What is “Mundane”?

 

What do I Mean by “Mundane”?

I use the word “mundane” frequently, and realized I should probably level-set on its meaning.
So . . .  what exactly is “mundane”?

From  my perspective and life-philosophy, the mundane in life is bare minimum “living.”

It looks something like this:

Work, eat, consume, zone out on media, sleep.
Wash, rinse, repeat.

Do the same thing day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year.

It’s about just getting through the work day, then escaping through television, social media, shopping, eating and drinking.  Life in a daily rut of routine.

Lower your life expectations to accomplish only the minimum to get by – – basic survival and escapism. Set the bar as low as you can for living.

Most people are:

  • not driven by passion for excelling
  • not driven by Purpose
  • not identifying with important core Values
  • not pursuing Growth and Self-Actualization
  • not achieving life goals
  • not pursuing an enriched life
  • not living with adventure

Instead, most simply become comfortable with routine, and routine only.

 

Can We Ignore the Mundane?

If we strive to be a self-actualizer, can we ignore the mundane in life?  No.
Should we shirk our mundane responsibilities?  No, not unless we arrange to pay others to do them for us.
Should we get satisfaction out of accomplishing mundane tasks?  Yes, I think we should.

However, the enriched living approach should be:

  • Tackle the mundane, get it out of the way.
  • THEN pursue the passion and excellence in our life’s Purpose and Mission.

Take whatever satisfaction you can with accomplishing the mundane, but know there is WAY more to living a life of purpose, joy and satisfaction.

Don’t let the sum of your life be a totality of mundaneness.  Move beyond it to realize greater potential and life happiness.  Pursue living an Enriched Life!

“Are you really living life . . .  Or are you just paying bills until you die?”

 

How to Move Beyond Mundaneness

Eliminate the time vampires in your life and do something – anything – beyond the mundane. Consciously use your time on this Earth better than letting it waste away.  Stop being a couch potato and choose to spend that time making life a bit more of an adventure. . .

Read books, learn something new, keep learning, develop a hobby, travel, tackle projects, build, create, write, visit parks, get out in nature, hike, kayak, visit museums, appreciate art, take up art (whether visual or performing), listen to beautiful music, go to art shows and other festivals, take family outings, go camping, find the magic in discovering history, explore your city, appreciate architecture, drive or walk through a historic neighborhood, visit beautiful landscape gardens, surround yourself with beauty, restore something old, develop a craft, collect something meaningful to you, unclutter your life of the things that aren’t important to you, go to concerts, redecorate or remodel your living space, learn new skills, try something new.

Get the idea?  Reach for more. Choose something that resonates with your interests. Don’t settle for the mundane as the only option for living.

Your efforts don’t have to be perfect.  The goal is to get out of the rut of the mundane and actually LIVE life doing the things that are truly important to your core.

Yes . . . .do the mundane, as a matter of being an element of life, just don’t get mired in the mundane.  Fit more substance into your life.

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”   – Robin Sharma

 

 

 

 

Growth and Self-Actualization

If you resonate with any of the messages presented to you in the writings on this site, you’re already of the mindset of someone who knows the importance of Growth and Self-Actualization.

But what is it exactly?  Why is it important – at least to some of us who are driven beyond the normal and mundane?

 

Growth

Personal Growth is the desire to self-develop yourself; to become more than you are today; to discover the possibilities within you; to achieve more in life (and I don’t necessarily mean material achievements).

Not all people are interested in personal growth.  I think it must be due to personality differences.  For me – and the audience I write for – the need to self-improve, self-discover, grow and expand your personal horizons is an important element of life.  I can’t get away from it.  It’s part of my personal being – part of my life’s Purpose and Mission – even before I went through the formality to determine them several years ago. I always knew deep within there was more to discover and more to accomplish. I had to take that path.

Growth doesn’t come from doing nothing, or doing the same thing over and over.  If during your waking hours you’re only working your job, watching TV, playing video games and sleeping, you won’t get Growth. It can’t happen. Couch Potato-ism doesn’t equal growth.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” – Jessie Potter

If you desire to live an enriched life in this mundane world, and you’re not living it now, then you must decide to do something different.  You need a burning desire within you to be more…. to do more…. to have an impact on yourself and others.  You need an internal fire within to grow as a human being towards your realized and exciting potential.

Growth comes in three opportunity packages:

  • Growth by starting something new
  • Growth by stopping something you are presently doing
  • Growth through the mistakes we make

You can see by this list that Growth requires action.  You have to start something new, stop something you’re doing, and/or make mistakes to learn valuable lessons.  Sitting secure in your comfort zone and doing nothing differently will not get you Growth.

“Seek opportunity, not security. A boat in a harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr., Life’s Little Instruction Book

Make a decision to do something different.  Make a decision that will count for something critical to your best self.  Decide to grow – not rot.  Don’t sell yourself short.

“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” – Abraham Maslow

 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Hierarchy of Needs?  It’s a psychological theory of motivation developed by Abraham Maslow, and is a step-by-step progression of human needs to be pursued for maximum satisfaction and happiness.  Here are the basics:

Think of a pyramid.  Human needs start at the bottom of the pyramid shown above and move upward as each is achieved.  Here’s the hierarchy in the order they’re typically met (bottom-to-top in the diagram):

  1. Physiological Needs – It starts at the bottom of the pyramid with the fact that people in a base/primitive existence will be trying to achieve physiological needs (air, water, food, sex – basic human survival needs).
  2. Safety Needs -Once the basic survival needs are met, people can then be concerned with basic safety and security issues around personal life, health and finances.
  3. Love & Belonging Needs – Assuming physiological and safety needs have been met, then people will gravitate towards gaining psychological needs of loving and belonging – feeling loved and accepted (friendships, family, relationships).
  4. Esteem – After achieving the prior three needs, we move to pursuing the needs of ego and social status.  We desire to be respected and valued by others.
  5. Self-actualization – After mastering esteem and the other needs, an industrious person can now work towards becoming the best self they can be.  To self-actualize.

Maslow called the first four needs basic or deficiency needs – meaning, they are a lack of something and are met externally.  The final need is called a growth need – and is not a lack of something externally but instead a desire for personal growth, which is met internally.

The growth need of self-actualization moves a person beyond other people’s opinions – or any external validation for that matter.  Its driven by a desire deep within us.

Not all needs have to be met in the precise order presented in the theory.  There are individuals who tackle their growth need at the same time as they’re working on some of their deficiency needs; there’s no hard-and-fast rule.

Self-Actualization

This article is concerned with the highest need – the growth need of “Self-Actualization.”

What does Self-Actualization really mean?

“What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” – Abraham Maslow, 1954, Motivation and Personality

This is a state of being; of self-awareness and concern for fulfilling your potential.  Maslow referred to those in this state as “self-actualizers.”

Growth and self-development is a lifelong process.  You really don’t ever get to a point where you can say you’ve completed your path to self-actualization.  It’s a process of wonderful growth and self-discovery, progressing continually to realize your potential.

Your Purpose and Mission should be a result of deep reflection and passion for what is critically important to your being, and this will directly drive your path to self-actualization.  Follow your passion and bliss.  Let it drive your life and its actions in fulfilling your potential. Live a life of self-discovery and adventure!

 

What are the Characteristics of a Self-Actualizer?

I have to admit that I hadn’t previously been exposed to Maslow’s list of characteristics for Self-Actualizers.  It’s quite an eye opener, and I see many that apply to my own life – particularly over the last 30 years of growth.  A self-actualizer doesn’t necessarily have to display all these elements of character.  As stated previously, this is a process.  As long as you’re able to look at the list and see some of them reflected in your growth path, then you’re on the right track.

Here is the list direct from Maslow’s Motivation and Personality, Chapter 11, “Self-Actualizing People: A Study Of Psychological Health”:

1) More Efficient Perception of Reality and More Comfortable Relations with it

Self-actualizers have a keen sense of realism. This includes the ability to correctly judge people because they can detect false and dishonest people. They live more in the real world of nature than the man-made abstractions, beliefs and stereotypes most people confuse as the world. They are logical and rational, perceiving what is real rather than their own (or other’s) wishes, hopes, anxieties or beliefs. They’re not frightened or threatened by the unknown or ambiguous; rather, they often desire and welcome it.

 

2) Acceptance (Self, Others, Nature)

Self-actualizers accept themselves and others as they are. Because they more clearly perceive reality, they see human nature as it is and not as they would prefer it to be.  They accept it and don’t give it much concern or thought, viewing any deficiencies as neutral personality characteristics.  Because of this they tend to lack guilt, shame, inhibition or anxiety – enjoying life free from these burdens, without regret or apology.

 

3) Spontaneity; Simplicity; Naturalness

Self-actualizers are relatively open, spontaneous and unconventional – in both thoughts and behavior. They’re not confined by norms – not allowing rules and regulations they feel are trivial to prevent them from achieving their important goals.  Although unconventional, if the situation calls for it, they will go through the ceremonies and rituals of convention with a good-humored shrug and with the best possible grace.

 

4) Problem Centering

Self-actualizers focus on problems that are outside of themselves (problem-centered) rather than problems within themselves (ego-centered). They typically have a mission in life to fulfill which enlists their energies – tasks they feel compelled to do for others. They feel it is a calling to serve a greater cause. They’re concerned with basic issues and eternal questions in the philosophical and ethical realm. They live in the widest possible frame of reference, a large horizon, a broad vision, never losing sight of the forest due to the trees – focusing on the big picture.

 

5) The Quality of Detachment; the Need of Privacy

Self-actualizers positively like and desire their solitude and privacy. Since they’ve moved beyond deficiency needs and are focused on growth, they don’t need others in the ordinary sense. They don’t need external reassurances, or other’s opinions. They’re very independent and use their time for developing their own individual potential. This detachment is often viewed by others as aloof, cold, snobbish, and unfriendly.  They’re objective, strong self-starters who are active, make up their mind and are responsible for their own decisions and destinies. They’re not pawns who are helplessly “determined” by others.

 

6) Autonomy; Independence of Culture and Environment; Will; Active Agents

Self-actualizers are independent and not reliant on their main satisfactions coming from their external environment or other people. They are “self-contained.”  While deficiency-motivated people need others available to satisfy their lower hierarchy needs (safety, love, respect, prestige, belongingness), growth-motivated people are actually hampered by others. Their satisfactions come from within rather than from outside social interactions.

 

7) Continued Freshness of Appreciation

Self-actualizers have the wonderful capacity to repeatedly appreciate, freshly and naively, the basic goodness of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others.  They experience a richness of subjective experience in the form of joy, ecstasy, pleasure, inspiration and strength – whether in music, beauty, nature, people, or even in the basic elements of life. They don’t take their blessings for granted and maintain a sincere gratitude for life.

 

8) The Mystic Experience; The Peak Experience

Self-actualizers experience moments that Maslow called mystic or “peak” experiences. This is an intensification of any experience in which there’s a loss of self or transcendence of it.  The experience can provide feelings of limitless horizons, the feeling of great ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placing in time and space, and finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened.  The individual is to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences. The intense feelings do not come all the time but occasionally and at the most unexpected moments.They can also occur in lesser degrees of intensity.  While one would be apt to identify this as a religious or supernatural experience, it’s actually a natural experience.

 

9) Gemeinschaftsgefühl (Identification with mankind)

Gemeinschaftsgefühl, a word invented by Alfred Adler, describes the feelings for mankind expressed by self-actualizated people: it’s an identification with humankind. They have a genuine desire to help the human race, as if they were all members of a single family. Even though the self-actualized person is very different from other people in thought, impulse, behavior and emotion, they have a deep sense of empathy for those around them. They are often saddened, exasperated, and even enraged by the shortcomings of the average person, yet however far apart they are from them at times, they nevertheless feel a basic underlying kinship with them – much as an older brother.

 

10) Interpersonal Relations

Self-actiualizers have deeper and more profound relationships than any other adults. They’re capable of deep ties and greater love than other people would consider possible. However, these especially deep ties occur with only a few individuals.  They have a small circle of friends and these relationships are likely to be healthier and closer than the average person – much closer.

 

11) The Democratic Character Structure

Self-actualizers are friendly with anyone of suitable character regardless of class, education, political belief, race, or color. As a matter of fact it often seems as if they are not even aware of these differences, which are for the average person so obvious and so important. They find it possible to learn from anybody who has something to teach them – no matter what other characteristics he may have. They share a quality that could be called humility of a certain type – humble before people who can teach them something that they do not know or who have a skill they do not possess.

 

12) Discrimination Between Means and Ends, Between Good and Evil

Self-actualizers are fixed more on the ends rather than the means. The journey is just as enjoyable and important as the arrival. Very few are religious in the orthodox sense, but they have strong ethical and moral standards and are certain about what’s right and wrong (although their notions of right and wrong and of good and evil are often not the conventional ones).

 

13) Philosophical, Unhostile Sense of Humor

Self-actualizers are often seen by the average person as rather sober and serious. Their sense of humor is not of the ordinary type. They don’t find humor in making fun of people in a hurtful, denigrating way.  Philosophically-oriented, thoughtful humor is more to their liking – poking fun at foolishness or inflated egos – even laughing at themselves. Think of it as humor with a message.

 

14) Creativeness

Self-actualizers are creative in a youthful, childlike manner.  They retain a fresh, naive and direct way of looking at life. Most people lose this as they become enculturated, but not those who are self-actualized….. they’re more spontaneous, more natural, more human. They do things without inhibition and with spirit and insight of perception. They’re not necessarily gifted with a “special” talent such as playing the piano or writing literature or poetry, but display more of an uninhibited, youthful, creative expression – like young children.

 

15) Resistance to Enculturation; the Transcendence of any Particular Culture

Self-actualizers maintain a certain inner detachment from the culture in which they’re immersed. They’re autonomous and less molded by societal influences. They may appear to be culturally adapted in terms of what they wear or their social practices, but it’s not a genuine “buy in.”  If cultural conventions are too annoying or troublesome, they rid themselves of this superficiality and focus on what’s important to them.  They’re not radical rebels, but if needed – they could be. They’re primarily intellectual in nature and have a mission of something important to improve the world. They’re not likely to make useless sacrifices – being more of a realist.

“Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.” – Unknown

 

It’s Your Choice.

Life is about choices.  Our lives are the sum total of the consequences of our choices.  Choose to be more.  Choose to pursue your potential.  Choose to self-discover.  Choose to adventure in Growth and Self-Actualization!

“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

 

“Human life will never be understood unless its highest aspirations are taken into account. Growth, self-actualization, the striving toward health, the quest for identity and autonomy, the yearning for excellence (and other ways of phrasing the striving “upward”) must by now be accepted beyond question as a widespread and perhaps universal tendency . . .” – Abraham Maslow, 1954, Motivation and Personality

 

Self-actualizing people enjoy life in general and practically all its aspects, while most other people enjoy only stray moments of triumph.” – Abarham Maslow

 

“Growth takes place when the next step forward is subjectively more delightful, more joyous, more intrinsically satisfying than the previous gratification which we have become familiar or even bored. – Abraham Maslow

 

 

Some decent online sources:

 

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

Your Purpose and Mission in Life

Why should anyone be concerned with identifying their Purpose and Mission in life?  What good is it?  Will it really make any difference with living life in this hodgepodge world of the mundane and chaotic?

What’s the difference between Purpose, Mission and Vision?  Do I need big goals to have a Purpose and Mission?  Or is it the other way around?  Is this some kind of useless, fuzzy-bullshit, corporate or new age stuff?

Hang on, let’s see what it means for you . . .

 

What Are The Benefits of Identifying a Personal Purpose & Mission?

Do you bounce around life in an uncontrolled fashion not really knowing why you’re doing something – like a cork tossed about on the surface of a stormy sea?

Are you dissatisfied and frustrated with life? Do you have an anxiousness within; a nagging feeling that something isn’t right and there’s more to life than what you’re living?

Do you wonder if you’re here on Earth for a specific reason but have no idea how to identify that reason?

If so, then you could reap great rewards from taking the time to determine your personal Purpose and Mission in life.

Here are the compelling benefits:

  • Laser-like focus for your life; Avoid distractions; Eliminate wasted time and energy
  • Know what’s most important to you; Live a purpose-driven life with a sense of direction
  • Simplified decision-making – no waffling; Know exactly what you should or shouldn’t be doing
  • Live a life of certainty, confidence and self-esteem
  • Stay aligned with your critical personal core values, and attract people who have similar values
  • Change your life in an extremely positive way; get incredible results; Accomplish valuable goals; Impact the world; Leave a legacy
  • Experience a sense of energy, excitement, motivation, passion and gratitude
  • Know who you are – to the core; See the Big Picture
  • Experience in-depth happiness and satisfaction
  • Gain personal freedom and independence

Without identifying a personal Purpose and Mission you’re relinquishing your future to a haphazard road map of unquestioned turns and directions.

Don’t live with randomness, indecision, doubt, uncertainty, and confusion.

“You are the architect of your dreams.” – Andy Andrews

 

What is the Difference Between Purpose and Mission?

Purpose . . . Mission . . . Vision . . . Goals . . .  What’s the difference?  Don’t they all get you to where you need to go?

Maybe.  It depends on the order you tackle them.

If you simply start setting big goals without having identified your Purpose and Mission, you run the risk of choosing goals that others portray to you as important.  What good is it to pursue other people’s goals?  It just leads to dissatisfaction, frustration and unhappiness.

Most of the online resources don’t bother distinguishing a rigid difference across Purpose, Mission and Vision.  And even the ones who attempt it have varied success in conveying why you should even bother splitting hairs about the differences.

From a general perspective, here are the nuances:

PURPOSEWhy do you exist?  Why are you here?  Your purpose is the reason why you should be doing what you’re doing in life – your raison d’être. It brings excitement and passion to living. It’s the truest & deepest meaning of life for you.

MISSIONHow will you accomplish your purpose.? How will you get there?  How will you focus?  What will you do and How will you do it?  It’s about action.  Mission is your personal philosophy of what you hope to be and intend to accomplish, based on your Purpose.  It’s doing what matters and eliminating the distractions. What will you allow in your life and how will you positively influence others?

VISIONWhat will it look like when you arrive at your destination? Where do you want to be?  This is a mental picture of your optimal future state – the Result you want to obtain based on your Purpose and Mission. What does the difference you’ll make look like? It’s a vivid and inspirational mental picture of where you ultimately want to be in life. It inspires you to set goals.

 

Some workshop exercises ignore Purpose because it comes out within the Mission and Vision.  Others ignore Vision and focus on Purpose and Mission. Some identify Purpose as being the same as Mission.  If you follow the better workshop exercises, you’ll end up getting to the critical end-point either way, which is identifying your Purpose and Mission.

The way I see it:   Purpose drives Mission which, in turn, drives Vision, which drives Goals

Purpose —-> Mission —–> Vision —–> Goals

Several less-than-adequate resources will have you defining goals before you’ve identified your Purpose and Mission.  I adamantly DISAGREE.  It’s foolish to identify goals before Purpose and Mission.  That’s one of the problems with living your social conditioned life – because you’re likely to be convinced something outside you is your true Purpose and Mmission – when it is not.  You end up pursuing goals that others have identified for you as critical and valuable, and you mistakenly see them as important.  They’re not your true goals. This is a road to frustration and unhappiness.

 

How To Identify Your Life’s Purpose & Mission

The best method to determine your Personal Purpose and Mission is an exercise in self-discovery. You need to spend some quality quiet time with a series of introspective questions and an honest attempt on your part to self-discover.

The best online resources I’ve found with a great set of questions are nearly identical and can be found here:

Those two, by far, have the most effective set of questions to allow a proper introspective adventure and self-discovery.

A couple of decent runner-ups (but not quite as thorough) include:

 

Introspection time . . . Your Purpose

The first article noted above has fifteen excellent questions to identify your life Purpose, so I’ll list them here.

Find a quiet place and time. Take a pad of paper and write out your answers as quick as they come to you – the first thing that pops in your head. Be honest with yourself and don’t give other people’s answers.  Answer genuinely about you; from your gut.

Don’t edit.  Don’t second guess. Don’t change your answers.  Spend only about 30 to 60 seconds per question.

  1. What makes you smile? (activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
  2. What are your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
  3. What activities make you lose track of time?
  4. What makes you feel great about yourself?
  5. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
  6. What are you naturally good at? (skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
  7. What do people typically ask you for help in?
  8. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
  9. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
  10. You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.
  11. What are your deepest values?
  12. What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
  13. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
  14. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
  15. Given your talents, passions and values. How could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? ( to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)

Go back through your answers and circle or highlight the words and phrases that jump out at you as the most important. Prioritize them from most important to least important.

After answering all those questions, pause and consider . . . what are you truly passionate about?

Combine that passion with your prioritized words into a sentence or two that best describes your purpose.

 

Bonus Introspection:

I had four memorable introspective events that helped solidify my Purpose.

  • My first encounter with any kind of exercise in a Personal Purpose or Mission was probably about 1995, in the early days of the web.  I had become interested in self-improvement and success and came across a brief exercise online someone had written – probably for identifying life goals.  It had a major impact on me, stopping me in my tracks and forcing me to look inward for genuine answers to my true purpose – not just pursuing monetary “success” in life at the expense of all else – instead, something real and significant.

The scenario? (similar to #10 above)

Imagine yourself on your Deathbed. Look back over your life and where it’s brought you in this moment.  What will you need to have done and accomplished to feel that you lived life well?  A fulfilling life?  Throughout life, what’s been most important to you as you ready yourself for death?

  • Then, about three-to-five years ago, I found a particularly significant question in an introspective exercise.  This made a huge difference for me.  Identifying a Gnawing Purpose:

Think back over your entire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.  What is it that continually came up over and over through those years that was very important to you – a passion for you? Something gnawing at you that you couldn’t let go and forget – or outgrow?  A relentless feeling to pursue something. What was the repetitive theme, value, or activity?

  • In late 2012, I went though a process to identify my Core Personal Values.  This, too, really helped zero in on my Purpose.  (#11 above)
  • I’ve always had an issue with procrastination and lack of action to implement my biggest desires (due to recurring fear, self-doubt and perfectionism).  In late 2015 I finally bit the bullet and decided I wanted to take action on what/how I wanted to leave a Legacy.  (Legacy is missing from the fifteen questions above, but appears in some of the other sources noted in this article.)  That’s what pushed me to the point of creating and focusing on this web site. I created it in January 2016 with the intent to write for whoever could relate – anyone with open ears, eyes and mind.  But my main focus was to perhaps influence one or more of my descendants to live beyond the norm; to excel and live a fulfilling life.
“While goals are chosen, a purpose is discovered. Our purpose is something we have been doing all along, and will continue to do, regardless of circumstances, until the day we die.”
― Peter McWilliams, Do It!

Your Mission Statement

The same article goes on to describe how to identify your life Mission:

A personal mission consists of 3 parts . . .

  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to help?
  • What is the result? What value will I create?

Steps to Creating Your Personal Mission Statement:

  1. Do the exercise with the 15 questions above as quickly as you can.  [and the bonus introspections]
  2. List out action words you connect with.   (examples: educate, accomplish, empower, encourage, improve, help, give, guide, inspire, integrate, master, motivate, nurture, organize, produce, promote, travel, spread, share, satisfy, understand, teach, write, etc.)
  3. Based on your answers to the 15+ questions, list everything and everyone that you believe you can help.  (examples: people, creatures, organizations, causes, groups, environment, etc.)
  4. Identify your end goal. How will the ‘who from your above answer benefit from what you ‘do?
  5. Combine steps 2-4 into a sentence, or 2-3 sentences.  That should be your Mission Statement.

You personal Mission Statement should get you excited about life. It should be action oriented – describing what you want to do with your life and who/what will you impact.

Your life from this point forward should be guided by the results of this exercise.  Your Purpose and Mission will allow you to more easily make decisions based on what you should be doing with your life.  If new opportunities and activities arise that don’t align with your Purpose and Mission – don’t pursue them.

Mission Statement Tips:

– Keep it short & positive
– Make it emotional: It should infuse you with passion and ignite the fire within you
– Make it future-oriented & include the people who matter most

Your personal Purpose and Mission Statement should drive your Vision and Goals – pushing you to excel in the very thing you’re on the Earth to achieve.

This self-discovery exercise is powerful.  It will change your life. It will give you confidence and focus.

Go for it!

 

“A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought.”      – James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

 

“Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations; he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers,”   – James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

 

Some of the best online sources for this topic:

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

SpaceX – Engineering and Technology Awe & Wonder

What an incredible achievement by private enterprise that inspires and strikes me with awe and wonder . . .

(video starts at 8:00 minute mark)

I just love the way SpaceX does their launch coverage: allowing a huge crowd inside mission control, young energetic people to describe what’s going on, people of both sexes working within mission control, and video cameras mounted everywhere showing you live what’s going on, before and throughout the actual launch.

It’s also extremely impressive how they display the capability of launching a large number of missions in such a short period of time. For instance: They’ve had five launches in just under two months, including this one.  They had eighteen launches in all of 2017!

What a remarkable company, employing accomplished engineers, technicians, specialists, etc! AMAZING. And this time . . . having some fun with it too by using Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster and Starman dummy as the payload to a Mars orbit. This is very inspiring and gives me goosebumps while watching – in total awe at the marvel of the engineering used – particularly the return and landing of the booster rockets. THAT is a fantastic accomplishment in and of itself.

Government-funded NASA could never match these type of accomplishments, nor the costs.

Total inspiration!

 

 

Astroturfing – a Slick 21st-Century Manipulation of Fake Support

On the heels of my segment on Propaganda, it makes sense to also share this methodology of modern propaganda called “Astroturfing.”

What is Astroturfing?  Essentially it’s the attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support actually exists.

I stumbled on this excellent video by Sharyl Atkisson, an ex-CBS investigative journalist who apparently still holds the ethics of journalism in high regard (a rarity in the last decade). She does a stellar job of explaining this aspect of Propaganda.

Give it this 11 minute enlightenment a listen….. Astroturf and manipulation of media messages, TedX Talk by Sharyl Attkisson:

From Sharyl Attkisson’s website:

The whole point of astroturf is to try to convince you there’s widespread support for or against an agenda when there’s not.

The language of astroturfers and propagandists includes trademark inflammatory terms such as: anti, nutty, quack, crank, pseudo-science, debunking, conspiracy theory, deniers and junk science. Sometimes astroturfers claim to “debunk myths” that aren’t myths at all. They declare debates over that aren’t over. They claim that “everybody agrees” when everyone doesn’t agree. They aim to make you think you’re an outlier when you’re not.

Astroturfers often disguise themselves and publish blogs, write letters to the editor, produce ads, start non-profits, establish Facebook and Twitter accounts, edit Wikipedia pages or simply post comments online to try to fool you into thinking an independent or grassroots movement is speaking. They use their partners in blogs and in the news media in an attempt to lend an air of legitimacy or impartiality to their efforts.

In today’s world of social media it’s extremely easy for shills to set-up fake Facebook and Twitter accounts, control Wikipedia content, as well as create activist groups to push the agenda of an entity and its policies, while attempting to appear to be honest, grassroot individuals or groups.

 

Some relevant supporting articles on the obscene practice of Asrtoturfing:

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

 

 

 

Propaganda – An Introduction

My last article on Social/Cultural Conditioning naturally leads into a discussion about Propaganda.

While Social Conditioning is concerned with the life-long process of molding people’s thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors to what society and peer groups want them to be, propaganda can be viewed as the continual fuel to keep those minds and emotions in line.  And specifically, to condition people to follow the desired directives of those in power “selling” the message.

Most of us, it seems, grew up with the indoctrination that propaganda was something used only by the evil Nazis, Communists, and Fascists in the early-to-mid 20th-century to brainwash their citizens into supporting maniacal dictatorial control.

No way did propaganda ever apply to us here in the Land Of The Free – the United States of America!  Right?  Not only would our government never consider its use (because they look out for the best for its citizens), but residents of the USA are much too smart to fall for it.  Right?

If only that were true.

It’s time for American citizens to arise from their indoctrinated stupor.

What is Propaganda?

At the time of the drafting of this article, Wikipedia tells us:

Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view. Propaganda is often associated with the psychological mechanisms of influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward a specific cause, position or political agenda in an effort to form a consensus to a standard set of belief patterns.

An excellent definition as referenced in The Propaganda Project:

Propaganda is the deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”  -Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, ‘Propaganda and Persuasion”

What are the primary attributes and qualities of Propaganda?

  • deliberate manipulation of information
  • deliberate selective presentation of facts (half-truths, incomplete truths)
  • deliberate misrepresentation of facts – misinformation & disinformation (distraction via outright lies)
  • deliberate omission and/or distortion of facts (half-truths, or less)
  • deliberate loaded language to trigger emotional, rather than rational, responses – appealing primarily to knee-jerk emotional reactions (which the general public – the mob – shows themselves to regularly embrace)
  • deliberate focus on forming opinions rather than increasing knowledge
  • deliberate intention to avoid a free exchange of ideas (emotionally-triggered reactions rather than thoroughly inform)
  • attempt to influence people to believe a certain ideology whether that ideology is right or wrong
  • and of utmost importance: deliberately pounding these manipulated messages at you repetitively – – over and over and over again.  The more you hear it, the more you will believe it to be factual and self-evident.

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in . . .  to kind of catapult the propaganda.” – George W. Bush, May 24, 2005

And all of it – – its entire intention – – is to indoctrinate, manipulate and mold beliefs.

Think of it as a battle for men’s minds –  a form of Psychological Warfare.

It’s all about influence, persuasion, indoctrination, manufacturing consent, controlling information to shape what is held as unquestionably “true” (media and education), all done in a covert approach to control large groups of people.

 

Some History of Propaganda

It’s believed that propaganda has been in use since the Greeks, specifically by anyone attempting to persuade others to adopt the beliefs they’re propagating; particularly those in power desiring belief and support. The Greeks studied rhetoric and prided themselves in their logical oratory abilities.

The term didn’t get coined though until 1622 when the Catholic church created a group called Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith).  This group’s purpose was to spread (propagate) the Catholic faith with their missionary work in non-Catholic locations.

Since the break-up of feudalism it’s most likely been in use by politicians in every country in order to keep their populations in line and supporting the leadership’s desired policies.

My main concern for this article is with modern propaganda – the proliferation of its use since the early 20th century.  The word “propaganda” didn’t take on a hugely negative connotation until its use in WWI by the Creel Commission wherein deceit was used to whip up citizen support for the United States entering World War I.

The golden age of propaganda is considered to be the time-frame leading up to and including WWII.  All sides of the war used propaganda to foment patriotism and support for their war policies. Each country had their own departments for propaganda (or whatever euphemistic name they gave it).

Since WWII, propaganda’s use has progressed to become almost a sure-fire science of psychological manipulation

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Propaganda: Isn’t it Education?

Propaganda theoretically differs from “education” because an educator should objectively present information in an unbiased nature to their students – sharing all sides of an argument, all evidence and information, and encouraging students to critically think about what is presented. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really happen in education, but that’s an article for another time.

This brings up a notable point, in that some propagandist may actually view themselves as educators – purveyors of truth and fact – when, in fact, they are only presenting “education” that is extremely slanted and biased to their belief structure.

By the same token, those hearing the propagandist’s message may believe it to be the most solid truth, because the information presented by the “educationist” confirms their own biased beliefs – making them True Believers.

Propaganda then, is about manipulative persuasion, and education (true education) is about fully informing the student from all aspects of a topic. That’s quite a difference.

 

“The real struggle is not between East and West, or capitalism and communism, but between education and propaganda.” – Martin Buber

 

“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate the truth.”           – Garry Kasparov

 

Who Are Propagandists?

Who produces propaganda?  Propagandists can be found in the Political, Academic & Corporate consumerism world.  It’s spread throughout our pervasive media to trigger irrational emotions and influence opinion and beliefs.

According to Encyclopedia Brittannica, they are highly skilled and trained in history, psychology, politics, social sciences, survey research, and statistical inference.

Traditional forms of media such as newspapers, posters, radio, and television have been hugely boosted in the last decade by social media and the internet.  Social media is an incredible way to spread propaganda in a VERY rapid fashion.

Propagandist can be causally referred to as “Spin Doctors” – although that term seems to have a much less sinister title as they truly deserve.

When it comes down to it, if someone can control public opinion then they have all the power. A government cannot have power if it does not have the support of the public. In order to gain support of the public, propaganda is used to promote the government and the ideals behind it.

 

Propaganda – Its use for War

Fomenting war seems to be where propaganda is most widely used.  A set of simple steps ensures the population is drawn in to total support for war:

  • Run continuous “news” stories in the papers, magazines, television and social media about the evils of the perceived far away “enemy”.
  • Paint the “enemy” as lying, viscous, sub-human animals without a shred of morality (whether true or not)
  • Fabricate whatever atrocities you need to get the desired irrational, emotional reaction from the populace (whether any of it has even a shred of truth to it). The slaughter of women and children are particularly effective (whether true or not).  Remember: None of the people you’re propagandizing can possibly verify if any of your stories are true; they’re not personally there in some god-forsaken country and can’t validate any of the stories you create.
  • Remind the people about your military strength.
  • Remind them that you’re on the side of a higher power and moral standards. Your side is just and righteous.
  • Continually present “experts” to the public to back the substance and ideals of your propaganda narrative.  Play on people’s inherent obedience to authority in all avenues of power – media, academia, military and government representation.
  • Stir up good old patriotism with its unquestioned emotional appeal.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat – ad infinitum – escalating the fabrications until you have the populace foaming at the mouth to destroy the “enemy.”
  • If the continued hammering of the above doesn’t do the trick soon enough for your tastes, plan a convincing False Flag to seal the deal!

 

“In order to bring a nation to support the burdens of maintaining great military establishments, it is necessary to create an emotional state akin to war psychology. There must be the portrayal of an external menace. This involves the development to a high degree of the nation-hero, nation-villain ideology and the arousing of the population to a sense of sacrifice. Once these exist, we have gone a long way on the path to war.”   – John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State

 

“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.” – Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

 

Propaganda – Its use in Academia

The world worships science, and science is academia.  Academia, due to hierarchy and tenure, can shove certain flawed paradigms on to the public, as well as lesser academicians in their employ who must tow the line or be ostracized if they don’t push the latest/greatest “approved” paradigm.

A future article about paradigms and their stifling of progress is also in the works.  Suffice it to say, paradigms are the only accepted “truth” at government-funded universities, high schools, middle and elementary schools.

Any studies into the realm of knowledge and information that is outside (and/or opposing) the accepted paradigm must be pursued in an auto-didactic manner (self-education) or it is never learned.  In fact, how is one supposed to even realize there are other viewpoints beyond the accepted paradigm?  Most people feel that if it isn’t taught in the school they attended then it can’t be relevant or true.  They have been entirely propagandized as to what is and isn’t education.

But always remember . . .

Who supplies the dollars for academic funding?  Who fuels the very engine of academia? Who supplies the grants and funding to pursue the so-called “pursuit of truth”?  Government and corporatism.  Can we naively believe that a university who obtains hundreds-of-thousands or millions of dollars in grants will ever produce research results in opposition to the interests of those funding them?

The government and corporate grants are going to get the results they desire – or the grants (and payrolls of the academicians) dries up.  It’s as simple as that.  Follow the money.  The money drives the results. Only a naive adolescent could believe otherwise.

 

Propaganda – Its use for Advertising

Effective advertising makes use of psychological triggers (as does all propaganda).  Advertisers have known for decades how to trigger certain psychological reactions in us to buy their product.  They also have progressed to the point of successfully creating “brand evangelists” – getting consumers to proselytize the company’s brand to everyone in their social group.

There are published books that share the methodology the corporate world uses to increase sales and indoctrinate consumers.  A few of the most direct ones:

  • Mind Control Marketing by Mark Joyner
  • Triggers by Joseph Sugarman
  • Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale

Some of the psychological ploys advertisers use against us include: conformity to group norms (herd mentality), obedience to authority, celebrity endorsements, Zeigarnik Effect (attraction/curiosity of an unfinished story), cognitive dissonance, convincing us that “wants” are “needs”, framing, false claims (deception), storytelling, involvement/ownership, guilt, fear, greed, hopes/dreams, laziness (something for nothing), social status, exclusivity/scarceness, repetition. Essentially – sell everything with emotional manipulation.

 

The Challenges to Identify Propaganda and How to Deal With It

Few people actually double-check what they learn in school – so propaganda can be repeated by journalists, politicians, clergy, friends and family as though it’s a well known fact – when it isn’t.

And what makes it worse, the average individual has no time, money or inclination to dig in and research the “facts” and stories they’re being told.  All the propagandist has to do is bring in an “expert” to support the narrative and – boom – everyone believes. Who can argue with an “expert?”

Answer:  Independent thinkers, researchers and journalists – that’s who.

Propagandists are betting on humanity’s laziness, insufficient time/effort/money, and lack of exposure/influence to a large enough group of people to really make a difference.

So. . . what can you as an individual do?

First of all, understand that nearly everything you’re exposed to via television news, print media, advertising, academic proclamations, reporting of any kind on our government’s actions, as well as global economics and politics, are all propagandized (from a small to a large extent).

Second, you must decide whether you’re going to accept everything you see and hear as fact (no matter the source of media), or will you awaken to the fact that you’re being played by the narrative?

Realize that the news, education and advertising you’re exposed to is designed to mold your belief and responses to an accepted narrative/paradigm that those in power (or selling a product) want you to embrace.

If you choose to awaken, your range of response can vary from:

  • Disengagement:  Screw it….just stop watching the news and reading popular print and internet media.  Choose not to participate in their psychological operation.  Check-out and disengage.  Why bother with any of it? It’s all negative energy anyway.
  • Acknowledgement:  Expose yourself to the media, but realize . . . none of this impacts you directly.  You can’t verify any of it. No one you know can verify any of it.  It isn’t impacting your daily life. It isn’t stopping you from pursuing your goals.  (You do have goals don’t you?)  You can’t do anything about it. It’s just a distraction.  So . . . there’s nothing to be gained by embroiling yourself in the emotionally-triggered chaos.
  • Awakened:  Watch and experience the narrative, and consciously notice how it psychologically triggers people.  Take notice the selective use of “facts”.  Realize they omit facts – – they could very easily NOT be reporting on several things that defeat their narrative.  Take notice of the intentional emotional manipulation. Watch carefully as the repeated narrative and stories are designed to get people to react in a very base, emotional, irrational way.  Realize that the never-ending stories are designed to gain your acceptance of war, hate, division, racism, laziness, ignorance, violence, government control and waste. Notice all this, but don’t let it ruin your attitude for personal life.
  • Activist:  Go all-on Activist (not for the weak or faint of heart). This is typically your initial reaction once you’re awakened.  Blast your friends and family with the anti-propaganda message. Blog on it.  Make resistance videos.  Attempt to educate the sheep.  Reveal the deceit and manipulation. The problem?:  Unfortunately, indoctrinated people aren’t open to finding out they’ve been duped regarding the core beliefs of their life.

The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Business men, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
Morpheus, The Matrix

So this effort is likely to end with you experiencing a huge amount of frustration and defeat.  Pearls before swine.

 

The Father of Propaganda:

Who better to sum up this overview of Propaganda than the man who is considered the father of it all, and was extremely successful throughout his life working with government and corporations teaching them propaganda’s covert methodology:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda (1928)

 

Relevant quotes from those in-the-know . . .

“The oblique paradox of propaganda is that the lie in the throat becomes, by repitition, the truth in the heart”  – John Grierson

“Propaganda is as powerful as heroin; it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.”  – Gil Courtemanche

“The purpose of propaganda is not to provide interesting distraction for blasé young gentlemen, but to convince… the masses. But the masses are slow moving, and they always require a certain time before they are ready even to notice a thing, and only after the simplest ideas are repeated thousands of times will the masses finally remember them.”  – Adolf Hitler

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.”  – Edward Bernays

“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident that they are acting on their own free will.” – Joseph Goebbels

“By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”  – Adolf Hitler

“It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.”  – Alex Carey

 

 

 

Some decent online sources: (there are many others of course)

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conformity

I could write a long article about Conformity, but really … what could be more convincing than this representative example? (video: Brain Games – Conformity (Waiting Room) )

If this is video link is no longer active, check the Wayback Machine here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170808041524/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9O9SokTTA8

 

Peer Pressure

We are pressured and convinced through a lifetime of social conditioning to conform, get along, go along, agree with, regardless of the rationality.

This isn’t complicated. You will have a natural tendency to conform to the group – the majority.  You simply need to have attended high-school to experience it.  If you’re honest, you understand this to extend to your adolescent social platform and definitely into your adulthood social platform. Repeated psychological experiments, one after another, confirms the same.

 

Rather, Consider This Approach . . .

(Dead Poets Society – On Conformity)

Wayback link:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170715061113/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd09gy8Vv9E

 

Think.  It’s not illegal yet.

(I actually have a t-shirt with that phrase on it)

🙂

 

Break from the herd!

 

 

 

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.