Category: Understand Yourself and Others (page 1 of 5)

The Obstacle is the Way

Highlights from the book by Ryan Holiday:

“Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them? …Great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform weakness into strength…Resolving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring.”

“Too often we react emotionally, get despondent, and lose our perspective…We defeat emotions with logic…Every ounce of energy directed at things we can’t actually influence is wasted…Remember that this moment is not your life, it’s just a moment in your life…Action is the solution and the cure to our predicaments…People turn sh*t into sugar all the time…All the greats you admire started by saying, Yes, let’s go.

“It’s okay to be discouraged. It’s not okay to quit…In every situation, life is asking us a question.”

“Will is our internal power, which can never be affected by the outside world. It is our final trump card…true will is quiet humility, resilience, and flexibility…’This too shall pass’ was Lincoln’s favourite saying.”

“Knowing that life is a marathon and not a sprint is important. Conserve your energy.”

"See things for what they are.
Do what we can.
Endure and bear what we must."

“You are a person of action.”

Sure Signs of a Healthy Relationship

PARTNERS SUPPORT EACH OTHER’S OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH – People are more satisfied in a relationship when a partner actively supports their efforts to expand their own horizons.

THEY SHARE THEIR EMOTIONS – It’s not enough to talk with a partner; couples in thriving relationships engage in emotional self-disclosure – the communication of thoughts and ideas with another person.

PARTNERS PAY LESS ATTENTION TO ATTRACTIVE OTHERS – The kind of commitment that appears in thriving relationships activates an implicit attentional block against the allure of attractive alternative partners.

COUPLES SEE THE POSITIVE SIDES TO COMMITMENT – Romantic commitment is multifaceted, reflecting positive, negative, and constraining elements. How people view their commitment predicts the quality of their romantic relationship.

THEY PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION – Good partners are kind to themselves. Being gentle toward oneself after a failure, for example, predicts the types of behaviour that promote healthy relationships – such as offering empathy and concern for a partner in need.

THEY EXPRESS THEIR GRATITUDE – Feeling grateful is one thing, but telling your partner is another. Sharing feelings of gratitude is linked to positive partner perceptions and more willingness to voice relationship concerns.

BOTH FOCUS ON HUMILITY – Those who keep the ego in check are more attractive and are evaluated more positively as potential partners. According to research by Daryl Van Tongeren at Hope College, humility may be an important ingredient for relationship success. In addition, humility is tied to forgiveness, a powerful tool in happy unions.

(This article appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of Psychology Today, courtesy The Everett Collection.)

And Now a Word From Our Sponsors

“All the billionaires, politicians, transnational corporations, banks, military, media and world psychopaths thank you for letting them set up the world to benefit them.”

Just In Time For Christmas

The Matrix and Philosophy

Some highlights from the book of the same name: Spoiler alert: I liked the movie.

“Postmodernity, which is the immense process of the destruction of meaning.”

“Most of us spend almost all of our time in highly artificial environments, far removed from nature.”

“As Baudrillard puts it “[W]e live in a world where there is more and more information and less and less meaning.”

“Authenticity is a value worth fighting for.”

“Man’s grovelling preference for his material over his spiritual interests.”

“Neo has to choose between the red and blue pill – either the traumatic awakening into the Real or persisting in the illusion regulated by the Matrix.”

It’s a choice we all make.

I took the red pill, and I read somewhere that it’s a waste of time talking about red pill topics to blue pill people, precisely because:

“We prefer comforting illusions to harsh realities.”

The War on Truth

Is really a war supported by attacks on our perception, which then installs cognitive dissonance, which reprograms our precious grey matter.

This makes sense to me. How about you?

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

A friend sent this along. I had read the article but had never seen the video. Well worth the twenty minutes to understand relationships in a fresh and humourous way.

Read Seneca

Just saw the fabulous play ‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza at Soulpepper. A line in the play is ‘Read Seneca’, which I have.

Seneca was born around 4 B.C. but his insights are still worth thinking about:

“Let our aim be a way of life not diametrically opposed to, but better than that of the mob.”

“There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with.”

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.”

“Only the wise man is content with what is his. All foolishness suffers the burden of dissatisfaction with itself.”

“…isn’t it the height of folly to learn inessential things when time’s so desperately short!…every life without exception is a short one.”

“With afflictions of the spirit, though, the opposite is the case: the worse a person is, the less he feels it…acknowledging one’s failings is a sign of health.”

“A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is…everything hangs on one’s thinking…What’s the good of dragging up sufferings which are over, of being unhappy now just because you were then?…when some trouble or other comes to an end the natural thing is to be glad.”

“the feeling that one is tired of being, of existing, is usually the result of an idle and inactive leisure…Let us expand our life: action is its theme and duty.”

“drunkenness is nothing but a state of self-induced insanity.”

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are.”

“To govern was to serve, not to rule.”

“To be really respected is to be loved: and love and fear will not mix.”

“Every day, every hour sees a change in you, although the ravages of time are easier to see in others.”

“And what madness it is to deny ourself everything and so build up a fortune for your heir…for the more he’s going to get the more gleeful he’s going to be at your death.”


Starting today, I will be sending out half a dozen posts which you might have read before.

I wanted to create a new category called Most Popular Posts To Date and this was the only way I knew how to do it.

There is also a new tab on the menu bar called Reviews of TFO which has the nice things you have said.

And I have added a Search bar, because after writing for six months, I couldn’t remember everything I had written.


Not My Life

It seems to me that we need new phrases to adopt at different life stages. They are put on us from the outside – Millennials, GenX, Baby Boomers – but we need to be cognizant of life’s passing phases, and choose our own descriptors.

Right now, at age 62, my phrase is Not My Life. It has helped immeasurably in my desire (and need) to evaluate the stuff in my life. (My royal consort gets stressed out by the word Purge, so we ‘evaluate’ instead.) Whereas Marie Kondo recommends holding each potential yard sale item and asking yourself if it sparks joy, I just look at it and say ‘Not my life’, and out it goes. It is fantastically liberating.

Like you, over the past decades, my life has included many different things:

  • Gardening Teacher and Designer
  • Courses in baking, cake decorating and floral design
  • Redecorating and renovation
  • Gourmet cooking and wine courses
  • Buying too much stuff and too many books and clothes
  • Various jobs
  • Multiple exercise machines
  • Ten Pin Bowling
  • Scrapbooking
  • etc., etc., etc.

But now, these things are Not My Life, so I have no need for the accoutrements that go with them. In the five-plus years of purging, we have probably donated and discarded thousands of things. If we had them all now, our life would be a chaotic mess.

I would encourage you to think about what is Not Your Life now, and discard the superfluous dross. It probably includes things and people.

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