Life As An Orange

On frequent occasions throughout the day, we encounter situations that make us frustrated, angry and resentful.

During these times, we blame the other individuals or external forces. We feel they are the source of our ill feelings. They made us feel this way.

We often think, without these people in our lives, we’d be better off.

Oranges.

When you squeeze an orange, naturally orange juice comes out. Why does it come out? Because that is exactly what is housed inside that delicious rind.

Let us think of our bodies as individual little oranges.

When people take jabs at us, poke us and make us feel frustrated, resentful or angry, it isn’t them that make us feel those feelings.

Like the orange, we already hold those feelings inside ourselves. The jabs from the world accentuate the feelings we inherently possess.

We allow feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment to live deep within us and lay dormant until the world is able to poke it out of us.

So then, how do we remedy our internal feelings? How do we take charge of our thoughts, feelings and actions and explode with happiness rather than anger?

We’ve come up with a few techniques to train our body and mind, shedding away any ill feelings that lay dormant.

A) Cancel Rule

In our many life experiences, we have encountered many jabs and pokes. In most cases, these scenarios are largely unavoidable. Sometimes, the people we spend the most time with are the worst for us.

While we advocate ways to change our circumstances, there are alternate methods without drastically cutting people out of our lives.

In our next dicey encounter, let us remember the Cancel Rule. When someone takes a jab we must rapidly and repeatedly yell ‘cancel’ inside our heads.

We cannot let their words penetrate our fleshy rind.

We must train our brain to cancel out their negative thoughts. We must never internalize them or let them sit inside our bodies.

Allowing such a scenario only adds to our pot of ill feelings. Use the Cancel Rule as a method to avoid internalization.

B) Deep Breathing

Our brains chase the easiest method to any scenario. When we encounter a less-than-stellar situation, we often get flustered and our breathing gets shallow.

Shallow breathing is a reaction when we’re angry or frustrated. The primary muscles, which facilitate breathing—diaphragm, abdomen, chest, and neck—are tense which limits free-flowing unconscious breathing.

As our negative thoughts continue to circle around our heads, our breathing inadvertently becomes shorter and quicker, only increasing the ill feelings.

When the world pokes at us, let us stop and think of our breathing. Let us fill our bellies up fully and slowly till our angry orange juice subsides.

Live long enough, and we’ll encounter our share of tough times. That’s okay. We all experience this from time-to-time. Ill feelings are relatively natural within us.

But imagine if we could control our thoughts, feelings and actions? Imagine if we could truly harness our ability to choose happiness over anger.

Well, we can. We believe this goal is relatively simple to achieve.

Through some diligent actions and positive thoughts, we are able change our internal orange juice.

Until next time, my beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free and love on.

orange-quote-frank-sinatra

The Work/Life Balance Fallacy

When we were children, time didn’t occur to us. All our activities fit perfectly into the day. Unless the sun was going to bed, our time seemed endless, wistfully passing by.

Our parents dealt with our schedules, moving and shifting around hockey practices with dentist appointments. Our lives were handled in their responsible care and we were blissful.

Soon after, we matured into self-sustaining adults with our own work schedules and responsibilities. We began to focus on time; trying to fit all the minutiae tightly in.

Then, we became obsessed with time. We became obsessed with balance. It seems that most of us endlessly sought a balanced life.

However, the ‘balanced life’ does not exist.

One of life’s biggest lies is the notion of a balanced life. Nothing ever achieves absolute balance. Nothing.

Between professional and personal life, striving for that perfect balance is most peoples’ mislead goal that they find attainable without ever stopping to truly consider it.

This is tough to believe mainly because one of the most frequent mantras for what is missing in most lives is, ‘I need more balance.’ We hear about balance so much that we automatically assume it’s exactly what we should seek.

It’s not.

We should be seeking purpose, significance, and happiness, the qualities that persist in a successful life.

Seek those important qualities and you will more than likely live a life out of balance, crisscrossing an invisible middle line as you pursue those qualities.

Think of balance as the middle line, and out of balance when we’re away from it. Get too far and we’re now living in the extremes.

The persistent problem with the middle is that it prevents us from making extraordinary time commitments to anything. Stay here too long and our lives will grow stale and ordinary.

Stray away from the middle and we could get reckless, marginally living a terribly hard life, devoid of relationships, fond memories and love.

Knowing when to pursue the middle and the extremes is true knowledge. Results are achieved with perfect negotiation with your time.

The reason we should never pursue absolute balance is because the magic never happens in the middle.

Magic happens at the extremes.

The extremes are where we are truly tested in will and guts. Our strengths are galvanized towards a lifelong dream. We naturally understand that success lies at the outer edges, but we don’t know how to manage our lives when we’re out venturing.

When we work too long, our personal life suffers. We unfairly blame work when we say, ‘I have no life.’ Even when work doesn’t pose a threat, our personal lives can be filled with endless ‘have-tos’ that we, once again, reach the same conclusion, ‘I have no life.’

When we get bombarded by both sides – professional and personal – we face an imminent breakdown and once again proclaim, ‘I have no life.’

Time waits for no one.

If we stray too far to the extremes, chasing our professional lives, we forget to cherish the middle, the simple.

Sometimes our work schedules become overwhelming, but our belief is that if we work hard now, we can enjoy the fruits of labor later.

Push something to an extreme and postponement can become permanent.

We seem to believe that we can make up for lost time.

But do we really think that we can get back a child’s birthday or bedtime story? Is a party for a five-year old with imaginary friends the same as a dinner with a teenager with high-school friends?

In Click, Adam Sandler has an epiphany before death where he says, ‘family first.’ Realizing all the time he spent at work instead of with his family, gave him his biggest regret.

He couldn’t make up for lost time. He couldn’t find balance.

Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.

Finding the right amount is essential to our personal and professional lives. Through careful deliberation of our activities, we can slowly understand where our time is best spent.

We have to spend our time on what matters most to us, instead of scrambling with minutiae. We have to accept the fact that not everything can get done in our days, weeks, months, years, and lives.

We need to realize where our true passions and priorities lie in life. We need to separate all the important activities from the things we think are important.

Professional and personal success are measured equally. If we do not treat bodies with respect, our families and friends with respect, we suffer immeasurable in the latter.

If we do not achieve professional success, we feel defeated and depressed, bringing those feelings into our personal lives.

We must crisscross the invisible line, while simultaneously chasing purpose, significance, and happiness.

We must spend a little extra time sharing memories with our families and friends and being mindful of ourselves – our bodies and minds.

We must also focus on our professional goals by working our hardest – but not longest – and giving our entire being in that singular moment.

Balance cannot be achieved.

The art of counter-balancing is a more realistic goal. With everything that we do in our professional life, equal time must be spent in our personal lives, and vice versa.

When I die, I want to have the shortest list of regrets possible. With that in mind, making sure to be mindful of my body, treasuring my relationships and chasing professional success are goals, which are strived for equally.

Until next time, my beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free, and love on.

Symbol of scales is made of stones on the cliff
Symbol of scales is made of stones on the cliff

The 1% Rule and Goals vs. Systems

When I first started working out, I wanted to see abs immediately. I remember waking up every morning and staring into my full-length mirror from every angle, simultaneously playing with the lighting in my washroom.

I woke up and started my day with disappointment. I never saw any change day-by-day. Everything looked the same. One giant ball of fat. When I look back now and remember where my body was and where it is now, I realized I’ve changed a lot.

Day-by-day it’s hard to see changes. But when you look back in time, everything seems different. For me, my goal has shifted from getting abs before (date), to improving a little everyday. The 1% rule is the most effective way to improve.

The 1% Rule

Every week aim to improve by 1% physically, emotionally, and mentally. A series of baby steps is less daunting than having the overarching goal of ‘have abs before (date),’ or ‘be happy,’ or ‘be smarter.’

Those goals are too large and hard to satisfy, in their own right. But when you aim to improve by 1% every week, you stop focusing on the big picture.

Improvement is made through a succession of little steps, not one large grandiose move.

Be active everyday (and eat healthy) and abs will be around the corner. Find happiness in the little day-to-day activities. Start reading or researching something you’re interested in everyday.

Whatever it may be, improving on it by just 1% each week adds up. Before you realize, you’ll look back and see how much you’ve changed.

Throw Away Goals, Develop Systems

Goals are okay for most people, in the sense that it provides some rough estimation of an endgame. Other than that, goals are terrible.

Sometimes you have too many goals and can’t satisfy them. Sometimes, you never reach your goals and are discouraged completely. Goals are terrible in that sense.

Instead, develop a system. Systems > goals. A system is a particular way of doing something, each time improving on it. A goal is just an endgame. When I started working out I would do abs every single day.

I had the goal of getting abs within the first 3 months (I failed). Then I moved that goal to the next 6 months (I failed). I was frustrated and moved it to within a year (I failed).

And I kept failing. I realized I had my mind so dead-set on the goal that I forgot about the system. My goal was abs and I did abs (that didn’t work). My system was be active everyday and I got abs (that worked).

Doing abs every single day became repetitive. I changed up the routine all the time, but before long, I burnt out. I would go through these ‘phases’ of short bursts of abs, followed by long hiatuses.

Goals never work. When I switched to the system, the mere daily activity made my abs show. For me, I believe systems are better than goals. Develop your own systems that improve you by just 1% every week.

You will see real physical, emotional, and mental changes each week and it will keep you coming back for more. You will thank me for it.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

1-percent