Does “pure” altruism exist?

According to my research most of the psychologists argue there is no such thing as “pure” altruism. I started to think, there must be some benefit for helping friends, strangers or animals. We definitely want to feel good about ourselves but in my opinion it’s a very small percentage. We want people to like us & respect us and that’s what boosts our egos. Those who are believers want to increase their chance of getting into heaven.  Some of us believe in reciprocal altruism (we do good to people & people will return the favor someday). So whether we know it or not, we do help ourselves in some way, shape or form.

Altruism is defined as an ego defense, in which a person copes with his anxiety by stepping outside himself to help others. I started to wonder, what about people in altruistic vocations such as medicine or teaching? There is an expectation of honor & respect towards doctors, nurses & teachers. Which ultimately leads to entitlement, pride & satisfaction- also defined as an altruistic behavior. This argument is always attacked on different grounds. Starting with money, economic status, emotional & physical job demands, material gains etc. Often, altruism is discussed as if no compensation should be expected.

Researchers pointed out that the sense of self-satisfaction we receive from helping another, along with the idea that we “bank” favors by helping others, is evidence that humans are simply selfish. I think that being selfish to some degree is good. Some unanimously say that pure altruism doesn’t exist & it’s nothing but a selfish behavior. This brings me back to the main question if pure altruism really exists. If self satisfaction & feeling fulfilled are what we ultimately strive for in life- then theory of pure altruism is automatically eradicated. The challenge lies in finding ways to evoke the better ways to do good. Regardless which side of the spectrum you are, if you have a desire to make a positive impact & it warms your own heart- this is ultimately the worthy act. And the worthy act is, always, the greatest act.

L.

“I don’t do things for the response or for the controversy. I just live my life”- Rihanna.

You settled for less

“The only difference between you & someone you envy is, you settled for less”. Dr. Phil

I came across this quote twice in my life. The first time I heard it I was convinced that Dr Phil was watching me from a hidden camera. It felt like he was observing me, whispered the quote into my ear, and left me to figure out the rest. I have to admit that it made a small impact but I didn’t think much of it. Every now & then I would remind myself of it but again didn’t make a big deal about it. Years went by and I continued to live uneventful & tedious life.  I noticed however that my life started to irritate me, make me sad & I began to suffocate. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but each day I felt less & less happy. I did however put a good face to a bad game. I adore & respect Megyn Kelly and I was very excited when her book “Settle for more” came out. I was reading it & all of the sudden there it was. Same quote starring at me, right into my face: “the only difference between you & someone you envy is, you settled for less”. I have those words pinned to the wall in my office. I look at it daily. Megyn went on explaining how it was an eye opener for her & I recall the time froze on me. I felt paralyzed. I kept reading it over & over sitting straight up in my bed as I discovered world’s greatest secret. This time I knew it was meant for me to see it. I knew right there that I did settle for less. It felt like an intervention. I couldn’t sleep that night. Time to re-examine my life I thought. I was afraid that if I didn’t act on it now, I would miss out in life. This wasn’t a coincidence.

 I reached deep into my heart & soul and started visualizing my dreams. I categorized it as short & long term but I stayed realistic. Some changes required immediate action & some remained on the list for a while. Warning, dreams also come with setbacks. I have accepted mine as part of the process instead of giving up on everything all together. Setbacks build patience and perseverance. I adjusted my attitude and started working on myself & the emotions that caused my unhappiness. I pretty much created an improvement plan. It is crucial to stick to it & give yourself a deadline. Continue to visualize your dreams and don’t betray your authenticity. Few months went by and I started noticing how my attitude changed. I made small steps towards small goals at the beginning. All of the sudden I became curious of how much more I can stretch my ambitions. Turned out that opportunities were endless. My future was 100% in my hands. I stayed consistent with the plan because only consistency leads to personal transformation. I did experience hurts & fails during my journey. Big ones. The truth is, the more hurts & disappointments you experience- the more challenges & fears you can face. Important is to honor commitments to yourself. Don’t make excuses because excuses are dream killers. Be specific & commit to it. If you truly want to send an earthquake through your soul, when you know it’s time to make a change- you will somehow figure out the way to make it happen. Don’t let the dreams scare you. Devote your time, your energy & money if necessary. Be true & honest with yourself.  Otherwise it will not work. And remember, settling for less is not an option! L.

“…I have been asking myself some tough questions. Ones I’m not sure I want the answers to. I fear screwing up my life. Why can’t I be satisfied with what I have? Because, in my heart, my soul, I want more. I hope I have the courage to listen to myself. I hope I figure out what settling for more means in my personal life and have the strength to do whatever it takes to have a full, meaningful life….” “Settle for more” – Megyn Kelly

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Happiness has many definitions. Generally we tend to get happy if we get what we want. Unfortunately that is not how life is designed. Struggles are real, pain is real, stress is real. Throughout this journey of life, you will hit rock bottom from time to time.  Life may knock you right out; so? It happens! Life is not the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is. Now I know this may sound like a cliché, (the thing about clichés is that they’re typically true)but try to learn from difficult times. Dissect an ugly situation & see what went wrong. If the story repeats itself you’ll know how to minimize the impact. Otherwise it’s pointless to learn from the difficult times if what you learned doesn’t affect your actions. Your emotions should be focused on things that are within your control. Don’t dwell on things that you have absolutely no power. Don’t let worry to become a chronic source of anxiety in your life. It’s a waste of energy because outcome will be the same whether you worry about something or not. Most of the time, our worries don’t pan out. That’s because worry is often created by our imagination, and it rarely originates in fact or truth. Eventually, we realize that worry doesn’t prevent tomorrow’s troubles, it just robs today of its joy. Be grateful for what you have. Gratitude should be the barometer of good things you have in your life vs bad. Share your thoughts with trusted friend or family member. Loved ones can be a great source of support & can provide different perspective. Look at your worries closer & asses if you’re being realistic. Learn how to relax. It can be through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation etc.

I will wrap up with the quote from the book “Settle for more” by Megyn Kelly. I personally adore Megyn & her book could not come in a better time for me. Few years ago I had to make some of the hardest decisions in my life. Her book was an eye opener for me on many levels.

“You can use the difficult times to shore yourself up, to prove to yourself you can handle anything, or you can lament your bad luck and cry in your soup about life being unfair. One is productive, and the other, most certainly, is not. Though times can be stressful, but they also have a way of centering us, of shining a light through the darkness…The hard times remind you it is possible to change your life. To do better. To be better. To settle for more”

L.

“In every life we have some trouble; But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy” – Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

Don’t be so hard on yourself

While growing up we all heard a phrase “Is this the best you can do?” or “Only a B and not an A?” Now in life whether we’re launching new business, new career or new projects we tend to get hard on ourselves & apply the same thinking process.  As a result we end up being our own worst critics and enemies. We let fear & doubt to take over and we start coming up with resistance, excuses and eventually we abandon the project. More than once I thought to myself “This is such a waste of time”, “I’m not good with this & it will fail me”, “I’m too old”..Sounds familiar? I have mentioned this already, as soon as you start to think that something is a waste of time or you’re not ready, it means you should go for it. Now! So what if you fail. Failure is part of live and we are going to experience it. We have to experience it. More than once. There is no learning process otherwise. You will never learn if you don’t make mistakes. I wrote about failure in my previous blog.

Don’t compare yourself to others because you’re not them. You are you and your projects are unique and you came up with it. Stand up for your ideas & put your unique spin on it. Only you can see it the way it supposed to be created. So respect your desires & make it happen. Shift to a determined, creative mindset. You owe it to yourself! There are always lessons learned with criticism as long as it’s constructive. Learn from your critics. But don’t allow people who didn’t create or accomplish anything to criticize you or give you advice. Don’t allow ridicule in your life either. Remember, there is no such thing as perfect. You can always get better with what you do but you will never be perfect. Don’t let the circumstances control you. Someone said that fear is the enemy of inspiration. So sleep with the enemy. Have a relationship with it. Create smallest goals possible first. Aim high but start low. Series of small successes is better than no successes at all. And don’t forget to scream if it’s too much. But don’t be so hard on yourself.

L.

“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten”- Jon Bon Jovi

“My Love Story”- by Tina Turner

Tina Turner- the long-reigning queen of rock’n’roll, living legend & my personal hero– sets the record straight about her illustrious career and complicated personal life in this eye-opening and compelling memoir. Faced with an array of health issues and family tragedies in recent years, Tina reflects on her own extraordinary life’s journey, finding grace and purpose even in the darkest hours. “My Love Story” is an explosive and inspiring story of a woman who dared to break any barriers put in her way. Emphatically showcasing Tina’s signature blend of grit, energy, heart, and soul, this memoir is as enthralling and moving as any of her greatest hits.

“…And you know what I say to people who ask, “What do you do when all the odds are against you?” I say, “You keep going. You just don’t stop. No matter, if there’s one slap to the face, turn the other cheek. And the hurt you’re feeling? You can’t think about what’s being done to you in the past. You just have to keep going” -T.T.

The “F” word

It’s the F-word that everyone fears the most in life- Failure. Everyone fails in life. At one point or another, you’re going to suffer failure & disappointment (if you haven’t already). I myself failed numerous times. I experienced failure in almost every aspect of my life. And you know what- I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I had a chance to alter my past, I wouldn’t take any of it back.

Failure, as painful as it might be, allows us to unlock great potential. Failure shapes our character, our DNA, our core, our stamina. It resets our perspective on life, money, relationships, love, friendships, work…whatever it might be. Disappointments always have take-ways & lessons learned. If there is nothing to learn from the experience & it has no effect on you- it wasn’t as bad as you think it was. If you spot a potential failure on the horizon, let it happen. Let it crash, let it explode, let it collapse. You might cause more damage to yourself by changing a dynamic in the midst of it. But, it is entirely up to you, a person who failed, to see this as an opportunity to embark on a new direction.

Failure is the greatest teacher. You cannot live a life by always playing safe & staying under radar. It’s an uneducated & un-experienced existence.  You are potentially repeating same unsuccessful steps only not to cause any waves. Accepting possible failure is a key to taking on a variety of challenges, whether you’re reinventing yourself by starting new career, new business, new relationship or even allowing yourself to trust another person.

I advise you to shake your mind & allow yourself to fail. And yes, you will feel embarrassed, especially if you are used to succeeding a lot. But there are no successes in life without utter failures.

L.

“You are built on failure. Use it as a stepping stone and close the door on the past. Don’t try to forget the mistakes, but don’t dwell on it.” –Johnny Cash

Anger- useless emotion & waste of time!

Anger is one of the basic human emotions such as happiness, sadness, anxiety, or disgust. We’ve all experienced anger & we’ve all know the feeling: arrhythmia, higher blood pressure, frowning that causes irreversible wrinkles. Anger is the rage that rises when a car cuts us off  and we just want to flip the bird, it’s the call being put on hold, it’s when things simply don’t go our way…we can come up with endless examples. Anger doesn’t dissipate just because it is unleashed; in fact, it can reinforce and deepen into rage. It prepares us for a fight, a battle, an emotional war. It can erupt into hostile, aggressive, or even violent behavior toward others.

I tell you, anger is a useless emotion & waste of time. Anger only depletes energy and leads to loss of perspective and judgment. Anger decreases our productivity level. The angrier we get the more control we lose of our mind, focus & energy. Our muscles stiff, our bodies  paralyze & our nervous system is completely derailed. Anger itself isn’t a problem- it’s how you handle it. Cognitive restructuring (simply put) means changing the way you think. Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, it won’t make you feel better and may actually make you feel worse. Logic should defeat anger, because anger, even when it’s justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. If you have a bad day, remind yourself that the world is “not out to get you,” you’re just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. As someone said, tomorrow is another day. Don’t drag your irritation or anger for days and don’t spread it around. Anger is contagious! Bad attitude is contagious. And just think of how much time is wasted on anger. We start rewinding & reliving the incident that made us angry over & over. We start to think how we should have responded or how we should have punch back at that moment. Why? Coulda, woulda, shoulda…It’s in the past. It already happen so move on. Utilize the time for pleasant thoughts. Immediately go to your happy place or incident that will make you smile. Always have them on the back burner just in case. I have few that no matter what, always make me smile or laugh.  Cunt to ten or a hundred if you have to, focus on calmness & joy. Joy is an antidote of anger!

L.

“Music is a weapon in the war against unhappiness.” – Jason Mraz

“Grit” The Power of Passion & Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

In this book, Angela Duckworth shows parents, students, educators that secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit”.

Insightful and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that not talent or luck- makes all the difference.

My views of what’s life all about

Have you ever wondered what life is really about? I have. Many times.  Especially when I was drained emotionally & exhausted physically. That’s generally when thoughts as such creep in.

Everyone is more receptive to common, very average life where everyone’s expectations are the same. How about experiencing uncommon life? Life where you feel fully alive, where you let go of your inhibition & where you live life of the highest aspirations. No one wants to climb mountains that at the end turn out to be the wrong ones. Don’t always look for tangible things in life. Look for things that are deep inside of you & things that will guide you to better life. Perhaps life that is unexamined yet. Those qualities are inside of every single one of us. We just need to wake them up. 

  1. Have a self- honor. This means- be true to yourself cause you have no one else to fool. Respect your values & accept your flaws. Flaws are part of who you are. Flaws define you.
  2. Respect your ideas even if they are different & unconventional. Go towards your dreams even if everyone around you don’t get you. Keep your chin up & be proud of your ambitions. Have confidence & stick up for yourself.
  3. My favorite- be genuine. We are all build to love. Open your heart & forgive anyone you haven’t forgiven. Let go of relationships that steal your happiness.  Love people unconditionally & faithfully. Nurture with your heart- not your hands.
  4. Express your creativity. I’m a super creative person. Ideas flow constantly thru my mind. I’ve always been different & original. So don’t hold your creativity. Be ridiculously curious. Adore books & learn to love learning. Exercising your brain is great.
  5. Experience life’s beauty. Travel broadly.  Start hiking. Get lost in the woods, forests or mountains where cell phones don’t work. Fell in love with nature. Read books. Laugh loudly with friends. Smile every time you make eye contact with someone. And smile like you mean it. Eat delicious food, drink great wine. Buy flowers. Loosen up to dancing. Play songs you like & just dance to it. Dance when you’re alone. Be yourself. No one can see you. Sing in the car when you’re stuck in traffic. Play your favorite song & sing it out loud. No one can hear you.
  6. Be altruistic. Generosity is a beautiful & fulfilling thing. Whether it’s monetary or simply volunteering-  start giving.  Pay it forward. We need kind & generous people now more than ever. It’s not only how you live but who you help.

Those 6 are my personal believes of what’s life’s all about. All 6 define me and have never disappointed me. I wrote this with an open heart and utmost authenticity. If you feel unfulfilled on some level & you don’t know how to change it- borrow my ideas. Because life is waiting for you & days are slipping away.

L.

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind” – Taylor Swift

Does love conquer all?

Love…

Love?

Love.

And does love conquer all?

It is one of many beautiful quotes – love conquers everything.  It is uplifting and inspiring. And indeed, in countless ways and instances, it has proven to be correct. So why are there so many divorces & failed relationships? Because despite what Beatles tell you, love is not all you need.

We call love this great “institution” that we rely on every time we have setbacks in life. We automatically think that love will save our derailed relationships, love will connect two perfect people, love will help us forgive & forget. I have a newsflash, love will NOT solve all these issues for us- we have to do it ourselves. But love is definitely the starting point. It can help us commit & help us become better people. It can help us understand that everyone makes mistakes & anyone can have a slip. Love can inspire us to work on ourselves & to overcome relationship problems. Rely on love as the glue that will bind all of it together. If you sit around and don’t do your part, love alone won’t save you. Love is like oxygen for relationship- it is necessary but not always sufficient for survival. There is a chance that you need to work pretty hard to get through some of life’s junk. The only person we have any true control in a relationship is ourselves. Some people resent love mainly due to life experiences. But are willing to contemplate being in love again if it’s lurking outside their window. So I guess love does conquer all.

L.

“…And if it takes me a lifetime, I swear I’ll tear down every wall. Love conquers all…” – Love conquers all- Deep Purple