Rising above

More Than the Least—Rising Above the Lowest Common Denominator

Life seems limitless on its surface, yet we must constantly live within limits. Some we set ourselves; others are imposed on us. That is natural and normal. Because we can’t do everything and need to prioritize, we incorporate limits in our lives by design. Often this leads to doing as little as possible to achieve a desired outcome—in other words, we’re efficient. But this approach can also lead to a mindset of doing as little as possible, or sometimes, nothing at all. There are aspects of life, however, that deserve more than the least we can do. They deserve intention and effort. While these aspects will not be the same for everyone, we all have opportunities to explore what ours might be. To that end, it can be helpful to periodically review what is important to you. Think about those things and what you do to support them—is there anything more you might do? Have you thought about it creatively? Sometimes the least you can do isn’t all you can do.

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Compulsion, addiction, internal forces

Just Stop—Why we Engage in Harmful or Unhealthy Behavior

It seems simple enough.

If something is bad for us, we should stop doing it. Of course it’s not that simple—people have addictions, compulsions, and desires (hereafter referred to as compulsions), and it may seem almost impossible not to submit to them. The two forces—the compulsions and the knowledge of their negative consequences—are in a constant battle to control our behavior. The “voice” of our compulsions can be quite strong and very crafty. We’ve all had times when we’ve rationalized having one more drink (“It’s a special occasion!”) or junk food (“Just while I’m watching the movie.”), and, at those times, our rationales have seemed perfectly sound. We’ve also had periods when the voice of reason has been dominant. We clearly see the connections between our behavior and its negative consequences, and we’re able to control ourselves. So why does this battle take place—why can’t we see the healthy and logical path and just follow it? If we could answer these questions, we’d find a clear path to healthy, positive behaviors.

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Integrity—Whole and True

Whole and True—Incorporating Integrity into Your Life

When I hear people talk about their values, I notice that they use a wide variety of words. Honesty, hard work, loyalty, and open-mindedness are all values that people I know strive for. But one value seems to always rise to the top: integrity. It’s a value that is unassailable yet losing ground in modern society. Ironically, some still uphold integrity as a core value while acting against it in all their words and deeds. A lack of integrity is not only accepted but also sought after and celebrated—from behind a veil of denial. I thought it would be interesting to dive in and deconstruct the word, the value, and the way it’s expressed. Before researching the word, I thought about what it means to me. In my mind, it suggests a quality of “honesty plus”—honesty at one’s core. 

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Too much

Too Much of a Good Thing

Imagine a world where you could have anything you wanted, any time you wanted, for as long as you wanted. When I was a kid, I thought that’s what heaven must be like, but in time, I came to realize that it’s a more apt description of hell. Why? Continue with the mental exercise. Choose something that you love, make it unlimited, and take away any challenge or effort required in getting it. It will invariably lose some or all of its appeal—nothing would be special anymore. Of course there are nuances to the question. Does having an unlimited supply mean you have to accept an unlimited supply? Something might only lose its appeal if you imbibe it constantly. Ultimately, our trade-offs and struggles are a necessary part of a fulfilling life. Without them, life would be less meaningful and less happy.

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Vision as Reality

Your Vision as Your Reality—Living Your Ideal Life

Each of us has a vision—the ideal version of our lives.

But what you may not realize is that your overall vision is made up of your day-to-day and moment-to-moment visions. If you can make those mini-visions become real, your overall vision will take care of itself. 

In this context, I’m not talking about a major life goal to accomplish or milestones to achieve. I’m talking about what you want your life to be—the ideal version of how you live, how you feel, and what you think. While this does, of course, relate to your accomplishments, it is more about your approach and outlook than about the particulars. How you engage with and interpret all of the people, circumstances, and events along your path will define both your reality and your vision. As much as it feels like many of those elements are out of your control, they’re not. It can be difficult to not let them drive your outlook, but through intentional living, it is possible.

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