll tell you the mystery of life: life is not a mystery at all. It is a simple mastery of the Self. For example, if a problem comes to me, then I look at that problem with these guidelines: I have to work through this problem, I don’t have to confront it. I have to solve it. Then I ask myself – how will I solve it as the Siri Singh Sahib? How will I solve it as Yogi Bhajan? How will I solve it as Har­bhajan Singh? From which area has the problem come from? If it is a problem of Dharma, I don’t have to care whether I benefit or I lose. I have to solve that problem as the Siri Singh Sahib.

If it is a problem in the emo­tional or mental realms, I have to solve it as Yogi Bhajan. I don’t have to solve it with Dharma. Dharma is a path of the human. Those with emotional or mental problems are not yet human. A person does not know what the path is. I have to make a person human and then deal with the human. Therefore I have to deal with it as Yogi Bhajan.

If someone has a relationship with me as a father, then I am Harbhajan Singh. But, I am using the same ego to solve these different kinds of problems.

The other alternative is that a problem comes to you and you con­front it. The moment you confront the problem, either you win or you lose. That is called self-destruction. You don’t need to confront anything. It is not worthwhile, because every­thing moves. The problem will move. (You won’t move because your ego gets hung up.) But you can’t solve a problem by confronting the problem. Then it becomes a hassle and the neighbors will know about it and people will hear about it.

realkey1 (1)What is the secret of success? OPI OPM: Other People’s Intelligence and Other People’s Money. Your own intelligence cannot solve every problem. Your own intelligence is how you employ and successfully deploy the environment, the sur­roundings. That is OPI. Employ and deploy the surroundings. When you employ the surroundings, don’t involve yourself in it. Because it is not you in the problem, rather it is your interest in the problem. You should see that you get the high­est rate of interest, but it is not you.

Once I was asked if I wanted to have a certain inspector working under me or not. I questioned why I was being given an additional in­spector. I was told that nobody wanted to have him working under them. I agreed that I would take him, but I asked that inspector why the other officers did not want to have him working under them. He told me that other officers were threatened be­cause he was so sharp and efficient that they felt that their own jobs might be taken over by him. I decided to take him. I just outlined to him my area of responsi­bility. I told him that I would give him a specific area of my duty and he could take total charge of that area and do whatever he wanted to do with it. I can tell you that I never bothered with that work at all, and he came out perfect. Because he was very intelligent, very righteous, very honest and very sincere. You may get a good worker but it is rare to get a sincere worker.

Another example I want to share with you. I had a pesonal servant named Ramu. His job was just to serve me and personally attend to me. One day while I was eating with my friends he just came and picked up my plate. Then he brought me some other kind of food and served me. I understood his habits, but after a while I just called him to explain to these people why he made me eat something different? He said:

“Baba, you are not to eat this food because yesterday you worked very hard and this food is very delicious and you would definitely overeat. You are to go on duty in half an hour and you won’t be in a position to digest it, therefore, I am sorry, I couldn’t give you that food.” I said, “But, you never gave it to me, someone else gave it to me!” He added, “Another person is another person. I am responsible for what you eat.”

Now, as Americans you cannot tol­erate this kind of situation. Whereas, I have been trained that when we give somebody a duty or a responsi­bility and we find that person is loyal and honest, we totally do not inter­fere with that person. That is the way to use other people’s intelli­gence. But if you insist on playing it according to your ego, then you’ll be stabbed in the back. It doesn’t matter who you are. Because there is no security for that person. When he gives all of his intelligence to you, puts all of his loyalty at stake, is will­ing to devote himself to you and you still have the ego to limit him, that means that you can turn him upside down right in the middle of his work.

No human mind can tolerate this. The way you Westerners have been trained, you have learned to achieve something, but you can never maintain that thing. You can learn to maintain the same situation with a simple attitude. You can discuss with your ego and then begin to consider when this person is giving you trouble or when this staff is giv­ing you trouble. How can you use them trouble-free? That is what your ego is for. Whereas those who live by a hire and fire policy, they always get fired in the end.

realkey3The mind can go through a lot of changes. And the last and worst of all changes is when you deny your teacher the privilege to poke you. It is the worst of all because when your ego is inflated like an elephant, you need that needle in you. When you throw it away, you go astray and when an elephant goes astray it meets death

You should keep your ego to serve you. You should use your ego and direct it to just behave as if it is a servant. Ego is the biggest disease! But it also has the solution in it. In India, it is a common practice to take mercury (which is known to be a deadly poison if you take it raw into your system) and in the science of Ayurvedic medicine, to use it in al­most 80% to 90% of the cures. It is very effective, and very well recog­nized. In this way, poison becomes the cure. In the same way, you can go out and burn your skin in the sun and you can have skin cancer, or you can tan yourself and look healthy. How you use your ego is a technol­ogy. When you start living in your ego, then you will not grow.

I was reading the life of a person who started his professional life with one thousand dollars. He was a sur­geon and today he is a person worth forty million dollars. He was asked how he became so successful, and he said that he believed in benefit sharing. He would offer his employ­ees the opportunity to work out a situation for him and whatever in­come that would bring, he would offer to give them one-third of it. He never signed any contract because his people knew his word was a con­tract. The result was that he gave one-third but they gave it to him totally. He earned 66% more!

How rich you are has to be considered from the expense point of view. Richness is not considered from the income point of view. If your monthly expense is a thousand dollars but my expense is fifteen thousand dollars, you are fourteen thousand dollars richer than me. An economic fool is a person who measures his richness from income. An economic wise man, or economic wizard is one who measures his rich­ness from expenses. That is what rich people do. They go on a fixed income expense and then they kill them­selves. They become victims of heart attacks and no doctor can cure them. Because what should they do, if they have to maintain a standard of thirty thousand per month?

realkey4I know of one organization where for the last nine years it has made three hundred to four hundred mil­lion dollars in a year. Their bud­get was fixed at seven hundred mil­lion a year. Then for the last two years, they were making only two hundred million a year. So there is a budget difference of five hundred million a year and they do not know what to do. They are selling their equipment, they are selling their land, selling this, selling that and they’re in bad shape. One of their employees who is my student called me and asked me how to man­age himself. I told him that it is very simple. If I make ten cents, I spend one. If I make one dollar, I spend ten cents. When I have ten dollars in my pocket, I only know that I have a dollar. I consider the other nine dol­lars as OPM, Other People’s Money. Out of every ten dollars, one dollar is mine, and nine dollars are to main­tain what is mine. For every one dol­lar you require nine dollar to main­tain the grace of one dollar. Do you know this law of economic expansion?

If you represent yourself with the image that you are ten dollars rich, somebody will ask to use it for one hour, and you’ll give it, and then you’ll stand at a bus stand and the driver will not let you on because you don’t have a penny. It’s called “showing off.”

In India, in economics we call it “balloon-talk”. Balloon talk is a con­versation where you present your account multiplied or exact. Even suppose you speak the truth, that you earn fifty thousand dollars a year. The fact is that you don’t make fifty thousand dollar a year, because in America, if you make one hundred thousand in California, you earn ex­actly thirty-nine thousand. Exactly.

realkey5Now you can wangle it, you can multiply it, you can play around, but when you’re dead, your estate will be found in the estate shop on Beverly Blvd. Why does that happen? Because the children are asked to pay the Estate Tax, and they don’t have it. So, they sell the estate and get rid of it. Or, they make a founda­tion. Paul Getty’s family cannot take a statue from his estate. You can in­vest in your self, or you can invest in your name. Paul Getty would have been very fine, if he had in­vested and made his own body a museum where at least he would have gone running on the beach once a week.

Just decide. Sit down and ask your self what you want to be. Do you want to be a healer? If you want to be a healer, let God heal through you. If you want to be a dealer, then go on, pushing this, pushing that, trying this button, trying that button. Every profession has buttons.

Your presentation, your art of presentation, your secret of presen­tation, lies in one fact: you must not confront the energy, you must circu­late the energy. What is God? Every­thing is circulated. Earth revolves. It revolves on its axis. The whole galaxy, the other stars, the sun moves around other suns. It’s far out and it’s nothing but movement! It keeps going! And your success is, keep going! Don’t stop anywhere, for any reason. Don’t say good-bye. The only good thing is to don’t say “good­bye.” Just say “bye.” Perhaps some­day you’ll need that person. Because what will keep the energy going? It is the movement of your thought form, and the movement of your mind and thought and the move­ment of your solving the problems, and your movement penetrating through the problem. How can you do it? If you know that you HAVE to do it.

Anything and everything, logical­ly, psychologically, socially, commo­tionally, emotionally, personally, collectively, individually, is nothing but you completing the circuit.

realkey6What is required to be learned by you is the Self. Because the Self is the solution of your environment. It’s the hub. It is the axle. It is everything. The fact is that you have to understand that you can’t fall in love with a girl, you can’t fall for anything, before knowing yourself, and knowing what you are fall­ing for! If you do not know how to swim, yourself, and you jump in eighteen feet of water, you will drown. But if you get into four feet of water and you are two feet above the water, you can make it. To become commotional, emo­tional, get into turmoil, and not care for things, not to listen to advice, and not to wait for truth, though it is bitter and it hurts, is to cause a problem. Multiple prob­lems are like multiple sclerosis. There’s no solution for it.

The law of diminishing return is that you can handle X amount of problems. There’s a relationship between play and work. Work and play have a relationship which is propor­tionate. For X amount of work, you need X amount of play. For X amount of play, you need X amount of work. If they are out of balance, then you are out of balance and you’ll never be a successful person.

Please remember that without Self consciousness you cannot properly present yourself. And without Self knowledge you cannot have Self consciousness.

Copyright The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan 

I have retired – What shall I do next?

2. Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire Managing Retirement in the Twenty First Century

So your time for retirement has come and you are wondering what to do next? Most of us do not plan for our retirement, putting off the difficult debate with oneself on the pretext that we will cross the bridge when we come to it.

Yet, inevitably, the time for superannuation arrives and we are ill prepared to face our life after. You have earned your leisure to enjoy the fruits of your work for the past 3 decades.

Yet you have to keep your mind and body active. Most people had started developing one interest or the other. Why should we be looking at any other options when so many already exist for us.

Write a book – It is generally believed that everyone has at least one book “inside” them. After I wrote my first book, dozens of friends and acquaintances told me that they too wanted to write but could not find the time. If you can think of nothing else to write, you have a lifetime of accumulated memories and experiences. Consider recording these memories in the form of a memoir that you can give to your grandchildren.

If you enjoy writing, now is the time to think of starting to write your book. There is no better way than writing a book to leave behind your legacy. Some people I know have started to record their life in video format. They record this on their smart phone and are building a library of their notes that can be left for posterity. Whatever the medium, remember that a lot of preparation is needed for this.

Learn a Language – Some friends have started to learn a language, an aspiration they have had since childhood but never found the time.

There is senior retired Brigadier I know who has made a post-retirement career in teaching Spanish. Not only is he keeping himself very busy but also he is interacting with a new group of people whom he would never have had an opportunity to in his earlier life. He now interprets from Spanish to English and travels to Spain as an interpreter.

Travel to places you have wanted to go to – I have met several couples who have decided to travel and see places that they were not able to visit during their working lives. The difference when they travel now is that they spend much more time in the city or country they wish to see. They read up much more about their destination and they try and take in as much of the local flavour instead of rushing through the visit and “ticking” off one more item on your list of countries to see.

While I was working, when we travelled on a vacation we were always in a hurry to see places since work pressures for both of us did not allow us to spend too much time in one city. Our standard excuse for rushing through was that we could always come back to see the places that we had seen and liked. Now when we travel, we spend at least one week in a country and try and take in as much as we can. Now our thinking is that we must see as much as we can because we will probably never come back again to this place.

There is a whole community of retired people in USA who have sold their homes and have decided to travel all over the world. They select a part of the world they want to see and then go and stay there for a few months. The amount of money they need is sent to them by their financial planner every month and varies based on which city they are living in. Of course, as US citizens, it is much easier for them to travel unlike us from India because of visa restrictions but we could do something similar in various parts of India that we have never visited. The prospect of living for a month in a city in some other part of India is very exciting.

Helping others – Becoming a Good Samaritan and helping people is usually not seen easily. It takes a lot of effort to reach out and help and most people see this help with a bit of cynicism.

Yet there are people who care, selflessly.

I met a retired General who had taken it upon himself to help the widows of deceased retired Army and other Defence services officers to sort out their paper work and to ensure that the documentation for pension and medical facilities was all proper. He was getting nothing in return but yet he felt he owed this to his “brother” officers after they passed away.

Back to college – There must be so many things that you aspired to learn through your college and you were never able to find the time. Did you ever think that you could do a research paper and get a PhD and add the title “Doctor” before your name? Now you can. If you want further education in any area of your choice, now is the opportunity because you have the time and you have the inclination. I met a person who had been passionate about mathematics but he had built a career in marketing. When he retired, he went back to university and obtained a doctorate in mathematics!

For most people so inclined, there is thrill in learning new things.

Become a Life / Executive Coach – You have developed many skills over your working life. This could range from excellence in sports or as an accountant or a lawyer to skills in music, arts, writing etc. you can easily start coaching classes for the adults and young adults in your home. Not only will this give you a sense of achievement and keep you busy, you may find that that you earn some money as well.

Learn to cook – I have been told that cooking can be a very therapeutic process as you create new dishes. Learn to cook.

Every conceivable recipe is now available on YouTube and if you want to surprise your spouse and family with some culinary delights, you no longer need to agonise on how to get started. Start with simple foods like making an omelet and gradually, as you understand the nuances of how long to simmer and how long to steam as well as how much spices will bring tears to your eyes and how much will be just right, you can start to invite your family and friends to sample your delights.

Planning your daily meals is a huge chore and if your spouse and you make this into a routine every morning, there will be communication between you and consensus on what you will eat at each meal!

Learn Music – Several people I know have started to learn a musical instrument. The piano, guitar and violin are generally some of the more popular instruments that people like to learn.

I too, had learned to play the Indian flute while I was in college but gave it up. I have now started playing the flute once again and this time, since I have more time, I am more determined to become proficient at playing my flute!

Read – I know a few friends who have taken to reading books, magazines, journals and newspapers with a passion. They have at least three books by their bedside and they are constantly reading and enriching themselves. They missed out on reading while they worked and I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of them actually finish several books every week. When they have time, they scour the bookshelves at the local book stores and buy whatever they like.

Get involved with Social Media and build your profile – There are many people who have started to engage with various social media platforms to share their experiences and to broadcast their views on diverse subjects. The freedom to be able to say what you wish to is empowering and exhilarating. This ability to express themselves on global public platforms keeps many individuals, engaged, occupied and busy.

At the same time I also met many retirees who categorically stated that they were afraid of using a computer so there was no question of using social media. When I tell them that my 87 year old father uses Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter all the time, they back off with a nod that seems to suggest that they too will make the effort.

Keep a Pet – Some couples who enjoy pets have kept a dog who almost becomes like the new baby in the household. All their waking energy is spent looking after the dog and it gives them a great conversation opportunity with similar and like-minded couples.

I have seen social circles in condominiums evolve around pets. So much time is spent in talking about pets that it almost feels like we are talking about our kids and their achievements all over again!

Watch Television – With over 100 television channels, there are literally dozens of serials and information based channels to follow on a regular basis. You could have a challenge with your spouse who may want to watch news channels while you want to watch something else and I know of several homes that have had to acquire two televisions to ensure peace at home!

Pull out your old Stamp and Coin collections – Most of us would have stored away an old coin collection and an old stamp collection. For the lucky few you may have inherited a collection from your father. And I am reasonably sure that your children would not have had any interest in these collections.

So now is the time to arrange those coins and stamps. Every item you own can be checked and verified on the internet. You can also get prices for these on eBay. You may be pleasantly surprised to find a rare stamp or a rare coin in your collection that may make you a very wealthy person.

Play Golf and other games – Sports is an important part of retirement. This also helps you to stay fit and to exercise your muscles regularly. If you have been a sportsperson then it would be easy for you to continue some of the less intensive sports throughout your life after retirement but if you have not been a sportsperson, this is a good time to start a regimen of daily activity. Several people have taken to playing tennis at their local club or their condominium. This gives them the exercise as well as the ability to socialize with new and old friends.

Play Bridge, other card games – Some retirees have decided to devote their time to play bridge. They do this at different clubs and with separate partners so that they keep having a change on scene. On Sunday, they rest! Some of these bridge players are now playing competitive bridge at a national level.

Do nothing and feel guilt free – I know that the habits built over a 30 year career will take some time to break. One person who I met was very candid in stating that he had chosen to “do nothing”. Reading, napping, and daydreaming will have all the time they need in my retired life” he said. He spends a lot of time at the neighbourhood coffee shop where he meets new friends and sits for hours surfing the net while sipping coffee!

Or a combination of several of the activities listed above. This list is by no means exhaustive and there must be so many other activities that you can undertake.

Plan on ridding yourself of that nagging feeling of guilt if you do not put every minute to productive use. If you decide to sit in the balcony with coffee in your hand for the better part of the morning, so be it.

Happy retirement!

The Life You Have and the Life You Want

This Is the Difference Between the Life You Have and the Life You Want

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Last week, I wrote a post about dreaming your life away. It was written from experience because I did that for many years. I had a life, but it was not the life I wanted.

I worked in a job I hated, drank too much, and was so full of anxiety it led to panic attacks. I was depressed and didn’t realize how bad my depression had become because I was so used to it. I was used to living with being miserable.

Depression and anxiety were normal and comfortable. It was a part of me.

I was tolerating my life instead of living it. I remained in that situation because of my choices and my lack of action towards improving my life.

Then one day I sat down and thought about everything. And I asked myself, “Is this it? Is this what life is about?”

Is life about tolerating the job I hated and living with depression and anxiety? About being comfortable with my misery? Is it about following everyone else’s path and not my own?

The answer was obvious, but I had to figure out a way to stop tolerating the life I had and make the life I wanted.


The Difference

Photo by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash

Instead of living with my misery, I decided I would make the life I wanted.

But the one thing I had to overcome to get the life I wanted instead of remaining in the life I had was this:

ME

I had to overcome myself. I had to overcome the self-doubt, the lack of confidence, and the thought I wasn’t good enough. Getting to the place I wanted was all up to me and nobody else.

The same goes for you.

YOU are the difference between the life you have and the life you want.Realize there is nothing stopping you from having the life you want except YOU!

We tell ourselves all kinds of things all the time. And for a lot of us, it is mostly negative. We convince ourselves we can’t do whatever it is we want. The constant negativity becomes a common theme in our minds.

We get so used to beating ourselves up, we believe it. And if you are anything like me, you become the source of your own misery.

When we do this all the time, it leads to creating a habit. But this is not the type of habit we want to create. This habit leads to self-doubt.

You doubt yourself so much you don’t even try.

I did this for years. I beat myself up constantly. And I worried. I worried about what others would think. I worried about failure and about not being good enough. I even worried about my worrying.

All of us are affected by self-doubt and worry. I still am. I still doubt myself every day.

But what helps get me out of this cycle of doubt and worry is building good habits.


Building Habits

Photo by Jean Gerber on Unsplash

How did I change my habits?

Day by day.

It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t happened overnight.

I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m slowly closing that gap between the two lives; the life I had and the life I want. They are no longer parallel to each other. They are merging.

And it will be the same for you.

Build the habit of improving your life. Of doing something every day to get closer to the life you want.

Instead of going home and sitting on the couch, you go for a walk. In place of wasting time on social media, you work on finding a new job. Instead of reading all these articles on Medium, you write your own.

The more you do this, the easier it gets. You change the detrimental, automatic behavior to a new behavior.

From a bad habit to a good habit.


Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

And it all begins with Choice.

You have to CHOOSE to make your life better. Your choices determine everything. Most of your choices have led you to today and your choices can decide where you are going. They can decide your future.

The second step is Action.

You have to ACT to improve your life. Taking action leads to confidence instead of doubt. I know you doubt yourself because we all do.

It’s hard to change what we are used to. But taking action after you have made the choice is the only way to get out of whatever situation you are in. It is the only way to build habits.

The last step is Persistence.

Improving your life does not happen overnight. Building habits do not happen overnight. It will take time to get what you want.

You will deal with setbacks, failure and some days will suck. But if you PERSIST, it will get easier.

Commit to the process and keep moving forward, no matter how small the progress seems.


It All Comes Back to You

Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

Just about everything in your life can be changed. You can choose to do anything at any time. But those choices should be leading to something better.

You have to invest the time you have wisely to do that. And you have to invest in yourself.

You have the power to change your life through your choices and actions and create a new life. But conquering YOURSELF is the first step.

YOU are the difference between the life you have and the life you want.

Which life are you living?

The Art of the Good Life

Woman Wearing Red, Purple, and Pink Floral V-neck Cap-sleeved Dress Drinking Through Clear Wine Glass

Photo by nappy from Pexels

 

A person’s words often reflect the condition of their heart.


Since the days of yore, I’ve harrowed ad nauseam to lead a fulfilling life. Success formulas were embedded, healthy rituals ingrained and I even let some spontaneity run wild, yet — for reasons indistinguishable by my panoramic view— fulfillment eluded me. There was always somethingmissing.

I hurried through life, exacerbating what it means to acquire knowledge and experience —arming myself with weapons of cognition and recklessly catapulting myself into situations I had no business taking on, but knew others could bail me out of. I wanted the scars, the notches on the belt, the lapel pins, without any of the suffering. Essentially a drawn-out narrative with well-timed, strategic pivots right before shit hit the fan. I felt if I had a spellbinding story, I would be able to leverage it beyond the point of unremarkable existence.

But therein lies the problem. It wasn’t an unremarkable existence, but an unremarkable purpose. Swimming in an ocean of opinions, surmounted by tidal waves of judgment, I lost all sense of what I was even after in life — or why I wanted it.


Once I cut through the layers of my core identity, it became clear that self-worth reigned supreme. All of my efforts were fueled by this compensatory value. Which meant the zenith of my life, if realized, would be merely a sense of security.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with self-worth —it’s actually quite vital. However, given it was at the very top of my list of intrinsic values, it was bound to clash with something more fulfilling. And since I didn’t have any of it at the time, I was constantly acting out of a state of scarcity and fear.

The fear of loneliness — and inability to love myself — led to an anxious-preoccupied attachment style in my romantic relationships. The fear of judgment created dismissive avoidance with my friends. And to develop anything with your family requires you share what’s happening in your life, not just concisely report.

If a person’s heart is full of fear, they will act in an offensive or defensive way — like something’s out to get them.


Uninspired by the character arc within my life’s screenplay, I set out to uproot its formation. I invited my fears to have a drink at the bar. I surveyed the entire assortment of disguises they wore to preclude my awareness. Anger, jealousy, resentment, and bitterness then took a seat at the table.

These impulsive emotions sat in the holster for as long as I could remember. I knew their exact arrival, yet never dare step in front of them. This heightened state gave my life both justification and volition, representative of my life’s ambition to ward off the binary monsters known as insignificance and rejection. Barreling through the depths of the forest however, we cannot see. You cannot know who you really are until you know who you’re really not.

When we identify the purpose of our unwanted yet persisting feelings, the impact lessens. The emotion is not the issue — the ambiguity is. We fear what we don’t understand. Given that my emotional cocktail of choice consisted of mostly bottom-shelf liquor, I opted to level up my standards.

Fear, doubt and suffering are ubiquitous. No one is immune. Our response on the other hand, is very much in our control.

I had to recognize my unconscious flavor of coping — with loneliness, with impermanence, with disapproval, with nothingness. Only at this point did I take a deliberate step towards authenticity, towards who I really was — a vulnerable, hopeful, flawed, resilient human being. It’s here where I truly relates. Where I felt less alone. Where suffering was apportioned and value was contributed universally.

The more you presence yourself to your defensive defaults, the faster you can occlude them. Leaving you far more balanced and whole in your perspective — less and less irritated by things you know won’t matter in the long-run.

What you receive by virtue of this clearing is a quiet mind, where you can finally achieve peace.

A person who is at peace, and grounded within themselves, is left free torespond to life — instead of emotionally reacting to all things that come their way.

Not everyone will come along for the journey but many will find your sense of calm intoxicating. For they were looking for the same thing I was — security. You’ll exude safety, confidence, preparedness, faith, trust, hope, and all the good things.

The good things of the good life.

The Only Real Way to Acquire Wisdom

School of Athens by Raphael


It’s often been said that wisdom is the art of knowing that you are not wise.

The great philosopher Socrates famously denied being wise more than two thousand years ago, and since then, we have taken him at his word.

There is a truth there, but that definition isn’t very helpful. I mean, I’m all for respecting uncertainty, doubting oneself, and realizing the limitations of my mind, but I think we can do better. Maybe even take a few steps forward.

More importantly, I think we can create our own definition that separates it from just mere intelligence and then use that definition to illustrate why the distinction matters and how we can practically engage it in everyday life.

Intelligence is commonly associated with knowing something. Often, it also means that we can confidently apply what we know in a particular context.

Wisdom, to me, is different. It’s different because it has more dimensions. Wisdom not only knows, but it also understands. And the distinction between knowing and understanding is what makes things interesting.

Knowing is generally factual. You have learned a particular kind of knowledge and you know its truth as it applies to a particular problem.

Understanding, however, is more fluid. You have learned a particular kind of knowledge, but you don’t see it as a fact or a truth applied rigidly to one thing. Rather, you understand that knowledge’s essence and you can see how it relates to everything else, with nuances and contradictions included.

The difference is subtle but potent. While intelligence gives you specific utility, wisdom inspires flexible versatility. It provides a more textured lens for interacting with reality, very much changing how you think.

Building Relational Knowledge

Every time you have a perspective shift, big or small, you gain knowledge.

You learn something new that you maybe didn’t know before, and as a result, your mind then changes itself regarding whatever that knowledge pertains to in the future. Next time, there is an added clarity.

If the acquired knowledge is understood, rather than just known, however, there is another step that occurs every time your mind shifts.

If you’re a student, for example, and you’re writing an exam, and it’s a difficult one, let’s say you decide to cheat. Now, unfortunately, when you cheat, you get caught. It leads to a failing grade in the course.

The thing to learn from this experience that would add to your intelligence would be the fact that cheating on an exam has consequences, and those consequences, while improbable, have a disproportionately negative impact on your life. It’s simply not worth it in the future.

The extra step that would translate the intelligence in that particular scenario into broadly applicable wisdom would be to realize that not only is not worth cheating on an exam due to the harsh consequences, but that most things in the world that carry disproportionately costly risks should be approached cautiously, whether they be financial decisions or personal life choices.

This is, of course, a very simplified scenario, but the point is that knowledge is relational and the understanding of wisdom recognizes that rather than treating it simply as an isolated information point.

Instead of the lesson being that cheating is bad, you combine the essence of the knowledge learned from that experience with your existing latticework of previous knowledge to really hammer home the underlying principle.

This way, you understand how taking shortcuts may harm your personal relationships, how your new understanding of risk may inform your business practices, and how what you say matters beyond why you say it.

Knowledge is always best leveraged when it’s connected to other knowledge.

Creating an Information Network

In network science, there is a now-famous effect called Metcalfe’s law.

It was first used to describe the growth of telecommunication networks, but over time, the application has been extended beyond that. It essentially states that the value of a network rises with the number of connected users.

In any network, each thing of interest is a node and the connection between such things is a link. The number of nodes themselves don’t necessarily reflect the value of a network, but the number of links between those nodes do.

For example, ten independent phones by themselves aren’t really all that useful. What makes them useful is the connection that they have to other phones. And the more they are connected to other phones, the more useful they are because the more access they have to each other.

Metcalfe’s Law

Well, the relationship between different kinds of knowledge in our mind works the same way. The more connected they are to each other, the more valuable the information network that we have in our brain is.

Every time you gain knowledge, you are either isolating it within a narrow context where it’s addressing a particular problem, or you are breaking it down a litter further so that you can connect that knowledge to the already existing information you’ve accumulated so far.

In this scenario, intelligence is found within a pocket of information by itself. Wisdom, however, is accumulated in the process of creating new links.

Each node of knowledge in your mind is a mental model of some aspect of reality, but that mental model isn’t fully complete until it’s been stripped down and re-contextualized in light of the information contained in the other mental models of knowledge around it.

The only way to acquire wisdom is to think in terms of the whole information network rather than the individual nodes that it contains.

That’s where nuance is considered; that’s where the respect for complexity comes in; and that’s how specialized information finds it flexibility.

The strength of your mind depends on the value of your information network.

The Takeaway

The quest for wisdom is an age-old effort. It’s one many have recommended.

It’s been said to be as useful for finding inner contentment as it for fueling external successes. It’s a more prudent way of interacting with reality.

While not everyone’s definition of wisdom is the same, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to distinguish it by a mode of deeper understanding. One that goes beyond just the knowing we commonly associate with intelligence.

When we think of the acquisition of intelligence, we think of new information inspired by a perspective-shift that tells us a truth about one aspect of reality.

Wisdom goes further than that. It strips that same information down to its essence so that it can relate the underlying principle of that knowledge to the existing information network that exists in the mind.

It’s the connectedness of this network that separates it from mere intelligence.

The more links between each pocket of information, the more valuable the whole network will be when tackling any other problem. It adds an extra dimension to each mental model contained in the mind.

Simply knowing this doesn’t make a person more equipped to soak in wisdom, but with awareness and practice, new thinking patterns can be created.

The way you do this shapes everything else. It’s worth working on.

Why Silence is the Think Tank of the Soul

Why Silence is the Think Tank of the Soul

Mental noise is destroying your mind

Silence is an endangered species — Pic by Kalen Emsley

Upon meeting a Zen master at a social event, a psychiatrist decided to ask him a question that had been on his mind for a long time.

“Exactly how do you help people?” — the man inquired.

“I get them where they can’t ask any more questions.” — the master replied.

Mental noise is hurting our minds — we are continually asking questions that create busyness, not knowledge. We are in ‘reacting mode,’ leaving no room for reflection. To regain perspective in life, you need to pause. Silence is fertile ground.

When was the last time you push the pause button in your life?

Silence is not just lack of noise. It’s an empty space for your mind to recover clarity. And to protect it from mental noise.

Many people believe silence is isolation. However, it’s busyness what detaches us from reality. You need to take distance and reflect. As Lao-Tzu said: “Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”

Silence is not about the absence of sound — it invites the presence of everything else.

Silence is an endangered species

“I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.” — G.K. Chesterton

Noise keeps us busy.

Our brain is continually exposed to internal and external stimuli. Silence feels impossible, like emptying our spirit.

What creates noise in your life?

Social media notifications, Netflix binging, overthinking, constantly being surrounded by others, and overloading our calendars are just many of the infinite ways to avoid silence. We’ve turned noise into entertainment — it provides a temporary distraction so you can’t pay attention.

Gordon Hempton believes that silence is an endangered species.

He’s an acoustic ecologist — a collector of sound all over the world. For Hempton, real quietness is being present — silence is not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. The Earth is a ‘solar-powered jukebox.’ He believes that we take in the world through its ears.

Noise is contaminating our minds.

The World Health Organization in a 2011 report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.”

Noise is not just a modern disease. It has been hurting our minds since the 19th century. Back then, a British nurse and social activist, Florence Nightingale, wrote that “Unnecessary noise is the cruelest absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” Nightingale argued that needless sounds could cause distress, sleep loss and alarm for recovering patients.

Permanent silence is not always good either. Animals must listen to survive — that’s how we anticipate danger before it happens.

The problem is when noise becomes escapism.

Psychologist Carl Jung noted that we naturally seek out noise because it suggests human company — we used to need the comfort and safety of the group to survive. Nonetheless, our lives are not under constant attack as they were many centuries ago. Detaching from our environment for a couple of hours won’t put your life in danger.

When you step back from an issue, you can spend more time on solving the right problem.

The paradox of sound

“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.” — Elbert Hubbard

Silence is not about the absence of sound but the presence of something else. Your mind is like a canvas — if it’s full of noise, you can’t paint anything new on it. When we are in silence, we make room for everything else.

Gordon Hempton wants your help in recovering the value of silence. “Not too long ago it was assumed that clean water’s not important, that seeing the stars is not that important. But now it is. I think we’re realizing quiet is important, and we need silence. That silence is not a luxury, but it’s essential.” — the acoustic ecologist said.

When you remove the noise, the essential speaks up. However, though it’s a magnificent revelatory experience, it can backfire if you don’t prepare adequately. The voices we hear in silence can create worrying noises.

Our constant social connectivity keeps us busy. What’s even worse, we let our social identity to speak louder than our true-self. The fear of missing out keeps you away from your reality — you stop paying attention. Without self-reflection, there’s no understanding. Silence lets your inner voice become present.

If the brain is actively processing noise it can’t turn off — it’s impossible to rest and reset when you are always asking questions or reacting to external stimuli.

Getting rid of the noise is more an aspiration than a reality. That’s the paradox of silence: we wish we could have quiet time, but it’s not easy to pull off. Removing other voices means we need to start listening to our true thoughts and words.

Being in front of white canvas or blank page can be intimidating. That’s why most of us run away from silence.

Silence has many meanings

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Is silence just the absence of noise? Or is there a deeper reason for you to invite sound into your life?

Silence is cultural. For the Japanese, silence is more positive than it is for other populations.

Japanese people highly value silence as an essential form of non-verbal communication — it conveys information, emotions and it’s a sign of respect and personal distance.

In his 2007 paper “The Cultural Significance of Silence in Japanese Communication,” Takie Sugiyama Lebra identifies four dimensions of silence: Truthfulness, Social Discretion, Embarrassment, and Defiance. The first three dimensions are helpful to maintain positive relations while the last one has a negative connotation.

In the Western world, silence is associated with doubt, loneliness or pain. If you tell your friends that you need silence, they might understand the feeling. But if you don’t answer their messages for 12 hours because you opted to stay silent, they will assume something is wrong with you.

Silence is always ambiguous. It’s difficult to understand its true meaning.

Rather than trying to define silence, think of it as an experience. Silence is the real sound of music. Empty spaces play a meaningful role in building the right atmosphere in architecture and space design. The white space is the most crucial element in visual design.

There are two types of silence: outer and inner. Getting rid of external distractions is not enough; you want to avoid your thoughts from eating you alive.

Why silence is the think tank of the mind

When you pause, you don’t just stop talking. You also choose not to listen to external distractions. Everything is within you.

Silence enables something else to emerge. Perspective, reflection, distance, ideas, and solutions, all show up unexpectedly when you silence the mind. It’s a whole ‘team’ that comes to help you. Gordon Hempton said: “Quiet is a think tank of the soul. We take the world through its ears.”

Lao-Tzu believed that “Silence is the great revelation.” He said that we turn to books for revelation, but their authors found the interlude of silence as their source of inspiration. Silence can bring you directly to the original source of knowledge.

Silence adds intentionality and rhythm to your life.

The same happens with music. Without silence, the various notes would all feel the same. Utilizing silence for very brief — less than a few beats — or for longer periods, creates a different impact on the listener.

Silence is more than a beautiful state of mind; it positively benefits your health:

  • It helps grow new brain cells. A 2013 study found that two hours of silence could create new cells in the hippocampus region, a brain area linked to learning, remembering, and emotions.
  • It decreases stress by lowering blood cortisol levels and adrenaline. A 2006 study in Heart, showed that two minutes of silence relieves tension in the body and brain — it’s more relaxing than listening to music.

How to recover the power of silence

Practicing silence is not easy.

Going for a walk outside in nature, taking a deliberate break or practicing deep breathing exercises are easy ways to get you started.

Try the following exercises and see which works best for you. Start in small doses. Being silent can backfire at the beginning. It takes time to enjoy the benefits of not being distracted by noise.

1. The Silence Exercise

David Swartz, a history professor, uses this exercise as a transition after one of his courses. He invites students to write a short paper on silence. During 90 minutes, everyone focuses on the task without speaking.

Students are instructed to put away their smartphones and leave the presence of other people. The paper is a reflection on the experience and includes a historical perspective too. What does it feel like to be silent? What happens when we don’t have constant access to a smartphone? How is our lifestyle different to premodern times ones?

2. Beyond the word

This exercise is based on an ancient Indian prescription: if you read for one hour, write for two hours and meditate for three hours. The purpose of such proportion is to avoid being blind recorders of other people’s words or ideas. You can stick to the ratio but start with a shorter duration for each part.

The exercise encourages a personal dialogue and self-reflection. It’s a nice transition: from being in the company of someone else’s words to being surrounded by your ideas as you write, and, finally, focusing on silencing your mind.

3. The Silence Game

This Montessori Exercise builds on the concept that, deeper awareness and sensitivity to noise, help us get into a “more refined and subtle world.” Constant noise can create irritability, frustration, confusion, and even sleepiness.

The purpose of this exercise is to make silence collectively. A board with the word “silence” and a picture of a tranquil place, reminds that every child might do its part. The silence is not only a positive outcome but is the byproduct of everyone’s effort.

4. The sound of one hand clapping

Our logic says that we need two hands to clap. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” is a Zen challenge that has several interpretations. Some say that it’s a way to help you listen to other sounds — your heart, the rhythm of your breathing or the awareness of your mind. Others believe it’s a metaphor how we see life with a dualistic approach: cause and effect.

I use this question when coaching teams to invite them to reflect on the power of silence. Sometimes to inspire creative ways to make sound with just one hand. Other times, simply to challenge logical thinking; by putting our rationality aside, we let the think tank of the mind show up.

5. Meditation: The Silence That is Listening

This guided meditation by Tara Brach emphasizes the anchor of listening; it guides us to relax through our body and let sounds wash our thoughts out. You don’t need any previous meditation experience to benefit from it.

Listening to sounds is powerful to quiet the thinking mind. It will help you connect with the natural openness of awareness. By becoming more receptive, you can welcome your full presence and the peace of quietness.

6. Building a tower with a constraint

Imposing constraints challenges individuals and those who interact with them alike — everyone must adjust their behaviors. A set of teams are challenged to build the tallest tower using Jenga blocks. It seems simple until most team members are assigned a specific constraint: one cannot speak, another is blindfolded, one cannot use the hands, etc.

Not being able to speak reframes the interaction. The person who’s silent pays more attention. The rest of the team becomes more attentive to the quiet person’s feedback. It dramatically increases both collaboration and self-awareness.

7. Become silent for a day

This exercise is about cutting the chord literally and metaphorically without attending a silent retreat. You can define what ‘a day’ means for you. I would suggest that you aim for, at least, 4–6 hours. And then gradually increase it.

Becoming silence is about unplugging from social media, emails, phone calls, and every other form of communication — including face-to-face dialogue. You need to set up some grounding rules to those close to you.