Empowerment: Give your strength away and be stronger

EmpowermentThe desire to be strong

I’ve been in search of strength for some time. Not just physical strength, but overall strength as a person. The kind of strength that enables you to achieve your dreams and goals and enables you to be you.

Recently I came to realize that a great way to gain strength is to empower others.

Let me tell you my story and why I think empowering others is a great way to gain overall strength as a person.

How I started my search for strength

Although I don’t remember clearly about when I got interested in being strong, I bet I set fire on my desire to be strong by reading cartoons as a kid. I had an admiration for superheroes with great power. But, I wasn’t strong – phsyically or psychologically.

I started Kendo when I was 12, and practiced it for about 5 years. It was my first martial arts, and I hoped to be strong. During the 5 years of training, I didn’t get much stronger. Perhaps I did gain some strength from hard-enough training, but I slowly lost interests in Kendo and shifted my focus on something else.

As far as my psychological strength is concerned, some family related events that I experienced as an early teen gave me some strength. These events became valuable lessons, because I decided to learn from them. Anything negative can be a source of a valuable lesson if you are prepared to learn from it.

The art of grappling

When I went to Australia in 2002, I started practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Initially, I was interested in becoming more fit, learning how to defend myself, and making new friends through praticing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a new environment. It worked well and I still practice it with passion. My new aim involves evolving as a grappler, winning at international tournaments, and learning life lessons from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I believe that I derived a lot of physical strength as well as mental strength from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and I’m keen on becoming a better and stronger grappler. At the same time, I’m keen on gaining overall strength as a person.

But why? Why am I keen on gaining this strength? For me, it’s about exploring my potential and becoming the kind of man I want to be. A man who can do the right thing at the right time, whatever that right thing may be and whenever that right time is. I simply call it the moment of truth and it’s the moment when one faces the toughest challenge of one’s life. That moment might involve some life changing event that can save or kill a number of people. I want to be the kind of guy who can notice that moment and nail it down. I want the strength of this kind of guy.

In fact, I believe that everything I do is a preparation for this moment either directly or indirectly. Of course, physical strength might be required for my moment of truth. Or it’s possible that this moment requires mental strength more than physical strength.

In any case, now you know where I’m coming from with my desire to be strong.

Empowering as a way to gain strength

In the past, when I pondered about how to gain strength, I tended to think about what I could do to myself in order to improve my strength. The focus was myself. This does make sense, because I am the one who wants to be strong and it seems reasonable to do something to myself in order to increase my strength.

But then, I realized that there’s another great way of gaining strength: empowering others.

One of the greatest lessons I learnt in the past few years is the importance of giving and sharing. By giving and sharing, you can amplify what you give and share. If you see the importance of these activities, you will eventually be able to derive pleasure from giving and sharing. Also, these activities help you have the abundance mentality – the mentality that you are resourceful.

In many cases, giving and sharing help you get more of what you give and share. If you help people, they are more likely to help you in return. If you notice the beauty inside people around you, you will soon be surrounded by beautiful people. If you give great experiences to someone, you will be able to amplify these experiences with and create deeper connections with that person.

I believe this principle applies to strength as well. Give strength to people – empower them. Cultivating your strength on your own is good for you, but when you empower others, it’s even better, because it will be a win-win situation for everyone involved; not just you, but also they will be stronger as the consequence of your empowerment.

Let me illustrate this point with using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training as an example.

My goal is to get better as a grappler. In order to achieve my goal, I need to train effectively and I need great training partners. If every training partner of mine is a world class fighter or at least better than I am, that’s great. But not everyone is in that kind of environment.

While I love training with my team mates and some of them are better than I am, there are more people who are less experienced than I am. What should I do? Just training with better grapplers? No, not really.

I train with less experienced grapplers as well, and I want to help them get stronger. If I help them become stronger and they do become stronger, I will have better training partners. If I have better training partners more than now, I will have better training sessions. If I have better training sessions, these sessions will help me grow as a grappler and achieve my goal.

By empowering others, you can create a better environment for yourself and others, and you can have amazing people around you. That sounds superb to me.

How can I empower you?

The question I wonder, though, is how I can empower people. Yes. You.

I take this blog seriously (i.e. my seriousness is all about ease and delight) and I aim to produce blog content that will empower you in one way or another.

Behind this blog, there’s me. I will live my life with this intention of empowering others and let’s see what happens.

The kinds of strength I want to help you get are the following:

Do you want any of the above? What strength do you want? Why do you want it? What does it mean for you to be strong anyway?

If you want to have a 30 minute brainstorming Skype session with me for free, there are still a number of spots left for new subscribers (See details here). If there is something I can help you with through such a brainstorming session, then help me help you.

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Revolt against the dictator inside you

Revolt nowNo dictators, please

I bet you think dictators are horrible. They oppress people and censor expressions of thoughts and feelings. They are happy to execute those who are against them. They even try to brainwash people so these people believe that what the dictators are doing to them is normal.

You wouldn’t want to have someone dictate your life, would you?

Bad news: The Dictator Inside You

You might have a dictator inside you.

The dictator inside you has been tricking you into believing that you are not good enough. He makes you believe that you can’t do what you really want to do, and scares you so you won’t make attempts. He shuts you out from the outside world where you could turn your potentials into reality. He captures your dreams and executes them. You might even stop dreaming, because… what’s the point of dreaming if these dreams are only to be executed by the dictator inside you?

Good news: Winning is easier than you think

You don’t have to fight against this dictator’s army in order to kick him out from your world. All you need to do is to understand what’s going on and to choose to stand up against the dictator inside you.

The dictator inside you may persist for a little while, but he’s a coward and very likely to run away from you if you take a strong fighting stance against him. That’s enough to make him go away.

The real danger is not in standing up against him; it’s in not standing up against him.

Revolt now

It’s been too long since the dictator inside you started oppressing you. Now is the time to stand up against him. Choose to claim your freedom from the dictator inside you.

You don’t have to live in fear. You don’t have to worry whether you are good enough. You don’t have to let him kill your dreams. You don’t have to censor your thoughts and feelings. You have great potential and what you want is within your reach if you believe in yourself and take action. You can dream big and you can be remarkable, much, much more remarkable than you’ve ever imagined.

Stand up. Revolt now.

If you enjoyed this post and want to subscribe to this blog, now is a great time to do so. I’m offering a 30 minute brain storm Skype session for free for the first 50 subscribers. See details here.

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How do you want your life to make an everlasting impact on others?

Last Sunday I reread Chapter 11 of Chris Guillebeau’s book The Art of Non-Conformity; it’s a chapter on what Chris calls a legacy project. (He has a post on this topic here as well.)

A legacy project is a project in which you create a work or do a deed. A legacy project will provide tremendous value to people and it will have a lasting impact. By undertaking a legacy project, you create a meaning for your life.

The notion of legacy project made me think. What is my legacy project? How do I want my life to make a lasting impact on others?

I want to make the world more romantic and I’m pretty serious about it, though if you ask me in person, I’m very likely to say that with a Cheshire Cat smile rather than a serious face. It’s a big, umbrella project, and smaller projects that I want to pursue can go under this project.

For example, I want to make sure that you will stay out of the “I’m not good enough” syndrome as well as the “I just want to be good enough” syndrome. I believe everyone of you has great potential. Being not good enough now doesn’t mean you will never be good. I also believe that you can go much further than you imagined you could. You can be great. Not just “good enough”. If these words get you out of these syndromes, that’s great! In any case, this is one project I want to work on.

Another example would be to help you get the most out of your potential and rock the world. If you don’t believe in your potential, you better know that you should believe in yourself no matter what. You are the most important supporter of yourself and you need to encourage yourself in order to do great things.

I take this blog as a seed for this big project and other smaller projects. At the time of writing this post, 29 people subscribe to this blog and I’m looking forward to growing it much, much bigger. (Thank you very much to you subscribers. You guys rock! If you are subscribing via RSS, but not via e-mail newsletters yet, I recommend you to use the e-mail one – you can sign up from the form on the side bar. Claim your brainstorming session.)

By the way, what this notion of legacy project doesn’t make me think is whether I’m capable of doing it or not. I know what I want to do, I choose to do it, and I do it. It’s simple like that.

So, let’s make the world more romantic.

By the way, if you want that to happen, don’t just wait – start living your life as your art and create romantic experiences. That’s how we make it happen.

Chris suggests that we start working on a legacy project right now rather than when we come closer to the end of life. I agree with Chris that it’s better to start working on a legacy project as soon as possible, because if you start earlier, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on creating a great legacy.

What’s your legacy project? How do you want your life to influence others?

The first step is to figure out what kind of legacy you want to leave for the world. Once you’ve identified it, then clarify it as much as you can. Keep refining your project. It’s easy to say this in a few sentences, but it will probably take you for a while to identify and to clarify your project. That’s totally fine. The point, I believe, is to be aware of your legacy project and to keep working on it consistently. I’m working on mine too.

If you enjoyed this post and want to subscribe to this blog, now is a great time to do so. I’m offering a 30 minute brain storm Skype session for free for the first 50 subscribers. See details here.

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What is a romantic relationship?

What is a romantic relationship?

I got interested in this question recently and I want to share my thoughts about this question with you.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might be aware that I think a lot about living a romantic life, male-female dynamics, being an attractive person and things related to these topics; and also that my definition of being romantic involves such things as living your life on your own terms, making connections with amazing people around you, and celebrating what your life has to offer.

Given the way I see the notion of being romantic, my answer to the question above looks like the following.

For me, when you have a romantic relationship with someone, you share attitudes, visions, dreams, strengths and vulnerabilities with that person. Also, there’s some kind of mutual support between each other; you and the other person help each other grow. You are willing to learn from the other person and vice versa.

When we think of a romantic relationship, I bet we tend to think of the kind of relationship that involves a sexual relationship. But what I am suggesting as a romantic relationship doesn’t necessarily involve a sexual relationship. Sex is an important part of life, not only as a way of reproduction, but also as a way of giving and sharing great pleasure, and everyone should learn how to do it better, but at the same time, it doesn’t need to be a defining feature for a romantic relationship either.

The reason why I believe a romantic relationship doesn’t necessarily involve a sexual relationship is because you can share attitudes, visions, dreams, strengths and vulnerabilities with another person and support each other without involving a sexual relationship. Having said that, however, I sense that a sexual relationship can help you create a greater intimacy with that person when it’s done right.

Now. I believe that cultivating romatic relationships with people you are curious about is a great way to live a romantic life, because by making deep connections with those people, you are adding beautiful experiences to your life and at the same time you are enriching their lives.

While it may be rare to find people who truly resonate with you (there may be as many as six of them), I believe the best way to find such people is… to start flirting.

The Art of Flirting

A while ago, I read the following tweet on Twitter and I think it’s a fantastic definition of flirting.

My definition of flirting is two people getting to know each other better and showing interest in each other – @AFlirtYourself

Did you think it was going to be something more complicated? Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s really simple.

All you need to do is to choose to be curious about people around you and to express that curiosity to those people.

You might be conditioned to be afraid of expressing your romantic interests and of being rejected. It’s natural, I suppose. But you should know that you don’t need worry too much about them. Also, you can simply express such fears to the person you like when you express your interests in that person.

In fact, if you live a romantic life in which you are curious about things and people around you, you express yourself, and you show up as your authentic self, it becomes impossible not to flirt with people you are interested in!

Of course, some of them may not be interested in you, but that’s not something you need to worry about. Showing up as who you are and expressing your curiosity are your primary tasks when you live a romantic life; responses you get from people you flirt with, whether they are good responses or bad responses, are not as important as completing those primary tasks after all.

Flirting initiates a romantic relationship with someone. When you continue flirting with that person – that is, you continue to try to get to know that person better and keep your curiosity towards that person always fresh and when it’s mutual, you are cultivating your relationship with that person. Flirting in this sense is, I believe, essential in maintaining a romantic relationship.

What do you think about these ideas? Is there anything that stops you from flirting and/or cultivating a romantic relationship with others?

If you enjoyed this post and want to subscribe to this blog, now is a great time to do so. I’m offering a 30 minute brain storm Skype session for free for the first 50 subscribers. See details here.

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Three steps forward, two steps back? No, take five steps forward instead

Three steps forward, two steps back

I don’t know how universal this expression is, where it came from, or what exactly it’s meant to be about. I do have a rough idea, though.

You take three steps forward, but something happens and you need to take two steps back. In the end, you’ll end up having made one step instead of three steps. It’s still better than making no progress, and you can probably learn some lessons while taking two steps back as well.

But I wonder.

Isn’t there a way to avoid taking two steps back and to keep moving forward? That is, can’t we take five steps forward without backing down at all?

Take five steps instead

As an answer to this question, it occurred to me that if we turn around when we’ve taken three steps and if we walk backwards for the next two steps, then we will have taken five steps forward, provided that we turn around again after the 5th step. I’d also encourage you to smile right there, too, because you’ve managed to move for five steps forward instead of one step!

(Of course it’s a funny assumption that you need to take two steps back when you may not need to do so at all in reality or when you may need to take five steps back, but let’s assume that you have five steps to spare and turning around is OK.)

Does this sound somewhat absurd? I hope it does. After all, this blog is supposed to be sometimes absurd and I need to make sure that you get some sort of absurdity from here at times.

Reflective two steps (of the non-backing down nature)

So, let’s say this much has been absurd so far. What I said about taking five steps does sound neat to me, but when I came up with this idea, initially, I didn’t know how to interpret it in real life situations. I thought about it for a while, and came up with the following interpretation.

You take three steps. Then you turn around and check these three steps – you check what you’ve accomplished so far, how you took those steps, your foot prints and so on.

In order to learn from those three steps by checking them, it’s better to step back a little so you can see it from a distant perspective.

So.

You take two steps back. Since you’ve turned around, you are walking into the direction towards which you took three steps initially. And there, you’ll be able to reflect on your initial three steps. Once you’ve studied about them, turn around again. Now smile. You are ready to keep moving again.

The idea is, in short, this. When you need to take two steps back, don’t back down. Turn around and move forward by walking backwards so you can review what you’ve done.

It’s a reminder for myself – a reminder to review what I’ve done. It’s a reminder for you too. We can use this weekend (or any other day depending on when you are reading this post) to reflect on our three steps by turning around and taking two steps back.

Make sure to notice and celebrate any small achievements you’ve made! Also, make sure to turn around again after the reflection.

Face your destination again and keep moving on.

What are your small achievements this week, this month, in the last year, or in the past? Share with me in the comment section below! I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

If you enjoyed this post and want to subscribe to this blog, now is a great time to do so. I’m offering a 30 minute brain storm Skype session for free for the first 50 subscribers. See details here.

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Punk rock attitude and non-resistance strategy

Punk rock has been a significant part of my life, since when I got introduced to it as a 13 year old kid. Its impact on me was especially strong during my teen age period. I still carry the lessons I learnt from punk rock even today and I think they will never fade away.

What did I learn from punk rock then?

If I am to name one thing, it’s the attitude that you can do whatever you want to do as an independent individual. This kind of message resonated with my teenage self, because throughout that period, I felt I was different from other kids and didn’t want to fit in despite that others and society in general would passively if not aggressively ask me to think and to act like them.

By the way, there’s nothing unique about feeling that you are different from other people, I believe, at least on some levels. I’m sure you’ve felt that way before. Maybe you still do – as I do. But that’s normal. I mean, if we get really specific about the notion of being different, we’re different by definition. No one else shares the same personal history with you. Or your feelings that only you can feel. You’re different from others on so many levels.

Though, at the same time, we have so many similarities with people around us. I firmly believe that these similarities are what unite us and we need to note our similarities much closer than our differences. To make a really simple (and perhaps simplistic) example, I believe you want to live a happy life. Well, just like you, I want to live a happy life too! It’s possible that our definitions of living a happy life differ, and that can be our differences, but this simple desire can be our similarities that make a connection between us.

While there are punk rock and its sub genres as music genres, I’m inclined to think that what kind of music it is doesn’t matter much. Likewise, I’m inclined to think that as long as you’ve got that attitude, it doesn’t have to be expressed in the form of music either; it can be expressed in photography, business, or living.

I believe punk rock is about a certain attitude or stance towards life. The way you dress isn’t important. What you listen to isn’t important. The way you think and the way you act matter.

At this point, the term punk rock starts seeming as if it covers something more general – perhaps non-conformity coincides with what I attribute to and find in punk rock. (Which explains why I resonate with the messages Chris Guillebeau spreads through The Art of Non-Conformity.)

Here’s one more thing about punk rock, which can apply to non-conformity as well. It’s often pictured as resistance to something. There are people who tell you what to do and what to think; you must stand up and resist them. There are people who tell you that you can’t do what you want to do, because it’s too dangerous or because you’re not good enough; you must stand up and resist them.

But do you really need to resist? Or, to put it more precisely, do you really need to spend your energy on resisting them when you can use that energy to create something worthwhile?

Here, I have my martial arts training in mind. Generally, resisting isn’t a good move when dealing with attacks unless you are much stronger than your opponent. In order to avoid those attacks, you simply need to change your position slightly – perhaps by moving to a side of your opponent. That way, you can nullify those attacks. If you can completely avoid resisting, that’s much better, because you’ll save your energy and there’s a chance of putting yourself in a better position.

I believe that when you do what you want to do as an independent individual, you don’t need to spend your energy on resisting others and critiques, especially when you aim somewhere higher where no one else even thinks it’s possible to reach.

Even if you must resist, I believe it’s much better to think of the next step after resisting. What I mean is that you don’t resist for the sake of resisting and it’s better not to forget that you are resisting so you can create something meaningful… well, later on? Or you can be a non-conformist about resisting and simply start creating now. I choose to do so, and what you choose to do is up to you.

What influenced you significantly as you grew up? What do you think about resistance?

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