The Guardians

Don’t stay up late in the evening! Don’t start a fight with your boss! Don’t buy that expensive car! Don’t walk on fire! These are all powerful affirmations which share a strong point: they’re all interdictions. These are sentences performed by a bunch of interesting guys inside us which we are too often ignoring: our guardians. In today’s post I’ll share some of my thoughts about how I deal with inner interdictions.

Meet The Forbidders

It’s amazing how much we define our environment by interdictions and limitations. If you take the time to assess for one day how many interdictions you are obeying you’ll be surprised. I know I was.  There are so many unconscious NO‘s we’re performing every minute. Don’t climb on the walls of your house! Don’t wear a sock on your hand! For god sake, don’t scream out of nowhere, with no reason at all, or you’re neighbors will be horrified!

The Forbidders are a very big and functional team inside ourselves. They’re very organized and experienced, and they almost never forget anything. They know what they have to do and do it with amazing precision. The Forbidders are responsible for keeping us safe as well as for keeping us bored. They’re responsible for our physical integrity (don’t jump off off that building, please) as well as for our cowardice (don’t try something new today, it’s risky).

The Forbidders are on a deep love / hate relationship with our true self. They are loved for maintaining a functional status-quo of our being by keeping us out of potential dangers. They are hated for maintaining a dull status-quo of our being by forbidding us to take risks and evolve. The Forbidders are brilliantly playing a double role: they’re as much protectors as they are limiters.

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Wasted Power

The worst thing that can happen to you is to realize that you have unlimited power. That you can do anything. That you can create everything you want. That there is nothing outside you and everything is inside, waiting to blossom. The worst thing is to realize that you’re here to create your own life. Why?

Because you’ll face some terrible questions.

Life Purpose

First question: what should I do with my life?

It’s so much easier to live without a purpose, thinking that you have limited powers, that your destiny was engraved in stone and you can’t do anything to change it. Asking questions like “what should I do with my life, now that I DO have the power to change it?” it’s a difficult process. Not everyone is ready to ask that question, and even less are ready to give an honest answer. It’s so much easier to put your entire life on somebody else’s plate.

Put it on your parents, they didn’t love you when you were a kid. Put it on the system, it’s making you a 9 to 5 slave. Put it on your spouse, for being lazy or angry or unconsidered. Put on your kids are they are here to steal your precious time, a time that you would otherwise spend on meaningless tv shows or useless gossip.

It’s easier to put the guilt on somebody else, it will free your consciousness and ease your pain. Why live a life with a purpose when there are so many difficulties? Why do something if somebody (your parents, spouse, kids, boss, this out-of-nowhere man) will prevent you for doing it? Why searching for a higher purpose when you can think you’re just a limited individual with limited power and limited beliefs?

Living a life without purpose, without accessing your enormous power is always a safer bet. Admit it: this concept of unlimited power doesn’t fit with your current lifestyle. So, it must not exist at all.

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Trip To Thailand – The Aftermath

Every trip is making me better in some way. Every travel enrich me so much and every time I am back home I discover myself a better person in so many areas. I’ve already wrote extensively about that in Travel As A Personal Development Tool post series so today I’ll just get practical and tell you how I benefit form my trip to Thailand that you’ve read so much about in the last week.

Challenged Concepts

Exposing myself to a new culture, to a new country and to an uncontrolled flow of experiences seriously shook some of my already established concepts. In some cases those concepts enlarged, showing me that they can cover a lot more than I thought, and in other cases they become more profound revealing deep layers that I didn’t even thought possible to exist.

Size Does Matter

Bangkok is a huge city. My concept of size was seriously challenged during this trip. On the vertical dimension Bangkok is almost incontrollable. I was able to stay a week in the modern center of this city, a fast developing area with lots of skyscrappers and new buildings. Even smaller blocks – compared with the super stars – are already huge concrete compounds overwhelming your intention to understand them.

The overgrown vertical dimension is present only downtown, but on the horizontal dimension of Bangkok is even more impressive. After cruising on the Chao Phraya canals I can remember endless lines of houses, almost growing out of water, over and over again. Each house hides another house and that house makes room for another house. The huge river hosts an impressive horizontal layer of small but ceaseless buildings.

My understanding of “big” was deeply modified during this trip.

Beauty Is Everywhere

Is surprising how everything can be beautiful in such a crowded and hot city. The first impression is visual: the colors are strong, bold and contrastive. Everything, from the color of cars to the color of clothes, from the colors of sky to the colors of buildings is a continuous visual dance.

Even the concrete jungle holds gentle lines and integration with older architecture. Harmony is the second word you find after “huge” when you try to define the modern areas of Bangkok. The buddhist temples are also living proofs of an inner beauty ready to be expressed along with vibrations of respect and devotion. So far, the temples visited in Thailand are the most beautiful religious buildings I ever saw.

Of course, not only what was man made is beautiful, but also natural areas. Being so little out of the big city I can only guess, but I do know that other parts of Thailand, like Phuket island (which I intend to visit quite soon) are ready to confirm and enhance the natural beauty of this place.

Last, but not least, the beauty of women is something completely mind blowing. It’s so different than our western definition of beauty, yet so close to it. It’s a gentle mix of harmony, fragrance and shyness, a soft silhouette floating around you with a promise of something yet to be discovered. A silence created by no need of words, a sense of completeness and still the drive to find out more.

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A Raw Food Diet For Your Soul

By now it should be no secret for the readers of my blog that I am a raw vegan. At this specific moment I have more than 6 month of eating only raw, unprocessed and uncooked food. My health has improved dramatically over the last 6 months. I lost 14 kilos in the process and I sleep like a baby. I had a nail problem at my left hand, a tiny exfoliation that started to slowly aggravate in the last 3-4 years. Never knew the reason, just observed helplessly that my nail started to lose consistence. In the last 2 months this condition has been completely reversed, my nail is practically complete again. During May last year I had a horrible cold, with more than 5 days of high fever (40 degrees Celsius). I never had the tiniest cold since I started the diet, although I was exposed to viral contexts.

The main reason for that dramatic change in my “physical layer” is my diet, without any doubt. It’s the way I eat that improved my physical health in such an incredible way.

Overloaded With Toxins

After more than 6 months of observing my body reaction to my raw food, I can affirm that my main improvement area is in the toxins speed elimination. I can feel that my body is having less toxins than before, and when it happens to have more than normal, it eliminates the extra toxins much faster. I can’t explain exactly how it does, I can only tell you that I experience states of lightness and elasticity. I feel like I’m cleaner and more functional than before. It’s not only my weight and my body elasticity, it’s like my whole body mechanism is functioning at a better rate.

Our divine machine, the body, it’s a sublime project. We humans could only aim to create substances as complete or as functional as our human tissue. When we can create something good, we do it incompletely. Every food supplement out there, a part from providing you with a list of  allegedly needed ingredients, insert into your body loads of incomplete, toxic structures. Each thermal modification of our food (apart from allegedly making it available for more time) fundamentally affects its base molecular structure. Every “improved” food contains in fact much more harmful substances, making your body working extra hours to eliminate them. And this extra stress weakens your sublime machine that you call your body.

I guess there is some point from where we don’t feel this effort anymore. After this point we’re actually overloaded with toxins. Our body surrendered and it’s only a question of time until the weakest link will fall apart, creating an illness. I’m not a doctor nor do I intend to pose into one. I can only speak from my firsthand experience on this topic and this is what I do.

A Raw Food Diet For Your Soul

Well, the other day I had out of the blue this thought: what if my emotional layer would also be fed with only raw, unprocessed emotions? What if I impose a raw food diet on my soul? What does that actually could mean? What would be the obstacles? What would be the expected results?

Without claiming that I already started such a diet, I will try to write in this post my possible answers to all those questions from above. So, let’s start it:

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The Gratitude Experiment – Conclusions

After almost a month since I started it, it’s time for me to write the conclusions for my gratitude experiment. Some of you may already have read a follow up on this but now it’s time to write the full conclusions. For those of you who came here directly I will shortly outline the core of the experiment, if you want to know more feel free to read the first and the second post.

Too keep a long story short: this gratitude experiment consisted in daily writing in a journal the things for which I am grateful. Being quite a geek in some areas, I chose to do this using some advanced technology like an iPhone and a specific application designed apparently exactly for that, a gratitude journal. Of course, if you ever want to start something similar you can do it with pen and paper, this is not even remotely about technology. It’s about you.

Gratitude Is Acknowledgement

It’s pretty difficult to define gratitude because of a strong cultural connotation caused by religion and / or spirituality. Gratitude has a lot to do with those areas, but it’s not entirely tied up to them. I think gratitude is only overlapping with those areas, is not contended by them. Every time you want to talk about gratitude you feel a little discomfort because it tends to take you out of the normal, day to day routine and put you into some serious and rigid realms like religion or spirituality.

We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life. Redemption, guilt or excessive frugality are common ground for all major religions and so we tend to act a little bit cautious toward it, unless of course, we do have a daily religious routine and we’re placing it very high in our value scale.

But gratitude is not only religion. In fact, gratitude is so flexible and versatile that sometimes appears to me to be quite the opposite from the fixed paths of religion. Gratitude is your way to tell the Universe it has been good to you. It’s an acknowledgment, it’s a confirmation you send back. It doesn’t have to be in a fixed form, nor to be contained in any ritual or structured philosophy. All it takes is to be honest.

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Travel As A Personal Development Tool – The How To

This is the second part of my short series about how to use travel as a personal development tool. I covered the “why’s” and the benefits of this in the first post, so if you came here directly you may want to read that too.

While started to work on this, I realized that travel as a personal development tool can be split into 2 main categories:

  • short rides around the city or at maximum 3-400 km away from home, which usually last less than a day
  • long trips, more than 3-4000 km, which last at least one week.

There are some differences between the those trips, at least from a personal development approach, so I will split my post accordingly.

Short Joy Rides

Those trips are fantastic perspective changers. I used to do unexpected rides all the time when I was feeling stressed or under pressure. After several months of doing this on purpose, my general approach toward my business completely changed. I switched from a very tense attitude to a more relaxed one and I was able to spot opportunities much easier.

From my experience, you should use this whenever you have feelings of lack of time or pressure. Sounds very counter-productive and somehow like escapism, but is not. Just start a short ride around the city, drive around or walk if you want. You can even take public transportation like urban trains or trams. Just go there, be with the flow and give your mind a break. Do this for at least 3 or 4 hours. Don’t even dare to think that this time could be better used if you “worked”. You’re still working during those rides, you’re only doing it differently.

The trick here is to do this on purpose and for several weeks / months in a row. Yes, you got it right, you must make a habit out of it. Sounds strange to make a habit out of short trips, but believe me, it works. You don’t have to come to the end of the rope and try it as a last resort, just do it while you’re still able to think it clear. Because you still have the capacity to shift your focus from your problems (what is pressuring you) to your solutions (what could free you).

The other key point is to not plan your itinerary, just go in the car and ride the road you see in front of you. Let yourself caught in the road, stop your mind and enjoy what you see. Extract yourself from your current flow of habits, break your unconscious walls and immerse yourself into the unknown. After 3-4 hours, return home. That’s it. As I said, it’s very important to this for at least several weeks in a row.

Short trips without an established goal worked fantastically well for me. Helped me to achieve a better clarity and sensitivity. My work actually improved, both in terms of performance and volume during that period, so I never feel I lost time during those trips.

The best image I can use is something that comes out of the fog. This is how I felt after several weeks in which I follow the habit of short 3-4 hours trips.

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Travel As A Personal Development Tool

Looking at my 2009 goal list I found a few things there related to travel. Precisely, I want to have at least 3 long term vacations this year, and that my friends, is a specific goal, not relaxation. Here comes a post about how you can use traveling as a personal development tool. Apart from having lots of fun, of course.

Personal Traveling History

I did my first travel outside my country after I hit my thirties. Yes, you can laugh now. I know, it’s fun. Ok, you can laugh even more. But that’s the truth and I will not hide it. At that time I was still involved 16 hours a day in my own business and considered travel is just a waste of precious time. Maybe, and only maybe if I could mix travel with business, then I can embark on some small trips outside my country.

And this is how I actually had my first trip to Switzerland: it was a big automotive event in Geneva and since I had the biggest car portal in Romania, I said I could give it a try. I drove 25 hours from Bucharest to Geneva, with only 3 hours of sleep in Hungary. Next year I was in Frankfurt and next year in Paris. Automotive events are quite popular, you know…

And I started to like it. In fact, I started to like it a lot. So much that last year I made one trip longer than any other I had before. In fact much longer than the sum of all my travels to the moment: to New Zealand. One may say that I somehow balanced the score with that one, but in fact, I felt that this was only the beginning. I somehow developed a travel addiction, the same way I developed my GTD addiction over time.

And then I realized that not only entrepreneurship can be a personal development tool. You can also use traveling to enhance yourself consciously. I will outline just a few of the “why’s” in this post, and in the next one I’ll try to share some specific advice about the “how’s”. For now, let’s just start with the reasons.

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Working Out Your Money Muscles

Playing the money game is something really fun, when you do it with an easy heart. And by that I mean that whenever you focus only on the money part and lose the game part you derail yourself from a path of joy and learning. Making money is just something you do in the process of creating value. The focus must always be at creating value, not at money.

In today’s post I’ll share some of my money game experiences, I will show how money can be compared with a fitness workout and I’ll take a closer look at one very scary notion related to money, and that would be debt.

The Money Game

For me money is just a source of energy. I wrote about that before so if you want to know how you can make money with a purpose, just go and read that post and return here a little later. If you already read it, than you know what I mean: each time you interact directly with money, you break an energy flow. And direct interaction with an energy flow can be really dangerous. You should consider using switches for manipulating money, the same way you manipulate switches for electricity, in order to light your room or make it warmer.

Money is just a part of a game, is something you use in the process, is not the process itself, nor the goal of your actions. People tend to forget this and they do it especially when one part of the game become a little naughty: when they are caught in debt.

Debt and win are just two faces of the same coin (ironically, I use a money object in order to describe a money concept). If you win money in the process of creating value that simply means you have more resources than you had in the beginning. If you used more money than you had at a certain point, well, you just created a debt. The problem with debt is that is very often perceived like a threat or a burden. And it surely is, as long as you don’t know the value you created with that debt. If you used that money in order to build something, you created a certain value. (If you didn’t and just spend it on a shallow lifestyle, well, that’s another problem and your debt should really be a problem for you.) But if you created value, your only question is:

Is my created value bigger than my debt?

If the answer is “yes”, you’re on the safe side, and the money game is working for you. If the answer is “no”, well, you should do your best to create more value.

That’s what makes the difference between successful people and losers. Successful people know all the time if their created value exceeds or not their financial debt. And most of the time, that value is well over the debt. Losers (sorry for the term, but it’s the most appropriate term I found for this category) never know where their created value is compared with their debt. At the first sign of a debt they consider something is wrong and stop doing everything, start complaining, become irrational or simply run away.

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