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How to be Better by 1%
the gatekeeper of your happiness is your mind
The human mind holds the keys to your happiness; it is the gatekeeper that determines how you perceive and react to the world around you.
This gatekeeping role is intrinsically connected to our thoughts and feelings.
Every moment, your mind is engaged in a continuous dialogue with yourself.
The nature and tone of this dialogue can deeply influence your level of contentment and satisfaction.
This heightened awareness about your thoughts is akin to a third layer of consciousness, which operates on a meta-level.
Not only do you think, but you also think about your thoughts.
This introspection is the cornerstone of mindfulness and self-awareness.
It's about being able to generate thought, then step back and critically analyze it.
You question: why did this specific thought arise? What triggered it?
This reflexive thinking offers an invaluable glimpse into our subconscious workings, intrinsic motivations, and the cognitive patterns governing our behaviors.
That is what happens when you begin to have a deeper understanding and feeling, and awareness of what you're doing and how it makes you feel.
You start to perceive patterns in how certain actions make you feel and how your reactions to various situations shape your worldview.
You become more cognizant of the alignment between your thoughts, words, and actions, leading to a more harmonious existence.
Are you able to land in the present state and enjoy the moment?
Or think about how you want to create a better future.
Or are you constantly thinking from a negative place and constantly planning from fear?
The next level of awareness is to be able to ask and then recognize what your mind is doing.
And with this level of awareness, you can begin the path to becoming 1% better every day.
1% might look something like this:
Wake up earlier - even if it’s just 15 minutes earlier.
Make a list, plan your day, and make time for evaluation.
Surround yourself with inspiring people.
People you can learn from, people that can learn from you.
Talk about ideas, philosophies, and concepts instead of people, places, and things.
Try new shit.
Then reframe that failure as learning to be consistently curious and insatiably interested in everything this moment has to offer.
Realize that your ability to change depends on your ability to recognize your own patterns, and your ability to recognize your patterns depends entirely on your level of self-compassion.
Then consciously decide to enjoy the process because that's all there is.
The Stoics used a technique often referred to as 'reframing.'
The idea behind reframing is to shift your perspective on a situation to change how you interpret and react to it.
It's a mental tool that allows you to view events or circumstances from a different angle, and it is a key part of cognitive behavioral therapy today.
Reframing is rooted in the Stoic belief that not the events themselves disturb us but rather our judgments and interpretations of these events.
As the Stoic philosopher Epictetus famously said:
"Men are disturbed not by things but by the view which they take of them."
By altering our perspective, we can transform a negative situation into a more positive one, or at least a less distressing one.
Applying Reframing in Everyday Life
Let's consider an example.
Imagine you're caught in heavy rain without an umbrella.
The immediate response might be frustration or annoyance.
But now, let's reframe this situation: instead of seeing it as an unfortunate event, consider it as an opportunity to experience and appreciate nature's display of power or perhaps a moment to reflect on the unpredictability of life and the importance of being adaptable.
Another example is when my 13-year-old dog Kilo's time had come to cross the rainbow bridge in August 2022.
I didn’t cry. Not because I am emotionless.
And nor is it wrong to cry by any means.
But I had been preparing myself for this moment for years through a negative visualization practice.
Just as I do with my other pup, my parents, siblings, and friends.
You might be thinking, “Whoa, you’re crazy, man. I don’t want to think about that”
I’ll quote the Buddha here:
No one is exempt.
You see, I’m going to die someday.
And so are you.
And so is everyone you’ve ever known.
This isn’t to be morbid - but rather to lessen the impact when the day comes because it will.
And when the day finally came for Mr. Kilo to cross over. I was prepared mentally.
I still felt deeply, but since I had been re-framing my perspective about the moment through negative visualization for so long.
I was able to be fully present with him during his transition.
And it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had.
The flood of love, joy, moments, and gratitude for all he had been for me overwhelmed me.
And none of this would have been possible had I not re-framed the situation.
Being better 1% each day doesn’t take much.
And reframing doesn't mean denying reality or sugar-coating the difficulties.
It's about finding a new, constructive way of viewing our experiences.
It empowers us to handle life's challenges more effectively and maintain inner peace, even during difficult times.
The more you practice it, the more naturally it will come to you and the more resilient and adaptive you will become to live’s ups and downs.
It's not the events themselves but how we respond to them that determines our experiences.
Big Love, Nadeem
Oh and hey! It would greatly help me if you answered yes or no to this below. I typically voice-record all my letters. But I only want to continue doing so if you enjoy listening to me read them to you. So let me know!
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→ Build 1 Thing Community -If you want to align your Mind, Body, and Soul in order to actualize your potential and gain traction in your personal brand or business, I invite you to check out the Build 1 Thing community. It’s free to get in and loaded with resources.