Leading A Meaningful Life #MondayMusings

Leading A Meaningful Life #MondayMusings

There are times when you wonder about life. What does leading a meaningful life require of you? Who defines what is meaningful? What is meaningful to one person, might be meaningless to another.

What does leading a meaningful life consist of?

I’ve often heard people say at the death of someone else, ‘What a waste of a life!’ I’ve said it myself a couple of times until I stopped and asked myself, how could I say that? How do I know that the person didn’t add meaning and purpose to another life. Perhaps I don’t know if even through her bad choices, her life and the fact that she was loved, added meaning to the lives of people who loved her. There is no way for me to really know if his life, confusing though it seems to me, made a difference to another life. Even if her living, made just one person’s life better, wasn’t it a meaningful life she lived? Didn’t the fact that his life challenged another person to forgive, to reach out more, to be more loving, make it a meaningful life?

We put too much emphasis on doing as a way of being meaningful. We have bucket lists and goal-setting. We are challenged to do more and achieve more. To fulfill our potential. Not that any of this is wrong. No. But if we emphasize achievements, are we saying that children and adults living with cognitive disabilities are not living meaningful lives? I’m sure any parent of a child with special needs will tell you, that despite how difficult it is, this child adds so much meaning to their lives.

The time has come for me (and you, perhaps) to challenge ourselves – to look within our lives and find the meaning in them and then to realize that it is by our ‘being’ that we make more of a difference than by our ‘doing’.

Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently; it is about seeing familiar things in new ways. When we find new eyes, the unsuspected blessing in work we have done for many years may take us completely by surprise. We can see life in many ways: with the eye, with the mind, with the intuition. But perhaps it is only those who speak the language of meaning, who have remembered how to see with the heart, that life is ever deeply known or served.
Rachel Naomi Remen

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This month I’m changing the ‘rules’ a bit because of the A to Z challenge – I’m going to have one linky open right through the month – open only for #MondayMusings. You’ll need to add a link to Everyday Gyaan to add your link.

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Reading Changes Lives #LovetoRead

Reading Changes Lives #LovetoRead

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that today is World Book Day and it’s important to reiterate the fact that reading changes lives.

Reading Changes Lives

I’m a testament to this fact. I can’t begin to tell you how important reading has been to me. It has saved me from getting depressed. It has opened new worlds to me. It has allowed me to travel around the world across time, sitting in my quiet corner at home. It helped me to dream and grow.

Reading has challenged me, inspired me, comforted me more times than I can count.

To find charities you can donate to allow books to change more lives, please visit Love to Read on Amazon.com and on Amazon.in

My Love Affair With Books

If you know me already, you would know that a way to my heart is to present me with a great book. My husband found that out early. His first gift to me before we were married was a book. Thankfully he’s a book lover too.

I love to buy books, receive books, present books and generally to be surrounded by books. I read loads of books – over 150 a year, at least. My Kindle is my constant companion and my husband laughs at me when I sometimes walk around the house with it.

Our flat in Mumbai has lots of book shelves and that’s something we miss here. Our well-loved books are lying there waiting to find a new home.

As a blogger, I’m thrilled that I get loads of free books to review. I review books here and on my other site which almost entirely dedicated to books.

My childhood dream was to own a book store. This February, I was so happy to visit a book store owned by friends of mine in Goa. The Dogears Book Shop is such a wonderful space that I came back and started talking about making my dream come true. You never know, I just might!

I’d love to hear about your relationship with books.

Success With Stress

Success With Stress

Having showcased Jae Ellard’s The Five Truths about Work-Life Balance here, I was eager to look at her latest book, Success With Stress, and review it. Jae was kind enough to send me a hard copy of the book.

Book Description:

Believe it or not, stress isn’t all bad; in fact, it’s an important part of the natural world. Stress helps us survive as a species – because of that we want the ability to be stressed. That said, being able to manage stress with greater success is the difference between surviving and THRIVING. Success with Stress explores five simple ideas to spark your personal power to change the level, duration, and frequency of the stress in your life. With workplace stress being linked to quality of life, health, and workplace morale, this is a must-read for any team looking to improve morale and individuals looking to improve their quality of life.

Buy the Book:  Amazon

Add to Goodreads

Author’s Bio:

Jae Ellard is an author, speaker, and expert on developing the skill of awareness in the workplace. After years in senior communication roles crafting content for executives, Jae collapsed from stress-related adrenal fatigue. This life-altering experience propelled her to research human behavior, neuroscience, mindfulness, and organizational relationship systems. In 2008, Jae founded Simple Intentions and developed the Mindful Life™ Program to generate intentional conversations to disrupt patterns and create awareness, accountability and action at team and individual levels. Jae has taught the skill of awareness in more than 50 countries to thousands of employees at multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia.

Jae is a columnist on workplace awareness for Mindful Magazine, as well as the author of 7 books on the topic. She contributes to the Healthy Living section on Huffington Post as well as the Simple Intentions blog. In 2013, she founded Seattle Wisdom, a community organization working to create and support conscious conversations in professional spaces in the Pacific Northwest. Jae has a master’s degree in Communication Management from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She holds certificates in co-active coaching and organizational relationship systems coaching.

Connect with Jae:  Website ~ Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~ LinkedIn

My review: 4/5

I was pleasantly surprised with the workbook style book, with lots of white space for my thoughts and reflections.

The best part of the book for me was the clarity of thought of the author, expressed with so much simplicity, and how it strikes at the root of stress very early on. Sample this powerful statement:

Most stress can be traced to communication – or lack of it – back to the conversations we are not having or are too scared to have about what we value, and/or a lack of boundaries to protect those values.

It brought to mind a quote of George Bernard Shaw’s I came across for the first time the other day. He said, in his own inimitable style : The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.  And I found both this statement and the book resonating so strongly for me. Much of my stress used to come from dysfunctional relationships – the ones in which I assumed that the other would understand me. Now I’ve learned to communicate more clearly and it makes relating with people so much easier and less stressful.

The 5 strategies that Jae suggests we can beat stress with call for reflection on our values, invite us to be authentic and above all to honor ourselves. Since authenticity and honoring myself are areas that I have long being working on, I could see the value of this.

I am completely in agreement with Jae’s philosophy of succeeding with stress and would recommend this book to anyone struggling to reduce stress in their lives.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

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Win a print copy of Success With Stress with a companion notebook (open to USA & Canada – 10 winners total)

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Punctuality Is Necessary Or Overrated? #FridayReflections

Punctuality Is Necessary Or Overrated? #FridayReflections

Punctuality Is Necessary Or Overrated? That’s a question I’ve often asked myself. I’m quite a fan of punctuality. However, I see a lot of people are not and they seem to get away with being late. They make it their norm, and most people seem to accept it.

Here’s an unsent letter I wrote to an ex-colleague whose disrespect for punctuality caused me endless tension.

Punctuality Is Necessary Or Overrated?

Dear Lateefa

You were late again today…nothing new about it, except that this time it really made me mad. This is the about the tenth time that I’ve had make excuses to a client on your behalf. Needless, to say he didn’t buy my excuses…and that made me look and feel stupid. But then you came in to his office, all charm and laughter and immediately he forgot that you had been late and gave us the contract anyway. Another reason for you to say ‘Punctuality is over rated’, right? Easy for you to say, when you’ve got stupid old me around to make excuses on your behalf. What if I had got delayed too? But then it’s not likely to happen, so we’ll never know, will we? 

I’m not likely to be late because I take the trouble to get all the preliminary work/printouts done the night before, get up on time,  factor in the bad traffic in Mumbai and leave well in time to reach the clients’ office at least 10 minutes before the appointed time. I don’t know how you do it – but you always have a problem with your printer, your alarm (do you even use one?) doesn’t go off, your tyre gets punctured, you get caught in a couple of traffic jams and you are at least ten minutes late for a meeting – on your good days.

You tell me that it’s not a sign of disrespect to me or the clients. I disagree. It is a sign of arrogance to think our time is not as important as your life. Let me point you in the direction of a book by Andrea Perry Isn’t It About Time: How to Stop Putting Things Off And Get On With Your Life (perhaps I’ll get you a copy as a Christmas present to me!). Allow me to quote: 

“I don’t really agree with the idea that late people don’t mean to be rude,” says Perry. “Clearly when one person is habitually late, they are regarding themselves more than those they are keeping waiting. They wouldn’t be ten minutes late for President Obama. So be aware of who you are late for, and why.” You get it?

To my mind, punctuality is a sign that you have self-respect, that you love your job and that you have respect for others. The only thing that is overrated is your supposed charm…It’s wearing thin, buddy. So the next time you’re late, will be the last time we’ll work together. Hope you get this – on time!

Your always-5-minutes-ahead-of-time colleague

#FridayReflections

It’s Friday today and although Sanchie Vee and I had decided to take a break from #FridayReflections through April, I decided to it slightly differently. I’m putting up a linky – and asking you to write on any of the older prompts that you may have liked and missed. I’ll have the same linky up all month through, just on fresh posts. Also, I’m asking for a link back to my blog in your post to prevent people who are writing ‘off prompt’ from adding their links.

If you want to know more about #FridayReflections and find prompts to write on, I’ve created a page with the ‘rules’ and the prompts. So go ahead and have a ball. Remember, to link up here so we can all enjoy your writing.

This post is in response to the prompt from 2 September 2016 -Are you someone who is always on time, running late or early? Does it even matter?


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12 Incredible Traits of the Happiest People

12 Incredible Traits of the Happiest People

My word for 2017 is ‘Happy’ and though I’ve not written much about it, I’m constantly aware of this. So I was very happy to have Olivia Norton offer to do a guest post on the very subject and the 12 Incredible Traits of the Happiest People.

Happiness is universal. It defines no boundaries, race, culture, age, gender and social status. Although its definition seems so general, not all people have it.

How can you achieve happiness without much effort? Happy people practice certain habits and possess such traits that you can also acquire to find happiness.

12 Incredible Traits of the Happiest People

Below are characteristics of people who find happiness and peace in their lives:

1. They are committed to their goals.

Happiness is not easy to find, however, happy people know how to search for it. They aim high and dream big. They set up goals to make their aspirations happen. After setting up their goals, they find ways to attain it. They never stop pursuing their goals until they achieve it.

2. They let go of bitterness.

Happy people know how to forgive and forget. They never keep grudges because it is a barrier to their happiness. Bitterness absorbs negative emotions such as resentment, anger and pain. Letting go of bitterness means you allow the positive things to come in and the negative things to go.

3. They appreciate the moment.

Happy people would never let the present time just passed. They appreciate each moment because they know how precious time is. They pay attention to every detail and are not in a hurry to just let the day end without doing anything special. Even in bad times, they would face it, no matter how hard it is.

4. They let go of what they can’t control.

Happy people know their boundaries. They focus their efforts only on important things and to those that they can control.

5. They thrive during the hard times.

Happy people don’t give up easily, even in difficult times. They see hardships and failures as a signal to start again. They believe in the saying that “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”

6. They know how to give more than to take.

Giving for happy people is so natural. They don’t give to get something in return. For them, giving makes them happy as they see other people happy. They don’t expect anything in return when they give.
7. They are thankful. Happy people are grateful for everything they have. They appreciate the little things around them. Grateful people have less stress and are able to cope up with anything. They also possess more positive emotions.

8. They are kind.

Happy people know how to share kindness. They help others, even in simple ways. Sometimes, they even leave themselves just to see other people happy.

9. They cultivate healthy relationships.

They just don’t have a connection. They build strong connections with their loved ones. When they allow others in their lives, they know how to protect, respect and love them. These things make them happy.

10. They nurture their mind and body.

It’s so impossible for someone to be happy when the physical or mental state is not in good condition. This is why happy people possess this trait. They know how to take care of their own mind and body by living a healthy lifestyle.

11. They are happy to be with happy people.

Toxic people can drain your energy. Happy people boost it. If you want to be truly happy, be with people who know how to laugh, joke, smile and appreciate life. When you hang with happy people, you’re more likely to get the same positive vibes that they create.

12. They can withstand discomfort.

Happy people don’t just appreciate the good times. In fact, they face the bad times; even it brings uneasiness and discomfort. They are willing to be there at that moment because they know that soon it would be over.

Olivia Norton has been writing for over 10 years, specializing on niches, including life, addiction recovery especially about treatment for cocaine addiction and health. Aside from her busy work, she also balances her time between family, business and seeking new adventures.

Image of happy young women via Shutterstock