The Good Human http://thegoodhuman.com Don't Blow It, Good Planets Are Hard To Find. Tue, 08 Nov 2016 16:25:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.thegoodhuman.comhttp://www.thegoodhuman.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/tghfeedlogo.jpg http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/blogspot/arFOhttps://feedburner.google.com Could Humanity Learn from South Africa’s “Ubuntu” Philosophy? http://thegoodhuman.com/could-humanity-learn-from-south-africas-ubuntu-philosophy/ http://thegoodhuman.com/could-humanity-learn-from-south-africas-ubuntu-philosophy/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 18:30:20 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9457 Continue reading Could Humanity Learn from South Africa’s “Ubuntu” Philosophy?

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South Africa is a country rich in diversity. It is a marriage of different people speaking with different accents with a mingling of various cultures providing for great food, art and craft. They are friendly, sunny people living in a breathtakingly stunning country. This is a country packed with anything and everything you need. Want mountains? They’ve got it. Want snow? They’ve got it. Want subtropical weather and plants? They’ve got it. Want to see wild animals in their natural habitat? You can. Want to eat traditional food made by Indians? You can. Want to ski and lie on the beach in paradise? You can do it. The list goes on and on.

Because many people are not entirely aware of the happenings of South Africa and just what a fantastic country it is, I thought it would be interesting to hear a few fun facts about the country.sa man

South African Fun Facts

  • South Africa is the only country in the world that has produced two Nobel Peace Prize winners from the same street. The prizes went to Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu for their work in the peaceful disarming of the apartheid regime.
  • South Africa has the most diverse fossils of early dinosaurs.
  • The country of Lesotho is entirely landlocked within the shores South Africa. Many believe that Lesotho should be part of South Africa rather than its own country.
  • They are the second largest producers of fruit. Furthermore, they are ranked first in the world for their floral kingdom, being home to the smallest succulent plants to the largest Boabab trees.
  • In terms of fitness and races, South Africa is home to one of the world’s largest open water swim, known as the Midmar Mile, and ultra-marathon, known as the Comrades Marathon.
  • South Africa was the first country to develop coal-to-oil technology.
  • South African has 11 official languages, they are; English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tsonga, Venda, Ndebele, Swazi, Northern Sotho, Sotho and Tswana.
  • South Africa is rich in mining and minerals. They are considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth.
  • South Africa is made up of 9 provinces. They are: KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Free State.
  • Believe it or not, but the very first heart transplant occurred in South Africa in 1967 and it was successful.
  • And on a light-hearted note, South Africa is probably the only country in the world whose President cannot read numbers. Watch the video here.

Unfortunately however, as with most countries, there is often a dark shadow-side.  This easy, sunny and happy marriage of diverse people wasn’t something that formed effortlessly overnight. It took a terrible history of apartheid and tons of reconciliation to get to where they are today. Just like any marriage, the people of South Africa have had to work at their difference, learn to make compromises, and forgive one another for offences.

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7 Spiritual Lessons from the Skyclad Jain Monks and Forest Buddhists http://thegoodhuman.com/7-spiritual-lessons-from-the-skyclad-jain-monks-and-forest-buddhists/ http://thegoodhuman.com/7-spiritual-lessons-from-the-skyclad-jain-monks-and-forest-buddhists/#respond Wed, 04 May 2016 00:59:23 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9421 Continue reading 7 Spiritual Lessons from the Skyclad Jain Monks and Forest Buddhists

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The religions that grew out of the Indian subcontinent – Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism – hold a certain fascination for us Westerners. Many of the practices associated with them are so distant from or own cultural norms that, often, we can scarcely believe that they exist.

You don’t find brightly-painted holy men wandering the streets of European or American cities, for example. Similarly, the millions-strong chaos of holy festivals like Kumbh Mela, held when certain astrological requirements are met, is something alien to Western culture.

I can remember the first time I heard about the “skyclad” Jain monks, ascetics who renounce all worldly possessions, including their clothes. I found the idea of a naked wandering seeker so far from normality as to be almost unthinkable. In a similar way, I was intrigued by stories of the Thai forest Buddhist monks. They are reclusive adherents of Theravada Buddhism, “the Way of the Elders”, that retreat to forests to focus on meditation and simple living.

Both of these traditions, as strange as they may sound to Western ears, hold lessons that are relevant to people like me and you. In this post I would like to look at some of them.

Who are the Jains?

Jainism, said by some to predate even Hinduism, was founded by Mahavira in the 6th century BCE. He was a contemporary of the Buddha and, like him, reacted against the heavily caste-based doctrines of Brahmanism, the dominant religion in India at the time. Brahmanism is based on the Vedas and the Upanishads.

It is a dualistic religion, meaning that it recognizes a distinction between soul and matter, but is also atheistic – at the core of Jain teachings is the assertion that there is no creator God. Rather, the world is seen as eternal and everlasting. As mentioned, followers of the Digambara (or “skyclad”) branch of Jainism are known mainly for their renunciation of all possessions, including clothing.

Who are the forest Buddhists?

Thai forest Buddhism represents a branch of Theravada Buddhism, which is the dominant religion in Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka. Translated directly, “Theravada” means “way of the elders” and is so-called because if its adherence to the original teachings of the Buddha. The Thai forest tradition is defined by strict monastic rules, an emphasis on meditation and a focus on enlightenment as the aim of spiritual life.

Let’s jump into the lessons themselves…

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7 Liberating Catholic Pilgrimages to Take at Least Once in Your Lifetime http://thegoodhuman.com/7-liberating-catholic-pilgrimages-to-take-at-least-once-in-your-lifetime/ http://thegoodhuman.com/7-liberating-catholic-pilgrimages-to-take-at-least-once-in-your-lifetime/#comments Wed, 04 May 2016 00:56:37 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9446 Continue reading 7 Liberating Catholic Pilgrimages to Take at Least Once in Your Lifetime

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There is something about pilgrimage that calls to human beings in a special way. We are fundamentally spiritual creatures. We are also nomadic. When you combine these two things, you’re left with a powerful inner drive. There is a part us that is forever seeking freedom.

The lure of the open road, or trail, exemplifies this search.

If you are Catholic, or simply searching for a pilgrimage route to travel, then the seven selections in this post will hopefully act as a source of inspiration. Rather than providing information only about holy sites, which is readily available on the web, I have tried to include information about hiking trails. These are routes that pilgrims would have taken in antiquity, before cars, planes and trains were available.

Of course, if you are planning on using more modern methods, the selections here will still be of interest. I hope you enjoy them…

1. The Pilgrims’ Way (Hiking Trail)

To open the list is a somewhat nondescript entry. If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like to walk as a pilgrim through medieval England then the Pilgrim’s Way, a relatively light long-distance trail, provides you with the opportunity to taste that experience.

The Pilgrim’s Way is one of England’s oldest pilgrimage routes. The route takes walkers from Winchester, Hampshire to Canterbury, Kent, where homage is traditionally paid at the shrine of Thomas Becket. It follows two modern tracks, St Swithun’s Way, which follows the ancient route from Winchester to Farnham, and the North Downs Way, which goes all the way to Canterbury. Much of the route winds through forests, farmland and orchards.

2. Camino de Santiago (Hiking Trail)

Not list of great Catholic pilgrimages would be complete without mentioning the Camino de Santiago. It’s one of the world’s most famous holy routes and is traversed by thousands every year. There are many cultural references to the Camino, in particular in the film The Way. Paulo Coelho, who wrote the classic novel The Alchemist, also travelled it.

The interesting thing about the Camino de Santiago is that there isn’t one set route. Rather, there are a variety of acknowledged trails. In particular, the “Original Way”, the route first taken in the 9th century, which begins at Oviedo. Many pilgrims  simply start from their doorstep and all will end up travelling at least part of the section between Puente la Reina and the final city of Santiago.

There is accommodation along the way and pilgrims are expected to carry a “credencial” which gives them access to this cheap accommodation.
The culmination of the trip for most travellers is mass at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where each pilgrim’s name is read out and the cathedral’s giant thurible is swung from the ceiling. The trails can be particularly busy during holy years.

If you are considering a life-altering trip as a Catholic, then the Camino de Santiago, which can often be arduous and take up to several months to walk, should certainly be considered.

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8 Pieces of Spiritual Music to Instantly Lift Your Mind and Soul http://thegoodhuman.com/8-pieces-of-spiritual-music-to-instantly-lift-your-mind-and-soul/ http://thegoodhuman.com/8-pieces-of-spiritual-music-to-instantly-lift-your-mind-and-soul/#respond Wed, 04 May 2016 00:55:31 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9422 Continue reading 8 Pieces of Spiritual Music to Instantly Lift Your Mind and Soul

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Music can do incredible things. We all know the ways in which it can lift us out of a dark mood or heighten a good one. Certain snatches of a song, heard on the radio or caught from an open window while we’re doing something else, can transport us back to experiences in our past or fill us with a joyful sense of familiarity.

Interestingly, science also has a lot of things to say about the beneficial emotional impacts of music. Scientists have used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to discover that blood flow in the brain is greater in those areas associated with positivity when listening to certain types of music.

All of these thoughts in mind, there’s also another dimension. What could perhaps be called the “spiritual side”. The Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt has had his work described as a “continuous prayer”. This description touches on a certain power that some pieces of music hold, power to lift us to a new type of experience.

In this post, we’re going to look at eight pieces of spiritual music, across a range of styles and genres. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the transformative power of music yourself, then you need look no further.

1. Inside the Taj Mahal by Paul Horn

The story behind this album is a fascinating one. Paul Horn secretly carried a recorder into the Taj Mahal and began to improvise with his flute. The ancient structure acted as an echo chamber with a 28-second delay, something that was impossible to create in any studio at the time. The story goes that the guard on duty was so moved by Horn’s music that he allowed him to stay. He was, in a sense, “playing” the Taj Mahal. The effect is beautiful.

Paul Horn was a central figure in the founding of New Age music. After working as a jazz musician in Hollywood, well-regarded but little-known, he moved to India to study under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the creator of Transcendental Meditation. Whilst there he associated with, amongst others, The Beatles, Donovan and Shirley MacLaine.

2. Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt’s entire musical oeuvre has been inspired in part by his experience of mystical chant music. His style, which shines through in Spiegel im Spiegel, is characterized by an unusual blend of simplicity and emotional depth. Unlike all of the other entries on this list, which are albums, this one is a single piece of music, intended to be played with a piano and a violin. Translated, “Spiegel im Spiegel” means “mirror in the mirror”.

Born in Estonia under Communism, Arvo Pärt was taught by Russian composers before going on to develop his own experimental techniques. His work has been described, as mentioned above, as a “continuous prayer”, and this analysis mirrors Pärt’s deeply religious feelings.

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8 Spiritual Teachers That Could Change Your Life http://thegoodhuman.com/8-spiritual-teachers-that-could-change-your-life/ http://thegoodhuman.com/8-spiritual-teachers-that-could-change-your-life/#respond Wed, 04 May 2016 00:39:17 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9449 Continue reading 8 Spiritual Teachers That Could Change Your Life

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Have you ever heard the phrase, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?” It’s a “quotation meme” that’s all over the web, and is cited as coming from numerous competing sources, the Buddha and the King James Bible chief amongst them. Its first recorded usage was actually in an obscure nineteenth century book published by the Theosophical Society, a rather unusual organization by most accounts. Nonetheless, it does hold a certain truth, regardless of its origins.

We tend to gravitate towards the sources of knowledge and inspiration that are appropriate to us, given our current level of spiritual development. When we resonate with certain books, teachers or events – chance meetings, for instance, that seemed to hold a special significance – it’s often because of movements beyond what we’re immediately aware of.

Perhaps the same will be true of this list. We’ve selected ten spiritual teachers that are leading the way in a kind of global “spiritual awakening”. Have a skim through and see if any ring true intuitively with you…they might just be the person to carry you onto the next step of your own journey. Let us know what you think of the selections, or your own past experiences with these teachers, in the comments section below.

1. Eckhart Tolle

As the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle has touched and inspired countless lives. Part of what’s makes him so accessible is the simplicity of his teachings, a condensation of hundreds and thousands of years of spiritual wisdom focused around the principle of present-moment awareness.

Tolle’s story itself is equally intriguing. He experienced his first spiritual awakening at the age of 29, after suffering from bouts of anxiety and depression for a long time. After a period of intense suffering, he awoke one morning to find that everything was “miraculous”. He quickly gave up studying for his doctorate and spent several years on park benches in London “watching the world go by”.

2. Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is unique because he trained as a doctor (an endocrinologist) before becoming disillusioned with some aspects of the Western rational approach. Part of his attraction to many is his blending of a scientific understanding with more esoteric and “New Age” concepts. His is a prolific author, having penned over 75 books, and runs retreats and seminars globally.

His oeuvre of work is huge and spans a range of approaches and ideas. Like many spiritual seekers of his time, he studied under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi before going on to set up his own teaching institutions, centered around the idea that happiness lies beyond the Western reliance on and pursuit of material possessions.

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10 Simple Ways That You Can Harness The Power Of Rose Quartz Everyday http://thegoodhuman.com/harness-the-power-of-rose-quartz/ http://thegoodhuman.com/harness-the-power-of-rose-quartz/#respond Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:40:28 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9432 Continue reading 10 Simple Ways That You Can Harness The Power Of Rose Quartz Everyday

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What Is Rose Quartz?

Rose quartz is a pretty pink mineral, found in abundance in the Earth’s continental crust, and in particularly large quantities in Madagascar, India, Japan, Brazil, South Africa and parts of America. It is one of many different varieties of quartz and is a very popular choice for carving and jewelry. It is pretty easy to carve into shapes and generally affordable when compared to other, more rare crystals.

Rose quartz is so names because of it’s color, which can vary from a very pale pink, to a rosy red tone, and may be translucent, transparent or opaque. The color is thought to be the result of titanium, iron or manganese in the mineral.

Yet the appeal for these stones stretches far beyond this factual description. Many people actually attribute healing properties to rose quartz, and many other crystals that occur in the Earth.

Crystal Healing

Using crystals for spiritual therapy is an alternative healing practice, generally considered a pseudoscience by scientists. It is believed that crystals are charged with healing energies, that encourage the exit of negative energy from the body, while allowing positive energy from the stone to enter in it’s place. While many people believe in this, there is no hard evidence to confirm the theory.

Yet the history of crystal healing is a long one, and is most likely rooted in Chinese theories of Chi flow. Rose quartz has been a firm favorite since records began.

What Is The History Of Rose Quartz?

Rose quartz has been prized since Ancient Civilizations began to make records. There are references to its use in the times of the Ancient Romans, Greek and Egyptians (who, in line with stereotype used it to promote beauty and prevent aging).

Today, this pink quartz crystal is considered to be a magnet of love. An all encompassing love which includes self acceptance, compassion, devotion, generosity, joy, warmth and healing. In some circles of thought, it is also associated with the star signs Taurus and Libra, the planet Venus and the Number 7. We will let Energy Muse define it for us here:

Rose Quartz is the stone of unconditional love. It is one of the most important stones for Heart Chakra work, as it opens that heart to all types of love—love of the self, love of family, love of friends and romantic love. The soothing energy of Rose Quartz fosters empathy, reconciliation and forgiveness of others, lowering stress and tension of the heart. It can clear out anger, jealously and resentment towards others, allowing the healing of heart issues caused by holding onto these negative emotions. 

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Stunning Examples of Paying It Forward That Will Inspire You To Be A Better Person http://thegoodhuman.com/paying-it-forward/ http://thegoodhuman.com/paying-it-forward/#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:52:24 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9424 Continue reading Stunning Examples of Paying It Forward That Will Inspire You To Be A Better Person

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It is such a sad feeling, to be disappointed with humanity. We are often made very aware of how unkind people can be to each other. Perhaps it makes better headlines. But creeping up, in social media, and other smaller news networks there have been heartwarming tales of people paying-it-forward. If you have never heard of that phrase, then I hope that this post will leave you feeling great, with renewed hope that humans are good inside. Because, like the name of this site, humans really are good.

I believe that most people are inherently kind but simply struggle to show it. When we see someone being bullied or mistreated, we often do not want to get involved and we choose instead to keep quiet because we don’t know what to say.

Once, I was sitting at McDonalds eating a fast food dinner with some friends. We noticed a beggar standing at the entrance to the drive-thru hoping to persuade customers to buy him something to eat. It was a sad picture to observe and it made us all feel uncomfortable as we stuffed our faces.

A fancy BMW drove past us after picking up their food from to the window. The driver leaned out to hand something to the beggar, relieved that someone had given him – we couldn’t see, was it money? Something to eat? No. The driver had given him a packet of ketchup and then casually drove away. I don’t think that I need to go into detail in describing the beggar’s countenance after this. None of us could believe what we had just seen. I was shocked at the insensitivity of that person, as if mocking the man in his unfortunate position in life.  I wanted to pick the beggar up, pull his shoulders back and lift his head. I wanted to tell him that the man in that BMW was infinitely poorer than he was.

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Profound Pieces of Yoda Wisdom That Could Change The Way You Think http://thegoodhuman.com/profound-yoda-wisdom/ http://thegoodhuman.com/profound-yoda-wisdom/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 15:36:00 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9410 Continue reading Profound Pieces of Yoda Wisdom That Could Change The Way You Think

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Star Wars must be one of the biggest, most exciting film series of all time. If you’re a Star Wars fan then I don’t have to say much to convince you that the characters are all so well thought out with a killer creative storyline to match.

Set in a galaxy far, far away, it is surprising that Yoda has some wisdom that hits quite close to home. Yoda, in fact, can teach us a great deal about life!

Who is Yoda?

Although he is probably one of the strangest looking of the Star Wars characters, with his green skin, small frame and large ears, and although he speaks funny and is not real, he is a movie character that carries a tremendous amount of weight and wisdom. Much of what he says can actually be adopted into our everyday lives in becoming motivated and dealing with different situations.

Very often we get stuck in our heads in negativity and hopelessness, procrastinating and moping around. In the Star Wars franchise, Grand Jedi Master Yoda is the oldest and most powerful known Jedi Masters in the universe. He is responsible for training Jedis in using ‘The Force’ responsibly to fight the Dark Side.

What Is The Force?

In the film, the Force represents a binding, metaphysical power that only some Jedis can tap into. The Dark Side represents a corruptive and addictive aspect of the Force that is viewed as evil. While this may all sound like a very far-fetched fairy-tale, it can be applied to our modern lives.

In our world, the Force can represent things like positivity, balance, happiness, kindness and peace, while the Dark Side can represent things like negativity, fear, insecurity, anger, jealousy and hatred. Surely all of us want to move away from the Dark Side? Surely that is what improving ourselves is really about.

So whether you know who Yoda is or not, I am almost certain that some of these quotes can apply to you.

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10 Ways you Might be Unknowingly Poisoning Your Self-Esteem http://thegoodhuman.com/10-ways-you-might-be-unknowingly-poisoning-your-self-esteem/ http://thegoodhuman.com/10-ways-you-might-be-unknowingly-poisoning-your-self-esteem/#respond Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:38:15 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9347 Continue reading 10 Ways you Might be Unknowingly Poisoning Your Self-Esteem

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Your level of self-esteem affects your life in more ways than you think. The lurking inhabitants of your subconscious mind, the beliefs about what kind of person you are, subtly dictate everything from the kind of risks you take to the relationships you pursue.

I don’t mean to paint a bleak picture, of course. Self-esteem, despite the fact that we often use the word will-nilly and without any real thought, is a complex thing. It’s not set in stone, and it often fluctuates depending on situation and mood. If you think you have low-self esteem, you’ve probably got bigger reserves of talent and courage than you think.

A person’s self esteem is their subjective appraisal of themselves irrelevant of external circumstances. It’s how you think and feel about yourself generally. Do you feel that you’re a worthy person? A good person? Or do you feel the opposite.

The good thing is that self-esteem is pliable. You can reshape it by changing your habits and routines. So whether you’re a confident person already, or if you struggle, the tips in this post will help you develop, and keep, rock-solid, life-enhancing self-esteem.

How you Might be Sabotaging Yourself…

There are many life experiences that can instill negative beliefs. For some it begins early, with the failure to meet parental standards or rejection from a peer group. For others, it’s events in later life, like workplace bullying or constantly being victim to a stressful environment.

For many people, however, low self-esteem is partly self-inflicted. It’s not that external events don’t have deep and sometimes searing effects, they do. It’s simply that many of our routines and habits foster negative thoughts and feelings. The mind becomes an echo-chamber of negative voices, slowly eroding away at our self-worth.

So having high self-esteem is about developing habits and routines that develop and bolster the positive opinions you hold about yourself whilst eradicating those that are negative. It’s about fostering thoughts and feelings that encourage a positive self-view.

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How to Read the 3 Signs Telling You Your Purpose in Life http://thegoodhuman.com/how-to-read-the-3-signs-telling-you-your-purpose-in-life/ http://thegoodhuman.com/how-to-read-the-3-signs-telling-you-your-purpose-in-life/#respond Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:38:02 +0000 http://thegoodhuman.com/?p=9363 Continue reading How to Read the 3 Signs Telling You Your Purpose in Life

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Discovering your calling is not an easy thing to do. There aren’t any obvious signposts that clearly guide the way to the kind of life and work that you find uniquely satisfying and compelling.

In an article on Entrepreneur.com, Tor Constantino interviews Jeff Goins about his latest book The Art of Work. In it, Goins shares three tips that anybody can use to discover their true life purpose. Here they are in summary:

1. Listen to Your Life: “Purpose discovery” tends to be forward-looking. It’s based on imagining the kind of work that you think you will enjoy. This approach, Goins argues, isn’t always the most fruitful one. Instead, it’s by looking at your past that you can often gain a real idea of the kind of work that you find truly satisfying.

What achievements have you had that you genuinely felt proud of? What activities were you naturally drawn towards? Similarly, consider the things that you didn’t like doing as potential guides for what to avoid in the future.

2. Seek out Mentorship: Mentors, when they appear, can often be a sign that you’re pursuing your calling. Goins argues that community and “apprenticeship” are vital aspects of fully developing a skill or talent. He also believes that the idea isn’t necessarily to seek these people out, but rather to be open to them if they become available to you.

3. Be Ready (and Willing) for Pain: There is a commonly-shared idea that once you’ve found your calling, it’s all going to be plain sailing. It’s not. To achieve mastery you have to be willing to face hard work, setbacks and often lots of self-doubt too. The silver lining, however, is that when this pursuit of mastery is done in the context of your calling it is often deeply invigorating.
Read More About Discovering Your Calling

Read More About Discovering Your Calling

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