My Thoughts on Personal Growth

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Have you felt nostalgic whenever you looked at an old album buried somewhere in your closet? Have you relived those moments of happiness when you went back in the past to rejuvenate those happy moments with your siblings or your best friend in the high school? We all have.

Blogging has been somewhat of an integral part of my life ever since I launched this blog. And, obviously, I have special feelings for this blog and those friends that I made friendship with in the first thrilling nine months of blogging back in 2008.

A woman from South Africa wrote me shortly after I stopped writing in late 2008. She told me that I made a difference in her life and requested to rethink about my decision not to write. My decision to stop writing was due to the fact that I had lots of traffic on the blog, but I had not found a way to monetize it. That email reminded me that life is larger than making money. I felt humble as I never imagined that my writing can have such a profound impact.

I now write regularly on Street Smart Finance, but I believe that personal finance is not about finance at all. It’s not about money, it’s about not allowing your personal finance to influence your pathway to happiness; it’s about how you choose to live a simple, happy life. That’s the purpose I strive to achieve every day.  That’s the purpose worth living for.

I have decided to recollect articles that I have written for various well-known blogs to create an album of my thoughts, if you will. My goal going forward is to focus on every aspect of my life that provides inner, simple and lasting happiness.

1.  Mahatma Gandhi’s 5 Teachings To Bring About World Peace on Zen Habits

“If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, acted and inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have you ever dreamed about a joyful world with peace and prosperity for all Mankind – a world in which we respect and love each other despite the differences in our culture, religion and way of life?

2. 5 Ways to Bury a Great Idea  on Pick The Brain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

We are all born with the gift of discernment; a talent to visualize what is obscure. Why then do we see people with incredible talent fail in achieving what their mind is capable of? The smartest amongst us who fail to throw off the bowlines and sail away from the safe harbor baffle me. They’re the intellect without persona to explore, dream, and discover possibly the greatest idea that amused their mind.

3. 14 Simple Ways to Super Charge Your Brain on Dumb Little Man

Have you ever felt exasperated when you bumped into someone at the store but absolutely couldn’t remember their name? Sure, it happens to all of us.
Despite being the strongest computer on the planet, our brains do lapse. It’s hard to blame them really. As humans, we spend much of or existence stuffing our brains with stuff. Some stuff is worthless, some of it’s meaningful, some of it, well, it’s just stuff and there is an endless amount of it.

4. 5 Signs of a Stress Ridden Mind  on The Change Blog

“No man is free who is not master of himself”- Epictetus, Greek Philosopher

There is a plethora of stress in our lives these days. Divorce, layoffs, threats of terrorism – these are just a few of the many things that can leave our mind, body and soul feeling anxious.

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be essential form of our emotional state for balanced growth in our life. A conscious form of stress motivates us, prepares us for things we have to face, and sometimes give us energy to take action when we need to. However, excessive stress can hinder our ability to set goals, focus on what we want to achieve and to live in harmony with our family.

5. 3 Ways to Identify and Master the Bug of Creative Procrastination  on The Change Blog

Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday – Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker and motivational writer.

Procrastination is a term that needs no introduction. I’ve lived much of my life battling this bug, and I have come to believe that it grows from a fear of action.

Creative procrastination is a trick our mind plays to defer things we should do now until the future with an abstract goal to banish our desire.

6. 4 Reasons Why Blogging is a Noble Passion on LifeHack.org

I initially began the blog with a 20% desire to help others, and 80% to cynically make the kind of money the A-list bloggers are making. – Urban Monk.net

I began blogging four months ago with the intention to share my success in life with others and, of course, to earn residual income from the content creation. As I reflect on this short journey, I realize that blogging is more of a noble passion than merely a tool to earn income. I’ve been in business for a while but I’ve never had a passion that kindled my heart as intensely until I began blogging. Being an engineer by education and hotelier as an entrepreneur, I have a passion for people and for enhancing human values that make life a memorable voyage.

photo by: James-Blackburn

My Optimal Life Design

As I get older, I have profound appreciation for life and the choices it offers. I can choose to be the happiest person on this earth or the saddest victim around. It’s all up to me to choose thoughts and choose what matters most for my happiness.

Many of our worries are byproduct of thoughts that we harbor and power our mind has to zoom in on these thoughts to magnify them. That’s both good and bad as wrong thoughts can lead you to the abyss of despair and good thoughts can take heights you’ve never witnessed before.

Having said that, I still think that my life is nothing more than my desire to choose. It’s that simple.

It’s my desire to choose what I want, who I want around, and how I want to project myself in front of others.

Success has many facets and like good and bad cholesterol, my desire to accumulate success just in the form of materialistic view point and not focusing on my success to weigh in what matters most to live an optimal life can lead me to the same abyss of despair that I find so many who can’t find way to pull themselves out of this deep dark valley.

A path to minimalism

This may astound you but most of our worries lie around fake phobias that we have developed for the physical world that surrounds us. We worry about making house payment, or making car payment, or losing a job we hate. These are subtly interrelated cousins who feed each other to feed our myopic view of the world.

We think of our problems as a permanent state of being. As these worry cousins take chances to stab any seeds of happiness that we try to sow in our lives.

Most worries are just that. They are nothing but state of mind we create between our two ears. And the good news is that we can choose to find freedom from the slavery of these worry cousins.

For me, a slowly and well thought transition to minimalism is the surefire way to an optimal life design I want.

As I get older, I want to become mindful of what I own, what I eat, what I think and whom I surround with. I no more relish of my excitement for a big win in any facet of my life nor I regret not having all of those things that world considers yardstick of success.

I will strive every awake moment to find happiness and only happiness that comes from within. For that, I won’t need many things that are not part of my optimal life design.

  • I don’t need approval from others in the way I live my life. Approval seeking is not part of my optimal life design and never will be.
  • I don’t need any debt. I don’t want debt to influence my thoughts and squash the bug that I have to live life to the fullest.
  • I don’t need TV and other forms of entertainment as they espouse consumerism.
  • I don’t need any form of possessions that serves no purpose to enhance my inner happiness.

I don’t want these things so that I can maximize my choices to live a happy life.

  • I want to seek more of life-energy to do things I love to do.
  • I want to read more and write more.
  • I want to make difference in this world in whichever capacity I can as life has been generous to me.
  • I want to measure every aspect of my life with lenses of minimalism so that I can measure my success not just in terms of material wealth but more in terms of  inner happiness.

Have you thought about your optimal life design yet?

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Price of Freedom

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally written on March 29th, 2008. I am inspired to re-publish it after reading an inspirational article on Financial Samurai to honor our heroes.

Last week, a friend of mine, Susan Rogers, sent me a video clip that, upon watching brought tears from my eyes. I, for once, realized how to view life in its noble perspective. In the midst of thoughts surrounding goals that are the self full filling, I had lost my focus to ponder on those who allowed me to have life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Those tears were for neglecting to care for giants among us, for those who sacrificed all they had for others, for those who fought for the old glory, for those with their silent act of patriotism and deep sense of service for the country, for those souls of inspirations that allowed me to have the life that I love, dreams that I dream and freedom that I cherish.

Read more…

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