Your Word is your Bond

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Do you think before you make a promise to someone? What if you can’t deliver on your word? Does it really matter? The world isn’t going to come to an end, is it? Well, actually no, but have you considered . . .

Many people are pretty casual about making promises. As a result, promises are frequently made at the drop of a hat with no real intention of keeping them. “Let’s do lunch,” “I’ll call you later,” and “I’ll be there in five minutes” are all examples of throwaway promises that are frequently made but seldom kept. However, this casual attitude can have real consequences.Think about it — when someone else breaks a promise to you, or gets caught in a lie, doesn’t that make you feel violated or cheated?  You can’t help wondering whether you were wrong to ever trust that person.

There was a time when keeping your word held special significance. We took great pride in being of good character. Personal integrity was both expected and valued. That was a time when everyone knew each other’s family, and you wouldn’t do anything that would cast a shadow on your family’s good name. It was a time when integrity was instilled in children at a very early age and was viewed as instrumental in achieving success. The truth is, our world may have changed, but the importance of integrity has not. While we may not know everyone in our own town, the world is still smaller than you think. Create some bad news and you’ll learn this for yourself.

Every time you give your word, you’re putting your honor on the line. You’re implying that others can place their trust in you because you value integrity and would never let them down. It goes without saying that if you don’t live up to your word, you may end up tarnishing your credibility, damaging your relationships, and defaming your reputation. Most importantly, you’ll be letting yourself down.

But . . . when you operate with complete integrity, what you say will be taken at face value, your intentions will be assumed honorable, and your handshake will be as good as a contract. Most importantly, you can take great pride in the standards that you’ve set for yourself and sleep well at night knowing that your conscience is clear. As for others . . . just when they think they’re fooling the world, they’ll realize that they’re only fooling themselves. A promise is a promise after all.

What do you think? Are people too casual about making promises?

 

The tragedy of success.

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WHEN SUCCESS KILLS SUBSTANCE

No matter what goals or aspirations you might have, there is one thing certain: There is a price you must pay to get what you want in life. In fact, there is no sidestepping the fact that any type of success demands something from you. It’s simply the way life works. As it is often said: you will not gain something for nothing.

As you make progress along your journey towards your desired outcomes, your pursuits will demand that you make difficult choices about what you will do and about what you won’t do. The goals and objectives you have in mind will not magically manifest in your life. You will need to work hard and potentially make some drastic sacrifices along the way.

I must say that anything you want in your life is essentially unattainable. It’s unattainable if you do not give something up in order to get something back. Giving something up could come in the form of your time, energy, money, relationship or worst, your personal being. You might need to sacrifice one of these things, or maybe a combination of these things in order to get what you want. Considerably, one of the biggest and most profound sacrifices you might undoubtedly need to make along that journey is changing who you are — for whom your “goal” needs you to become. Inarguably, many become blinded by the deceiving notion that they need to transform themselves into “ferocious beasts” in order to scare, devour and topple any competition while being unaware that they are slowly sliding down to a point of losing grip on their substance — the core value defining their humanity.

Having said that, I have one challenge for all of us: Don’t let slip the things you have that are real and substantive in the pursuit of success, most importantly so, in the pursuit of the ephemeral, the prospective, or the offhandedly promised.

This is not to say you should not be willing to set it all aside and go after something bigger or something better. But make sure you do it intelligently, and be aware of what you’re giving up, or might be giving up, when you do so, so you can make the best and most informed decision about which path you must  chose to take.

 

 

What I have for myself today & this Christmas

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With the holidays approaching and the gift-giving season in full swing, why not give something that has more meaning than anything material.

This is not an invitation to stop all forms of material gifts. Do what you feel is right for you, buy presents, but give the act your full and best attention.

We do say it’s the thought behind the gift that counts.

If we look deeper into the statement above, the thought focused attention on something we want to get for someone. Then we expend the money and energy to buy it.

This is often the case during Christmas season – we celebrate the occasion with gifts to others and ourselves, yes ourselves also included.

We want to have or experience various things. But we don’t always get what we want. There are things we can’t afford. And there might be practical considerations (not enough time, and too many responsibilities) that stop us from going after what we desire.

The limitations of time, money, and responsibility can lead to feeling like we’re missing out; we can’t be happy or complete without getting what we want.

With the yuletide season coming up, as today is also my birthday, I thought about what I want this year. Usually I don’t want much (other than something sweet to share with my family). What gift can I give to myself that didn’t require money or more time?

As I ponder deeper, this rather simple idea comes to mind.

I have a habit of frowning, as if I’ve got all the burdens of the world upon my shoulders causing the skins in my forehead to cringe. To that, I must say that I don’t and my vision is also perfect so no apparent physical reason causing the frowning. At my age, I already have these obnoxious lines on my forehead, more like an exposed fault lines to my rather active rambling thoughts – an inner earthquake manifesting.  I stopped this habit of frowning in the past, but eventually started again. Even with disappointed looks and judgment from family, especially my significant half, I still did it. Shame was not an effective motivator. And discipline alone didn’t work either.

I’ve wanted to stop this habit for years, but haven’t succeeded. My guess: my reasons for stopping were not strong enough to make me stop for good.

A month ago, and after another disappointed look from my partner, something clicked. I decided to stop. This time it wasn’t because of disappointing others (that’s a bonus), but as a gift to myself – as an act of kindness and generosity. I gave myself something I’ve wanted for a long time, something that will free me from an embarrassing habit. And because it’s a gift, I won’t take it back.

So far so good. I’ve been celebrating this gift every day.

From this idea of stopping a bad habit, I started looking into the things that can transform our lives, but don’t require time or money. They will of course require energy, like everything else in life.

I came up with the following non-material yet great gifts I can give myself this year. They will not cost me a dime and they won’t take any more of my time. The only things required are the desire to do them and focused energy—no special tools, special time, or place. And these are:

Attention and awareness

One of the most profound things we can experience is focused attention. Living life is the sum of noticing and attending to what we’re experiencing, without judgment or analysis. To be fully one with the experience in this moment doesn’t cost anything. And it will change your life forever. The more you notice and pay attention, the more you appreciate, and the more you come alive. The gift of attention is within everyone’s reach.

Kindness

Being kind and forgiving doesn’t cost a thing. It’s a choice we can make every single moment.

If you’ve been holding a grudge, or have been feeling bitter and resentful, give yourself the gift of kindness by setting yourself free from unnecessary suffering over something that happened in the past. A smile, a gentle touch, or even a deep breath can reshape this moment.

Letting go

This is what I truly need given the painful experience I had just recently through the passing away of my mom. Letting go of expectations (of the future) and painful memories (of the past) is freedom.

You can let go of whatever you think should happen. Imagine doing what you’re doing and not worrying about how it’s going to turn out, or what others would think. It’s a wonderful gift.

When we let go of the past, we can forgive more easily. And when we let go of holding on to nostalgic memories and what was, we will awaken to the life we have right now. Letting go doesn’t stop with the past and the future, but includes the present. Another act of kindness is to let go of judging ourselves and others.

Acceptance and surrender

After letting go comes surrender and accepting life as it is. To accept how you feel, what you’re thinking, and where you are (the way you are) is power.

Surrender is trusting that life always has your back. You allow life to unfold, moment by moment, without wishing things were different. And when we surrender to life, we give ourselves the ultimate gift—peace.

All roads lead to LOVE

Attention is an act of love of all there is. Changing harmful habits is an act of self-love. Kindness and letting go are expressions of love towards ourselves and others. And surrendering to life is the most powerful and respectful act of love there is.

Our lives are in a constant state of influx and change. This is good news because we can change any thing at any given moment, if we make a conscious choice to do so.

The gifts of change are probably the ones that matter most. They don’t come wrapped up nicely in boxes, can’t be bought or sold, and are not too small to matter.

Think of something you can do for yourself that would be a kind and generous gift no one else can give you, something that won’t cost you money or time … something that you can do right now. What would that be?

Transformation starts with a single different choice.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

Failure: The Unwarranted Help

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FOREWORD: As the year draws to an end, most people tend to evaluate (or re-evaluate) their lives — their successes and failures this year 2016. Often than not, on some absurd reason, most people tend to see their failures (regrets, frustrations and pains) rather than their successes. I, for one, often falls prey to that outlook. I have to battle through it for a change of perspective. Hence, this post; to remind myself that despite the many upsets and setbacks I had this year, I still emerged victorious or so, if I’ll just look at my experiences in a deeper perspective. 

Failure becomes success when we learn from it. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at  change. Instead of looking at what’s missing, and how far you still have to go, focus on what’s present, and how far you have come.

Failures are lessons. What you can draw out of each failure is experience and knowledge that will help you succeed better. That is why you should never ever be afraid of failing, because there is absolutely nothing to fear. In the game of life, nobody plays a perfect game. If you think that some people lead perfect flawless lives, it’s your perception, but certainly not reality.

Accept that failure is a part of life, and the better you will be for it. Accept that you have failed. For some people, their past failures haunt them, and they never get over it. Accept it. Know that this is not some isolated incident, everyone has faced this. You are no different. At least you tried…at least you LIVED! Also, accept that you will fail in the future. Some things will work, and some won’t. Preparing yourself mentally for this is smart. It’s realistic and logical.

Now, accepting is NOT expecting! You should never expect to fail. The ones that expect to fail realize their wishes very easily. You can be logical and accept that the possibility of failure does exist, but you can be confident in your chances to avoid such failure. This is crucial, as you do not want to become a habitual failure. Just knowing that even if you do fail, you will get over it, and that it won’t destroy you is so empowering that simply having that frame of mind increases your chances of success even more.

Without failure, how sweet would success be? How can success be appreciated, without knowing the opposite feeling? I’m thinking of the closest example of this…over-privileged kids that had everything handed to them. How many times have we heard of such kids turning out to be complete disasters? Without having experienced the opposite feeling, they had no idea of the value of what they were given. So they destroyed it. 

Anything that you are thinking of doing, any projects or endeavors that you have in mind, just give it a try. Live your life, and trying such things is living. The biggest hurdle that keeps people from succeeding is the fear of failure. It causes a sudden halt in progress, and no movement means no potential for success. Don’t be such a person. Don’t be afraid of failing, welcome it. Be ready for it. But expect to succeed, because in the end, you will.

Why deny yourself the opportunity to accomplish everything that you ever wanted out of life? This is the key that unlocks the door to your dreams. Your success is directly proportional to the number of times you fail, which is directly proportional to the number of times you try. You can’t have one without the other. Be at peace with it, rise up, and give it your all. That is the only way to truly experience life at its fullest 😉

And a new mindset to welcome the coming year, 2017! Let’s move on!

 (c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

Are you Perfect?

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Perfect people have scars on their faces and perfect complexions. Perfect people have long brown hair at 60 and short grey hair at 35. Perfect people wear wigs. Perfect people have sex with men, women, both, or no one at all. Perfect people can barely see over the grocery store counter, and sometimes bump their heads at the top of doorways. Perfect people have waistlines that are infinite in size and geometry. Perfect people have skin tones as light as vanilla ice-cream and as rich dark chocolate. Perfect people come from every corner of this beautiful planet and can be seen everywhere – even in the mirror. Yeah! That’s right! Perfect is the way we are born. Perfect  is the way we are now. Perfect is exclusively unique.

We are all perfect just the way we are!

So, be yourself. Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be — the best version of you — on your terms. And above all, be true to YOU — if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

What shapes you?

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Is it your family background or parental influence that is shaping your life, molding your conduct and ultimately determining who you are turning out to be? Or is it your educational and academic experiences that are determining this result? Is it how “street smart” you are that is defining your success in life? Could it be the genes you were born with or your physical characteristics? Maybe it’s simply a matter of luck that is framing the person you are becoming and what you are accomplishing with your life.

Certainly, many of these factors have had an influence on your life. Without question, they can be important as far as your life’s ultimate destination is concerned. However, there is one thing that is playing the primary role in determining the outcome of your life. 

What is it? 

In spite of the importance of this question, many of us don’t give much serious thought to the answer. We just go with the flow and let our lives work out in their own way. Granted, it’s much easier to just let life happen and not be personally responsible for the actual results.

However, life doesn’t just happen. Instead,our lives are defined by the choices we make. Some of these choices are ours, and some choices are made by other people, and we just accept those decisions and follow along. 

Stop and think about it…

You, or someone around you, chooses what the next thought, the next comment or activity will be. Whether you elect to let someone make these choices for you – or you make the choices yourself – you develop as an individual according to the choices that guide or influence your life.

But, you say…don’t our general circumstances have a lot to do with it?

Granted, we came into this world with pre-existing conditions: where we were born, the color of our skin, our basic physical characteristics and the guidance we received in early childhood. These are all factors that helped to form us in some way.

However, at a very early age, our choices start to override these factors. If you will, allow me to simplify it this way: The 3-year-old little girl makes her choice concerning which doll she will take to bed at night. Boys and girls, 7 and 8-years old, choose what they will do after school and who their friends will be. The 12-year-old decides how long he will study, which sports he will play and what he will do in his spare time. By the time we are 15 or 16-years old, each of us has almost total control over what we think, what we say and what we do. Beyond our very early years, it is our personal choices that determine how we treat other people, the level of education we attain, who we marry, what we do in our career and what we ultimately achieve with our lives.

So, one fact of life that we all need to acknowledge is this: regardless of our initial circumstances, we define our lives through the choices we make. Some of these choices we make on our own and others by simply going along with the choices of others. In either event, you are the one who decides.  

You can choose to be polite or be indifferent. You can choose to study or go play with your friends. You can choose to work hard or just get by. You can choose what you want to do with your life or just accept whatever comes your way. These, and hundreds of other choices, define you as an individual and determine the life experience you will have.

Without question, you are a unique, one-of-a-kind combination of physical characteristics, personal interests and emotional feelings that collectively define you as an individual.  However, it’s not this unique package that determines the enjoyment and effectiveness of your life, but how you choose to use it. Therefore, you must learn to understand the role that choices play in defining your life, if you want to fully develop the life you have been given.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

 

 

NOW: The magic behind.

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Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what’s past.

We live in the age of distraction. Yet one of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present.

When we’re at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don’t appreciate the living present because we vault from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree. We overthink and our thoughts take over our decisions and actions.

However, living in the moment allows you to be truly grateful for the wonderful things you have in this very moment, no matter if it is health or the fact that you have a lovely family. By living in the moment you are not dependent on the accomplishment of wealth, tangibles or anything else in order to become happy as you are already able to appreciate and love the very moment, which makes you happy. Furthermore, it helps you to realize that the pursuit of material things or needs with the attempt to find fulfillment and happiness will fail and end in a viscous circle of desiring, pursuing and achieving, without reaching the desired destination (happiness). Goals and hopes (for instance the hope to become rich, famous or successful) are not real in the present situation, as they are just thoughts and dreams that do not exist, yet. You cannot feel or experience them and should not rely on them to make you any happier at all, when realized. Even more important: the things you desire won’t make you any happier at all, if you aren’t able to be thankful for what you already have. In fact, you will never experience true happiness and fulfillment by accomplishing the various things labeled as your “personal needs”, as these needs are constantly shifting, as soon as you satisfy one of them.

When living in the moment there will be no questions about what might happen, what could have happened or what will happen. Living in the moment means to accept the past as what it is: a bygone and not changeable experience that will only have an influence on your present life if you allow it to.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com