Don't Underestimate What You Know

Over the last year many friends told me:

“Why do you write about this?
It’s common knowledge.
Everyone knows.
It’s unnecessary.”

What they failed to understand is that what is self-evident for you might blow someone else’s mind.

Share what is self-evident for you with others. You might be surprised by their response.

Surprised by Improvement

While you are on the Meaningful Path, improving your life every day, it’s often hard to notice progress.

I have written almost every day this year.

I journaled, finished my thesis, wrote on this blog and interacted with this community on social media.

When I read some of my writing from one or two years ago I was surprised by how much my craft has improved. It’s something I rarely notice in my daily practice.

My writing is more concise. My thinking is clearer and my understanding of my craft grew.

When you are absorbed in the daily tasks of life you tend not to recognize how much you have improved, especially when you practice your craft daily.

Now that 2019 is coming to a close, take a few hours and reflect on your progress this year.

You may be surprised by what you find.

Find Meaning in Suffering

After undergoing hardship, people have new knowledge to offer those who go through similar experiences. It is a unique source of meaning because it does not just give our lives purpose – it gives our suffering purpose. People help where they’ve been hurt so that their wounds are not in vain.

Sheryl Sandberg and adam grant, Option B

My desire to write in public originates from my own struggle. I went through tough times and I learned some valuable lessons that I genuinely want to share with you. I hope that what I’ve learned in the past and what I continue to learn in the present helps you wherever you are in your own journey.

Looking back, these reasons for starting this project gave and continues to give my suffering purpose. It’s very humbling and demanding at the same time, to know that hundreds of people look to me for advice, direction, and inspiration. It’s humbling because I am – and forever will be – a student. I haven’t fully figured things out and I never will. At the same time, it’s demanding because great responsibility goes along with knowing that hundreds of people consume your content.

It’s something that can give your suffering meaning: to know that you can decrease or alleviate the suffering of other people by sharing what you’ve learned by overcoming your struggle. It’s a light at the end of a tunnel and it will always be there.

Why You Need to Face Your Past

“In the quest for plenty, know the paths are many
But few will lead you past the regions where the past is buried”
– Zack Hemsey, Lessons From a Nomad – Listen

If you don’t confront your past, certain paths through life will remain locked forever.

On one side confronting your past is uncomfortable, painful and scary. These are immediate consequences of confronting something you’ve avoided for a long time. Small things you ignored will grow. They can grow so big that you no longer have the courage to face them. But because you have vital things to learn from your past, not confronting it will lock certain paths through life.

To unlock these paths you need to face your past. But, because of the immediate consequences of doing this, you try to ignore it. Of course, this doesn’t work. Your conscience won’t let you ignore your past. Old memories will frequently appear in your thoughts and remind you that you try to ignore them.

On the other side, confronting your past can liberate you from it. By facing your past you can make peace with your fears, past failure, and bottled-up rage. Instead of letting them fester in a dark corner of your mind you can confront them and learn from them.

You can learn what happened, why it happened and how you can prevent something similar in the future. This is what reoccurring memories of the past are for: learning how to prevent something similar from happening again.

Once you did that, your past will leave you alone. As a result, new paths open up. Paths that you were afraid of will no longer scare you. Rage and anger will turn into empathy and reoccurring memories will disappear. You will finally find peace.

Try to lock away your past and it will haunt you forever.
Face it and learn from it to unlock new paths through life.

How To Take Stock of Yourself

Taking stock of yourself is a tool to become more self-aware.

Self-awareness is important for understanding the reasons for your behavior.

You think you understand – but do you?

How often do you tell yourself what you want to do and fail to do it?
Why does this happen all the time?
You don’t know.

Your unconscious decides a lot of what you do. You think, act and live the most part of your life on autopilot. Habits, past-experiences, and cultural norms influence your life in ways you don’t fully understand.

One goal of taking stock of yourself is to become aware of your unconscious acts and thoughts. This way you can decide if you want to change something and if so how.

To take stock of yourself: detach, observe, record, evaluate and decide.

Detach. Pay attention to yourself, like you are watching someone else from the outside – as if you were a stranger.

Observe. Watch yourself over time and notice how you act and what you think. Notice why you act or think that way, but don’t judge yourself.

Record. Write down what you observe to arrive at an objective and accurate assessment of yourself.

Evaluate your assessment and understand the underlying reasons for your behaviors. You will find patterns, habits, and values that you were unaware of.

Decide what to do next. Double down on your strengths, end a bad habit or abandon a belief that no longer serves you.

Because this is a neverending process, you can improve ad infinitum.
Just be careful, not to lose yourself in this process and take action as a result of your decision.