A few thoughts on confidence

1.True confidence is a door only unlocked by two keys: value and self-improvement. The more you work on earning it the better you become as a person, and before you notice it, confidence stops being the goal. And that’s when it becomes fully manifested. First inwardly through the stillness that comes when you’re instinctively certain of yourself, and next when the behavior you needed to fake begins to show effortlessly.

2.Confidence created by positive self-talk alone never lasts, in the same way that attempting to treat an illness by only treating the symptoms doesn’t work. Sure you will feel good in the short term, but as time goes the effect wears off, and before you notice it, you’re back to where you started, still looking for the next fix. Still not sure why you feel unsure.

3.It’s not enough to look outwardly confident as if the same feeling doesn’t exist behind closed doors, the internal weakness eventually begins to leak behind the mask you fight so hard to keep on for the public.

4.When you have a solid reason to feel confident, there is no need to talk about it. The reason speaks for itself. You don’t need to be reassured by friends or fans anymore. I a way, your reason for confidence is your greatest cheerleader, working 24/7 to remind you of your greatness.

5.The very attempt to fake confidence is by definition an expression of its lack.

(Bonus) True confidence is born out of skill, and skill in whatever form it may show itself can always be worked on. It can always be improved. Confidence is a by-product of one’s accomplishments whether inside or out. So why fake it when you can have the real deal? Why fake it when you can live it?

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A few thoughts on self-esteem

1.In a time when we are bombarded 24/7 by images of people doing better, self-esteem is the anchor that keeps the ship of sanity grounded on the shore of reality.

2.Self-esteem is a destination only reached through a journey inward with some road fixes along the way. The fixes are not a suggestion but a must. In fact, it’s from fix to fix that self-esteem becomes possible. At the end of the journey, you look at yourself differently because you’ve become a different person. You’re now an enhanced version of your past self, so thinking more highly of yourself is no longer an effort but an instinct.

3.To rely on compliments to make yourself feel good is a losing proposition, as the same hand that gave it can instantly take it away. The thing is that this time around you lose much more than just a compliment. You also lose your self-esteem along with it. Your fragility as a person is directly proportional to the degree to which a compliment or criticism has the power to uplift or depress your spirit.

4.Self-esteem has nothing to do with a blind belief in self-perfection. You can criticize yourself harshly while keeping the same love for and belief in yourself because you know you can do better. In fact, if you’re unable to tolerate criticism of any kind, whether external or internal, what you have is not true self-esteem, but a cheap copy of it.

5.One way to improve self-esteem is by improving your relationship with personal critiques. You know a person has high self-esteem not when they claim to be the greatest, but when their self-love and self-esteem remain unshaken in face of the harshest of critiques. The building stays tall and strong because the foundation is solid.

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A few thoughts on human nature

1.It’s human nature to get lost in the present and to falsely assume that tomorrow will be an extension of today. Tomorrow just like human nature is a mystery. Influenced by forces too complex and difficult to discern. So use today to prepare yourself for tomorrow’s evils, even if the ships are high, and the weather is clear. Think of tomorrow with hope for the better, especially when you find yourself right in the middle of a personal hell.

2.Even the darkest corners of human nature lose their power when frequently observed and studied under the light of self-awareness. Being aware of how evil you can be is the first step to keeping the dark side where it belongs. In the dark.

3.Human nature is about intent and motivations. The way to study one’s motivations is not by listening to words, but by listening to that which is not communicated verbally, as there is much more truth to be heard from an involuntary action/behavior. Understand the story the mouth chooses not to tell, and you understand a person’s true nature. This is true even when the person you have under a microscope is no one other than yourself.

4.Having your nature under control is as important as life itself, as if you let it control you, you’ll go through life like a slave of your pre-dispositions. Being your best or worst self will be a random occurrence like the weather: good today, bad tomorrow with no rhyme or reason.

5.At the end of the day human nature is not a straightjacket. Sure it will nudge you to certain things while moving you away from others, but you are the ultimate master. You always have the final say. The ability to go against one’s nature is what makes us human as opposed to animals who are mostly driven by instinct. So, to blame all your shortcomings on human nature is to deny your humanity.

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A few thoughts on gratitude

1.To be grateful is to look at what you have and to realize none of it is guaranteed. Had you been a little less lucky, that which you now take as basic could just as easily be perceived to be as valuable as that which you now crave but do not have yet.

2.The constant chase for more is a virus only stopped when you take the time to appreciate what you have. For a moment you realize how lucky you are and other people having more is now less of a problem. For a moment you’re clear-minded. In grips with reality. This is until you go back to the wanting mode, and once again get high on the illusion that the next purchase or accomplishment is without a doubt the key to happiness.

3.To the perpetually ungrateful the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. This remains true even when the other side is not new, but something previously had and thrown away on this non-stop search for “better”.

4.Gratitude is the sunshine that allows us to realize the beauty of the present moment just as it is. You’re happy as you are even though you know you could always want more or have more.

5.The way to more gratitude is to be mindful of all the great things that came your way whether by luck or personal effort. And if that doesn’t work, it should suffice to remember that things could have always been worse than they are.

(Bonus) The worst way to learn gratitude is by losing something of value and only then realizing how much it really meant. The problem with this approach to life is that somethings cannot be recovered once lost and relationships are one of them.

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A few thoughts on bravery and courage

1.The meaning of bravery varies from person to person. Being brave is not about doing what society defines as brave, but whatever requires you to overcome your fears, as history is full of demonstrations of courage that only earned the “brave” label decades after the act.

2.Acts of courage seem like one’s imposition of one’s will to the world, but before that, something more important takes place away from the spotlights. That is the imposition of one’s will onto itself.

3.Bravery and courage are at the end of the day habits. Every act of courage makes the next one that much easier. Every act of cowardness makes the next one more likely. After enough acts of bravery, you earn the label for yourself, just as you would after enough acts of cowardness. And the label, in turn, makes it much more likely that you will remain the person you’ve been in the past. All it takes is one act in the opposite direction to reverse the trend.

4.Bravery and courage are not synonyms for aggression. One may be courageous without being aggressive, as one can just as easily be aggressive without being courageous. In fact, often it is the case that aggression is not a sign of courage or confidence, but a sign of insecurity. You know deep down how weak you are, and the only way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by this truth is by overcompensating.

5.The way to bravery and courage begins with a journey within. One has to learn to consistently get over its own impulses for cowardness if courage is to be developed. As you can only really stand up for the many once you’ve managed to stand up for yourself. This is true even when the person you’re being assertive to is no one other than yourself.

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A few thoughts on self-awareness

1.In a time in which everybody is considered special for anything, self-awareness is the much-needed medicine that keeps the ego disease in check.

  1. Self-awareness is being able to look at yourself with clarity. Not the way you wish you were, or the way other people want you to be, but exactly who you are. No more no less.

3.An overinflated ego and fake humbleness are the two biggest impediments to self-awareness. On the first, you see more in you than there is to see. On the second, you purposely see less than reality has to show. Both attitudes are born from the insecurity fuelled need to change reality by changing one’s interpretation of it, instead of changing reality by taking meaningful action.

4.When you’re truly self-aware no compliment is enough to inflate your ego, no critique no matter how malicious is mean enough to depress you. You don’t get high on either because you know who you are. Neither the compliments nor the criticisms come as a surprise because you’ve done the homework on yourself better than any outsider ever could. And this is how true confidence is born.

5.The way to self-awareness is to study yourself like a subject. Now you’re the scientist curiously seeking the deeper truths about this amazing being you call you. You go through the journey of self-discovery with an open mind, welcoming all insights life brings to your doorstep. You accept and enjoy any and all compliments as long as they’re true, not only to make you feel good, and accept all the negatives and criticisms that come your way as long as they are real no matter how bad it makes you feel. This is how you grow as a person.

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A few thoughts on love

1.Love is a balancing act between the fear of heartbreak and living what’s arguable the greatest experience available to a human being. Worry too much about heartbreak and you risk losing the spell. Lean mindlessly to the experience and you risk losing not your heart but also your sense of self in the process.

2.The moment you enter a relationship for logical reasons alone you rob yourself of the irrational and emotional spark that makes love, love. It’s not enough to be with a person who looks good on paper, as sometimes what you really want differs greatly from society’s definition of the ideal. Be a slave to the list and you will likely only be happy in theory.

3.Self awareness is one of the most important aspects of love as you may have attractive qualities and neutralize their effect if you’re too self-conscious and insecure, or be the worst person to be with but never being able to improve because you’re delusionally confident. Both have an incorrect view of themselves and seeing it is often as simple as opening one’s eyes. We are used to making checklists to judge potential partners, but fail to make an inventory of ourselves.

4.A healthy relationship is a balance of giving and taking. Give more than you take and you risk burnout. Take more than you give and the ship of love begins to sink, because true romance is a product of a mutual expression of love however it may show itself. The resentment that comes from a burned-out partner is a ticking time bomb, ready to detonate at any moment, and once it does the spark is gone. For both cases, you may have to start it all from scratch and if you’re self-aware enough, you won’t be nearly as foolish the next time around.

5.At the end of the day, love is an experience better lived and appreciated when you let go of control. Much like a memorable party, one may have all the ingredients for love and not find it, and just as easily have none of them and stumble into the most unforgettable experience ever.

(Bonus) In the same way that one has to set boundaries to live a healthy and fulfilling life, the same applies to relationships. The only difference here is that the boundary is not only to protect the relationship against outsiders but also against the dark side of the insiders. You not only tell other people what not to do but also tell yourself what lines shall not be crossed.

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A few thoughts on black history

Atlanta, Georgia, USA — Martin Luther King Jr. listens at a meeting of the SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, at a restaurant in Atlanta. The SCLC is a civil rights organization formed by Martin Luther King after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott. — Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

1.The black history month is a time to remember and appreciate the wrongs and sufferings of the past. Not to color the present with the paint of victimhood, but to make sure a better future is built without repeating the same mistakes and injustices of the past. Be aware that being passive to oppression is as much of a mistake as being the oppressor.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – MLK

2.Racism is a plague society managed to corner at the expense of the blood and tears of many who came before us. The keyword here is “corner” not extinguish. To say that the plague is extinguished is to say that microscopic life doesn’t exist just because you can’t see it. Saying it’s not real doesn’t make it unreal.

3.Today there are two large groups of people. The first sees racism in everything even when there is nothing to see. The second sees no racism even when its manifestations are as obvious as the blueness of the sky. Both believe the other side is extremist in its ways, but what neither realizes is that life is hardly a black or white game. The way to start making any kind of progress is to see problems only where there are problems to see.

4.Slavery as a practice has been abolished a long while ago but just like racism, it too got a second shot at life. It evolved from the more obvious physical version to the more insidious mental one. The slave of today has its own complex of inferiority as a master.

5.The stories of how black leaders fought and in some cases died to improve the conditions of their people can be taken in one of two ways. The first is to remind oneself about how their people were once enslaved, and how that lead to the way the present looks like today. A group of people who as a whole is not perceived in a good light. The second is to be grateful for the new world of possibilities available today and with them to vow to impact the world in a more positive manner, and as a result making blackness not just about oppression, but also about something more.

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How to stop comparing yourself to other people

1.The tendency to compare ourselves with other people is at the root of most people’s lack of satisfaction, even when what they have is more than most people can ever dream of.

2.Wishes that come from our comparing ourselves to other people are not conducive to true happiness, since just when you finally manage to get even, there is always someone with more. There is always someone doing better, at least enough to make you feel like we don’t have enough. There is always someone who makes you feel like you need to get even. This is why there is no point in grounding your identity on being the best anything, as you will always find yourself the loser if you think hard enough about your accomplishments.

3.Today, happiness is only real for those things we can brag about. The thing is that human beings come in all shapes and sizes, which in turn make one’s source of happiness different from someone else’s. Sometimes what makes you truly happy is not something you can brag about, and that doesn’t make your source of happiness any less worthy.

4.Just as we can be less happy when we compare ourselves to other people and lose the comparison game, so we can when other people openly compare themselves to us. Just because someone makes it sound or look like your way of living is inferior to theirs doesn’t mean it is. In fact, trying to change their mind about it is a losing battle, as you’re now playing a game in which the rules are set by your opponent, and phrased in such a way as to automatically put them 5 or 10 steps ahead. The worst thing about it is that this is the kind of game in which winning always leaves you with a bitter-sweet aftertaste. One where happiness only exists in forced smiles but not in the heart.

5.Comparing yourself to yourself from the standpoint of your own values is one of the most important steps towards true contentment. When you let someone else set the rules you may succeed at winning the game of appearances at best, and at worst risk losing it in perpetuity, as the same mind that created and imposed the rules in the first place can just as easily change them, and logic is not required. Emotion is often enough of a reason.

You can also read our post on: A few thoughts on maturity

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Lessons from the book: Relentless by Tim Grover

The ability to stick to what we start is among the most challenging things for humans to do, especially in this age of minute by minute blast of distractions. The longer the journey and the loftier the end goal, the greater is the chance that the road will be littered with bumps. Some of them will make you wonder whether the journey is worth it, and you may even find yourself contemplating other avenues. Wondering how good it would feel to just quit.

But you then remember that others before you, who have managed to be successful also went through the same doubts you may be facing at the moment. You remember that the difference between them and many other dreamers who never made it was that the first group managed to stick to their vision no matter how hard it got.

The book “Relentless” is really a library of valuable lessons on the kind of mentality that drives the best to succeed. By adopting the way of thinking described in the book, you also, automatically earn the ability to stick to things. You learn how to deal with the storms that will eventually come your way, and still come out on top.

1.How hungry you are will influence how you engage with the world

The first lesson is that the degree of “hunger” will dictate how one engages with the world. Without giving away to much of the book, the author brings to light the idea that there are 3 kinds of people. Among their many differences, in a fundamental level they differ on how much they want to succeed at their field of choice. If you’re a part of the first group your desire for success is not very high, so much so that you may be content with nothing more than being a part of someone else’s success story. The second group wants to succeed for themselves but they have in their heads an idea of how much will be enough. The third group on the other hand, is constantly purusiuing success, so much so that they eventually manage to make a name for themselves not only when they’re alive, but long after that.

The point is not to make anyone feel bad for the way they are. It’s ok to want less or more. The point is to be aware of what it takes to get what you truly want.

2.You can’t strive to be the best at all areas of life

The second big lesson is that you can’t be successful in all areas of life. Today, it’s not enough to be successful in one’s career to be happy. One also has to have the perfect family and be the best neighbor one can be. The problem, as the author teaches, is that to excel in any one of the areas above one has to declare that he doesn’t care about anything else. Every one of these areas takes a lot of time and energy to be good at.

So the point is to accept the fact that there will be some areas of your life that you won’t excel at. In fact, there will some areas of life you will underperform especially when you decide to succeed at any one of them.

3.The importance of acting like a professional

The third deep lesson is to carry yourself like a professional. The author brings up the fact that the best carry themselves differently. Those who manage to stay in the collective memory don’t manage to do so by being sloppy. Their drive, focus, and perfectionism in their areas of choice are not localized. It also applies to how they carry themselves, from the way they dress, speak or drive. Always polished, and that’s in part what makes them even more memorable.

The point is that the way to become more memorable is to expand your perfectionism and drive to all areas of life.

Final thoughts

This like the rest of the books I’ve reviewed so far has much more to offer and teach than we covered in this post alone. So for this case, I also strongly advise you to buy and read the book and feel free to leave your thoughts about it in the comment below.

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