Better Life Discovery

    Personal Development & Self-Determination

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    Many of the problems that we face on a daily basis result from poor communication skills and techniques. It is very easy to misinterpret what someone says and pursue a course of action only to discover later that you made a mistake.

    Who is to blame? Is it the sender or the receiver of the message? Should the sender have checked that the receiver understood? Should the receiver have checked to make sure his interpretation was correct?

    Sometimes time prevents double checking. Yet it is certain that if time was taken for this kind of double-checking, many difficulties would be prevented. Good communicators find time to double-check.

    Good communicators make people understand what they think, feel, believe, want, are doing, have done, or intend to do. When one person is confident that he understands what another person wants, then he can act accordingly.

    If he has any doubts, then his actions will be tentative and uncertain. This does not produce confidence or assurance. Moreover, when misunderstanding occurs and actions based on wrong assumptions are completed, much time is wasted repairing the damage. As well, trust and dependability are damaged.

    On the other hand, when good communication occurs, and each one knows exactly the desires and feelings of the other, all activities and assignments can be carried out with confidence and assurance. Peace of mind and fulfillment result.

    Conflicts, arguments, violence, misunderstanding, wars, and breakdowns in agreements and relationships are usually caused by dishonesty and deceit. These actions are in turn caused by jealousy, greed, pride, anger, hatred, and prejudice.

    People who want to rise above their neighbors in some way always resort to methods that encroach on the freedom of their fellowman. This will produce lack of communication rather than poor communication. The results are the same. Unhappiness for both the doer and the receiver, the offender and the victim.

    Can good communication skills prevent those who have ambitions to take advantage of their fellow man from doing so? This is doubtful. Only a change in character can stop a person who carries anger, hate, greed, jealousy pride, and prejudice in his heart from acting badly.

    But good communication can assist people who want to act kindly, generously, and compassionately to do the best they can in every situation. Communication can help find the best solution to any problem. Acting autonomously won’t.

    People who have difficulty interacting with others usually have problems communicating their attitudes, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, feelings, and needs to them, or understanding all these things.

    Good communication skills overcome these difficulties. However, the problem is not necessarily with the communication skills themselves. It is just as likely to be in the area of self-esteem. They can’t express their thoughts, attitudes, etc because their ego limits what they can reveal about themselves.

    Also, people won’t reveal much about what they think and how they feel to other people because they don’t want them to know. When asked, they give a non-committal answer or change the subject. This breaks the line of communication and little progress towards understanding, support, or co-operation is made.

    Good communication creates efficiency. The more precise and accurate communications are, whether they be in relationships, families, or elsewhere, the easier it is to understand them. Interaction and follow-up action is then quicker and more efficient. Everyone benefits because they know exactly what to do or where they stand.

    Good communicators can enlist support for themselves and others with a minimum amount of effort. They can obtain co-operation for their ideas and projects quicker and easier than others around them. This makes life easier and more productive and enjoyable.

    In general terms, not being able to communicate well causes a lot of frustration, stress, depression, and disappointment. This occurs because you can’t get across to people what you want or prefer and you can’t make them understand exactly how you feel.

    Consequently, you are treated differently from how you want to be treated, or you are put off or ignored because no-one can understand exactly what you want.

    But the person who communicates well avoids most of these frustrations and so they are much closer to a better life that they want.

    What Can We Do to Become Better Communicators?

    1. The first thing to do is to work on your self-esteem and the other noble human qualities. a better life personal development Course will certainly show you how to do this and also speed up the process.

    2. When you listen, always give the speaker 100% of your attention. Then try to understand what they are trying to say rather than what they are saying.

    3. Be honest and open in all your communications. This avoids having to cover up lies or confess to deceit. Limit the times you say what you think the other person wants to hear. Say what you regard is the truth.

    4. People will believe what you say with your expression, gestures, and body language before they will believe what you say. Make your words reflect your non-verbal communication, not the other way around.

    5. When it is important for understanding, check that you understand what someone says to you, and that they understand what you say to them.

    6. Separate your feelings for a person from your feelings about their actions. “It is not you I don’t like, it is what you did.” You can always then tell the person that if they repeat poor behaviour, then you have the right to change how you feel about them.

    7. Always make a person understand that you are helping him solve his problems rather than trying to get him to do something you want. This will backfire on you, however, if you are not sincere.

    8. Don’t terminate communications without either settling differences or making an appointment to settle them. On the other hand, do not try to settle conflict when the protagonists are upset and angry. Wait until everyone is calm and objective and can state their points of view without becoming emotional.

    9. When you are wrong, admit it and accept the consequences.

    10. Avoid contact with those who seek to upset you for their own personal satisfaction. These people do not have the right to make you listen to them. Walk away.

    11. Be ready to compromise when it is necessary, but don’t compromise what you believe is right.

    This is how attention controls our lives. Whatever our attention is on, that’s our attitude, how we feel, and what we are thinking. If we are worried, it is only because we are worrying. If we think about something completely different, if we turn our attention to something else, we are no longer worried. If we are grieving for someone who passed away, we can put our attention on the love and pleasure they gave us. The grief leaves as happy memories fill our consciousness.

    If we are angry, it is because we can’t stop ourselves from being angry or we want to enjoy the power and satisfaction of this anger. If we don’t want to be angry, we must be able to switch our attention off anger and onto positive emotion or a different attitude to the person or circumstance.

    Misery is also a state of mind. It only exists because we put our attention on the situation or circumstances that are making us miserable. We can easily be cheerful by adopting a cheerful attitude.

    Whatever negative thoughts, attitudes, emotions, desires, or fears are ruining your life are succeeding because you put your attention on them. They cannot affect your life adversely if you keep your attention off them.

    Of course, all problems must be solved. All situations causing grief, loneliness, sorrow, and suffering must be worked through. But by disciplining yourself to sit down and work out a plan of action to help you get through adverse situations, you can switch your attention to positive action and take it off negative thoughts and emotions.

    This is taking control of your life simply by the control of your attention. Happiness, peace of mind, enthusiasm, success, and cheerfulness are also states of mind. They are created by putting your attention on them instead of on the opposite negative attitudes. Why not choose feeling good rather than feeling dreadful?

    Misery, grief, sorrow, inaction, and despondency can become habits. They can become the norm. They induce lethargy, laziness, indolence, and apathy. They are the easy way out. All of a sudden, you look at your life and it has become wasteful, unproductive, lonely, and depressing.

    How has this happened? By falling into the trap of allowing the negative power to run thoughts, emotions, desires, and images through your mind that convince you that it is easier to accept negative attitudes, indolence, and apathy, to allow things to slide, to allow unfavorable situations to get worse by not taking positive action soon enough to rectify them.

    You have lost control of your attention. You have allowed your attention to be attracted and seduced by the desire for comfort and leisure. The longer you allow this to continue, the harder it is to change your attitude and put your life back on track.

    The good things in life don’t come through seeking comfort, enjoyment, and pleasurable activities. They come through using your abilities and talents to create a better life for others which will result in a better life for you as well.

    This principle of switching your attention to something else is an old trick. We have all done it. Mostly unconsciously. When we get sick of doing a long monotonous or boring job, we go and do something else. We have a drink or a cup of tea. If a conversation is boring, we excuse ourselves. But maybe we haven’t thought of using this technique to change our basic attitudes, our negative thinking and feeling habits.

    It is our overall negative attitudes that make our lives less happy and fulfilling. By getting into the habit of taking our attention off them, we can take greater control of our lives and bring more happiness, fulfillment, and peace of mind into them.

    Before summing up, I want to remind you of another technique you can use to help you get your attention off problems that are distressing for you. It is gratitude.

    If you are finding it difficult to shift your attention off your problem, get a pad and biro and list all the things that you are grateful for. Don’t throw this list away. Put it somewhere easy to find when you need it. As you add something to the list, feel grateful with as much of your whole being as you can. You will be surprised at the effect it has on your state of mind.

    In the beginning, finding things to be grateful for may be difficult because your attention is on the problem. At the least, racking your brain to find something to be thankful for will help to take your mind off your problem. It may be best to think of things you like doing. These should come easily. Or the person you love most and what they do.

    Another hint is to start this list when you are feeling good. Don’t wait till you have a problem and then try to start. This makes it difficult and you may discard the idea before you have any success with it.

    Write down some categories you can think about when making the list, like holidays, childhood memories, things you are good at, or something you did do for someone that made you feel good.

    So here we have one of the keys to a better life – attention. It is such a simple thing. But it can have a profound effect on our lives.

    This is true of all spiritual and Personal Growth techniques and principles. They are simple. Sometimes they are so simple that they are easily forgotten or overlooked. Sometimes they are so simple that people won’t believe they work.

    But sometimes they are hard to put into practice because our minds put up resistance to them. The mind likes the way things work. It doesn’t like changes being made. So it puts up all sorts of barriers and objections to any improvements we want to make in our thinking, emotions, and behavior. Persistence and perseverance however, will eventually teach the mind to accept new ways as habits.

    These simple techniques can have a profound effect on our lives. They are dismissed by psychiatrists and other behavioral scientists because people think complicated and costly procedures will work better. They don’t, for three reasons.

    They are too complicated to follow. They are too difficult to put into practice in everyday situations. They may even need someone else to assist with implementing them. They need too much rehearsal before they can be put into operation. Therefore, by the time they may start to work, which is doubtful, the person is already fed up with them.

    They do not produce instant results. People nowadays expect things to work immediately so they get instant relief from their problems. Behaviors take weeks and months and years to change, not minutes or hours. We can’t have instant happiness like instant coffee. People won’t persevere if they can’t see results after a few attempts.

    They are easy to give up because of their complicated nature. Anything that is difficult to learn can be self-defeating for the reasons cited above. No-one has the patience anymore to learn procedures simply to change behaviors that are not life-threatening. If they are going to die, they will learn what will keep them alive.

    But they will put up with unhappiness forever rather than follow complicated and costly procedures that are of doubtful usefulness.

    Consciousness, awareness, and attention are important for anyone who desires a better life. They are certainly worthy of study because a grasp of the concepts involved is necessary to understand how important our inner lives are to our happiness, freedom, fulfillment, and peace of mind.

    It may seem strange that the subject of communication would come up in personal development. But communication with other people is one of the most frequent and necessary things that we do. Our happiness, peace of mind, well-being, and fulfillment are affected do a great degree by our ability to communicate.

    The better we can communicate with other people, the more enjoyable our life will be. We will have greater success in helping people understand what we want. We will be able to express skillfully our feelings for them.

    By communicating well in every area of our lives, we run into fewer problems and difficulties in our relationships with other people in everything we do.

    Poor communication, on the other hand, can bring constant hardship, difficulty, and frustration, making an individual’s life stressful, miserable, and embarrassing.

    Since personal development is all about achieving a better life, it is in everyone’s best interests to achieve the highest level of skill possible in the art of communication.

    There are two essential attributes for good communication skills: self-confidence and self-esteem. Self-confidence is necessary for public speaking. Self-esteem is essential for communicating to people on a daily basis.

    Behind these two attributes, however, are the noble human attributes. Our attitude to people is the factor that determines how well we communicate. If we have a great respect for other people, no matter what circumstances we find them in, then our ability to communicate with them successfully will also be high.

    Public speaking doesn’t require a high level of self-esteem, at least when viewed from the perspective of personal development. You only have to look at the characters of people who regularly speak in public to realize this.

    They may believe their level of self-esteem is high, but their behaviour away from the public eye contradicts this assertion. Their self-confidence may be high, and they may mistake this for self-esteem.

    Also, their estimation of their own importance may also be high, and this they also mistake for self-esteem. It seems that many people judge their importance by how many people know them. Thus the belief by people in the public eye that they are important. And, as a consequence, they believe they have high self-esteem.

    Public speakers may or may not be good communicators. Just because you are addressing groups of people all the time using one type of media or another, doesn’t necessarily make your communication skills above average.

    They may be good in this particular field of communication but poor in others. Self-confidence doesn’t necessarily make you good at communicating what you think or what you feel.

    The main concern with individuals interested in a better life is how they communicate on a daily basis to the people who they live, work, play, and socialize with.

    The two main areas of communication are transmitting information and receiving information. We transmit information through voice, writing, actions, gestures, and body language. Of most interest is speaking because this is how we communicate our thoughts, needs, desires, and feelings most of the time.

    We receive information with our senses, mainly hearing and seeing, although touch, smell, and taste are also important. Of these, listening is the most important and of most interest because this is how we interact with people most of the time.

    One of the major obstacles to effective communication is our tendency to not reveal too much about ourselves and how we really feel. The listener has to try to guess what the truth is by how we express ourselves and our body language.

    This is why self-esteem is so important in communication. The higher a person’s self-esteem, the less concerned he is about what people think of him. He doesn’t need to hide anything from others because he is comfortable about who and what he is.

    The rest of us with lower self-esteem filter the truth through our beliefs, doubts, guilts, desires, hang-ups, and self-consciousness. With so many concerns about what the listener is going to think about us, what we say is almost the opposite of what we mean.

    The other major obstacle to communication is our listening skills. We listen with our minds instead of with our hearts. Our minds hear words and translate them into images which we think the other person is trying to get across.

    Unfortunately, their understanding of words and phrases may be completely different from ours. Even the simplest words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ have different meanings in different situations to different people. How, then, are we going to interpret more complicated ideas correctly?

    A lot of the time, we listen half-heartedly. We hear half of what is said and fill in the blanks with what we think the person is going to say. We have decided what they are saying before they have finished speaking. This further complicates communication.

    Then we must consider the other person’s propensity to cover up the real message so that it doesn’t reveal what they really desire, think, or feel. If we listen with out minds, we have no chance of understanding what they mean.

    We have to listen with our hearts. We have to try to listen to the real message they want to give us. We listen to the meaning and the feelings expressed rather than the words being said.

    Anyone who is interested in better life discovery for himself must become familiar with Consciousness, Awareness, and Attention and use the knowledge associated with them for their self-improvement and personal development

    Awareness and consciousness mean practically the same thing when used in one sense. That is, they refer to what you know, see, feel, hear, taste, touch, recognize, and otherwise experience at any moment wherever you are. Whatever is around you that you experience, you are aware of and conscious of.

    Your thoughts, emotions, memories, and mental images are also part of your awareness or consciousness. Whatever your attention is on at any time is part of your awareness or consciousness.

    There are other meanings for consciousness. The obvious one is if you are aware of your environment at all. You can be conscious or unconscious of it at any one time. Unconsciousness is like being asleep or in a coma.

    The other meaning of consciousness is the most important one for those who are interested in personal development. It is more difficult to understand, but we grow into an understanding of it as we become more aware of the whole of life and who and what we are ourselves.

    Our spiritual development can be summed up as how far we are along the road to God Consciousness. This is everyone’s final objective in life, whether they believe it or not. This is the highest point of our development as a human being. It is the face-to-face meeting with God.

    This meeting takes place in a dimension so far above the physical universe that it cannot be understood by the mind. One must just accept that many dimensions of existence, each one more refined, beautiful, and full of wonder than the one before it, exist above the universe we live in.

    Of course these planes of existence can’t be seen or experienced using out physical senses. We must use our imagination and the techniques taught by spiritual masters to raise ourselves into the consciousness required to see them.

    At each new level, we become aware of a greater truth than is possible in the level preceding it. We also move closer to the God Consciousness state. Our respect for life in all its forms deepens and we treat all forms of life with greater and greater appreciation and consideration.

    Consciousness, then, is our level of awareness of the existence of these invisible planes and what existence is like there. God Consciousness comes when we ascend to the God Plane and come face to face with the Supreme Being.

    To some people, the above explanation may seem like fantasy, science fiction, or heresy. The only way a person can prove whether it is truth or fiction is by actual experience. It is not wise to dismiss the existence of life on other planets or in other dimensions simply because you haven’t yet seen or experienced it.

    Each individual is responsible for increasing his awareness of life, love, truth, freedom, wisdom, and God. As this awareness increases, our acceptance of the existence of beings, places, and things grows until we come to realize that whatever can be imagined must also exist.

    Imagination is really seeing with the inner eyes. The eyes, the brain, and the mind are only instruments of communication. They cannot create images. They only communicate them. Therefore, if something is seen, it exists somewhere within the bounds of creation.

    Hallucination, fantasy, vision, dream, mirage, myth, illusion, and other so-called unrealities are distortions or reflections of reality. They are not creations of the mind or imagination. Acceptance of this truth and the truth of other forms of life and other dimensions of existence reveals a growing awareness and a step forward in our personal development.

    The same can be said for recognition of states of consciousness. Major levels of consciousness on earth are minerals, plants, animals, and human beings. Within these levels are many sub-levels of consciousness. All the different types of plants and species of animals, for example. There may be millions of levels of consciousness in human beings. The different levels of intelligence, physical abilities, levels of honesty, levels of love, and occupations are a few categories where many levels of consciousness can be identified.

    Each individual enters and vacates different states of consciousness during the day depending on the role he is playing at any moment, his attitude, his emotions, and his desires. By studying this idea, it can be seen how awareness and consciousness are both similar and different.

    Consciousness becomes important when we know that the higher states of consciousness take us closer to our final goal of God-Realization. Our aim should be to raise our consciousness to as high a level as possible every moment of the day. As we practise this, we will attain even higher levels than we have ever reached before.

    When this happens, our awareness opens to greater levels of truth and our actions, thoughts, emotions, and speech become more refined, more noble, and closer to the attributes of the God-Realized being. We are getting closer to the meaning and purpose of life, and the Almost Perfect Life.

    This is where attention enters our awareness and consciousness. You may describe attention as a concentration of our awareness and consciousness on a single place, idea, emotion, desire, plan, person, task, sound, touch, or perfume, or a combination of these.

    Attention can be on something inside us: a thought, image, dream, vision, etc. It can be on something on our person like clothes, a sore, pain, or our hair. Or it can be on anything outside us, the wind and rain, the view, the thunder, our jobs, other people, and so on.

    Control of our lives is control of attention. Our lives are controlled by what our attention is on. Let’s look at an example.

    Bill is diagnosed with terminal cancer and the prognosis is death in two weeks. By a strange coincidence, George, his friend, is given the same death sentence on the same day. Bill is so afraid that he can’t do anything. He is physically sick with fear and cannot do even the simplest tasks because he can’t think about anything else. He knows he should straighten out his affairs for his family, but this is impossible.

    George comes to see him a few days later. George is cheerful and tells Bill he feels good. He has given the news to family and friends and things are well in hand for arrangements for his funeral and how the family will cope without him.

    Bill is amazed. How can he be so happy and calm? What is his secret? George tells Bill, “I nearly lost control of my mind in the first few hours. Then I thought, ‘What am I doing? I only have two weeks to live and here I am spending it feeling sorry for myself and paralyzing myself with fear and grief. My family can’t function because they are too worried about me. This is no way to spend the rest of my life.’

    “So I got a grip on myself. I took my attention off my own problems and onto what I can do to make it easier for my family and friends. I forced myself to sit down and write down everything I could think of that needed to be arranged so everything would be as easy as possible for them.”

    “I knew the first thing would be to stop any behaviour that causes them to disrupt their lives. I decided that I am going to die and there’s nothing I can do about it, so I may as well just accept it and enjoy the rest of the time I have. I will make sure I won’t put any attention on dying.”

    “So I determined to be cheerful and make everyone else cheerful as well. Then I listed what needed to be done so that everything would go as smoothly as possible for everyone. Then I got to work and started making all the arrangements.”

    “By taking my attention off my death sentence and putting it on how much I love my wife and kids, and doing everything I can to make them happy, I have been able to make it easy for them. But the most important thing is, I have made it easy for myself as well. I am not going to think about death until I am actually dying, if I can?”

    Bill wondered if he had the self-control and self-discipline to copy George’s strategy.