Forget mindfulness, stop trying to find yourself and start faking it.

If you’re a business leader, a parent, a captain of a team, a performer or simply a good citizen there’s one question you need to be asking yourself 24/7 and that is

How to I keep my s..t together?

One thing you’ll notice about great leaders is that they always look like they’ve got the s..t together. Look at the images below… don’t you agree that those who are doing great look like they’ve got their s..t together? The interesting one is Malcolm Turnbull Prime Minister of Australia who looks like he’s taking a family snap… in other words, I just don’t give a toss.

I help people keep their s…t together

When you travel the world talking about the human spirit, you meet amazing people some of whom have let their s..t get them down.

I think there are many process that can help people keep their S…t together but sometimes people choose the wrong stuff for the wrong s…t.

Take mindfulness for example. If you are a Qantas pilot and all is running smoothly you want mindfulness to keep you on your game. However, mindfulness can lull you into a state of repetition and cause you to become unaware of impending challenge, in other words it can kill off your intuition.

Another example of stuff that is good for keeping your S..t together but doesn’t always benefit you is “taking a well earned break.” In my experience when a person feels overloaded with pressure they classically take a well earned break but this is the complete opposite to what would be best to get their S..t together. Instead of bowing to their own incompetence and taking a break it’s smarter to upgrade skills in organise, supervise and deputise, get it under control, then shoot through for a well earned adventure.

Happy people are great to be around. The great thing, in a world of fake yoga, fake meditation and fake performances, it’s great to know that you can’t fake happiness. When you’ve got your S..t together, people know it.

Happy, better faster might sound a bit over simplified but really, when it comes to keeping your S..t together there’s no better measure as to what remedy to take when you seem to be losing it, at home or at work. What makes you happy, better, faster might be the ideal solution.

If you appreciate what you’ve got, you’ll get what you want.

It’s 10.30am. I’ve walked 6km in soft sand, taken 20 photographs of the most spectacular sunrise, done 6 walker talk podcasts, stretched, meditated, done my daily visions, coached two clients, had breakfast, swam 2 km at sea and written a blog. I’ve earned income and posted 10 tweets about biophilia and read two articles.

I’m 100% sure that if you went through your morning up until 9.00am you’d be shocked at how much you accomplish. I mean, eating, driving, catching, thinking, phoning, newsing, fusing and abusing (hopefully not much of the latter).

It’s so easy to focus on what we’re not. What we haven’t done. It’s an Aussie thing and we need to remind ourselves that we’re on an earth travelling at 1 million miles a day through space, and the surface is rotating at 1,000mph so, we’re actually compressing a massive amount into a small amount.

Here’s what one of my hero’s says about it

 

It’s also super easy to look at things and see what’s wrong. But to want what you haven’t got is the root of all suffering according to Buddhist teachings. Why not want what you’ve got? because no matter how bad it is, it’s what you’ve got. Want it and you’ll appreciate it.

My Secret Formula for Loving What I’ve Got

I was sitting in NYC, in our offices, we had 20 odd staff, many of whom we’d flown in from Australia to do brand development on REAL. We’d secured a $30million investment for 30% of the company from a large fund. Our personal investment was around $5mil, each.

The building rumbled, a plane flew overhead, too close. And our business became a triviality. As the first plane hit the WTC I watched in shock, and then the second, and then the buildings fall. The furthest thing from my mind was “REAL” this was really REAL and a few days later, reality struck home. The damage and dust radiated out through our windows and doors, but also through the financial world. When that dust settled, we’d lost everything.

Not long after, I turned up for work with my partner only to find chains and a padlock on the doors. Everything I needed was inside. But until we paid the $8,000 a week rent, the doors were bolted. And they remained that way, for us at least, forever. All the computers, all our back-data, even our backup data was inside.

REAL closed.

A few days later our house burnt down.

A few years later our relationship ended.

So here’s my secret formula for Loving What I’ve Got.

“when one door shuts another one opens”

I know that’s sort of benign but it reflects a law of nature. That nature abhors a vacuum. Nothing is ever missing, it just changes in form. Let me explain.

REAL closed. But did it? OR did it just change form. Soon there were micro business’ popping up all over the world, our business and product partners took the “consciousness” brand equity of REAL and fragmented it. Then the philanthropic motive of REAL came alive in “hands that shape humanityhttp://www.handsthatshape.com a project my partner and soon my ex wife was involved in and loved deeply.

Here’s the opening by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

Then, the business side… well we were each down $5mil and what was to happen next was amazing. My work boomed. I earnt the money back in spades but not because that was the new form of the old wealth, but because we recognised that what was lost was material wealth and it was replaced, albeit temporarily, but Intellectual Property… My retreats boomed, not because it was replacing the wealth in $ but because I immediately saw what I could appreciate, I had the wealth, just in a potential form, not material.

If you don’t appreciate it the way that you’ve got it you won’t get it the way that you want it

 

Grounding Your Vision from Christopher Walker on Vimeo.

Why is the history of Chinese philosophy now the most popular course at Harvard? Top tips on how to become a better person according to Confucius and co

Original Article The Guardian Here

 The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh is published by Viking Penguin.

Excerpt

People are often surprised to learn that Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and other classical Chinese philosophers weren’t rigid traditionalists who taught that our highest good comes from confining ourselves to social roles. Nor were they placid wise men preaching harmonious coexistence with the natural world. Rather, they were exciting and radical thinkers who exploded the conventions of their society. They sought to make the world a better place by expanding the scope of human possibility. The mid-first millennium BC was a similarly turbulent age to our own, giving rise to debates about how to live, how to be ethical and how to build a good society. Unlike the philosophers we are more familiar with in the west, these Chinese thinkers didn’t ask big questions. Theirs was an eminently pragmatic philosophy, based on deceptively small questions such as: “How are you living your daily life?” These thinkers emphasised that great change only happens when we begin with the mundane and doable. Their teachings reveal that many of our most fundamental assumptions about how we ought to live have actually led us astray. So what are the ideas we hold dear, and what alternatives do Chinese philosophers offer in their place?

Stop finding yourself

Our thinkers would be sceptical of the existence of a true self, especially one you can discover in the abstract

Be inauthentic

We aren’t just who we think we are, we can work on becoming better people all the time

Do rituals

When you smile as if you’re not angry, or bite your tongue instead of lashing out you are faking it – acting more mature

See the world as capricious

Work with the shifts and detours – chance conversations, experiences, interactions – that nurture an expansive life

Stop deciding

When you are contemplating a big change, your decision will be easier if you try out new related experiences

What’s wrong with a life plan? When you plan your life, you make decisions for a future self based on the person you are today not the one you will become.

Rather than boxing ourselves in by committing to big decisions, the Mencian way would be to approach them through the small and doable. When you are contemplating a career change, say, or a break up or move, your decision will be easier if you try out new related experiences on a small scale. Pay attention to your responses to these experiences, because they will guide you in new directions.

Be weak

See everything in the world as connected instead of divided and distinct so you can stay attuned to others

Don’t play to your strengths

Live your life as a series of ruptures, because that is what changes you over time

We’re encouraged to discover our gifts and strengths and to hone them from a young age. If you were sporty, you joined the football team; if you always had your nose in a book, you studied literature. As you grow older, you cultivate these natural proclivities until they become part of your identity. But take this mindset too far, and you stop doing everything else.

Our philosophers would encourage not focusing on who you think you are to break your preconceived notions. If you think you’re clumsy, take up dancing. If you’re no good at languages, immerse yourself in French. The purpose is not to make yourself better at these things, it’s to live your life as a series of ruptures, because that is what changes you over time.

Don’t be mindful

The tenets of mindfulness as they are popularly understood is the opposite of what mindfulness was meant to be

We hear that mindfulness will help us achieve peace and serenity in our fast-paced lives. It is now even touted as a tool for productivity and effectiveness by business schools, corporations and the military.

Mindfulness does not, on the surface, seem all that different from the Confucian notion of paying attention to your emotional responses. But the tenets of mindfulness as they are popularly understood – including looking within and accepting what you find with detached non-judgment – is the opposite of what mindfulness was meant to be. Buddhism is, after all, the doctrine of “no” self. Confucian self-cultivation is different. It’s about engaging with the world and cultivating yourself through that engagement, through each encounter and interaction. It espouses a very active, not passive, way of cultivating oneself to become a better person.

Rethink the traditional and the modern

It’s the small actions through which you conduct yourself that matter most in transforming yourself for the better

 The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh is published by Viking Penguin.