It can be bruised, massaged and boosted, but what springs to mind when we think of the word ego?
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as our sense of self-importance or self-esteem. As such, our ego will inevitably affect some of the major decisions and events of our lives. Think of the last time someone said something which bruised your ego.
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” William Faulkner
In the hallowed world of human qualities, courage is frequently considered one of the most admirable and desirable. Plucking it up often helps us overcome fears, leap into challenging situations and even embrace our unusual quirks.
You can make it, and you can waste it. It makes us nervous, excited, sad, and happy.
As 2016 starts to gain momentum, new resolutions and new plans appear. Although we may not fully adhere to all of them, the process is a valuable tool to assess where we are and what we desire. As a result, some of the more reflective questions in life may surface. What should we do with our time? What constitutes the best use of our time?
“I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly” Aldous Huxley
We are frequently reminded of the quest to find a passion. Turn your passion into a career and reap the dividends. As wonderful as this is, what if you have not found your passion yet? Conversely, what if you enjoy the ride and do not think of it as a challenge to find one true calling?
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” Winston Churchill
Think of a time when you had a bad attitude towards something or someone. What caused it? Perhaps it was due to a lack of choice, disregard for the event or even a lack of rest. Would the situation have been smoother with a more positive outlook? Even in the most challenging situations, the one thing we can always control is our attitude.
Steve Jobs once said: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”. Although there are many decisions in life which require a logical train of thought, optimising the synergy between mind and body requires a more intuitive approach.
If you had to give yourself a score out of ten for your work and social life, how highly would you rate them? Are they similar? In what can be a hectic modern day life, it is easy to get drawn into a vortex with no time or energy left for fun. The philosopher Alan Watts frequently asked his students: “If money were no object, what would you do?”.
When was the last time you experienced something new?
Picture your morning routine. Now picture it five or ten years ago. Certain aspects will inevitably have changed, even for the creatures of habit amongst us. Maybe it is something as simple as a different breakfast, perhaps it is a new commute, or it may just be checking emails on a phone instead of a computer. Regardless of whether a change is subtle or substantial, it will impact upon our day-to-day lives at some point.
It seems there is always something new to discover. Depending on our age and circumstances, our top priority will invariably differ, but what are we looking for beyond our basic needs? We sometimes hear the term ‘I need to find myself’ when searching for some elusive purpose which may help make sense of our current mindset. The instinct to go forth and discover appears in many different forms and the variety of what we search for is vast.
Modern technology inundates us with information about the world. From 24-hour news reporting to social media updates, there is not much we aren’t aware of. With our attention pulled in every direction, it takes a discerning eye to focus on the right objects. Perhaps because of the constant updates about our cities, countries and planet, we struggle to find moments to focus on ourselves. Conversely, when all of our attention is directed internally, our awareness and appreciation of others is limited.
Imagine talking to someone who continuously checks their phone or who keeps looking around for something else to do. How would you feel? Simone Weil once said “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity”. Whether we are with friends, colleagues or even a stranger, paying attention to what someone has to say can make a huge difference to how we are perceived.
Imagine asking your friends to send you a photo or word of what made them happy. Some might send a photo of food or a car, others a photo of their partner or relatives. At any given time, given the context and past experience, we all view and experience the world differently.
We are frequently reminded of the good and bad things to include in our lives, and as such, it is important to ensure some of these are ones that we enjoy. Woody Allen once said “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred”. If we use food as an example, presumably this would involve cutting out all of the good stuff such as ice cream, wine, pizza etc…, but where is the fun in that?
Think of someone you trust. What characteristics distinguish them? The Oxford dictionary defines trust as a ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’. Obtaining someone’s trust can be both a conscious and subconscious decision. Past experiences will inevitably influence our judgment as we remember the reliability of an individual in similar situations. However, there are occasions when we ignore logical signs and simply follow our instincts.