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Self-discipline is a key to many doors

Excerpt from: The strength in tolerance and kindness
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Self-discipline is a key to many doors. Not least of which is one that leads to a better, stronger, and healthier version of yourself.

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Invest in bettering yourself and the future you.

Excerpt from: Today is day one.

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Invest in bettering yourself and the future you. Let your future self look back on the changes you make today and be thankful you made them.

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Productive boredom

Bored?

Think about a problem in the world and imagine ways to solve it.

That should keep you busy.

Don’t feel qualified?

Remember, conventional thinking doesn’t change the world, crazy ideas do.

Don’t waste your time telling the world that you’re bored. The world doesn’t care.

But if you tell the world the of the problems you’re trying to solve, you may just pique the interest of others who not only care enough about the problems to accept the invitation to help you, they might have crazy enough ideas to do it.

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Life is hard. And it isn’t fair

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Life is hard. And it isn’t fair. And it really hurts like hell sometimes. But if you focus on what is within your power to change for the better, you can. And you will.

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True Beauty

We live in a culture where it’s far easier to gain admiration for looking good than it is for doing good.

Just look at any magazine stand and it’s easy to see that society reflects our worship of good looks by putting more emphasis on those who are beautiful than on those who are making a real contribution.

Isn’t it time we pay attention less to genetic lottery winners with little more ambition than to gain attention for being attractive and pay more attention to the truly beautiful people going out of their way to add real value to people’s lives?

Because people are rarely as beautiful as when they act selflessly and perform an act of kindness for no other reason than to make a positive difference.

True beauty has far more to do with what kind of value a person adds to the people and places they encounter in life than it does with being physically attractive.

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More to life

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau

There’s more to life than this.

Most people miss it.

It has nothing to do with one’s age, one’s career, or the status of one’s bank account.

It has nothing to do with one’s extracurricular activities, how extensively one has traveled, or how much one has accomplished in life.

It has to do with where we focus our attention. It has to do with our level of awareness and the myriad of moments of we let pass us by simply because we don’t tune in.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” — Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)

We pay attention to the clock. We pay attention to the TV. We pay attention to our phones.

All the while time passes.

Few people ever actively take the time to just stop. To listen. To feel. To breathe. To use the full extent of their senses. And be aware of and fully immersed in the experience of life.

Because it’s a beautiful thing. And powerful.

“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” — Amit Ray

Just taking a moment to connect with the world around you in an intimate way is enough to help provide new insights, a new perspective, and to actively experience the interconnectedness of all things.

It’s enough to realize that we are all playing background characters in each other’s lives — and if we wish, we can not only choose to play a larger role in those lives, we can choose what kind of impact we have.

That we can have a positive impact on someone’s day. That we can make a difference.

That there’s more to life than what most choose to see.

Remind yourself every now and then to take a moment — it doesn’t take long — to just stop and truly immerse yourself in life experience. Breathe slowly. Use all of your senses. And try to see the things that have escaped you because you weren’t paying attention.

Because there’s more to life — and it can be amazing to experience — but it isn’t coming to a TV, phone or computer screen near you.

But you’ll miss it if you’re not paying attention and fully immersed in it.

So stop. Listen. Feel. Breathe.

And be mindful.

“To go beyond ordinary thought is to truly understand. If you just stay with your usual understanding of things, you will be like the frog that only swims in his small pond. Staying just within your little territory, you will never know anything about the larger world in which you live. You have to jump into the ocean. Then you can understand your small world for what it is.” — Dainin Katagiri (You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight)

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Overcoming overwhelmed

Whenever you feel overwhelmed and doubt your strength, resolve, or ability to survive a hardship or overcome a challenge in life, take a moment to remember how many challenges you’ve already faced on your journey and how far you’ve come.

Remember that stress is caused by trying to have power over things that are beyond your control.

Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t do.

And breathe.

Every obstacle we encounter and learn from helps provide us with the knowledge & strength necessary to handle whatever comes next.

In the same way we don’t build muscles if we don’t use them, we don’t develop the strength to overcome obstacles in our comfort zone.

As such, encountering and working through problems is an essential part of life.

It’s not that we should wish to eliminate all challenges from our lives, but instead focus on developing the strength, discipline, and attitude necessary to effectively deal with each & every one that we encounter.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” — Carlos Castaneda

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Taking things for granted

From your relationships with people to the environment to modern day conveniences, the things that are most often taken for granted in the world require effort and energy to simply maintain them, let alone improve them.

Take the time to think about what it would be like if the things you appreciate most in the world became scarce or went missing.

Take the time to think about what you might be taking for granted.

And then take the time to express your gratitude for these things.

Not only will it give you a greater appreciation for the things you take for granted, it’ll remind you that there are people and places in the world where those things no longer exist or never did.

And as a result, not only increase your appreciation for what you have, increase your desire to maintain or improve upon it.

There’s a saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

Be sure you take inventory.

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The process of becoming who we are

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There are some memes making their way across social networks these days claiming that, “People don’t change.”

Obviously, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every experience we have provides us with information that either reaffirms something we already believe, alters a belief we already have, or creates a completely new one.

Whenever a person’s beliefs change or they acquire new ones, the person changes.

If you’ve ever thought “Well, I’m not going to do that again!” or “Well, that didn’t work. I guess I’ll try it a different way next time”, it’s proof that you’ve grown.

And growth is change.

If you want to expedite the process of personal growth, then give yourself and others the freedom to change.

Be a person who believes in the possibility of positive change because it is often the belief in something that creates the possibility.

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Life happens.

Life happens.

Sometimes it’s good.
Sometimes it’s bad.

And sometimes it dumps a pile of shit in your path.

What matters is not whether it’s fair (it often isn’t).
What matters is how one chooses to deal with it.

We can spend time complaining.
We can spend time pointing the finger.
We can spend time blaming others for the situations we find ourselves in.
And we can learn to identify as a victim of the unfairness of life.

Or we can take personal responsibility for our lives and use our ability to seek out more favorable options (including how to cope) and move on.

Every single person on the planet is forced to deal with hardship and misfortune at one time or another.

Sometimes it’s because we make bad decisions.
Sometimes it’s because we tolerate things far longer than we should.
Sometimes it’s because we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And sometimes we are simply thrust into things we don’t want to be a part of.

But that’s life.
It happens to everyone at one time or another.

You don’t improve your life by complaining about the one you have.
You don’t improve your life by refusing to take personal responsibility for it.

You improve your life by taking steps to change it for the better.

It can be a lot of work — and it may require some sacrifices — but taking personal responsibility for one’s life and taking steps to change it is far more effective than staying where one is, doing nothing, and complaining about the view.

The fact is, our lives are a direct reflection of our priorities.

Want to be healthier? Focus on your health.
Want to be smarter? Focus on your education.
Want to be a better person? Focus on self-improvement.
Want to be more resilient? Challenge yourself.
Want to get over your fears? Face them.

If we don’t like where we are in life, we can change that. But complaining about it won’t do it. And blaming others won’t do it either.

Want a better life? Work for it.

Change your priorities and you change your life.

No one else is going to do it for you.

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

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