Pending between extremes, finding the point of balance

In this article I reflect upon finding the moderate way. The point of balance, that allows constant growth. Not aiming too high, for it might frustrate or pressure you, neither aiming too low, for it might limit your potential growth.
To make it concrete, I relate this story to my personal quest of writing, which, as it turns out, was a bit too ambitious in writing 100 articles in just 100 days. Time to realign and remember what the actual goal is.

Enjoy 🙂

When you aim too high, you might get frustrated, when you aim too low, you become stagnant. In finding your path to continuous growth and ever increasing happiness it is all about balance, about finding the proper dosage for multiple aspects of life.

Getting to know the extremes

Where is that balance? Well, it is in between the extremes. To find out that point or area of balance, we sometimes have to investigate the extremes first.

Every aspect of life has these extremes. It is part of the principle of polarity. Hot and cold, love and hate, discipline and laziness and so forth.

What seems like opposite things are in fact the same phenomena, they are just different in degree.

We tend to bounce back from one extreme to the other extreme, which is also very natural. This is called the principle of rhythm. Seldom do we remain stuck on one extreme, but instead move from one pole to the next. The further we move to the one side, the further we move to the other again.

Quite similar it was for me with writing. First I was reluctant to write anything at all, then I created a website and set out to write everyday. I then bounced back again to only writing personally, but not daily and most recently I went back yet another time to the other extreme, when I set out to write one article every day for 100 days.

The constant back and forth can be quite exhausting at times. The key here is to become aware of this process, become aware of the constant movement between the extremes and to then come closer to that point of balance.

Balancing the extremes

Nobody can tell you where exactly that point of balance lies, because this point depends on the concrete aspect and most and foremost on your individual inclination.

Whatever it is, you might want to find a point that is slightly above your comfort-zone. A point that allows you constant growth, without adding unnecessary pressure. A point, that is in accord with your goals and allows steady progression in the pace that fits you.

In my personal case with writing, I set the bar too high. Publicly declaring to write 100 articles in 100 days created extra pressure, which is in my particular case not needed at all. I already tend to be extremely disciplined. I meditate twice a day, I do Yoga 2-3 times a day, I eat healthy and all of these each and every day, just to mention some of my habits. So discipline is not really an issue for me. If I was a lazy person, struggling with my growth, that extra motivation of making that quest public might have helped to exactly reach that point of balance needed to progress. In my case however this does not hold true, for it added pressure where there was needed none. Instead I could set out to allocate 30 minutes everyday to working on this skill.

Zoom out, gain perspective

Sometimes we are too caught up in our everyday work and progress, in creating the habits and fulfilling the set expectations, that we lose sight of the bigger picture. I therefore deem it important to every now and then, zoom out. Take a step back, observe the bigger picture and ask yourself, whether you are still in alignment with your goals, and whether your current path is the most beneficial to achieving them in that it is close to the point of balance.

The last two days I did exactly that. I asked myself what I set out to do here. What is it I want to achieve with this task?

What I set out to do was to improve my skills in the science and art of writing. I also want to let loose of the fear, that the contents I write, might not be good enough to publish.

If I zoom out even more, there are two things I want to achieve in life – fulfilling my full potential on every aspect of being from intellectual, emotional, physical to spiritual and sharing whatever knowledge I have acquired, whatever skill I am mastering with others to help them on their individual journey.

Different angles to master a skill

In that quest writing can be a powerful tool, which is why I want to develop it further. There are however different angles and approaches that help to nurture that skill. Writing something everyday might be the most powerful practice to develop the skill. But I certainly do not need to publish one article every day. I can write my 500-1000 words, without publishing them, eventually resulting in a deeper and more detailed essay on a specific subject. Therefore allowing myself a greater degree of flexibility by incorporating different sorts of texts, from spontaneous short pieces, to articles, pose, essays, short stories and other fictional or non-fictional texts.

I can also enhance my writing by spending more time reading great pieces of literature. Learning from the best and consciously investigating techniques and styles of successful authors, of other bloggers of basically any creative or scientific writer.

There are also courses to take. On communication, on creative writing, expression, arts, or in the areas of knowledge I might want to introduce.

So there really are all kind of ways to improve the skill of writing. And so it is with every kind of skill. All we need to do is to set out the intention and finding the amount of time that allows us to steadily progress in a joyful manner to eventually master the skill we set out to learn.

Realigning myself

Having said that, I hereby readjust my quest of writing 100 articles in 100 days. Instead I shall invest half an hour every day to enhance this skill. I am gonna do so by all sorts of methods, primarily by writing. I will still publish some articles and essays every now and then, but I relieve myself from that unnecessary burden of HAVING to do so every day.

By doing this I hope so to release the pressure, and act more from the level of joy and devotion, rather than ambition. Since ambition and discipline is already there, this action of releasing will bring me closer to the balance. It is that balance, that helps me to come closer to the goal of enhancing the skill, and also closer to the two main goals.

It allows a greater degree of flexibility. Should on one day arise the opportunity to be of greater service simply by being present somewhere else, I would be a fool to let it pass only to fulfil my task that I set out publicly. Instead I can be of direct help somewhere else, without losing sight of the goal of enhancing the skill of writing.

That does however not mean, that I regret setting out the task in the first place. It seems to be a valuable lesson, letting go of that self-created pressure and also distancing myself from the idea to having to do something because others might think less of me if I don’t.

So let this be a reminder to myself, and maybe also to you. To try to find that balance point when it comes to discipline and joy, not to do your actions because of what others might think of you but out of an intrinsic motivation and to realign yourself to your goals every now and then.

You can then practice in private and later share in public, which is in accordance with one of the Yogic rules of behaviour. This rule advises to be rather secretive in your quests and only share your accomplishments once you have achieved them. In that spirit, I will continue to craft my skill for the development of clear and understandable language, in the hope that you too, dear reader, might find inspiration for your own journey, might find ideas that help to access your true Self and develop the principles and skills that help you on your individual path, fulfilling your personal potential, allowing you to contribute to the world family so that we collectively rise to new heights of love, peace and abundance.

Acting from a level of joy and devotion

From an early age on we start to compete against one another rather than to collaborate. This creates a tendency to look for opponents rather, than friends and partners. For many of us, life itself becomes much more of a lonely struggle rather than the pleasant and joyful journey it could be.

The survival of the fittest

In a society that focuses on the individual and the competition against others, we are educated in a way to always fight for ourselves. That way we are supposed to become the most toughest, smartest and most successful persons out there, resulting in a great career of our chosen and a high salary.

With the mindset of competition everything becomes a battle and life itself a constant struggle. That struggle is visible in so many areas of life. It is not just in our educational or professional  system, but also in sports, self-development and even in the spiritual progress.

Benefits of the competitive mindset 

In a world where allegedly only the strongest survive, you are up for constant development, which is in itself certainly not a bad thing. It will help you to strive in multiple aspects.

In the fields of exercise it will help you to develop a strong and healthy body. One that can withstand physical stress and crises, one that allows you to go fast and take you where you want to go. Combined with the right diet and nutrition you can lay some groundwork for living a long life, and provide your body and brain with everything they need to produce peak performance.

In your quest for mental excellence this mindset will allow you to develop a great memory and function at a high level. Your brain capacity and the developed focus will allow you to solve complex problems and to do so for many hours a day to perform well in your job.

In your search for answers and spiritual progress the competitive mindset will help to continue the search and to learn about all the mystical schools out there. It might also bring you to various techniques catered to your own journey.

Slow and steady wins the race

Well? Until here it all sounds pretty well you might say. And this sort of mindset does definitely bring advantages.

In our quest to growth however, we have tendency to just do too much. Too many changes in a brief period of time for the purpose of progress.

We change the diet, quit the job to do something else, meditate as often as we can, go visit the yoga class, read books, quit smoking and drinking, oh and those friends of ours might also not be the most conducive to your growth… 

Surely it is good to have a good diet, good routine and a surrounding that supports the inner and outer evolution. But don’t be too ambitious about it. Discipline might do some good, but only to a certain extent. If we are too ambitious, we create yet another filter, yet another version of our Self, that is not our true Self.

We then act once again from the mindset of struggle – of survival of the fittest. We stress ourselves and the well intended changes become a burden for our intellect. Because in order to keep up with all the changes we try to implement and to reach these ambitious goal, every hour, even every minute of the day needs to be well calculated. There is no more room for error, for chance or just for a moment of nothingness.

The created stress certainly does not help implementing new habits. Therefore the key to create the changes you desire lies in consistency. By introducing small bits and pieces, the probability of these changes really becoming habits, greatly increases.

See the beauty and enjoy the ride

It is then the little successes that already bring tremendous joy for they bring you closer to these goals you set. More so these little steps allow some more flexibility, some more playfulness. Because when it comes to learning, stress will not help at all.

Think about it. Who are the best learners? It’s children. And one of their keys is to make a game out of every circumstance and to simply enjoy the act of learning and discovering. They act a from a level of joy rather than stress. They see the beauty in every aspect, are fascinated by the seemingly irrelevant details.

I think there is a great lesson to learn here. Not just about learning and implementing new habits, but from the way of acting itself. To see the beauty and playfulness in things rather than the struggle.

Acting from a level of devotion

When you start to see the beauty in things and realise, that you are but one part of a great family, you may acknowledge, that your path is not just about yourself, but much more about helping others along their path. The motivation for your growth transforms to a desire for other people’s growth as well. You start to act not just from that level of joy, but from the level of devotion. Devotion to the cause of realising your dreams, to the discovery of our Self, devotion to the evolution of others, the collective, devotion to god.

You may then realise that is not necessarily our own doing. For we are but the instruments through which the heavenly love and light flows, allowing us to do what we do. Devoting oneself to that pure essence is the path of evolution. In it we can let go of the ambitious ego, which strives for power. We can let go of that aspect. Instead the ego expands in the cosmic ego, which is free from the earthly power struggles and acts from a level of love and unprejudiced compassion.

When you get up in the morning, as yourself what you can do today to be of service to others. What can you do to put a smile on people’s faces, to help them through their struggles, to help make the world a happier place.

In this path we may free the intellect of its struggles in finding the best way and simply lay out the foundations, suiting to our path. A path without ambition but full of love and light, of service to others, of service to life itself.

Become the best version of yourself

I just watched one of the most amazing videos ever. It was a speech given by Lisa Nichols at Mindvalley’s A-Fest in January 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JLjnwuMcA8). I can’t remember the last time I was being moved to tears like that. Crying like a little boy, and embracing it.

This blog entry shall sum up her main message and add my personal take on it.

The main message is simple and straight forward. Become the best version of yourself. Period. Don’t be ok with mediocracy, because you are unique, you are special and you came here with a Devine quest. Dream big, don’t fear your own brilliance. And it is a given fact, it is in there with you.

Don’t fear your own brilliance

We tent to not dream big enough. Pleasing ourselves with average and being contempt with what is. When in fact there is something in us, a little baby of brilliance, if you want to call it like that, that needs to be brought to this world. It’s our mission to give birth to that brilliance. To that one thing that only we can do.

Each of us adds something completely unique and beautiful to this world. Nobody else has it but you. It is your Devine quest to share that – what ever it is – share THAT with the world. Don’t fear your own brilliance, but fully embrace it.

Don’t look back on the wrong decisions you made. Because guess what, there are no wrong decisions, there is no wrong path, there is but your path. And every so called mistake you made has brought you right here right now. And right here and right now is where you can start your journey yet a new. That journey to greatness. That journey to fulfilling the Devine purpose within you.

Forgive yourself, for everything supposedly wrong you ever did, reach out a hand to that little child within you and give it a hug. It is ok. You are ok. In fact you are more than just ok, you are beautiful, everything about you is beautiful. It is even these imperfections that are beautiful that make you unique that make you – perfect.

Hugging that little child within you, cheer up. Draw courage and look to that version of yourself you are going to become. That strong man, that strong women that shines and inspires others.

Your dream is not just about you

Because that’s what it is all about. Your dream is not just about you, it is in fact about all the others around you. You live your dream not just for yourself – no. You live it, so you become an inspiration for all those around you. So that they too dare to dream big, dare to become the best version of themselves, dare to become brilliant and add their divinity to that heavenly quest. Add it so we all can become one wonderful family together, here and right now.

Fulfil your potential and serve as a role model for all the people around you. Every time they breath but your oxygen, they see but your smile and they feel your loving vibe they will know that they themselves, are here to become that. That Divinity within them. They will dare to dream big, to go beyond what they sought to be possible.

The world needs you

It is this attitude. This mindset and this conviction that is needed. That conviction to become our best selves. Not just for ourself, but for all of us. If each of us can be encouraged to be exactly that we will build a wonderful world. One that inspires everybody to be free, to be authentic to be  themselves. 100% all day every day, singing dancing and speaking in their own unique rhythm adding to the world family their specific field and vibe of joy and beauty.

Be yourself, be authentic, be courageous to be fully you. That Divinity within you. If not for yourself, then please do it for all of us.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your wonderful purpose, for the inspiration. Thank you dear reader for taking the time, for caring, and thank you most and foremost for being here in this wonderful journey together with us. Thank you for sharing your brilliance and light. You are awesome!

Collaboration trumps competition

Individuality is important. It helps us to develop ourselves, discover our potential and distinguish ourselves from our environment. In modern society however there is tendency of an overemphasised individualism – of the idea to compete against others, rather than seeking out help or building something together in the spirit of collaboration.

Where does it come from?

The way of permanent growth might be embedded in Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Most of us have heard the main title of his theory “on the origin of species”, but the subtitle explains it even better: “preservation of favoured races in the struggle of life”, or in other words, the survival of the fittest. That idea, that nature selects those species, which are the toughest, or actually which are the most adopted, to let them evolve. Through this process allegedly men was evolved as well.

There are some flaws to this theory, which are however not subject of this article. It is merely put here to explain, why we might think the way we think.

It starts at a young age

From a young age on we learn to compete against one another. Every now and then there is some teamwork involved, but it does not seem to be emphasised. When we attend school, we are asked to sit quietly most of the time and listen. The teachers ask questions, we raise our hands and get rewarded for the correct answers we give. When it comes to the exams we are on our own again. Only the individual performance is evaluated. From an individual point of view it does not matter, whether you’re classmates fail or not.

It is very similar when you attend college. You might form some learning groups here and there but the educational system itself does not promote collaboration, rather focuses on the individual.

In the job it might evolve to be different. Depending on your corporate environment, you may have to learn to function as a team or a unit. But on the next higher level you are again competing against other companies in an open market.

Even beyond that our society is build on the idea of competition. Whole nations compete against one another in the struggle for political or economical power.

Competition brings advantages but is heavily overrated

The constant competition might help in enhancing specific products. To be able to compete with others, you constantly need to adopt to an ever changing environment. So it seems to add to that swiftness of evolving.

The competition also helps in quickly understanding which ideas work and which don’t. You can have great ideas in your mind, but when you put them out into the real world, driven by a competitive market, you will see really how feasible they are. That way the competition helps to sort out the good from the bad ideas.

But then again one might ask what exactly are good or bad ideas. From the current perspective good means most and foremost one thing – profitable. It does however not include what impact it might have on the life of others. Simply, because we are not raised and incentivised in our education to think about those around us. We are not raised to think about the ecological and social impact of our actions.

The danger of the current paradigm

Now what might have pushed our technological advance, does not seem to be applicable anymore in a world that is deeply connected. Our actions do impact the people next to us and our environment as well.

We are currently facing tremendous ecological challenges. The planet suffers from the exploitation of its resources, the deforestation, the pollution of oceans and natural habitats and the extinction of species.

The challenges are also quite obvious on a social level. Widespread poverty, failing states, and ongoing wars are but some of the prime examples, indicating that the current paradigm is no longer feasible.

These problems appear on such a high scale, that they cannot be solved by just one person, a company or even a nation. They have to be solved by humanity.

Collaboration trumps competition

Each of us comes with unique skills and talents to this life. Talents that can be used to solve specific problems. These skills provide possibility for great ideas and solutions. But sometimes a sort of catalyst might be needed. Another person with another skill to bring forth this aspect of yourself. This is one of the beauties of collaboration. The harmonious promotion of talents within one another.

Beyond the skills it might also be specific fields of knowledge, that alone already bring some insights, but when combined with another faculty offer an even greater understanding.

To solve the complex problems of our current society, we need to draw from different faculties and combine all sorts of talents of individuals to come up with solutions that help each of us. Projects like “the ocean cleanup” are born out of this exact process and can only be formed through the combination of, in this case, experts from the fields of engineering, maritime biology, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and many more. 

To go fast, go alone. To gar far, go together

According to this African proverb, we need to shift to a more collaborative way of thinking. An approach that combines the faculties of all members of a group or a society to come up with the urgent needed solutions for the complex challenges of today.

And after all, isn’t it much more joyful and fulfilling to build and create something together that helps all of humanity, rather than fighting on your own and just for your own good?

Go beyond your limitations

Mankind is a species of habit. Based on our childhood, on our education and the experiences we make, we develop certain concepts to explain the world around us. This is a very helpful tool in coping with all the different impressions we perceive everyday. Especially in a world evolving so quickly. Although helpful most of the times, it can also hinder us from further growth, which is why we should always be open to rethink and adjust or even neglect our concepts.

The Safe House

In a way these concepts we form become like an actual physical construct. Like a small house, that we build around us. It offers us comfort and safety. When we interact with the world, we open the shutters and let some light in, knowing that in this house we are secure. Everything that comes in, comes through the windows, which are like lenses. They filter every information based on our experiences. It becomes quite difficult to see the world for what it is, since we always see it through these filters.

Although this house offers tremendous comfort, it also comes with limitations. Since we feel so safe in it, we tend to be reluctant to change anything about it. Often times, instead of taking the impressions in for what they are, we tend to reaffirm what we already believe to know. We don’t really search for new insights, but for a confirmation of the construct we have built. Most of the times it happens sub-consciously. We are not even aware of that process.

The safe house therefore becomes more of a limitation, something that is holding us back in our personal evolution. Some might even call it a prison!

Societal Level

This process appears not only on an individual scale, but also on a societal level. Take the subject of ancient civilisations for example. Modern science tells us, that civilisation is about 5,000 years old and that prior to that time, we were hunters and gatherers.

This is the construct that has been built, the lens through which every new information is seen.

There is however information, that strongly suggests that civilisation dates back far longer than that. Even with hundreds of out of place artefacts, scientists are not willing to change their point of view.

This gets even more evident with the Sphinx in Egypt. According to geologists, the erosion on the outside of that structure could not have been caused merely by sand and wind. Only heavy rainfalls could have caused erosion like that. How is that possible? Egypt is not really known for that kind of weather. The last time the region had strong rainfalls needed to cause such an erosion was after the last ice age, dating the Sphinx to be at least 12,000 years old.

Despite this clear evidence, contemporary egyptologists do not sway from their opinion. Since all of their theories are built on that foundation of civilisation being 5,000 years old, they are not willing to alter their point of view for it would question everything they believe in.

So instead of taking in new information to possibly gain a clearer understanding of reality and of the questions we ask, the information is merely used to reaffirm what is already there. And if it does not fit that concept it is neglected as unsubstantial. 

Step out of the prison, go beyond your limitations

For true evolution, we have to go beyond these limiting beliefs. The first step is to become aware of our constructs and beliefs. See them for what they are and try to understand where they are coming from. This will allow us to become more self aware and gain a deeper understanding of our Self. It may also help us to discover some flaws in the constructs we have created.

It would be too much to ask, and also not very practical to get rid of these constructs all at once. Instead, we can begin to question them, to alter them and to remain open for new insights. Every day offers tremendous potential for new learning experiences. And a certain degree of openness is essential, at least to widen these limiting beliefs. So that the small prison may evolve to a mansion, a whole field, a country, the planet, and one day may even evolve to the whole universe.

At this moment there are no longer any concepts at place, but pure reality for what it is. And doesn’t that sound intriguing? Isn’t that something worth striving for?

Let us therefore remain constantly open. Open for new insights, open for new perspectives, open for questioning our current beliefs to gain a deeper understanding of our Self and our surrounding.

It may be uncomfortable, surprising or even difficult at times, but employing that principle and having it in mind, will undoubtedly lead us to a deeper understanding and accelerate our growth as an individual and as a society.