Posts

“Before you speak, think—is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? Does it improve on the silence?” Some of the greatest thinkers posed these questions. The Bible speaks often about the power of the mind and our thoughts. Even though science and philosophy connected the mind with transformation years ago. But the unnecessary rivalry between faith and the former wouldn’t give credibility to its findings (the bible).

Science and Philosophy Confirms Scriptures

More and more science and philosophy are confirming scriptures not contradicting them. Both offer wisdom, which can help guide our thoughts and ensure that we are staying mindful of our interactions with others.  If knowledge is information (data), wisdom is a refinement of that information and knowing when to act upon that knowledge. One does not need to become a philosopher to be wise or to think critically. All one needs is to be a lover of wisdom. While the contemplative argues for an unexamined life’s worthlessness. Others support the plethora of critical examinations of society, religion and government.  Yet, once wisdom is tasted, one will not want to give it up!

In this blog post, we’ll explore five questions to consider before you think, in order to help you become more mindful in your daily life.

1. Slow Down to Speed Up

In a fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget to slow down and think. But if you want to be successful, it’s important to take the time to pause and reflect on your goals. Slowing down doesn’t mean you have to stop and do nothing. It simply means you have to take the time to think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. When you take the time to reflect, you can find new and better ways to achieve your goals.

So if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, take a step back and slow down. It might be just what you need to get your thinking back on track.

Speed drives our world. Yet, if we are always in a rush, racing from one point to the next, we are more prone to making mistakes and losing perspective. All great civilizations from Persia to Rome were built upon the unharried mind and have collapsed by the hurried hand. Do not be obsessed with quick thinking. Every sentence or social media post should “be on trial for its existence.”

A persons’ word and writing should clarify their mind, and it slows one down, which is the most productive kind of time one can have.  Make more “time” to read and write, instead of moving like a New York or South African taxi, from one place to another. Try to understand what is underneath something —what is driving our behaviour. The wise slow down their minds —they observe things from a distance. They pause, learn, self-reflect and pray. 

Wise decisions require balancing urgency and tenacity.

2. Focus on What’s Essential

It is said that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts per day. That’s a lot of noise going on inside our heads! And with so much noise, it’s no wonder that we often find it difficult to focus on what’s truly important. Fortunately, there are ways to train our minds to focus on what’s essential. By learning to focus on what’s important, we can unleash the power of our thoughts and tap into our full potential. Imagine being able to focus your thoughts on what’s essential?

Improve Mental Speed 

What if we could clear out the mental clutter? Dr. Caroline Leaf, talks about how we improve our “mental speed“. The ability between the information we receive and the speed that we can act upon what is essential to us. To tap into the intelligence of the nonconscious mind (which operates faster than the conscious mind) and develop a system Dr. Leaf calls “Neurocycle”, to help us to basically improve our mental speed, to act upon the thongs we really need to focus on.

We associate much with meaning and more with better. So the more you do and the more you have, the better a person you become. When everything is a priority, one cannot separate what matters from what does not. Unfortunately, this endless race to “do and achieve more and more” drives confusion and frustration. If one can say no to the unnecessary, one can have tranquillity. 

If one can eliminate more, one will discover meaning. To “do less, better” is the secret of the great. Life is not about getting less done or about getting more done in less time. Instead, life is about priorities or essentialism–focus on pursuiting ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.’

As people of faith, the criteria we should follow for how we define things that add value to our lives are the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We embrace this concept of “pause and reflect before saying yes” to help us follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

People are mistaken when they are more protective of their property, money, and possessions, yet careless about their most precious asset: their time.

Remember, life is never short if we know how to use it.

 “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”

 

3. Think From the Middle Ground 

Seeing the world only in black and white will get us stuck. Thinking in from the middle ground is about learning, not taking positions — where one stops seeing opposing concepts as enemies. Yes, you heard me correctly. Integrative thinking is essential. It is the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in your head and reconcile them for a problem at hand. This means fundamentalism and dualism destroys creative thinking. Often religious people get so vigorously dogmatic, they cannot hear their critics “cry” for reasoning.

 “When you are at the top, you only see shadows, and when you’re at the bottom, you are blinded by the light, but from the middle, everything is pleasing… day and night.”

Learn to shift from fundamentalism and duality to integration. Heaven and earth, mind and matter, truth and criticism mean clarity. God. never judge Mary who critical inquired “how shall this be?”.   Learn to shift from fundamentalism and duality to integration. Heaven and earth, mind and matter, truth and criticism mean clarity. God. never judge Mary who critically inquired “how shall this be?”. Wise people embrace differences and diverse perspectives without compromising their convictions.

 

4. Spot the Weakness in an Argument

The words we don’t challenge become true.  The purpose of critical thinking is not to find an error but to avoid behaviour based on false assumptions.  The confirmation bias, for example, is our tendency to look for and to recall evidence that confirms, but not that dis-confirms, our beliefs and hypotheses. This is because people are usually prone to various cognitive biases. 

When reading or conversating, look or listen out for the word “surely.” It is often used as a ‘truism’ without offering sufficient “reason or evidence” — s/he hopes or presumes the listening or reader will quickly agree. However, thinking critically means not taking things for granted. Logical fallacies are arguments that cannot make sense scientifically — though they can often make an emotional appeal, they do not prove the underlying claims.  Proof by example is a fallacy that uses one or more cases to suggest a general rule. For instance, if a person has one bad experience from a certain nationality, that does not suggest that every one of that nationality are the same.  

When you observe people from a particular group doing something and then assume everyone who belongs to that group acts the same way. This is an example of a weakness in an argument. 

“A lie told often enough becomes the ‘truth.”

 

5. Be Intellectually Humble

It’s important to be intellectually humble. This doesn’t mean that we should doubt our own intelligence or abilities. Rather, it means that we should be open to new ideas and be willing to change our beliefs if I present us with evidence that contradicts them.

Most talented people do not make wrong decisions because of a lack of facts but of low self-awareness. Most intelligent people overestimate how much they know. Intellectual pride prevents the celebration of uncertainty — when we reward certainty and condemn doubt, we then focus more on being right then, finding the correct answer. 

Intellectual humility is about recognizing that the things you believe in might, in fact, be wrong. It is an invitation to ’empty your cup,’ so you can fill it up with new knowledge. Practice being obsessively curious. Challenge everything — especially what you believe is right. Leave the door open for better solutions, rather than sticking to your answer, old wineskin. Intellectual humility is letting go of certainty.  I do not embarrass wise people to become temporarily dependent on other people’s knowledge or expertise.

“The entire problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people are so full of doubts.

 

 

Finally, it is important to consider before deciding. There are a few key things you should consider before you decide. First, what are your goals? What do you hope to achieve by making this decision? Second, what are the potential risks and rewards associated with this decision? What are the risks of not making this decision? Finally, what are your options? What are the different ways you could achieve your goal?

Time free from workplace obligations seems to become ever more difficult to keep. According to a recent study, 70% of workers struggle with finding a work-life system that works for them.

This means more than 2/3 of your staff are not proactive, distracted, and operating below their potential.

The solution,

For many in the workforce, achieving any type of work-life balance can seem like a myth, especially when technology has made us accessible around the clock and work has become boundariless.

But,

Despite the demanding realities our information industry forces upon us,  there are those that have managed to carve out satisfying and meaningful lives outside of their work.

Too often people believe that to achieve success, one needs to give up their personal life. (This is not true!)

They do not believe that work-life balance is possible in a meaningful way, but it is!

There is no better way to demonstrate this than to hear it directly from some of the most successful people in the world.

Here are some of the tools they practice: 7 Habits Of People Who Have Achieved Work-Life Balance.

 

7 Habits Of Successful People Who Have Achieved Work-Life Balance

 

 

#1. THEY LIVE LIFE BY DESIGN NOT DEFAULT

 

Most people treat “life” as something that just happens.  They’re victims, who react to life and let outside circumstances decide their fate, their agenda.   They live by Default.

On the other hand, there are those, no none achievers.  They walk into any situation and grab it by the horns. They determine the outcome of their day, their week. These people create the life they want to live and don’t accept anything less. They live by Design.

Instead of just letting life happen to you, make some choices to achieve work-life balance. Think about what you want from life and how you want to invest your time?

 

#2. THEY DON’T FOLLOW UNPRODUCTIVE CYCLES

 

Work-life balance going off the rails in your life is usually a result of allowing old and unproductive cycles to continue to control you.

Let old habits and old ways of thinking slide, or you will!

Endeavour to be intentional and uncompromising concerning this.

Winners who stay on top of the surf are good at staying on track by making conscious decisions to continually talk to the important people (mentors, spiritual leaders) in their lives about what is working or not, and make decisions to change direction if needed.

As they say, “when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount” – get a new horse, and a new whip!

Life is progressive. Situations change. If you don’t realise this, you’ll end up in a place you don’t want to be.

 

 

#3. THEY INVEST TIME FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND IMPORTANT INTERESTS

 

People who have managed to carve out a work-life balance, that works for them don’t just wait to see what time is left over after work.

Make it a point to plan and book “time off,” to spend outside of work and vigorously guard this time.

Emergencies are unavoidable.

Unfavourable situations don’t need permission to show up in our lives, from work to other matters; learn to resist any intrusion of this time strongly.

It’s been statistically proven, one of the greatest regrets upon dying is the deep regret that:

“I wish I spent more time with the people I love.”

It’s easy to let that time slip away, but once it’s gone you can never get it back.

Besides, as Steve Blank author of the Startup Owners Manual stated it, “When you’re gone, would you rather have your gravestone say:

‘He never missed a meeting? or one that said, He was a great father.’”

 

I’m so grateful that I’ve learnt to protect this time, regardless!

 

 

 

#4. THEY HAVE DETERMINED THEIR SUCCESS SILHOUETTE

 

People who manage work-life balance have developed a strong sense of who they are, their values and what is important to them.

If your desire for success is greater than your desire to be principled, you will compromise on the essentials of true success.

Having a success silhouette for everything you do helps you determine what success means to you.

Listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this point:

 

“Reconsider your definitions. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”

 

Wow! That’s food for thought….?

 

 

#5. THEY DETECT AND DUMP DISTRACTIONS FAST

 

People who maintain balance are able to turn off their electronic devices to enjoy uninterrupted, quality time doing things they value and enjoy.

They realise that multitasking is a myth and focusing on the task at hand is the key to “living in the moment.”

They learn to “compartmentalise” their time.

Don’t confuse having a career with having a life or a family life. If you are a spiritual person like me, invite God into every department of your life.

Learn to be present in each moment, experience and savour life.

Consider the power of meditation (see my article: 7 Sacred Minutes with God), listen to more music (I love classical), do physical activity (I could improve a whole lot on this one) or some other interest that allows you to get away from the pressures of everyday life – to relax, rejuvenate and regenerate your spirit, soul and body.

Remember, “balance is not better time management, but better boundary management.”

 

#6. THEY ARE PASSIONATELY GOAL DRIVEN

 

Many people go through life and get caught up in situations and circumstances that end up controlling them.

Generally, 80% of all of the activity that you are involved in right now is taking you nowhere.

Discern what is the 20 % of things that matter and move towards your dream and give yourself wholeheartedly to it.

Balance can only be achieved when plans are defined around time frames and a passionate determination to make some sacrifices to get what you want in the end. For example, many entrepreneurs typically plan to spend a substantial amount of time in the early part of their businesses.

Those that achieve balance down the road see this as a sacrifice that will allow them to spend extra time and energy in other areas they are passionate about once the business is established.

The greater the sacrifice the greater the glory of leisure!

 

 

 

#7. THEY SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH THE WISE AND CARING

 

People who have achieved good balance have surrounded themselves with other people who are wiser them they are (either through books or friendships.) As the ancient proverbs say, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

Gravitate towards wise people and move away from the unwise. How can you tell the wise apart from the foolish?

The answer is very simple actually,

The wise, have a consistent track record or a history of making wise decisions which are evident in their lives.

Don’t be fooled with titles, positions or money. Find a strategic life and business mentor and also built a strong support network, (family, friends, church family) they can depend upon to help them get through difficult times.

 

The most important person in my life next to my Maker is my wife. Listen to this piece of wisdom from, Sheryl Sandberg, (COO of Facebook),

 

“The most important career decision you’ll make is who your life partner is.”

I love this!

 

And finally,  as you endeavour to find work-life balance, learn to become more generous with your life, time, talent and money, wisely. Extend yourselves to help out others, serve your community and Church.

Have a variety of interests, don’t just live for yourself or your family. Always be open to new learning and possibilities.  I love this statement from Zuckerberg,

 

“I spend most of my time thinking about how to connect the world and serve our community better, but a lot of that time isn’t in our office or meeting with people or doing what you’d call real work. I take a lot of time just to read and think about things by myself.” ―Mark Zuckerberg

 

So there you have it, the 7 Habits of Successful People. 

Experience life to the fullest. Don’t just exist, live!