Your life is a sum total of the decisions you have made thus far.
When there’s a gap between who you are and who you intend to be, you are incongruent and unhappy. You’re torn, mentally exhausted, and regretful.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
An effective way in which to align your thoughts, ambition and actions is to maintain a journal.
Journaling daily is the single most life defining exercise you can do. It enables you to lead a meaningful and deliberate life, based on your terms and desires, not those of others.
Try writing in a journal/ notebook for 10 mins every morning rather than checking email or social media.
Writing something daily has reframed my entire approach to life.
Journaling has helped me to retain the thoughts and ideas that I read and learn, apply focus to my thoughts and ensure that my actions are geared towards my vision, avoiding scattered reactions.
One of the ways in which I research for this blog is to journal my thoughts of the day and then attempt to find answers to areas of inconsistency between my world view and my actions.
Start by writing a few sentences, but do it daily.
Journaling helped me develop the habit of writing which in turn aids focus, crystallises your thoughts, gives clarity to your vision and ensures your actions are aligned to your thoughts.
Our brains deceive us and blind side us about our future selves.
You’d expect that thinking about our future selves would excite the medial prefrontal cortex. Yet the opposite happens. It starts to shut down, meaning the brain treats the person we’re going to become as a stranger. And the farther you project into the future, the more of a stranger you become. If you took the time to think about how the transportation revolution would impact the future you, the you that you were thinking of is literally not you.
We are unable to envisage life in another state, form or setting. Our brains are wired to think laterally, and are aligned to visual and experiential recognition.
This is why people have a tough time saving for retirement or staying on a diet or getting regular prostate exams—the brain believes that the person who would benefit from those difficult choices isn’t the same one making those choices. This is also why, if you’ve been reading this article and having trouble processing the speed of the change ahead, perhaps fluctuating between “total BS” and “holy crap,” well, you’re not alone. Couple this with the limitations imposed by our local and linear brains in a global and exponential world, and accurate prediction becomes a considerable problem. Even under normal conditions, these built-in features of our neurobiology make us blind to what’s around the bend.
The poem above was how John D. Rockefeller would sum up his own life when he was 86 years old. He could not have been more precise and more succinct. Especially with that last line. Rockefeller was a paradigmatic capitalist: extremely frugal in his private life, merciless in business and convinced that he was following a divine plan. "My money was given to me by God", he would say.
Rockefeller claimed he was the richest man in the world. He lived for almost a century (he was born in 1839 and died in 1937) and even now, so many years later, his still casts a shadow over New York
John Davison Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company and aggressively ran it until he officially retired in 1897. As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller's wealth soared, and he became the world's richest man and the first American to be worth over a Billion dollars.
Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy. He was able to do this through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research. Rockefeller's benefactions during his lifetime totaled more than $500 million.
For a more in depth history of John D Rockefeller read this.
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Wisdom/ What I'm reading...
Decision making mechanism:
At school we learnt what to think and remember but not how to think, remember and learn. This is a fundamental failing of our education system.
Meta-thinking is thinking about thinking - learning how to make better decisions. In our day to day lives we have to make decisions all the time, some are required urgently and others need to be thought about thoroughly, regardless, a structured mechanism of how to think through this process is very helpful.
You don’t have thoughts you do thoughts
Let me introduce Edward de Bono and his famous 6 Hat thinking process in decision making.
Apply this towards a problem you are trying to solve and have been struggling to make a decision.
How it works:
Think of 6 different coloured hats - each hat has a different view and role,
White - analytical and logical - based on facts
Red - emotional, how do you feel about the situation
Yellow - Optimist hat - best case scenario, what can go right
Black - the critical hat - what can go wrong, be judge mental
Green - Growth hat, look at more opportunities more options outside the box
Blue - the manager hat - it listens to all the other hats and then makes a decision
More on How to Use the Six Thinking Hats Model - click here
Go through the decision making process whilst wearing each hat. During the discussion, each person wears the same hat at the same time, to encourage collaboration and minimize conflict.This methodology gives you permission to take on a different viewpoint and think of ideas and solutions that you wouldn’t normally consider
I encourage you to use this technique during your next decision making dilemma
Nominated for the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2005, Edward de Bono is regarded by many as the leading authority in the field of creative thinking.
Dr. Edward de Bono pioneered numerous practical thinking tools, used worldwide in schools and businesses. One of the most famous is the Six Thinking Hats.
This is not just a business tool. It was used to help millions of people after the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. Relief planners in Sri Lanka after the tsunami used the Six Hats approach to plan and implement reconstruction efforts more effectively. The method was used to generate a shared sense of the major issues in the reconstruction process. It took only twelve hours to get the plan ready and two days to hammer out a detailed and sustainable solution.
Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono is a Maltese physician, psychologist, author, inventor, philosopher and consultant. He originated the term lateral thinking, wrote the book Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject in schools.
He has held faculty appointments at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Harvard. Dr. de Bono's background in self-organising systems led him to derive an understanding which he then applied to the neural networks of the brain.
The appeal of Dr. de Bono's work is its simplicity and practicality. It can be used by four year olds and by senior executives; by Down syndrome youngsters and Nobel laureates.
Read the latest edition of this 1985 classic here
Here’s another interesting read by De Bono on Creative Thinking.