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5 Kind Phrases That Can Inspire A Child

“Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you may stick with someone else for a lifetime.” – Rachel Wolchin

Adults, especially parents, have a huge impact on what kind of person a child will become. At a young age, a child will mimic a parent’s words and actions – in other words, their behavior.

Words have an extremely powerful influence on children. Early in children’s lives, they are guided mostly by behavior and emotions. However, as their cognitive and verbal skills rapidly develop, words begin to play a larger and larger role in their lives.

As adults, we can choose to have a positive influence on any child simply by using the right words. And a child may indeed need your positive words, whether they realize it or not.

It may be helpful to specify what “child” or “children” we’re speaking of. In this article, we focus on the psychological aspect during childhood development.

Child development is defined as “the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence.” In the later years, a person develops an increasing sense of autonomy.

WORDS AND THE CHILD BRAIN

Let’s take a look at a study conducted by Martin Teicher, MD, PhD, and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, administered a self-assessment to a group of young adults, ages 18 to 25. The assessment asked each young adult to rate their childhood exposure to peer and parental verbal abuse – and were then given a brain scan.

Here are the results of the study:

– Individuals who reported experiencing verbal abuse from peers during middle school years had an underdeveloped corpus callosum, a part of the brain responsible for sending signals (communications) between the brain’s left and right hemispheres.

– This group also had higher levels of anger, anxiety, depression, dissociation, hostility, and drug abuse than others in the study.

– Verbal abuse from peers during middle school years had the largest impact. This makes sense, as middle school age (11-14) are associated with rapid brain development.

Other studies have indicated that verbal abuse not only impedes psychological health, it also stunts brain development. This can lead to severe psychological problems, unfulfilled potential, poverty – and a number of other tragic outcomes.

The point: the words kids hear, especially words directed towards them, can significantly impact their lives.

Now the question is what to do about it.

We can begin by paying more attention to our thoughts and emotions, as they often create the words we speak. In a child’s presence, we may need to take a sensitive discussion elsewhere, or wait until a different time.

Finally, we can say things that promote a child’s well-being – an important behavior that segues into the topic of this article.

 

HERE ARE FIVE KIND PHRASES THAT CAN CHANGE A CHILD’S LIFE:

1. “KINDNESS IS THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE.”

In a world filled with its fair share of cynical and uncompassionate people, we need people who freely bestow kindness onto others. If you try, you can probably think of a time when someone else’s kind words made all the difference in your day; maybe even your life.

A personal story:

For this author, it was his high school psychology teacher, who would later become his mentor.

After three years of mediocre academic performance in high school, I focused the best I could to get good grades. After scoring a 98 percent on my teacher’s exam, he wrote: “Why didn’t you do this the last three years? You could be in the top 10 of your class! Great job!”

I still remember those words when I doubt myself.

2. “APPRECIATE THE LITTLE THINGS.”

Through young childhood, it’s unlikely that this will mean much – but say it anyways. In fact, say it until they day the child leaves home or your presence.

“Appreciate the little things.”

We, despite our best efforts, tend to accept too many things for granted. While the world is stricken with plenty of problems, it also possesses an astonishing amount of beauty. Many of us are fortunate in ways we don’t often contemplate.

Teach your child to appreciate the trees, animals, flowers, and sun in nature. Teach them about food, water and shelter – and how fortunate they are to have those things.

3. “TREAT EVERYONE WITH ACCEPTANCE AND RESPECT.”

Today, our lack of mutual acceptance and respect for people – and their differences – has led to tragedy after tragedy, including bloodshed and loss of life.

If we adults repeat these words and exhibit such behaviors, the end result will be a child who highly values acceptance and respect. They’ll be peacemakers and leaders; advocates for the dignities of all people.

4. “LISTEN BEFORE SPEAKING.”

The skill of active listening – fully concentrating, understanding, responding to, and remembering what is said – is a difficult one to acquire and master.

However, we can plant the seed of active listening and conversing by reminding the child to listen before talking. For instance, if you’re giving the child instructions and they interrupt (it happens often), remind them of this phrase.

With enough guidance, repeating this phrase with kindness and gentleness will teach children the importance of respectful communication.

5. “THINK GOOD THOUGHTS AND DO GOOD THINGS.”

This is a simple phrase with a powerful lesson.

The earlier and more frequently we adults emphasize the importance of positive thinking and good deeds, the likelier the child is to embrace and exhibit these traits.

We need positivity in this world. Let’s pass it on to our kids.

Sources:FIELDS, DOUGLAS R., PH.D. (2010, OCTOBER 30). STICKS AND STONES – HURTFUL WORDS DAMAGE THE BRAIN. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/THE-NEW-BRAIN/201010/STICKS-AND-STONES-HURTFUL-WORDS-DAMAGE-THE-BRAIN
TAYLOR, J., PH.D. (2014, AUGUST 5). THE POWER OF WORLDS TO TEACH COMPASSION TO YOUR CHILDREN. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/THE-POWER-PRIME/201408/THE-POWER-WORDS-TEACH-COMPASSION-YOUR-CHILDREN
WIKIPEDIA. (2017). CHILD DEVELOPMENT. RETRIEVED APRIL 7, 2017, FROM HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/CHILD_DEVELOPMENT
 
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Pursue Meaning Instead of Happiness

What would you rather have: a happy life or a meaningful life?

You can both be happy and lead a meaningful life, of course. But most of us, consciously or not, choose the pursuit of happiness over the pursuit of meaning. “Happy holidays,” we wish each other; “Happy New Year,” we say. If you’re like 45 percent of Americans, you are setting New Year’s resolutions with the aim of leading a happier life: One of the most popular, according to Nielsen, is to “enjoy life to the fullest.” In surveys, most people list happiness as their top value, and self-help books and life coaches make up part of a multibillion-dollar industry.

But should happiness really be the only goal that motivates us?

Research by the two of us shows that the happy life and the meaningful life differ — and that the surest path to true happiness lies in chasing not just happiness but also a meaningful life. Psychologists have started to look more closely at how seeking happiness affects people, and unearthed some unsettling trends. The pursuit of happiness, it turns out, negatively affects our well-being.

In one study by the behavioral scientists Jonathan Schooler, Dan Ariely, and George Loewenstein, participants listened to a piece of emotionally ambiguous music, Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” The researchers told some participants to try to feel as happy as possible while listening; the others were simply asked to listen. The people who tried to feel happy ended up unhappier after the experiment than those who listened without trying to boost their mood. In another recent study, Iris Mauss of Berkeley and her colleagues found that people who highly value happiness — as measured by their endorsement of statements like “Feeling happy is very important to me” — reported feeling lonelier on a daily basis, as assessed in diary entries over two weeks. By contrast, the pursuit of meaning leads to a deeper and more lasting form of well-being.

The distinction between happiness and meaningfulness has a long history in philosophy, which for thousands of years has recognized two forms of well-being — hedonia, or the ancient Greek word for what behavioral scientists often call happiness, and eudaimonia, or what they call meaningfulness. The happy life is defined by seeking pleasure and enjoyment, whereas the meaningful life is bigger. In a new book that will be published next month, one of us (Emily) reviewed hundreds of empirical papers from the growing body of research on meaningfulness — as well as the writings of great thinkers from Aristotle to Tolstoy to Camus — and found that the defining features of a meaningful life are connecting and contributing to something beyond the self, which could be your family, your work, nature, or God.

But because meaning involves investing in something bigger, the meaningful life is often characterized by stress, effort, and struggle. In a survey of over 2 million people in more than 500 jobs by the organization PayScale, those who reported finding the most meaning in their careers were clergy, teachers, and surgeons — difficult jobs that don’t always cultivate happiness in the moment, but that contribute to society and bring those doing them satisfaction.

When people say their lives are meaningful, it’s because they feel their lives have purpose, coherence, and worth.

Of course, you can have both happiness and meaningfulness. In one analysis of five data sets comprising nearly 3,000 people, Veronika Huta of the University of Ottawa found that 20 percent of respondents reported being happy and leading meaningful lives — while another 20 percent were low on both. Among those remaining, 33 percent were high on happiness and low on meaning and 26 percent were high on meaning and low on happiness.

In two studies tracking over 400 Americans and published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, one of us (Jennifer) and her colleagues studied the type of people who fell into the last two groups — high on happiness but low on meaningfulness, and high on meaning but low on happiness —and found important differences in how they led their lives. Those in the happy group tended to avoid difficult or taxing entanglements, described themselves as relatively self-oriented, and spent more time thinking about how they felt in the moment. In contrast, those high in meaning spent more time helping others, being with friends or taking care of children, and thinking about the past, present and future.

purpose_quote

Though different people have different wellsprings of meaning, meaningful lives share three features, according to a paper published this year in the Review of General Psychology. After conducting an extensive review of the literature, the psychologists Login George and Crystal Park of the University of Connecticut identified the three features as purpose — the degree to which you feel directed and motivated by valued life goals; comprehension — the ability to understand and make sense of your life experiences and weave them into a coherent whole; and mattering — the belief that your existence is significant and valued. When people say their lives are meaningful, in other words, it’s because they feel their lives have purpose, coherence, and worth.

But meaning isn’t something you either have or don’t have. It’s an approach to life — a mind-set. People can choose to pursue meaning as well as happiness. In a recent paper, Veronika Huta and Richard Ryan discovered that people behave very differently depending on which they emphasize, and that in turn affects their well-being. In one study, college students were asked to pursue either meaning or happiness over ten days by doing at least one thing each day to increase meaning or happiness, respectively. Some of the most popular activities reported by people in the meaning group included forgiving a friend, studying, and helping or cheering up another person. Those in the happiness group listed activities like sleeping in, playing games, and eating candy.

Although the students in the happiness group experienced more positive feelings and fewer negative ones immediately after the study, three months later their mood boost had faded. The students focused on meaning, meanwhile, did not feel as happy right after the experiment, which makes sense: meaningful pursuits, like helping a friend, require sacrifice and effort, and can even be painful in the moment. Yet three months later, the picture was different. The students who had pursued meaning said they felt more “enriched,” “inspired,” and “part of something greater than myself.” They also reported fewer negative moods. Over the long term, it seemed, pursuing meaning was more deeply satisfying than chasing happiness.

Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, would not have been surprised. “To the European it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’”

Our goal this coming year shouldn’t just be happiness. Our goal should be meaningfulness. Instead of picking projects, hobbies, and relationships based on how happy they will make us, let’s focus on those things that make our lives more significant and worthwhile. If happiness ensues, great. But if it doesn’t, we can still take comfort in knowing that our lives matter and are contributing to the world in some way.

By Emily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer Aaker

Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, to be published in January by Crown. Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

source: nymag.com


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Lao Tzu’s Four Rules for Living

How to Live an Inspired and Peaceful Life

Many centuries ago, Lao Tzu, spoke of the four cardinal virtues, teaching that when we practice them as a way of life, we come to know the truth of the universe. The ancient Chinese master said that living and practicing these teachings can open you to higher wisdom and greater happiness, as they realign you to the source and enable you to access all the powers that source energy has to offer.

“When you succeed in connecting your energy with the divine realm through high awareness and the practice of undiscriminating virtue, the transmission of the ultimate subtle truths will follow.”  Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu means ‘Old Master,’ and he was believed by some to be a God-realised being. The Four Cardinal Virtues are found in the Tao Te Ching, a collection of sayings expounding the principal Taoist teachings. It has 81 short poetic verses packed full of universal wisdom for politics, society, and personal life, and aims to support personal harmony through the right view and understanding of existence. The Tao (also known as the Way or the Dao) has baffled its readers for centuries with its cryptic and deliberate contradictions, yet it offers a profound contemplation to seekers, lending itself to varied interpretations and inner questioning.

lao-tzu
Lao Tzu means ‘Old Master,’
and he was believed by some to be a God-realised being.

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The Tao is both named and nameless. As nameless it is the origin of all things; as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery; ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations. And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.” ― Wayne W. Dyer, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

The Tao Te Ching is the basic text of Taoism, but it has also influenced Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism, and is among some of the most translated works in world literature. This powerful text of the Tao, road or way of life, reflects the force of the universe and even the universe itself. While many have tried to make sense of its mystery, one man immersed himself in this text, literally living its wisdom, and then distilled the essence of these ancient mystery teachings for a modern audience.

In 2006, the late Wayne Dyer was inspired to spend his entire 65th year reading, researching, and meditating on Lao Tzu’s messages, going into retreat to practice them and ultimately write down the insights he felt Lao Ttzu wanted us to know.  Dr Dyer researched ten well respected translations of the text and the result of that life-changing year was his best-selling book Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.

Affectionately known as the Father of Motivation, Dr Dyer says Lao Tzu’s four cardinal virtues represent the surest way to leave habits and excuses behind and reconnect to your original nature. “The more your life is harmonised with the four virtues, the less you’re controlled by the uncompromising ego.”

Dr Dyer says
Lao Tzu’s four cardinal virtues
represent the surest way
to leave habits and excuses behind.

The Tao encourages us to be in touch with our own selves, particularly our deepest selves, for when you know who you really are, that is when you discover eternal peace. Lao Tzu liked to compare different parts of nature to different virtues. He said, “The best people are like water, which benefits all things and does not compete with them. It stays in lowly places that others reject. This is why it is so similar to the Way (Dao).” Each part of nature can remind us of a quality we admire and should cultivate ourselves—the strength of the mountains, the resilience of trees, the cheerfulness of flowers.

We enter life with a seemingly clean slate, a spectacular pathway ahead of us with unlimited potentials and choices. To navigate our lives and get a handle on the challenges and gifts life will throw at us, it is useful to have some sort of compass so that we don’t end up on the rocks or lost at sea.

For many people this may be religion, morality, or the belief systems passed down by their family, and they may derive a sense of strength and direction through their strongly held inner compass sourced in this integrity. No matter what happens in life, they’ll always fall back on that maxim, whether it be, for example, to lead from the heart, or to be kind.

“To realise the constancy and steadiness in your life is to realise the deep nature of the universe. This realisation is not dependent on any transitory internal or external condition, rather it is an expression of one’s own immutable spiritual nature. The only way to attain the Universal Way is to maintain the integral virtues of the constancy, steadiness and simplicity in one’s daily life.” – Lao Tzu

The four cardinal virtues, or rules for living life, can provide a framework for a life filled with inner peace and purpose.

1. Reverence for all Life

This virtue manifests as having unconditional love and positive regard for all creatures in the universe, starting with ourselves, then this will naturally flow out to all others. This reverence is for all life, not just some forms. It is honouring all forms of life, and at its core has an innate spiritual understanding of how the universe truly works – that we are all sparks of the one fire. When we live with reverence for all life, we surrender our need to control and to dominate. We naturally come into heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for all of life. This first virtue is the key to diminishing the ego.

“Affirm this as often as you can, for when you see yourself in a loving way, you have nothing but love to extend outward. And the more you love others, the less you need old excuse patterns, particularly those relating to blame.” Wayne Dyer

2. Natural Sincerity

This virtue encompasses kindness and authenticity. To me, it has a feeling of compassion and an all-encompassing love for all beings. When we are sincere and act with integrity, we move towards peace and inner tranquility. Our conscience clear, we don’t have the inner niggles over our dishonest actions that can erode a peaceful mind. Much of these four pillars relate to karma, the law of cause and effect, and maintaining equilibrium and impeccability. This virtue is honesty, simplicity, and faithfulness, says Wayne Dyer. It is about being true to yourself and walking your talk.

According to Dyer, if you find this challenging, try affirming, “I no longer need to be insincere or dishonest. This is who I am, and this is how I feel.”

kindness_wisdom
Having unconditional love and positive regard
for all creatures in the universe.

 

3. Gentleness

Gentleness is a deeply powerful trait. Often interpreted as weakness, gentleness is sensitivity, respect, and reverence for all life. Perhaps this virtue can be summed up by the Dalai Lama who often says; “my religion is very simple, my religion is kindness.” In life, it is far more important to be kind than to be right, and to be kind rather than important. Gentleness is an umbrella for forgiveness, acceptance and love. It is much like the yogic term ahimsa, or non-violence. When we give up being right and being superior, we start accepting ourselves and others, and so much conflict in our lives drops away.

“Gentleness generally implies that you no longer have a strong ego-inspired desire to dominate or control others, which allows you to move into a rhythm with the universe. You cooperate with it, much like a surfer who rides with the waves instead of trying to overpower them. Gentleness means accepting life and people as they are, rather than insisting that they be as you are. As you practice living this way, blame disappears and you enjoy a peaceful world.” – Wayne Dyer

4. Supportiveness

When we are supportive of ourselves, with kind words, loving actions and self-care, we are naturally supportive of others. This virtue is the basic tenet of humanity. We are naturally social beings and, at our core, we want to be with others and to help others. Many experiments show how humans are motivated by connection and will move towards this rather than other things. When we give to others, share and support others, we become happy.  Our lives become meaningful and our hearts full. Supportiveness is about service. Open hearted service for the sake of helping others and benefiting others, with no thought to our own gain. Supportiveness is also about holding space for another, listening to another, and being there for others. It is radical loving kindness in action. This quote by the poet, Hafiz, sums it up: “Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth ‘you owe me.’”

“The greatest joy comes from giving and serving, so replace your habit of focusing exclusively on yourself and what’s in it for you. When you make the shift to supporting others in your life, without expecting anything in return, you’ll think less about what you want and find comfort and joy in the act of giving and serving.” Wayne Dyer

Let these four virtues fragrance your life, and notice the grace and ease that will come your way. For each one of these virtues brings in a way of being that is light, graceful and flowing and will help you shed destructive, self defeating patterns that sabotage your inner peace and happiness.

“The four cardinal virtues are a road map to the simple truth of the universe. To revere all of life, to live with natural sincerity, to practice gentleness, and to be in service to others is to replicate the energy field from which you originated.”  Dr Wayne Dyer

 

By UPLIFT on Saturday January 7th, 2017
 


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9 Quotes From Buddha That Might Resonate With Your Soul

March 19, 2016 by Joe Martino

The teachings of many of history’s religious and philosophical figures are timeless, but are often mistakenly taken at face value. It’s easy to slap a quote on an image or a t-shirt and pass it around, but it takes deliberate thought to actually internalize the true meaning behind the words, and often these quick philosophical ‘bytes’ are passed over too quickly for this to happen.

It’s easy for us in this day and age to be “spiritual” by identity and pass it off well without ever truly living spiritually — without  recognizing and benefitting from what we can learn from having a spiritual relationship with ourselves and this world. Because of that, it’s common to come across a great deal of logical spiritualists and fake ‘new-agey’ type personalities that don’t truly live the core of what these great teachers have shared.

So I wanted to share my own perspective on the true meaning behind some of these quotes.

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
To be in good health allows us to experience this world to its fullest, the way the body, mind, and soul were meant to experience it. It’s common to view wealth in a monetary sense, but having a state of peace within oneself is a much more powerful and useful tool than simple material wealth. Trusting in oneself and one’s path is an important part of our relationship with the self.

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
We create our own outcomes with many things. There are many interesting strands of research these days showing us how certain long-term emotions and traumas can have a huge impact on disease. Obviously this may not apply to the health of a newborn, but this wisdom is intended, it seems to me, to remind us to look at our long-term thoughts and actions in our lives and consider how they may be affecting our physical well-being.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
The moment is all we have. We can learn from our past and project goals onto our “future moment,” but to spend all our time in either is to miss out on what’s happening in front of us. This refers to the times we walk through the park thinking about what’s coming next or what happened before, without seeing or really experiencing the amazing beauty and nature around us in that moment.

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
You can try to help someone else and you can wait forever for someone to come save you, but until a person decides to make a change themselves and commits to it, there’s little that can be done. Change must be desired before it can be effected. Throw both feet in and go for it. Otherwise you’re always going to spin your tires.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
Everyone has their own perception of a situation or what might have been said. This does not mean that perception is universally true; rather, it is simply true for them in their current state. Don’t take other people’s perceptions of certain situations as ultimate truth, and in the same way, don’t take to heart what they think or believe about you. With yourself, understand that you too have your own perceptions, and allow yourself to be open to what others think and feel just as you would hope others would do for you.

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
Like many things which continue to reveal themselves in our world, the truth cannot be hidden forever. It will eventually come out. This is one of the most exciting parts about what I do here with CE. 🙂

“It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.”
Be humble and be open to seeing your own “faults” in the same way you are open to seeing them in others. It takes true strength, honesty, and love to be open to your own flaws and to tackle the challenge of moving beyond them.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Our health is so crucial to living well, and contributes to everything we do in this experience we call life. It’s interesting to view the sheer disconnect in our society between our emotions, spirituality, and overall health. The more disconnected we are, the more unhealthy we are. The greater connection we gain to ourselves and our health, the more in balance all other areas of our lives become.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
What you think has a big impact on your overall state of being. This has been proven time and time again and I believe is becoming a pretty mainstream idea these days.


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10 Confucius Quotes That Can Change Your Life

March 18, 2015 

1. “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”

Remember to follow the “Golden Rule!”

2. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

Ignorance is the greatest cause of suffering. Enlightenment is our liberation.

3. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Another saying I love: 1000 repetitions answers all questions.

4. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

You really have to open your mind to see the beauty in the world. See the world through clear eyes.

confucius-beauty

5. “The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.”

Another quote is “The object of the superior man is truth.”

6. “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

This is a great one. It’s important to be all in, all there, wherever you are.

7. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”

We all will fail at some point or another. But true failure is only when we fail to get up.

8. “He who learns but does not think, is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

There’s more to being well educated than reading books. Remember to think critically.

9. “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”

And remember, your mind is one of your most important tools.

10. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

This is one I could benefit from applying more to my own life. My life is good, all things considered. Yet I still feel some anxiety about my life and choices. Maybe that’s normal, but Confucius has a good point. If there’s nothing wrong in your heart, let go of your worry.


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33 Life Changing Lessons To Learn From Lao Tzu

Jul 16, 2015    Luminita D. Saviuc

“The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things.” ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Not sure if you know this, but Lao Tzu is the author of my favorite book of all time – Tao Te Ching. I am in love with this book. I read it more than 100 times and I know that I’ll continue to read it a lot more in the future. And you know why? Because every time I read it I discover something new. There is so much power, so much wisdom and so much magic in this book and its words really resonate with me. My soul loves it and I do too 🙂 . Anyway, here are 33 life changing lesson to learn from this wise man named Lao Tzu.

1. The world is won by those who let it go.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” ~ Lao Tzu

“Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.” ~ Lao Tzu

“He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures.” ~ Lao Tzu

2. When you let go of who you are, you become who you might be.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~ Lao Tzu

3. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.

“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.” ~ Lao Tzu

4. Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” ~ Lao Tzu

5. If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” ~ Lao Tzu

6. He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far.

“He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far.” ~ Lao Tzu

7. Trying to shine you dim your own light.

“He who tries to shine dims his own light.” ~ Lao Tzu

8. He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.

“He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.” ~ Lao Tzu

9. He who has power over others can’t empower himself.

“He who has power over others can’t empower himself.” ~ Lao Tzu

10. Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.

“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.” ~ Lao Tzu

11. At the center of your being you have the answer to all life’s questions.

“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ~ Lao Tzu

12. The soft overcomes the hard. The slow overcomes the fast.

“The soft overcomes the hard. The slow overcomes the fast.” ~ Lao Tzu

“In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.” ~ Lao Tzu

13. Allow things to flow naturally.

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?” ~ Lao Tzu

14. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish.

“If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must first allow it to be given. This is called the subtle perception of the way things are.” ~ Lao Tzu

15. New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ~ Lao Tzu

16. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu

who you are

17. Humility is power.

“All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.” ~ Lao Tzu

18. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm.

“The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.” ~ Lao Tzu

19. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”

“The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’” ~ Lao Tzu

20. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.

“If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.” ~ Lao Tzu

21. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

“If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” ~ Lao Tzu

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu

22. The further one goes the less one know.

“Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window one can see the way of heaven. The further one goes the less one knows.” ~ Lao Tzu

23. Silence is a source of great strength.

“Silence is a source of great strength.” ~ Lao Tzu

24. Be like the forces of nature.

“Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.” ~ Lao Tzu

25. Non-being is the greatest joy.

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.” ~ Lao Tzu

26. By doing nothing you leave nothing undone.

“When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” ~ Lao Tzu

27. This is the great secret.

“What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.” ~ Lao Tzu

28. The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.

“The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.” ~ Lao Tzu

29. Loving someone deeply gives you courage.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu

30. Kindness in giving creates love.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu

31. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu

32. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” ~ Lao Tzu

33. Be good to all.

“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.” ~ Lao Tzu


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Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World

by HENRIK EDBERG

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.

Some of my favourite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.

1. Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.

And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.

2. You are in control.

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you. There may be a “normal” or a common way to react to different things. But that’s mostly just all it is.

You can choose your own thoughts, reactions and emotions to pretty much everything. You don’t have to freak out, overreact of even react in a negative way. Perhaps not every time or instantly. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction just goes off. Or an old thought habit kicks in.

And as you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow stronger and stronger over time. Doing this makes life a whole lot easier and more pleasurable.

3. Forgive and let it go.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you can incorporate such a thought habit more and more into your life then you can react in a way that is more useful to you and others.

You realize that forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. And spending your time in some negative memory won’t help you after you have learned the lessons you can learn from that experience. You’ll probably just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action in this present moment.

If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds. And then you can focus totally on, for instance, the next point.

4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance.

And so you may resort to preaching, as Gandhi says. Or reading and studying endlessly. And feeling like you are moving forward. But getting little or no practical results in real life.

So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.

You can check out a few effective tips to overcome this problem in How to Take More Action: 9 Powerful Tips. Or you can move on to the next point for more on the best tip for taking more action that I have found so far.

5. Take care of this moment.

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.

Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.

Have a look at 8 Ways to Return to the Present Moment for tips on how quickly step into the now. And remember that reconnecting with and staying in the now is a mental habit – a sort of muscle – that you grow. Over time it becomes more powerful and makes it easier to slip into the present moment.

mahatma_gandhi_quote

6. Everyone is human.

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

When you start to make myths out of people – even though they may have produced extraordinary results – you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You can start to feel like you could never achieve similar things that they did because they are so very different. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being no matter who they are.

And I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you.

It’s also important to remember this to avoid falling into the pretty useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made. And instead be able to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistake. And then try again.

7. Persist.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you like you have always been will grow weaker.

Find what you really like to do. Then you’ll find the inner motivation to keep going, going and going. You can also find a lot of useful tips on how keep your motivation up in How to Get Out of a Motivational Slump and 25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.

One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.

Success or victory will seldom come as quickly as you would have liked it to. I think one of the reasons people don’t get what they want is simply because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days. You can read more about this in One Big Mistake a Whole Lot of People Make.

Finally, one useful tip to keep your persistence going is to listen to Gandhi’s third quote in this article and keep a sense of humor. It can lighten things up at the toughest of times.

8. See the good in people and help them.

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

There is pretty much always something good in people. And things that may not be so good. But you can choose what things to focus on. And if you want improvement then focusing on the good in people is a useful choice. It also makes life easier for you as your world and relationships become more pleasant and positive.

And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give. And the people you help may feel more inclined to help other people. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger.

By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger. A few articles that may provide you with useful advice in that department are Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation? and Dale Carnegie’s Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Social Skills. Or you can just move on to the next tip.

9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”

I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner and communicate in an authentic way. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerful and good about yourself.

When words and thoughts are aligned then that shows through in your communication. Because now you have your voice tonality and body language – some say they are over 90 percent of communication – in alignment with your words.

With these channels in alignment people tend to really listen to what you’re saying. You are communicating without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness.

Also, if your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do. And other people’s belief in you too.

10. Continue to grow and evolve.

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

You can pretty much always improve your skills, habits or re-evaluate your evaluations. You can gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.

Sure, you may look inconsistent or like you don’t know what you are doing from time to time. You may have trouble to act congruently or to communicate authentically. But if you don’t then you will, as Gandhi says, drive yourself into a false position. A place where you try to uphold or cling to your old views to appear consistent while you realise within that something is wrong. It’s not a fun place to be. To choose to grow and evolve is a happier and more useful path to take.