Our habits are deeply rooted within us and they are difficult to break, but there are ways to acquire new and better habits.
Everyone who has ever had a goal (e.g. completing an amateur bike race) quickly realises that only a general desire to accomplish something is not enough. Carrying out such a project, not least if you start as an untrained couch potato, requires willpower, stamina to overcome adversity and perseverance to continue exercising despite aching muscles and an enticing TV sofa.
Perhaps the greatest threat to our creativity is our fragmented time. In today’s working life, it is hard to have one hour of undisturbed time that can be devoted to exactly what you want.
Think about where you were when you last got a good idea or solved a problem. Maybe you were taking a shower, or walking in the forest, or picking shells on the beach. But most likely you were not at work.
True wisdom is the key to living a full life for the benefit of oneself and others.
Recently in my Wednesday night Buddhist study group, we had a vivid discussion about the concept of wisdom. We were eight persons of different ages and backgrounds around the tea table, each with our own personal views on what wisdom is. But even though we had slightly different perceptions and came up with a variety of definitions, it was clear that there is a common core that we could all agree on. Inspired by our discussion, I will share what wisdom is to me, and why it is so important.
Although gratitude promotes good luck, there are many obstacles in the way.
I have in a previous blog post written about gratitude as one of 12 scientifically proven strategies to increase our happiness. Gratitude for what we have, gives rise to empathy and makes us happier, more spiritual, more forgiving, less materialistic and less prone to anxiety, envy, depression, anger and bitterness.
We all strive to be happy, but still, it is extremely few who can really say that they are. But what are the obstacles? I think one of the most important is that we do not succeed in being true to ourselves in our life choices.
A happy person is a person who is fully integrated, i.e. living a life where all outer and inner circumstances are in harmony with each other. This is certainly not easy. It requires that after careful reflection you are aware of your values and succeed in living them. But it also requires that you “clean up” your life so that the external factors – home, work, partner, friends – do not go against what is of fundamental importance to you. Continue reading “Live a better life by being true to yourself”
Motivation is the driving force behind all our actions, from going up when the alarm clock rings in the morning to climbing Mount Everest.
Motivation is our desire to do things or to achieve results. Motivation is what makes us act, whether it is to eat a sandwich to still the hunger or to read the morning paper to know what is happening in the world. Motivation is the deciding factor in achieving your goals – and research shows that we can influence both our motivation and our self-control.
Have you ever been absorbed so completely by an activity that you ended up in a positive state where you completely lost the sense of time? Then you’ve probably been in “flow”. This state of total presence is accessible to everyone.
One of the most powerful state of minds we can experience is when we work on the peak of our abilities and everything works. Everything just flows in a state as its foremost explorer, the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi (pronounced: Mihaj Tsjiksentmihaji), has described as “getting into flow”.
Awareness that our volitional actions (karma) always have effects, for better or worse, gives us keys to living a happier life.
Few words have probably been so misinterpreted as the Buddhist concept of karma. One often thinks of fate – something that is predetermined and which we cannot do anything about. When someone suffers from an adversity in life, we can hear that “this was his karma”. If we are rich or poor, healthy or sick then this could be a result of our karma. Nothing could be more wrong. Karma (Sanskrit) simply means action and actions, as we all know, have consequences.
Ideas from two intellectual and spiritual giants could serve as a daily inspiration almost 2,500 years later.
One of the many joys of working in an international environment is the opportunities for discussions with colleagues and friends from all over the world on diverse issues as culture, history, food, politics, philosophy or just the best way of spending a day in a city other than your own.
I especially treasure the discussions with Greek friends, which after a while often tend to gravitate to how profoundly the thinking of ancient Greek philosophers has influenced our modern views. As a practicing Buddhist, I find it intriguing to see the parallels between the Hellenistic and Buddhist thinking, and how the great philosophies of the “axial age” (the centuries around 500 BCE) still are living and guiding people’s thinking across the globe.
With the brain in autopilot mode, we can perform many everyday tasks without any conscious effort. But as for anything else in the world, we pay a price for this ability to filter out the impulses that reach us.
With the autopilot turned on and the filters at the max mode, we simultaneously deprive ourselves from many experiences that both could enrich our daily lives and increase our creativity. Instead, this void is filled up by an endless monkey noise of thoughts that control us as much as we control them. Sometimes this may be good for creativity, but as often it is unwelcome thoughts focussing on problems and negative things.