How much do I want to read more? 7/10

Lots of piece of wisdom grabbed here and there from other books.
Almost like a quote book where the author explained how each one helped him.
Since I still don't have a clear direction where to go, I'm gonna do the exercice of the 100 questions and read the book "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci" (Michael Gelb)


THE CLASS WE NEVER HAD

Isn’t it a bit odd that we went from Science to Math to History but some-how missed the class on how to live?

But imagine if that class did exist—and the teachers included everyone from old-school philosophers like Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Emerson, Nietzsche and Buddha to modern sages like Joseph Campbell, Paulo Coelho, Dan Millman, Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, Robin Sharma, Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer plus the world’s leading positive psychologists such as Sonja Lyubomirsky, Tal Ben-Shahar and Martin Seligman who are scientifically establishing how we can live with more happiness, meaning and mojo.

[quote, Stephen Covey]
“I believe that a life of integrity is the most fundamental source of personal worth. I do not agree with the popular success literature that says that self-esteem is primarily a matter of mind set, of attitude—that you can psych yourself into peace of mind. Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.”

[quote, Viktor Frankl]
“Again and again I therefore admonish my students in Europe and America: Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.
For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

An Intro

A LOVER OF WISDOM

The Classic Greeks had three words for love: eros (for sexual love), agape (for selfless love) and philo (for a brotherly sort of love).

Philo shows up in philanthropist (lover of people) and in one of my favorite words: Philosopher (Philo + Sophia = “lover of wisdom” where wisdom is knowledge of life).

Therefore, a Philosopher is, quite simply, someone in love with understanding how to create an authentically awesome life.

So, that’s why I call myself a Philosopher. I’m super passionate about understanding how to live an extraordinary life as I make my little dent in the Universe.

THERE ARE NO SECRETS

They tell us that creating a life filled with true meaning, joy, love, appreciation, creativity, wisdom, kindness, generosity, hope, optimism, energy, enthusiasm and all that goodness is about VIRTUE and INTEGRITY. We’ve gotta diligently, patiently, persistently and (very importantly!) playfully embody our truths and rock our fundamentals so that what we say is important to us aligns with who we are and how we show up in the world.

THE INTEGRITY GAP

Guys like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle tell us that if we want happiness, we’ve gotta live with Areté—a word that directly translates as “virtue” or “excellence” but has a deeper meaning, something closer to “living at your highest potential moment to moment.”

Capable / Integrity Gap / Actual

Now, if there’s a GAP between what we’re capable of doing/being and what we actually do/who we are, guess what sneaks in? Depression/anxiety/ick.

Often easier said than done, but close the integrity gap and there’s no room for the negative stuff. Just a whole lot of happiness.

HAPPINESS = VIRTUES IN ACTION

Although they differ on the details, these classics (from the Bible to the The Bhagavad Gita to the Bushido samurai code) say the same thing: Live with virtue.

In fact, the researchers identified a constellation of six core virtues: wisdom, courage, love, justice, temperance and spirituality. They set out to scientifically establish that, when we put these virtues in action, we’ll live with more happiness, meaning and mojo.

The equation is simple: Happiness = Virtues in Action (VIA).

one of the keys to happiness is simple: Use your strengths often.
Do so in service to something bigger than yourself and you’ll be blessed with abundant happiness and a life filled with meaning and all that goodness to boot.

THE PRACTICE OF HAPPINESS

in Jefferson’s day, the “pursuit of ” something didn’t mean you chased after it, it meant you PRACTICED it.
Like the pursuit of medicine. Or the pursuit of law. Or… the pursuit of happiness.
Happiness isn’t some elusive treasure we chase after. It’s a state of being we need to PRACTICE.

SPIRITUAL FARTS

Reverend Michael Beckwith tells us that if we simply study and talk about spiritual truths but never actually LIVE the stuff, we’re gonna get spiritual indigestion and constipation.

Spiritual farts.
It’s not a pretty thing.
Seriously.

theory is rudimentary spirituality.
Practice? Actually LIVING it? That’s the advanced stuff.

YOUR #1S

1. What’s the #1 thing I could start doing today that, if I did it consistently, would have THE most positive impact in my life? (Then do it.)

2. What’s the #1 thing I could stop doing right now, that, if I stopped doing it, would have the greatest positive impact in my life? (Then quit doing it.)

Seriously, though. Whenever I find myself a little stressed/overwhelmed/whatever I ask myself these two questions—it’s a REALLY powerful way to get the mojo back!

BLING TREADMILL

most of us spend our lives chasing one thing after another—the bigger bank balance, the shinier bling,
Psychologists call that being stuck on a “hedonic treadmill.” Gasping and working but Never. Quite. Getting. There.

There’s a much more direct way to sustainable happiness that comes from effectively shaping our thoughts and behaviors, living with virtue and being in integrity with our highest values.

Ultimately, we need to realize that the pursuit of all that fame/fortune/power is a lot like running in place.

So, let’s step off the Bling Treadmill and diligently, patiently, persistently and playfully start focusing on what really matters—mastery of our thoughts and behaviors.

(Interestingly, the more we do this, the more the “material stuff ” tends to show up—but more as byproducts of our goodness than anything else!)

THE 10 PRINCIPLES OF OPTIMAL LIVING

1. Optimism.

If we can’t tame that crazy, drunk monkey in our mind and shape the contents of our consciousness, nothing else matters. Period.

Purpose.

What inspires you? What’s your dharma? Your purpose? Your highest calling? Living an authentically awesome life requires creating an empowering vision and keeping your eye on your Highest Goal without losing yourself on a manic Holy Grail chase.

Self-Awareness.

From the Oracle of Delphi and the Buddha to modern science, it’s clear: We’ve gotta know ourselves. How well do you know thyself?

Goals.

Whether it’s meditating first thing tomorrow morning or starting your business (or family or painting or…), we’ve gotta have goals that inspire us.

Action.

All that’s nice, but we’ve gotta follow Guru Nike’s advice and Just Do It! Are you just doing it or just talking about it?

Energy.

We’re gonna have a hard time reaching our potential if we have a hard time getting out of bed or getting out of debt. Are you honoring the simple fundamentals of nutrition/exercise/rejuvenation/money?

Wisdom.

Wisdom is all about approaching life as our classroom and looking at every moment as another opportunity to live our ideals.

Courage.

The word comes from the Latin word for “heart.” It’s the virtue that pumps blood to all the other virtues. Without it, none of this other stuff matters. How’s your courage pumping?

Love.

Love, love, love. How’re your relationships? Are you studying love like you’d study a sport or a musical instrument or a language you want to master?

entheos.

God/Spirit/The Universe. Whatever you call the Force that beats our hearts and keeps the planets in line, it’s the center and circumference of everything. Connecting to it is a good idea. You plugged in?


[quote, Marcus Aurelius]
“Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible.”

[quote, Buddha]
“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”

[quote, Confucius]
“The Master said, If out of the three hundred songs I had to take one phrase to cover all my teachings, I would say ’Let there be no evil in your thoughts.’

[quote, Viktor Frankl]
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

[quote, Sonja Lyubomirsky]
“All that is required to become an optimist is to have the goal and to practice it. The more you rehearse optimistic thoughts, the more ‘natural’ and ‘ingrained’ they will become. With time they will be part of you, and you will have made yourself into an altogether different person.”

[quote, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi]
“A person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside’,just by changing the contents of consciousness. We all know individuals who can transform hopeless situations into challenges to be overcome, just through the force of their personalities. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others, and justly so; it is probably the most important trait not only for succeeding in life, but for enjoying it as well. To develop this trait, one must find ways to order consciousness so as to be in control of feelings and thoughts. It is best not to expect shortcuts will do the trick.”


Optimism


HELPLESSNESS & OPTIMISM

If we can’t control the contents of our consciousness and tame those gremlins of fear and anxiety and self-doubt, none of the rest of this stuff matters. Period.

Part 2: Those same dogs are put into a new environment. This time, both dogs can easily avoid the shocks. The healthy dog quickly discovers the trick and is fine. The other dog, EVEN THOUGH IT NOW HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THINGS, just gives up—curling into a ball as the shocks continue (and continue and continue). The dog has learned helplessness.

After being shocked by life so many times throughout our lives, too often we “learn helplessness” and just give up—forgetting that, even though we might’ve been morons many times before, we ALWAYS (!!!) have the ability to choose a more effective response to whatever challenges we’re currently facing.

KNOW THIS: Choosing to curl up in the corner (or in bed) as we helplessly let life shock us again and again is THE quickest way to ensure we’re depressed (and, in the process, destroy our psychological and immunological health).

We’ve gotta learn optimism. Let’s learn how. (But first, how about a look at crazy monkeys and ANTs?)

CRAZY LITTLE DRUNK MONKEYS & ANTS

Only, the monkey in our mind is drunk, swinging from thought to thought to thought. Then, our little drunk monkey is stung by a scorpion!
That’s not all, though. Take that drunk little poisoned monkey and make him crazy!
THAT is how our minds tend to be.

Psychologists actually have a way to describe this as well. Apparently somebody figured out how to count all those monkey-swings and came up with the stat that we have, on average, about 60,000 thoughts per day.

Get this: 95% of those are the same thoughts from day to day to day. (Yikes.) AND, 80% of those thoughts are negative! (Yowsers!!!)

Daniel Amen calls them “automatic negative thoughts.” ANTs for short. Whether we see our minds as filled with crazy little drunk monkeys or equally crazy little drunk ANTs, let’s tame and sober ’em up!

OPTIMISM GYM

A pessimist is the emotional equivalent of a couch potato whose idea of exercise is picking up the remote and taking a quick bathroom break during commercials. Totally flabby and out of shape and unhealthy.

If that pessimist wants to become a rock star triathlete-esque Optimist, he’s gonna need to train. Hard. And not once in a while or when he feels like it but consistently. It’s pretty much the exact same thing with our emotional well-being. We’ve gotta hit the Optimism Gym. Good news is membership’s free. We just need to show up and do the work.

THE 3 PS OF OPTIMISM

From Martin Seligman’s perspective, optimism is not about whistling happy tunes to ourselves when life gets challenging. It’s about disciplining our minds to create more empowering explanations of what’s going on.

Whether we’re optimists or pessimists comes down to what he calls our “explanatory styles”—how we explain what’s happening in our world. Specifically, in this model, it comes down to three Ps: Permanence, Pervasiveness and Personalization.

Imagine something good happens at work—let’s say you get a promotion or land a big client or whatever qualifies as positive in your work world. How would you explain it?

Let’s look at it through the 3 Ps. If you’re a pessimist, you think the good fortune won’t last (Permanence), it doesn’t apply to the rest of your life (Pervasiveness) and it’s because you got lucky (Personalization).

If you’re an optimist, you’ll tend to see it the other way around: the good fortune will probably last, it’s just another example of how everything’s awesome in your life and it’s probably the result of all the diligent, patient, persistent and playful hard work you’ve put in for quite a while.

Interesting, eh? Now, let’s look at a negative event—let’s say you are laid off or lose a big client or whatever. How do you explain it to yourself?

The pessimist, although convinced the positive stuff won’t last, thinks the negative will last forever. And, although the positive event wasn’t pervasive, the negative event is. And, although you wouldn’t take any credit for the positive event, the negative event is totally your fault.

On the other hand, the optimist looks at the negative event and believes it’s just a temporary set-back (Permanence), is just one part of your life that’s not as great as it could be (Pervasiveness) and is partly due to a poor economy so no need to take it all Personally.

Explanatory styles. Powerful stuff.

The exciting news is that mastering our explanatory styles (like anything else) just takes practice.

VICTIM VS. CREATOR

In any given moment we either choose (yes, it’s a CHOICE) an empowering perspective or a disempowering one. We choose to be Victims or we choose to be Creators. The trick is to practice noticing when we’re slipping into the Victim perspective.

If you’re complaining, criticizing, blaming, gossiping and comparing, you can be pretty sure you’re hanging out in Victimland—the unhappiest place on Earth.

Find the exit by asking yourself a simple question: “What do I want?“

Whereas the Victim constantly focuses on all the things that’re wrong in their lives (and with everyone else around them—which is really just a reflection of all their inner angst), the Creator gets clear on what she wants.

So, what do you want?

RESPONSE-ABILITY

Can you step between stimulus and response and CHOOSE the most empowered response (or at least a much less crappy one)?

Pay attention the next time you feel yourself being triggered and see if you can sneak into that little space between stimulus and response and actually STOP the automatic/knee-jerk response and choose a more empowered one

THE EQUANIMITY GAME

[quote, Marcus Aurelius]
“When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.“

Translation: When you find yourself off balance and life has kicked you in the butt, see how fast you can get back in balance. The more you practice this, the better you’ll get.

THOUGHT TOOLS

mantra literally means “a tool of thought”

Yep. For thousands of years, people have reshaped their minds via the power of mantras. In addition to the cognitive behavioral stuff I go off on throughout this book, mantras are a great way to tame the monkeys and relocate the ANTs.

Our minds, as we learned, have a tendency to automatically generate negative thoughts—to the shocking range of 45,000 such negative little boogers a day. Mantras help us rewire our brains so, rather than automatic negative thoughts, we can get some automatic positive thoughts. (“APTs”—not quite as cute as ANTs but a heck-of-a-lot more enjoyable.)

The basic idea is simple. Reshape your mind through the repetition of certain phrases you find inspiring and empowering.

Deepak has a few sweet ones I’ve said thousands of times that you might dig:

Personal favorite one: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
After repeating that I don’t know how many times, I loved the day when my mind randomly whispered “Thank you!” to me in the middle of a quiet moment.

GOODNESS GARDENS

If we want to create a beautiful life, we’ve gotta treat our minds and lives with the same care we would that garden—pulling out the weed thoughts/behaviors and only planting the seeds we want to see come to fruition.

In other words, if you want a life filled with joy, love, appreciation, kindness, generosity, wisdom, patience, courage, creativity, and enthusiasm, PLANT THOSE SEEDS.

To think you’re gonna get that goodness when you’re constantly sowing the seeds of anger, fear, greed, impatience, laziness, half-assness, entitlement and whiny-ness just isn’t very wise, eh?

CONCRETE GARDENS

Pema Chödrön (a rockin’ Buddhist nun) tells us we need to catch ourselves the moment we fall into old, negative patterns. Failing to do so is like pouring concrete over that (potentially) beautiful garden that is our lives.

Make it a game. See if you can catch yourself right as you slip into weenie-ville. Notice your pissiness, fear, anger, anxiety, overwhelm, RIGHT when it arises and see if you can aikido that energy into something more constructive. Doesn’t matter what you do, just do ANYTHING other than the old destructive patterns.

Take a dozen deep breaths, go for a walk, sing a song, do a few pushups or jumping jacks, go for a run, whatever it takes to break the pattern and let your goodness garden bloom before you dump a ton of concrete all over it!

THOUGHT & BEHAVIOR POISONING

Eckhart Tolle tells us that, although it’s important to accept ourselves and our emotions, it’s also (really!) important to notice what behaviors and thoughts consistently lead to suffering and to QUITDOINGTHOSETHINGS and to QUITTHINKINGTHOSETHOUGHTS!

He says it’s kinda like getting food poisoning from eating certain types of food but then, for some wacky reason, you continue to eat those foods. And, as a result, you’re sick again and again and again.

So, check yourself out and see if you’re giving yourself thought and behavior poisoning on a regular basis.

LOVING WHAT IS

Byron Katie tells us that whenever she argues with reality she loses. But only every time.

Arguing with reality is a really silly idea. What’s happened has happened and no amount of complaining on our part is going to change it.

So, while we may want to create a brighter future, the first step is (always) acceptance.

For the record, this acceptance is not some “My life sucks and I accept my craptastic fate”kinda thing. It’s more like an “Although this situation kinda blows, overall my life rocks and I’m going to accept what’s happening and alchemize it into wisdomfuel as I continue to create my ideal life”kinda thing.

ACCEPTANCE & SCRIPTING

Sir Eckhart tells us that, when faced with a situation we can do nothing to change, rather than moan and wail and otherwise suffer, it makes a whole lot more sense to not only accept it, but to act as if you scripted the event to occur in your life.

Fact is, as the great teachers tell us, every situation is essentially neutral/empty of meaning and we always have the power to choose THE most empowering interpretation of that event—or, of course, the least empowering interpretation.

see if you can shift your perspective from “OMG! Why did this happen to me?!” to “What a fascinating event I scripted into my life. I wonder how I’m going to grow from this and how it can serve my Highest Goal of more consistently connecting to and expressing the Divine within me?!”

I repeat: How we interpret an event is always within our control.

MASERATIS & BLIND DOODS

we get stuck on a thought or in a certain perspective and can’t… quite… let it… go.

Dukkha. It’s that “stuckness” that creates our suffering. The essence of the Buddha’s teachings is how we can get unstuck and experience the freedom of a mind that moves freely.

Zen Master Genpo Roshi tells us to imagine we’re driving a sweet Maserati. And it’s stuck in first gear.

The first guy touches the tail and is certain that an elephant is like a rope. The second guy touches the leg and is sure the elephant is like a pillar while the third guy goes for the tusk and says the elephant is like a spear. The other three go for different parts and have different perspectives (the back is like a throne; the trunk is like a tree branch; the ear is like a hand fan).

Now, what’s fascinating is that they’re all 100% certain their perspective is the only possible reality. Dukkha.

The lesson: We need to slide into sukkha by noticing when we think our perspective is the only one possible as we train ourselves to see multiple perspectives.
In short, next time you’re stuck, remember to shift gears and to see the whole elephant. (How? Try to see the other person’s perspective!)

SIZES: YOU VS. YOUR PROBLEMS

A size 1 or 2 person would react when someone cuts you off on the road.
A size 8 or 9 person would just wince, take a deep breath, appreciate the fact that you’re alive and your biggest problem at the moment is a stubbed toe. And, you might even bless that person who’s in such a rush and wish them a safe trip and a more peaceful day.

The way to go from 1 to 10? Simple. Live your values. Moment to moment, little by little, become more in integrity—so that what you say is important to you is what you actually do. Integrity. It’s organic fertilizer for your character.


[quote, Abraham Maslow]
“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization… It refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming”

[quote, Marcus Aurelius]
“Everything—a horse, a vine—is created for some duty… For what task, then, were you yourself created? A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.”

[quote, Confucius]
“The Three Armies can be deprived of their commanding officer, but even a common man cannot be deprived of his purpose.”

[quote, Krishna]
“It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma. But competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.”

[quote, Proverbs 29:18]
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

[quote, William Shakespeare]
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night of the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”


Purpose


HIGHEST GOALS & HOLY GRAILS

I’m not talking about pausing everything in our lives and going out on a Holy Grail chase to discover something mysterious that’s hidden somewhere hard to reach that only the lucky few ever discover.

Now, I definitely believe we all have a unique constellation of strengths and experiences and passions that blend together in ineffable ways, leading us to our most authentically awesome lives. But it’s really easy to get all wrapped up in that and miss the fact that living a life of purpose isn’t a “someday when I’ve figured it all out and I’ve discovered my purpose I’ll be happy and until then my life sucks” kinda thing.

Living a life of purpose is all about knowing that our Ultimate Purpose—our Highest Goal—is seeing just how consistently we can plug into the best within us.

In short, to live with integrity. (Yes, I’m repeating myself. It’s deliberate. ;)

With THAT as our Ultimate Purpose and Highest Goal, EVERY MOMENT gives us an opportunity to be on purpose. And, well, that’s awesome.

Plus, as it turns out, when we focus on our Highest Goal, we tend to be a lot happier now AND the specific purpose/ dharma/ destiny we’re here to fulfill tends to come to us without so much fuss.

So, as we go out and rock it, let’s remember the Ultimate Purpose Formula: Integrity = Bliss.

WRITE YOUR OWN STORY

the word “author” comes from the same root as the word “authentic”
To be authentic is to be the author of our own lives.

SOUL OXYGEN

Abraham Maslow: one can be, one MUST be.

As we ascend his hierarchy of needs, taking care of the basics like food/shelter/safety and moving up through love and self-esteem we reach a place where we literally have a need to fully express ourselves—to, in Maslow’s words “self-actualize.”

a fundamental NEED—kinda like that need we have for oxygen.

[quote, Abraham Maslow]
“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.”

[quote, Abraham Maslow]
“It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.”

DEEPAK & DHARMA

We all have a unique dharma/purpose/ destiny. It’s our job in this little lifetime of ours to

In the context of figuring out what our unique gifts are/what really inspires us (usually tied to one another, eh?), Deepak asks a question that literally left me stunned. It was this: “If you had all the time and all the money in the world, what would you do?”

I tend to take questions like that seriously. When I pondered it a few years ago, I didn’t have a crystal clear answer but I knew it wasn’t what I was doing. As a result, within weeks I wound up selling the biz I was running which led to the decision to give myself a Ph.D. in Optimal Living which led to me typing these words.

What do you love so much you’d pay to do it?

(I love learning and sharing and having great conversations with inspired peeps and feel blessed to have created a way to get paid to do that on a full-time basis. You?)

THE ULTIMATE END

Covey"

  1. “Be Proactive”
  2. “Begin with the End in Mind.”
  3. “Put First Things First”

Everything is created twice—once in your mind/biz plan/blueprint and then in reality.

Same thing goes with our lives. If we want to create a truly extraordinary life, it’s a good idea to know what a truly extraordinary life would look like, eh? With that in mind, how about taking a quick peek at the ultimate end?

Imagine this: Walk into a funeral—it can be in a place of worship or another sacred spot or wherever you feel most comfie imaging the ceremony. Get a feel for who’s there. Check in to the energy. And then realize it’s your funeral.

What do your loved ones have to say about you? Your friends? Your colleagues? That clerk at the grocery store you saw so often?

What do they all have to say about you and what would you like them to say about you? That you were kind and patient and loyal and generous and inspiring and present and other such goodness?

Are you living in Integrity with those deepest values of yours NOW?

No one’s going to say, “What I loved most about So&So was that s/he had the biggest house on the block and always had the newest/fastest car and wore the most amazing sunglasses and…” So, how about we start to focus a little more on the stuff that matters?

DA VINCI & 100 QUESTIONS

the first quality of a master: Curiosity.

Find yourself a quiet place where you can relax with your journal for a good 45-60 minutes of uninterrupted Know Thyself time.

When you’re nice and comfie, bust open your journal and write down 100 questions on anything you find interesting. Could be anything from “Why is the sky blue and why are my boogers green?” to “What is my purpose in life?” Just write whatever flows.

If you’re like me, you’ll prolly find that the first dozen or two come relatively easily then you might hit a tough spot and want to give up. Don’t. Keep on writing even if you repeat yourself and/or don’t feel totally inspired. You’ll hit another burst of inspiration. Keep at it till you get to 100!

Once you’ve written your 100 questions, look back over them and see if you notice any themes. You talk about your professional or creative pursuits a lot? Your health? Your family? Spirituality? What themes emerge for you? Notice them.

Identify the Top 10 questions you find most inspiring. Which questions really fire you up? Write those down in a new place.

Then rank order those Top 10 questions from 1-10, with 1 being the most inspiring question out of the whole 100!

Now the fun’s begun. It’s time to make your life an answer to/expression of those questions!

Ref: "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci". (Michael Gelb)

10 POWER QUESTIONS

in addition to being incredibly and insatiably curious, da Vinci was also committed to deep contemplation.

I took him up on the invitation—writing “How can I get paid to do what I love?” on a piece of paper and hanging it, via some dental floss, over my shower head as I took a nice, long, contemplative bath.

(In many ways, I can trace typing these words to that precise moment when I decided I wanted to be paid to study life, become a better human being and share what I’m learning!)

I’ve created my own list of power questions. Ponder/ journal on these

  1. How can you use your strengths in greatest service to yourself, your family, your community and the world?
  2. How can you get paid to do what you love?
  3. What 5 things are you most proud of? What 5 things will you be most proud of?
  4. If you had all the time and all the money in the world, what would you do?
  5. What’s your ideal day look like? When do you get up? What do you do? With whom? For whom? Imagine it in vivid detail!
  6. Who are your heroes? Why? How are you like them?
  7. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
  8. If you were guaranteed to succeed, what’s the #1 thing you would do? What else?
  9. What is it that you and only you can do for the world?
  10. How can you live in more integrity with your ideals? What’s the #1 thing you could start doing that would have the most positive impact in your life? What’s the #1 thing you could stop doing that would have the most positive impact in your life?!

HOW’S YOUR GENIUS?

If anyone did something amazing—whether it was artistic or athletic or rhetorical—it was said their “genius” had guided them.

We ALL have our own genius within.

Elizabeth Gilbert: although it’s her inner genius who’s responsible for the creative goodness that might come through her on any given day, it’s HER responsibility to show up to write.

How ’bout you? What do you need to do to make sure your genius knows you wanna play?

110-YEAR-OLD YOU

we already have all the wisdom we need.

He points to individuals who have near-death experiences or life threatening illnesses who suddenly (and permanently) change their lives—creating meaning and happiness that hadn’t been there before that moment.

Essentially, they always knew what to do, but they weren’t actually doing it till life gave them a kick in the butt.

He has this BRILLIANT exercise to help us tap into the wisdom that’s already percolating in our consciousness. It goes something like this: You’re 110-years-old. NASA (or Richard Branson’s Virgin Time Travel ;) just invented a time machine. It can take you back to THIS moment so your 110-year-old self has 30 minutes to chat with your current you.

What do you tell yourself ?!? What are the most important truths/lessons/Big Ideas you’d want to share in that 30 minutes?

What if you only had 5 minutes? What would you share? What if you only had 60 seconds? What’s THE most important message you’d want to share?!

Let’s write that down. If my 110-year-old version of myself appeared in front of the current version of me right now this is what I’d tell myself:


[quote, Paulo Coelho]
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

[quote, Dan Millman]
“Avoid fragmentation: Find your focus and seek simplicity. Purposeful living calls for elegant efficiency and economy of effort—expending the minimum time and energy necessary to achieve desired goals.”

[quote, Sonja Lyubomirsky]
“It turns out that the process of working toward a goal, participating in a valued and challenging activity, is as important to well-being as its attainment.”

[quote, Tal Ben-Shahar]
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”