Sorry I’e been a little behind on the posts here.  I had some personal issues that needed to be addressed.

Today we are looking at one thing: what we want to accomplish in life.We are going to look at it in two different ways.   First we are going to just list a whole bunch of things we would like to do in our life time.  The reason we are doing this is to take stock at what you really want.

Then we are going to look at what we would like to be remembered by, what we want to leave behind for others.  Thinking in this way helps you understand what you want to contribute to this world.


  1. Make a list of at least 50 goals you would like to accomplish in your lifetime.  As long as it is humanly possible I want you to list it.  No matter how big or how small it is, list it.  Make sure you get at least 50.  Look at the list. What themes do you see?  What patterns? Does anything jump out at you?
  2. Read this article:

  3. Imagine that you died tommorrow.  Your family, your teachers, your friends, your lovers and your coworkers are all there at the funeral.  Different people who were close to you are speaking and reflecting on your life.  What would they say about you?  As they reflect on your life, how would they describe you?  How would they describe your accomplishments and your relationships?  Write about it.

    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. People from every walk of life – doctors, academicians, actors, politicians, business professionals, athletes, and plumbers – often struggle to achieve a higher income, more recognition or a certain degree of professional competence, only to find that their drive to achieve their goal blinded them to the things that really mattered most and are now gone.

    How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most….

    …If you carefully consider what you wanted to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success. – From Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

  4. Finally, imagine that you do not die tommorow, but 2 years from now.  What would you do differently?  What if it was 10 years from now?  What would you change about the way you are living right now?

There are so many TV shows/Movies out there involving “a mysterious stranger who doesn’t remember his/her past”.  Memnto, Kyle XY, the Pretender, Wolverine.  Why is this such a common theme?  Because your past is linked powerfully with your identity.  Where you’ve been and what you’ve done reveals a lot about who you are.

Now, notice how I said reveals a lot.  Your past does not define you.  Learning about who you were does not mean you have to continue on this path if you do not like it.  Many more movies/TV shows focus on a person struggling to escape their haunted past.

Today, there are no readings. There are just three activities.  They are lifted from a booked called Is Your Genius At Work?

Activities (post as comments)

1) Write down 10 events where you experienced great success, and 10 events where you felt like you failed.

2) Write down 10 of your qualities that frustrate yourself or others, and 10 qualities that others compliment about you, or what you like about yourself.

3) Look at these 4 lists.  What do they have in common.  Look at the positive qualities/events.  What make them so good?  Look at the frustrations/failures.  What were you trying to do when you got yourself/someone else frustrated?   What were you trying to do when you failed?  See if you can find some similarities among these lists.  Write down any insights you find, or tell me why you had none.

If you are just joining us, this is Day 2 of the “Finding Yourself in 7 Days Project”.  Read this blog entry and then start on Day 1.

I must admit, I am a little nervous about beginning such a project.  But I think it will get easier as I get into the flow of things.

For the first day, we must do some groundwork on “finding yourself” and what it really means.  Can we truly know ourselves completely?  Are we constantly changing our identity or is our core essentially the same?  It’s not easy thing to think about.

The readings I have for today are an introduction to the idea of self from two different sources: eastern and western philosphy.  I guess we’ll be focusing more on the latter for the next week, but I think it is good to see the idea from multiple perspectives.

To read:

  1. “What is this thing called self?”
    This is an article was written by a Professor of Psychology in Rider University.  He talks about zen and the idea of self in this article.

  2. “Quotes on Self-Discovery”
    The title says it all.  Just glance through these, looking for ones that hit you or that you find some meaning in.

To do:

  1. Write a short response to reading 1.  What do you think he’s trying to say?  Do you agree with him?   If yes, what convinced you?  If no, what do you disagree with?
  2. Write out 3 quotes from reading 2 that struck you.  Why do you find special meaning in these?
  3. Bonus: The author of reading 1 has a web site called “Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbor”  They are short zen koans. Read one of them and write about your take on the story.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3| Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

The Oracle of Delphi’s famous response for people searching for answers was “Know Thyself”. It suggests that truth, happiness and success come first from a deep understanding of who you are.

That’s why here at Disparate Thoughts, I am hosting a seven day convention on finding yourself. I invite you to join me on this journey.

Readings and activities are at the core of this convention. Each day I post an article or three to read, plus some activities to do along with the reading. I’ll post my response in the comments section and I invite you to do the same. It’s going to be a blast.

What does this have to do with saving the world? Well, this blog is sort of a self-development/environmental/poverty blog as it turns out. But self-development is essential to saving the world. Why?

Continue reading

In America, there is a really strong mentality of “bigger is better”. It is a belief that if something is good, a bigger, larger, more powerful version of the same thing would be even better. think about super-sized fries, V-12 engines, Big Gulp, giant Gas grills, elaborate Christmas lights.

Is it a surprise that these things are also extremely damaging to our health and the environment? (And clearly what hurts the environment will hurt ourselves in the end.)

In the field of personal development, it has long been known, less is more. If you want to lose weight, eat less food and enjoy every bite. If you feel too busy, decline more social engagements and responsibilities and immerse yourself in every one. If you want to get organized, throw away junk stuff.

Environmentalism can be thought of as self-help for the planet. And the maxim “Less is More” is gold.

We can’t count on technology to save us. We can’t expect to continue living the way we have. Something has to change. We want to lift people out of poverty, but if then they start consuming as much as we (Americans) do, the planet is screwed. Something has to change.

Here’s what we have to do:

  • Use less.
  • turn off lights/switch off surge protectors when not in use
  • carpool, don’t drive unless you have to
  • Don’t buy something unless you’re sure you need it.

We all know these things, but the point here is: we need to rethink the way we interact with the world.

Saving the World takeaway:

Less is More. Consume/Waste/Buy less. Recycle/Value/Conserve More.