02 November 2010

A few inspirational thoughts on Halloween/All Soul's/Día de los Muertos

Once again, it’s All Soul’s Day and therefore a perfect opportunity to celebrate life and perhaps even a preview skim of the much dreaded annual review towards the end of the year. Who knows, after reading this, you might have an epiphany about something you always wanted to do. In that case, congratulations! You still have eight weeks to turn this year around for you!

In essence, today is a reminder to live our lives to the fullest. There are many different ways to do that. For some, fulfilment comes with starting a new family or going somewhere they have never been before or mastering a new skill. Reach your full potential. Live your dreams. Do something that that increases happiness in the world, ideally something peaceful that will inspire others.

I like to think there are two kinds of success. The first is what is conventionally interpreted as career success. The second kind of success is about personal satisfaction, about living the life you want, surrounding yourself with people you love and giving your love to others. Although I am only vaguely familiar with his work, Deepak Chopra’s famous Spiritual Laws of Success might be a good guide for you to start out (and yes, they are on YouTube).

Take a moment, make yourself comfortable with a cup of tea (or coffee, whichever is your preferred poison) and think, really think about the following questions. I have taken these from a book misleadingly called “Getting Past OK: The Self-Help Book for People Who Don't Need Help”. The book’s title really is a misnomer because it does not tell you how to deal with people other than you who won’t accept your advice. I for example thought at first it was about how to deal with people at work who need help but always decline it. Rather, the book is about identifying in what direction you want to improve your life beyond the “just ok” level. It really reads itself quite fast and is more of a hands-on checklist than a spiritual impulse. The author is the guy who got credited with developing MS Word, Richard Brodie. I would love to quote the elaborations on each question but since quoting in blogs is kind of a legal grey area in terms of Fair Use, I will respect intelectual copyright and suggest you get your local library to stock this book - or give me a ring.

# What do you want? The trick is to focus on the experiences rather than the thing itself.

# What have been the greatest successes of your life so far?

# What is it about other people that you admire?

# What are some things you enjoy that don’t fit into the mainstream of life?

# What are your most important values? What ideals do you hold highest, honestly?

# What did you really enjoy doing as a kid at play?

# Describe your ideal job.

# Describe your ideal relationship.

# Write about what life is like from the point of view of your favourite pet.

And from myself: What legacy would you love to leave your children? What would you be proud of to be remembered for? Some say that writing your own funeral speech, as morbid as it sounds, can help you figure that out. I bet you feel much more alive afterwards! To quote Patrick Jane in The Mentalist: "My way? Cathartic and life-affirming!"

You live only once. Think about that.

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