A Daily Strategy

  1. Treat and speak to others only in ways that you're willing to be treated in the same exact situation. To apply it, imagine yourself in the exact place of the other person on the receiving end of the action. If you act in a given way toward another, and yet are unwilling to be treated that way in the same circumstances, then you violate the rule. Knowing the effect your actions have on the lives of others, with their particular strengths and weaknesses, is a reak trick! Engaging in behaviors and actions that you know are unhealthy, or are resilient to, had been lucky in getting away with, or just too weak to resist, does not justify the extension of that activity or action to others. Solving your own ignorance and keeping an open mind in regards to appropriate behaviors is the major challenge. You need to be able to imagine yourself, vividly and accurately, in the other person's place on the receiving end of the action. With knowledge, imagination, self-awareness and the golden rule, you can progress far in your moral thinking.

  2. Set boundaries and expect accountability but recognize the effect of individual (or your!) problems on the group. We (or they) have no problem if you have a problem. However, it is our (their) choice to make your problem our (their) problem, so choose your (their) problems well if you want our (their)(to) help. If enough people have the same problem it certainly becomes our(their) problem. We (They) may "help you" but you may not like it! Never take that which is not given - whether be time, money, space, possessions, or attention. This pays no respect to another's life-blood, autonomy, current priorities and respect for the individual's accomplishment.

  3. Treat your promises, even small ones, as if it were a written contract with legal consequences. Especially, those made to yourself. It is better to say no rather than not fulfilling what you said what you would do. Remember, that not providing information, depending on the situation, can be construed as "lying by omission". Be upfront (a written contract?) with your expectations so people know exactly where you stand. This actually creates more harmony. Reflexively saying no for awhile can re-condition your attachment to other's approval by saying yes. It will give you time to reconsider and really commit to your word if you decide you can perform the action. People will respect your reliability much more with this strategy. You are not "entitled" to anything outside the contractual agreement which you have completely understood. But you are entitled to the opportunity to be safe, house and care for yourself and to some path to improvement. Fight for this right but never steal or deceive for it. Strive to take care of yourself so well that you can offer help to other industrous, honest people.

  4. The origin of all true evil is the rigid adherence to beliefs, attachments and actions that belittle the inherent worth of others, actively remove opportunities for self improvement or injure others - either directly or systematically. Bolstering your own or your group's sense-of-status, advantage and false entitlement is cause of most misery. Know that social one-upmanship is in our genes. This must be countered by realizing the value and worth of every genuine effort to contribute. Constant comparative thinking leads to excessive competition and idea of "winners" and "losers" and "whose cool and uncool", "worthy or unworthy". Beware of negative gossip designed to make the group feel superior or "friendships" that depend on denigrating another person. Incessant "sizing up" of others, comparing of oneself to others, is a loss of integrity, independence and autonomy.

  5. Beware of all addictions, coping behaviors and escapist activities - whether they be "hard" as in drugs, alcohol, sex or "soft and passive" as in food, TV watching, partying, internet use, laziness. etc. Addiction is a loss of freedom. They eliminate the ability to behave in another way that could be more healthy, adpative and productive. We are all responsible for our actions, and the consequences of those actions. So if you choose to drink until you are no longer responsible for your own decisions, or put yourself into situations that encourage irresponsibility, you also chose those risks and consequences. The same goes for any weakness or situation that affects your life or other lives. The best way to sabtoage yourself is to associate with other dysfunctional people wishing to commiserate. Try to find friends and associates that have a chosen visions, passions, habits of control, in the direction of healthy, expressive, productive activities or relationships.

  6. A different set of beliefs, actions, associations and situations may prove more beneficial and create more harmony with the people around you, especially if injury to others or yourself is involved. Remember, each of us can be seen as the "complementary but incomplete" perspective on reality. Harmony of these competing views should ideally form a compromise. Do not believe everything that you think, or put yourself into situations or rely on behaviors that get you into trouble or offend others. Remember that "symbols" and "words" can hurt and cause physical human misery. However, the more you can see the "artificiality" of words and symbols the more resilent you will become. Use the golden rule (no. 1) to see the ultimate consequence of your beliefs and actions. Remember, that some will use your naviete, need for belonging or beliefs, sense of worth for self serving or even nefarious purposes...so choose your associations (or rebellions) that have your best interests and the greater good in mind. If you do hurt another "restitution" and "recompense" will be required. Remorse is not enough. If another causes too much actual or imagined conflict avoiding the person or situation is the best strategy. The balance between the greater good, social norms, expectations and free expression of individuality and personal conviction is difficult but can be done.

  7. The ability to forgive and forget is the other side of the above strategies. Many people fail at the above frequently. Provide the offender (even if it's yourself) a chance at remorse and restitution so forgiveness can be made possible. Especially, be forgiving if it is merely your minor part of your ego that has been hurt. Make sure genuine apology, changes in relationship, trust building agreements are involved. However, attempts at forgiveness for major transgressions has a price for the betrayed as well. A sense-of-justice must be compensated for relationship to continue. Dealing with ongoing feelings of anger, resentment, sense-of-justice is not a trival exercise in significant betrayals. Make sure you can actually forgive (given restitution) and control resentment for worthwhile relationships. Balancing the advantages of the relationship with perceived pain, restitution, new rules for trust is the trick in determining whether the relationship should be continued. If remorse and restitution is lacking or physical threat is involved the relationship must be discontinued and guards be set-up.

  8. Sometimes, greater principles are at work then individual egos, feelings, attitudes and needs. For instance, the mission of the organization often trumps the special interests. Or, the larger goal necessitates personal sacrifice, the putting up with hassles, toxic people, or tedious chores. The ability to recognize your proper role and right actions in a larger context is often the best way to contribute. It is also the way to become recognized and rewarded. The collective good is one in which the needs of the many outweigh the few. Sometimes, another person's talents can better serve the greater good. Learn to be a follower as much as a leader; a good student when meeting a good teacher, or a good teacher when meeting a good student. Recognize your appropriate role. Extend your self-serving interests into this realm. Looking beyond the immediate situation to see this big picture requires knowledge, imagination and acceptance. The final reward will be worth it.

  9. Work to improve that which you do best and most readily. As much as possible, rely on yourself to accomplish the goals you have set but do not be ashamed to ask for help. Indeed, all of us need help in areas of your lives. It is up to you to be humble enough to recognize those areas, recognize the strengths of others and team up with those with mutual goals and values. However do not avoid "struggle". Your inability is not a sign of your lack of "talent". Delibrate practice takes effort. Often, too much struggle is result of biting off more than you can chew. Search for a more easily attainable smaller steps. Nothing worthwhile can be done without the trial and error of learning. Nature has NOT given you some effortless "gift". But, it may have given some passion to which you can apply the 10,000 hours of effort to become expert.

  10. Concentrate first on activities related to the objectives that are most important to you. Much can be accomplished in a short time if you devote yourself to your highest priorities. Keep track of time expended in activities so that you can better monitor your daily routines. Don't succumb to the feeling that you have insufficient time to do what you want. If you focus on your major objectives, you will minimize or halt those activities that have no real importance. you will increasingly free of the pressure to pursue less important activities.

  11. Prepare a general schedule the night before, but approach each day in a relaxed way, letting things emerge and evolve as the day goes on. Above all, seek activities you enjoy. When you finish one activity, move on to the other.

  12. Focused and informed activity reduces fear and anxiety. Study of a task and actual effort of testing it lead to knowledge. Remembering this will take the sting out of failure, which, in fact, should be a new source of information that can assist you when you return to the task. Criticism, however un-pleasant, can provide valuable information about ways to improve. Make the most of the information and resources you have, and don't dwell on potential sources of difficulty that are beyond the limited amount of information available to you. This will only magnify illusions of fear and anxiety. Postponement can become habitual and can lead to non-productivity. Don't procrastinate by fantasizing about past failures or future problems; don't allow yourself to be distracted by opportunities for self indulgence. When you postpone an activity, you increase the the chances of never completing it, and you will be left with memories of past wishes rather than of past deeds.

  13. How you handle an anxiety-producing situation - on the job, in the home, or in the community - will depend on your particular temperament, constitution, previous training, and experience. Don't resort to mechanical formulas to solve problems. Find the method most compatible with your own personality and lifestyle. But, try to identify conditioned responses, attitudes and beliefs that may be restricting your choices. Some "problems" are situations that allow yourself to be disturbed about. This is a choice. You can learn by emulating others, but you should strive to conduct your life and business in ways suited to yourself. New situations require new solutions. The more you look for own solutions to new and problematic situations, the more likely you will find the best approach for you. Don't blame your inaction on others and take credit for sacrificing your vision and plans on their behalf. This demeans them and creates insecurity about your true feelings.

  14. Acting in terms of your vision (Do you have one?) will give strength in dealing with most complex situations and will minimize the psychological threats of specific situations (you will be too busy acting in terms of your vision). Ultimately, what you accomplish results from your willingness to be true to yourself. Stick to what what you find most rewarding. This will make your life more rewarding and will minimize your conflicts.

  15. The strongest relationships develop from pursuit of a common objective or activity. This shared experience increases tolerance for difference in attitudes and values and reduces efforts to change others for the sake of having a relationship. Relationships that focus simply on "having a relationship" can prove taxing and frustrating. Similarly, guard against a willingness to be so accommodating that you compromise your own identity.

  16. The key to transformation is recognizing how trapped you are by your own mind. Notice how you keep identifying with your thoughts or cultural conditioning. See how you are trapped by your incessant thinking, needs of approval from others, group think or deceptive self-expectations? See how you don't run your mind, but your mind or need to belong runs you? Learn to let go of unnecessary thoughts and conditioning by observing the mind processes and allowing yourself to really be. Experiment with different ideas, experiences, and expectations. Don't believe, see what works. The solution is to surrender to the present and do what is necessary in the moment. Notice silence and emptiness as much as form. This will re-frame the context of the experience. Catch your thoughts and reactions so you have a choice of acting or communicating them. The solution is in transcending, not eliminating the ego or suppressing your responses. Daily meditation is one way to see this universal condition. Another way is more accidental, after hitting rock bottom. In the end, you must act!

  17. Listen to the small honest "witness" voice inside that speaks below your ego, fears, self-deceptive rationalizations and idealizations of the world. Even in the midst of conflicting and confusing situations the voice can be heard. Believe and take heed of its' advice especially in regards to hints that people's behavior provide, and complex physical situations to which you are very familiar. Act on the "voice" especially if the action can give more margin for safety or long term reward

  18. Surrender means to get to a point where you can be free from self-conscious processes and mental gymnastics that now govern your life. It is based on the assumption that you already have all the potential that you need to make your life work. It is OK to be who you are and to choose the potential, interest, and inclination that you already have. You don't have to keep searching for confirmation by focusing on being someone else or being somewhere else. Surrender yourself to the next moment. Accept your potential and the world of reality as it is, trusting that everything is as it was intended to be.

  19. In effect, despite the way you have been brought up, life is not something to be gained. Rather, it is a time or space in which to express what you already have and what you already are. When you choose what you have rather than try to escape from it, you reduce the internal split or separation that causes all the mental anguish. Only when you accept who you are and what you are trying to hide can you come alive in your life. Accept events as they are. Allow time for things to develop, and stop pushing for closure or certainty. It is not that you must be free from fear. The moment you try to free yourself from fear, you create a resistance against fear. Resistance, in any form, does not end fear. What is needed, rather then running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means watch it,learn about it, come directly into contact with it. You learn about fear, not how to escape from it, but how to resist it through courage and so on.

  20. You already have all that you need. Your task is to merely choose what you have and to express your hidden potential by being willing to live with uncertainty and by digging deeper into yourself to find the way. The key here is taking action rather than remaining in your thoughts. What is it that you dreamed of doing as a child? What is it that you would choose for yourself if you could have anything or do anything that wanted to have or do? What would be your major choice if you could if you could temporarily put aside self-doubts, fears, and uncertainties. What action can you take that is consistent with your vision? What can you do in the next moment to move the action forward? Consider these questions and then focus on relaxing into actions that are consistent with your vision while letting go of distracting concerns about results, wins, failures, obstacles, and problems. The final result is not the point; it is improving ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice.