One Apple A Day #833 – Self-discipline

Self-discipline is the ability to motivate yourself to take action, to behave by your decisions, regardless of how you feel a the moment. Self-discipline people are usually well-organised in all aspect of their lives; from the spaces in which they live and work to the way they do things.

Considering all these characteristics, I’m quite confident in saying that I am not a self-disciplined person.

However, I recognise the power of discipline.

I am messy, and I like it.

But even in my chaos, I need discipline if I am to achieve anything meaningful.

For years, or I should say decades, I struggled with my inability to stick with any practice long enough to create an impact in my life; from learning new skills to changing a behaviour or creating a new habit. 

I kept making plans and commitments in my head that I consistently failed until I’ve learned the power of supporting structures and systems.

Anytime I want to be disciplined about something, the first thing I do is to conceive an external system to support me. That allows me to use my strengths, like curiosity and creativity, to overcome one of my weaknesses.

The strengths cards that I’m using are made by Positran.

One Apple A Day #832 – Spirituality

Day two of this journey into these strengths cards, and it’s already a tough one. At least it is for me.

I had a very religious upbringing that played a big part in making me who I am today. Until my late twenties, I’ve been very active in my parish. I lovely memories of those years; a lot of fun and a great sense of belonging. 

Then something broke within me. I began to perceive the forms of which I was part, as empty shells. That sense of emptiness became so strong that I had to walk away.

For many years, I did my best to stay away from the word “spirituality”. As if it was tainted somehow. It took me a decade to release the beliefs and conditionings that come with that word. Only then, I was able to begin a new journey of rediscovery to bring back that part of me in my life. And almost another decade to become comfortable in using this word again.

Now I see spirituality as the ability to perceive the essence beyond the form. And it’s an ability that I practice every day.

I haven’t written much, but as I said, this is not an easy word to write about. So, I’d like to share two writings that I love on the subject.

The Mystical Core of Organized Religion” by Br. David Steindl-Rast is an excellent article about the relationship between organised religions and mysticism. The image of the volcano is so powerful, and it perfectly describes how I felt when I stepped away from religion.

The Egg” by Andy Weir is a magical story that resonates with me on so many levels and can give you an idea of where I am today.

One Apple A Day #831 – Wisdom

This morning I want to start a little new challenge. A few months ago, I bought a set of cards about strengths. They are great in workshops or coaching sessions to identify our strengths so we can use them as levers to create changes in our lives or to solve our challenges.

Unfortunately, due to this pandemic, I haven’t been able to use them properly. Tired of seeing them laying on my desk, I decided to use them differently. For the next days, every morning I’ll pick a card and write about it. There are quite a few cards on the deck, so I think I have enough material for the rest of this crazy year.

Anyway, without farther ado, let’s begin with the first card; wisdom.

The dictionary says that it is the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments.

On Wikipedia, they add understanding, common sense and insight to the recipe. And these are three fundamental ingredients because they make quite clear that wisdom is not about knowing a lot.

It’s not the amount of knowledge or experiences that make you wise. It is the ability to sense into what you know and don’t know and source your words, choices and actions from there. 

I think we are wise anytime we remove the duality between sensing and making sense. 

Uh, time flies. I need to use it more wisely next time. 

Let’s close this post with some wisdom from someone wiser than me.

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

Isaac Asimov

One Apple A Day #830 – the inner naysayer

A naysayer is a person who criticizes, objects to, or opposes something. You know, the kind of person that tells that you can’t do something or that your brilliant idea is not brilliant at all.
I have to admit I’ve been lucky enough to have met very few naysayers in my life. But there is this one who’s been living with me since I remember having ideas.
Even worst. This naysayer lives within me.
He talks with silent words in my head, and because he knows me so well, he is damn good.
My inner naysayer is very smart; he pries on my emotions, and he always has the best logical reasons for not doing something.
He lives in the space between the idea and the action. Over the many years of our shared journey, I’ve learned that not only he lives there, but he grows with that space. The more distance I leave between an idea and its manifestation, the more my inner naysayer expands and finds new brilliant ways to convince that it wasn’t such a great idea in the end.
But I’ve learned that, if I shorten the distance between the idea and the action, he doesn’t have time to come up with his negative reasoning.
That’s why for me, it’s essential to identify the smallest and quickest thing I can do to act on a good idea straight away.

One Apple A Day #829 – influence

Some days reality feels like a surreal movie.
In those days, I struggle to make sense of what happens around me.
Both locally and globally.
And I often ask myself, what’s my part in all of this? What role can I play?
It’s easy to feel powerless, nothing more than a cog in a wheel controlled somewhere else by someone else. When that feeling emerges, I’m drawn towards the reacting mode. I just react to things, as if it’s the only thing I can do.
However, I know that I am much more than that.
We all are much more than reactive cogs.
The way we show up every day, the choices we make, the things we do, the words we speak, even the smallest gesture has the power to influence the direction of humanity.
We may not see it, and probably nobody will recognise it ever, yet we are affecting the direction of the world.
Isn’t it an incredible superpower?
One that requires great responsibility.

While I was thinking about this post, I remembered this cool game about the wisdom and madness of crowds, and the power that we all have to affect our networks.