Why Children Aren’t Behaving, And What You Can Do About It

Boy completes his chore of raking leaves

Childhood — and parenting — have radically changed in the past few decades, to the point where far more children today struggle to manage their behavior.

That’s the argument Katherine Reynolds Lewis makes in her new parenting book, The Good News About Bad Behavior.

We face a crisis of self-regulation,” Lewis writes. And by “we,” she means parents and teachers who struggle daily with difficult behavior from the children in their lives.

Lewis, a journalist, certified parent educator and mother of three, asks why so many kids today are having trouble managing their behavior and emotions.

Three factors, she says, have contributed mightily to this crisis.

First: Where, how and how much kids are allowed to play has changed. Second, their access to technology and social media has exploded.

Finally, Lewis suggests, children today are too “unemployed.” She doesn’t simply mean the occasional summer job for a high school teen. The term is a big tent, and she uses it to include household jobs that can help even toddlers build confidence and a sense of community.

“They’re not asked to do anything to contribute to a neighborhood or family or community,” Lewis tells NPR in a recent interview. “And that really erodes their sense of self-worth — just as it would with an adult being unemployed.”

Below is more of that interview, edited for length and clarity.

What sorts of tasks are children and parents prioritizing instead of household responsibilities?

To be straight-A students and athletic superstars, gifted musicians and artists — which are all wonderful goals, but they are long-term and pretty narcissistic. They don’t have that sense of contribution and belonging in a family the way that a simple household chore does, like helping a parent prepare a meal. Anyone who loves to cook knows it’s so satisfying to feed someone you love and to see that gratitude and enjoyment on their faces. And kids today are robbed of that.

It’s part of the work of the family. We all do it, and when it’s more of a social compact than an adult in charge of doling out a reward, that’s much more powerful. They can see that everyone around them is doing jobs. So it seems only fair that they should also.

Kids are so driven by what’s fair and what’s unfair. And that’s why the more power you give kids, the more control you give them, the more they will step up.

You also argue that play has changed dramatically. How so?

Two or three decades ago, children were roaming neighborhoods in mixed-age groups, playing pretty unsupervised or lightly supervised. They were able to resolve disputes, which they had a strong motivation to because they wanted to keep playing. They also planned their time and managed their games. They had a lot of autonomy, which also feeds self-esteem and mental health.

Nowadays, kids, including my own, are in child care pretty much from morning until they fall into bed — or they’re under the supervision of their parents. So they aren’t taking small risks. They aren’t managing their time. They aren’t making decisions and resolving disputes with their playmates the way that kids were 20 or 30 years ago. And those are really important social and emotional skills for kids to learn, and play is how all young mammals learn them.

While we’re on the subject of play and the importance of letting kids take risks, even physical risks, you mention a remarkable study out of New Zealand — about phobias. Can you tell us about it?

This study dates back to when psychologists believed that if you had a phobia as an adult, you must have had some traumatic experience as a child. So they started looking at people who had phobias and what their childhood experiences were like. In fact, they found the opposite relationship.

People who had a fall from heights were less likely to have an adult phobia of heights. People who had an early experience with near-drowning had zero correlation with a phobia of water, and children who were separated from their parents briefly at an early age actually had less separation anxiety later in life.

We need to help kids to develop tolerance against anxiety, and the best way to do that, this research suggests, is to take small risks — to have falls and scrapes and tumbles and discover that they’re capable and that they can survive being hurt. Let them play with sticks or fall off a tree. And yeah, maybe they break their arm, but that’s how they learn how high they can climb.

You say in the book that “we face a crisis of self-regulation.” What does that look like at home and in the classroom?

It’s the behavior in our homes that keeps us from getting out the door in the morning and keeps us from getting our kids to sleep at night.

In schools, it’s kids jumping out of seats because they can’t control their behavior or their impulses, getting into shoving matches on the playground, being frozen during tests because they have such high rates of anxiety.

Really, I lump under this umbrella of self-regulation the increase in anxiety, depression, ADHD, substance addiction and all of these really big challenges that are ways kids are trying to manage their thoughts, behavior and emotions because they don’t have the other skills to do it in healthy ways.

You write a lot about the importance of giving kids a sense of control. My 6-year-old resists our morning schedule, from waking up to putting on his shoes. Where is the middle ground between giving him control over his choices and making sure he’s ready when it’s time to go?

It’s a really tough balance. We start off, when our kids are babies, being in charge of everything. And our goal by the time they’re 18 is to be in charge of nothing — to work ourselves out of the job of being that controlling parent. So we have to constantly be widening the circle of things that they’re in charge of, and shrinking our own responsibility.

It’s a bit of a dance for a 6-year-old, really. They love power. So give him as much power as you can stand and really try to save your direction for the things that you don’t think he can do.

He knows how to put on his shoes. So if you walk out the door, he will put on his shoes and follow you. It may not feel like it, but eventually he will. And if you spend five or 10 minutes outside that door waiting for him — not threatening or nagging — he’ll be more likely to do it quickly. It’s one of these things that takes a leap of faith, but it really works.

Kids also love to be part of that discussion of, what does the morning look like. Does he want to draw a visual calendar of the things that he wants to get done in the morning? Does he want to set times, or, if he’s done by a certain time, does he get to do something fun before you leave the house? All those things that are his ideas will pull him into the routine and make him more willing to cooperate.

Whether you’re trying to get your child to dress, do homework or practice piano, it’s tempting to use rewards that we know our kids love, especially sweets and screen time. You argue in the book: Be careful. Why?

Yes. The research on rewards is pretty powerful, and it suggests that the more we reward behavior, the less desirable that behavior becomes to children and adults alike. If the child is coming up with, “Oh, I’d really like to do this,” and it stems from his intrinsic interests and he’s more in charge of it, then it becomes less of a bribe and more of a way that he’s structuring his own morning.

The adult doling out rewards is really counterproductive in the long term — even though they may seem to work in the short term. The way parents or teachers discover this is that they stop working. At some point, the kid says, “I don’t really care about your reward. I’m going to do what I want.” And then we have no tools. Instead, we use strategies that are built on mutual respect and a mutual desire to get through the day smoothly.

You offer pretty simple guidance for parents when they’re confronted with misbehavior and feel they need to dole out consequences. You call them the four R’s. Can you walk me through them?

The four R’s will keep a consequence from becoming a punishment. So it’s important to avoid power struggles and to win the kid’s cooperation. They are: Any consequence should be revealed in advance, respectful, related to the decision the child made, and reasonable in scope.

Generally, by the time they’re 6 or 7 years old, kids know the rules of society and politeness, and we don’t need to give them a lecture in that moment of misbehavior to drill it into their heads. In fact, acting in that moment can sometimes be counterproductive if they are amped up, their amygdala’s activated, they’re in a tantrum or excited state, and they can’t really learn very well because they can’t access the problem-solving part of their brain, the prefrontal cortex, where they’re really making decisions and thinking rationally. So every misbehavior doesn’t need an immediate consequence.

You even tell parents, in the heat of the moment, it’s OK to just mumble and walk away. What do you mean?

That’s when you are looking at your child, they are not doing what you want, and you cannot think of what to do. Instead of jumping in with a bribe or a punishment or yelling, you give yourself some space. Pretend you had something on the stove you need to grab or that you hear something ringing in the other room and walk away. That gives you just a little space to gather your thoughts and maybe calm down a little bit so you can respond to their behavior from the best place in you — from your best intentions as a parent.

I can imagine skeptics out there, who say, “But kids need to figure out how to live in a world that really doesn’t care what they want. You’re pampering them!” In fact, you admit your own mother sometimes feels this way. What do you say to that?

I would never tell someone who’s using a discipline strategy that they feel really works that they’re wrong. What I say to my mom is, “The tools and strategies that you used and our grandparents used weren’t wrong, they just don’t work with modern kids.” Ultimately, we want to instill self-discipline in our children, which will never happen if we’re always controlling them.

If we respond to our kids’ misbehavior instead of reacting, we’ll get the results we want. I want to take a little of the pressure off of parenting; each instance is not life or death. We can let our kids struggle a little bit. We can let them fail. In fact, that is the process of childhood when children misbehave. It’s not a sign of our failure as parents. It’s normal.

For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com


7 things happy people always do (but never talk about)

Why are some people more happy than others? It looks like they’ve found what they love to do and have a consistent sense of peace and happiness.

They see positive opportunities when most people see closed doors. They handle failures and setbacks with grace and confidently continue moving in their desired direction.

Don’t worry if you think this doesn’t sound like you.

The good news is, you can be one of those people. Those characteristics are largely learned.

I know this from personal experience. I’ve seen people go through hardships and depression and yet turn their life around purely through their actions and attitude.

Being happy is possible, no matter how dark your days are.

Contrary to popular belief, being happy really doesn’t have much to do with “positive thinking”. It’s about cultivating a realistic attitude that embraces life as it is.

Finding lasting happiness is a lot like physical fitness. You have to work your muscles daily if you want to see results over time. So, if you’re looking for a nudge to get the ball rolling, here are 7 habits of authentically happy people.

1) They have at least 5 close relationships

Did you know that the longest Harvard study ever on happiness found that healthy relationships were the most consistent predictor of a happy person? Having a few close relationships has also been found to help us live a longer, higher quality life. True friends really are worth their weight in gold.

But why five relationships?

This has been found to be an acceptable average from a variety of studies. According to the book Finding Flow:

“National surveys find that when someone claims to have 5 or more friends with whom they can discuss important problems, they are 60 percent more likely to say that they are ‘very happy’.”

However keep in mind that the actual number doesn’t necessarily matter that much, it is the effort you put into your relationships that matters.

2) They don’t tie your happiness to external events

A variety of research says that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite fickle. For example, if you tie your self-esteem to getting that job promotion, you’ll experience a small boost when you get it, but it won’t last long.

Tying your happiness to external events can also lead to behaviour which avoids failure. The key may be to think of yourself less as this C.W Lewis quote says to avoid the trap of tying your self-worth to external signals.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.W. Lewis

3) They exercise

It’s been proven over and over. Exercise will make you feel better if you stick with it. Body image improves as a result of exercise and eventually you’ll begin to experience that “exercise high” thanks to the release of endorphins. It doesn’t matter which physical activity you do, just as long as you do something.

4) They become good at something

Happy people generally have something that they’re “good at”. A skill they’ve honed over the years. People report that even though it may have been tough to improve their skills at something, they are satisfied with themselves when they look back.

The rewards of becoming great at something far outweigh the short-term discomfort.

5) They spend more money on experiences

According to a fair amount of research, experiential purchases tend to make us happier than spending money on material goods. This could be because experiences are something you’ll remember forever, they’re social and they’re unique. Nobody in the world will have the same exact experience you had.

6) They don’t ignore negative emotions

Yes, it’s common for most of us to resist emotions like sadness. But the truth you need sadness if you’re going to have happiness. And resisting these emotions will only turn into something more ugly down the road. Perhaps master Buddhist Pema Chödrön says it best:

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

7) They are busy, but not rushed

Research shows that if you constantly feel rushed, then you’ll feel miserable. On the other hand, studies suggest that have nothing to do can also takes its toll.

The best is when you’re living a productive life but at a comfortable pace. Meaning: You should be expanding your comfort zone, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. The best advice here is to say no to things that you’re not excited about, and yes to things that you can say “hell yeah!” to.

For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

How Anger and Other Negative Emotions Affect Your Body

Have you ever been so angry that your face turns red, your body starts shaking, or you feel like you just want to hit something?

You can imagine anger like a volcano, building up pressure until the top just blows off. Or, if you’re like me, maybe you remember Bugs Bunny cartoons and watching the characters blow steam out of their ears. Lol!

When we experience the emotions of anger, there’s actually a whole series of biological effects that take place in the body. Here’s a really cool 2 1/2-minute video on the science of anger.

Anger is a natural emotion and it should be acknowledged. It can also be a catalyst for positive changes, like when we see an injustice that should be righted, when we witness another being hurt, or maybe if we’ve been taken advantage of.

But when we hold on to this emotion, or if we are quick to anger all of the time (like someone cutting you off in traffic) it can actually be toxic and degrading to our overall health.

That’s why we need the proper tools to release it, and to bring our bodies back into balance.

If you’d like some help with releasing anger, I encourage you to check out this Tapping Meditation. It’s great to use in the moment, and when used repeatedly, it can train your brain and your body to be less prone to anger.


For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

6 brutally honest reasons why your intentions don’t matter, but your actions do

In the world I live in, intentions mean very little. Your actions do, though.

This seems obvious. We’re living during a time of constant propaganda and lies, so it makes sense to judge people based on what they do rather than what they say or intend to do.

We could take this further.

What matters to me even more so than your actions is the consequences of your actions. This means that intentions do matter, but only insofar as they cause you to engage in actions that make your life and the lives of people around you better.

Below I’ve shared 7 reasons why your actions are way more important than your intentions. But first, I want to share what provoked this article.

Sam Harris: The podcaster who believes what you think matters more than what you do

Seeing as I think it’s fairly obvious that actions matter more than intentions, I was surprised to discover that the American author and podcast host Sam Harris believes that “ethically speaking, intention is (nearly) the whole story.”

Harris is the author of Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion and is an incredibly popular modern day public intellectual. He’s followed by millions of people.

I encountered Harris’s perspective on intentions in his fascinating email exchange with Noam Chomsky.

Harris tried to argue that Chomsky has never thought about the ethical importance of intentions when it comes to American foreign policy. Harris suggested that the 9/11 terrorist attacks (killing several thousand people) were far worse than Bill Clinton’s bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory (resulting in the deaths of over 10,000 people), because of the difference of intentions.

Here’s what Harris said:

“What did the U.S. government think it was doing when it sent cruise missiles into Sudan? Destroying a chemical weapons site used by Al Qaeda. Did the Clinton administration intend to bring about the deaths of thousands of Sudanese children? No.”

The families of the tens of thousands of people killed by Clinton’s bombing would unlikely be comforted with the knowledge that Clinton’s intentions were pure.

Chomsky was brutal in his response to Harris (and I encourage you to read the dialogue in full). He wrote that if Harris had have done some more research, he would have discovered that in fact Chomsky has spent decades considering the intentions of foreign powers in their imperial acts:

“You would have discovered that I also reviewed the substantial evidence about the very sincere intentions of Japanese fascists while they were devastating China, Hitler in the Sudetenland and Poland, etc. There is at least as much reason to suppose that they were sincere as Clinton was when he bombed al-Shifa. Much more so in fact. Therefore, if you believe what you are saying, you should be justifying their actions as well.”

Can you imagine the outcry if we were asked to judge Nazi Germany on the consequences of their actions based on the intentions of Hitler?

This for me strikes to the heart of what’s wrong in the modern day and age.

We’re so quick to justify our own worldview based on intentions rather than the actions we’re carrying out. It’s most pronounced in the political landscape, where politicians will say one thing and then go ahead and do another.

But rather than judge something based on ideology (or professed intentions), we should instead examine the consequences that result from actions.

I think that in general we are so focused on our intentions and don’t pay enough attention to what we’re actually doing with our lives.

Having good intentions is an important part of the story; but our intentions don’t interact with the physical world. They don’t shape society, culture and the planet.

Our actions do.

It’s time to start living our lives based on our actions and not our intentions.

6 reasons to start focusing on your actions right now

Here are 7 reasons to start focusing on your actions right now, as reported by Paul Hudson.

1. You’re defined by how you treat people, not by how you justify your treatment of them

Just as every government has an ideology that drives justification of its policies, we also have our own narratives for why we treat people in certain ways.

Yet these narratives change over time. But the way we treat people will live on.

2. You’re defined by what you pursue in life, not by your reasons for pursuing them

I used to fall into this trap in the early days of building Ideapod. I would tell everyone that we were building a place to organize the world’s collective intelligence so that ideas could be better put to use. I even used to speak about upgrading human consciousness (without really knowing what that even means).

Now, I’m much happier to be judged on what I’m actually in life as opposed to the reasons for why it mattered. It’s incredibly liberating and has given me extra freedom to get things done.

3. You’re defined by the people you surround yourself with, not by your excuses for keeping the wrong people around

This was a hard lesson to learn. Over the last few years, I consciously made sure that the people I spend time with shared my values about actions mattering more than intentions.

It created a big shift. My friends now are the kinds of people who get things done rather than constantly talk about getting things done.

I had many excuses for keeping the wrong people around me. Usually these excuses were tied to my reasons for what I was pursuing. Once I let go of these reasons, I didn’t need to make any excuses for the people in my life.

4. You’re defined by your beliefs, not by why you believe them

It matters way more what you believe than the reason you believe something. You can’t live life justifying your beliefs by explaining that your parents taught you something, or that’s how you were educated. You are an individual and you have the autonomy to change what you believe.

5. You’re defined by the way you love, not how you feel when you love

The shaman Rudá Iandé said to me once that his greatest moments of love didn’t come from the way he felt, but from how he acted in certain situations.

This was something I needed to hear. As I’ve written about before, I’m 36 and still single. I feel like this fairy tale emotion of love is absent from my life.

But when I look back at how I treat people, I can see that the love is there (and sometimes it’s not – I’m working on this!). It’s there because it’s actions of love that matter far more than how it feels.

6. You’re defined by the life you create, not by the excuses you manage to adopt along the way

Nothing defines you more than the life you have created for yourself. It is the sum of all your creative expressions and acts, your passions, your beliefs and your choices.

Despite what Sam Harris suggests, it doesn’t matter what you intended to create. It does matter what happened from your actions.


For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

5 ways to deal with a narcissist once and for all

A narcissist is a unique and challenging type of personality that can make you want to scream if you encounter one.

Not only are narcissists profoundly obsessed with themselves, but they also can’t understand when others are not equally obsessed.

Narcissists can be especially difficult to deal with if they are members of your family. It’s hard to confront someone who you are close with, but when it comes down to it, it’s either them or you, and believe us, you don’t want to have to deal with a narcissist any longer than you have to.

So suck it up, speak your truth, and make a plan on how to deal with a narcissist with these helpful tips.

1) Know That it’s an Ongoing Battle

Here’s the thing about dealing with a narcissist: you are in the tough spot of being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If you don’t speak to the narcissist in your life, you continue to suffer their wrath; but if you do speak up, be ready to incur that wrath.

Just understand that saying what you think is important to any relationship, so whether or not it causes problems between you, just know that it can’t be worse than it already is now.

2) Take Their Power Away

One of the hardest part about dealing with a narcissist is that they take a lot of your power away.

They might not even mean to do it, but we allow people’s thoughts and opinions to take hold of us and it can cause us to limit ourselves because of it.

If you want to know how to deal with a narcissist, don’t allow their words to have power over you.

3) Smile and Nod: How to Deal with a Narcissist Effectively

If your efforts to speak to the narcissist in your life have gone unattended, just resolve to let them say what they need to say – sometimes it’s like these people are going to explode if someone isn’t paying attention to them – and smile and nod.

Don’t feed into their nonsense and don’t offer any advice or words of wisdom. If you haven’t been able to break through to them in previous attempts, it’s unlikely that you will be the one to make the breakthrough with them. Just keep smiling.

4) Don’t Take it Personally

Here’s the thing: narcissists are all about themselves. If they say or do something to you, it’s likely that they actually don’t mean to hurt you, but they mean to raise themselves up.

So don’t take it personally if you are suddenly offended by what they say to you. Remember that many people who are narcissistic suffer from depression, poor self-esteem, and come from a string of attempts to gain control over their life without success.

They project that failure on other people and they try to make it seem like they are doing better than everyone else.

When you look close, you can see that these people are barely hanging on, so cut everyone some slack, including yourself, and just let it go.

However, if you decide to speak up against the narcissist in your life, drawing attention to them when they offend you is probably the best way to get them to see that they are hurting real people in their lives.

5) Cut Them Loose

If you have tried to deal with a narcissist in your life and it hasn’t resulted in any relief for you, it might be time just to let them go.

Sure, they’ll try like hell to stay in your life, but you can’t let them drag you down with them.

They are a walking, talking, ball of sadness and bad attitude and you don’t need any of that in your life.

While you might feel guilty for cutting ties with a narcissist at first, soon you’ll be feeling lighter and more free than you have in a long time.

And, here’s the thing: they aren’t going to care. As long as someone – anyone – is paying attention to them at every turn, you won’t be missed.

That’s just the reality of living with a narcissist in your life. So get them out of your life as soon as you can so you can get on with your life in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve been in a tailspin having an argument with a brick wall for days.

Save yourself the trouble. Walk away.


For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

How to be your own guru and find the answers within

The Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu once said: “Care about other people’s approval and you become their prisoner.”

This has been one of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn in life.

The quote suggests that what you make of your life is up to you.

You need to take responsibility for your life. You need to do this for yourself. When you care about people’s approval, you give away your power.

It’s hard to take responsibility for your own life. The way to do this is to recognize that the answers lie within you.

Rezzan Hussey has written a brilliant book explaining exactly how you can take responsibility for your own life. In My Own Guru Hussey provides a universal process for anyone who wants to live a better life through self-knowledge.

This book is a unique contribution to the self-development genre. Most self-books claim to have the perfect solution for whatever challenges you face. All you have to do is believe what they’re telling you and you’ll soon see massive changes in your life.

But the problem I find is that these books inadvertently ask us to find the solution outside ourselves. Hussey, on the other hand, focuses her book entirely on helping the reader to find the answers within.

As Hussey says:

“Personally, I have found it challenging to avoid using personal growth material like I’ve used other things: as a way to stay fascinated rather than to implement. There is a gulf between knowing and being, and in that gap lies our freedom.”

The rewards of knowing yourself better are immense, according to Hussey:

“Knowing yourself better really does bear remarkable fruits. For instance, now I know the true meaning of emotional self-reliance; not the kind where you’re avoiding people for fear of being hurt. I can create my own happiness and contentment on demand. I’ve basically reclaimed my power – the power I did not know I had given away. I have become my own guru, and I believe that anyone can by changing the way they pay attention.”

My Own Guru distils complex ideas into accessible takeaways. Although Rezzan goes into impressive detail about human psychology, everything she writes has a practical element to it. Not only will you learn why understanding yourself is so important, but also exactly how to do it. It’s also fascinating and at times humorous read about how the ideas in the book have personally helped in her life.

One chapter I particularly liked was on responsibility, one of three “reality red pills” (along with mindfulness and acceptance). She outlines the ability we all have to adjust our perceptions of important events in our lives. I think we can all relate to having had ‘negative’ experiences, but how negative these really are is just a matter of perspective. Re-framing these events, as Hussey suggests, is a pretty powerful thing to do.

I also liked where Hussey touched on a few benefits of “knowing yourself” that are less apparent (at least they were for me). One that stands out was how self knowledge can make us more compassionate and better placed to benefit those we care about. In other words, becoming self-aware isn’t just an exercise in self development, it helps us help others too. I like the sound of that.

My Own Guru provides a peek into the author herself. You’ll discover that Rezzan’s a mid-30s, yoga loving, blogger and writer. She’s been on a decade long and multi-country journey to understand herself better.

This book is a delightful culmination of her (brief) lifetime of learning and caring.


For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

How to deal with suffering

It’s one of the toughest questions most people face: What’s the best way to deal with suffering?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Some of us will try to fight against the suffering and tell ourselves that we’re fine. Others find it hard to ignore the pain beca
use it’s too much to bear.
But echoing advice from Viktor Frankl, Buddhism and the Stoics, Zen Master Osho has a different approach.
Osho says that we first need to accept our suffering, rather than run away from it:
“If you choose to become a victim; you will suffer. If you become aware of this totality of the opposites and the way life functions, you don’t choose – the first thing. And when you don’t choose there is no need to cling, there is no meaning in clinging. When suffering comes you enjoy the suffering, and when happiness comes you enjoy the happiness. When the guest is at home you enjoy him, when he has gone you enjoy the suffering, the absence, the pain. I say enjoy both. This is the path of wisdom: enjoy both, don’t choose. Whatsoever falls upon you, accept it. It is your fate, it is how life is, and nothing can be done about it. If you take this attitude, there is no choosing. You have become choiceless. And when you are choiceless, you will become aware of yourself, because now you are not worried about what happens, so you not outgoing. You are not worried about what is happening around you. Whatsoever happens you will enjoy it, you will live it, you will go through it, you will experience it, and you will gain something out of it, because every experience is an expansion of consciousness.”
Osho goes onto say that suffering gives us depth. It’s through suffering that we expand our consciousness. Without suffering, happiness would be meaningless:

“If there is really no suffering you will be poor for it, because sufering gives you depth. A man who has not suffered will always remain on the surface. Suffering gives you depth. Really, if there is no suffering you will be saltless. You will be nothing, just a boring phenomenon. Suffering gives you tone, a keenness. A quality comes to you which only suffering can give, which no happiness can give. A man who has remained always in happiness, in comfort, who has not suffering, will not have any tone. He will be just a lump of being. There cannot be any depth. Really, there cannot be any heart. The heart is created through suffering; through pain you evolve.”

However, Osho also says that someone who’s constantly suffering without any happiness will also lose their hope:
“No hope in the eyes. He will settle down to his pessimistic existence. There will be no struggle, no adventure. He will not move. He will be simply a stagnant pool of consciousness, and a stagnant pool of consciousness is not conscious – by and by he will become unconscious. That’s why if there is too much pain you fall unconscious. So just happiness will be of much help, because there will be no challenge. Just pain will not be much growth, because there will be nothing to struggle, to hope, to dream; there will be no fantasy.”
According to Osho, we need to allow the highs and lows in life to truly evolve our consciousness:
“Both are needed, and life exists between both as a very delicate tension, a subtle tension. If you understand this, then you don’t choose. Then you know how life functions, how life is. This is the way, this is the way of life – it moves through happiness, it moves through suffering and gives you tone, and gives you meaning, and gives you depth. So both are good. I say both are good. I don’t say choose between the two – I say both are good, don’t choose. Rather, enjoy both; rather, allow both to happiness. Be open without any resistance. Don’t cling to one and don’t resist the other. “


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URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

7 Things Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

7 Things Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

What makes some people stand out of the ordinary crowd as awesome leaders?

Why do these people live wonderful lives, while the rest just drag themselves from day to day?

7 Things Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

Great leaders shape history. Average people just get by. Greatness, however,  is simply a set of different behaviors and habits. You too can become great if you adopt them. Here’s what outstanding leaders do differently and how you can start implementing these habits into your own life.

1. They have a vision for their future

Outstanding leaders are the captains of their own boat called life. They know that the boat is following their directions and they take on the responsibility for giving those directions. They are the ones shaping the future by having a clear vision and taking 100% responsibility for whatever happens to them.

A man without a vision is like a boat without a destination. It just sails adrift in the middle of the ocean, being at the mercy of tides and waves.

All great leaders have a vision and they pursue that vision with tremendous passion. They know exactly what they want, so they are able to get others to follow them towards their desired outcome.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18

2. They stay true to themselves above anything else

Outstanding leaders follow their own inner guidance whenever faced with a decision. They know what’s best for them and they will do whatever they think it’s right, even in the face of adversity.

They speak their truth and they act according to what they feel to be true, even with the risk of offending others. Outstanding leaders are authentic and congruent. That’s how they gain other people’s trust so easily. They aren’t afraid to expose themselves just as they are – with both strengths and weaknesses.

They admit they are human and can make mistakes. They cherish their imperfection and use it as an asset. Above all, they value their individuality and aren’t afraid to show it, even to those who disagree.

Outstanding leaders stay true to themselves, even if others demand compliance. They know they are the only person worth appealing. They have a very strong inner validation system that guides them, so they don’t need the approval of others.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” ~ Jack Welch

3. They persevere in the face of obstacles

One of the most important traits of outstanding leaders is their ability to slide over setbacks and rejections. Many outstanding leaders have faced rejections before they managed to get their ideas through. Nonetheless, they persevered and succeeded.

What got them to success was their mindset. They viewed obstacles as challenges and growth opportunities, not as indicators to quit. Instead of stopping them, obstacles had the exact opposite effect: they made them even more determined to succeed and to prove they were right and others were wrong.

Great leaders don’t focus on problems and rejections. Instead, they focus on solutions and what they can learn and do better next time. They don’t take setbacks personally. They know that they are right – their internal validation system tells them that – and they do everything needed to convince the world of that fact.

4. They act with courage despite having fear

Outstanding leaders are admired for their courage. Many people who have displayed great courage have remained in history as heroes.

But what made these people different wasn’t their lack of fear. On the contrary. They felt fear just like any other human being. What set them apart was their ability to feel that fear and act despite having it.

Outstanding people have the same fears, doubts, inner conflicts and mixed emotions like everyone. But they have learned to follow their vision, no matter what they feel. They know they’re taking action for a bigger cause and that vision inspires them to keep going even in the face of fear.

It’s not that they ignore their fear. In fact, they acknowledge it – since they admit their weaknesses and are comfortable with exposing vulnerability – but they do whatever is more important for them and they don’t allow fear to paralyze them to inaction. They use fear as a catalyst that propels them in the desired direction.

5. They anticipate obstacles and find solutions

Outstanding leaders have a plan. They don’t just jump into things unprepared. They carve out a path towards their goal. Furthermore, they attempt to predict what can go wrong on their path, so that they can be prepared for any situation.

But they don’t start thinking of all the things that can work out badly and find ways to counter them. It would consume too much energy and time. Besides, one can think of a million reasons why things could go wrong. That’s not the purpose.

Outstanding leaders have learned to use their common sense and anticipate challenges. They do that by observing how things work and relate to another. They have a realistic view and avoid over- or underestimating their current circumstances. They don’t get too excited, nor do they become paranoid. They succeed in looking at circumstances, situations, and people and seeing them just as they are.

Their ability to think clearly and not be limited by beliefs allows them to accurately anticipate obstacles and find solutions in advance.

6. They spend time on things which matter most

Outstanding leaders are very efficient. And they have the exact same 24 hours per day like everyone else does. The difference is in their ability to manage time.

Outstanding leaders spend the most time on those activities which matter to them and bring them greatest fulfillment. Since they have a vision with a plan, they know exactly what to do to make it a reality. So they invest energy in making things happen and in creating a meaningful life.

On the flip side, average people spend time in activities which distract their attention and don’t bring them any long-term gains. They just seek instant gratification and pleasure as much as possible.

Outstanding leaders will often sacrifice short-term pleasure for long term gain because they know that’s where real happiness comes from. They have learned to delay their gratification while keeping an eye on the vision and taking massive action which brings them closer to living their dreams.

“Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” ~ Tom Peters

7. They are constantly improving

Outstanding leaders don’t settle for what they have. They seek to constantly expand themselves, they are continuously learning new skills and developing their abilities. Outstanding leaders are perpetual students and they never get tired of learning.

They also never stop dreaming and setting goals for themselves. They have a permanent vision of how their ideal life looks like and they are always updating this image, as soon as they get close to reaching it.

Outstanding leaders set very high standards for themselves. Whenever they’re close to reaching their goals, they set new ones, so they can keep moving further and further. They are expanding and growing and constantly seeking new challenges to face and new ways to push their comfort zone.

Unlike average people who settle for comfort, outstanding leaders embrace challenges, because they know these are the prerequisites for lasting growth and satisfaction.

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” ~ Harvey Firestone

Your turn

Take one step at a time and make these changes permanent in your life. What will you do starting today to become an outstanding leader? I really want to know what are your thoughts on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below :)


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Learning to Live in Alignment with Your Life Purpose


“Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and it is secondary. Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because it is the purpose of humanity. Your inner purpose is an essential part of the purpose of the whole, the universe and its emerging intelligence. Your outer purpose can change over time. It varies greatly from person to person. Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose. It is the basis for true success. Without that alignment, you can still achieve certain things through effort, struggle, determination, and sheer hard work or cunning. But there is no joy in such endevor, and it invariably ends in some form of suffering.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

The world we live in nowadays and the way we spend most of our time keep many of us from reflecting on the meaning of life, from contemplating on the reason of our existence and from getting to know who we truly are deep down inside.

We’re running around like crazy people, constantly doing something, keeping ourselves busy and bragging with how hard we work, but we rarely stop to think whether all these things we are doing and all this hard work is increasing our happiness, or is amplifying the stress, anxiety, and unhappiness that is already present in our lives. 

Living in this world sometimes scares me because at times it feels as if we have forgotten how to think our own thoughts, how to have our beliefs and ideas and how to a life that we can honestly call our own. We’re copying everyone else’s behaviors and we’re doing whatever everyone else is doing, failing to realize that we weren’t born to be like everyone else. We weren’t born to do what everyone else is doing and we weren’t born to be a second rate version of someone else.

I don’t know why the world is as it is and why we care so little about honoring ourselves and living our lives with integrity but what I do know is that we are all here for a reason and those who dare to look for this reason will eventually find it. And when they do, their whole lives will be transformed and even though from the outside it will look as if they are part of the “lucky” ones, they will know that luck has nothing to do with it. And they will know that if they deserve to live a beautiful, abundant, happy and loving life, so does everyone else.

7 Important Questions to Help You Figure out What You Really Want


“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates

Figure out What You Really Want in Life

There are some questions that you can’t stand to hear, much less answer. I totally get it. In the process of writing this, I re-asked myself these same questions, and I’m not going to lie, they were tough to even ask, let alone answer but by the end of this, you will feel such a strong sense of clarity and relief by having done it.

Here are 7 important questions that are meant to help you figure out what you really want in life.

1. Who am I?

This is by far the most important question you can ever ask yourself and if you walk away with any nugget of knowledge or powerful insight, let it be this: get to know yourself because you can’t go anywhere without knowing where you are right now. This is a question that will help you figure out what you really want.

The person you will spend the most time with in your life is YOU so get to know who that person is. Take every personality test that you can get your hands on and eventually you will start to see patterns and begin to have those “ahh” moments and find yourself saying “so that’s why I do that.”

The better you know yourself, the better capable you are of enhancing your life. If you know that you love to immerse yourself in a certain activity then you will be much better off in picking where you’ll be living the next 5 years than the person who doesn’t. This is only one example of when this comes in handy, there are so many more instances (more than you might think) in which knowing yourself will prove to be useful.

2. Why am I here?

Not only is this is a deep question but it’s also very useful one. Not only will it give you a higher perspective on your life but it will grant you knowledge as to what your purpose is. If there’s one thing everyone is looking for other than happiness, it’s purpose.

People want to feel valued and feel like they were put here on Earth for a reason. They want that reason to wake up in the morning and not walk around aimlessly through life. Simply asking this question will expand your way of thinking because once you ask this thought provoking question, it leads to even deeper questions which will allow you to discover what you really want.

3. What makes me wake up in the morning?

If there’s something that immediately comes to mind right now, then focus on that and keep doing it. Realize that not many people have that something that jolts them up in the morning with excitement and passion. If you can’t think of anything then I encourage to do try two new practice. The first one being gratitude.

Every morning when you wake up, declare a statement of gratitude. There is always something to be grateful for. Always. The second practice is trying new things because in trying new things, you begin to hone in on what it is that you really like to do. You will know because you will feel the difference and other people might just compliment you and tell you how good you are at a certain activity or how your face lights up every time you do it.

4. What do I want from life?

In other words, what do you truly desire? If there is something in your life, that you can’t stop thinking about, then that is as clear an indicator as any, to do it. Not everyone wants the same out of life. Some people just want to live a life of peace and tranquility and others want to live a life full of achievement and mastery. Pick what it is you want and don’t let others influence your decision because that might just be the worst mistake you can make for your own personal growth and happiness.

5. What do I expect from life?

You only get in life, what you expect. Hard to believe, I know. It’s difficult to face this question because in asking this question you must accept the fact that you are in control of your life and that everything in your life right now is a result of your thoughts, words, and actions. Do you expect a life of misery and despair because up to this point, that is all you have experienced? Or do you choose to expect a life of joy, happiness, and fulfillment because it is within your power to create it?

6. What pain do I want to sustain?

This is one question that will be especially helpful for the overachiever because it’s hard to grind away at something you absolutely hate, even though you know you can do it. It’s just not practical. In trying to achieve anything it will require some pain but if it is doing what you love then it’ll be worth every second. If you want to lead a healthy life with a fit and aesthetic physique, then by default you have chosen to sustain the pain of muscle fatigue and muscle soreness but you’ll love it because it’ll be a reminder of your progress in what you love to do most.

7. What am I giving to the world?

It is not enough to have all the riches and achieve the highest feats if, at the end of the day, you feel miserable. Inside all of us is the need to contribute and give to our community. Why do you think some people who are successful financially still lead miserable lives that end in suicide? It’s because they have not reached a level of fulfillment that will make them happy. They have everything they could want on the outside but not enough on the inside- which is the part that matters most. The best way to give to those around you is to give the gift of you– your talents, your joy, and your enthusiasm.