Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Flexible Focus #48: The Principle of Initiative

by William Reed on April 7, 2011

“With a brain in my head, and feet in my shoes, I can steer myself any direction I choose.” ~Dr. Seuss

What you see is what you get

One of the central insights of the Mandala Chart is that the world we see is actually the world as we see it, not a fixed reality to which we must succumb. While we share the same space, we do not see or experience it in the same way. Things do not look, feel, or taste the same when you are in love, as they do when you are broken hearted, because your heart and your mind are the lens and filter through which you see the world. Reality is subjective, but pliable. What you see is what you get. We are all co-creators of our world.

Your disposition determines whether you see the world in a positive light or cast a pall of darkness. This creates the quality of your experience, and it influences the experience of others with whom you share that space. In this way, some people  have the power to brighten a room and make others feel good, while others can sap the energy from the place itself.

That is why we choose the company of some people over others, choose to live in a certain city or work in a particular place. Sometimes the people we spend time with and the places we inhabit drain our energy instead. When that happens, we can succumb to it, get away from it, or choose to make a change from our own initiative.

Be proactive at the Edge

Interesting things happen at the edges. This is where we enter new territory, where you get the cross-fertilization of ideas, where cultures meet and discoveries happen. An edge is not just the outer limit of something; an edge is also an interface to something else.

The Mandala Chart also represents an edge, a bridge to a new way of seeing the world. That alone gives you an edge, compared to someone who is stuck in their perceptions. The word for edge in Japanese is 縁 (en), which is also used to mean connection, and in Buddhism it is the bridge between cause and effect.

When the West first encountered Eastern thinking in India, some people had the impression that the tone of the religion and culture was fatalistic, based on the misinterpretation of karma as some kind of predetermined destiny or fate. However, the word karma is better translated as work, or the action you take at the edge, which intervenes with and changes the direction of previous causes, leading to effects which are anything but predetermined.

A saying has it that there are three types of people, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened? Think of this as people who live at the edge, people who live away from the edge, and people who have lost their edge.

The Mandala Chart Principle of Initiative is about being proactive at the edge, being a player rather than a spectator. How you experience the game depends a great deal on whether you are out on the soccer pitch or sitting in the spectator stands.

The more you see how much there is to be done, and how much you are able to do, the less sense it makes to worry or fret over circumstances. What sense does it make to wring your hands, when you can go to work on your plan?

Pygmalion Effect

Pygmalion was a sculptor from Cyprus in Greek mythology who fell in love with a female statue he had carved of ivory. In the story his love brings the statue to life. The Pygmalion Effect is the name given to a seminal study in the psychology of education, in which it was discovered that students frequently performed to the level of expectations of their teacher, regardless of their abilities. It is also known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.

To paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you think you can or cannot, you will prove yourself right. And many people in the world of Positive Psychology would agree. The challenge is that it isn’t always easy to believe that things will work out, when negative circumstances are staring you in the face. The key is, don’t stare back!

Realizing that the world is as we see it gives you a fundamental change in perspective. You can use the Mandala Chart as a lens to change your focus, see deeper or farther, and select that which you want to focus on, so that circumstances become your servant, rather than the other way around. You don’t want to end up a slave of circumstance.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Many cultures have stories involving the pursuit of happiness, often symbolized as the Bluebird of Happiness, for its bright and happy associations, and for its elusive flighty quality. These stories start with a search far and wide for the elusive bluebird, and end with the realization that happiness was within them right from the start.

Variations on this theme abound, from the story of the Prodigal Son to the Wizard of Oz, in which there is no place like home. These stories are parables, metaphors for our journey, not advice to stay put and bloom where you were planted. Regarding the pursuit of happiness, Abraham Lincoln said it best, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” That was good enough for him, and it is good enough for you and me.

With the music in your heart, you have a good place to start.

Spirituality in Business: As the Paradigm Shifts

by Rosie Kuhn on April 6, 2011

If I were you, perched on the edge of your seat, curious enough to click on the topic of Spirituality and Business, I’d be readying myself for what – I’m not quite sure. I know I’d have a couple questions in mind.  I’d be curious about the philosophy or beliefs of this individual. I’d also be curious about what this topic has to do with me, personally. I’d wonder if this is going to be some righteous, woo-woo individual who’s going to preach some dogma about what’s right and what’s wrong in the corporate or business world. Is she going to tell me to meditate or pray before, during and after every meeting? That’s what I would be wondering if I were you.

Spirituality in Business

My beliefs and interpretations regarding spirituality and more specifically, spirituality in business emerged through my own personal experience of exploring the edges of my comfort zone, and also through the empowerment of many individuals who’ve felt the need for a thinking partner as they began to bushwhack a spiritual path of their own. My perspective is pretty simple; Regardless of the context, be in personal or corporate, I define spirituality in the most foundational and pragmatic terms possible. Spirituality is living in faith; faith not as religion but faith as in practicing trust. Shifting from what you know to what you don’t yet know, letting go of what you may be firmly attached to for something that may be tenuous at best, takes faith. I say a leap of faith is the essential and most fundamental practice of spirituality. That’s it!

For me, what’s required to even consider the possibility of engaging in life from a spiritual perspective is the willingness to be curious about who you are and how you be you. It’s being willing to consider cultivating awareness by exploring how you choose to choose what you choose. This practice of being curious leads to self-realization, which leads one along the continuum of enlightenment, one degree at a time. Another aspect of spirituality that’s just as important is the practice of actualizing your self – taking actions in the direction of how you want to be – maybe even who you want to be in the world.

Practice

You can hear that I am emphasizing the concept of practice – exercising and developing the muscles required to be curious and cultivate awareness, and to exercise the muscles necessary to put this newfound awareness into action. Both practices take faith and the implementation of our faith leaping muscles.

Here’s a good example:

Research shows that only one person in five find fulfillment in their work. What that means is that to some degree, most of us are unhappy and unfulfilled with our jobs! Is that a spiritual issue?

Let’s say that you are one of those who are unhappy in your job; how does your unhappiness impact on a) your relationship to the work you are doing; b) your relationships with your co-workers, managers, bosses and direct reports; and c) your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends?

When you are unhappy, what’s the quality of that experience? How do you be unhappy? Seriously! Everyone’s answers will be different, but more often than not I hear the following: I am withdrawn; withholding; shut down; unavailable; and numbed out. My creativity disappears; I eat more; exercise less; and I waste a lot of time at work. So what’s that got to do with spirituality?

Here’s another question: If you are one of the unsatisfied, what is the source of that unhappiness or that lack of satisfaction. What is it that creates that lack of fulfillment?

Again, each of us will have our own unique list of responses to this question, and what I hear quite often is: I really don’t care about the product or service of my company; the company treats its employees like we are robots; This place has no soul; I’m here for the money and the prestige of my position but I have no passion for what I’m doing; No one listens to my ideas; I’m not being challenged in the way that was promised; I’m afraid that if I leave my current position I’ll never have the stability or security I now have; I can’t make the kind of money I want doing what I’d really like to be doing, so I’m stuck.

Being stuck, unhappy and unfulfilled actually are choices we make based on our wants and desires. Too often we have more than one desire that wants fulfillment, and through the practice of choice-making we have to priorities our desires. Listing our hierarchy of desires will give us a good picture of what has us choose to choose what we choose.

It doesn’t matter if you are an individual, a small business or a large corporation; on an ongoing basis you will be choosing to choose what you choose in service to your hierarchy of desires. The questions is: Is your choice-making process currently working for you? If it’s not working for you, would you consider seeing things differently in service to having more fulfillment?

You can say no, I’m not willing to see it different. That’s good to know. However, I may ask another question: what has you say no – what has you not willing to see it differently?

Faith

Our commitment to limiting ourselves to only what we know keeps things just as they are. Just the willingness to consider possibility takes faith. It causes change and disruptions. Most of us would like a change but we don’t want the disruption that comes with change. For many of us, maintaining invulnerability is at the top of our list of priorities. Exploring, experimenting, expanding our comfort zones requires a willingness to take risks, to be vulnerable. All new beginnings require vulnerability and a leap of faith.

Research and statistics indicate that kindness and compassion within the work environment is profitable; people are happier, more creative and are more likely to stay longer with their current company. Great! With all of this being true, how does an individual, a business or organization begin bringing spirituality into the work place? From my perspective it’s best to start with the practice of being curious about how you be and what you do. Enjoy the adventure

Editor’s Note: This is the start of a new Series “As the Paradigm Shifts” by Dr. Rosie Kuhn, who will be taking you on a Spiritual journey in the land of Business, in her subsequent articles.

Photo Credit: Missy McDonald Sauer

Everything is so amazing and nobody is happy

by Vijay Peduru on March 22, 2010

If we look at our lifestyle now, we own things even a king couldn’t dream about a century ago.  A nice air-conditioned house, a car to ride along smoothly , cool , classy  iphones and so many other luxuries.  Yet, we are still unhappy. We complain and get frustrated a lot.. about the “traffic” , “cellphone calls dropping”, “Nasty plane travel” and many other things.
  • We get impatient if our flight gets late… can you imagine getting from one place to another without the invention of airplanes?
  • We get upset when our computer does not respond within 10 seconds…. can you imagine how productive it would be without one?
  • We get annoyed when the elevator is too slow… can you imagine how slow (and not to mention tiring!) it would be to climb those 45 stories?

You can see where I am going with this… We are Very Lucky to be in this age rather than be in an era where there were no flights, no ATM’s ,no cellphones..  Once we take this view.. that we are lucky to be living in these times, we begin to appreciate all the advances in our technology and be grateful for them. When we take this point of view that we are lucky to enjoy these luxuries, we begin to see past our immediate frustrations and with this way of thinking, we may find that ever elusive happiness!

Tools fundamentally increase our capacity.  As entrepreneurs, business owners, managers and individual contributors, we need to move past our small frustrations and ‘ideal scenarios’ while dealing with tools and technology we use in our everyday work so that we can appreciate how far we have come and see the blessings that these really are!

This light-hearted, humorous video below shows how “bad” it was just a few year ago and how people “complain” about the present technologies rather than enjoy the marvelous advances in technology.