Categories
Lifestyle

How to Achieve Freedom (And Why Your Idea of Freedom is Wrong!)

freedomThe idea of freedom is an important one. It’s something everyone wants, strives for, craves, and ultimately needs in order to fulfill their passions and dreams! While freedom is an extremely important idea, I have recently realized that the idea of freedom is only ONE side of the coin. And without it’s counterpart, the value of freedom diminishes substantially. So what is freedom’s counterpart, and how can combine the two to live a more fulfilling life? This is precisely what I will be talking about today.

Freedom’s counterpart is purpose, passion and direction. The idea or pursuit of freedom alone, without purpose, is incomplete. It will ultimately limit the potential depth and overall value that any relationship has to offer. However freedom with purpose is surely necessary to feeling fulfilled and live the life you want.
 
Obviously freedom is something we all want, and it comes in many forms: financial freedom, freedom from oppression, freedom of speech, freedom from illness, freedom of relationships, freedom of thought, freedom of education to name a few. However the “side of the coin” that most people miss is the idea of purpose, passion and direction. To have one without the other does not actually create value. In fact it can be dangerous in some cases to have only one. How can you have freedom without a purpose or direction to apply it to? How can you have a purpose or direction if you are not free to pursue it?
 

Here’s an Example:

Travelling is a great example because it’s what many people would choose to do if they had “freedom”. However when you are travelling there is actually only one point throughout the journey of your travels where you are truly free. This is the point at which you decide where you ultimately want to go, which destination you wish to travel to. This is when you are completely free to travel anywhere you would wish. The moment you select a destination and buy your ticket you are now bound to that choice, that decision and that destination. 
 
Infact if you look at areas of life where only freedom exists, it’s actually not anywhere we would want to be:

  • At which point in your job are you actually free? At the point at which you have yet to select a job. When you are unemployed.
  • At which point in your speech are you actually free? At the point at which you have yet to select a topic of conversation. When you are in silence.
  • At which place in your travels are you actually free? When you have yet to select a destination. When you are in limbo.

 
What many people are not aware of is the fact that they are free or can be. Everyone has the choice. The problem occurs when people forget to attach a purpose or direction to their freedom.

If I had an hour to save the world I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions.
-Albert Einsten

 
The real problem is that people don’t have purpose. They are trying to find solutions to problems that don’t exist.

So how do you create purpose, passion and direction while achieving freedom? How do you utilize them both? The place where you start, like with most things, is through developing awareness. How can you walk the path if you do not have the map? Well first you have to realize that purpose, passion and direction is the map!
 

First: How to Achieve Freedom.

Freedom is simply independence within a relationship. Remember that you can build a relationship with ANYTHING. To be independent is to simply be without dependence.
 
Define your dependencies:
 
Are you dependent on money to create options? On another person for support? On your boss for approval to move a project forward? Are you dependent on anything for your motivation?
 
If so then this is where you start. Taking ourselves to an independent level in the relationships/areas of life that we wish to pursue. It is only when you have reached independence in the relationships you value most that you are truly free.
 
Once you have freedom, you have reached the pinnacle of independence, what’s next? The Map.
 

Second: How to Achieve Purpose, Passion and Direction?

 
spacePurpose/passion/direction are all the by-product of a deep, connected, internal relationship. Before something can be your purpose it must be your passion, before it can be your passion you must love it, before you love it you must like it, and before you like it you must experience it. These progressions towards purpose are the same progressions seen in the development of a relationship.
 
Passion is the intensity of the emotion you feel directly paralleled to the rate of growth you experience in a relationship. When you are growing very quickly you are very passionate, however passion is virtually non-existent when you have plateaued.
 
Purpose is when the potential of the relationship has no end. As an example, a purpose cannot be about one’s self because eventually even that relationship will end. However relationships with positivity, growth, spirituality, energy, the universe or good karma are all examples of relationships that could potentially last forever, and thus, have the potential to be your purpose. These are only a few examples of many, many types of relationships that have infinite potential without an end.
 
Direction is simply the pursuit of both purpose and passion.
 
The way you achieve purpose, passion, and direction is by developing a relationship to as deep of a level as possible. Naturally the relationships will be what each individual finds most valuable. So how does someone develop relationships to such a deep level when nobody is ever taught? This is our mission with the Social Dynamics Movement. To finally open you up to the option of learning how to develop healthy, long-term relationships. To finally have the option of social education. To finally be able to find purpose, passion and direction. To finally achieve freedom.

If you want to find out more, contact me. I’d love to talk with each of you on these subjects more.

Categories
Mental Performance Social Relationships

5 Steps to Become More Compassionate (And Get More Out of Life!)

Karim Saleh is a medical student currently living in Ireland who is passionate about social ethics and personal transformation. Meeting with Karim he expressed a desire to contribute the concept of “Compassion” to the Kingpin Social community, so I asked him to come here today and share his thoughts with you.

Enter Karim…

Hey there readers! Before I start spilling the goods, I just want to say a special thank you to Kingpin Social for letting me contribute to the great work they are doing because I believe in what everyone involved is trying to accomplish!

In the society we live in today, how do we define success? Usually, it is measured by what your profession is, how much money you have, what you look like, or other factors such as who you know/who knows you. Unfortunately, at this time most success seems to be measured by one’s bank account… but is that what we should really be valuing?

A dollar value says nothing about people or their intrinsic value. Every person has their personal strengths and their weaknesses, so it makes no sense to compare oneself to another person. A powerful concept in building a strong sense of identity is learning to compare you (in the present) to you (in the past). As you begin to integrate this concept you will realize that how you feel/think will be directly tied to pursuing your goals/purpose. When slacking off or not taking action, you feel less than awesome. But when you do, you feel as if you can take on anything!

compassion

Compassion isn’t fundamentally integrated into Western society because being compassionate doesn’t ‘make you the big bucks’. Being compassionate is a personal choice. A mission. It is a decision to treat others as if they are extensions of yourself. It involves seeing people as equals and treating them with respect. We are all human beings who have been born into situations that may have been favorable or unfavorable. As far as we know, this is all based on luck. I know I had no decision which family I was born into, or who my classmates were, or who my co-workers are, and all of these people have a significant impact on my life. Attempting to understand and connect to another’s suffering and helping to alleviate it can be a great source of happiness for you and others. Additionally, by attempting to be more accepting, loving and gentle with yourself for things you cannot change, you can begin to see things from a brand new perspective: a perspective where nothing is truly bad or good in the big picture – it just is. This point of view can accelerate change drastically. It allows you to see your life objectively, and enhances your ability to understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This allows you to become more centered. I want to share a powerful example from “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn that I read many years ago on the idea of compassion:

…From the perspective of patience, things happen because other things happen. Nothing is separate or isolated…there is no end-of-the-line buck stops here root cause[for anything]. If someone hits you with a stick, you don’t get angry at the stick or at the arm that swung it. You get angry at the person attached to the arm. But if you look a little deeper, you can’t find a satisfactory root cause or place for your anger even in the person who literally does not know what he is doing and is therefore out of his mind at that moment…

Where should the blame lie? Or the punishment? Maybe we should be angry at the person’s parents for the abuse they may have showered on a defenseless child? Or at the world for it’s lack of compassion? But what is the world? Are you not a part of that world? Do you not have angry impulses? Peace, and a willingness to be patient in the face of such enormous provocation and suffering can only come about from the inner cultivation of compassion: a compassion that is not limited to friends, but is felt equally for those who out of ignorance -often seen as evil- may cause you and those you love to suffer…That degree of selfless compassion is based on what Buddhist’s call ‘right mindfulness’ and ‘right understanding’. It doesn’t just spring up spontaneously…it needs to be practiced and cultivated. It is not that feelings of anger don’t arise, it is that the anger can be used, worked with, harnessed so that it&rsquo ;s energies can nourish patience, compassion, harmony and wisdom within ourselves…and perhaps others as well.

compassionThis example has stayed with me throughout my adult life. If we look at people’s individual decisions as a compilation of their world view and their experience, it allows us to have some perspective in interpreting what is happening or what has happened. Being understanding does not excuse poor behavior, but reacting out of the same lack of control and understanding is not useful either. Learn about yourself and why you do things the way you do without blaming yourself, and try to apply this to other people in your life. Identify with their struggle without letting the emotions overrun you. It is in this way that you can help them by being a grounding force.

By getting an objective view of suffering and learning to manage yours and others emotions, each person can learn to transform all experience. Any negative event can be traced back to certain decisions or circumstances and, in turn, can allow one to correct the underlying situation without blaming others. Through becoming more compassionate, you gain greater awareness over what you can control, giving you a great sense of your impact on other people and in this world. This awareness in itself can strengthen your self-image in a healthy way, give you greater satisfaction within your life and allow you to become responsible as an individual. One of the most rewarding experiences is sharing your skills or knowledge with someone who can use what you know. By transforming your point of view from yourself to others around you, you start to recognize what you already have and that which you might take for granted. This allows you to develop a mentality of abundance. This is widely recognized by most personal development “gurus” as a necessary shift in understanding for becoming fulfilled and happy. Instead of keeping all your emotions, knowledge, and actions for yourself because you feel like you “don’t have enough time” or “have enough of your own problems”, give a little more than you normally would without expecting anything in return. Give for longer than you normally would. Take a moment to notice how your mind and body react. I guarantee it will be a worthwhile exercise…

By caring about other people more we can live better lives?

In a nutshell… YES. The more you understand about the nature of human behavior, the more everyone’s behavior will make sense for you (including your own). Over time, I have learned that everyone’s behavior can be understood if you look deep enough and in the context of a person’s life. Our lives can become dominated by fear if we allow them to be. On the other hand, being compassionate with yourself and others is putting your effort into love and appreciation. Paradoxically, this can brighten up your life when you start choosing love instead of avoiding fear.

compassionWe are the only species in the world that has the extraordinary ability to alter the nature of our thoughts and purposefully change our behavior. Instead of pointing out other’s flaws or arguing about people with the intent of changing their minds (which never works unless you have two very open-minded and self-aware individuals), take a step back and focus on things you CAN control: YOUR behavior. Accept others for where they are at the point in their path, and maybe when you are in a centered place you can gently try to explain your position.

Here are 5 great ways to bring compassion into your life and develop an attitude that brings vitality to yours and others’ lives!

  1. Practice Humility through Meditation: Meditation is a great way to get to know yourself better. If you are looking for an amazing resource for getting started on meditation, I found the book “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn (quoted earlier) to be an amazing tool in aiding my own personal growth. It is a book that focuses specifically on Mindfulness Meditation and the book I used to better understand my experience. Start with a few minutes a day and, if you give it a fair shot, I’m sure you will find plenty of enjoyable experiences ahead of you. One tip: resist your first, second and even third attempts to stop meditating.
  2. Love yourself! ALL of you. Every thought, every impulse, every last bit. Love yourself as you are now. This may mean you have to come to terms with some parts of your past so you can embrace who you are today. Understand that all your experiences made you the person you are today, and that suppressing parts of yourself or being embarrassed of things will not help you be objective or realistic about change. Once you accept what you consider to be your flaws, and even learn to appreciate those things you are in a better place to improve those things which are OK but which could be BETTER. If they are things you cannot change, laugh about them. No one is perfect.
  3. Share your presence. Spend some time with people who are going through a rough time or who are lonely. Volunteer at a nursing home, or on a cancer ward. Get involved with less fortunate children who could use a positive influence in their lives. Below is a link for Big Brother and Big Sister organizations in Canada and the United States. If you are not from these areas, a simple google search should put you in touch with similar organizations.
  4. Calibrate your Perceptions: Be Accepting and Understanding. Look at other people (strangers included) as no different from yourself. Status is truly an illusion once you can begin to see your insecurities and fears objectively. Regardless of another’s perceived status, look at others as human beings as more than what they appear. Through circumstances, luck and decision-making, they ended up in the situation they are in now. Those with “less than you” and those with “more than you” are people who endure the same challenges you do. Recognize that compassion isn’t only limited to those who are “poor”, but can also include those who are considered “rich” yet are miserable. Just noticing these things is a huge step in the right direction.
  5. Remember the Golden Rule: Walk a mile in another’s shoes. Think of someone really important to you. It could be you, a boyfriend/girlfriend a family member or even someone else. Now think of another person lying, cheating, ignoring, hitting, or basically doing something damaging to that person. If that upsets you, ask yourself why you do hurtful things to other people? If your answer is, ‘they deserved it’ well then, in your mind, that justifies the person’s behavior who did that to your loved one. Just because you don’t know someone, or because someone did something bad to you doesn’t justify you losing your mind and losing control of yourself. Treat others the way that you would want them to treat your loved ones. What to watch out for: you will quickly notice that other people may take advantage of this or you might even think/feel that nobody appreciates it so what is the point? Just because other people don’t really understand why they do things, doesn’t make it okay for you to do things… does it? If you know better but still do something you don’t agree with because everyone else is doing it, you are passing up on living YOUR life. You are in the process of learning better and gaining better self-control. Be gentle and firm.

So what do you think? Which of these 5 steps are you going to start with TODAY, and how are you going to keep it in mind? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Action starts today.

Categories
Social Dynamics Social Relationships

3 Simple Steps to Forming Better Relationships with Yourself & Others.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. – Epictetus

beautiful dayEvery day is beautiful. There was a time in my life that I never would have accepted that sentiment, nor uttered it myself, but that time has long since ceased – so much has changed.

Change. I’m the first to admit that change is a fear of mine: it’s hard and sometimes feels out of my control. But it doesn’t have to be.

Over the last several months, my life has changed inexplicably. I didn’t think I was ready for it but the funny thing about opportunities is that they don’t thrust themselves upon you – you have to seek them out and embrace them. Stepping out of my comfort zone was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made but, in point of fact, it was MY decision. And I was much more ready for it than even I understood.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice. – Wayne Dyer

Throughout my life, plenty of things have impacted my identity but none more-so than the important people in my life. This came to my attention the other day – and a beautiful day it was. The sun was shining overhead; I had lemonade in my hand that kept dripping cup-sweat onto my leg – across from me sat Kevin Choo. Sitting on the patio, discussing the idea of personal identity and out pops the question: “Who or what do you identify with?” To be honest, I had never given much thought to it; I’d always known what I love and who I am, to an extent.

I answered without thinking: “To me, my family has always influenced who I am but so have my passions. I guess I’m a mixture of everything and everyone that I love, and then some.”

Family. Passion. Love. All three of these things have a variety of different definitions so to define them in this context seems prudent.

Family: A collection of people that may or may not be genetically related; people who love, respect, and cherish each other without question.

Passion: Something a person feels strongly about that is integral to one’s view of self.

Love: A feeling of positive personal attachment or deep affection.

There are plenty of common misconceptions about these three terms. Family, for example, does not simply include blood relatives. Close friends are commonly deemed family, as well. My family is not nuclear, by any means: it does not consist of just my brother, parents and grandparents but also ranges to include those that I deeply respect and care for. One thing is clear though: Family is forever.

Passion can include anything that is important to your identity – something you cannot imagine life without. My best friend’s passion is music and she would most certainly not be complete without it.

Love is where things can get a little complicated… (or do they?) Many people use this term freely and thus the meaning behind it has morphed a bit. Love is not just a series of biological and chemical reactions, as I once believed. Love is one of the very few human emotions that are inexplicable and for this reason; it is an incredible source of internal validation.

What is internal validation?

internal validationInternal validation stems from positive reinforcement and it makes people feel great for extended periods of time. Think of someone you respect, a mentor for example. When this person gives you a compliment, it’s usually about something you’ve worked hard for so you feel almost euphoric.

On the flip side, external validation is short-lived and usually superficial. Meeting someone at a bar that tells you how “hot” you are isn’t nearly as satisfying. Not to mention, “hot” is a temperature, not a flattering state of attractiveness. 😉

Internal validation accompanies internalized or personal relationships whereas external validation is characterized mostly by strangers and acquaintances.

So why does this matter?

Understanding the types of validations that we can receive from others allows us to understand the types of relationships that we are forming with the people around us. If most of our lives are filled with external validation, the types of relationships being formed are also based on the external. External Value will never be as good as Internal Value, so thus, building your relationships based on these external factors predefines the exchange of value within the relationship to be less than optimal.
Relationships require effort but they should not be work. The people in your life directly influence your mood, energy levels, environment and overall state of mind. This means that if you’re constantly striving to reaffirm yourself through external validation, you’re losing energy that you could be spending doing something you actually enjoy. Having said that, the most important relationship, and the hardest to build, is the one you have with yourself.

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: Now. – Denis Waitley

lonelyI used to have a very difficult time letting my personal defenses down. I was convinced that people were out to damage my mindset so I always protected my Inner Self with layer upon layer of an Imaginary Me. What I didn’t understand was that if you never let people know who you are; you can never have positive internalized relationships. This left me feeling isolated and very lonely. I constantly uttered “Nobody understands!” but how could they? I overlooked the fact that I was inflicting that upon myself but it occurred to me that I had no idea WHY I was isolating myself. Upon intense reflection, reality hit home: I hadn’t entirely figured out who I was yet and my ego couldn’t handle the potential rejection.

Since then, I’ve spent the last year and a half or so improving the relationship I have with myself and I’ve noticed that every single relationship I have in my life now has a specific purpose and is of significant value to me because the exchange of value and importance is equal, hence Win-Win relationships.

Internalizing relationships is something that people do not do nearly enough. Most people don’t realize that aspect of their life is missing; or if they do, they don’t know how to go about fixing it (which is where Kingpin Social comes into play.)

Three Simple Steps:

  1. Evaluate.
    Learn the difficulties you have in forming relationships and relating to people. Who and what is important in your life and are those relationships Win-Win?
  2. Set Goals.
    Understand what areas in yourself or your life need attention but be sure to keep balance and not to neglect other areas or relationships. Start small: opening up a bit at a time is easier for everyone. Tell stories, share experiences, and compare ideas. These are stepping stones to exchanging more value and learning to understand and appreciate everything as much as possible.
  3. Keep It Up.
    This part usually takes care of itself. Once your Inner Self gets out, it’s really hard to confine again. Real People enjoy the company of other Real People – it’s as simple as that.

HINT

Life isn’t black and white – it is a plethora of grays, too. Good isn’t always good for everyone, nor is bad always bad for everyone. All of the previous steps above must be done in order for you to acknowledge who you are as an individual and what works for you. Don’t just focus on things that you perceive as negative. Although our first instinct is to “fix the bad” as our first priority, even the best things in life can always be better. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice if you need it. This is an overwhelming process at first and another perspective is rarely a terrible idea.

My biggest piece of advice is this:

Learn to appreciate yourself. If you don’t understand who you are and what’s important to you, neither can others. Stay true to yourself, always, and the people in your life will too. Inspire and motivate others by setting an example: It is only you that keeps you from reaching or exceeding your goals so don’t hold back.

The best thing people can do is practice what they preach, so from here on out, that is my goal. It’s never too late to learn to live the life you want to have. Take control. The time is now.

Wish it. Will it. Do it. Be it.