Every person you encounter is an archetype. In other words, a model of how to act, present oneself, and live. That means every blue-haired, tattoo-ridden barista you see is an archetype of what it means to be a woman, a barista, a cool chick, or whatever other angle a person might take. Even if you are not aware of it, you are receiving messages from each person you observe and many you do not think you are observing.
It is hard to grasp this idea until you become a father of a son or a mother of a daughter. But as a parent, you notice eventually that you are always being watched. You are under continual surveillance, even when you think you’re not. So, when you walk around in flip-flops or unshaven- unless you live without any human contact or cultural intake- you are modeling a style, a set of values, and a way of living. Think about that.
To children, particularly young children, a parent is a God-like figure. When you rage about traffic or the many little annoyances of daily life in front of your children, you are presenting a negative, angry way to look at the world. And one that you may well transmit to your children. When you wield such enormous power over children’s lives, it is critical that you not be a tyrannical or abusive God. In fact, it is your job to build strong, confident, competent people to better the world around them. So, notice who is around you and how each person influences everyone else even just a tiny little bit. Even you.
We live at by far the greatest time in human history. Those of us in the advanced world can listen to ANY SONG we want to at anytime. The same with most books and many movies. A city-dweller can order food, alcohol, cannabis, sex, candy, just about anything you can think of at pretty much any time of day. This is a tremendous danger to people who lack discipline.
Thankfully my own indiscipline largely extends to eating junk food, not exercising, and wasting time on Twitter. For many, the indiscipline starts with how you look at the world and what you expect to come from it. It’s better to expect nothing and seek to create that which you desire.
In this era of instant gratification, a lack of discipline can ruin your life. Whether it is poor habits of self-care or not adequately maintaining order around you. Indiscipline makes every problem worse.
The modern world is enormously complicated. It can be like waking up in a kayak racing through whitewater rapids every day. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are 7 tips to help you simplify your life:
Embrace a spiritual or religious practice. So many folks dismiss religion as a quaint notion in this hyper-informed modern world. But there is tremendous wisdom in the world’s great religions. One of the major benefits of this is simply the routine or habit of it. Atheism and secularism don’t offer any structure.
Purge your life of too many belongings. Empty out those closets and storage units and unfinished basements. A lot of that crap you’ve completely forgotten about anyway.
Keep the sabbath. This can be an absolutely wonderful addition to a person’s life. Having a quiet Saturday or Sunday on the schedule every week can be a wonderful period of quiet for an individual or a family. Learn to be with yourself or with others, but not racing to a practice or event of some sort. I love my sabbath. Sometimes I voluntarily give it up, but I miss it when I do.
Express gratitude at every meal or, preferably, MORE often. Your actions follow your thoughts. Think good thoughts. Think grateful thoughts. For even in our worst times, there are always many more people who have it worse.
Limit your time with screens and when you do, make it useful. My parents used to refer to the TV as the “idiot box.” They were right. Now, we carry idiot boxes around in our pockets. Try to cut out the time wasters that squeeze the rest of your valuable time. Or when you do, read something that teaches you something or makes you think. There are billions of options.
Take a regular phone fast. I like to have lots of people over to my place and I tend to be very welcoming of all kinds of folks. So, occasionally I encounter someone who comes from a culture that is a bit more permissive of distractions and interruptions. In fact, it really pisses me off when I’m socializing with people and someone whips out their phone while I’m talking to them, even if it is to look up something that pertains to our conversation. So I’ve pretty much banned the use of phones in my house. I treat it like smoking. Go outside and do it. Another option is to set a time, say 8 pm, after which you do not look at your gadgets. Helps to have a partner in this.
Say NO to too many activities. There are a million ways to spend your time. Driving all of the time should not be one of them. Factor in whether an activity is going to complicate your life or your child’s life in such a way that it puts a burden on the family and try to avoid that. Too often we are tyrannized by the idea that we or our children should be continually accomplishing something. Overall, yes, they should, but not every minute of every day.
Anger is generally viewed as harmful, damaging, and destructive. But I’d like to take another perspective- anger is motivating, energizing, and your mind telling you to take action because things are not right.
I’ve struggled with managing anger my entire life. At times it has gotten me in some fairly serious trouble. However, it has also helped me tackle problems, get stuff done, and stick up for myself and others when needed.
Self-mastery is the key. It is difficult to master your emotions, especially one like anger that at times feels like a train rolling downhill. By applying mindfulness and the principle of detachment, there is an opportunity to redirect that anger towards useful purposes.
It’s not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but slowing down and recognizing the source of that anger may help you channel it towards something positive. Something like hitting the gym or signing up for a boxing class.
Either way, don’t beat yourself up for being angry. There is plenty to be angry about. Just don’t let it cause you self-destruction.
The inability to focus plagues a person with ADHD. In fact, I find that if something I’m reading doesn’t grab my interest within about 15 seconds, it is going to be a struggle to stay with it. That or I’ll have to reread it several times.
Mindfulness is not exactly a cure for ADHD, but a tool to help manage it. It can help you metaphorically stop and smell the roses and focus on the moment. By slowing life down and working to tame the blizzard of thoughts inside your head, mindfulness will help you stop and notice what you are feeling and thinking. It will help you focus on what is happening around you.
So how does it work? In short, by consciously slowing life down and orienting your mind towards appreciating or at least accepting the moment. This doesn’t mean you have to sit in silence for 30 minutes in a perfectly balanced position (though that helps). It simply means observing what is happening in and around you in a nonjudgmental way.
It’s helped me see firsthand the many ways I make my life harder by letting my thoughts run amok. Gain control of your mind and you will attain true freedom.
No one thinks about this because we live in an ultra-materialistic society, but it’s true. Aside from food and toilet paper, pretty much everything you buy adds to the number of things you have to maintain and keep somewhere. It may also require getting rid of something old, another hassle you have to deal with. Then, if it is technology, for example, you need it to work consistently.
I love my wi-fi Bluetooth speakers. LOVE THEM. I can take them all around my house and on to the front and back porches. But… when they don’t work, about 5% of the time I practically fly into a rage. Obviously, this is my problem but you see the point.
The more stuff we have, the more we are weighed down by it. The less we have, the less we have to worry about. Lesson in there.
Most of us struggle with anxiety from time to time. That’s totally normal. It’s when it takes over your life and alters your behavior for the worse that you need to take some steps. Here are 7 tips that can make a big difference:
Plan ahead. This is BY FAR the most important tip. Take the time to think through how your day is going to go and what small or large things you can do to make it all go more smoothly. Nearly every situation you can encounter may be endured with proper planning.
Give yourself enough, or even extra, time. I used to be late all the time. Then I discovered the joy of planning better and started getting most places early. It’s wonderful. So relaxing. So calming. Try it!
Call out the negative voice. Simply point out to that voice in your head, “I’m sorry, but that’s not helpful right now.” Learning to control that voice will change your life!
Explore medication and therapy. Medications can really help and dismissing them is just foolish. So, consider a variety of medications from supplements to cannabis to help take some of the struggle out of your day. And get thee to therapy. We ALL need it. All of us. So figure out a way.
Exercise! This alone can have a major impact on a person’s anxiety level. Push yourself a little bit. Sweat some of that negative energy out and you’ll feel better.
Build a spiritual practice. Try to incorporate some moments of spirituality into every day. Say a brief prayer of gratitude before each meal. Take a moment to kiss your spouse or pet your dog. And once per week, as a family, go to church or synagogue or meeting house and give thanks.
Forgive yourself and others. We all make mistakes. Some of them really awful. But we do so out of ignorance or lack of self-control or confusion. So, forgive yourself. And forgive those who’ve… You get the picture. Again, religion serves to remind us so well of compassion, forgiveness, service, sacrifice- all of the things that humans really need to learn and which give life meaning.
This African proverb is among the most powerful words I’ve ever read. When you think about it, you know it’s true. We often wish harm to those who hurt us, but usually it is because we’ve been deeply hurt by them.
Is it laziness, though? It takes work to understand your anger and hurt. It takes real self-exploration to grasp the source of pain.
But it’s worth it. And if it can help you heal and reach a place of forgiveness, then it may help you overcome much more.
All of us struggle with anger to some degree or another, however, the feminization of society is making all anger- even the anger of hockey players- increasingly unacceptable. Here are 7 tips to help you manage anger in a soft, feminine world:
At the moment of anger, meditate, say a prayer, and take a few deep breaths. This can save your hide and perhaps the life of someone else.
Exercise regularly and consider an outlet like martial arts or boxing. Men were evolved to have the capacity for violence and yet we have so few acceptable outlets for it in today’s world. I recently started a boxing class and I’m having a blast.
ALWAYS get enough sleep. I think for most people this is a necessary condition for decent behavior. I know that my anger is like a Porsche versus a Volvo when I’m not well rested.
Get to know any other triggers. Self-awareness is so critical to growth. There are many ways to do it, figure out one that works for you. There are a number of tests you can take to get a better understanding of yourself- Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring program, and Myers-Briggs are some of the countless options out there.
Leave the room, take a walk. With some people you just have to do this.
Splash cold water on your face. This is known to work, but requires extracting yourself from the situation somehow.
Try to remember your values at all times. If you are a Christian, try to see the face of Jesus in your enemy or if not or you prefer, the Buddha or Gandhi or MLK.
A mindless moment of anger can ruin your life in 2019, seemingly like never before. Protect yourself.