It is amazing how human language distinguishes one behaviour from another. For example, consider the act of ‘eating healthy’…as opposed to eating unhealthily?! Shouldn’t it just be called eating? Why does anyone eat unhealthily? The language we use on a daily basis almost makes it acceptable. Another example, ‘volunteering’. How about just being human? Why do we need a separate word for it. Eating healthy, and volunteering should be so common place that we can’t even describe them, much like a fish trying to describe the water in which it swims.
With Christmas just around the corner once again I am sure that many of you are running around buying your family and friends their gifts but I wanted to urge you all to consider carefully what it is that you are actually buying. Now by no means am I trying to suck the fun out Christmas but there is a hidden cost to be born by all who inhabit this earth as a result of our consumer-driven culture.
As our awareness of our global interconnectedness and interdependence is become more prevalent, and our impact on our environment is growing at alarming rates, it is important to consider the true cost of the goods that you buy this Christmas. While something may have a cheap price tag here for us in Australia it may have an even bigger social and environmental price tag somewhere else in the world. And what we are learning is that just because we don’t see the impact ourselves, it reverberates around the world in more dangerous ways.
Large companies call these hidden costs ‘externalities’. An example of an externality would be the costs worn by governments and councils (essentially the taxpayers) for the disposal of the ridiculous amount of waste plastic wrapping we discard each year on the 25th of December. While companies in China, or Taiwan, or Haiti etc produce these items for next to nothing, for another company here to sell them at a profit, neither are responsible for the externalised costs of the disposal of the waste. This waste is not only avoidable and unnecessary, it also carries with it an environmental cost that is felt the world over.
While I am mainly pointing to the impacts of overseas companies producing goods for sale here, the points I am conveying are not limited to overseas industry. The same things happen here in Australia, and also other ‘developed’ countries. A lot of these factories in Asia also lack any kind of waste water recycling facilities which means that the waste water full of toxins and paint products to dye the plastics is simply dumped in to their local water supply. This obviously has a huge impact on the local population who may rely on that water supply to drink from but if their water supply, directly, or indirectly, feeds in to a larger water supply, or the sea/oceans, it can have a much larger affect.
Pollutants that enter a water supply somewhere in the world can inadvertently impact the whole world. Much like air pollutants. We all breathe the same air from the same biosphere. China, or America’s biosphere is intimately connected to ours here. So although we may hear about something bad happening somewhere is in the world regarding the pollution of the seas or air it affects us all! Not just now but also well in to the future.
Another point to consider is the working conditions of those employed in sweat-shops and factories the world over; countries from which we import a massive percentage of the goods on shelves in our shopping centres. It is easy to dismiss the impact that we have from simply buying something here but we nonetheless drive these poor conditions and suppression of the human spirit through our buying decisions. Some may argue that without us to buy their products these workers wouldn’t be making any money to feed their families but remember that the human species lived for well over 150,000 years before the widespread use of ‘money’ as a means of survival and exchange.
So my Christmas wish is that you all stop and consider the true, ethical cost of the purchases you make this Christmas for your family and friends. Remember that just because we don’t directly see the impact doesn’t mean that we don’t feel it in some way. Choose quality over quantity; don’t just buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff, try to buy things that will be truly treasured and used to their full extent. Try to buy local products and minimise the wrapping; remember that just because you don’t have to see the rubbish once it gets collected doesn’t mean it is gone. Nowhere on this planet is ‘gone’, it always remains somewhere and has an impact.
Remember, less is more!
The best science of our time tells us that approximately 13.8 billion years ago, give or take a few billion, that everything in our known universe was condensed in a single point about the size of a pea! Take a moment to just appreciate what that means. Everything that you can see around you squeezed into a tiny little space no larger than a pea, plus the rest of the universe. It is inconceivable! That is the theory anyway, it is impossible for us to really know but this is the currently accepted theory of the origins of our universe.
So 13.8 billion years ago, give or take, something happened and this tiny pea exploded and spewed out everything that we know today. If that doesn’t blow your mind, think; Where was the pea to begin with? Was it just floating in a blackness like we see beyond our atmosphere? Were there any other peas? Have they exploded yet? So what if our pea existed in amongst another galaxy, or universe, and the explosion of our pea pushed its own galaxy even further beyond it. It’s weird right?
This explosion, which happened from a single point, spread outward in every direction and the expansion is still happening. Entire galaxies that we can observe which display an assortment of beautiful colours are all moving outward. Obviously I have provided a very simple explanation of the events that have led to the ‘modern universe’ but is undoubtedly a seriously magnificent phenomenon.
Then about 4.54 billion years ago, give or take, the Earth that we all inhabit was formed; 9.2ish billion years after the pea exploded. Lets take a look at how large of a number one billion is; 1,000,000,000. That’s nine zeros, nine (9)! That is a freaky long time. So the earth we are currently living on is believed (theorised) to be 4,540,000,000 years old. So far in recorded human history, the longest living person died at 122 years of age. In comparison to the age of Earth, 122 years is like an ant to an elephant.
The next miracle, that really blows my mind, is that somehow in the last 4.54 billion years a concoction of elements created life! Somehow, somewhere, a whole bunch of unknown, seemingly inanimate, stuff decided to live, and breath, and interact with its environment. It doesn’t matter what scientific-sounding, long, complicated words you use to describe this event, it is still something that I would consider super weird! How does a whole bunch of space stuff that was all once compressed in to a space believed to be the size of a pea explode out to create planets, galaxies, suns, stars, and something that has the ability to think, eat, feel, breath and move?
According to Wikipedia the first life forms are estimated to have appeared around 3.5-3.8 billion years ago in the form of graphite rock. And photo synthesisers appeared around 2 billion years ago helping to create the oxygen and the atmosphere we now have. Up until about 500 million (500,000,000) years ago most life on Earth was uni-cellular, single-celled organisms. But something happened around 500 million years ago that made these single-celled organisms assess their solitude and they decided to join forces to eventually create the type of life we see today; the birds, bees, flowers and the trees.
So what about us! The earliest evidence of ‘homo sapiens’ is believed to be 200,000 years old. 200,000 is 0.0014% of the time since the big bang (exploding pea), and is a whopping 0.0044% of the time since the Earth formed. So in the grand scheme of the universe we are a very recent development really.
The next really interesting bit is the 200,000 years of homo sapiens. How we suddenly came to be around 200,000 years ago is still a mystery apparently. The common held belief that we are an evolved version of the Neanderthal lacks the evidence to support the claim, and more and more evidence is showing up to suggest that homo sapiens actually lived around the same time as Neanderthals and other close versions of upright apes.
It is believed now that the ‘anatomically-modern’ humans of today evolved as an entirely different species altogether, or got here some other way…open to speculation. Let’s recap, bang 13.8 billion years ago, Earth 4.54 billion years ago, and humans 200,000 years ago. Now, in our 200,000 year history we have developed many different civilisations which have risen and fallen and archeologists, anthropologists and other dedicated smart people dedicate their entire lives to the discovery and interpretation of the remains of such civilisations.
It is incredible to hear about the discoveries being made and the theories of why these great civilisations of the past have suddenly disappeared. Even more amazing is the level of technology that is present in the construction of their buildings, and monuments given that even today we would struggle to do what they have done. I personally believe that we have a great deal to learn from the past failed civilisations which may help us in our current crises of climate change, and our social, political and economic nightmares.
It think it is quite easy to look at those massive numbers and feel rather insignificant in the unfolding of our universe. We are but a tiny blip in the history of a massive cosmic unfolding that started with a single ‘bang’, that very possibly wasn’t even heard, by anyone, because there may not have been any ears. We don’t know! The reason for this post was not to make anyone feel insignificant but to demonstrate just how much of a miracle life is. The very fact that we exist at all after billions, and billions of years of floating star dust is a serious miracle.
The development of life is awesome, but even more awesome than that is the fact that us humans have this amazing ability of self-awareness, we know that we are. We feel, think, love, experience, cry, laugh etc, but how? I doubt we will ever really know how we all came about but what I do know is that we are the greatest miracle to have ever been, that we’re aware of. We rose alongside all of the other living, and non-living, matter of this planet, and the galaxy endowed with the ability to create, imagine, dream and truly live.
I feel at times though that as a species we aren’t fully utilising our incredible abilities. I believe that we have the most amazing potential to live the most inspiring and harmonious existence but instead we waste our time in our physical bodies destroying the very thing that gave us life, and fighting the people who are just like us. It doesn’t make any sense. Our time here should be spent rejoicing all of life for the miracle it is, and enjoying the journey collecting all of the quality experiences possibly available.
So my message to you is simple. Wake up each morning and be grateful for life. Embrace and engage others around you because we all come from the same place. Don’t waste any time doing things that don’t excite you, always live from the heart. Get out and enjoy nature, walk barefoot in the grass. Feed your body with quality food, this incredibly complex body-suit is the vessel through which you experience all of life. Fall in love and laugh with friends, and strangers. Fill your life with people and memories, not stuff. Live in the present and love every single moment of your life because it may be gone on the blink of a cosmic eye.
Entertain just for a moment the thought of living without money. I would imagine your mind instantly skipped to all the things you couldn’t do, and couldn’t have. This is pretty much what is going though my mind continuously lately. This is the tremendous power that money has over us, a power we let it have. After all, money only has value when we give it value, it is imaginary, but it feels so real. It feels like living a moneyless life will require a great deal of sacrifice, and indeed some sacrifice may be required but just how much will we lose if we don’t have a society based on money?
I believe that living should be free. If you think about it, we didn’t really have a choice about being born in to this world, it is something that just happens…it is natural. Just like the nature inherent in trees growing, animals being born, the wind blowing, and the sun rising and falling. So why if we are a part of this natural cycle are we the only living species that have to pay for almost every aspect of living? We have to pay for somewhere to live, we have to buy our food unless we can afford enough land to grow our own, pay for our clothes, we have to pay for recreation, transport, even water provided in to our homes.
I can certainly appreciate that we wouldn’t have the life we have today if it wasn’t for money, and a hundred and one other things like industry, and the sciences but what good is all of this stuff that we can buy if the majority of our time is spent just trying to make money.
My inner battle at the moment is this belief that living should be free and all experiences should be available to us but all the things I want to do and experience cost money, and I have no idea what to do about this. I don’t want to dedicate my time primarily to making money so that I can have these experiences and I believe that is a choice that we all have but we have been led to believe that living costs money. What if it didn’t though? What if we didn’t need money to live and to experience all the beauty and adventure this life has to offer us?
What is it about money that has made us handover our time in return for it? Is it the money itself and the things it buys that we all crave or is it an image that has been sold to us through marketing and advertising that propels us to work in unsatisfying jobs so we can fit in the box?
Imagine a world where we got paid to pursue our passions?
How different things would be! What if we only got paid for doing things that made our hearts jump and skip with joy? What would happen to the world if happiness, love and passion gave us all the money we needed?
What are we really here for? I believe we are here to have amazing, breathtaking experiences in every single moment in the company of beautiful and inspiring people. I don’t think we were meant to be stuck at work all the time, and I think that a vast majority of businesses and industries serve no purpose to the fulfilment of human experience so we could happily do without them and probably help the planet out a bit too. But what about everything else, what about the things that do serve a purpose and actually do help us?
I my opinion computers and the internet are great tools for instant connecting and sharing with communities around the world so how would we continue with these things if money didn’t exist? If we didn’t have money would people still be motivated to work in these fields for the purposes of maintenance and the manufacture of new and replacement parts as needed? When you think about if we only really had a few models with standard parts, as opposed to the countless brands, models and variations currently available, we wouldn’t need to actually produce so much. Also, do we really need to make things faster all the time. Every second day a new and improved model is being released that processes information one one-hundredth of a second faster that the previous one…is this really necessary?
What about tools, and recreation equipment, such as mountain bikes, sports equipment etc. How would we cope without them? I personally love my mountain biking, at the moment it is the biggest pain in my arse because I need a couple of new bits for my bike and my income is minuscule and irregular at best. Now I could just go out and get a job to pay for the bits I need but then when would I have the time to go out riding, or to go to the beach, or to write and volunteer. I might be able to pay for all these things but when will I really have the time to enjoy them. Again though, would reducing the choice we have available really kill us, and would we need money to motivate people to keep producing these items? What if mountain bikers were to work together on their passions to produce bikes for themselves and others? What if they found joy in that work? They don’t need money for it. The same could be said for any industry or sport.
What about cars and transport? Cars are another thing that I don’t think are entirely necessary all the time. I don’t know if every family needs 2 or more, and we certainly wouldn’t need them so much if we didn’t have to go to work. Which is the main reason people seem to have cars these days. Couldn’t we devise a better approach to transport, like a community bus system where community members worked in a rotation to serve. Would we really need to have the thousands of buses running every day to get people everywhere? What’s the rush all the time? What if we just had a couple of hundred running for free, and reduced the need for cars so we spent more time at home, in our local communities instead of cubicle offices? We would save on fuel, our roads would be less congested, we would reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we would reduce the need for roads and their construction. Where is the downfall?
What if music and books became free? They pretty much almost are with the help of torrents and other file sharing networks. I feel like if we made music free, and art, any form of expression, freely available we would experience the true passion that used to be embodied in art. Nowadays I feel art and music have been reduced to mere means of making the big bucks. There is fame and fortune attached to art in all forms reducing heart and love. For every artist, musical or otherwise, that makes it big because a marketing company could see the dollar signs, how many others do we not know about because they weren’t ‘marketable’ enough, and they don’t have the money to give their gift to the world.
Fortunately things like YouTube and other social media sites allow these artists to find their own audiences with a relative amount of ease and their passion shines through…they aren’t doing it for the money or the fame, they love what they do! If we also consider the amount of physical material that goes in to the production and distribution of books and CDs, DVDs etc, we could do away with all this if we made it all digital, for free. Further reducing the need for money and for those entire industries producing those materials. Luckily I feel the music industry is one full of people who do love what they do. Everyone from producers, to editors, singers, musicians and instrument makers really do love what they do so I don’t think a moneyless world would have a huge impact one them.
This is the kind of world I envisage. A world where people don’t settle for anything less that what their heart desires. A time where we don’t have the pressure of making money to pay the bills and put food on the table. I believe that the things, material or otherwise, we truly want and need to be fulfilled can be met by passion and community alone. I believe that the value and the importance we have placed on money has made us all slaves and has done a great deal of damage through the suppression of our hearts desires. The biggest obstacle is, of course, convincing billions of people that things could be different.
Some may call me an idealist, a dreamer, sometimes a crackpot, but I truly feel that there is a better way for us to live that includes everyone, not just those with money. Money has helped create the haves and the have-nots, as well as debt and poverty. This system that we have created cannot surely be the best we can do. We have to be capable of much more, it makes sense doesn’t it? This form of capitalism can not be the pinnacle of our imagination, it can’t be all there is to life and we are surely able to design something else that is sustainable for everyone and allows everyone to live a life enriched with quality experiences.
For now however money still does play a vital role in my life also, but I do choose to put myself and my own values before pursuing any action with the intention of purely making money. I still have the heart of an entrepreneur, however buried currently, but rather than striving to make lots of money to have a big house and 10 cars like I used to, I hope to follow my passions and use whatever money I do make as a tool to create and innovate sustainable and moneyless projects. Also to continue to pursue my own passion for adventure and fun in the meantime. Ironically it is going to take money to assist in the transition to something better someday.
I am open to debate. I want to hear your thoughts? What are your immediate objections as to why we couldn’t possibly live without money?
Seize the moment
– George Helou
I am beginning to think we have been sold a lie. Well I think there are many lies that have messed with how we see ourselves in the this life but this one in particular is about ‘purpose’. I touched on how I struggled with the idea of purpose in the last EP7 post but now I can see how we have all bought in to the idea that we all have just one purpose in our life and one day we may just find it. By believing we have just one over-arching purpose and we have no control over when and where it will come to us we are setting ourselves up for a life of endless searching.
New found reality for me is that purpose can be created in each moment, every interaction with every person and every action or role we undertake. We can consciously and intentionally create purpose in even the most minute, seemingly insignificant tasks like washing the dishes, or drinking a cup of tea. We don’t have just one purpose, we can have an infinite number of purposes that can help us to achieve amazing experiences in each moment. And when we are living on purpose in each moment it is almost impossible for us to NOT lead extraordinary lives and project awesomeness in everything we do.
It is exciting and motivating to know that I can create a detailed purpose for every aspect of my life; I am certainly working on it. I wouldn’t imagine a lot of people out there would have created and committed their purpose to being a brother, a son, a friend, or a mountain biker, a writer, an entrepreneur etc to paper. I’m not claiming to have done it yet but they are on my list and I have the tools needed to make it happen 🙂 More importantly though is your purpose to your own emotional well-being and your physical health which I know will set me up for the rest.
Be Assertive, Be, Be Assertive
If you can name the title of the very obscure movie reference I will give you a … [thinking…]
My new favourite word is ‘Assertive’! A dictionary may define assertive as being “confidently aggressive or self-assured” but I think there is more to it than that. To me, being assertive means having respect for yourself and displaying a commitment to live, and die, by your values and purpose which are non-negotiable. It means that you have prioritised your hearts purpose to yourself, others, and your goals and if something were to get in your way you have the inner strength and resolve to acknowledge and respectfully pardon its intrusion and carry on unaffected.
This kind of assertiveness can only come with being value and principle centered in your purpose in each moment. If you aren’t living your purpose, you must be living someone elses to a large extent and that feeling of unhappiness, boredom, denial is an indicator that your are due for a reinvention. So get creative! Create a purpose that makes your heart skip and gives you butterflies and then decide that no matter what, you are going to be a rock, an un-moveable rock, and a little bit selfish because you refuse to let anything besides your value-rich purpose exist.
To me there is a tremendous amount of power in such a decision and in knowing you can create quality in everything you do, adversely that power is taken from us when we let other’s purpose dictate our lives. It is apparent to me now that we have over-complicated the idea of purpose. I also believe that we all know what makes our heart turn on but we are led to believe that we can’t have it because life is hard, it’s a struggle, and we don’t have enough time or money or some deep-rooted belief, dirty context, halts us.
We have been tricked in to believing that the heart is an expensive luxury.
Step 6: Living on Purpose
So step 6 is all about translating the purpose we created in the numerous areas of our lives in to practical steps designed to bring us to the present in each moment. Emphasising the journey itself as the sweetness of life, composed of a series of destination moments for us to live on purpose rather than some superior destination somewhere in the future. In any moment we can stop and ask ourselves “how can I inject my purpose here?”, or “what values am I aligning with and expressing?” to help us to ‘own’ that moment and manifest a quality experience.
Success is not in a destination found in time. It’s a journey of a hearts purpose served by mind.
– George Helou
George introduced to us the concept of neural triggers a couple of weeks ago and it was in this session I saw just how they can be used to help us be in each moment and task. The idea of planning your day certainly isn’t a new one, and I have dabbled in this practice on and off in the past as a time management tool but when you throw in neural triggers that shift your attention back to your purpose, for each scheduled activity, it takes on a whole new meaning. The neural triggers in Step 6 function as a timeley reminder of the values that you want to be present and exchanged with every person and task. Certainly a practice I want to solidify in to my routine.
Achieving more with the perception of less…
The lack of time and money are two of the greatest myths of all time of which we have all subscribed to in some way at some time. They are the immediate obstacles we put up to explain why we can’t live from our heart. We either don’t have the money to live a life that excites us or we just don’t have the time to. Ironically enough, our lack of time is probably a result of working too much trying to get the money we need to finally take the plunge and live on purpose, from the heart. However, this far in to EP7 if you still don’t believe that your detailed purpose, to yourself and everything else, is a top priority there is something amiss.
George outlines a couple of practical and common-sense techniques to achieve more bang for your buck by injecting as much purpose in to everything you do. This may sound like a lot of hard work, and in the beginning it will be, but we are assured it will become more natural with time and practice, much like anything. Knowing what we know about how the development of skills and habits is simply the disconnecting and reconnecting of the 100 billion neurons in the brain all we have to do is do it enough to forge those desired pathways so that they become effortless. We will then be able to flow from moment to moment satisfying multiple purposes simultaneously.
One such technique was leveraging. You could leverage someone else’s purpose to help satisfy your own purpose, much like skill-swapping but rather than a conditional trade expecting something in return, perhaps the trade itself can be the reward. Or you could better leverage your routine or other tasks to combine purpose from multiple areas of your life in to a moment. For example walking to the store to get milk could serve your purpose to your health, but you could also call a friend the way and serve your purpose to a friendship. The depth of the layering is only really restricted by your imagination.
Knowledge and Wisdom
Learning what I have learnt over the past 6 weeks I feel incredibly confident and capable in my ability to completely re-invent myself at any time. Although I am still yet to master the tools provided I am determined to make them a part of my life. George has left nothing open to interpretation; everything from our biological capacity to be extraordinary to the practical means of designing and living on purpose has been provided in a way that appeals to common sense, not requiring faith in something unseen. The knowledge alone acquired thus far is enough to make me look at certain situations differently but with the use of the tools over time, wisdom and experience will become my teachers.
If you missed the previous weeks you can check them out here…
You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head.
– Finding Forrester (Movie)
I wouldn’t imagine I was alone in believing that ‘purpose’ was something to be found. It has been something that I have struggled with in the couple of months prior to EP7, pretty much the time that I had decided to leave Ireland and come back to Perth. The question ‘what do I want to do?’ plagued me, ‘what is my purpose?’ repeated over and over. Then I started to question even further ‘what is purpose?’ , ‘what does it mean to have purpose?’, ‘how does one live purpose?’. Of course believing that purpose is something that we happen upon one day, rather than being able to create it, lead me to assume that I just haven’t found mine yet, and perhaps I never would.
Eventually it occurred to me that maybe ‘purpose’ isn’t some thing, like an object, but rather a ‘way’ of being. To live ‘on purpose’, purposeful living, intentional living. Maybe I had just been looking at the word and it’s definition incorrectly. With that little shift in context it became a little clearer but the question now became ‘what is my intention?’.
The thing I love the most about George’s EP7 program is how he injects reality and life into some of the most whimsical of concepts. In Step 5: Purpose, he has made the idea of creating and living my purpose so real and tangible for me that I would have to be a complete dummy to not see that I can now achieve genius outcomes in all areas of my life. He has managed to remove any uncertainty I had about purpose and replaced them with just one question ‘Am I going to get out of my own way and allow myself to create and live my purpose?’.
Values are the language of the heart.
– George Helou
I realised some time ago that life is all about having quality experiences. Travelling taught me that! It’s not about the things your own, the money you have, where you are or who you are with; what really matters is that you have something to get excited about, something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Whilst I knew all of this, and had had amazing experiences I felt as if I was still missing something. It now seems apparent to me that although I had these amazing experiences from time to time in different places, and with different people, maybe I was going about them the wrong way.
This is quite literally only just occurring to me now as I write this, but perhaps my recipe for quality experiences was ‘new people, new places’ all the time. But now, with George’s introduction to the concept of value literacy and purpose development I can now see how I can create those quality experiences in my life every day, anywhere! We can all achieve amazing experiences in our every day lives by taking the time to create our purpose to ourselves, others and our roles then allowing ourselves to live them in alignment with our values.
How could this not create the quality experiences we all crave?
Our heart knows what we want, our gut tells us when we have found it and our head tries its best to stop us unless we train it otherwise…
Purpose used to feel like such a hard thing to define but now it feels so real, touchable almost. I can see now that by becoming clear on our purpose and intention in all areas of life, the attainment of our desires, and quality experiences becomes effortless and natural. We can become more stream-lined, fast-tracking our success. In much the same way our limiting thoughts and beliefs prevented our breakthroughs, our commitment to purpose and values will create a new blinkered range where we can’t see anything besides excellence and love.
Our purpose is at the mercy of our imagination.
– George Helou
We will also have a much greater respect for ourselves so when situations arise that don’t align with our heart we will have the courage to assert our free will and respectfully decline involvement. By employing the prescribed emotionally relevant repetition in the Purpose Developer Template we can take control of the very same mechanism that implanted those disempowering thoughts and beliefs in the first place. We can re-wire our neurons connecting them up with entirely new ideas, values and principles to help us live more inline with our heart’s purpose and turn life into a quality experience.
If you missed the previous weeks you can check them out here…
We are bioengineered with the capacity to be extraordinary, but neurologically configured to be ordinary/sub-ordinary in some areas of our life.
– George Helou, Mind Power Coach and Founder of Empowered for Purpose
Last week I started on a new journey! I am participating in a 7-week personal development program called EP7 – Empowered for Purpose in 7 Steps, and the quote above encapsulates the key message of the first step, Empowered Identity. The aim of this first session was to help us to understand how, biologically, we are a blank canvas and throughout our life we are painting a picture of ourselves and the world around us. This painting isn’t created using brushes, instead it is our thoughts and beliefs based on learnt ideas and past experiences that create the picture which in-turn affects on how we see and experience the future. Parts of our painting could be empowering and other parts disempowering but we lose our true selves in the painting, forgetting that we are actually the blank canvas underneath. We can change those parts of the painting that we feel are holding us back in certain areas of our lives; to understand how we have to learn how our thoughts and our beliefs affect our biology.
First, a bit of history…
The Empowered for Purpose program was created by a personal friend. I first met George Helou at the young and motivated age of 18 when I sought business coaching support for the first of many business ideas. It didn’t take me too long to lose enthusiasm for the idea but what remained was a great connection with an interesting and inspiring person who has always taken the time to share his wisdom. Connecting with George led to many more opportunities to meet and work with other inspiring individuals over the years who all introduced me to new ways of thinking. I always find it really interesting to look back and track all of the events that occurred because of a single person that perhaps may not have happened otherwise. It is impossible to know where we would be if something happened slightly differently in our past but it does make you appreciate how it takes just one thought, idea, action or meeting to spark off a whole new direction in life.
My interest in the profound importance of personal-development began when I was 12 years old reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Kid Smart Kid. This book found its way to me through friends of my parents and ever since that book I have devoured many more of Robert’s series and continued to expand my understanding of the supreme power that our thoughts, our language and our beliefs have on our everyday experiences and relationships. The earliest lesson I can remember learning from Robert was the difference between the word ‘problem’ and ‘challenge’. One word seems to stop you dead in your tracks but the other automatically makes you think of ways to overcome an obstacle. It is such a simple little distinction but depending on which of the two words you use to describe a situation you can set yourself up for success or, equally, failure.
Whether you believe you can do a thing, or believe that you can’t, you are right.
– Henry Ford
I would have to say that for the first 10-12 years of personal development my focus and intentions were entirely aimed at making money. I wanted to be rich and the information stored in these pages held the proverbial keys! In more recent years however an interest in spirituality, religion, philosophy, quantum physics and biology has really changed how I see the world and its infinite interactions. I no longer aspire to monetary riches, I instead aspire to learn and experience as much as I can in each moment, a different kind of riches I suppose! The more I learn, and understand, and believe, the more of an impact I feel I can have on the people around me so that they too may also deepen their understanding of their role in this great cosmic game.
So when George offered me a place in his program I saw it as an opportunity to feed off of his passion for personal development and dive deeper in to my own thoughts and beliefs to help identify anything that may be having an undesirable impact in certain areas of my life. Admittedly, in the hours leading up to the first session I started to have that feeling of nervousness, for what reason exactly I can only guess but I have learnt that this feeling means I am moving in the right direction. It means I am moving beyond comfort and in to a place of discovery, or excitement. The last time I remember having that feeling I was in Portugal on the back of a horse, out on a hack. Saskia, the horse’s owner, told me that with the paddock and the other horses now in sight my horse was likely to bolt and suggested that if I didn’t feel safe I should jump off…quick! The butterflies set in, bit of uncertainty, but I took it all as an opportunity to have a new experience; I had never had a horse bolt on me before. It didn’t bolt in the end but at least I didn’t get off!
My thirst for information on the complexities of our universe naturally led me to the weird and wacky world of quantum physics. Quantum physics is the study of the behaviour of the particles that comprise an atom and has done its best to demonstrate that what you think of as solid actually isn’t and what you think is there, could actually be somewhere else! This for me was the first practical bit of evidence that the world around us was pretty much an illusion, and we are the perceivers of said illusion. It gave me a deeper understanding of the power of our thoughts beyond the long-lived self-help ‘always be happy and positive’ philosophy. How we ultimately perceive the world around us can be attributed to our biology and the 100 billion Neurons in our brain that can form an infinite number of neural pathways in the brain. These neural pathways link up concepts, with events, feelings, objects, people etc so that when we hear a certain word, or think of a certain someone, we can instantly jump from the thought, to a past experience, to a feeling in a fraction of a second. These pathways have developed as a result of our past experiences, our ideas and our beliefs and serve as a lens to how we see the future. We predict, and often limit, our future experiences based on our past neuro wiring.
This is pretty heavy stuff! But there’s more!
We have the capacity to re-wire our past conditioning to improve the quality of our future experiences. Through conscious thought, willful determination and some guidance we can disconnect undesirable neuro pathways and make new connections that serve us. As well as the neurons in the brain we have 100 million in the gut and 40,000 in the heart. I don’t know about you but I can certainly recall times when my heart has felt like it has swallowed one of those gob-stoppers or when I have had that feeling in my gut telling me to take a particular action despite my head telling me that it may not be the most sensible decision. That gut feeling is something I have come to really appreciate and respect a great deal more in the last few years while I was travelling in Europe. I often ran with a decision because it just felt right, and then months later when you look back at that moment and the events that have unfolded since you can see that something magical has happened. The power of intuition.
Physiological Effects of Stress
I remember reading a book years ago that touched on the physiological effects of stress on the body’s cells and organs. I had completely forgotten about it until George brought it up. Fortunately for me stress doesn’t play a huge part in my life, the last time stress got the better of me was when a border control officer at Dublin Airport wanted to deport me back to Romania because he deemed I didn’t have enough money to enter the country. After sleeping at Bucharest airport for 8 hours with a Tequila hangover, the hour delay taking off and the 4 hour flight, an un-winnable argument about my resourcefulness and ability to stay in Ireland for 3 months with less that $800 got me a little worked up! He was kind enough to grant me a one month stay in the end which I accepted but my blood was still boiling. This kind of situation serves as a reminder that it only takes a single thought, or objection, to illicit a full on biochemical response, I mean, I was tense, and angry, but I wasn’t in any kind of physical danger but my body believed I was. It probably didn’t help that once he mentioned sending me back to Romania and the stress built up I couldn’t answer any of his questions without a pause and a bit of an uncertain stammer…not the kind response you want to show a guy who can mistake these reactions for intended deceit! My brain had completely shut down in response to the perceived threat. I would be an open book if I did ever try to intentionally deceive someone, especially border control.
This explosion for me is incredibly rare but for most people this kind of stress happens far too frequently, some even live in a constant state of stress. Stress is the bodies response to a perceived threat, physical or otherwise, to prompt and prepare the fight or flight response. This response serves us well when we actually have to face a physical threat where running or fighting may be useful but most of the time the stress response is triggered when someone merely disagrees with an opinion. And this to me is incredibly interesting because if the stress response, a survival instinct, is triggered from a perceived threat to our believed identity, our ideas, opinions, beliefs, then our mind believes that we are fighting for our life. When our body is in the stressed state, the bodies energy, and nutrients is redirected from our organs to our muscles, preparing to run or fight. And like I said above, this is useful if actually faced with a physical threat every now and then but if we are constantly living in stress, our body is constantly denying itself the nutrients it needs for growth leaving us susceptible to illness or disease. This can have a lasting and devastating impact on our health!
This is where I started to gain a whole new set of knowledge! George introduced us to the various brainwave states and their functions as well as providing us with some Brainwave Training audio programs to listen to each day. He described these audio programs as a type of modern meditation which utilises sound to induce a particular brainwave state. They are pretty funky to listen to; they sound almost like a helicopter sitting on the roof going hell-for-leather. Admittedly it does take some effort to actually sit and listen to a 30 minute program but I find that it is getting easier after the first few days. During the program, while focusing on my breathing and releasing any muscle tension, a strange sensation comes over the body and I kind of feel like I am floating, super-relaxed. It is almost undeniable, in my opinion, that the audio programs, if embraced, do have an affect, if not a physiological affect on the neurons in the brain, then at the very minimum taking 30 mins out of your busy day to relax and reset can’t be a bad thing!
George has devised a detailed list of 52 principles that can help us to live more empowered lives.
Empowering Principles are our backbone. The closer we align with these empowering principles, the stronger our purpose, passion and confidence is to navigate through life.
– George Helou
By incorporating these principles in to all areas of our lives they allow us to enjoy a more enriched experience, enjoy more meaningful relationships and have the confidence and the strength to follow your purpose.
I didn’t anticipate this blog post being so long when I started it but it is easy to get carried away excitedly with the information presented in this first session. All of this information really is life changing, but it doesn’t necessarily change what is ‘out’ there, it changes how you respond and perceive the world around you. By having a greater awareness of the potentials and the possibilities existing outside of your programmed neaural pathways you have a greater choice over your experience in each moment. This alternate awareness has the ability to actually transform our physiology, our cells and neurons, to disconnect from limiting, self-sabotaging habits and beliefs and create new, empowered identities that make living our purpose effortless.
Looking forward to session 2…