How to Tame the Ego

Success is like a drug, and like drugs it comes in many forms: a return on investment, a fulfilling experience, or even reaching a higher state of consciousness. And just like drugs, success can develop into an addiction, and the only way to sustain the addiction is to feed the ego. The ego is the only thing that can convince you that the success (the drug) is all you need to live for.

My ego has fought for dominion over my conscious experience my entire life, and with each success, my self-awareness weakens and becomes a window of opportunity for my ego to reign.

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This week has been a series of wins and with each ‘hit’, I could feel my identity escaping me. When you succeed, in the very traditional sense of the word, the world starts to take notice and sort of validates your self-worth with every like, comment, congratulatory call or text. Each validation enhances the ‘high’, and it’s a difficult feeling to escape. I mean, who doesn’t like being validated by someone else?

Over the past few years, I feel my biggest accomplishment has been developing my self-awareness, and when my behaviours started mimicking that of my ego, it was time to put it back in its place. I found myself constantly checking my phone for red notifications, replying “thank you”, to comments from people who don’t really give a sh*t, and allowing myself to believe that only I can do what I do, which I know for a fact isn’t true. That’s not the life I want to build, that’s not the life experience I want live, and nor is it the life I want to share.

Praise is like positive reinforcement, the behaviours (the successes) I was being rewarded for (praised for), we’re reinforcing the idea that if I repeat these same behaviours, I can expect to be rewarded again. Soon, my purpose is replaced with the desire for more praise and validation. This entices the ego to come out and play, and to take control over my life in order to sustain this rewards based system.

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If I let this happen I restrict my potential, because it’ll only motivate me to do enough to keep others happy and keep my ego satisfied. It also places an overwhelming expectation, an unnecessary pressure which’ll distract me from being able to just, be. It’s a difficult behaviour to undo, a difficult behaviour to defeat, when this is what we’re taught from a young age. That the only reason to do anything, is for the reward.

We rarely praise each other for feeling completely content with where we are in our lives. Rarely are we impressed with people who are just happy on their journey, wherever it’s headed. It’s always a sort of “that’s nice” or “good luck” or “you’ll go far”- a compliment that suggests we should be doing more for a reward/better reward. I remember these praises, because I got them a lot when I started blogging. It was only when success grows, do people feel compelled to reach out and say “well done” and “Congratulations!”

Where’s the appreciation for just existing and being you? Why does being you and doing what you do naturally, have to be worth something in terms of “success”, before you’re appreciated at all?

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This is what years of feeling insignificant does to us, when we grow up feeling insignificant any experience of validation becomes a high, just like a drug, because the experience is so surreal to us. We want more of this unreal experience. We’re rarely taught that who we are is enough, so a lot of us spend a lifetime chasing the high for no other reason than to just feel worth something. Forever trying to prove our worth, and less time developing and learning from it.

We all have a reason to exist, we all have worth from the moment we’re born, and I think the ego is tamed when we accept that. When we accept ourselves life becomes this wonderful journey of discovery, instead of a mission to know and have things just to justify what we think we know, which is often very far from the truth.

When we equate validation to acceptance, to love, and to appreciation, we lose sight of our own capacity to accept, love, appreciate, so we blindly validate ego.

Without the attachment to traditional affirmations of success: the nice house, the flashy cars, the perfect relationship and all the other trimmings sold to us on social media, who are we? I think it’s a reason why so many relationships tank, why so many great ideas fail, and so many of us give up on things we’re passionate about so quickly. It seems if we don’t get the validation it’s not worth the experience, so we give up or do the minimum to sustain whatever we’ve built.

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All I did was start expressing my truth and once I got comfortable with it, I navigated my truth to different experiences, and the experiences taught me how to share it. Living more authentically gave me the courage to explore the things that truly interested me, and the more I learned, the more I invested my life into it. I was developing my passion and as my passion grew I identified my purpose, all because it just felt right, natural even.

This is why I wrote this post today, to save me and the future me from my own ego. It may not be well written, nor will it ever be perfect, but it’s me, and so long as I continue to express myself honestly, I’ll continue to develop and grow me into the best version of me I can ever be.

I think if we all work hard to develop self-awareness and actively help each other keep our egos in check, relationships will inspire, passions will be pursued and life will become a freer experience to live.

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If I Had All the Money in the World…

Money

If I posed the question, “What would you be doing right now, if money was no object?” You’d probably be able to answer it quite easily. Some of you may even have several different answers, each one just as fantastical and glamorous as the last, but how truthful would your answer be?

To be honest, the answers you construct wouldn’t matter anyway, the detail you should be focusing on, is how different your life is now to that of your fantasy? Or rather, why is a fantasy so appealing?

When you find that life isn’t quite shaping out the way you had hoped, where life just isn’t exciting and that it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, questions like these tend to arise simply because you desire something better.

The problem with this particular question, is that it never really forces you to face your true desires. Having more money just gives you the option to escape into a belief of fulfillment. You’ll probably base your answers on what you’ve seen on the telly or what’s been covered in those shiny magazines, because those people look so happy.

If you truly seek change and you really want to build a better life for yourself, you should start by asking yourself “What decisions would you make right now, if you could make them without any consequences?”

You live your everyday life chained to responsibility and ideology without giving yourself the opportunity to really explore the depth of your identity. If you had the ability to make a consequence-free decision right now, what would it be? If you could leave it all behind where would you take your life? What purpose would you fulfill/discover?

Ask yourself these questions and face the honesty that you probably live with but never ponder. Really get to grips with a reality where you are in full control of your life. Where life is dictated by the very traits of who you are, rather than what you can do with how much you’re worth. For once just think about doing something for yourself that probably only you would understand.

Until you face what it is you truly want from life, you’re never going to live. Life is way too valuable to live idly.

I know there’s definitely some work ahead of me to attain the life I want to live, but I know with each word I write, each person I coach and each effort I make to build a more fulfilled life for myself, I’ll never need to find comfort in escapism, for I’m already on a road to where I want to be.

Allowing myself to think freely in this way, has allowed me to configure my goals independently and tap into the heartbeat of my own desires.

Even for just a moment, take consequences out of the equation and it’s remarkable what you may learn about yourself and/or what it is you actually want. Face some truths so that you can navigate your life towards something more fulfilling

Don’t become just another irritated soul trying to fit into this world, become a liberated one and claim your place in it.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

100 Blog Posts: 100 Reflections to Self Respect

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I was always taught that whenever I stayed over at a friend’s house, I was to ensure I respected my hosts and to leave their home having left a positive impact. After hitting this milestone of 100 blog posts, I finally understood what this lesson instilled in me. It was a lesson of self-respect.

We never grew up with much, well compared to my elder siblings I probably had a lot more, but we never had the material luxuries our friends or cousins had. It annoyed me and I used to resent my parents for always helping other people with their needs, because I felt we never really had the means to actually help others.

“I mean come on mum and dad, what’s the point in helping others if we don’t have a nice Benz to roll around in.” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, it’s kind of my point. It’s this cancerous way of thinking that’s causing us to disrespect the world we live in, and leaving a thoughtless trail of negativity for others to adopt. We all do it without even realizing it, we want without purpose and desire without cause. Many of us just aim to obtain the best lifestyle possible, never thinking about building the best life possible.

We can easily and casually overlook self-respect and our duty to pay it forward, so long as we have enough shiny distractions. I reckon it’s a reason why there is so much injustice and inequality in the world. It’s why many of us fail to reach true and lasting fulfillment, we have no idea why we want the things we want, we’re simply encouraged to want them.

I think about the struggles people go through. No doubt, life is difficult. I mean on top of keeping a roof over our heads and food on our tables, we ALL want freedom, we ALL want more bliss, and we ALL want to live in a more positive, more equal and more just world. So why is it so difficult to help each other out?

100 reflections later and I’ve learnt more about myself and life as I know it. I stress the importance of living by your own identity because it causes you to face and overcome your demons, and enables you to share your life with the world you live in. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more honest you can be and the more positive you become.  You’ll learn to understand why you want the things you want and even alter those desires when you realize what it is your truly in search of.

It took me quite a while to completely let go of any agendas that held me back from being myself completely. The more I held onto the idea of fitting in, I filled my life with empty fulfillment. When I broke free from that, I began identifying how much was enough to feel safe and secure. Once I helped myself, I was able to help others and pay it forward.

Over two years ago I started The Lion’s Life. It started out as a way to develop an online profile so that I could say in an interview “I have a blog.” 100 reflections later, I’m turning down promotions and certain job offers because the money no longer motivates me. The life that I want to build does.

“I love this, it’s an inspiration to all!!! Retweeting this!!!”

The day I received my first positive comment was from a supportive friend. I felt something powerful that I had never felt before, it was genuine self-respect. I had inspired someone to do something positive and I felt more rewarded than any possession I had earned.

I stuck to it and then these comments followed:

“We love this blog! …Be Yourself… Everyone Else Is Taken”

 “Thank you, through selfless sharing of ideas, thoughts and experiences that will make our world a better place to live.“

Great post for a week I was feeling a little gloomy! Thanks for the inadvertent boost.”

“What a blog! Thank you for sharing. This is something I definitely needed to read :)”

Love this! I found the same thing, magical things happen when you have the confidence to pursue your dreams!”

Beautiful! Thank you for writing this and sharing.”

So often matters are centric to awareness. Your words are grounding and worthy of reading/heeding.”

When the blog transitioned into a vice that offered support and inspiration to others, I learned that respecting the world we live in (this includes the people in it) and ensuring that we impact it positively, is more important than working to climb any sort of social ladder on my own. They say misery needs company, well the same is true for happiness.

Mum and dad must have known all of this for years, despite anything they went through financially, mum’s smile and heart is still contagious, and dad’s soul still beams bright and full of energy. The lesson they taught me (the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post) is much bigger than I initially thought.

What if every person just aimed to live on this planet, respecting it and leaving a positive impact as they depart.

Just think if we all just graced every single day with optimism, hope and helped each other out. We wouldn’t even need to debate if God exists or not, because God would no longer matter.

I guess the message in my 100th blog post is as follows:

Stay humble and remain honest as you help yourself, help another and help the world.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Move towards Success: Overcome Holiday Loneliness

Holiday Blues

This time of the year can be a time where pursuing your passions slow down and you wrap yourself up in the comfort of the season. Loneliness tends to creep in as you’re surrounded by reminders of a life not yet attained.

The money you may not have yet, the partner you’re still searching for or perhaps the home that you’re still longing for…The missions you have yet to complete can cause you to feel separated from the rest of society.

Your mind finally gets to break from the pace of everyday life and it is in this season you become more self-aware. In this awareness, you can become overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness and disconnect. Shifting awareness over to what you have yet to accomplish.

Having discovered my passions; an avenue towards fulfillment, feelings of loneliness became far and fewer. I always thought that to overcome loneliness I had to venture onto a path connecting myself to other individuals; longing for companionship and family.

A couple of years ago, before I truly began investing into my own life, I would do just that. I’d get into relationships, typically thinking it would cure the loneliness fatigue. I even tried consistently surrounding myself with loved ones. Family and friends were never too far and yet, I was still buried under the fear of being alone.

I discovered that these feelings had little to do with a connection to other people; I had lost any sort of connection to myself. I was completely lost in my own life, it wasn’t defined and I lacked identity because I had allowed society to define my journey and my successes. I would feel alone during this time of year because the ideologies I was exposed to weren’t representing what I truly wanted. I guess you could say it’s this time of year where you feel more than ever, the force of going against the grain of society.

You often start a new year feeling empowered to make significant changes in your own lives then slowly fade into hypocrisy as the year comes to a close. You allow your thoughts to be influenced by the movement of the masses.

I think this time of year, as the pace of life slows down, it’s more important than ever to focus on your own identity and make the most out of the opportunity this time presents. Loneliness can be overcome if you maintain a pro-active mindset. Focus on your aspirations, remember what you want from life and trigger your motivation to act. Pull yourself back into the comfort of your identity and do not let the weight of the unattained knock you down.

Reconnect with yourself and re-align yourself with your dream. Remember the end of a year does not represent the end of your journey.

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Motivational Mantra: Be the Best or Be the First.

Motivational Mantra

The search for yourself and your passions starts exactly where you are, open your mind and look at how you’re spending your life.

The day I woke up to life was upon my return from my first ever visit to New York City. I had seen hundreds of unique individuals living fast and working hard, it was intimidating yet there was something unappealing about these devoted employees that worked in those gigantic buildings. It seemed each individual lived with a desire to be noticed and to feel appreciated, yet no one would ever care nor stop long enough to notice.

I made a decision when I returned home, I was about 20 years old and I decided that so long as I live, I don’t merely want to exist, I want to experience life and claim my place on this planet. To experience what it will feel like to fulfill my potential, experience piece of mind, passion and prominence – and not being afraid to aim for it.

We’re given one life, just one!

Well one that we’re conscious of anyway so why waste it by not trying? Why waste it settling for someone who just happened to be there, when there’s another half of you to be found? Why move up the corporate ladder, when you’re so desperate to climb off? Why make more money when you’re not putting to use the money you have? Why suffer the company of people who bring you down when there’s a network of like-minded individuals out there waiting to connect?

There’s an uplifting feeling of bliss and acceptance when you enter a life of fulfillment and it’s so easy to start; just be honest about what you want. It sounds ridiculously simple and it can be, so long as you change your mind-set and apply yourself.

You can instantly begin channeling your life closer to your dream, you just require the motivation and hunger to spend your time working on discovering/pursuing your passions, as you live within your means.

Stop investing in a life that controls you and starting investing in a life you control. When was the last time you saved up for an experience that sparked the interest of your aspirations, or saved up to take a risk on yourself?

“So, what about me? I have responsibilities!” – I hear you and it’s those responsibilities you need to protect. Parents, what example do you want to set? Carer’s, what support do you want to offer? A leader needs to be a person of strength, inspiration and courage. You can’t effectively lead, if those you lead don’t have faith in you, and that can only be established if you have faith in yourself.

Be the best, or be the first!

How many of you reading this item are following the footsteps of a bad example?

If I decide to have children, then I’m making sure they learn the value of life and that it shouldn’t be wasted trying to attain the latest cell phone or what celebrity turns up on the internet naked. To be invested in becoming the best that they can be, and then aim higher than that.

Money, fast cars and homes that go on for acres didn’t motivate a man to step foot on the moon, they didn’t motivate athletes to win gold medals and they didn’t motivate people to fight for freedom either. They either had a mind-set to be the best or be the first. Anything that followed their success were simply perks that came with accomplishment.

Developing a mind-set that guarantees achievement allows you to leave behind a legacy, and the peace of mind in knowing that your life mattered.

Today, many people work to fill their lives with empty fulfillment that lasts merely moments. What have you invested in that will contribute to your legacy? The cars rot, the homes decay and money gets spent quicker than it does for your body to decompose.

Develop a mind-set to be the best or be the first and feed your life with meaning, purpose and a journey towards lasting fulfillment that will echo down through generations.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Betrayed by Success

I’m fortunate and grateful to have met success throughout different parts of my life. From my achievements through to overcoming struggles, I can definitely say that I’ve ranked some wins over the last few years.

However, I was reflecting on moments in my life when success felt more like a deception. A time when I was chasing a dream that never reflected who I was nor what I wanted for my life.

Prior to embarking on my own journey and following my own aspirations, I was on a track that society had laid out for me. I did exactly what we’re “supposed to do” and I got the education, I got the job that came with prospects and with all that in place, I was en-route to accumulating everything I anticipated to acquire.

I was living what I thought was an Ideal life; gradually becoming the envy among my peers and looking more and more like the successful people I saw in magazines and on billboards.  Sad thing was, people we’re only noticing my possessions and the way I looked, which crippled my identity and my ability to be myself.

I felt betrayed because I did everything I believed I had to do to be successful.

Turns out I was yearning for a success that wasn’t mine. I was trying to live up to an image of success that wasn’t defined by the life I actually wanted to live.

There’s a major fault with the way society defines success; we’re bombarded with pictures and images, information and content that defines what success should look like. From the way we should look and behave, to what we should have accomplished by a certain age. I was seduced by the generalized messages, targeted towards millions of individuals, to live generalized lives.

The pressure to look successful overpowers the journey you really want to take, and you end up on a trivial pursuit of happiness. To experience and achieve true success, it should be defined by your own aspirations, shaped by a dream you’ve always envisioned.

A lot of us end up blurring our aspirations because we’re too focused on living by the ideologies we’re presented with, when in fact it should be the other way around.

I have clients and friends today that choose to cling onto the same life that I was living and still waiting for that feeling of fulfillment to arrive. I won’t lie, giving a lot of that up to proceed with life by my design was difficult. Although I did feel rebellious and I did feel like I was moving in the wrong direction, the payoff soon came when I unlocked the potential that was held back by desiring a life I didn’t connect with.

I no longer feel betrayed and I emit the energy of my aspirations and my identity. Every day I get closer to living the life of my dreams is a successful day. I have all the perks of success: I feel confident, I feel happy and I feel fulfilled by my achievements.

Determine your own success today and embark on that journey towards your dream.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Deal With an Identity Crisis

It’s time to give doubts the finger and own your life. I started off this blog with becoming a brand because the message is crucial to success. I do firmly believe the key to living a happy and fulfilled life is to properly know yourself first, and as you become more and more familiar with who you are, you begin to realize what you want. By knowing what you want, you will begin to shed doubts and really take charge of your own life – a life not determined by others, nor directed by what you think, but rather by what you know.

I always live my life with my eyes wide open, observing life as it happens and it’s how I’ve come to learn this concept. I’ve met numerous people who are consistently lost and lack direction because they lack identity. It affects relationships too. Sometimes it’s because we’re so pressured to stick by a timeline, that our identities get blurred in order to fulfill ideology. It’s naive and damaging to our self-esteem. I understand that there are some things we need to figure out at certain times in our lives; to enrich society and the community around us and to look onward toward our retirement yes. Consider making investments and securing a future yes and to build camaraderie and companionship yes. However to fundamentally achieve anything without figuring out your own identity will only make it more difficult to go through life.

I understand how difficult it is to put yourself back out there, to show the world what you stand for and what you represent – I remember this feeling when I first shared this blog. But look around you, look at the most successful people out there and I’m not only talking about successful folk with millions of dollars with big homes and fast cars, I’m shouting out to those making positive changes in the world, those achieving goals they never even dreamed of and those who are standing up for their own beliefs. Simply look at the people you aspire to – each of these individuals/groups have a firm grasp of their identity and I bet you can describe them well.

When you feel you’re having a crisis of identity and feeling like you’ve lost your way, it motivates doubt. Turn to your dreams and aspirations, they will guide you back to your goals and objectives, reminding you of the person you set out to be.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach