self-awareness

Pareto

Pareto Principle: Get rid of the less important, using the 80-20 rule!

Pareto Principle: Get rid of the less important, using the 80-20 rule!25601389Manolis Stratakis

The Pareto Principle (80-20 rule)

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist realized that 80% of his country’s wealth was held by 20% of the Italian population. It didn’t take long for him to understand that this was true, not only for Italy but also for the rest of the world. On top of that, it was not only true regarding the distribution of wealth but it was valid in a much wider context. All that, led to the Pareto principle.

Let’s see this principle under the prism of personal development. We can say that 20% of our effort is responsible for about 80% of the desired outcome. The rest 80%, accounts only for the 20% of the outcome. The more we apply this principle in our everyday life, the more we realize that it is an invaluable tool for clarity and self-awareness. After all, it helps us distinguish between the vital few and the trivial many. In other words, between the few important and the many unimportant.

Pareto

Some examples of the Pareto Principle

  • 20% of our clients bring 80% of our revenues
  • 20% of advertisement accounts for 80% of sales
  • We wear 20% of our clothes in the 80% of the time
  • From 20% of our friends we get 80% of support and satisfaction
  • In 20% of our home we spend 80% of our time
  • 20% of emails contain 80% of the important information
  • 20% of a meal contributes to the 80% of calories we take
  • Also the 20% of a dinner gives us the 80% of enjoyment (those eating their dinner indifferently, while eagerly waiting for the desert to arrive, are probably resonating with this example)
  • A 20% of illnesses is responsible for the 80% of deaths in the world
  • 20% of our experiences provides the 80% of our satisfaction
  • The 20% of a book contains 80% of most important knowledge and also 20% of the books we have read, contribute to 80% of our present education
  • 20% of the code running on a computer takes 80% of the CPU time

Of course, the ratio 20-80 is only approximate, it could be 30-70, 10-90 or anything similar. However the principle is valid in many different occasions. You can surely come up with your own examples from your personal experience.

What matters most, is the exact composition of the 20% and 80%. In other words, what falls under the 20% and what falls under the 80%.

Examples

  • Which part is the 20% of your Garde robe that you use 80% of the time?
  • From which 20% of your activities 20% you receive the 80% of your satisfaction?
  • In what do you spend 80% of your money which only contributes a 20% to your happiness?
  • Which 20% of your work brings the 80% of your results?
  • What 80% of the time you spend on the phone is not important?
  • Which 80% of your luggage contents is really necessary?

Pareto’s principle can be applied again and again in an iterative manner. After we have decluttered our wardrobe by throwing away or giving out the 1/5th of our clothes which we do not use often, we can apply the same principle again so we achieve an even finer outcome. The same can happen with our clients, our diet, our appointments and generally the management of all our critical resources.

The Pareto Principle in time management

Applying Pareto’s principle in everyday life can free up a lot of time, which was – until recently – spent in not important activities. For each activity filling up your day, ask yourself how useful it is. Then, use Pareto analysis in order to identify whether they belong in the important 20% or in the unimportant 80%.

Do more by doing less!

Finally, think how much time and energy you would free up after you stopped worrying about the last 20% (the least important), i.e. all those activities which return almost zero results. By doing less you end up doing much more! The trick is knowing which part to get rid of.

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See also our article “Eisenhower’s Matrix: An essential time management tool

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Time management

Eisenhower’s Matrix: An essential time management tool

Eisenhower’s Matrix: An essential time management tool25601784Manolis Stratakis

Is the time in our day enough?

Time is one of the most democratic things on the planet. Not intelligence. Neither money. Not even health or beauty. Not happiness. Time! Everybody has 24 hours. If you think about it, time is our most important asset. We start off as babies, having all the time of the world and as we grow up we come to a point when every single minute of our day is occupied with something. Then we complain we don’t have time. Wrong! We still have 24 hours. But our day is now filled with stuff. Now, it’s time for.. time management!

The Matrix as a time management tool

“When you don’t have time, make time”. It may sound counter-intuitive, but perhaps it is a perfect advice. The Eisenhower Matrix is the tool we need to make time.

US General and President Eisenhower once said:

I have two kinds of problems: Urgent and Important.

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important

Eisenhower Matrix

A common pattern in businesses but also in our personal life is that we often move insanely from one urgent matter to the next, having practically no time to attend to the important issues. Like a never-ending queue of urgent things which, no matter how many we complete, new ones continuously appear. We are at a constant war with a modern Lernaean Hydra. We cut one head and two new heads spring out of nowhere.

Let’s dive deep in time management

If we analyze the four areas of the Eisenhower matrix, it will immediately become clear how it will help us in our time management:

Quadrant 1: (Urgent and Important): Do First!

This is the most critical area, it contains tasks that are both urgent and important. These are “do first” tasks because they are critical for our life or career. Typical Q1 activities include important problems, deadlines and crises.

Quadrant 2: (Important, but Not Urgent): Schedule!

Here we place the tasks that are important, but not urgent. This is where we need to invest most of our time. These are usually our personal and professional long-term goals and activities relevant to the significant areas of our life like education, career, family, recreation or personal growth. Put these tasks in suspension until you find enough time to work on them carefully. Beware, these tasks may not be urgent, but if left neglected, sooner or later they become urgent.

Quadrant 3 (Not Important, but Urgent): Delegate!

If a task deserves to be in this quadrant, then you don’t deserve to perform it. It is most likely a distraction and you better pass it to someone else or postpone it. Many tasks appear to be urgent when actually they are not. Most messages and telephone calls fall into this category. If you answer every call or text you receive immediately, then you will not be able to do anything that requires undistracted attention. The same is true with business meetings. You don’t have to participate in every meeting you are invited, you can choose if you need to be present or not. A common source of Q3 activities is other people. Saying “no” politely or encouraging them to solve the problem themselves usually does the trick.

Quadrant 4: (Not Important, Not Urgent): Eliminate or Keep to a minimum!

These tasks that are neither important nor urgent are simply time wasters and they should be eliminated, or cut down to a minimum. If you drastically reduce the amount of time spent in quadrant 4 tasks, you will free up lots of precious time for your quadrant 1 or 2 tasks. Mindlessly watching television, playing games or surfing the web are only some of the typical ways for wasting time. This does not mean of course that watching a good movie or resting is a waste of time. We need to be very careful when distinguishing what is and what isn’t important for us.

Procrastination and time management

Sometimes, procrastination kicks in when we are not very clear about what is important or urgent. It causes confusion and leaves us standing still while trying to decide what to bring on the foreground next.

When you first try this tool, you may have some difficulty labeling your tasks. It may be frustrating and you may feel you are wasting your time. You are not wasting time, you are investing some of your precious time learning a great skill that will empower you with precious focus and self-awareness. It will save you way more time for the rest of your life.

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Increase your awareness by reading our article: Awareness Sharpening Games

 

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Happiness Cocktail

The Happiness Cocktail

The Happiness Cocktail25601789Manolis Stratakis

Is there a recipe that determines how happy we will be?

Why some people seem to be happy while others aren’t? What is exactly that makes us happy? Is it money, beauty, health, education or genes? Unquestionably all of these play a role.

Do we have a saying in our personal happiness?

Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research in identical and fraternal twins has shown that all people are born with a baseline of happiness. In other words, they come to life with their happiness programmed at some initial value. This initial value refers to the temperamental and affective traits everyone inherits from their parents and for every person is different. Higher in some, lower in others.

However, this genetic set point does not exclusively determine the overall level of our happiness, but only about 50% of it.

But wait, there are two more factors which play a determining role:

  1. the critical events happening in our life (positive or negative) and
  2. our own, deliberate, intentional activity: our actions

Therefore, in one hand we have what life brings us and on the other, what we do with that. What happens to us and how we tackle it.

Circumstances alone, do not determine our happiness

Most people believe that circumstances, such as our life events or our wealth and health, is the single greatest factor influencing our happiness. But as it turns out from the theory of Adaptation to Pleasure and other positive psychology theories, external circumstances contribute only around 10% to our overall happiness. On the other hand, the way we handle these circumstances influences our life by 40%, that’s 4 times more!

So life deals the card deck for us, but then it is up to us to play the game well.

Looking at it at another angle, we see that genes and circumstances account for a 60%, while our own actions account for the rest 40%. So, we have a 60% which is not under our control and a whopping 40% which is under our influence. Our thoughts, behaviors and actions control this 40%!

Happiness = Genes + Circumstances + Intentional Actions

As everything we consider important, our personal happiness requires some effort, enough commitment and absolute consistency.

So, where do we start?

A few first steps which will lead you towards this goal can be the following:

  • Understand what is good for your body and mind
  • Reduce overthinking
  • Stop social comparison
  • Invest time in your personal development
  • Cultivate your relations with people who are already there
  • Strengthen your resilience
  • Place goals and go after them
  • Increase your flow experiences

Last but not least, begin to feel happy, even if – at the moment – you aren’t! Just like when you start a journey and you still haven’t arrived at your destination.

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See also: Gratitude Jar: Empower your gratitude muscles!

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johari

Johari Window: A strong realization towards Self-knowledge

Johari Window: A strong realization towards Self-knowledge25601957Manolis Stratakis

The Johari Window

The Johari Window is a great self-awareness tool. It is named after the first names of the two psychologists who have invented it, Joseph Lufft and Ηarry Ingam.

This tool can help us discover important aspects of ourselves with emphasis in critical skills such as behavior, empathy, team cooperation and personal development.

The four selves in Johari

This tool divides our Self in four areas:

  • Open (known to us, known to others)
  • Hidden (known to us, unknown to others)
  • Blind (unknown to us, known to others)
  • Unknown (unknown to us, unknown to others)

Let’s now explore each of them in more detail:

📖 Open Self

This is the public part of our self, the part which is visible both to us and the others. It comprises everything that we freely disclose and share, like some of our experiences, knowledge, opinion, emotions, character traits, wishes and problems.

People with a large open self possess a high degree of self-awareness, clarity, self-confidence and authenticity. They feel comfortable with themselves. They have a good knowledge of both their strong character traits and their drawbacks. As a result, they set their own path to life. They possess a high level of confidence. They are comfortable taking decisions and they rarely feel the need of approval from others.

🔒 Hidden Self

This is the part of our self which is visible to us, but invisible to the others. In this area we keep our very personal information, all those things we are not willing to share with others, since they might be our weak points, dysfunctions, fears, emotions, motives, desires, mistakes, secrets or guilt.

Nevertheless, this area may also contain some of our positive traits which we still do not disclose out of modesty or shyness. The degree of trust we have in other persons, guides us to decide what amount of information we share with them. Consequently, people with an over-sized hidden self tend to be more introvert and secretive and may often seem distant or lost.

🔮 Blind Self

It is that part of our personality that is invisible to us but visible to the others. It contains information such as non-verbal communication, our peculiarities and all those characteristics which others see in us, or possibly translate different than us. Through well-intentioned criticism we will become aware of certain things, therefore moving them from the blind to the open (or hidden) area. People with a large blind area can be extremely naive and this creates trouble in their professional or social relations.

🔬 Unknown Self

This is the part of our self that neither we, nor the others can see. It contains all those things which are out of our awareness. That is, depressed feelings and experiences which have been stored deeply in our subconscious. They can reside there forever and remain unknown, or we may discover them at some moment later. Subsequently, they will move to another area (hidden, blind or even open).

Those with disproportionately large unknown self are persons for whom self-knowledge is an unknown word. They have never invest in their self-improvement. They usually have troubled relationships with others but also with themselves. Likewise, they generally have a vague picture of the world they live in.

The rest of the Johari iceberg

While the three first areas are only the tip of the iceberg, the unknown self is the rest of the iceberg. It is the part which contains the biggest chunk of information about who we are. Most people never dare to dive in the cold blurry waters of their mind. Even when they are convinced that there is a treasure hidden in there. Those who take the chance, after the first shock, they realize that self-awareness is an art. The more you practice, the better you become, and the better you are at it, the greater the benefits you enjoy.

Self-observation, introspection and meditation

These techniques can help us get acquainted with an important part of our unknown self, with amazing long-term results. In addition, Psychoanalysis and Coaching will also open the door for us and guide us hand by hand in the path of self-knowledge.

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What are your Personal Core Values and how aligned are with your life?

What are your Personal Core Values and how aligned are with your life?150150Manolis Stratakis

What is the difference between our principles and our values?

Our personal values are hidden deep in our mind. Spending some time to discover them, allows us to see which aspects of our life are aligned with them and which are in some kind of conflict!

Principles

Our principles are pushed to us by others, from the outside world. They are taught to us. They help us conform to the norms of society. Principles are the musts of our life.

Values

Values ​​come from within us. They are all those things we consider important. Values are the wants of our life. They highlight what we stand for. They ​​guide us in life, especially in difficult times. So, our values largely determine our behaviors, decisions, and actions.

When our plain logic does not seem enough to help us make critical decisions, we mobilize our “heart”. The heart always takes decisions that are based on our values. In other words, when our decisions or activities are in line with our values, an internal motivation is created. Everything seems to roll smoothly. We feel joy and pleasure. We are fulfilled.

On the other hand, when we are forced to deal with something that questions values, we get a vague feeling that something is wrong. We might have a sense of internal tension, anxiety or guilt. As a result, procrastination may fire in as well as other unwanted behaviors.

Most common personal values

Our values ​​- like the instruments of an airplane – guide us through the storms. They define what is important to us and what we give priority to. They determine the decisions we make. Each of us has a different mix of values ​​that makes us special. Life flows smoothly when we live according to our values. But when, for any reason, we are forced to live in a way that is against them, then we get that elusive feeling that something is wrong. We can have a bad mood and low energy.

The moment we begin to think, speak and behave in a way which is aligned with our highest ideals and most important values, our self-image improves, our self-esteem rises and for the first time we feel real freedom. We feel much happier, we breathe, walk and move with a radically different confidence.

The list below shows some of the most important human values. First, think thoroughly and then note which ones resonate with you. Of course, you can always add one you might not see in the list.

Aesthetics
Optimism
Integrity
Change
Solidarity
Altruism
Recognition by others
Tolerance
Independence
Simplicity
Effectiveness
Avoid pressure or conflict
Determination
Security
Authenticity
Autonomy
Self-discipline
Self confidence
Generosity
Creativity
Dialogue
Justice
Action and variety
Power
Ability to express
Volunteering
Sincerity
Peace
Freedom
Free time
Confidence
Inspiration
Honesty
Development and growth
Professionalism
Communication
Persistence
Success
Courtesy
Inventiveness
Leadership
Balance
Equality
Cleanliness
Duty
Cultivation
Kindness
Understanding
Sociability
Prestige
Education
Family
Ecology
Teamwork
Beauty
Vision
Spiritual stimuli
Variety
Challenge
Offer to others
Initiative
Originality
Risk taking
Respect
Wisdom
Stability
Compassion
Cooperation
Prudence
Continuous learning
Travel
Art
Responsibility
Patience
Reputation
Friendship

Exercise: Find your own personal values

Don’t wait any longer to make the most valuable investment in yourself. Find those values that are at the core of your existence. Those that motivate you and make you stand out. Once you get to know them, you’ve already taken a big step in your personal development. And that’s only the beginning!

Think and write down your ten most important personal values (try to list them in an order of importance to you):

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

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Read also the article: An introduction to the wheel of emotions

 

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life stages

The four Stages of Life: Which are you living in?

The four Stages of Life: Which are you living in?887712Manolis Stratakis

The Four Stages of Life

Carl Jung identified four distinct life stages in all people’s lives. These stages have nothing to do with what we do for living, how old we are, what we have achieved or how much money we make. Also, these stages are not necessarily linear. We do not have to complete one of them in order to move to the next. We can step in or out of different stages, at different phases of our life.

life stages

🏀 The Athlete Stage: The period of Mimicry

At this stage, we are primarily concerned with our body and how we look to others.

We can look at our mirror image for hours observing our external appearance.

By trying things out we develop our first insecurities. Slowly, we begin to recognize our strengths and weaknesses. We come into contact with our emotions and try to understand how they affect us. There is a constant need for acceptance and validation, and a complete absence of personal values ​​and independent thinking. Mainly, we imitate others (parents, teachers, friends), having very little room for autonomy.

So, the purpose of this stage is to teach us how the world works.

🏹 The Warrior Stage: The phase of Self-discovery

In this stage, we begin to identify where we differ from others and find our first place in society. We understand that we are unique. So, we begin to make our own decisions and try our limits. We cautiously move out of our safety zone and experiment with new places, people and things. Progressively, we find out what works for us and what doesn’t, we keep the first and drop the second. This is how we move forward and evolve.

Here, we also strive to be better than others. We want to conquer the world. To this end, we like to accumulate things, we always want to have more. We are going through a phase of comparison and competition.

At this stage, it is very important to learn our limits and limitations, to understand at what we are good and what we can do well. Life gives us endless choices, and since we cannot have them all, it is wise to stick to the ones that suit us best.

📜 The Stage of Declaration: The age of Commitment

Here we consolidate all the knowledge and experience we have gained in the two previous stages. We now know what works for us and what doesn’t, we understand where we excel and where we suck. Which of our activities lead us somewhere and which take us nowhere. We know what inspires us and what holds us back. Which of our friends and acquaintances fill us with energy and which leave us empty.

At the same time, we realize that despite what we have achieved or acquired, we do not feel fulfilled or happy. We are looking for ways to make a difference in the world. As a result, we want to make a clear statement of who we are and what we are trying to accomplish. We feel a strong need to offer to others.

What we have hunted so far (money, power or material goods) will continue to appear in our lives, but are no longer as valuable to us as before. We now know that there is more to life than these. So, we receive them, we accept them and we are grateful for them, but we are ready to leave them anytime.

🔥 The Stage of the Spirit: The Time of Heritage

Now, we have realized what is meaningful and what is important to us. We have worked through all of our life, we had various accomplishments and we earned all we have today. From now on, we are not interested in achieving more, since our age and energy levels do not allow it, but in ensuring that what we have gained will continue to exist and be valued after we have left.

At this stage, we realize that in none of the preceding stages we got to know our true selves. So, we understand that we are much more than our possessions, friends, family and our entire environment.

In addition, we understand that we are not going to linger on this planet for long more. We come closer to spiritual and “divine” pursuits. Consequently, we become the observers of our lives. And we are interested in the legacy we will leave.

🏆 Exercise on life stages

Now, take some time to think about the following questions:

  1. Which of the above life stages have you experienced?
  2. In which life stage do you mainly live today?

(Based on the work of Carl Jung on life stages)

_________

See also our article: Awareness sharpening games

 

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Mindfulness and awareness sharpening games

Mindfulness and awareness sharpening games150150Manolis Stratakis

Exercise: Mindfulness and awareness games

Play as many of the mindfulness games described below, as you can. Learn to bring yourself to the here and now. In the long term, they will help you gain a better perception of your body and of the environment, which is very important for a calm and pleasant life.

When brushing your teeth

Try this with your eyes closed for 1-2 minutes. Feel the contact and the overall sense of the toothbrush hair on your teeth and gums. Feel the toothpaste foam bubbles that burst in your mouth. Focus just on a single sense at a time.

In the shower

Allow your mind to have a short break by focusing on one sense at a time. Pay mindful attention to the water drops which fall on your head and your skin. Or to the sound of the water which falls on the shower floor.

On the treadmill

Switch off the iPod and close your eyes (hold the side handles if possible) and listen to the sound of the machine, your breath or the other sounds around you. Try to focus on the feeling of the particular muscles which are exercised. Let time pass without thinking anything. Just feel how your body responds.

When eating

Chew slowly your food, for at least 30-40 times each mouthful. The first times you may need to count but after a while, it becomes a habit. Try to feel the taste and the texture of the food as it changes. Switch off the TV and your mobile phone.

Avoid to do anything else in parallel. Just focus in all the details you can detect about your food. Try it for at least a few times so you can enjoy the experience and then you decide whether you want to continue.

When you touch an object or a person

Try to do it in an active manner, with cognizance. Feel the sensation of the touch. Check the pressure on your fingers or your body. Feel the temperature (heat or coolness) that emits, the hardness, the moisture, the energy. Sense all the feelings this touch generates.

While seated

Feel your weight on the chair. Recognize the contact points. Scan your body. What are the angles of your arms, legs and pelvis? At which points do you detect some tension? What points feel totally relaxed?

Lean forward or shift your body slightly at some direction. Is it better now or worse? Do some tests and gain as much awareness as you can.

While you wait

Look around you. Observe the people and the objects you see. Try to pay mindful attention to every detail you can identify. If there no other objects to observe, turn your attention to yourself. Focus on your breath. How does it feel? Shallow and short? Deep and relaxed?

What feelings can you detect? Anxiety and impatience? Peacefulness and boredom? Whatever you feel is temporary and it is ok. Remember that you gain control this way.

When in pain

Locate the pain point. Its size. What “color” is it? How much space does it take? What is its exact shape and intensity? What is its composition and temperature? Is it stable? Does it move, throb or thump? Is it acute and piercing? Is it sharp?

Finally, recognize, embrace and approve the pain!

Exercise: More mindfulness and awareness games

Try to level up your mindfulness by devising your own awareness and mindfulness games!

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See also: Use the Wheel of Emotions to enrich your emotional vocabulary!

 

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Emotions Wheel

Use the Wheel of Emotions to enrich your emotional vocabulary!

Use the Wheel of Emotions to enrich your emotional vocabulary!34082381Manolis Stratakis

The Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik, with his excellent work on the wheel of emotions, has produced this great diagram. It depicts brilliantly some of the interrelationships among them:

Exercise: Study the wheel of emotions

Spend some time to study the above diagram. Then, try to understand how the emotions interact and interrelate. This will increase dramatically your emotional vocabulary and give you lots of self-awareness!

The eight Basic Emotions

Let’s attempt to understand the basic emotions. These are the primary colors of our mind.

The following eight are considered to be the very basic ones, from which all others are produced:

  • Joy
  • Trust
  • Fear
  • Surprise
  • Sadness
  • Disgust
  • Anger
  • Anticipation

Check which are positive and which are negative ones.

Secondary and tertiary emotions

As specific emotions mix together, new secondary and tertiary emotions emerge:

ΑΒΑ+Β
JoyTrustLove
TrustFearSubmission
FearSurpriseAwe
SurpriseSadnessDisappointment
SadnessDisgustRemorse
DisgustAngerContempt
AngerAnticipationAggressiveness
AnticipationJoyOptimism

Self-control

Building up a robust emotional vocabulary, is crucial in understanding how we feel. When we are aware of the emotions we experience, we are much more capable for controlling them. Self-control is one of the most important Emotional Intelligence skills. It is absolutely essential for the well-being of our mind. Above all, it determines our relationships, family and workplace.

Learning about our emotions leads to better understanding. Moreover, better understanding leads to controlling. Therefore, being aware of the exact emotions we feel, allows us to regulate them. On the other hand, lack of emotional awareness, results in us being manipulated by our feelings.

Negative emotions

Obviously, nobody likes negative emotions. However, they are as important as positive ones. Their purpose is to protect us from danger. And they work well. But, sometimes they overdo it. They send us false alarms. Nevertheless, with time and experience, we learn to filter out and regulate all those emotions that are too sensitive.

It’s ok.. not to be ok

To sum up, there is a superpower. And we can all have it. It is the ability to feel well, even when we don’t feel well. It might sound counterintuitive, but it is not. Of course, it requires a lot of effort. But, by the moment we start enriching our emotional vocabulary, we are already into the path that leads to self-control and self-regulation.

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See also our article on: Learn about how.. you learn!

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ikigai

Ikigai: Find the real reason you exist in life!

Ikigai: Find the real reason you exist in life!25601784Manolis Stratakis

The reason for being

Ikigai is a Japanese concept, meaning the reason for being. It’s a great tool to provide us with the desired clarity in order to understand what we want to do in life, what exactly is our right place in the society. It takes a while, but it surely works!

How do I find my own ikigai? Start by making four lists with what:

  1. you love to do
  2. you are good at
  3. can bring you money
  4. people need

ikigai

Let’s dive in

Now, let’s check the intersections:

Passion

1+2 is what you love doing and you are good at it. That’s your passion.

Profession

2+3 is what you are good at and it can bring money. This can be your profession.

Vocation

3+4 is what can bring money and people need it. This can be a vocation.

Mission

4+1 is what people need and you love to do it. That’s your mission.

Let’s now look at it in a bit more depth

1+2+3: You are good at it, you love it, it brings money but the world doesn’t really need it. You receive a lot of satisfaction but you also get a feeling of uselessness.

2+3+4: You are good at it, it brings money, people need it, but you don’t really love it. You are comfortable doing it, but you get a feeling of emptiness.

3+4+1: It brings money, people need it, you love it, but your skills are not yet developed at an adequate level, so you are not good at it. You feel excitement and complacency but you also feel some uncertainty.

4+1+2: The world needs what you are doing, you are good at it and you love it, but it doesn’t bring enough money. You feel delight and fullness but there is no wealth.

1+2+3+4: Ikigai. Here is your sweet spot. Even if you have only one thing common in all your 4 lists, then that’s your ikigai, your reason for being. That’s your ideal place in life!

Self-reflection questions

If you have not found your ikigai yet, do not worry! There is still hope. You just need to do a little more work:

  1. Locate where you stand right now
  2. What is missing?
  3. Which direction do you need to move?
  4. What do you need to do in order to get there?
  5. What obstacles stand in your way?
  6. How can you overcome them?

By answering the questions above, you will probably get enough clarity in order to be able to move towards the center of the diagram soon and identify your ideal place in life. If you fail the first time, don’t quit. Just try it for a few more times until you succeed!

________________

See also our article on: Learn about how.. you learn!

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life quality

Improve your Life Quality starting with the Cantril Ladder tool!

Improve your Life Quality starting with the Cantril Ladder tool!16141125Manolis Stratakis

Cantril Ladder

A first step towards improving drastically your life quality

The quality of our life and therefore our happiness level, can actually be measured! One simple and easy way for this is using the Cantril Ladder.

Imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder do you feel you stand right now? Check the respective colored disk on the left column on the diagram (Present).

It is important to understand that our life is dynamic, it is always changing. It may change faster or slower, but it is changing. The question is: which direction will it take next? Will it change to better or to worse? Here, our active commitment comes into play!

Believing in change is the first prerequisite to trigger the actual change. The second is setting up a goal. A right goal should be specific, meaningful and feasible.

So, let’s try to place a realistic life-changing goal for the near future.

Exercise

On which step do you want to stand in five years from now? (Please take into account how feasible is your choice). Check the respective colored disk on the right column on the diagram (In 5 years).

Congratulations! You have just made a good step towards realizing you present situation and set up a realistic goal for improving it. Just by placing your goal in the radar, you increase the odds for achieving it. Now, hold on to your seat while you are getting there!

Also, check out the article: Wheel of Life: The big picture of your life

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The characteristics for each group (as set by the Gallup Organization, with some modifications by us) are described below:

Thriving (9-6) — wellbeing that is strong, consistent, and progressing. Respondents have positive views of their present life situation and have positive views of the next five years. They report significantly fewer health problems, fewer sick days, less worry, stress, sadness, anger, and more happiness, enjoyment, interest, and respect.

Struggling (5-3) — wellbeing that is moderate or inconsistent. These respondents have moderate views of their present life situation OR moderate OR negative views of their future. They are either struggling in the present, or expect to struggle in the future. Usually, they report more daily stress and worry about money than the “thriving” respondents, and more than double the amount of sick days. Also, they are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to eat healthy.

Suffering (2-0) — wellbeing that is at high risk. These respondents have poor ratings of their current life situation AND negative views of the next five years. They are more likely to report lacking the basics of food and shelter, more likely to have physical pain, a lot of stress, worry, sadness, and anger. They have less access to health insurance and care, and more than double the disease burden, in comparison to “thriving” respondents.

These characteristics are only useful to give you an idea and help you see if you have made a good guess. Sharpening our awareness is critical in understanding where we stand and where we want to go!

 

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