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Posts Tagged ‘self-actualization’

Being angry and upset is expected and almost justified given the difficult economy and global crises we are living today. Despite my sympathy, we need to make a call to justice and argue that rather than repressing or evading from these powerful emotions we must fully embracing them. Such action will allow us to first learn the truth around us and second, to channel that initially disturbing energy into a passionate, tenacious and contagious devotion we can use to mitigate the world crises.

With minor adjustments to the believes capitalizing on our anger and frustration, we can avoid the risk of falling into the tramps of apathy, depression, cynicism or political radicalism. Amazingly enough we can make the energy of our indignation fuel our passion, advocacy and research for solutions to the economy, human right abuses or the Amazon deforestation. We can transform our fantasies of beating up unscrupulous bank or corporate leaders who destroy people and planet for profit, for achieving strategies to neutralize their negative impact, and make them restore the wellbeing of communities and the environment. We can find life-savers to mega-corporate layoffs working hard with communities, businesses  and entrepreneurs to create new enterprises and jobs.

In conclusion we can take the low road of disempowerment paved by manipulation, fear, frustration and ultimately apathy; or the high road of empowerment leading to solution generation and transformation as we take the opportunity to find our passion, courage, and vision of what is possible. No matter how intimidating a wall life may have become, there is only one option, climbing it!

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Before you try to look for happiness as everyone else does outside of yourself, stop and look inside first. The things we so hard strive to obtain in our relentless search for happiness, a new car, new home, new romantic partner, even a new job, are nothing but external objects which by themselves will not materialize our happiness. Before reaching out for those external targets you need to make sense of your internal life. As the old adage puts it, “Know Thyself”.  This is the first requirement for happiness as it ensures you will find your calling in life and those activities, environments and people who will truly satisfy you and stimulate you.

The other fundamental requirement to achieve happiness is to overcome the excessive focus and concern about yourself, so that you can devote your time, work and effort to a cause beyond you and your immediate comfort; so that you can devote yourself to others. This commitment will develop your sense of compassion, remove the limitations of your ego and subsequently, make you realize you are not a separate being or entity with the world but an extension and therefore, a component of the world. It will be revealed you are a part that can function by itself but that eventually discovers being a part of something else larger, which in turn is part of a larger entity, and so on for ever.

By the way, the realization that we are connected to everyone and everything, applied to the dimension of the planet is the prerequisite to realistically attaining a permanent sustainable future on Earth. When we hurt a part of our bodies we immediately take care of it; we heal a wound or get medical assistance. Why? Because we believe and deeply feel the hurt area of our bodies is part of our being. In the same way, we protect and care for our loved ones, our possessions and anything else we consider ours.

At a subconscious level we feel everything that is ours is part or at least an extension of our beings. The day we can extend that same perception and emotion of being to the rest of the planet, we will have elevated human consciousness to the status of sustainability.  The perception of reality and existence on Earth that will emerge from such consciousness will be equally sustainable.  The current study of this mindset is called deep ecology.

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A living planet… priceless

We strive so hard and so long to create our safety net, our comfort zone, competing with society, getting an education, climbing the corporate ladder, and chasing the quintessential element called money. We work and buy our way to a model of security, success and self-realization that is actually programmed into our heads by the material-based culture that keep us fundamentally disconnected from the ultimate reality, Nature.

Besides our material needs which are never truly satisfied, we dedicate so much to satisfying our equally starving egos. We make our petty little personal life dramas seem so important. And how about our distractions, most of which have become the escape out from the increasingly overwhelming reality around us, or the evasion from the lack of fulfillment we silently acknowledge inside.

The fact is that all effort, struggle and achievement even, do in most cases nothing for the absolute bottom line, life. And I do not mean just your life but everybody else’s and everything else’s. I am referring to the totality of life, possibly the most precious phenomenon in the universe.

In this present day society most of us are confused, unsatisfied and continue to endanger ourselves and the very planet we inhabit just because our priorities are not set right. As simple as it may sound, making LIFE (its preservation, restoration, and enhancement) the number one priority will I believe, set our priorities right and lead us into the sustainable paradigm where we are destined to be in harmony with our life-sustaining system, Nature.

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Most of us have been educated in a primarily competitive environment emphasizing criticism of the areas where we would score low. Society propagates this same dynamic from the classroom into the cultural, social and working spaces which will ultimately nourish us intellectually, emotionally and even physically providing the finances to obtain the food, a roof over our head and other life necessities.

We are led to believe we have imperfections or deficiencies in our learning, our school and job performance. In turn many of us tend to internalize this judgment and believe that there is actually something wrong with us, our intelligence, even our character, because we are not scoring as high as other peers. Our school, society, political and economic system reinforce the perception of us having flaws that it need to be corrected. Many people experience a degradation of their self-esteem and low sense of worth that can dangerously result in depression and apathy while interfering with the individual’s personal and professional development.

But some of us have had the strength to overcome that downward spiral of judgment and low self esteem, and decide to correct our academic and professional ‘weaknesses’. We then have dedicated hard work as well as valuable financial and time resources into fixing such imperfections. Unfortunately research shows however that billions of dollars invested annually by companies to improve employee performance primarily through training is mostly a waste.

People are born with diverse talents and preferences. Our brains are individually wired to excel in certain disciplines most of which interestingly enough we dismiss because they bring us joy and pleasure, something that our traditional schooling and culture often sees as indulgence and a distraction from our duties. While most of us possess great aptitudes we are also mediocre and even poor at certain roles and activities.

But the mechanistic traditional educational and societal credo pushes its authoritative ‘one size fits all’ developmental approach. Such mandate based on the old and worshiped assembly plant model forces us into a sterile, uniform and controlled environment which is regrettably as fragile as the single-crop agriculture yielding most of our food today.  As the system ignore  that like our food we are unique diverse fertile living systems, we students and workers  feel inadequate by failing to meet the standardized system performance metrics.

It is then imperative we realize our living complex nature provides most of us with the gift of unique intelligences, abilities, and conditions that drive our individual learning, expression and performance. However this scientifically proven reality is except for a few exceptions, a dangerous revolutionary idea in school and society, and subsequently something to resist.

My advice then is to teach and inspire our students and workers to consider their so called mistakes and low scores as learning opportunities and indicators to find their calling in life, but at the same time, to teach them to defy criticism, judgment and low self esteem for not meeting the scores expected by school or society.

Let us consider a student who is inspired by and talented with languages but has scores too low to even meet the requirements needed for high school graduation, without which he will not be able to start his degree and career in Foreign Language Studies. He will have to correct this situation and raise his grade just enough to pass the math classes so that he can graduate. Should he feel like a failure because his math skills are below average or worse than his peers? No, because math is irrelevant to what he should be pursuing, his passion, talent and career goal, in this case, foreign languages. His low score should not transcend the realm of a few prejudiced minds and therefore remain inconsequential.

Let’s help our students and workers take a peep at the boundless world of possibilities that emerges when “I” no longer care about such destructive and judgmental criticism toward “my persona”, either from “myself” or from the outside. I soon realize I tend to forget about my weaknesses giving myself the chance to focus on my strengths which I am pleasantly surprised to discover and rediscover.

As I progress working on my strengths, I suddenly realize I am feeling better about myself, with myself, needing less to be approved by others. My sense of self-worth starts to generate from the inside as opposed to the outside as it used to be. As my self-worth raises, my self-confidence grows, and with it the perception of my potential.

The cultivation of my strengths is destined to create a complex system loop of learning and interactions which translates into emerging growth in me, my sphere of influence and eventually the environment beyond. A self-reinforcing feedback loop which ultimately allows me to shift my focus from my ego filled with self-limiting believes, petty worries and discontents, to an exciting opportunity filled world right in front of me.

My new focus becomes how I can indulge cultivating my talents and passions that will in turn foster my unique self-realization and by default, my greatest contribution to humankind and the environment? Once we make such shift the consequences of our actions and interactions multiply in a feedback loop fashion, i.e., exponentially.

I strongly believe this realization is the key to make the universal impact that some of us have for so long and so desperately been seeking. An exponential impact generated by countless individual self realizations generating an equal amount of feedback loops which can propagate around the world with same speed as bacterial growth or a pandemic but with a constructive transformative effect.

Such realization as it enables self-actualization, can play a major role in raising human awareness and in our potential to assure a sustainable future.  Many of us have long searched for the magic formula to timely reach the critical mass of human awareness that will allow us to tip the balance of our fate.  I am convinced the answer starts with finding a way to make this self-realization viral.

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