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Self-Development

The beauty of pain

All beings struggle for pleasure and want to avoid pain. Yet is pain really inherently bad or is there something deep and transformative to it, which justifies a second look? Let’s do it the ExperienceZone way.

What pain really is

I’m a huge fan of Osho. An Indian guru who passed away too early. He posed an interesting hypothesis: The only problem is psychological pain. Physical pain is a non-issue, as once it manifests itself, we’re forced to accept it. Here’s an example: You break your arm during sports. Now, you might feel physical pain, which disappears after a while. However, the psychological pain might last, since you are worried not being able to work out soon again or being handicapped at school or work for some time.

This leads us to the second provocative statement: Psychological pain is an intense continuous negative feeling. Feelings are the children of thoughts and emotions. Negative feelings derive from the only negative emotion: Fear. Worries about the future are forward looking thoughts contextualizing fear. Regrets about past events are backward looking thoughts mixed with fear. Do you get my point? The root cause is our mind wandering into the past or present and putting negative meaning onto situations. If we run into a vicious thought cycle fueled by never ending fear, pain emerges.

Why pain is a blessing

Believe me: I learned the lessons below the hard way and still need to remind myself every time when my expectations don’t match reality.

  • Pain makes you find yourself: A recent break-up led to a heartbreak. This type  of pain is somewhat interesting since it relates to another person. Whenever I’m faced with a challenge, I go deep into it, which meant contemplating about the time spent together. After some whiles in those conscious meditative and unconscious dream states, I got increasingly self aware. Self-awareness is not an epiphany moment but construction work. You peel the onion until the naked self lies in front of your mind. Admittedly a disturbing process and discovery for an extrovert like me. Anyway, self-awareness is the necessary prerequisite for self-acceptance, which might be equally difficult to obtain. Full acceptance of my failures and weaknesses as they made me who I am today: A unique yet flawed, a complete yet vulnerable person.
  • Pain makes you change your life: The final stage of the continuum is self-actualization. Once you know who you are, you can change your belief-system based on your natured and nurtured personality. You can give up of all limitations and let go of all restrictions you’ve put on your self because he said or she said. You can fully express yourself and completely align your words and actions to you inner core. You can define your calling, mission or  raison d’etre based on your uniqueness, the portfolio of passions and god-given set of gifts.
  • Pain makes you value pleasure: Everything in our world is relative, i.e. happens on one dimensional scales and is subject to individual perceptions. In fact, there’s no objective reality but only the meaning or quality we give events. Visually we separate brightness and darkness. Yet there wouldn’t be darkness without us knowing what brightness is. It’s just different intensities of light. Hot and cold are tactile perceptions. Yet there would be no experience of hot water if we wouldn’t know how cold one feels like (mind the hands-in-the-bucket-test). It’s just different qualities of temperature. Same applies to pleasure and pain. We only appreciate pleasure if we experienced its counterpart: Pain.

Some words of caution: I don’t urge you to seek pain. There’s good reason why we’re wired to avoid pain. We’re meant to live a happy life. Pleasure doesn’t make you happy though. It only scratches the surface. To become truly fulfilled, you need to look at the dark fruits on the pain tree. You can only harvest those if you step back and change your viewpoint.

How to make pain your ally

Here’re my takeaways and actionable advises after dealing with psychological and physical pain all my life as a human being.

  1. Appreciate it: Welcome pain once it’s there. Pain is your teacher. Open the door. Embrace it. A private mandatory coaching session hosted by the universe is nothing to be ashamed of but a chance to become whole again, learn and eventually grow.
  2. Dive into it: Learn to contemplate or meditate over pain. Listen into yourself. What kind of pain are you feeling? Why are you experiencing it? What does it have to do with your life? Then take full responsibility instead of blaming anyone for “hurting” you.
  3. Draw conclusions: Think about what you want to change. Pain will vanish, yet might return if you don’t transform fundamentally. Stay vulnerable as this attitude bears most learning potential and is the real essence of being alive.

Why choosing stressful meaning is better than avoiding discomfort

The corporate world is being haunted by a specter called “stress”. No matter if we’re working 9am to 5pm in an apparently laid-back job or in a 24/7 sleeping under the desk start-up environment. Stress seems to be an ubiquitous yet highly subjective phenomenon. Hence, let’s take a closer look in an ExperienceZone manner.

When lives turn into rocket chairs

Many of us spin our wheels but never go anywhere. I witness this when I step into the social network trap. Trying to stay in touch with everyone usually results in loosing connection with myself. Superficiality is the price for the desire to not miss out on anything. Modern technology seduces us to do it all at the same time. Multitasking leads to inefficiencies, stress and eventually dissatisfaction. If we take a shot-gun rather than sniper-rifle approach to our lives, we experience a lot. But: If we lack focus on the things that really matter, life leads us astray into distraction and ultimately depression.

What does really matter?

Those activities, which make you happy and you invest most time in. Assuming you’re neither an aristocratic heir nor a downshifter, society requires you to work at least eight hours of your day. Imagine you spend a third of your day and half of your wake time in your job. This very fact justifies to think twice about your profession. For many decades the social axiom was “Get good grades, study something meaningful and you’ll be just fine being employed to take care of your family”. Those days are over. Asia, automation and abundance made job security a myth as Daniel Pink states in “A whole new mind – why right brainers will rule the future”.

So, what’s the bottom-line?

Let me come full circle here: I argue that people are stressed since they avoid discomfort by working in a job, which doesn’t build up on their passions and thus strengths but gives them the illusion of job security. They think they can take the way of least resistance. Yet, if you neither define your raison d’etre nor think and act big, you’ll never get a healthy stretch and experience the feeling of remarkable accomplishments. Instead, you’ll feel severely underutilized, bored and thus stressed. Reason being, you don’t find meaning or purpose in getting up in the morning.

What is your game plan?

  1. Stay in bed: I’m not kidding! Keep on lying in bed if you feel that your job doesn’t provide any meaning to your life or the ones of others. This is the best use of your time. Call sick or request a PTO. Go on a trip or at least a day hike. Fresh aur and physical exercise will get your mind in motion.
  2. Define your mission: Either in bed, on a walk or at your desk: Contemplate why you’re here and what you really want to do with your life. You’re only a few decades on this planet and it’s your damn duty to bring the best of you to the world. If you don’t, you’ll waste your life by finding creative excuses why you shouldn’t make a move (e.g. your financial obligations, the job security myth, you name it).
  3. Follow through: Once you know what you want to do, you’ve got to do it. This might sound like stating the obvious. Yet, many never bridge the knowing-doing-gap. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. At most, they put the best foot forward and then drag the other one behind. Bear in mind: The safest way to success  and contentment is to play on your passions and thus strengths.

Evolve your knowledge to wisdom

Recently, I saw a TED talk about acquiring wisdom instead of knowledge only. Why should you care and how do you make the leap? Let’s dive into this one the ExperienceZone way.

Putting things into context

Everyday our senses are being swamped by piles of data. Our brain does a remarkable job to contextualize and thus transforms data points into information. A price tag paired with a bottle of water triggers our decision about whether to buy it or not. Actually marketing is a corporate function designed for the very purpose to make data relevant and thus generate explicit purchasing decisions in our minds. Best case, it speaks to our hearts instead to our brain only, since especially complex decisions are usually not taken rationally but intuitively. To this end, the add needs to be relevant to our lives (yeah, water vitalizes) plus helps us to understand why that is (well, approx. 70% of our body is actually water) – ideally on an emotional level. As we increasingly relate this the marketeers want us to get hooked up with and understand its additional value proposition (the founders might be up to save the entire rain forest), we evolve our minds from receiving information to being knowledgeable about this company, its mission and resulting products. Knowledge is acknowledging a pattern behind naked information. Furthermore, knowledge requires and generates a certain level of understanding and relation to a particular subject. So far the job of the marketing guys…

Knowledge without application is useless

In the last decade I read around one hundred books. Did the cheer act of inhaling words put into fancy sentences make me any smarter? In no way, shape or form. Well, it certainly helped me to express myself in a specific way nowadays but doesn’t improve my life a tiny bit. In contrast: Book knowledge is a tricky thing. It tends to make you presumptuous. I can tell you in a thousand words how honey tastes, yet it only becomes relevant once you taste it. This is my plea for action. Only once you leverage the stuff you’ve read to help yourself, others or our planet, it turns into value. Until then it’s unused potential. Raw material, which lacks an acid test. Latter turns knowledge into wisdom through application. You try. You fail. You learn. You improve.

How to turn knowledge into wisdom

Some argue wisdom is understanding the principles behind knowledge. I’m going further: Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge – in both ways, failing and succeeding. Failed attempts are actually often a necessary prerequisite for success. No one learned to ride a bike without falling at least onece. No one learned to play the piano without hitting the wrong keys. Thomas Edison admitted to have failed many times until he invented the light bulb. So, how do you evolve to a wise person (unrelated to your physical age)?

  1. Read and watch: There’re two ways to absorb new knowledge. The first one is reading. I highly recommend you to read as much as possible, yet allow time to contemplate and execute thereafter. Read about divers topics. It makes you a well rounded person. Yet do only read stuff you feel naturally drawn to. This increases the chances that you make it through the article or book. After you read, take some time. Either close your eyes, go for a walk or talk with others about what you read. All of these habits ensure that you properly digest the mind food. Then think about how you can put the stuff you’ve read into practice. By the way: Another highly effective way to learn is through imitation. Watch others failing or succeeding. It helps you to build up on their experiences.
  2. Execute upon it: A strategy is nothing without execution. A decision is a choice plus a plan. Innovation equals creativity plus action. In fact, ideas are worthless without trying them out. Effective execution based on a clear intention is one of the most powerful gifts human beings have been granted. Hence I invite you to try things. The only thing preventing you from achieving your aims in life and pursuing your mission is fear. Smart people say fear is the abbreviation of false expectations appearing real. In terms of future states, this is true. So, we need to shake off irrational fears and jump in to the cold dark unknown.
  3. There’re no mistakes: There’s only feedback. I like this one, as it puts things into perspective by pointing out that every expression of reality is subjective. Reality only exists because a subject observes it. Your reality is watched and thus judged by yourself only. Therefore, the meaning you give to events in your life is of utmost importance. If you see every hardship as an opportunity for growth it will unfold as such and deliver long term reward. Only repeating the same behavior although it didn’t bring the desired results can be considered as stupid or insane, as Einstein put it.

Start with a smile!

Life consists of perceived ups and downs. The meaning we give to events determines our mood and thus the quality of our lives. No one can always be happy. In fact, it may not be our ultimate goal. Only after we walked through valleys, we can fully appreciate the peaks of our existence – in the present moment and in hindsight. Highs require lows and vice versa. Hence, satisfaction is a relative phenomenon. There’s one key behavior to soften the dips though: Smiling.

(Don’t) let it go to your heart

I allowed many events to pull me down: Accidents, diseases, challenges at school, university and work, relatives passing away as well as break-ups with loved ones. Surely, you experienced similar challenges. What actually happened in these moments? We generated negative feelings. Sadness, disappointment, depression. Now, you might argue that the expression of those is important for your emotional hygiene and personal growth. And I agree. To a certain extent. There’s a thin line between

  1. Superficial Ignorance: You just disregard or repress your own feelings and thus prevent yourself from growing emotionally, getting to know and coming into terms with yourself
  2. Toxic Long Suffering: You fall into and spend too much time in a deep hole, which hurts you mentally, emotionally and physically in the long run.

This sweet-spot, on which you learn from suffering (since it offers the greatest opportunities) but avoid falling into the vicious circle of sadness needs to be determined individually. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for how to cope with events and deal with your feelings in different situations. At least I cannot provide any, since I’m neither a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. Everything I’m writing and talking about is based on my own experiences, which taught me one thing though:

Smiling helps to cope with negativity

This is not new. Researchers found out that smiling lowers stress and anxiety, releases endorphins and thus strengthens your immune system. It also makes you more confident, approachable, attractive and is above all contagious. Instead of bothering you with these discoveries, which you can read on every self-help page since a decade, let’s make it actionable. Many of us absorb similar small shots of awe every day but never execute upon them. Knowledge without application is useless.

How you make smiling a daily habit?

I’m on my journey to become a “master of smiling”. Still searching for the appropriate occasions, dose and behavioral mix. Here’re my take-aways:

  1. Observe and accept your inner processes: Learn to listen to yourself. Due to the requirements of my daily life, I became a heady person. Thankfully, I learned to observe my thoughts but still have challenges to deal with my feelings. However, if your chatterbox talks destructively or you feel dissatisfied with yourself or other people (latter is only an indirect expression of former), hold still. Negativity indicates that something is wrong with your self-image and thus attitudes. It’s ok to be in a bad mood. We all have negative thoughts and feelings every day. One of our tasks in life is to deal with them constructively. Hence, first accept them. They’re part of your inner processes repertoire. You’re a healthy and complete human being. However, take an inner step back and observe them. Check why you’re thinking or feeling the way you do. What triggered it? Awareness and recognition are always the first step to change behavioral patterns.
  2. Smile whenever appropriate: Once negative thoughts and feelings creep up in you, force yourself to smile. Not because they vanish straightaway but it lifts you up to a relaxed state of mind and helps you to step back as mentioned above. Smiling effectually requires awareness and practice. Fake it until you feel better. Yet beware: Some people might get irritated if you smile whilst you’re arguing with them as you might come across as someone who doesn’t take them or the topic serious. I learned this the hard way. In those situations you want to engage in alternate behaviors like deep breathing. It too lowers your stress level and thus enables you to cope with difficult human interactions.
  3. Become an inner Aikido master: Aikido is a Japanese martial art, in which one channels the opponent’s energy to end a fight. Mind someone running towards you in rage and you just redirect the physical force by putting him on the ground. You can apply this principle to your inner processes by leveraging embodiment. Embodiment describes our capabilities to combat unwanted inner processes with physical actions, like smiling. There’re a couple of supporting behaviors I found functional to deal with negative inner processes. Next to smiling and deep breathing, I recommend you to take a walk when you’re feeling down – especially outside with exposure to sunlight and fresh air. Physical motion triggers mental flexibility and thus helps you to think about solutions creatively. Sunlight raises your mood and fresh air provides oxygen, which supports the ideation process. In addition, you can put your hands up, which improves your self-esteem and thus mood. Actually every physical action, which makes you larger in terms of height or width increases your self-confidence. That’s a heritage from your ancestors and can be observed in the animal kingdom. Mind your social environment to avoid being perceived as a freak though.

Our search for meaning

Last night I finished up the bestselling book “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. It inspired me to write this article. I felt that I stumbled over something very profound. Meaning seems to be a buzzword and highlighting its importance for our lives like stating the obvious. However, diving into the “why” and “how” can open minds.

Meaning as our main driver

Frankl was born into a Jewish family and locked for years in Nazi death camps. During this time he discovered that the daily struggle for survival can be won by finding and focusing on meaning in life. No matter the circumstances, we are always in control of our attitudes. We can give meaning to the hardships in our lives if we want to. No one can take this freedom to think and act away from us.

Upon his release, Frankl founded logotherapy. A science, which is based on the concept of meaning (logos) as the main driver for human survival and design of life. Unlike the will to pleasure (on which the Freudian psychoanalysis is centered) and the will to power (which the Adlerian psychology is based on), the “will to meaning” seems to be a sustainable concept that doesn’t kick in once the Maslow’s basic needs are satisfied but already in the beginning. In fact we pursue our search for meaning in parallel to all other ones and it seems to be superior to power and pleasure. In fact, latter are shadows or side-effects of meaning but can never substitute it.

How do you find meaning?

At ExperienceZone, we translate meaning with mission. Our mission is our individual and unique reason for existence. We believe that there’s no subordinate or superior missions. Founding a family is equally important as colonizing Mars (as Elon Musk strives to do). Only one rule applies: Your mission needs to contribute to humanity and/or planet earth. Why’s that? Our actual desire is to be connected. Neurologically we’re wired to contribute, feel part of a larger means and want to be appreciated for what we do. So, there’re three steps:

  1. Initiation: You need to feel the need to define your mission first. Frankl says this either happens through a) suffering, like in his case. Once you’re existence is stripped to its bare bones, we recognize what is really important. Nowadays, we’re swamped by external stimulus (mind media), which distracted and ultimately detached from our natural desires as human beings. Another way to find meaning is through b) other people. In particular: Love. Love is way more that physical attraction or emotional attachment. It’s seeing a potential in someone, which didn’t actualize yet. It results in admiration and unconditional giving. Last year, I met someone, who opened my heart and thus helped me to shape my mission “use my energy and enthusiasm to inspire others and support them in unfolding their own talents in meaningful and harmonic ways”. The third trigger to discover you mission is via c) doing a meaningful work or deed. This is especially important for those who focus on the area career & financials in their lives.
  2. Definition: You need to write down your mission and best case paint it in bright colors. Vision is our most important sense. Vaguely knowing what you want to do with the few decades you’ve been granted on this planet is not enough. Make is explicit. Commit to it. Place your mission statement at prominent places in your living area. This way, you’ll always be reminded and thus win over your subconscious to support its manifestation.
  3. Execution: Strategy is nothing without action. Come up with a plan. What do you need to do to make your mission come true. I founded ExperienceZone. The first stepping stone towards materializing my dream. Just to be clear: There will be stumbling blocks along the way. People might not support you but laugh at or turn their backs on you. That’s totally fine. You’re not on this planet to please others but to fulfill your mission. Stay true to yourself and your individual reason for existence. Let others inspire your change but never kill your dreams. The means you’re putting in place might be suboptimal. Feel free to listen to others’ advises to become better in executing against your strategy but stay authentic and listen to your heart.

The more you do, the more you can do

Ten years ago, I discovered a truism that became one of my axioms in life: The more stuff I do, the more capable I become in learning new things plus get them done efficiently. Why’s that? Let’s check it out the ExperienceZone way.

Action is golden

I’ve got a deep believe: One reason why we’re on this planet is to express ourselves. This might by the quality of our gender specific energies more apply to men than to women. However, even latter find fulfillment in outgoing recreational activities and career development since the start of their emancipation.

Expression requires you to create an intention. This usually starts with emotions, i.e. the inner processes that move you internally and eventually cause external exhibition. There’re only two emotions: Love and fear. Both will trigger action. Former let’s you go after the things you want and latter step back from those you don’t want. Emotions are impregnated by thoughts. They match your perception of the outside world with your self-image. This contextualization takes place in split seconds and give birth to feelings. They’re the actual cause for external action. Hence, all inner processes are just the raw material for outer performance.

External behavior makes you change yourself and the world actively. Inner processes have an indirect impact on reality and are thus harder to control in their direction and intensity.

Generalist vs. Specialist?

Bottom line upfront: Calm down. Don’t worry about being too broad and narrow. Instead follow your heart. This might sound cheesy, yet applies to all areas of life. If you want to dig into the details and become an expert in rocket science, knock yourself out. If you feel drawn to many different things, do those! Life is a playground. There’s no one stopping you except for your fear of failure. Preferences change throughout life. So as physical attraction turns into love for your partner, fields of interests morph too. Embrace that everything changes every moment.

If you trust your heart though, you’ll never fail. Why’s that? It shows you your passions: The people you like to be with, the things you like to do or have and the places you want to go. This sparks motivation, which causes conscious outside actions and subconscious inside programming. Both ensure that your dreams become true eventually.

Bear one thing in mind: Your brain expands with every new experience. Your mind opens and your horizon widens. This enables you to take new perspectives, approaches to problem solving and decision making. So, embrace new experiences but don’t go astray your core values and plans in life.

What’s your game plan?

Let go of in- and external stressors. Make up your mind instead:

  1. What drives you? Why are you on this planet? Don’t tell me you want to eat, sleep and repeat it all over again. This way, you put yourself on par with less developed species and don’t use your divine gift as a human being. Tell me you want to be happy. Better but not sufficient though. Too fluffy. We all want to be happy. The question is: “What makes you happy?” Follow me here: Happiness is related to love and being loved. Others are only able to love you to the same extent you love yourself. Hence, you need to love your self more than anyone else first. Self-love is a function of self-confidence. Self-confidence results from knowing where you’re from, who you’re and what you want to do.
  2. Who are you? Time is a mental construct. Hard to explain and to believe alike. Change is inevitable. Your self transforms naturally. Do you want to own this process or be an observer? There’s no objective reality but only perception. Perception is in your hands. You decide every moment how you see yourself and the world. In hindsight, at present and forward looking. In other words: You can change your memories, your current self-image and future life deliberately. You can have that good childhood and live your dreams already. Again: There’s no one stopping you than your limiting beliefs. This is not esoteric pixie dust but based on recent scientific insights. The only question left is: Do you want to accept responsibility for your past, present and future?
  3. Who do you want to be? Shoot, this is about you. You’ve been granted a few decades on planet, so use them! Define your mission. Derive your aims in life. Think and act big. Let no one belittle your ambitions. Surround yourself with inspiring and empowering people. If you want to try new stuff, just do it! Most important is that you switch into action gear. Focus on your goals, yet allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone every now and then. Various experiences will make you a well rounded and thus interesting person assuming you keep your eyes on your objectives.

Take more deliberate decisions!

Life is a long sequence with highly frequent decisions. Every moment you’re making one. Large or small. Conscious or subconscious. I just decided to write about this topic (relatively large and conscious decision) and my fingers follow up on the keyboard (relatively small and subconscious decision). In other words: We’re deciding all the time. Even avoiding action is a decision. The quality of your life is a function of the quality of your decisions. So, how do you take better decisions? Let’s dive into it the ExperienceZone way.

We’re always on the run to…nowhere!

Success in our “developed” world is often the result of doing more in less time. Thus busyness can become an addiction. It means ‘having a valuable life’. We’re rewarded with money which allows us to buy stuff, which makes us feel even more valuable. No suprise that most of us engage in this rat race. Yet if we’re always down in the wheats, we’re not realigning to our mission. Also, we’re running the risk to become puppets and satisfy the expectations of others (incl. our partner, parents, children and friends) rather than living our own dreams. It’s like being on a fast-train, which destination we don’t know. We even don’t take time to look outside the window. We’re just too busy to make it run faster. The results are devastating: With the acceleration of our lives (mind that in the last 10 years our walking speed increased by 10%), burn-out rates as well as those of other stress related diseases skyrocket.

How do you escape the vicious circle?

  1. Make up your mind: Acknowledge that your’re part of the race. Admission is the first step towards change. Moreover, you want to feel an urge to shift gears. Just begin to write a no-to-do-list (documenting all activities, which you don’t want to engage in any longer) and/or craft your own eulogy (what other people should say about you when you’re dead). Those techniques enable you to take a step back and build the bridge to step #2.
  2. Define your mission: Why the heck are you on the planet? Well, you might respond that you want to become happy. Duh, everybody wants that. Yet only a few dig deeper and describe how they want to accomplish that. Countless ways lead to Rome. Lay your own path. Your unique reason for existence.
  3. Become an essentialist: A decision is a choice combined with an action plan. Once you select an alternative, you discard all others. They’re not part of your belief-system and thus reality anymore. In fact, those alternatives are only valid until you picked one. Afterwards all others vanish since reality changes with your decision. Hence you burn all bridges. This also allows you to focus on the things you want and relentlessly stop those activities, which don’t support your goals.
  4. Take a step back regularly: Our world is full of temptations. Even the smallest distraction might lead you astray. Realign to your mission every now and then. I’m reading latter daily and reviewing my aims in life on an annual basis. This brings me mentally back on track, so that I can follow up physically.
  5. Create and enjoy precious moments: Reasearch proves that accumulation of material goods don’t make us happier. Experiences do. Yet those need to be enjoyed. That requires time. Take it. You’re only a few decades on this planet. The older you get, the faster time runs. Design high-quality moments, which you’ll remember on your death bed. Everything else is just ambient noise.

 

 

 

 

A new year, a new life?

2016 is here. Reason enough to relaunch the experiencezone blog and provide you shots of insights on a regular basis. More importantly: What does a new year mean to you?

As above, so below

Hermes Trimegistus was right: Our world is made of fractal structures and processes. Those emerge when planets move around the sun and they can be found in the design of atoms. In fact, there’re a couple universal laws, which apply to us humans as part of the earthly community. Essentially, we’re knots of a gigantic net, in which every thing is connected.

Moreover, we’re powerful creators

Humans are equipped with three powerful minds: Brains, hearts and guts. Those trigger inner processes, such as emotions, thoughts and resulting feelings that impact the outside world through expectations. Likewise, the surroundings change our biochemical make-up by the experiences we make. Let’s conclude: Our inner world forms reality through expectations and vice versa via experiences.

Put this epiphany into practice

Fake it until you be it: Always think and speak big framed into an optimistic mindset. A new year is a new life. Spring (childhood), summer (early adulthood), fall (late adulthood), and winter (old age). Many overestimate what they can achieve in a day (which by the way is a 4-step-cycle as well) but underestimate what can be done in a year.

Take a step back and reflect

Then define your mission. Why the heck are you on this planet? Don’t sell yourself short by only satisfying your basic needs. You’re kings and queens, who deserve more than eating, sleeping and repeating. Take use of the few decades you’re granted to live on this planet. Derive your aims in life and follow through. Too many gyms become ghost towns in February. Too many dreams burst due to a lack of commitment. Develop new tiny habits, which twinkles merge into a shiny north star for others to follow.

Why you are unique and similar to others alike

Did you feel like you’re special as a child? I did. Must have been around ten years old when I believed that my consciousness is truly something others don’t have in the same quality. Childish naivety or a profound discovery? Let’s explore it the ExperienceZone way.

We’re all part of the same species

You’re part of humanity. This puts you on par with me. On almost all levels. It includes the makeup of our internal processes: If we’re threatened, fear emerges within us. If we’re delighted, love creeps up. The same applies to our thoughts. If we’re challenged intellectually, we tend to think. Math exercises in school or a round of chess with our parents activate our left hemisphere. The crying baby might cause empathy triggered by our right side of the brain (mind David Pink’s great books). In terms of our external processes, we see the similar patterns. Feelings drive our behavior. We usually tend to speak before we act. Both have repercussions to our internal processes. Finally, our physical structure looks similar: We’ve a head sitting on a corpus with four extremities attached.

You only exist once

Here’re the relieving news for my childish ego: I was right: I’m different to others. In fact, we’re all unique, but only if you dare to take a closer look. Although our human characteristics are the same, the way they use them and how they look significantly differs. You like don’t like cheese. I do (although it’s not healthy). Yet as a child I hated cheese. You like hanging out all day on a Sunday. I hate it (too much of a productivity junkie).

Differences between you and me are caused by our unique genetic blueprint (the stuff your mom and dad inherited to you plus maybe a legacy from former lives). Also, our socialization, including education and parenting wildly differed. You’re and you behave based on your experiences. Latter formed your personality, belief system and your body (I know that the last part is hard to get). Yet, whatever you want to do with your life, i.e. in which way you want to be or act differently or similar (mind role models) to others is in your hands. Every moment you make a decision.

What do you do with these discoveries?

Let’s come up with some tangible steps. Here’re my recommendations:

  1. Mind uniqueness and similarities. Awareness is the first step towards change. So you want to run a personality analysis to find out who you really are. Also, you can travel the country humanity to explore how we’re treating each other and planet earth.
  2. Appreciate your extraordinary capabilities. Once you know where you’re coming from, who you’re and where you want to go (for latter, I advice you to define your mission and aims in life), your self-confidence gets lifted on another level. Reason being it’s based on a stellar introspection. This will enable you to act with skill and tact.
  3. Leverage individuality and commonality. Knowledge without application is like a car without an engine. You need to lean in your career, your social life, your health and self-development. In addition, reach out to like minded people. Those are on the same mission and are open to join forces.

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