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The Lure of Perfection

Is there anything more intoxicating than the lure of perfection?  Not if you’re a perfectionist.  Perfectionism can be at once a powerful creative force, and a tremendous psychological trap for those caught in its grasp.  Learning to embrace the power of perfectionism without becoming trapped in it can be a tremendous challenge.

 

The Perfectionist Advantage

 

Perfectionists are life’s natural editors.  We look at the world around us and think, “How could this be better?  How has this gotten worse?  Was that the best decision in the circumstances?  Surely there’s a way to do this better.”  On and on and on.  Whether it’s geopolitics or sports or architecture or chess or writing or flower arranging, we’re always on the lookout for perfection, for finding the perfect idea, perfectly executed at the perfect time in the perfect way.  Our search for perfection never ends.

But what is perfection?  The hidden majesty of perfectionism is that it is not, in the end, about setting up a mental construct of what should be and then measuring reality against it.  That certainly happens, and it is one of the traps of perfectionism.  But on the other side of the coin, perfectionism is an observational, instinctive process.  We can look at a style of art or architecture we’ve never seen before, an idea or a process we’ve never thought of before in an area we may never have studied, and still recognise its perfection.  We don’t measure perfection in the first instance, then, by external ideas, but by an internal ideal. 

But why do we expect perfection in an imperfect world?  Perfectionism at its best can perhaps be described as a measure of faith in human transcendence of our own limitations, in our ability as a species to create pure beauty.  Perfectionists see their role as driving society toward that ideal.

 

The Perfectionism Trap

 

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?  So what’s the problem?  The problem is that we don’t know where to stop.  We transition from recognising and celebrating perfection when we encounter it and encouraging ourselves and others to keep striving, to a state in which we do start to measure everything by our own mental constructs of what perfection would look like.  Any task we begin is blighted immediately by the daunting standards we impose on ourselves.  We can demoralise ourselves so badly that we can’t even take the first step.

In business, in relationships, in social interaction, in education and in many other areas of life, we can paralyse ourselves with our own expectations.  It’s no surprise that social anxiety correlates highly with perfectionism.  For a perfectionist with high ideals of smooth social interaction, there is intense pressure not to make mistakes, to keep cool, to avoid embarrassment- so much pressure that inevitably, we end up creating the very situations we want to avoid.  That crushing experience of failing to meet our own expectations only adds more stress to future social situations, and the negative reinforcement snowballs. 

A similar trap befalls many perfectionists during the course of their education- they place so much pressure on themselves to perfect every assignment that the quality of their work, not to mention their quality of life, suffers. 

When perfectionists embark on new projects, if we don’t lose our momentum completely on account of our high expectations, we start looking for the perfect way, the perfect time, the perfect sequence to set about building what we have envisioned.  Perfectionists, ironically, turn into expert procrastinators.

If we look at what’s happened from the point of view of the creative process, we can see how big a detour perfectionism has led us on.  Ideally, the interval from inspiration to action should be as short as possible.  This helps us build momentum, energy, enthusiasm, and generates fresh inspirations during the process.  In other words, we should start consolidating and organising only after we’ve created.  Anyone who’s ever been a writer knows that you have to let the inspiration flow first and only then bring order to what you’ve written.  So it is with almost all creative processes.

In its extreme forms, perfectionism becomes not only an impasse for ourselves, but intolerable to those around us, when we fixate upon a particular criterion of perfection which may or may not have anything to do with the central purpose of the endeavour, or when we get so bogged down in nitpicking minutiae that we lose sight of the bigger picture.

 

Re-Training

 

The only way out for a perfectionist is through.  Perfectionists may find themselves obsessing over the perfect solutions to a given set of problems, the perfect way for something to be, whatever their field of focus may be.  They imagine a world in which everything was as perfect as they would want.  But the more they think about that imagined world and the more energy they put into it, the more they come to realise that it’s futile- not only that such a world could not exist, but that it shouldn’t.  Ultimately, the creative cycle would have to be completely interrupted to achieve such perfection.

Take the particular kind of perfectionist who lives for the rules and wants everyone to follow the rules, all the time, because the rules are the rules.  Let that kind of person envision their utopia in detail, fantasising about it over a long period of time.  Eventually, if they have even the slightest degree of inner honesty, they will realise that only a police state on a hideous scale could ever realise their dream.  From this realisation, they can go back and reflect that many of the freedoms and protections they now enjoy in modern society exist only because people dared to break bad rules, dared to make trouble.  From there, their focus can change from the letter of the rules to allowing for the human element, which they must now admit is a necessary input to the system.  Rather than trying to enforce the rules, they can try to get buy-in (known in political science as social legitimacy) for those rules that really do serve a defensible purpose.

Still, reasoning your way out can only get you so far.  The next challenge is to embrace spontaneous creativity and action, to live in the moment, and to experience the thrill of riding that wave of spontaneity.  The only way to escape the addictions of perfectionism is to want what’s on the other side more, and to give yourself that experience as often as possible.  Get to the point where you are simply creating, without regard for or time to reflect on mistakes, and seek out experiences that give you that sensation.

As you make this shift, there is another important detail: you must discipline yourself to leave things as they are the moment they’re acceptable.  If you can’t define “acceptable,” break down how many minutes in a day or week a task should take you.  Find out how much other people spend on the tasks in question.  If you spend eight hours on a blog post where another blogger who puts out lots of original content only spends two or three, you can start timing yourself to keep yourself to schedule.  Just get it out there, and use the rest of your time for other priorities.  This is where, ironically, scheduling can help you get perfectionism under control. 

If you need a philosophy to justify this, I suggest looking into the concept of pareto.  Rather than maximising a single axis on the graph of life, so to speak, you are aiming for the most efficient solution on all axes- you get your work done at the rate you want, you assign your time efficiently according to your priorities rather than your perfectionist impulse, and you increase your happiness in the process.

 

Conclusion

 

Use the experience of creative spontaneity to overcome the roadblocks of perfectionism, and to put that perfectionism back where it belongs- not imagining the way things should be, but imagining what you can do to improve the world, a spur and inspiration to creativity, not a brick wall.


Comrade DILBERTsky: A Superpower Crushed By a Superior Corporate Culture

Too often, we see corporate culture as an optional extra, something that we try to do to make an organisation more productive once it is already formed.  Big mistake.  A resilient corporate culture based on proven leadership principles has to be instituted at the very foundation of any organisation, regardless of its purpose.  The truth is that without this one critical element, no amount of financing, no pool of resources or talent or facilities or anything else is going to end up meaning anything.  History has demonstrated again and again that an organisation with poor corporate culture can easily end up squandering overwhelming advantages.

We all know that great classic of corporate culture satire – the Dilbert comic strip.  Well, many decades ago, a Goliath of a nation tried to prey on a seeming helpless neighbour and got its ass royally kicked, because the Goliath had a corporate culture so poor it would make Dilbert blush.  Alas, not so for its opponent!

 

The Winter War

About this time of year in 1940, a forgotten war was taking place between the tiny Scandinavian nation of Finland and the Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union wanted a larger buffer zone for its Baltic port of Leningrad, and unfortunately for the Finns, they were in the way.  No one thought the war would last very long- after all, Finland had few modern weapons, modest military history and a tiny population, whereas the Soviet Union had the world’s largest army, more tanks than anyone else and more aircraft than the rest of the world combined!

But in that winter of 1939-1940, a strange thing would happen.  A barely-armed country would inflict so much damage on one of the world’s Great Powers in self-defence that it would guarantee its independence for decades to come.  The secret?  Despite the vast gulf in technology between the two armies, it paled in comparison with the even greater gap in what we might today call corporate culture.

 

Preparation

The notion that a mainly Russian army could be unprepared for winter war might surprise us today, but it’s true nonetheless.  Not all Soviet units had proper winter uniforms, and none had proper winter tents.  Frostbite was claiming casualties even before the fighting began, while the Finns often wore their civilian winter clothing.  In the Soviet mind, the soldier was expendable, and as a result, the Red Army tended to neglect the details of their soldiers’ welfare.

Finland, at least on the surface, was completely unprepared, with meagre military equipment and supplies, no meaningful tank force and no significant allies.  But they did manage to build up solid defences along the Mannerheim Line, and their soldiers to an extent came pre-trained.  The Finns, as a nation of skiers, used highly-mobile ski troops for an endless sequence of lightning attacks on slower Red Army infantry and even tanks, while the Red Army did not yet have an equivalent force.  This alone would cost the Red Army vastly disproportionate losses.

Most importantly of all, the Finns fed their soldiers appropriately for a winter campaign- surviving an Arctic winter requires a diet high in fat and protein- while the Red Army expected their soldiers to survive on black bread in all conditions.  This would lead to the so-called “Sausage War” incident, in which a Soviet breakthrough came to a halt when their soldiers smelled the sausage soup being cooked in the Finnish field kitchens.  Ignoring their officers, the starved soldiers went straight for the food!

 

Tactics

The Red Army had one main tactic on which it would continue to rely throughout the Second World War: mass a superior force and make a frontal attack.  Unfortunately for them, the Finns were so well dug in on the Mannerheim Line that they wiped out frontal assaults time after time, to such an extent that Finnish machine gunners began to experience post-traumatic stress disorder and deep crises of conscience because the battles were so pathetically one-sided.

When this tactic didn’t work, Stalin fell back on his second standard tactic of shooting the commanders and hoping things would improve.  Under this kind of pressure, alternate tactics were found.  Instead of charging the enemy, the Red Army decided to go around him.  However, when the Red Army tried to invade north of the Mannerheim Line defences, they found the Finns were just as capable of mobile guerrilla warfare as they were of static defence, and a horrendous number of Soviet soldiers lost their lives in the attempt.  More died when Soviet Forces attempted to flank the Mannerheim Line itself by crossing coastal ice under cover of fog.  The fog lifted, and Finnish coastal defence batteries (consisting of giant 12 inch guns) broke the ice and  consigned the flanking force to the icy depths.

The Finns, as previously mentioned, had very little modern equipment, and no tanks in an era of tank warfare, but their ingenious tactical flexibility allowed them to make up this gap, in part by exploiting the weather and terrain of their country.  They would ambush tanks in forests, jamming logs into their tracks and throwing Molotov cocktails and satchel charges at their engine decks.  Finnish use of ambushes, ski troop operations and snipers had an effect vastly disproportionate to their numbers.  In the north, they managed to split Red Army forces into small, besieged segments.  Even though the Finns were vastly outnumbered, their over-snow mobility allowed them to keep up the pressure.  When the Soviets attempted to air-drop supplies to their men, the Finns imitated Soviet radio signals and redirected the air drops to their own lines.  In one night raid, ski troops even managed to get two neighbouring Red Army units to fight each other.

The Red Army was a vast, regimented machine of conscripts fighting in a country they knew little about, while the Finns were citizen soldiers, fighting for the life of their country, and it showed.  No Finn, not even Mannerheim, the Commander-in-Chief, had had the slightest idea of what to do about the Red Army in 1938, and the country was not remotely prepared for modern war.  But with ingenuity, flexibility and the best use of the resources they had, they ran circles around their Great Power adversary.

 

Leadership

The Red Army had another handicap.  The experienced officers who had fought in the civil war had either been shot, sent to Siberia or sacked by Stalin in the late 1930s.  The Purges removed 3 of 5 marshals, 13 of 15 army commanders, 50 of 57 corps commanders, 154 out of 186 divisional commanders, and 36,761 officers of all ranks, over half of the officer corps.  The army’s leadership was decimated, inexperienced, terrified and clueless.  At the same time, the NKVD, the secret police, had the authority to shoot any officer at any time, which certainly did not encourage initiative.  Officers attempting to get their men out of hopeless situations were shot as cowards.  Command was shared between line officers and political officers, who vetted all decisions in terms of party dogma.  This atmosphere of terror and adherence to the Party line completely deprived the Red Army of the ability to adapt.

The Finns, by contrast, were relying on a small officer corps to command a rapidly-expanded citizen army.  Mannerheim, an ethnic Swede and an aristocrat who did not even learn the Finnish language until he was put in charge of the army, seemed an unlikely commander-in-chief.  But he had served in the Tsarist army and therefore knew something of his enemy.  He also consistently did his utmost to improve the morale of his troops, promoting officers for merit and effectiveness, providing his soldiers with good food and winter supplies.  Women’s auxiliaries were organized to provide winter clothing and decent burial for the dead.  The focus of the Finnish Army was on supporting its troops and empowering the initiative of its small units, and the results spoke for themselves.

 

Culture Tells

The Soviets expected total victory within a few weeks.  Three months later, they had lost 126,875 men to Finland’s 25,904, in addition to 3,543 tanks.  The Soviet Union’s technical victory was achieved solely through numerical superiority and the exhaustion of Finnish supplies, and as such was a political embarrassment.  Finland lost a small percentage of its territory, but not its independence- all because a small, underequipped, haphazard army was more motivated and flexible, better-supported and better-led than a much larger one.  That the Finnish Army was able to do what it did is nothing short of a miracle.  On the other hand, the dysfunctional organisational culture of the Red Army effectively rendered its vast resources useless.  There has never been a more object lesson in the price of a dysfunctional organisation or the rewards of a healthy one when results really matter.

The Finns exhibited all the classic characteristics of a resilient culture:

1. They were united around an emotionally compelling mutual goal (defending their loved ones),

2. They devolved initiative to the operational level so they could stay flexible and adapt to a fluid situation with blinding speed, exploiting all the opportunities that came their way,

3. And their organization was geared entirely to supporting the people doing the work.

Their unbelievable success did stun the whole world… but the reasons for it are not a mystery.  Build a resilient culture and you will emerge victorious in nearly any scenario.

 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Want a More Resilient and Happier Life? Build Relationships!!

Time after time, studies into health, longevity and overall happiness come to the same conclusion – people with the most developed support networks in terms of friends and/or family rank at the very top and get the best results.  

And it’s the very same thing in business and career – if you want to prosper, build personal relationships with other human beings and do what you can to contribute to their success.


Yes, these days we call it “networking”, yet it’s a practice as old as the human race.  The irony you and I face is that although we have more technological tools to stay connected with other people, we’re often too overwhelmed to use them.  

My dear departed mom wrote to at least one of her sisters and to her best friend (by snail mail) every week for over half a century, yet most of us seem to have a really hard time staying in touch with the people closest to us even though it’s easier and cheaper than ever.


Social media is helping to bridge the gap, for sure, but as any expert on the subject will tell you, nothing can replace the traditional face-to-face contact.  

Networking 101


In this short video, networking master Michael Hughes gives you some killer tips on how the pros do it.  Keep in mind that this isn’t just for sales people or people in business; the overall dynamics and benefits of networking apply to everyone:







A Man Who Walks the Talk

As it happens, Michael is a friend of mine and I can tell you I’ve learned more about networking from watching him in person than from reading any number of books on the subject.

Just the other day I was at a workshop given by someone else and Michael was there.  It was the first time I’d seen him in several months.  I sat with him in a small group discussion for just ten minutes and in that time he had learned exactly where my business was at, volunteered to spend time with me to work on some of my challenges and had introduced me to someone else who could do the same.


And there you have a perfect illustration of one of the chief functions of networking – helping connect others with the resources they need.  


Let me share one final point with you: even though networking is a key element for building your personal resilience (and your business, if that applies to you), most people, even business people, don’t do it well at all.  You  can be different.  


So if you want a challenge, here’s one for you: make a list of people you know and devote just 30-60 minutes a week for four weeks to contact them for no other reason than to say hello and let them know you care.  


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

 


You Can Only Love People if You Have a "Black Heart"

Welcome to the fourth and final installment on “thick face” and “black heart”. If you’ve stumbled on this post and don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, be sure to read the previous three posts FIRST.


What an abhorrent concept! What can possibly be good about having a “Black Heart” (BH)? Doesn’t that describe a psychopath like Hitler, Stalin or Chairman Mao?


Nope. Not the way we’re using the term here. Yes, they did use the same power of BH that you’re going to. However, you’re going to use it for transformative purposes, not destructive ones.


There are three aspects to BH. They all have one thing in common – they involve distinguishing between real compassion and false compassion. Let’s have a look at them:


1. HELP THOSE WHO SEEK TO DO GOOD:


Have you ever seen a parent whose child developed serious behavioral problems all because that parent was too spineless to say “no!” when it was necessary? Did the child then start to push the limits, disrespect the parents and shamelessly manipulate them? And did the parents let the kid get away with it?


If you’re nodding your head right now, you and I probably know some of the same parents! And the parents’ excuse for this is always couched in terms of “compassion”, of not wanting to scar their child for life by denying him a candy bar, or not wanting to “impose their views” on their child, of wanting to let him “find his own way”.


This compassion is a mental fiction. It causes great harm to the child and to anyone that child will deal with over his or her lifetime. It has devastating consequences, perhaps for generations.


As a parent, it’s your job to train your child to be a polite, respectful and self-actualized person. And that means saying “no” sometimes. It also means challenging your kids, allowing them to make mistakes and get hurt, not shielding them from the nitty-gritty of daily life in the “real world”. A false compassion would shield them. Real compassion requires a “black heart”. A BH means “tough love”, it means knowing when it’s more important to slap a hand than hold it.


In ancient Sparta, as in some native American societies, the tougher parts of the education were undertaken out of reach of the parents and especially the mothers, who wouldn’t have wanted to watch their offspring be put through hardship, even if that hardship was extremely beneficial in the long run.


It’s said that the 20th century Orthodox Christian holy man, Joseph the Hesychast, didn’t have a kind word for his disciples. In reality, his disciples knew he love them deeply, but the feigned harshness of the old man was a vital element to help them discover the inner resources they would need to overcome their spiritual challenges later on.


Likewise, the great Taoist master, Wang Liping, always says he is deeply thankful for the unsparing, ruthless severity of his masters, because that’s what allowed him to achieve his extraordinary life.


Joseph the Hesychast and Wang Liping’s old masters are perfect examples of BH. They know what needs to be done and they do it, regardless of the immediate discomfort of their disciples or of those who were “offended” by their way of life.


In essence, they were putting the power of BH at the service of those who were seeking to do the right thing. Another scenario along the same lines is defending people who are unjustly attacked for doing the right thing. In the recent series of crises in my own Church, those of us who spoke up did so partly to protect others who had already stuck their necks out.


2. STOP THOSE WHO SEEK TO DO EVIL:


Black Heart also refuses the false compassion that would allow people doing evil to continue to harm others and wreak havoc.


There are many wonderful features of life up here in Canada. The criminal justice system is NOT one of them. Enslaved for decades to absurd ideas that the criminal is the “victim” of society, our system has a nasty habit of letting violent criminals go free. The penalties for real wrong-doing are a bit of a joke.


In her book, “Thick Face, Black Heart,” Chin-Ning Chu illustrates this with the true story of two ancient Chinese warlords. One was the emperor of the time and the other a peasant and rebel leader trying to overthrow him. The emperor captured the rebel leader at one point, but refused to deal with him harshly, considering him a worthy opponent of sorts. This allowed the rebel leader to escape, muster his army again, and overthrow the emperor.


Chu points out that this act of “mercy” simply prolonged the civil war and the slaughter of innocents. So the emperor’s “mercy” was self-indulgent and counter-productive. Likewise, nearly every great tyrant of the 20th century was in jail at some point, and some damn fool decided to release him. Hitler even wrote “Mein Kampf” in prison, explaining in detail his insane plans, and they still let him go.

One of my favorite examples comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Captain Picard has a golden opportunity to destroy the Borg (the single most dangerous and sinister threat to civilization any sci-fi author could ever invent).  Yet, he hesitates and finally doesn’t do it, rationalizing his stupidity by comparing the act to “genocide”.  Excuse me.  Time out!  What about the hundreds of billions of people whose lives will be destroyed in the near future when the Borg overrun their planets, and all because of your bogus compassion, Captain Picard?  I guess your “compassion” didn’t extend to them.


If you look carefully, you’ll see bogus compassion is all around you. In our Church, we were too soft-hearted to sack ALL the bishops who tried to cover up the financial scandal. Instead we only sacked the top guy. That has already come back to bite us. Real compassion involves cutting off evil – suddenly and definitely. That’s the essence of BH. BH accords well with the old saying, “All that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”


3. HONE YOUR KILLER INSTINCT:


The “killer instinct” is muted in our society. It’s sublimated into other outlets like watching professional sports and playing video games. People who like to talk about inner peace may be horrified by the mere mention of killer instinct, considering it something to be programmed out of human beings.


Great spiritual traditions thought otherwise. They knew that the same power that you could use egotistically to kill someone who merely disagrees with you is the very power that you need to harness to overcome your inner obstacles. There is a war to be waged for inner peace.


Obviously, that same killer instinct is instrumental in “thick face” – it’s the inner power that allows you to develop a powerful self-image, stick to your guns and resist the criticism and opinions of others.


It’s also the power that allows you to become DEFINITE about your lifestyle, about who you are and what you stand for. It’s the very power that brings clarity.


If you’re a man, a male human being, you are a hunter and a killer by nature. Yes, society’s gone to great lengths to program that out of you, to tell you you shouldn’t have those feelings or act that way or think that way. Ancient Traditions took a different approach – they taught you how to harness and redirect that power, not repress it. Repressing it leads to neurosis and boredom.


And women need this too. It simply expresses itself differently. But find a mother protecting her child from physical danger and you’ll see true killer instinct.


CONCLUSION:


“Thick Face” and “Black Heart” express the reality of your mind-body organism. In your natural state, you’re impervious to the opinions and agendas of others, you’re definite with your life and clear on your purpose, you are “brutal” in defense of the good and “ruthless” in crushing evil. These are divine traits within the human being.


Yes, they can be perverted, as they have been by tyrants, corporate executives and jihadists throughout history, as well as by fascists and religious fascists of all kinds. That, however, is irrelevant. You already possess the energies of Thick Face and Black Heart within you. They will come out somehow. It’s up to you to channel them in ways that transform your life and the lives of those around you.


And when you do that, you’ll be a true WARRIOR.


To learn more about the Way of the Warrior as the ultimate life paradigm (and the one with the most historical evidence to support it), go to:


http://bit.ly/WarriorBlackBelt


~Dr. Symeon Rodger


P.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the concepts of “Thick Face” and “Black Heart”. Feel free to leave your comments below!


How "Thick Face, Black Heart" Gives You Clarity and Conviction

Welcome to our next installment on the warrior philosophy of “Thick Face, Black Heart” (TFBH) and what it can do for YOU. If you’ve just stumbled on this post, please go back to the two previous posts and READ THEM FIRST. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in a matter of seconds 😉
Practicing TFBH clarifies everything in your life. TFBH means living in the world of the DEFINITE. Once you become very definite about your lifestyle – about your diet, your exercise, your responsibilities towards others at home, at work and in general, something miraculous happens…
GREAT CLARITY ENSUES:
One of the defining characteristics of the mentality of most people in our culture is its lack of definiteness and direction. We’re a deeply conflicted people who create deeply conflicted lives.
Once you DECIDE to adopt a definite manner of life – meaning you stick to your lifestyle even when others attack you or, more importantly, when you yourself “feel like” caving in – then the next step is this:
Decide who you really are and what you stand for. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What are my highest values as a person?
2. What moral standards do I refuse to compromise on?
3. When have I been asked to go along passively with something unjust or to live with a lie? Have I become “politically correct” (in other words, a pathological liar)?
4. When have I actually gone along with a lie?
5. If I could contribute just ONE good thing to the world in my lifetime, what would it be? And what am I willing to do about it?
6. What infuriates me? What will I absolutely not tolerate?
Yes, contrary to what you might think, righteous anger is not an evil. The ancient Christian tradition considers it a protective force implanted within you by your Creator. If you see evil and injustice done to others and that doesn’t infuriate you, then you’ve got a real problem. Not that you should lose control of yourself; simply that you should feel impelled to take action.
As many of you know, my jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church has suffered a debilitating financial scandal and a generalized leadership crisis over the past couple of years. At one point the lies became too much for me and I spoke out. And I took the criticism that comes from the spineless and unprincipled who fear nothing quite so much as rocking the boat. That’s an example of “thick face”. However, many who did speak out and continue to do so have suffered for it much more than I did, and they deserve great respect for doing so.
Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. are perfect examples of people who felt compelled to speak out. They saw injustice and got REALLY ANGRY about it. However, they were able to channel the force of their righteous anger into great moral principles and to achieve victories once thought completely impossible.
REFUSING OTHER PEOPLE’S DEFINITIONS FOR YOUR LIFE
My family has a dear friend who’s over 90 years old right now. He was a best friend to my father for over half a century. Lately he’s become a bit obsessed with telling my children how off-track they are with respect to their educations and career choices. They need to become doctors, lawyers or dentists, he says, because those are the people who make the real money.
Well, that kind of career advice is understandable from a post-war immigrant, but it really lost its validity after the sixties.
Likewise, you’ll find all kinds of well-meaning people trying to define your life for you. Some of them may be success “gurus” telling you success is measured in dollars. Some may be family members who think you should go to university because the previous three generations of your family did.
One thing you can be sure of: if you are definite about your lifestyle – adopting a “thick face” in that department – and if you’re increasingly definite about who you are and what you stand for, you’ll become more and more CLEAR about what you want to contribute. And when that’s the case, you WILL find all kinds of people putting obstacles in your way.
The great thing about practicing TFBH is that once you become very clear and definite about the little things in life, you’ll get CRYSTAL CLARITY surprisingly fast on the larger issues, including what some would call your “major definite purpose” in life.
Try it. Don’t believe me; see for yourself! “Thick Face” and “Black Heart” are the essence of the world’s ancient spiritual traditions and of the Warrior’s way of life worldwide. And the best course on the Warrior’s Way of Life I know is this:
http://bit.ly/WarriorBlackBelt
Next time, I’ll finally explain to you what “Black Heart” means – it doesn’t mean what you’re probably thinking it means… 😉
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

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