Posts Tagged ‘personal goal’

14 steps to a better you – self esteem

In Too lazy to assign a category on August 17, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Appreciate yourself

People with high self esteem think positively about themselves, and accept themselves. They think: "I'm a good person". People with low self esteem on the other hand are too critical. They don't think they're attractive, smart, spontaneous or slim, and they always feel they're never good enough.

Self esteem is one of the most important building blocks for a succesful life. People with a healthy self esteem think positively about themselves, and feel strong and in control of their lives. People with low self esteem let others or circumstances determine their lives. Not because they're lazy, but because they think it doesn't matter what they think or do.

They deprive themselves of an important opportunity to be happy. Of course one can't control every aspect of life, but many aspects can be influenced.

Your inner critic

It's not always easy to accept oneself, and to think positively about oneself. It's rarely good enough. Many people grew up thinking they have to be modest. That's why they focus on the things they don't like about themselves. Things that are positive, are not good enough, or there's always someone else who's better.

Accepting yourself starts in your youth and is encouraged by loving people in your environment. It's a mirror like effect: a child sees and appreciates itself the way it's seen and appreciated by others. If a child grows up in a loving environment, and absorps all those positive reactions by others, like a sponge, it automatically learns how to appreciate itself.

On the other hand, if a child has very overcritical, meddlesome or rejective parents, it develops an inner voice that does nothing but criticise. The voice says: "See? You're utterly worthless" or "You're too fat", or "Nobody likes you". This voice is called the pathological critic.

The pathological critic is a term coined by psychologist Eugene Sagen to describe the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. Almost everyone has a critical inner voice but people with low self esteem tend to have a more vicious and vocal pathological critic.

The critic blames you for things that go wrong. The critic compares you to others, to their achievements and abilities and finds you wanting. The critic sets impossible standards of perfection and then beats you up for the smallest mistake. The critic keeps an album of your failures but never once reminds you of your strengths or accomplishments. The critic has a script describing how you ought to live and screams that you are wrong and bad if your needs drive you to violate his rules. The critic tells you to be the best and if you aren't the best you are nothing. He calls you stupid, incompetent, ugly, selfish, weak, and makes you believe all of them are true. The critic reads your friends’ minds and convinces you that they may be bored, turned off, disappointed or disgusted by you. The critic exaggerates your weaknesses by insisting that you "always say stupid things" or "always screw up a relationship or a job" or "never finish anything on time".

The pathological critic is busy undermining your self-worth every day of your life. Yet his voice is so insidious, woven into the fabric of your thoughts that you never notice the devastating effects. The self attacks always seem reasonable and justified. The carping, judging inner voice seems natural, a familiar part of you but in truth, the critic is a kind of psychological jackal who with every attack weakens and breaks down any good feelings that you have about yourself.

Although we refer to the critic as "he" for convenience, your voice may sound female. It could sound like your mother, your father, or your own speaking voice, and is extremely detrimental to your phychological health, more than almost any trauma or loss. That’s because grief and pain wash a way with time. But the critic is always with you, and has many weapons, among the most effective the values and rules of living you grew up with.

Building self worth

Although the critic seems to have a will of his own, his independence is really an illusion. The truth is that you are used to listening to him, so used to believing him, that you have not learned to turn him off. With practice, however, you can learn to analyse and refute what the critic says. You can turn him off before he has a chance to poison your feelings of self worth.

You don't necessarily need love and appreciation from others in order to accept yourself. You can learn how to accept yourself, and be your own mirror.

Building self esteem doesn't mean you're not allowed to have negative thoughts about yourself. That wouldn't be realistic. The more you try to suppress negative thoughts, the stronger they'll return. You don't have to force yourself to think positively, but you can do exercises to build self esteem. Here's one:

Know your qualities

Everyone has many positive qualities. Perhaps you're used to only see the negatives, but you also have many positive qualities. It helps to write them down. Write down 10 positive statements about yourself, starting each statement with "I … ". Example: I am a good listener, or I am nice to my partner.

Now read those statements out loud, twice a day.

For those of us that are courageous, it's also a nice exercise to write down 100 (!) good things about yourself. For an example, see Holly Jahangiri's post.

A third exercise is to look at your negative characteristics in a different way. Try to see them as good characteristics gone wild. Let me give you an example: disorder can be seen as an extreme form of flexibility. Intrusiveness can be seen as an extreme form of empathy. Write down 5 negative characteristics and name them in a positive way.

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14 steps to a better you – know yourself

In Too lazy to assign a category on August 8, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Know yourself

In order to create a life that suits you, it's important to know what's really important to you. Find out what your passions, interests and preferences are. These are called 'personal values'. Friendship can be very important, but also children, money, power or justice.

There are hundreds of personal values, and thousands of things one can find important. Some personal values are like a silken red thread throughout life. The importance of certain values can change over time. Young people value having fun a lot, young parents consider family life to be most important, and perhaps spirituality becomes more important when getting older.

Most people know more or less what they consider to be important in life, but they find it hard to put this to words. It's worthwile trying though, since you need to know exactly what your personal values are, in order to arrange your life in the most optimal way.

What do you want?

Some people know exactly what they find important. But this isn't the case for everyone. Perhaps the things you once thought were important, are no longer fitting. People that still pursue the things they wanted when they were twenty, often get stuck at fourty. There also are a lot of people that think they know what they want, while actually it doesn't make them happy.

Do you think you like to help others? Ask yourself whether you're actually helping others because it really interests you. Many people are afraid of being rejected, if they're not helping others. Let me give you another example: does your career really satisfy you, or do you think negatively about yourself, and do you want to prove yourself?

People that let their fears and frustrations lead them, are constantly trying to close a hole in their hearts. It's like carrying water to the sea: it's useless, it's never enough and it continues forever. It doesn't make you happy, at the most it prevents you from being unhappy.

Fears and frustrations, like fog, can cover your real personal values. They mask what really interests you and makes you happy. Choose authentic values. Authentic values give energy and a genuine feeling of happiness and satisfaction.

No fear

To be happy, you need to discover your authentic personal values. What do you find attractive, fascinating and important in your heart? You'll have to recognise and accept possible fears and frustrations. Some of those stem from one's youth. Many parents couldn't satisfy their child's need for attention, emotional security, love, comfort or help. Didn't you get what you emotionally needed in your youth? Take a good look at yourself, and accept this.

You won't be feeling any better by pursueing a career, or always helping others. Only when you recognise and accept this, you can to what is most fitting for you, and become truly happy.

Almost everyone has certain fears and limitations. Some are afraid they won't be able to deal with something, some think they lack determination, others have health concerns, are low on energy and always feel tired. Because of these kind of things, perhaps you don't see clearly what you'd like to do most of all, and do you limit yourself to things that don't really matter.

Physical or mental limitations are of course annoying, but many people give up too easily, they think they won't succeed anyway. The consequence is they don't take up the challenge, held back by fears that aren't real. Try to determine how real your fears really are. Aren't you exaggerating? What is the worst that could happen. Does the world fall apart, or isn't it as bad after all? Think about what you could do if things do go wrong. This way, your fears will diminish, and you'll dare to do what your really want.

Discover your personal values

In the past as well as in the future there are clues to your personal values.

Think about the moments in your life when everything felt just right. Try to picture these moments. Where were you, with whom, what were you doing?

Do these moments have something in common? Do they share certain values? These might very well be your personal values, the silver red thread throughout your life.

Imagine yourself at your eightiest birthday. Family members or friend have organised a party for you, to show you how much they love you. Each person is telling something about your life.

What would you like them to tell? How would you have people look at you? How do you want to be remembered? Would you like to be able to say you've seen a lot of the world? Would you like to have written a book? Would you like to be remembered for your help of handicapped people?

Make a top 5 of your personal values, the most important one at the top.

Examples of personal values

variation, helping others, balance, satisfaction, creativity, expertise, honesty, recognition, equality, money, ease of mind, health, harmony, intellectual challenge, knowledge, art, love, power, environment, music, independance, prestige, relationships, beauty, spirituality, sport, status, challenge, peace, friendship, liberty, security, self expression, self realisation, …

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the idea of Simple Living

In Too lazy to assign a category on January 9, 2007 at 10:30 am

   A hidden fund or supply stored for future use; a cache.

v. hoard ed, hoard ing, hoards
v. intr.
    To gather or accumulate a hoard.
v. tr.
   1. To accumulate a hoard of.
   2. To keep hidden or private.

Although the defenition found in Wikipedia:

Compulsive hoarding is a condition, thought to be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, that involves the collection or failure to discard large numbers of objects even when they cause significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as cooking, cleaning or sleeping. Hoarding rubbish may be referred to as syllogomania.

refers to a condition much worse than mine, I do tend to keep things around that other people might consider to be nothing more than rubbish, because those things might come in handy later on or, more frequently, because there are memories attached.

I’ve got hundreds of letters, concert tickets, movie tickets, and countless pieces of paper with telephone numbers or notes. I’ve got clothes I haven’t worn for years, old shoes that were repaired one too many times, horrible statues from all over the world, more candles than I could possibly burn in years, piles of books everywhere, old courses and magazines, empty bottles in strange shapes, glass for just about any occasion, kitchen utensils I never use, cans that are long overdue etc. etc.

Once in a while I try to get rid of things. But memories are brought back with most objects. Yes, that dress defenitely is at least four sizes too small, but it was a present from my mother, that day we visited Bruges together. It was a sunny day, our feet were hurting because we walked for miles and miles, we visited that interesting exhibition, then decided to grab a cup of coffee. Just around the corner there was this little boutique, and I was drooling over a dress in the window. My mom told me to go in and try it on, which I did and ooh, did it look lovely on me. It was quite expensive but she insisted on buying it for me. I remember just about each time I wore that dress afterwards, and the compliments that were made. Of course, I end up with putting the dress back, even though it’s way too small.

And yes, I can’t possibly wear those shoes anymore, but they were a birthday present from a friend whose address I lost and with whom I haven’t talked in years. I remember how he spent all day with me, looking for the perfect pair of shoes. I remember how he strongly disliked shopping and I remember the discussion we had about male and female shopping habits. I think about all the times we spent together and I decide to keep the shoes.

The house is stuffed with all kind of things that are rather useless and not even pretty. After reading an article on Simple Living :

What is it with our possessions, ideas, and beliefs – that causes us to hang on so tightly to them? Why do we get so buried and overwhelmed by our stuff? And best yet, how can we change the pattern so we can free ourselves to enjoy our lives?

and visiting The Simple Living Network, realising I certainly don’t want to end up like Richard and Claudia, mentioned in Halt the Hoarding or

like the Collyer brothers, “the hermit hoarders of Harlem,” who in 1947 were buried by the piles of urban junk that filled their four-story Harlem brownstone.

Source: So Much Clutter, So Little Room: Examining the Roots of Hoarding

I will give it yet another try over the next weeks. I’ll be this mean, lean, throw it all away machine :yes:

Further reading:

Freecycle (Changing the world one gift at a time.)
The Simplicity Resource Guide
Local Exchange Trading Systems
Local Currencies Directory
The Junk Man Knows / Garbage tells the stories of our lives
MemeMachineGo!: Syllogomania
Squalor Survivors
Ivy Sea Online: Knowledge-hoarding (this is another problem, but I do tend to hoard information as well, cfr. keeping courses from decades ago around.)
Link hoarding (nope, not me)
Software hoarding
Domain name hoarding

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In Too lazy to assign a category on January 4, 2007 at 10:59 pm

Recognise that guilt is a waste of time and emotional energy.
People aren't thinking about you as much as you worry about what they think.

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In Too lazy to assign a category on January 2, 2007 at 3:22 pm


"Don't build me a golden cage but give me wings to discover the world."

My mother gave this to me years ago. It's one of my favourite possessions.

I guess it's a variation on: if you love someone, set them free. It sure is how I tick. Try to pin me down, and the harder you try, the more you'll push me away. Sure, the cage may be golden, but I don't want to be caged, and I don't want to feel trapped. I don't want people to claim me.

It works on many levels. First there's the material level. When I was younger, I used to work in the diamond industry. There was an Indian guy that fell in love with me. At a certain point, he even wanted me to marry him. There was the huge diamond ring, there was the platinum credit card, there was the villa. All I had to do was say yes. But I didn't. Because I knew I would be living in a golden cage for the rest of my life, and while I might not know what I want out of life, I know it's not that.

It also works on a non material level. I don't want to mean the world to someone, because all too often it boils down to them making me (knowingly, or more often unknowingly) feel responsible for their happiness. I don't want to have to weigh my words all the time, because what I say might make them feel unhappy. I don't want to make someone feel miserable on purpose, but I can't stand the feeling of doing just that, no matter what I say. I don't like feeling that no matter how much time I spend on them, it's never enough. When that happens, I withdraw.

And I know, withdrawing might not be the best answer to such a situation, but it makes me panic. It makes me look for exits. Even while I might not want to get out, I worry and worry, I lie awake at night, and at a certain point, I even run into difficulty breathing. Then all I'm capable of is taking a (temporary) distance. To make it worse, other things going on in my life, might work as a catalyst. And of course, the other person is not going to understand.

Finally, it also works on a very personal level. I build a cage for myself. The cage might give me a (false) sense of safety, but who am I kidding? It only reinforces my anxieties, my fears. In 2007 I want to tear down my own personal cage, and step into the world, liberated, free to explore.

picture taken by me

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In Too lazy to assign a category on December 30, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Artist's Comments:

'A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome'

'true optimism isn't just blind or crazy "isn't everything fantastic?" but a considered possibility within the realm of potential realisation' – IDeviant


Tracie pointed this out to me 🙂

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Personality test

In Too lazy to assign a category on December 29, 2006 at 7:50 pm

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Take the test yourself.

Below are the results for me. The things I recognise in myself are in italic. For those of you that have known me for a while, feel free to correct me 🙂


Strengths of a Melancholy

The Melancholy's Emotions

  • Deep and thoughtfully
  • Analytical
  • Serious and purposeful
  • Genius prone
  • Talented and creative
  • Artistic or musical
  • Philosophical and poetic
  • Appreciative of beauty
  • Sensitive to others
  • Self-sacrificing
  • Conscientious
  • Idealistic
The Melancholy As A Parent

  • Sets high standards
  • Wants everything done right
  • Keeps home in good order
  • Picks up after children
  • Sacrifices own will for others
  • Encourages scholarship and talent
The Melancholy At Work

  • Schedule oriented
  • Perfectionist, high standards
  • Detail conscious
  • Persistent and thorough
  • Orderly and organized
  • Neat and tidy
  • Economical
  • Sees the problems
  • Finds creative solutions
  • Needs to finish what he starts
  • Likes charts, graphs, figures, lists

Weakness of a Melancholy

The Melancholy's Emotions

  • Remembers the negatives
  • Moody and depressed
  • Enjoys being hurt
  • Has false humility
  • Off in another world
  • Low self-image
  • Has selective hearing
  • Self-centered
  • Too introspective (note: and yet at the same time not introspective enough)
  • Guilt feelings
  • Persecution complex
  • Tends to hypochondria
The Melancholy As A Parent

  • Puts goals beyond reach
  • May discourage children
  • May be too meticulous
  • Becomes martyr
  • Sulks over disagreements
  • Puts guilt upon children
The Melancholy At Work

  • Not people oriented
  • Depressed over imperfections
  • Chooses difficult work
  • Hesitant too start projects
  • Spends to much time planning
  • Prefers analysis to work
  • Self-deprecating
  • Hard to please
  • Standards often too high
  • Deep need for approval
The Melancholy As a Friend

  • Lives through others
  • Insecure socially
  • Withdrawn and remote
  • Critical of others
  • Holds back affections
  • Dislikes those in opposition
  • Suspicious of people
  • Antagonistic and vengeful
  • Unforgiving
  • Full of contradictions
  • Skeptical of compliments

Strengths of a Phlegmatic

The Phlegmatic's Emotions

  • Low-key personality
  • Easygoing and relaxed
  • Calm, cool and collected
  • Patient well balanced
  • Consistent life
  • Quiet but witty
  • Sympathetic and kind
  • Keeps emotions hidden (note: how is that a strenght?)
  • Happily reconciled to life
  • All-purpose person
The Phlegmatic As A Parent

  • Makes a good parent
  • Takes time for the children
  • Is not in a hurry
  • Can take the good with the bad
  • Doesn't get upset easily
The Phlegmatic At Work

  • Competent and steady
  • Peaceful and agreeable
  • Has administrative ability
  • Mediates problems
  • Avoids conflicts
  • Good under pressure
  • Finds the easy way

Weaknesses of a Phlegmatic

The Phlegmatic's Emotions

  • Unenthusiastic
  • Fearful and worried
  • Indecisive
  • Avoids responsibility
  • Quiet will of iron
  • Selfish
  • To shy and reticent
  • Too compromising
  • Self-righteous
The Phlegmatic As A Parent

  • Lax on discipline
  • Doesn't organize home
  • Takes life too easy
The Phlegmatic At Work

  • Not goal oriented
  • Lacks self motivation
  • Hard to get moving
  • Resents being pushed
  • Lazy and careless
  • Discourages others
  • Would rather watch
The Phlegmatic As a Friend

  • Dampens enthusiasm
  • Stays uninvolved
  • Is not exciting
  • Indifferent to plans
  • Judges others
  • Sarcastic and teasing
  • Resists change

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In Too lazy to assign a category on December 17, 2006 at 3:00 pm

The Asymptotic Twitter Curve

We've all been at the brain bandwidth breaking point for the last five years. Email is out of control. IM'ing sucks up half the day. And how can we not read our RSS feeds, post to our blogs, and check our stats? If my Cingular cell phone sends me a MySpace alert and I'm not there to get it, do I exist? But email, IMs, social networking, and blogs are nothing compared to the thing that may finally cause time as we know it to cease. I'm talking, of course, about Twitter.

For those of you who don't know about Twitter, it has one purpose in life–to be (in its own words)–A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? And people answer it. And answer it. And answer it. Over and over and over again, every moment of every hour, people type in a word, fragment, or sentence about what they're doing right then. (Let's overlook the fact that there can be only one true answer to the question: "I'm typing to tell twitter what I'm doing right now… which is typing to tell twitter what I'm doing right now." Or something else that makes my head hurt.)

Twitter, it seems, is the solution to the one problem we all have: it's just too damn hard to keep updating our blog every few minutes to tell the world what we're doing at that very moment. Twitter lets you make tons of nano-posts (postlets?) to a kind of nano-blog (bloglet?) And indeed, it's every bit as stimulating as it sounds. Here's an ACTUAL SAMPLE from earlier today:

(names removed to protect the utterly bored):

"Missed the bus again."

"Attempting to figure out why the cat is hiding."

"I'm signing off."

"On bus going in to the office."

"Scanning pictures of 12-year old girls in mini skirts…"

"Going to bed now."

"Thinking about eating."

"About to start a conference call."

"I'm watching my dog chase the reflection from his tags and wish I had a laser pointer!"

"Feeling so bored at work I'm going to die. Wonder if it is my attitude or the work."

"Washing hair. Fetching groceries."

And there you have it. But don't take my word for it… go to the Twitter Public Timeline and find out what people are doing… right now. Right this very moment.

I'm making fun of Twitter, but this isn't really a funny topic. Moore's law for the brain doesn't quite work. We're evolving much, much, much too slowly… Brain 2.0 isn't coming anytime soon. And we're all feeling the enormous weight of not being able to keep up. We can't keep up with work. We can't keep up with our social life. We can't keep up with the industry, our hobbies, our families. We can't keep up with current events. We'll never read a fraction of those books on our list. And we are hurting.

Worst of all, this onslaught is keeping us from doing the one thing that makes most of us the happiest… being in flow. Flow requires a depth of thinking and a focus of attention that all that context-switching prevents. Flow requires a challenging use of our knowledge and skills, and that's quite different from mindless tasks we can multitask (eating and watching tv, etc.) Flow means we need a certain amount of time to load our knowledge and skills into our brain RAM. And the more big or small interruptions we have, the less likely we are to ever get there.

And not only are we stopping ourselves from ever getting in flow, we're stopping ourselves from ever getting really good at something. From becoming experts. The brain scientists now tell us that becoming an expert is not a matter of being a prodigy, it's a matter of being able to focus.

Lots of people are talking about this, and perhaps nobody more eloquently than Linda Stone. Linda talks about the problem of Continuous Partial Attention. She says:

"To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention — CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.

We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis. We are always in high alert when we pay continuous partial attention. This artificial sense of constant crisis is more typical of continuous partial attention than it is of multi-tasking."

Read more on her wiki!

But this whole problem is also tied up with the notion of Alone Time, something Jason Fried believes is absolutely essential to both creativity and productivity. I strongly suggest reading his post on How to Shut Up and Get to Work (don't forget to look at the comments).

Joel Spolsky also appreciates the value of Alone Time, and makes sure that those working for him have a chance–and a space–in which to think without distractions.

And finally, a lot of other people are musing about the effects of Twitter, including Kevin Tofel who wonders the same thing I do–Is it Too Much Information? (The answer, Kevin, is YES. I know enough about the brain and learning to recognize that sucking the last bit of mystery and curiosity out of our lives is not a good thing.) Also Frank Paynter, who talks about the distinction between multi-tasking and Linda's Continuous Partial Attention, and where Twitter might fit in to this.

A few of my earlier posts on this (pre-Twitter, when I still had hope) were:
Multitasking makes us stupid? (a follow on to the earlier Your brain on multitasking) and The Myth of "keeping up" (which is where I created the book picture I re-used in yesterday's big book list).

Also, this post helps explain some of the science behind why we really ARE addicted to checking IM, blogs, email, and now Twitter. The most important thing, I think, is to stop being in denial about the profound impact this is having on us and those around us. Until we stop seeing interruptions as something that happens TO us, and understand the role we play in causing them, we're in big trouble.

Fortunately, there's help… a kind of 12-step program for geeks who want to stay connected but also get something done (and without losing our minds completely). While you're out surfing, you might as well check out the tips and techniques on 43 Folders, Lifehacker, and Steve Pavlina.

So, OK, yeah, I stretched a LOT on my Twitter curve (I'm determined to make an asymptotic curve once a year whether I need to or not, and I hadn't met my quota for '06). Obviously the time between interruptions is not asymptotically approaching zero.

Or is it? ; )

[cue end-of-world sci fi music, with maybe a voice-over of Terrence McKenna discussing Time Wave Zero]

[UPDATE: Against my will, I found myself reading the Twitter timeline again after I posted this (I told you it was addicting) and had just about the biggest laugh of the week when I found people Twittering about… this post on Twittering. ; ) I love you guys (Sarah and Arabella you made my night!) And I can think of dozens of reasons why Twitter is a wonderful thing (like for separated families, etc.) But talk about an event horizon… Twitter is the new Crackberry.]

Source: Creating Passionate Users – The Asymptotic Twitter Curve

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QotD: If I Had To Do It All Over Again

In Too lazy to assign a category on December 7, 2006 at 12:05 pm

What's one thing you regret not doing? 
Submitted by Mr. Nice.

I guess the one thing I regret not doing is living without regrets. Yes, that's a silly answer, but nevertheless true. I'm the kind of person that worries too much. I worry about things that happened in the past, things that didn't happen, things that will happen, could happen, should happen, … I often feel regrets, and it's usually a pretty useless feeling.

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