Alan Watts Reveals the Most Crucial Factor in Achieving Your Goals and Living the Life You Want

We all have big goals that we want achieve, however many of us are unsure about how to actually achieve them.
It’s not easy. Competition is always tough and sometimes it can feel like the world’s against you.
But if you want to make big strides in life then you need to somehow overcome these feelings of self-doubt and take action.
So to inspire you to take action now and give it your all, we’ve shared some words of wisdom from Alan Watts.
We’ve also provided 9 practical steps to achieving your goals, whatever they may be. Enjoy!

Alan Watts on why you need to stop aspiring and start doing

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.” – Alan Watts
1) Be specific with what you want to achieve
When people have “big goals” they tend to have something generic like “I want to open a Cafe and sell delicious cakes and coffee.” The problem? It’s not specific enough. Really hone down what you want actually want to achieve. What type of Cafe is it? What location? How big do you want it? How much is it? It’s time to really think about it and write down exactly what you want.
2) Draw up an action plan
Write down absolutely everything you need to achieve your goals, even small things. Take time with this because it’s important for the next step.
3) Make a list of steps
List every single step you need to take. Make sure each step is doable (don’t make one step that will take you 100 days to complete. You have to make it achievable within a day or two). This could be over 100 steps, but that’s okay. Once you have them down, you’ll be able to take action.
4) Act, do not be passive
Now you have steps in place, you need to take action. No excuses.

5) Alternative plans

If something doesn’t work, be flexible and change your steps. Some of the most succesful people achieve failures all the time. The difference? They learn from their mistakes and pivot.
6) Examine your goals periodically.
Your goals may change as you grow through life. That’s okay, just make sure you adjust your end goal so it really is what you want to achieve and it aligns with your values.
7) Repeat affirmations.
You need to believe in yourself. Self-doubt will only thwart you. Practice mindfulness and take a step back from self-limiting beliefs. Focus on your actions.
8) Visualize your goal.
Stay motivated and focused on what you want to achieve.
9) Take action
Don’t just affirm and visualize and do nothing. Take any action required to bring your goal into fruition. Follow your intuition, new ideas and opportunities that present themselves, and accept help from other people.

15 Profound Awakening Quotes From Alan Watts

In the middle of yoga class the other day, sweaty, exhausted, and holding a pose for what seemed an eternity, my teacher reminded me of the wisdom of Alan Watts with a single quote that would ultimately make me forget about the physical discomfort I was in, and allow me to fully connect to the beauty of the moment at hand.

“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless,” she said.
The recitation reminded me in that moment that what I was feeling was not permanent, and I was choosing to be there to be enlivened, not lifeless. I wanted to feel, to sweat, to dig deeper mentally and physically. And so I let it happen, and suddenly the moment was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known for his interpretation and popularization of Asian philosophies for the Western minds. His more than 25 books and various articles spanned sensational subjects, including personal identity, higher consciousness, the true nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the pursuit of happiness without the desire for materialism.

Perhaps the most profound part of Watts was that he had the incredible ability of expressing complex thoughts in the simplest of ways.

Here is a glimpse into some of his most awakening quotes:

1. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

2. “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”

3. “No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

4. “Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.”

5. “What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money … but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth … In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are ‘coins’ for real things.”

6. “The source of all light is in the eye.”

7. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.”

8. “Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

9. “This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

10. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

11. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

12. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

13. “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.”

14. “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

15. “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

source and courtesy:collective-evolution

10 Profound Quotes From a Zen Buddhist Master on the Secret of Reaching Enlightenment

Do you also find that Zen Buddhist thought holds some fascinating insights that are relevant to the modern age?
You don’t need to be a practicing Buddhist to benefit from many of these insights.
One Zen Buddhist master we’ve written about many times is Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist who lived his life in exile in France before recently being given permission to visit Vietnam again.
Thich Nhat Hanh shares his wisdom with special clarity and poetic flair.
In this article we’ve put together ten of his most profound quotes, ending with what Thich Nhat Hanh says is the secret to Buddhism.

Dwell in the present moment

The step to achieving enlightenment is to calm yourself, connect with your breath and dwell in the present moment with the knowledge that this is all there is.

In this moment, every action is one of reverence

We always have a choice with how we act in the present moment. We can let go and lose ourselves in our imagination, or connect with everything happening around us.
This article is aligned with the perspective of Thich Nhat Hanh on embracing the here and now: 

Find the magic in the present moment

Go for a walk and connect with nature, with the wind and trees and the ocean. If you’re in a city, admire the bustling people all around you. Notice the smells. Feel the energy of the city.
On Ideapod, we have a shaman sharing ideas and who advocates living mindfully in the moment. His name is Ruda Iande and you can connect with him by responding to his ideas.

When someone makes you suffer, offer compassion

This is a profound perspective about finding the other inside yourself. We are all just an extension of the big bang originally, coming from the same atom that split and started expanding. When you let go of prevailing ideas about time and space, you can feel the connection between everyone and everything.
In this way, the suffering of someone else deserves your compassion rather than frustration.

Don’t let your suffering stop you from being happy

If the suffering inside you is strong, this is an opportunity to embrace your suffering in order to find your happiness. Here’s an article with more on this perspective: A Zen Master Reveals How Embracing Pain Opens the Door to Joy

Freedom is the condition for happiness

This is a profound maxim for letting go. This is what provides the space for us to feel freedom. When we cling onto anger, anxiety or possessions then there’s no space for freedom to emerge.
Here’s a great article on on destroying the ego, helping you to achieve freedom: A Spiritual Master Reveals How to Destroy Your Ego in Three Simple Steps

Keep your body happy to express gratitude to the cosmos

This is a profound idea reminding you of the importance of looking after yourself. If you’re connected to the whole cosmos, then it makes sense that the part you can control should be as healthy as you’re able to make it.
There’s a wonderful Ideapod community member who shares many ideas on living a healthy live: Dr. Rhea.

The source of love is within you

We’ve written a lot about love lately here at The Power of Ideas. The key insight we’ve continually come across is that love begins from loving oneself. When you truly love yourself, then that love can be shared freely with others.
See this article where Osho shares this idea very eloquently: Incredibly Rare Video Footage Of Buddhist Master Revealing the Secret of Love. Also see the many ideas on Ideapod about love.

hink for yourself

This is a beautiful perspective about how we often think from comparison rather than first principles. Rather than always reacting all of the time, it’s better to search within for the truth that makes sense to you.
Elon Musk thinks from first principles, and you can watch a video of him talking about it here (it’s towards the end of the video): How Elon Musk Learns Faster and Better Than Everyone Else

The secret is to remove all ideas and concepts

Finally we’ve arrived at a key insight from Thich Nhat Hanh. The secret of Buddhism is to let go of all of your ideas and concepts in order for the truth to emerge and reveal itself.
What does this mean about the nature of truth? Where do ideas come from? When we clear our minds, why does inspiration usually strike?
Thanks for sticking with us through this brief guide to the thought of Thich Nhat Hanh. If you still have questions and want explore the nature of ideas and where they come from, join us at Ideapod, a social network for idea sharing.

These 6 EASY Buddhist Practices Will Instantly Change Your Life

Consume Mindfully
Be thankful for the nourishment good food provides, and be aware of what you put into your body. Think about it before you buy it. Is it really something you need, or just a transient desire? Pay attention to the effects of negative media you consume. Ask yourself: is it helping you to grow or learn, or is it a form of distraction? Does it take away from your mindfulness, and is it even worth it to do so?
These are really important small decisions that impact us more than we realize.

Take a Moment

Your words have an impact on your life and others. You should ask yourself if your words foster love or bring harm. This is so important. Let your mind settle before you start work, school, or walking into your home. This will set a different tone that can make all the difference. Listen to the people you encounter. If we talk to others and listen, we create the possibility of mutual sympathy, understanding, and tolerance.

Discover Gratitude

One of the most powerful things we can do is practice gratitude. This consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to your life and being connected to a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Some people get confused…they think practicing gratitude is a denial of life’s difficulties. Obviously, we live in trying times, and no doubt you’ve experienced challenges and disappointments. But gratitude frees you from being lost of identified with either negative or positive aspects of life; allowing you to simply meet situations with mindful awareness. Rejoice in the good fortune of others and your own happiness multiplies – it’s the best cure for envy.

Cultivate Compassion & Kindness

Helping others can make all the difference in your happiness and in others lives. If you notice someone needs help, be quick to jump in. Try to alleviate suffering wherever you see it, and consider others perspectives deeply. It can be hard, but observe your reactions with genuine interest and non-attachment. You will find your compassion and patience will naturally spring up out of nowhere. Your heart will begin to guide your decisions. Even if your circumstance is personally challenging (maybe even insulting), it is not always necessary to understand the origins of an experience or a reaction in order to come to peace with it.
Just take a step back and become more of a witness. You’ll notice your entire thought process will change.

Attune to Wisdom

Wisdom is considered to be one of the most important aspects to develop. It’s almost just as important as compassion, actually. Why Because life is a gigantic gray cloud. It’s not black or white. It’s a big mess that involves complicated decision-making, often choosing things that are really the lesser of two evils.
Be open to what arises in every moment. The mind can focus in so many directions: past, present, future, abstract notions or analytical problem solving, to name a few. All forms of thought have a useful role. But try to prioritize awareness of the present moment. Once again, if you slow down your mind, wisdom will naturally spring up, just like compassion.

Embrace Change

This saying really is true: the one constant in the universe is change. What is real is the existing moment, the present that is a product of the past, or a result of the previous causes and actions. Because of ignorance, an ordinary mind conceives them all to be part of one continuous reality. But in truth they are not. If you make peace with this simple truth, your life will be much easier.
source and courtesy: sivanaspirit

36 Ways to Improve Your Self-Image, Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

1. Wake up happy. Optimism and pessimism are learned behavioral attitudes. One of the best ways to develop a positive self-image is to start early in life, or at least early on any given day. Wake up to your favorite music. Sing in the shower. Have breakfast with someone who is optimistic. Read an inspirational message first thing in the morning. Listen to a motivational tape on the way to work.
2. Use positive self-talk throughout the day. “Today is going to be a great day.” “Everything is going to work out.” “We’re going to make it.” “I’m going to close this deal.” “Next time I’ll do better.” “This is great.” “Tonight I’m going to sleep peacefully and deeply.”
3. Use encouraging, affirmative language when you talk to yourself or to others about yourself. Use uplifting and constructive adjectives and adverbs. Everything you say about yourself is being subconsciously recorded by others and, more important, by your own self-image. You and others believe exactly what you say about yourself.
4. Find something good in all your personal relationships and accentuate the blessings or lessons in even the most trying of circumstances.
5. Provide warmth, kindness and friendship to others. These are the most yearned-for commodities in the world. Everyone wants recognition, attention, praise and acceptance. We bristle at criticism and respond warmly to a compliment. We steer clear of people who make us feel uncomfortable. We gravitate toward those who make us feel good about ourselves. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want warmth, be warm. If you want recognition, praise others. If you want to be loved, love others. Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back buttered.
6. Be empathetic. Learn how others feel and consider where they are coming from before criticizing or passing judgment. Even if you can't feel for everyone you meet, be certain that you feel with every living thing you encounter. It's the key to positive self-awareness.
7. Give of yourself. Spend time listening to and giving encouragement to someone else. Treat people like brothers and sisters. Provide value to someone through a kind act or gentle word. Make a contribution to someone or something for which there is no direct payoff. Share your talents with those around you.
8. Introduce yourself to a stranger who looks lost, confused or alone. You will be viewed as a savior. When you are in a group and feel uncomfortable, rest assured that there are others in the group who feel the same way. Get a conversation going with someone else. People love to tell you about themselves. Everyone yearns to be included and accepted. The best way to get acceptance is togive it.
9. See problems as opportunities. Make a list of your most pressing problems. Write a one sentence definition of the problem. Now rewrite the problem, only this time view it as an opportunity or exercise to challenge your creative ingenuity. View the situation as if you were advising your best friend.
10. Learn to stay relaxed and friendly no matter how much tension you’re under. Instead of griping, single out something or someone to praise. When tension or anxiety is present in a room, lower the pitch and tone of your voice, breathe slowly and deeply, sit back and relax your muscles, and respond calmly.
11. Think and talk well of your health. Cure what’s curable. Prevent what’s preventable. Enjoy the rest. In projecting your own health conditions to others, realize that your daily conversation is the automatic readout of your thoughts and emotions. Emphasize the positives.
12. Expect the best from others, too. Two of the keys of leadership are encouragement and praise. Vocalize, on a daily basis, your optimism and positive expectancy about your associates and family members. Emotions are contagious!
13. Associate with optimists and winners. The best way to stay positive is to surround yourself with upbeat people. Remain optimistic by associating with winners and optimists. You can be realistic and optimistic at the same time. Avoid people and situations where you become susceptible to the negative influences of others.
14. Read a biography each month of someone you admire. As you read, imagine yourself achieving the same accomplishments. Implement in your life the qualities you admire in those who you read about.
15. Replace the word can’t with can in your daily conversation. The vast majority of challenges you encounter can be successfully handled.
16. Replace the word try with will in your daily vocabulary. Exhibit a new attitude of dwelling on things that you will do, rather than the things you plan to try. Replace “I have to” or “I should” with “I want to” or “I get to”.
17. Focus your attention and effort on achieving the objectives you are involved in right now. Focus on the present or the future, not the past. Learn from the past, but don’t live in it. Forget about past failures. Remember, you are what you think about most.
18. Take the blame and the credit honestly and openly for your position in life. Accept what you have done wrong and move on. Don’t accept blame for what others have done. Also recognize your own achievements or contribution to the achievement of others. Accept credit where credit is due to you.
19. Seek out someone who is currently doing what you want to do. If there is something you want to do or experience, find an expert, get the facts, make a project of learning everything you can about winners in the field. People love to share their expertise and experience; they’re just waiting for you to ask.
20. Don’t worry about your fears. Fears are a part of being human. Share your fears with someone who can help you look at them realistically. Discard those fears that are not helpful to you. In place of the inhibition “I’m afraid to”, use “I’m more comfortable doing this” as a reason for your non-participation.
21. Imagine yourself achieving your dreams. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes each day when you can relax and imagine yourself achieving and enjoying your personal desires. You cannot reach an achievement until you can see the achievement in your mind.
22. Make a list of five of your most important current wants or desires. Next to each, write what the benefit or payoff is to you when it's achieved. Look at this list before you go to bed each night and upon awakening each morning. Determine one thing you will do each day to move you closer toward the things you want.
23. Visualize your triumphs. As you listen to soft music in the background, visualize your imagined triumphs. Write your thoughts and strategies as you contemplate how to achieve your dreams.
24. Limit your television viewing to stimulating, uplifting shows. Non-selective television viewing leads to tunnel vision and lethargy, and diminishes creative imagination. Positive, forward-looking people have little time for television.
25. Enhance your appearance. Since self-image is the conceptual, visual display of your self-esteem, assess those things which display yourself: clothes, vehicle, home, garage, closet, dresser drawers, desk, etc. Sharpen all of the expressions of your life. No expense is necessary. Clean and press your clothes, clean your home and spruce up your yard, wash your car, straighten your closet, drawers and desk.
26. Discipline your body to improve your cardiovascular system by jogging, walking, swimming or some other healthy form of motion at least three times per week. An optimum distance is 12 to 18 miles per week. Eat nutritional, balanced meals instead of junk food.
27. Set aside a specific time each day or week to initiate action calls or action letters in your behalf. Don’t wait for invitations to succeed; go after what you want.
28. Act as if your rewards in life are a reflection of your hard work, service or contribution – which, of course, they are.
29. Invest in your own knowledge and skill development. Read books, listen to tapes, attend seminars, enroll in college classes. Listen to educational and inspirational cassette tapes while you drive and before retiring in the evening. Listening sparks the imagination and, as in learning a foreign language, promotes permanent memory retention. Take charge of your life!
30. See the person you want to be when you look in the mirror. It takes just as much work and effort for a bad life as it does for a good one, so choose to be what you have always wanted to be.
31. Set your alarm a half-hour early tomorrow morning and leave it at the earlier setting. Use this extra half-hour of your life to wake up and live. Use this time to answer the question, how can I best spend my time today on priorities that are important to me?
32. Finish unpleasant tasks. Make a list of any necessary, but unpleasant, tasks you have been putting off. Put a completion date after each task and start and finish each one. Immediate action on unpleasant projects reduces stress and tension, thereby raising your self-image.
33. Maintain good posture. Make a conscious effort to walk more erectly with a relaxed, but more rapid, pace. There is a strong correlation between the way you walk and how you feel about yourself.
34. Smile! It’s contagious. Smile and the world smiles with you. Your outer expression is a gateway to your inner feelings.
35. Set your own internal standards rather than comparing yourself to others. Keep upgrading your own standards in personal grooming, lifestyle, behavior, professional accomplishments, relationships, etc.
36. Do what is right. You cannot do wrong and feel right. You cannot be bad and feel good. The right thing to do is usually apparent in most situations. Choose the right path. Do the right thing. Perhaps nothing impacts your self-image more than doing what is right.
source and courtesy: linkedin

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