A Daily Strategy
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.