3 Tools That Help Me To Reveal Toxic Thinking Patterns

Growing personally remains a matter of observing our habits and altering them. If we want to change, we need to break with our conditions and reveal our true needs. “Habit needs unconsciousness to be repeated. Where consciousness enters, habit falls.” Again I refer to Thích Nhất Hạnh here.

Habit has no power anymore as soon as we are aware of it. But how do we break the chains of habit and practice ‘change’ persistently? How do we get our willpower back?

There were so many things that I wanted to quit or change in my life. I read dozens of articles and books on self-improvement, on how to establish healthy routines and foster positive changes.

More and more I found out that if I want to live in a new way, I have to find out what are the old ways?

Simple, right? I have to avoid unhealthy behaviours. But what are these toxic behaviours? Smoking? Eating sugar? Drinking too much coffee? Yeah, these are the obvious ones. But what else is there? How many times have I found myself ruminating negative thoughts and mistakes? How many times do I still make others responsible for my feelings?

To get to the core of my toxic ways ot thinking I really need to have a closer look. How can I develop compassion for myself, if I don’t know me (well enough)? There are some easy steps that help me with the process of becoming more self-aware. I would like to share them with you in this threesome.

1. Practice Being Alert

Survey your behaviour – especially in conversations. I found out that a lot of times I take things too personal. This is a way of giving away my power. It is proof that I have problems with ‘staying with myself’. It is a sign for lacking self-awareness and at the end self-love.

It sounds familiar to you? So, what can you do instead?

Listen more than you speak. Watch yourself and see how your feelings resonate with the words that are spoken. When do you react emotionally? When do you get angry? When do you take things personally? Instead of plain reaction – get in touch with your emotions and desires. Ask yourself why you act like this? What would be an appropriate reaction?

By being aware of our reactions we are learning to review our thinking from a higher perspective. This way we can identify unhealthy thinking patterns.

2. Slow Down

Eat slow, walk slow, breathe slow, be slow. Abandon rushing from your life and everything will change. All of a sudden you will notice things that you’ve never noticed before. You will understand everything better.

“If you win time you win it all,” says Buddha and his disciples.

By paying better attention to our environment we automatically pay attention to what is happening inside of us. This doesn’t only give us the opportunity to act appropriate but also to arrive in the ‘now’. This is meditation – being slow.

3. Find the ‘Why’

I really need to understand the benefits of quitting a bad habit before I can alter it. For example: Theoretically I understand why eating sugar is a bad thing, but as long as I never find out what happens if I stop eating sugar / start meditating / going for a run in the morning I will never establish this habit.

I think this is why it is so hard to adapt the habits of ‘successful people’, because these habits might don’t suit our real needs. Journaling is might be helpful for people who like to write. But for some it is maybe not, because they get even more caught up in there strange thinking patterns.

We have to ask why in both directions. Why do we cling to negative habits? What can we do instead? And why / how changes a new habit my overall well-being? In any way we need to be open to ‘try something new’ every once in a while, if we really want to change our lives.

 

We Grow When We Sleep

Yesterday I fell asleep before I could post anything. The casual pre-tooth-brushing-five-minutes-nap turned into a six hours pass out. I woke up when the dawn was already breaking.

But now I’m happy, because it inspired me to post something more meaningful.

The topic of my heart turned out to be healing. Cultivating self-love, spiritual growth, personal development, overcoming pain, reclaiming compassion – in the end it all comes down to the same thing: Healing.

Yesterday night after a two days storytelling coaching job I’ve decided to have a piece of pizza and a glass of red wine at this tiny pizza bar near Rosenheimer Platz in Munich. “What’s this?,” with childlike curiosity the guy behind me in the queue pointed at the pizza ‘salsiccia spinaci’. The spark in his eyes resonated with my wave-length. Unhesitatingly I sat down on his table to share a moment of company.

Immediately he opened up and told me the story of his past weeks. “I just came back from fusion festival,” he reminisced and reassured unintentionally that we belong to the same tribe.

It turned out that he just dropped his medicine studies. Becoming a doctor collided with his worldview. According to him being beneficial for humanity and working in the – irritatingly called – ‘health sector’ is a contradiction in this society. “We learn medicine for 70-year-olds,” he complained with a last trace of disillusionment. “Modern medicine is more about ‘interfering’ with the human body than about maintaining health,” he summed up.

You decide to be sick.

I could totally comprehend what he was saying. Taking responsibility for our own bodies should be something we learn in school, but instead we rely on a dubious system to keep us alive when we are sick.

“You decide to be sick, ” he advocated for our ability for self-healing. Through his words I found myself releasing a lot of tension that had built up during the past weeks of traveling and working.

Things like meridian lines, qì or kundalini energy are referred to in human history since decades. So, why would I not feel what is happening inside of my body if I learn to pay attention to it?

Dis-ease is what’s causing illness. And what is the state of health? ‘To be at ease’. Only when we find relaxation we find health.

I soaked up every word of the conversation – well aware that this encounter was a once in a lifetime one.

I smiled at the universe pondering the lessons of my past months: Healing takes time and not constant action. By re-acting all the time, by planning, by overdoing I’m ruining my (karmic) energy and in the end my physical and mental health.

“When you change your perspective things change automatically.” Briefly we’ve started talking about politics, but this quote applies one to one to the good old habits.

There doesn’t have to be a direct cure for everything. As soon as we are making an effort to change a small thing, e.g. what we eat, how much we sleep or how we work we eventually find great results:

Things fall into place automatically. We find the time for the things we love, our stress-level drops and in the end we might even become healthier.

I need a practical example for this: Since I’ve started to seriously reduce processed foods and industrial sugar my overall ability to focus had improved tremendously. Automatically I’m getting more stuff done (like this writing experiment). THIS is healing on a higher level.

It doesn’t take as much as I thought to become the human I want to be IF I’m willing to honestly change my point of view, question what I thought was ‘me’, if I’m willing to seriously try new lifestyles…

Through these changes I rattle the fundament of my thinking patterns and eventually the truth reveals.

By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

When we are planting a seed we just need to water it. If we are looking at it all the time and try to convince it to grow faster nothing will happen, but we will stress ourselves out.

Our body is a living entity of organs, chemical processes and microorganisms. It is a part of nature. An autonomic system of nerves and neurotransmitters takes care of it. I don’t need to ‘be aware’ of it all the time. It is better to let it be sometimes. By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

“We grow when we are sleeping.” – I woke up with this sentence in my head this morning. It really made me smile as normally I would have been disappointed that “I got nothing done” last night. Instead my body decided to get some rest before I could even tell him to do so.

There is a built in regulation system that protects me if I let it. By trying to control it all the time I hinder it from doing its job.

I can’t believe it took me such a long time to understand the connection between my stress level, my immune system and my productivity.

Again it became obvious to me: If I want to grow I need to let go.

 

Learning to Unlearn

At the beginning of this blog in summer 2017 I thought this is all about ‘learning’. My aim was to expand my toolbox in order to be more productive, more balanced, more happy (Whatever that meant to me at this point in time.). I thought: “If I’d just learnt this lifehack.” “If I’d just be able to master my mind like successful person xy.”, everything would be perfect.

I failed adapting most of productivity hacks. I couldn’t develop these ‘healthy routines’ that supposedly would project an undreamt-of-degree of happiness into my life. Nothing improved. I might got slightly more stuff done, but my overall well-being hadn’t improved. And: I didn’t have the slightest idea how I wanted to feel.

“Why do you only think black and white?”, my therapist during this time called upon my lacking self-compassion. I didn’t have a proper answer. There was only this massive wall of perfectionism sealing off my potential. I could touch it, but I didn’t know how to demolish it.

I had to dig deeper. This was for sure. What I found was a lot of pain buried deep down under my obsessive will to ‘improve myself’. Under the pain there were my strengths downtrodden by my negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviours.

My mission was not to add something to my personality, but to reveal my individual traits. These characteristics are my weapons. These are the tools that help me to fulfill my purpose in this world. Happiness or let’s call it contentment is what comes naturally with accepting and integrating these peculiarities.

My task in this lifetime is to eradicate toxic habits in order to root up my real me. This requires commitment and courage. I can’t just ‘adapt’ other peoples methods of being productive, creative or self-disciplined. I have to develop my own strategies.

What I found out was that my bad habits and my thinking-patterns are not my own. I adopted them. I’m conditioned to think in a certain way. I’m conditioned to judge, to react, to be afraid. The good news is: I have the power to change.

But how? How do I unlearn? How do I re-condition? By pausing. By observing and by questioning my behaviour and my thoughts. The following to-do’s are not necessarily consecutive, they are interdependent. You will understand why:

1. Observe Your Behaviour

The first step in our process of unlearning is to observe. By observing we create a gap between us and our actions. Things change aggregate state as soon as we look at them. Habits lose their power as soon as we catch them unattended. They move from a subconscious level to consciousness.

This is something we can integrate into our daily life. “Again I wasted my energy for some stupid shit.” So what? This realization is the type of observation we need in order to create a gap.

It doesn’t only apply to actions, but also to thoughts. If the immoderate perfectionism is lurking, we just ask him what he wants. And there it is again: The gap. As soon as you look right into the eyes of your perfectionism it loses its power.

2. Detach From Your Conditions

If I keep telling myself “Stop this stupid perfectionism” I’m narrowing this gap again. I become a victim of the characteristic that I want to eliminate.

By punishing myself my mind becomes my enemy again. My whole body gets tight. I’m falling into subconscious behaviour.

The only option is “to let go”, to detach from it. To not see it as my trait, but as something that occurs every now and then. This way I look at my supposedly mistakes and surrender. If I take them lightly I don’t get trapped again.

3. Question Your Desires

Questioning became my tool to explore my needs and get to the core of my being. I found out that I can’t know what I want, but I can feel it – if I ask honest questions and take the time to find the answer.

To stay with the example of poisonous perfectionism: I asked myself. “Why am I such a perfectionist?”. The answer is that I’m not allowing myself mistakes, because I’m afraid to not be lovable. So, the desire under my desire to be perfect is to be loved. This reveals a complete different need. My need is not to be perfect, but to be loved.

More and more it becomes obvious why all my attempts to live happily failed. By following all these notions and desires blindly I distracted myself. I cured the symtoms, but I didn’t try to heal myself.

4. Connect With Yourself

I didn’t question if what I wanted was what I really wanted or just what I was told to be wanting or what I thought could fix my lack of self-esteem.

I wanted to become somebody instead of accepting who I am. I was not able to connect with myself and find out about my real qualities. It is not possible to find purpose anywhere else apart from at the very core of my being.

5. Alter Your Habits

There is always this thin line between not being too hard on myself and becoming the person who I want to be. But after all it is inevitable to start walking on the tight-rope of self-improvement.

In order to unlearn there needs to be the willingness to change. That’s the only reason why we should look at our behaviours, question them, detach from them and finally connect with ourselves. The next step is to do what is good for you – for your real you. And then DO IT. Alter it. Don’t do what doesn’t serve you anymore….

Through this whole procedure we reach a complete new layer of consciousness. This is how we are diving into the unknown – how we connect with the divine of our existence.

 

Rules Of The Road

This is a worksheet. It started off three years ago with a page in my notebook with the title “Things To Consider” and it issued into this blog. Haha, but I condensed some of the things here. There is no order. Everything is crucial for my survival.

  1. Surround yourself with people who are lifting you higher.
  2. Express your gratefulness as often as you can.
  3. Be happy and let the world know it. Happiness is contagious.
  4. Don’t put too much value and truth in words, ideas or concepts, but trust your intuition.
  5. Have always positive intentions. Think ONLY positive (I always thought it is normal to have doubts all the time, but no, it’s not. If negative thoughts loom, don’t make a movie out of it. Just stop it. Think about something else.)
  6. Appreciate endings, because they are always new beginnings.
  7. Drop your perfectionism. Forgive yourself mistakes immediately. Best case scenario: Drop the word ‘mistake’ from your vocabulary completely, because there are no mistakes in this world.
  8. Be as loud as you want. Be as quiet as you want. Be you.
  9. Don’t re-act all the time. Be passive at times. Only act, when it’s necessary. (Kung-Fu)
  10. Stay grounded and always balance your energy level. Don’t let emotions take you over.
  11. Never forget: You’ve got a treasure in your heart. You’ve got all the beauty inside of you. Just release it. Turn it into energy. You’ve got the power – use it.
  12. Don’t be afraid of the nothingness. It is taken care of you. Everything you need is right there.
  13. You don’t have to do anything. Do what is good for you. Say no to everything else.
  14. You don’t need to be “professional”. You don’t need to be anything. Just be you.
  15. You can heal yourself from the inside. And life itself can cure you.
  16. Keep in touch with the planet. Mother nature needs you (how you are).
  17. Be in service. Be available for the people around you. Listen, give hugs and smile at people as much as you can.
  18. You are welcome. Everywhere you go.
  19. Don’t be scared. Trust.
  20. Stop reaching for more. Be happy with less.
  21. Don’t forget who you are, but don’t take yourself so f*cking serious all the time. You are just one of many human beings. So stop trying to be a saint.
  22. Don’t see the obstacles, but see the opportunities.
  23. Slow down. Take a break. Never rush. It’s unhealthy for you. Impatience is your enemy.
  24. Don’t hesitate, but do not hurry.
  25. Follow your excitement.
  26. The force is with you.

Amen.

 

Why I Get Nothing Done

It’s not accurate that I get nothing done. I just don’t get done what I want to get done.

I found this verbal outpour in my inexhaustible source of notes. What stunnes me is how accurate I describe my – I would like to call it – ideation process. In a few years probably I will smile about this type of examination, but right now it illustrates my behaviour lively. My goal is still to write my heart out here – believing in the process and stuff. So, here we go:

“Why I get nothing done” – Well, this is actually the wrong title for this article, because it suggests that I know why I get nothing done. Reality is, I don’t know, really. But if I continue searching I might won’t publish anything (like in most cases as you will find out later on).

In the hope to unclog my blogging-pipeline I will just press the publishing button in a few minutes.

What happens if I want to write an article?

Phase 1: “I have an idea”

Well, it all starts with an idea (some random situation, metro, bed, toilet, any kind of waiting room, forest, plane, train,…) I write down the rough idea/insight into my notebook or on my phone. I think to myself “This is already half the article. Great I will just sit down for half an hour more and than it is all ready to publish.”

Happy and half-accomplished I continue my day knowing that I will write an article the next time I’ll sit on my computer.

But than reality strikes. I open my laptop. I even close all the unnecessary tabs and windows and I start writing. At the beginning it all looks promising. Until one point. Let’s call it the point of no return.

I’m overflowing with ideas and all of a sudden I realize that I have to start another article, because I already reach too many aspects with this one article. And then I think: “Wait a second?” – “Do I actually know what I’m talking about here?” – “What does this word actually mean?” All of a sudden I’m losing control over my own thoughts. I start another document. Maybe a third one where I’m trying to filter my thoughts. Let’s call it ‘outtakes’.

Then I get so confused and I decide “I leave it for now” and rather listen to some 432 Hz forest sounds.

Phase 2: “I want to finish this article”

A couple of weeks later another idea crosses my path. And than it comes in to my mind that I already had started a similar article a few weeks back. “I should have a look and re-read what I thought a few months ago”.

“Wait – I think I read an inspiring article about this topic in a blog. Or was in a book? Or did I have a conversation about it? Or was it Alan Watts who visited me in my dreams and told me about it? 🙂 ”

And this is already the beginning of the end. In this case either I will find out how shitty and unispired my idea is or I just get sucked in by ‘inspiring talks’ on youtube or the odd TED talk about “How to travel the world with no money” or something like this… You get the point.

Phase 3: “Procrastinating procrastination”

But then, sometimes something magical happens – I catch myself watching stuff not related to my topic and miraculously I shake an article like this one off my sleeve.

Hm, I’m not sure if I’m crazy or if this is just part of the process? Maybe I’m just learning? I guess it’s part of the process. I also guess it’s time for The Artist’s Way – many people I admire recommended me this book. The thing is – I write so much already, but none of my ideas gets out of my way. So – maybe this is my way? We will see.

Cheers from the procrastination front

 

3 Fertilizer for Personal Growth

Alright, this is real life stuff right here. The threesome goes into the next round without mercy. This is the essence of this whole personal development thing on the spot: The willingness to learn, to adapt and to be open for change. What helps us to not stop learning? What keeps us on track on our journey of personal growth?

1. Being Patient

“I can’t do this.” “I’m too stupid.” “This is not for me.” “I will never change.” How many times in my life had this negative believe system prevented me from reaching my personal goals? It took me a long time to really understand that learning is a long process. I don’t learn a language within a day and for sure I don’t change my believe system within a day.

It takes actually a lot of time and it always starts with the first step. A steep learning curve can be frightening, but by doing one step at a time we automatically learn. It’s like climbing a mountain. (Sometimes it’s the mountain without the peak.) We don’t fly to the top. Physical effort is needed and in the meantime the view is our reward.

Patience is crucial for this learning process. Don’t expect to be perfect at anything from the very beginning. Mistakes are not only okay, but necessary to improve and to internalize learnings. This is simply how our brain works. Perfectionism is preventing us from learning.

A couple of weeks ago I published “Fail Fast, Learn Quick” if you feel like diving deeper into this topic.

2. Talking To People

Nowadays every person is exposed to different cultural influences through the media, through work and social relationships. This makes everyone of us a very unique human being. The good thing about being highly individualized is that we can learn a lot from each other – from actual skills to habits through to different ways of interacting with each other.

Every person has a different worldview and every conversation is the opportunity to learn something new. Every encounter with another person can be valuable if we are open to listen closely and ask questions with real curiosity.

3. Embracing the Unknown

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – After all it is really important that we are opening up to the unknown. Facing new situations, new skills or experiences unbiased and with a positive attitude is the base for personal development.

Sometimes we might face a situation that we never thought we would master. If we maintain a positive mindset in these situations we are going to grow. Considering different perspectives as mentioned before helps us to gain understanding for foreign circumstances.

 

“You will learn in spite of yourself; that’s the rule.”

Carlos Castaneda from “The Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”

 

3 Steps Towards Positive Thinking

Alright, it is time to revive the threesome. I’d like to call it writing exploration. What do I explore here? There are a lot of insights that I want to integrate into my life myself. In order to manifest my discoveries I need to write them down here. This growthbuddy is here to help me and hopefully you too. The other day I watched a talk that inspired me to write this article. I condensed the most valuable insights here.

1. Make timetravel a routine

What do you have in mind right now? Are you consumed by negative thoughts? Do you feel stress or tension inside of you? Take a moment to recognise what is going on inside of you. And now think about something really really positive. Some event that made you really happy – no matter if it was in the distant past or recently. Go back to this emotion and smile. Was it this amazing sunset at your last holidays? The birthday of your daughter or your son? Extensive dancing last Saturday?

Be as happy as you were in this moment. Take a moment to really go back to this place and enjoy the feeling. It’s the best if you do this with your eyes closed. But really take a couple of minutes to dive into this experience that lifted your heart higher.

Wow – that was intense. But isn’t it interesting? You were able to relive a feeling only with your mind. Imagine you have all these positive memories in your head. Like in a house with a very sunny balcony, where you spend a warm autumn afternoon, there are these positive thoughts in your mind where you can always go back to. So why go back to the dark and damp basement of your mind all the time?

How we feel depend on where we are in our head. What I realized over the past years of self-exploration: I can actually control where my thoughts go if I really want to. And it is actually not that hard.

2. Cultivate positive thoughts

A long long time I thought. “I’m just a pessimist.” “I’m paranoid.” “I’m different.” Until I found out that it is only me who focusses on negative thoughts. I’m actually addicted to negative thinking. “THIS is inanity.” – I thought to myself. But this time I didn’t say it with the bashing voice in my head. No, I actually understood that this is not insanity, it is just the wrong conditioning. I always felt like a slave to my thoughts until I figured that I just have to change them. Now that I write it down I can’t believe I didn’t understand that earlier. I just took my own thoughts way to seriously all the past 30 years. And this became my reality.

Okay, it is easy to change my thoughts from negative into positive once. But how do I manifest positive thinking as a mindset? Well, how do I get better at anything? Yes, by practice. It is just like going to the gym. I need to exercise positive thinking. As soon as a negative thoughts hit me I acknowledge them. I say “hi” and then I switch to the warm soothing voice in my head. This voice reminds me that there is a lot of positive stuff happening in my life.

Like our home we need to clean, maintain and sometimes refurbish our mind. A bed of beautiful flowers stays beautiful as long as we care for it. I always thought positive thinking is rocket science. I need to study it. But fortunately not – I can just do it. I can just think positive.

3. Create your happy place

Okay, this one is a bit over the top, but for me this metaphor helps me to survive my vivid travel life: I made my mind the most wonderful place on the planet. Well, sometimes it’s still messy, haha.  But having a cosy home in my head helps me to bare my own presence. If I really think about it, where else would I feel really at home in this messed up world apart from “in my head”?

Sounds crazy? For me too!

 

Fail Fast, Learn Quick

You are standing on the edge of a cliff. Beneath your feet the blue of the ocean is hypnotizing you. Waves are breaking powerfully on the rocks. “You can do that!” – “Can I do that?” – “You just dive in” -“What if I crash?” – The voices in your head are fighting a running battle. Finally with the heartbeat up to your chin you jump. A rush of adrenaline is taking your breathe before you plunge smoothly into the water.

For a fraction of a second you lose your sense of direction. One moment later you are already back on the surface. A smile arises from your inside while you are swimming with ease back to the boulders you climbed before. “The next time I gonna do a cannonball.”, you think to yourself with a sense of fulfillment.

Jumping down these five meters was just a matter of overcoming your fear of failure. By making a leap you became aware of your true capabilities.

It is by diving into the unknown that we learn. We are learning to swim, we are learning to jump off cliffs (or three meter towers), we are learning to interact with others, we are learning a different language, new skills. At the beginning we are making mistakes: We might land on our belly the first time we jump off the cliff. Or we can’t wrap our head around the verb classifications of a new language. But we are getting there slowly. Our brain gets there, because it creates new connections everytime we supposedly “fail”.

A long time I’d rather do nothing than doing something wrong. What I didn’t understand was that I only learn through my mistakes. More and more in the process of learning to appreciate my own suffering I’m understanding that this “suffering” is just the pain I feel after making a what I consider “wrong” decision. Or it is caused by this fear of making the wrong decision.

At the moment I’m fighting a lot of battles with myself about which way to go, which job to keep, which friends to meet or which new destination to target. Whether if it is on a personal level or on a professional level – these thoughts are stealing my energy and shattering my last nerve.

What I’m practicing is the acceptance of this pain AND the ability to make a decision anyways. Yes, making a decision not the (the only right) decision.

Mistakes are invariable in the process of making anything better (a life or a product). To put it differently – failure is inevitable on the way to success. The inventor of the light bulb Thomas Edison and his team tested around 3000 (!!) different designs for the light bulb before they found a solid solution. It took years.

Without failure also personal growth is not possible. We don’t learn, if we do everything perfect all the time. Because if we do everything perfect we only adjust to the demands, but we never actually seize our full potential.

I’m repeating myself: What had always been holding me back from achieving personal or professional goals was my fear of failure!

Now I’m trying a different approach: I prototype my life. I define, I try, I fail, I improve – “trial and error”.  How ever you want to call it – the idea is the same. A prototype is not perfect. It improves in iterations and so does my life. 

Okay, so far so good. That’s easier said than done. But how are we going to put this in practice?

1. Don’t be Attached To The Image You Have Of Yourself

We don’t realise that we become the slaves of our own thoughts by saying: “This is just how I am.” These thoughts are planted into our head – either by ourselves or by our surrounding. Maybe we are still attached to the idea we had about ourselves when we were twelve years old?

You don’t consider yourself as creative? Maybe you just didn’t find the right way to express yourself or you simply have the wrong idea about “somebody who is creative” in your head? You are not a rational thinker? Only because you spoiled your physics exam in school doesn’t mean you can never be an engineer. The most important thing is to understand, that these thoughts are not us – even if we are the ones telling them to ourselves. What if you have skills you never thought of?

2. Don’t Fall In Love With Your Ideas

There is a rule in the method of design thinking (and other lean/agile working methods) that links to the written above. “Don’t fall in love with your ideas”. We have this overall image about ourselves in our head. On the other hand we also vision the necessary improvements: Things that need to be done in order to become the person we are supposed to be being.

“When I achieve this and this I gonna be happy.” “If I was just a little bit more rational/outgoing/talkative/had more knowledge/more friends my life would be perfect” or “If I just had that much money, I would be able to live a happy life.” Don’t get me wrong – it is good, no it is neccesary to have goals in life, but by focussing on only the things that we already have in mind we might miss the opportunity to find something else that lights up our heart. With this attitude we close ourselves towards our own truth. So, don’t fall in love with your ideas and stay flexible.

3. Be Willing To Change

What teaches me the most in life? Basically the situations where I let go of old patterns. The moments when I try something new. The moments when I have to adapt to a new situation. In these moments I can literally feel how my ability to live life properly (whatever that means, I will think about it) had improved. Exposing myself to adversity, trying new jobs, learning new skills – this is what really teaches me the most.

“Invent yourself new” – is not only a slogan from the fashion industry (?). Sticking with the same hobbies, the same interests, the same people can only lead to stagnation. Our brain literally needs stimulation to build new connections. Once in a while it is important to do something where we once said “I’m not the type for this.” We might fail, we might don’t like it, but if we never try we will never know.

4. Be Open For Advice

The great thing about living amongst other human beings is that we can learn from each other. Everyone of us makes their own experiences and creates their personal reality.

In order to broaden our horizon we need to listen to others. We can’t change our perspective by standing at the same point of view. Sometimes others know better what we are capable of. A lot of times we limit ourselves with the idea about what we can and what we can’t do. If we take our desires and perspectives too seriously we obstruct the outlook for new opportunities.

5. Drop This F*cking Perfectionism

… and cultivate a healthy failure culture. Aiming for perfection leads nowhere. Nothing will ever be perfect or to put it differently: everything is already perfect. With this approach every new start becomes easier. There is nothing to achieve, there is only something to learn. Don’t blame yourself for being a failure only because things don’t turn out how you wish. Accept your mistakes as being a part of the process.

6. Be Willing To Start Again And Again And Again…..

“Nobody said it was easy….” In order to improve anything in our life we need patience. Sometimes I ask myself: “Will I ever learn?” I feel like I’m doing the same mistakes over and over again. But with this question I already hold myself back from learning. Instead I have to acknowledge: “Hmm, again the same mistake. What have I learnt this time?” The lessons we face are always confronting us for a reason. The same mistakes are just reminding us to keep digging. This is the peaceful war with ourselves. 

Conclusion

While we grow older we lose our sense of adventure a little bit. We are trying to predict the future by considering risks, opportunities and values of a decision. A lot of times we are trying to make “the right decision” instead of allowing ourselves to leave things a little bit more open.

What if we admit that we can’t predict the outcome of a decision anyways? Instead we remain in a state of fear. This fear is leaving us in a state of faint. I don’t say we need to fail on purpose, but I say we should allow ourselves more often to jump off the cliff into a deep blue ocean of the unknown.

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

 

Micro Habit Challenge 3.2 – Pomodoro Mastery

Alrighty, the second week of my challenge is coming to an end. Honestly, sugarcoating is not my style and not the purpose of this blog. I just have to be honest with you – even if it hurts. Well, what had changed? Not much compared to last week. The meditation challenge faded into mediocrity, but at least I started to collect tomatos. But I won’t pull myself down into the pool of self-pity, instead I’m pointing out my learning – which are reasonably powerful. 😉

What had changed?

  • I refined my individualized pomodoro method: Basically I started to use the traditional pomodore concept in order to tally every task of my day. Every day I collected between three and twelve tomatos. These 25 minute-slots helped me to stay focussed. The timebox proved to be one of my favourite tools of effectiveness since I heard the word “agile” for the very first time. 😉 But the good old pomodoro technique is even better: The concept includes my hobby “procrastination” – a five minute creative break is scheduled after every high-concentrated working-slot. Finally time management became fun for me. Sometimes I extended the slots and sometimes I shortened it a bit, but there was no excuse not to finish a slot without interruption.
  • Again I screwed the meditation challege. This time I meditated only three times before I went to bed (if you include dancing as meditation than five times 😉 BUT: I made “meditation” my energy boost during the day! How? When I reached the afternoon low or a peak of my “priority-confusion” (Wwaahh, I don’t know where to start!! The panic monster is beckoning over…) I decided to get off my desk and go for a walk to the roof top terrace of the office building next door. I climbed the stairs and set the alarm for a ten-minute-open-air-meditation (The weather did it’s bit last week, because it was unusually warm and sunny).
  • As I mentioned last week I wanted to set a weekly goal: My aim – finishing some backend tasks (e.g. photo editing, SEO measures) on my blog uliquitous I accomplished successfully.

Conclusion

At the end of the day I’m still a chaotic person and I have to admit that this kind of stuff requires a lot of discipline of me. But as I can see small steps into the right direction I will stay motivated. Tiny “bites” of focussed work let my to-do list shrink. The next week(s) I will definitely continue with the simple but yet powerful pomodoro method. And meditation? As a support I ordered another book of Osho, which will hopefully provide some guidance on my way towards the silent mind.

 

Ooooommmmmmmmm…..

 

Micro Habit Challenge 3.1 – Finding Routine in Chaos

This challenge didn’t look hard to me in the first place, but somehow it turned out to be demanding. To make it short: I failed – at least in the meditation challenge I couln’t cheat my weaker self. I meditated only on 4/7 nights due to a lack of motivation or tiredness. But to be fair – I mastered the second part of the challenge with flying colours: Finally I managed to find time slots to get something done. And actually this challenge even pushed me to integrate more of these 25 minute slots into my day. So finally there are a bunch of tasks I completed which I postponed since weeks or even months. I understood that I can achieve things, if I just do one step at a time.

What had changed in detail?

  • My downgraded pomodoro method (25 minutes slots) actually helps me to get in the flow. I finally stoped postponing.
  • I learned that it is hard to integrate routines if I don’t have any other routine. The solution: I find flexible times during my day to integrate a small meditation. For example at lunch break or during the afternoon low.
  • Plus: I was more aware of my breathing during everyday activities like driving in the subway, just sitting in the sun, walking or even working. During my day I tried to go for short walk, which helped me a lot to stay energized during the day.
  • Finally: I learnt that meditation is not a practice, it is actually a state of mind. Every action can be meditation.

What do I want to make differently this week?

  • Still keep trying to meditate to finish my day – additionally to every type of relaxation I’m doing during my day.
  • Setting goals for the next day before I go to bed.
  • Setting a weekly goal I want to achieve.
  • Keep growing!