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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Habit of Not Quitting


The way a child learns how to walk is always an excellent analogy. One fine day the toddler gets up from a crawling position on the ground and stands, clutching carefully on to the furniture and conveniently placed adult knees. After that, the first few tentative and wobbly steps are taken, arms outspread, wide grin on the face in the view of such an accomplishment. And then ... down they go ... only to stand again with grim determination. Repeat the above scene. And again and again and again. Finally: success.

Have you ever seen a child that quits? There may be some who decide to take a bit more time and then start again, but quitting and giving up just is not part of the scenario. Healthy toddlers learn how to walk perfectly because they don't quit.

However, as time goes on, quitting when things don't work as well as expected, may happen. And that is when is becomes very important to start paying attention to what is going on. Perhaps you - the adult - needs to step in and converse with your child, or - if this is something you are observing in yourself, already an adult, then you are the one you need to talk to. Vince Lombardi said: Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. The easy way out becomes a habit. And that is something that doesn't serve us well. It's not even so much about the ultimate success, as about how we feel about ourselves when we quit.

Admittedly, there are some things that simply have to be left alone. Perhaps you simply have not got the talent to become a concert pianist or world class tennis player. Perhaps your head is better suited to run a business than to write novels. But once those basic talents have been assessed, quitting before time is a process that can erode us inside in very insidious ways. Nixon said: A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.

Why does the child not give up? Isn't it because he is totally convinced that he will succeed? Isn't it also because he has others (parents, family, etc.) cheering him on? Isn't it also because he generally has protective measures around him so that if and when he falls, the injury won't be very bad? Isn't it also because he may take the time to rest between attempts? Isn't it also because he may totally forget - for a few minutes or several days - about his concerted effort and get involved with his toys? And finally, isn't it also because he will have several magnificent rewards when he succeeds? (His own feelings about his accomplishment and the praise of those who stand around him).

So let's learn from that process almost all of us went through, much as though we don't actually recall it:
  • be convinced that you can succeed
  • get someone who will cheer you on (mastermind groups, accountability partners, etc.)
  • set up some protective mechanisms (financial, psychological, etc.) in case of momentary setbacks
  • take time out to rest, relax and refresh yourself between bouts. If you can't afford a vacation to the Caribbean or the ski slopes, perhaps you can catch up on some inspiring reading, see some TED videos on the internet, or drive out into the country to stimulate yourself with impressive views and then have a simple picnic or treat yourself to lunch at an old-fashioned restaurant that serves home-cooking
  • ensure you have a few other interests that serve as both relaxants and stimulants while you fill up your own tank to get ready for the next attempt
  • surround yourself with people who believe in you and learn to believe in yourself (i.e., love yourself)
The idea inherent in the very lost words above: loving yourself, is perhaps the most important point of today's post. Without self love, it will be easier for you to develop the habit of quitting. So perhaps the best place to begin is there: learn to love yourself better. There are numerous articles about this topic on my website and here on the blog under the label of  'self-love'

For more information about loving the self, about getting to know yourself, about the meaning of your life, about being aware, about doubt and moving forward and the way your thoughts and feelings about those subjects influence you and what to do about it, about inner well-being, inner growth and joy, have a look at my book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self, available at Amazon as paperback or e-book for Kindle.


Click here to download the first chapter.

From the Description on Amazon:

Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Rewiring the Soul' provides a user-friendly roadmap for personal transformation. Using conversational style, it guides the reader to an understanding of life's problems and how they can be resolved, deliberately including the reader's connection to his own soul and spiritual growth. Based on common sense and the author's work as an integral psychotherapist as well as lessons gleaned from teaching and personal experiences, all interwoven with current findings from neuroscience, positive psychology, quantum physics and Buddhism, 'Rewiring the Soul' signposts the path to resolving everyday life and its problems while converging with the inner quest for connection with the soul. This process allows life to take on a revolutionary new meaning: resolving personal and interpersonal issues while keeping the inner connection to the soul in mind leads to unprecedented growth that is simply not possible if psycho-emotional matters and spiritual concerns are not combined.

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