A designer knows when he has reached perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. ~ Antione de Saint-Exupery
May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” ~Albert Einstein
“The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
“Any real ecstasy is a sign you are moving in the right direction, don’t let any prude tell you otherwise.” ~St. Teresa of Avila
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.” ~Michael Jackson
“Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.” ~Yiddish Proverb
“Happiness is not something ready made; it comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama
“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” ~Bhagavad Gita
Enthusiasm equals life. You feel it when you look at a small child who’s running around and laughing, or when you play with your dog. When we get excited we feel alive and apart from enthusiasm being the strongest motivational power in the world to get things done, we also just want to be happy in the here and now.
People have different ideas and plans in what they want to achieve for themselves, but we all pursue them for the same reasons: We want to feel good. We believe that when we reach a certain goal we’ll feel content and fulfilled, but this is not the case. Rather it will be a slight disappointment because the goal is achieved, yet nothing really changed.
The nature of goals
This is something that came to my mind as I was reading about the philosophy of having no goals. The idea behind it is that setting goals and achieving them creates more stress than happiness and that we don’t need to set goals in order to be productive. The reason why is because enthusiasm alone is the biggest driving force behind success and achievement and is a much stronger source of motivation than having a deadline or a goal on your to-do list.
This makes sense. I myself for example don’t get excited about things because they happen to be on my list of goals, but because I love doing them! The same applies to things I’d rather not do. Just because those things are on my list doesn’t mean I get more excited about them, but rather it becomes a source of stress and frustration. Instead of forcing yourself to do something you dislike, it’s also possible to rearrange your mental programming so that you can get excited about those things.
Pleasure and pain
What we like or dislike is not something that’s set in stone from the moment we’re born, but it’s something that’s programmed into our system in accordance with our experiences. Human beings are driven by the desire for pleasure and the aversion towards pain. What is pleasurable or painful is not a matter of fact, but a matter of perception.
Those who are into advertising know all about changing perception by linking pleasure to whatever they want you to buy. Because these processes usually happen on a subconscious level we’re not even aware of the huge amount of influence commercials have on us. So why wouldn’t we use this science to condition ourselves in a way that is beneficial to us?
What I’m talking about is basically NLP and it’s a very practical method for reprogramming self-limiting attitudes and systems of belief by changing the parameters and values of pleasure and pain. We will get motivated as soon as we link pleasure rather than pain to doing something that we didn’t feel so excited about before.
The supreme state of being
But to me that’s not enough. As far as pragmatism goes my mind also needs philosophical nourishment. I want to go beyond pleasure and pain and see what really drives me. The pleasure of getting a certain result is one thing, but the enthusiasm in the moment itself for doing what you love makes the result irrelevant. It is that feeling which everyone is trying to pursue as they set their goals and imagine their future achievements.
The illusion is that fulfilment is waiting for us in the future. Life happens in the present moment only and that’s why they say there is no way to happiness, but that happiness is the way. It is the passion itself that makes life worth living, because it’s in that state that we really feel alive. The proof that results and achievements don’t equal happiness can be deducted from the fact that there are many successful people who don’t feel fulfilled and happy.
In the end I believe happiness in itself is the biggest success of life and that it’s impossible to go wrong when you feel excited and enthusiastic about the things you do. The best thing is that apart from personal fulfilment it also creates a wave of upliftment that affects the people around you. Everybody likes to be around those who feel good, because it makes them feel good as well.
Be a good person
Our biggest desire is to be in that state of happiness, fulfilment, excitement and passion. I believe that is what life is all about, because it can only be lived in the here and now. Enthusiasm is something as profoundly beautiful as a blossoming flower and should be treated with care and love.
I find it really awful when people bash in each other’s enthusiasm and excitement. Would you ever do that to your child? I don’t suppose anyone would. At the very least nobody wants to be part of those who do. There’s definitely something to be said about a realistic approach, but that doesn’t mean that there is no space to let an idea grow into something that we can work with.
When we’re supportive then not only will beautiful ideas grow into realities, but also we will nourish the enthusiasm and passion that will blossom within ourselves and others to create even more beautiful things and live a fulfilling life. It becomes a productive cycle of happiness that other people will want to contribute to.
In a society where people first and foremost think about themselves and their own interests it’s not always as easy to get people to work for your cause. Of course monetary incentives work to some degree, but there are better ways to establish partnerships which are much more effective. It is the mark of a good leader that he can inspire the people around him.
It’s been proven that money is not the driving force behind the ambition of people. In fact some of the most interesting creations that mankind has produced are not functions of greed, but rather from a sense of purpose and meaning. It is us who give purpose and meaning to our creations and therefore it is us who have the power to inspire others to create things that inbibe those very qualities. When you can give other people a sense of purpose they will create wonders for you.
I’m not religious, but when I see a cathedral I cannot help but to stand in awe as I wonder how much time and effort has been put into creating something so beautiful. There are buildings which took hundreds of years to finish, which means that various generations had been working on them. The reason why those kind of buildings even exist is because the people who made it had a very strong sense of purpose and meaning. It gave them the power to rise above themselves by contributing to something that is bigger than their lives.
Now I’m not saying that you should start your own religion and convince people to build a structure in the name of God, but the point is that people will deliver a better product for you when you can involve them in the idea that is behind it. It is for this reason that powerful ideas are the strongest force in the minds of men and understanding that is one of the most important lessons in order to become a successful leader. Every great leader in history has had a great vision that inspired those who followed him.
There are no right or wrong ideas, only weak and strong ones. We see that in history people have fought each other over disagreements regarding ideas and obviously the strongest ideas survived, because they were supported and defended by many. Think of the idea of liberty for example that has never failed to move people because it’s one of the most powerful ideas. Unfortunately ideas can also be used as a means of manipulation to get people to support something outside of their own interest. Good examples are the numorous wars that the USA fights in the name of liberty and democracy even when that’s obviously not the case.
What I’m trying to say is that an idea needs to be strong, but it also needs to be communicated properly in order to be supported. We attach ourselves to ideas when we’re able to identify with that idea. When an idea is part of our identity it becomes one of the driving forces in our lives. People desire a sense of identity and by belonging to something bigger than ourselves we feel more powerful. In order to spread an idea we have to become the idea itself. They call it being an example or walking the talk.
When a leader can inspire his followers to become part of his idea then they’ll become leaders themselves. This is why strong ideas will live on even when the people who created them passed away. Ideas which appeal to the spirit of the current time are always strong, because they resonate very well with the collective mind. Creating an idea therefore is not as hard as it seems if you can manage to tap in to this collective mind. It doesn’t even have to be a new idea, but it can also be an old idea displayed in a modern fashion.
One of the most important factors in communicating an idea successfully is how it is displayed; being an example is not enough. People have a weak spot for spectacles and mystery and both should be used to create a large movement. In one of my posts (How The Human Psyche Works) I wrote about the power of secrets, because whatever is not spoken out loud creates an aura that is much stronger than words. The same counts for ideas; an idea should be expressed in every way, but it shouldn’t be spoken out loud. Giving away the secret means no more mystery, which is a turn off.
It is the sense of mystery that will draw people closer and every expression of the idea is spectacular. At the same time you give them purpose and meaning. I’ve seen first hand how mysterious organizations have multiple layers of followers. The ones who were the closest with the organization were told the most important ‘secrets’. Secrery inspires loyalty and turns men into kids who will take anything they’re given. I’m not saying this is the right thing to do, but in this particular organization it worked for whatever reason was behind it.
I would say that the most important thing to learn is to recognize the elements that make a movement strong and powerful. It’s not about what they do, but how they do it. In that sense a strong movement definitely has some of the charactaristics that we see in religious organizations. That’s not because it has anything to do with religion, but those guys just figured that out way back. A definite important factor is that it needs to appeal to the desire of people to believe in something which is bigger than themselves in order to be part of it and create a sense of purpose and meaning.
Like I said before it doesn’t matter as much what you do, but it’s much more important how you do it. You don’t have to form a religion in order to create a religious kind of following. The idea is what creates the powerful aura and its presentation is the key in order to inspire people to become part of it. Mystery draws people in, but a leader who appears like he’s a mystery to himself is not a good thing; a good leader knows exactly what he’s doing and even if he doesn’t it should appear as if he does.
People have to feel that they can count on their leader; they need to be able to trust him. Trust can be gained simply by showing understanding towards others. It’s the distance between people that creates distrust and makes one see another as a stranger. A good leader can make an intimate connection with another person instantly on the first eye contact. Trust is a strong bond and is hard to break, because it’s part of people’s sense of identity. This is what I mean with showing understanding; letting someone know that you understand who that person is. People adore that, because often they don’t even know themselves that well.
Finally I would like to say that being a leader doesn’t mean you have to have followers. On the contrary, leadership starts by taking charge of yourself. If your ideas are strong enough people are bound to follow you to help advance the idea even further. One trap is the ego, because that should never be part of the idea. You have to realize yourself that the idea is more important than you and that you’re simply the bearer of it; a tool of the universe so it can spread and create a larger movement.
Those who like to be followed in order to feel better about themselves are not going to be followed. Weak ideas perish in the presence of stronger ones. In order to be a good leader you have to become the biggest follower of your own idea.
Very often I meet people who have no idea what they want to do with their lives. Usually they’re young people who just went on automatic pilot into university just to find out that they don’t feel as if they’re in the right place. Others do enjoy their studies, but are not looking forward to end their student life and start the torment that’s called 9 to 5. What they miss is a sense of purpose; something that touches them deep inside of their hearts.
Contrary to the industrial aged belief that human beings are expendable resources we are all unique yet are looking for the same thing in life: Fulfilment. This word indicates a certain kind of completion as if everything is taken care of and is just exactly as it should be. This state of happiness and bliss is what every human being on the planet is looking to achieve and often in vain. To find momentary joy is not the same and often counterproductive, because it creates craving which leads to misery again.
You could say that pleasure and pain are indicators of your own duality for they are two sides of the same coin. What separates them is your own judgment. So if happiness takes no part in either pleasure nor pain, then what is it that makes us happy? People will go to incredible lengths to find happiness, but it is not a function of achievement. If it was then why are there so many celebrities who are utterly trapped in their own agony? And if happiness had anything to do with material wealth then why are there people with little to no possessions who experience fulfilment?
Happiness has nothing to do with cause and effect, because it is timeless. Since our human consciousness experiences space and time we try to understand everything according to those principles. However, happiness is a state of mind has always been a part of you. It is forever and limitless because it ascends time and space. The question is how we get in touch with that within this specific time/space experience that we call human life. One quote that puts it nicely goes like this: “We’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.”
What I’m trying to say is that there is more to our existence than just that what makes us human. When people are looking for their destiny or a sense of purpose they are in fact just looking to get a deeper understanding of themselves in the grand scheme of things. They feel lost because they don’t feel as if they’re in the right place so they follow that voice in their heads hoping to find their destiny. I was one of those people and what really helped me to find purpose was traveling and meeting people. It broadened my perspective of the world and that of myself.
Meditation is also a very effective way to explore yourself and definitely something I feel everyone should do. To say that it is not for you is to limit yourself to an idea that’s probably not even yours to begin with. One thing that is very important when it comes to finding purpose and experiencing happiness and fulfilment is the understanding of the small and the big mind. We live in a society which encourages us to become self-absorbed by keeping our minds busy with petty worryings about ourselves; whether it is about money, reputation or freedom. When we’re preoccupied with ourselves then we’re living in the small mind.
The small mind is a very tiny place to live in and by definition unfulfilling. It is impossible to find happiness in the small mind, because you keep yourself in a small box which doesn’t let you experience anything outside of that. Imagine that you’re living in a closed box at the very top of a huge mountain. Will you get to experience the vastness of your surroundings? Not likely. Another downside of being in the small mind is that nobody is benefitting from your existence. Your added value to the world is small and therefore your value to others is small as well. When you live for yourself you’re not part of anything bigger than your own insignificantly short earthly life.
This is why most people want to be part of something bigger, because they do feel that there is something outside of that tiny box. How else can it be when we are all part of the big mind? The connection is there, but not everyone is as aware of it. Basically the big mind is the collective consciousness and can be limited to for example your family, but can also involve all living beings. This just depends on your experience of belonginess towards everything around you. When we live in the big mind we start to become of value to others by serving the common good.
When you become a valuable asset to the world around you then you’ll see that the universe will start to conspire in your favor. It makes sense because everyone profits from you being in the right place. In the small mind you only live to serve yourself and often this distorts the greater scheme of things. If you were to play in an orchestra without listening to the music your fellow musicians are playing then what are the chances that the chords you strike will be in harmony with the rest of the play? In the end this will even prove to be counterproductive to your own interests, because others will benefit from stopping you. By living in the small mind you’ll encounter a lot more resistance as you try to realize your dreams.
One thing to say about the big mind is that it’s not the same as communism or something like that. What I’m talking about here has nothing to do with any sort of political ideology, but rather a state of mind. When tuning in to the big mind you will find your purpose eventually and you’ll know it’s the right way because happiness and fulfilment will be your companions. Everything will seem to happen almost without effort, because everyone will want you to carry out your destiny.
I definitely do believe that in time our political system will change in the same way that our collective consciousness will. It is quite clear that the global capitalism we’re subjected to is just a mirror image of our collective mindset which is limited to service to self small mind thinking. We created this system ourselves to support this particular way of life and if we want to change that then we’ll have to start with the man in the mirror. Michael Jackson is a good example of big mind thinking. He found his purpose very early in life and even as the media went to incredible lengths to destroy his reputation it simply proved impossible to put a soul to silence who was so beneficial to many. He became part of something infinitely bigger than his own life, may he rest in peace.
In the future I will be publishing an article about Michael Jackson, so more on that later. That just leaves me to say that in order to tune in to the big mind one should make a continuous effort to expand one’s feeling of belonginess to the rest of the world and for that matter the entire universe. The big mind eventually leads to fulfilment and harmony whereas the small mind leads to duality and misery.