Begin with the end in mind – Habit 2

At the beginning of the chapter the author asks us to do an exercise. To imagine we come to our own funeral three years from now and listen to people speak about us. The aim is to imagine what we want them to say to realize what is important to us. I tried to do it three or four times and have no idea what I want them to say. Most of what comes to my mind is such a cliche. Try it!

And now key points of beginning with the end in mind:

  • make the end of your life as your frame of reference
  • start with a clear understanding of your destination
  • lean the ladder against the right wall so every step doesn’t get you faster to the wrong place
  • all things are created twice, first creation is mental, second physical so imagine/visualize what you want to achieve before acting (yes a nit of NLP here)
  • we are either the second creation of our own proactive design, or we are the second creation of other people people’s agendas, of circumstances, or of past habits, so write your own mission statement and make decisions in accordance to it, think long – term, get perspective
  • the key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value

 It is incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life (…) People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them.

Being afraid of achieving  goals in case we find out they were the wrong goals. We worked on it in life coaching training session. We also asked ourselves what we want to achieve and what is topping us from doing so. Let’s say it’s lack of self confidence. A hard one. Where does one get the confidence from? Achievements? Sure but from my own experience I know how easy it is to undermine the achievements and say “other achieved more” or “I could do better”. Where doe this inner conviction that I can be successful, loved and happy comes from?

Well try to think: “how will I know when I’m self confident?” the first answer that comes to my mind is “I will feel it” so “what will you feel exactly?” “Calm, joy, reconciliation, contentment…” “Brilliant, so what needs to happen for you to feel calm?” and so on…

According to Covey :

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power.

Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strenght or lack of it.

Guidance means your source of direction in life. Encompassed by your map, your internal frame of reference that interprets for your what is happening out there, are standards or principles or implicit criteria that govern moment by moment decision-making and doing.

Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, an integrated wholeness.

Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones.

seven habits of highly effective peopleSo the deal is: you get to know your values and write them down as a mission statement. This is your center, the things that are important to you. Now you know what is important and you also know that every decision that you make brings you to achieving it and so you have more security, guidance, wisdom and power (higher self-esteem)

So does it work?


Turist Gaze – question: authenticity of travel experience

Professor John Urry of Lancaster University:

“The tourist gaze” published in 1990, 2002 and new edition coming in September 2011:

I never actually though why people go on holiday. Holidaying was always present in my life and I never question it, especially because it’s one of the things I love. The author says that main purpose of travel is to break from the routine of everyday life and allow your senses to be stimulated with contrasting experiences. What I could add to it, is my Mum’s favorite saying: “travel broadens your mind”.  And this is in fact why I love traveling so much, everyday different places, landscapes, people, smells, air, food and through this I become different, I understand more and know more about myself and the world. They say we are overstimulated by impulses from TV, Internet, games, doing billion and one things at a time, but we also get tired of it as after a while it all becomes the same. When I started my university I went through three months of constant partying and then had enough. Every club was the same, music the same, people the same, conversations (if any) the same. I suppose three months of it was enough for me.

“Places are chosen to be gazed upon because there is an anticipation, especially through daydreaming and fantasy, of intense pleasures, either on a different scale or involving different senses from those customarily encountered. Such anticipation is constructed and sustained through a variety of non-tourist practices, such as film, TV, literature, magazines, records and videos, which construct and reinforce that gaze” (Urry, 1990:3). Travel magazines are obvious but how many people will go to a castle, forest, island, town, spot where a movie was filmed like Harry Potter, Pirates of Caribbean, Da Vinci Code and so on. I have to admit even though I watch a lot of movies I was never inspired by one of them to go to a particular place. It changed recently as I read a couple of books and saw a movie about Tuscany. I’m going there in October hopefully.

I can’t even remember how many times I took pictures so that the “legend” of places can be sustained. You cut out signs and proofs of present to hold on to the past and spirit which is no longer there but which you long for. So on the pictures pyramids are in the middle of the desert, not across the road from suburbs of Cairo, Vietnamese people wear straw hats and not cheap Chinese t-shirts. No salesman carrying around sun glasses in Angkor Wat and no rubbish lying around on the streets of Western Europe, in fields and forests.

Before XIX Century not many people traveled , it was more of a privilege than a mass market. In the Middle ages as you can imagine the reason for travel was religious, then educational, romantic (experience of beauty and love) and wellbeing (baths, spas). The last one brings to my mind, described by Jane Austen, promenade, balls and treatments in Bath (UK). Now tourism is becoming more and more popular and thanks to cheap flights you can get within your budget almost to every part of the world.

The only sad thing that I noticed is that the world I travel to see is becoming more and more uniform. Call it globalisation, count the advantages, but the enormous airports, hotels, shops, fast-food restaurants spread all over the globe  make you feel you could be just around the corner from your own country. The differences seen by tourist seem to be skin deep and originating from centuries ago while present is more or less the same.

The industry creates experience of reality. How inauthentic and superficial are the tourist attractions chosen for the tours? “The upshot is that in search for ever-new places to visit, what is constructed is  set of hotels and tourist sites that is bland and lacking contradiction, ‘a small monotonous world that everywhere shows us our own image … the pursuit of exotic and diverse ends in uniformity” (Turner and Ash, 1975; 292).

It does not mean that there are no people traveling outside the mass market, it only means that the majority that is, is unifying the world to such an extent, that the diversity and contrast we are looking for are not there or are very difficult to find. Most of the time it’s only kitsch you are experiencing. The purpose of travel seems then to be lost. To step outside the tourist bubble is hard and demanding, but it’s also so much more rewarding and life changing. Keep that in mind going on your next trip.

When Reason Conquered Fixation

When Reason Conquered Fixation.

I do love books. But I’m just the opposite the more you see signs of usage the better. I like books with comments on the margins with spontaneous thoughts about the content or experiences the reader relates to. I actually never thought about it before but I might write my comments with pencils, although I never sold a book I bought yet.

I dream about huge library, whole room just filled with bookshelves comfortable armchair and sofa, lamp giving a warm light and maybe a fire place.  A globe and collection of maps. I wanted to have a travel room as well. Place where I can gather all things brought from around the world, pictures and maps, but maybe it could be the same room.