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10 Filters For a Conscious Life

10 Filters For a Conscious Life

Information. In-Formation. What you take in shapes your formation.

What kind of person do you want to be at the end of the day? How about in a month from now? How about in five years? Imagine the qualities and characteristics of this amazing person you intend to be. Imagine your form. Now think about all the media you are surrounded by. Will the information you take in form the person of your dreams?

Since what you take in shapes your formation, the only thing stopping you from leveling up are stronger information filters. Think about any sport. The best coaches say to watch how the pros play as practice; the visual information of a professional golfer swinging is what shapes the performance of a novice. Same thing goes for music; listening to virtuoso musicians helps a student to bridge gaps in their abilities. If we watched bad examples for our hobbies, we would never improve. So why aren’t we more conscious about the rest of the information we take in?

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Everything we perceive is information, whether visual, auditory, or otherwise, and what we take in is what we become. Here are ten information filters to help you shape a conscious life:

1. Does it encourage me to be a better human?

This filter limits any music or media that clashes with the person you want to be at the end of the day. If you really want to be a gangbanger, and if your greatest happiness lies in degrading women, then by all means continue to listen to the music that glorifies that life. If not, consider searching out better media. It’s hard to do because most of the popular options for music and TV are worthless, but if you search, you will find.

2. Would silence be better?

This filter is what all great musicians use to refine their compositions. Since your life is your greatest composition, try asking yourself whether a contemplative silence might be better than the noise from your earbuds or speakers. If your inner voice is more appealing than whatever content you are listening to, you’ll automatically look for higher quality information.

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3. Is it truthful?

This filter is tricky because it excludes almost 98% of news channels. But if the information you take in is not truthful, then you won’t grow into your full potential. Just like lies prevent meaningful relationships with other people, untruthful information will compromise your relationship with yourself.

4. Is it useful?

What can I take away from this information? What is the overall message? Will it help me to get better at x, y, or z? Is it good for relaxing when I’m stressed? Will I learn how to be a better husband or wife, or mother or father? If the information is of no use to the person you want to be, then find something better. The process is hard but rewarding, like pruning a garden.

5. Is it uplifting?

Does this encourage me to keep my chin up even when things get tough? Is the message something I can come to when things look hopeless? Does it reveal the goodness and decency of humanity? If not, you can either find something better, or consciously choose not to be uplifted.

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6. Is it inspiring?

Does this spark creative ideas for me to act on and shape a better world with? Am I inclined to more actively pursue my passions and talents through this information? Is this energizing me to create a brighter future through my gifts?

7. Is it challenging?

This universe is so immense, but we tend to get trapped in tiny world views when our perspectives aren’t challenged. So will this information challenge you to think outside of the box, even if that is uncomfortable? If not, the real world might pass you by, and your happiness with it. Life is where the challenges are; filter your information accordingly.

8. Would you want your kids exposed to this?

If sleaziness and raunchiness are part of growing up, please hand me my ba-ba (translate, milk bottle). If the content is suggestive of adultery, or behavior that would limit a family’s growth and success, what is the point in watching it? When you question whether a kid should watch or listen to “x” program, think about the needs of the kid in you. If you believe in lasting love, don’t let your information compromise that.

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9. Does it promote the dignity and respect of men and women?

If the information makes people out as objects for pleasure or lust, what good can it possibly do you? If you don’t consent to being dehumanized or hypersexualized, filter your media accordingly. Bad information corrupts our relationship standards and invites lovers who will use us only for pleasure or comfort.

10. Is it part of the mission for world peace?

This might be the most important filter because it forces you to think of your actions in terms of peace or war. Is your peaceful world built on happy families, committed marriages, and courageous people who do right even when it is the hardest thing? If your information conflicts with that peaceful world, it will also prevent you from adding to it.

Conclusion

Filtering your information can be scary at first because it excludes so many of the things that give comfort to a person. Most of our information is like a security blanket; we cling on to the music, movies and media that make us feel safe. But the question is, does your blanket have smallpox? These filters will help you decide, and it is up to you summon the courage to change.

Featured photo credit: NEC-conference-35 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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