If an oyster keeps all the sand out of his shell, he lives a life of comfort. At the end of his life, you find a dead oyster… in an empty shell.

If a grain of sand enters the oyster’s shell, he loses his life of comfort. In order to protect himself from irritation, the oyster will begin covering the sand with layers of nacre. Layer upon layer cover the grain of sand until the pearl is formed.

When an oyster is bothered by a grain of sand, it creates a pearl.

If the oyster lives this uncomfortable period in their life, at the end of his life you find more than a dead oyster… you find a pearl.

Don’t wish for less problems.

Our problems allow us to create our pearls. When we remove challenge from our life, we remove growth from our life.

If you liked this post, you will also like Notes from Cicero and 4 Steps to Stop Self-Sabotaging.

These are my notes from the webinar that EO Coimbatore organised for today, 25th April. The livestream replay is at the bottom of this post.

“When you are in fog, you don’t need inspiration… you need clarity”

Sadhguru

Don’t seek inspiration, seek clarity.

Memory and Imagination – this is what we are suffering.

Right now you are home with family. Nothing is missing.  Your memory can haunt you and your imagination can scare you. It is you who generates suffering. 

Where is your intelligence working?  For you?  Or to scare you?  Or to haunt you?

Family and Relationships

Every relationship we have formed, we have formed to fulfil our needs. We cannot control the other. Everything that happens outside of us (outside of our mind) will not happen our way.

Do you want control? Get a dog.  Guaranteed 12 year love affair.  No human being will give such love.

On Freedom…

Freedom in the USA = I want my freedom to not change, to not adapt, to have my haircut… even while people around me are dying

70% of US employees “hate their job”… and still go… what damage it does to oneself to spend time with people or things that you “hate”

  • Many are stuck in the rut… but it is a comfortable rut
  • If the virus lockdown is short… we will stay in our ruts
  • If the virus lockdown is long… we will be forced to leave our ruts

If the quarantine is less than 12 months… we’ll go back to our old ways. Growth, growth, growth… 2%, 5%, 8%… we will destroy this planet.

What is success without growth?

Either consciously we slow down… or an outside force will slow us down. If we don’t do this now, we will never make this change.

Thought experiment…

Everyone in India is walking around with the latest phone, the latest sneakers. It is like it is an embarrassment to have a 4 year old phone. Imagine:

  • If you buy a phone, you must use it for 4 years
  • If you buy a car, you must use it for 8 years

If we don’t do this now, 2050 or 2100 will be bring massive challenges for humanity.

Are we serious about sustainable development goals?

Investment is messed up

“Over 70% of global investment goes into 30-40 cities”

Sadhguru

No city can handle this level of inflow. Not New York, not Mumbai. Slums are a terrible place for women, for children. There is dignity on the land… but not in the slums.

How to create opportunities for human beings where they are?

If we saw our children without food for just one day, the food industry would change very rapidly. We would each highly value having some land.

Education – ripe for major change

Today: Teacher is someone who has read a book you haven’t read. Education as transmission of information is on the way out.

Teacher must become someone who helps you read books you haven’t read, and inspire you to create the works you can create.

Taking care of Oneself

“I have not given the privilege to anybody to make me happy or make me sad”

Sadhguru

What is being well? …to be Happy, to be healthy, to be functioning well. This can only happen if the controls are inside.

Are you joyful as your own nature, or triggered by outside? Once you leave it in the hands of other people, you are accidental in your existence.

If you are accidental, anxiety is guaranteed.

There was happiness before iPhone, car, home. The experience of being human doesn’t change. Only the outside changes. We get used to certain things, and we think this is life

What we gather should serve us. People have lost the distinction between what is me and what is mine.

There are two kinds of suffering – body, mind.

Today it is like the Animals/Plants are saying: “Let’s make the planet great again”.

It is Friday for 6 weeks…

  • The problem is not work
  • The problem is not family
  • The problem is your own mind

Education should focus on “the inner wellbeing of the human being”.

Your body and your mind should work for you, always. Anxiety is your own mind working against you

The science of inner wellness

Only to create pleasantness in our surroundings depends on many many factors. Pleasantness in mind, in health, in compassion… this is under my control

“The One Thing”

Be part of the solution. Inner audit – am I contributing to solution or to problem?  

Be part of the solution. Do what you can do. Don’t make things worse. 

If you liked this, you will also like Sadhguru: If you lose your laugh, you lose everything and Relationships: Build trust.

Livestream EO with Sadhguru

…not if you give with expectation.

So often, our gifts… are not gifts. They come with an obligation. This is not a gift… this is a transaction.

Human beings are hardwired to act in a reciprocal manner – we give back what we receive. If we receive a kind action, we are almost compelled to return the kindness… as long as it is perceived as a gift.

If the action is not perceived as a gift, reciprocity will not work.

What do you take from this video?

More on Reciprocity…

Joseph Campbell’s work has had a profound influence on me and on my life. The Hero’s Journey are the steps that a mythical hero must take in order to complete the path to their purpose.

There is no pain-free path… and it must be “chosen sacrifice” if it is to lead you towards self belief. You can’t just accumulate externally imposed suffering and hope… you have to decide to follow the path of the hero.

The Hero’s Journey

“The Hero With a Thousand Faces” is a journey through myths from all over the world. Myths are stories that have been handed down from generation to generation over hundreds and thousands of years. Joseph Campbell shares myths from the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, Hindu and Buddhist legends of the east, and the folk-tales and foundation myths of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

The book explores common themes that define the world’s myths. While our cultures differ, they structure their stories in similar ways. This template is what is known as the hero’s journey. 

The 3 themes and the 17 specific steps along the Hero’s Journey are described below.

Call to Adverture

1. The call to adventure: Something, or someone, interrupts the hero’s familiar life to present a problem, threat, or opportunity.
2. Refusal of the call: Unwilling to step out of their comfort zone or face their fear, the hero initially hesitates to embark on this journey.
3. Supernatural aid: A mentor figure gives the hero the tools and inspiration they need to accept the call to adventure.
4. Crossing the threshold: The hero embarks on their quest.
5. Belly of the whale: The hero crosses the point of no return, and encounters their first major obstacle.

Trials of the Hero

6. The road of trials: The hero must go through a series of tests or ordeals to begin his transformation. Often, the hero fails at least one of these tests.
7. The meeting with the goddess: The hero meets one or more allies, who pick him up and help him continue his journey.
8. Woman as temptress: The hero is tempted to abandon or stray from his quest. Traditionally, this temptation is a love interest, but it can manifest itself in other forms as well, including fame or wealth.
9. Atonement with the father: The hero confronts the reason for his journey, facing his doubts and fears and the powers that rule his life. This is a major turning point in the story: every prior step has brought the hero here, and every step forward stems from this moment.
10. Apotheosis: As a result of this confrontation, the hero gains a profound understanding of their purpose or skill. Armed with this new ability, the hero prepares for the most difficult part of the adventure.
11. The ultimate boon: The hero achieves the goal he set out to accomplish, fulfilling the call that inspired his journey in the first place.

Return of the Hero

12. Refusal of the return: If the hero’s journey has been victorious, he may be reluctant to return to the ordinary world of his prior life.
13. The magic flight: The hero must escape with the object of his quest, evading those who would reclaim it.
14. Rescue from without: Mirroring the meeting with the goddess, the hero receives help from a guide or rescuer in order to make it home.
15. The crossing of the return threshold: The hero makes a successful return to the ordinary world.
16. Master of two worlds: We see the hero achieve a balance between who he was before his journey and who he is now. Often, this means balancing the material world with the spiritual enlightenment he’s gained.
17. Freedom to live: We leave the hero at peace with his life.

What is a Story?

This is a video from a few years back where I simplified the hero journey structure into 7 steps:

If you liked this post you will also like What is Mentorship? and Living a Purpose driven life.

“You can’t free anybody else and you can’t serve anybody else unless you free yourself” 

Nelson Mandela

You are not an accident.  You are a singular piece in the giant jigsaw puzzle that is this world.  This jigsaw puzzle is not a 50 piece puzzle, nor a 250 piece puzzle…  it is a 7 billion piece puzzle.  I find it frustrating when my daughter and I put together a 50 piece puzzle and find that there are only 49 pieces.  We can’t finish the game.  The great puzzle needs your piece.  Whatever you are given, you need to pass it on with integrity, humility and generosity.

You are not a Cog in a Machine.  Photo: iansand
You are not a Cog in a Machine. Photo: iansand

The greatest anger is the anger at ourselves for not living up to what we know we are capable of.  Hell is not after death, hell is the moment before death when a human being looks back on all the wasted potential.

“What you can be, you must be” Abraham Maslow.

Honestly expressing yourself.

The greatest gift you can give to those around you is your own shining self belief and glorious sense of meaning in what you do.  If you don’t have it, only you can do the work to get it.  If you have it, only you can keep doing what it takes to keep it.

The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy.  Love is not easy.  Love is hard.  Doing the work that needs to get done, overcoming the devil in me that avoids the work is the course of love.  Allowing the resistance, the procrastination to win is the course of apathy.  Apathy leads to self-hate, which builds to resentment and then is shared with others in bitterness and cruelty.

The 3 Escuses

The Resistance

Stephen Pressfield speaks powerfully about the Resistance. It is a force within each of us that stops us from doing the work that really matters.

The 3 big voices of my personal resistance are:

  1. Comparison
  2. Pointlessness
  3. Fear

The Last 5% is the Hard Part

Starting is easy.  There are no prizes for starting the marathon.  You get the medal for finishing. Most people I know are good at starting.  Few people I know are good at finishing.

The closer you get to the end, the stronger the Resistance grows.

“An artist never finishes a work, he abandons it.”

Pablo Picasso

Here are a few of many ways I bring these voices into my life to procrastinate and avoid finishing important work.

  1. They won’t let me
  2. I am too young
  3. I am too old
  4. I am only one person
  5. I don’t know enough
  6. I am not a guru
  7. This could be embarrassing
  8. This will be embarrassing
  9. This is too touchy-feely
  10. I won’t get paid for this
  11. This isn’t business stuff
  12. I have to finish the things I have already started
  13. Seth Godin has already said it better than I can
  14. I’ll do it tomorrow/later/after this coffee
  15. Who am I to think I know something special about this?
  16. I’ve got plenty of time next week
  17. I’ve got plenty of time this year
  18. I’ll do it this summer
  19. I’ll do it after the summer
  20. I need to do a little bit more research
  21. Who’s going to read this anyway?
  22. [¡¡¡ insert your own excuse here 😉 !!!!]

That’s just 21…  I have many, many more…

How to live a fulfilling human life?

Abraham Maslow was the first psychologist to look specifically at what it takes to live a healthy, fulfilling human life. Prior to Maslow, psychology was focussed on dealing with mental illness and abnormality. Maslow suggested that to be happy, it is not sufficient to just remove sadness.

The 6 basic Human Emotional Needs

Maslow, Victor Frankl and Tony Robbins have developed the idea that there are 6 specific emotional needs that must be met in some way by each individual human being in order for life to have a sense of fulfillment.

These 6 needs must be met in a specific order… You can’t seek variety if you don’t have any safety; you can’t seek growth if you don’t have connection and significance.

  • 1. Safety & 2. Variety
  • 3. Connection & 4. Significance
  • 5. Contribution & 6. Growth

Video: The 6 Emotional Needs of Human Beings

Humanistic psychology

Maslow investigated the ingredients of positive mental health and developed Humanistic psychology. This approach to mental health is guided by the idea that we all possess the inner resources for growth and healing.

The basic principles behind humanistic psychology are simple:

  1. Here and Now is Everything – How you are right now is how you are in life; how you interact with me now shows how you interact with everyone.
  2. You are Responsible – To be mentally healthy, individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions.
  3. You are Worthy – Each person is worthy. I can take negative action, this never stops me being inherently worthy as a human being.
  4. You Need Growth – The ultimate goal of living is personal growth.

The Journey to Fulfilment

A Fulfilling Life or Transcendence is not a state that one attains, but a constant state of becoming. Self-Actualisation is a continual process of becoming rather than a perfect state one reaches of “happy ever after”.

No matter how learned or wise you become, if you stop the journey… you lose the sense of fulfilment. This is a journey, not a destination. This is life’s great pilgrimage.

You can’t copy someone else’s fulfilling life and expect personal fulfilment… your journey will be different than every other human being. If you find yourself following another’s footsteps… be careful.

If you liked this post, you will also like 17 Daily personal habits for a fulfilling life and The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People.

Great leaders have high levels of self awareness. One element of self awareness is a good understanding of how human beings differ in terms of personality. The big 5 personality traits can be remembered with the acronym OCEAN.

OCEAN

Trait descriptions and impact on job performance.

  • Opennessinventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious; Openness is positively related to proactivity at the individual and the organizational levels and is negatively related to team and organizational proficiency.
  • Conscientiousnessefficient/organised vs. easy-going/careless; Conscientiousness is positively related to all forms of work role performance.
  • Extroversionoutgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved; Extraversion is negatively related to individual task proficiency.
  • Agreeablenessfriendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached; Agreeableness is negatively related to individual task proactivity.
  • Neuroticism sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident; Neuroticism is negatively related to all forms of work role performance.
Personality Test

If you want to get a quick analysis of your own levels on each of these traits, Cambridge University provide a 3 minute test: Mini-IPIP Big 5 Personality Test

Do you want to know what I am?

Conor’s Big 5 Personality Traits

Here are my results from the Cambridge University test taken 2 December 2019.

There are 3 reasons why a human being makes a change in their habits. If you want to effect a change in your life, or help another with a change that they say they want to make in their life – there are 3 levers that can increase the likelihood that change happens.

The 3 Reasons we Change

  1. Pain – When my perception of current pain is visceral, then I will make the effort required to change. Someone can be in great pain but be unaware of the degree to which they are suffering. If I help myself or other become fully aware of the current pain, change can begin.
  2. Vision – When I can see with extreme clarity where I want to get to, it is more likely that changes will happen. If I have a vague sense of where I want to go, nothing will change. As I make that vision clearer and clearer, more and more believable… change will begin to happen.
  3. Fear of Future Consequences – When I can see the future pain that is coming if I do not change, and I feel it viscerally as if it was a current pain, change can begin to happen. Often I know that there are future consequences, but I haven’t truly taken the time to visualise and feel how bad it will be.

If you want someone to change, including yourself, don’t tell them what to do. Help them feel the current pain, see clearly the vision or feel the future consequences. This is how we help change happen.

4 Approaches to handle anxiety as shared with me several years ago by Pep Mari, psychologist to the Spanish Olympic team. (Check out his youtube channel here, full of great tips, in Spanish)

How to Handle Anxiety:

  1. Avoid – don’t go into the situation that causes you to feel anxiety in the first place
  2. Manage – become aware of your state of anxiety at regular intervals and find tools to increase or decrease your level.
  3. Accept – allow the physical and mental signs of anxiety to exist in you and maintain a state of curiosity and exploration without resisting
  4. Growth – see the anxiety as part of being human and be so focussed on the learning about what it is to be human that you forget about everything except the experience

How To Reduce Stress:

List shared as a comment below the video by Bright Minds

  • 1. Don’t respond to negativity
  • 2. Stay active
  • 3. Eat healthier
  • 4. Read and write more
  • 5. Give without expectations
  • 6. Visualize, then act
  • 7. Spend quality time with family
  • 8. Write ‘thank you’ notes
  • 9. Be a better friend
  • 10. Do a random acts of kindness

MIT Endicott House

I was in Boston to teach on the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation EMP (Entrepreneurial Masters Program) this week. MIT Endicott House is one of the most beautiful locations for leadership retreats and programs. I brought my drone to capture the scenery around the main buildings. You’ll see the drone shots right at the beginning of the video below.

Why Do We Need to Clarify our Purpose?

Dandapani in Barcelona, 2016

Dandapani was one of the speakers at the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Masters Program event this week at MIT Endicott House, outside of Boston. Dandapani spent 10 years as a Hindu monk, meditating with his guru on the purpose of his life.

Dandapani spoke about the importance of consciously deciding what is important and what is not important in your life. Why?

Because life is finite.

More from Dandapani

Dandapani on Instagram (he takes great photos) https://www.instagram.com/dandapanillc

“How to Concentrate”, Dandapani at TEDx