Category Archives: Self-Actualization

The perfect you

Everything is perfect and there is always room for improvement.         — Shunryu Suzuki

For those suffering from self-induced pressures of striving to be perfect, here is a reprieve. It doesn’t involve daily affirmations that we are already good enough and should embrace our shortcomings as part of what makes us special. Nor does it reject the idea that perfection is unattainable and reserved only for the divine. These binary options are based on our presupposition that there is something wrong or broken about ourselves and we should either fix it or surrender to it. When we re-frame our definition of what it means to be perfect, we can liberate creative forces that are unconstrained by fear of failure, rejection or loss. This freedom gives us permission to create abundant art and in the process, become more comfortable with our own inherent perfection. Continue reading

The happiness trap

Happiness is so overrated.

Think about it. When we’re happy, we’re content with how things are, which is another way of saying complacent. When we’re complacent, we take things for granted, stop being curious and lose our interest in learning. We forget our appreciation for what it means to be free. We become busy and switched off to our passions, or marginalize them to our spare time. Being busy lets us off the hook for not pursuing the things that make our lives truly meaningful. In Chinese, the character for “busy” translates literally as “dead heart“. Instead of seeking fleeting moments of happiness that we cling to, long for and feel depressed about when they elude us, we can create a much more fulfilling life that revolves around the simple concept of facility. Continue reading

You get a purpose! You get a purpose..!

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote, as I haven’t been struck by anything in particular that inspired me. Then yesterday I was at Starbucks minding my own business, when I was assaulted by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is now selling her own branded tea, which includes putting her inspirational quotes on the insulating sleeve around my Americano. “Follow your passion,” she writes. “It will lead you to your purpose.” There’s nothing better than being reminded by a TV celebrity that you have a purpose in the universe, which is only knowable by following your passion, so that you too may someday become as successful as she is.  Continue reading

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Slowly and all at once

It’s a rare kind of person that knows early on who they want to be, and commits to becoming it with a singular, persistent focus. For the rest of us, we slouch through life, wondering what our purpose is while resigning ourselves to making a living. When we talk about purpose, we’re really talking about intention. Purpose is a way we describe our intent toward a course of action. When we’re unclear about our course of action, we say that we lack purpose, but really we lack intention; a determination or resolve. There’s really never a time when any of us lacks purpose, because our purpose is all the same: to express our creative selves. Continue reading

Solve for X

If attention is the currency of the internet, then anxiety is the currency of modern society. We are part of a massive, finely tuned anxiety machine that offers us the promise of freedom while churning out a dizzying array of choices that overloads our decision-making bandwidth, and distracts us from what really matters. More choice does not equal more freedom. 200 kinds of toothpaste do not make us free. When we are free, we recognize the difference between purposeful, self-owned choice and simply selecting from options presented to us. Freedom isn’t given, it’s taken, and extraordinary results come from managing the anxiety of freedom that is key to transformational change.
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Life 2.0

ALONG in his 40s, the American male often plunges into strange fits of black depression. He wakes in a sweat at 4 a.m. He stares at the dim ceiling. His once bright ambitions creep past like beaten soldiers. Face it: he will never run the company, write the novel, make the million. He feels fat and futile; his kids are taller than he is.

Second Acts in American Lives, Time Magazine Essay, March 3, 1968

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Wild abandon

Buddhism teaches that selfish desire is at the root of all suffering. So to proceed with Right Intention, we should seek to free ourselves of desire. This intention in itself, is a selfish desire. To want to rid our selves of something is still a want. To seek nirvana, enlightenment, the Kingdom of Heaven are all selfish desires, no matter if we tell ourselves it’s in the service of a greater good. We are wanting machines. We are created out of desire for the purpose of desire; food, comfort and procreation. To deny ourselves these things is to deny our very purpose. Continue reading

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