This is not a dress rehearsal – Enjoy life now!


Saw this video on Chasing The Perfect Moment

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The real cost of substance misuse

A society that measures the cost of substance misuse with money has already lost its ability to help efficiently substance addicts. In fact, it is that type of society that produces substance misuse. Behind addiction one may find people seeking for an alternative reality or even -naive but true- a better world. A civilisation constantly focused on the materialistic aspects of life cannot provide with fulfillment and this is necessary and sufficient to maintain a phenomenon such as substance misuse.


Train tunnel near Thermopyles / Pavlos Kapralos

Besides, a government’s or an institution’s intervention which aims to treat substance misuse arguing for that necessity based on financial evidence, will probably achieve nothing more than financial outcomes. Of course, this will definitely have an impact on the numbers of substance misusers, but it is doubtful whether it will have achieve to erase the causes of the problem.  It is more likely that will have treated only the symptoms. Why is that a problem?

The problem comes from the fact that all areas of social psychopathology are interconnected. Dealing only with the symptoms of what comes to our vision as substance misuse – rather than coming up against the causes  leaves the problem literally unsolved; it masks the social and psychological reality of the problem and eventually treats us with surprise when dissatisfaction finds more impulsive and sudden ways of expression. For instance, the figures regarding substance misuse have been falling for the last years in the UK, however, last August riots showed that the feeling that we are moving towards a healthier society was only an illusion.

Money, of course is not to be demonised; however, a one-dimensional approach can make someone (including social workers, service providers and governments) miss the big picture and that can be catastrophic in the long term. For instance governments around the world are spending money in order to make people more independent, abstinent and self-controlled, while they are directly supporting the increase of production, demand and consumption and also indirectly supporting or allowing consumerism, companies’ (aggressive sometimes) marketing and the creation of artificial needs and desires.

However, within intervention teams and people working with substance addicts, one can find professionals that work with people rather than numbers and with love rather than approaches and best practices. “Love” -weird word but indispensable; the element of human “taste” in any kind of intervention at any level of it -from its design to its finance- is the one that makes the difference.

To speak more concretely, soft skills and non-measurable elements of an intervention such as love, real concern and affection create long-term effects and multiplier effects. While most agents measure the cost of substance misuse as the sum of the intervention expenses, the government’s benefits and the loss of working hours of someone out of work, the real cost consists on the top of the above of: the loss of some great minds, the loss of innovation, the learned helplessness and lack of motivation diffused in society, the loss of coherence, bonds and stability within communities and finally the isolation and alienation which all in all is the death of  human energy and creativity.

We cannot measure the long-term impact of these but we know it is significant. We cannot either measure the multiplier effect of spreading the motivation and the joy to create but we know it is there. Luckily, during last years, soft skills have been gaining considerable attention among the scientific community. Isn’t it weird that something so obvious for an ordinary person had been underestimated by the scientists for so many years?

Recently, in a meeting of Camden’s Complex Family programme, I was very happy to hear speakers talking about the impact of “smile”, “hug”, “eye contact” and “love”. I think the true work and outcomes rely on those workers. This post is dedicated to them and everyone who approaches the substance misuse problem with a free of money attitude.

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…and the dreams go on

It has been a while since I last posted something here. I am sorry for not being in touch for the last two months.

But, the art of love is largely the art of persistence. (Albert Ellis)


picture from Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity

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When Shame Becomes Rage

angry sea at the West Pier, Brighton /Pavlos Kapralos

A good friend of mine sent me this. I find it is interesting and speaks to the point, simply.

When Shame Becomes Rage

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. ©2005

In an article in the Psychotherapy Networker, therapist Ronald Potter-Efron describes the different types of shame. Like guilt, shame is one of those emotions that feels so terrible that some people try to avoid it at all costs. It’s driven by a flooding of adrenalin. Here is how it works.

We have a conscience and know our values and what ways of acting in which we believe. When we do something different than what we believe in, our conscience nags us to tell us we have done wrong. That is the feeling of guilt. Guilt is situation specific. It has a message to try to get you to stop doing something you find distasteful. It nags, “You did something wrong. Stop doing it.” Guilt can be productive in helping you change your behavior. If you deny what you did wrong and deny the guilty feelings, you cement it in further. You may even use anger to make guilt go away and get the person who is confronting you to back off. Owning your mistakes and inappropriate behavior, apologizing for them and stopping the behavior is the best way to reduce guilt.

Shame is a message about the self esteem that hits in the pit of the stomach. It is global in nature and says, “You are bad. You are different.” It happens when you feel threatened to the very core of who you are. Shame rears its ugly head when there is a threat and you feel helpless, humiliated and dehumanized. If you lose control when you are angry, you have learned to substitute the emotion of rage to take yourself out of the bad feelings of being a victim.

Rage is a much stronger emotion than anger. When you rage, you lose self control and adrenalin and cortisol prepare you to fight. You heat up and go from zero to one hundred twenty miles an hour in ten seconds in a run-away giant semi. And you are not in control of the wheel. Someone very nasty has the pedal to the metal and ugly things are coming out of the mouth which you will feel bad about later. You have been hijacked! You have lost yourself because rage has taken you over when you felt a threat to your self esteem.

The threat is to your sense of who you are and comes out of frustration and shame. According to Potter-Efron four different threats produce four different kinds of hormonally-driven rage that come from different types of shame. Survival Rage-when you are physically attacked and might be hurt. Impotent Rage-when you feel threatened and feel utterly helpless and not able to deal with the situation so you rage instead.

Attachment Rage-when you feel threatened because you might be abandoned or rejected by someone you care about. This type may have developed if you had a rejecting type parent who used withdrawal and threats to discipline you.

Shame Rage-when you feel humiliated, embarrassed, or ridiculed and your self esteem takes a drop and you rage to cut off these bad feelings. This type typically develops if you’ve had a critical, abusing parent or partner or were bullied as a child.

Other kinds of shame specific to certain situations where you feel like you are less than others.

I’m Not Trash Shame Rage-if your family was poor or lived in a run down place or your parents were dysfunctional alcoholics or different in some undesirable way, you probably were embarrassed by them as a child. As an adult, you get angry when you are reminded of how you are different from others.

Loss of Function Shame Rage-loss of your identity as a person because you are less than the person you used to be. You may have lost stamina, memory or are disabled and can’t work.

Guilt Piling Up Shame Rage-secretly you feel downright ashamed of yourself because you have not lived up to your values and principles and have become a person you don’t respect. When criticized about your behavior, you resort to rage to get the other person to leave you alone.

Break the Threat-Hormonal Arousal-Shame-Rage Cycle

Potter-Efron says to challenge the five core messages that you get from shame which send you into self-loathing and feeling worthless. 1.) You’re no good. 2.)You aren’t good enough. 3.)You’re unlovable. 4.) You don’t belong. 5.) You shouldn’t be. These are lies that were thrown on you by someone else and your own feelings of helplessness.

Cutting off shame instead of allowing the feeling to come up and be worked through and turning it to rage only keeps the cycle going. As long as you disrupt the feelings of shame, they will stay with you. The best idea is to bring them out into the light and learn to work them through. Understand the dynamics that send you from feeing threatened to rage so that you don’t feel the shame. Read about shame, bullying and scapegoating. Make a personal challenge to break destructive patterns in your life. Figure out what types of shame you have.

What triggers your impotent, helpless feelings and what sets you off? Become aware of what’s happening within to become the master of your feelings instead of letting them master you. Learn to observe the process of feeling a threat (a trigger that threatens self esteem) and the quick shift to rage. Step back and watch how you lose your control and give away your power to do something productive when you feel threatened. When a vulnerable feelings of disappointment and frustration comes up say, “This is a feeling. It’s only a feeling. Feelings are meant to be felt. That’s why they are called feelings. I choose to
breathe through this feeling rather than act it out.”

Allow yourself to feel the emotion of guilt and own up to what you did wrong. Taking responsibility for your own actions can become a way to gain self esteem. Allow yourself to feel the emotion of shame. Leave the upsetting situation and hang out with the feelings of shame. To defuse its power, call it by name. “So this is shame. I’m being flooded with adrenalin. I can handle this. Even though it feels excruciating, I breathe it through.”

Find a therapist to help you look at the pattern of violence that you learned in your family, the neighborhood or at school when you were young or when you were in an abusive relationship. Living with an aggressive person may have affected you so deeply that you took on the energies of the aggressor. Redefine your masculinity or your sense of self as a strong woman as being able to take things as they come up. Real strength is learning to allow feelings of hurt, disappointment and vulnerability instead of losing your cool.

Listen to your body. Catch yourself when you start to trigger, heat up and lose control. Observe how your body reacts when you are about to trigger. Does your stomach knot up or your jaw clench? Do you stop breathing? Do you feel the adrenalin rush as your first clue? Does your heart beat faster? Find your body changes that signal you are about to lose it. Learn body cues to break into the cycle before it goes into nasty behavior.

Show your strength by being the one who chooses not to escalate the fight. Let the other person know that you must leave the situation at once to calm yourself down in order to not hurt yourself or the other person. Give up the need to have the last word or make one more point. Tell yourself that you can be a bigger person by stopping the argument.

Use self talk to keep yourself from blowing up. Talk yourself down. Use several phrases that calm you down such as “This isn’t worth it. I refuse to lose it. I don’t have to go down the rage road. I can leave instead of blowing up and ruining things.” Cool yourself down with deep breathing. Tell yourself, “I will learn to deal with frustrating events.”

Shame is released by processing feelings of entitlement. Challenge your belief that you have the right to vent and scream because you are frustrated. Find a therapist to help you use The Emotional Freedom Technique, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and The Tapas Technique to release old victim feelings and entitlement.

Be gentle with yourself as you are learning these new skills. You are breaking habits of a lifetime. If you mess up and revert back to the mean behavior you dislike, analyze what went wrong. Don’t beat yourself up-that only makes things worse. Tell yourself that you made a slip and you will be more careful next time. Keep at this process of chipping away the shame-rage cycle. You will get better over time if you keep at this task of becoming the best person you can be. Give yourself a break; this process takes time.

You are not a bad person because you rage when you feel helpless or bad about yourself. You are just a good person behaving badly. Forgive yourself for doing what you have learned and vow to be different. Change the destructive reactive pattern of shame/rage and develop into the person you really want to be. Use your power to understand your emotions, own them and work with them instead of acting them out. Learn to behave better even when you feel bad inside. Deeply desire to change and you will. You deserve to have a peaceful, happy life.

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and some last 3 ones…

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3 ideas (2)

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3 ideas…


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To the winners of life

In 8 hours start the 2012 Paralympic Games. It is a good opportunity to remember the true heroes of life; heroes not only because they managed, despite their disability,  to do sports and hit new records in the field, but because they managed to overcome and push away mental states such as “defeat”, “hell”, “despair” or “inferiority”, and change the rules of the game of their life.

 (an Olympic games athlete – not a Paralympic one)

(from a TV commercial)

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Tip of the day…

Life is to be enjoyed. Have (happy) holidays.
See you in four weeks!!!

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As simple as this

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A thought of the day

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Unnecessary conventions

source: beware of images


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How to run 200 miles – secret revealed!

Dean Karnazes is a bit of a freak


“He has run over 300 miles in one hit. Take a moment to fully appreciate that – 300 miles in one go. It took several days without sleep. Think about the last time you went for a run, it was probably less than an hour. He ran for 24 hours a day!

It’s not because he has bigger lungs or stronger legs. It’s all the in the mind. They say that you can only run so far with your body. To run a really long way like this comes from your mind. It’s not a physical thing.

You too can do incredible feats like this if you choose to.

It’s easy to say that people like Dean Karnazes are some kind of freak and that’s why they are able to do the incredible things they do. But isn’t that just an excuse? Doesn’t that give us justification to not attempt the same things? We can sit back in our comfortable chair and say “well if I was Blessed with lungs like his then I would do the same, but I’m not, so I won’t”.

But we’re just kidding ourselves when we do this aren’t we?


Because Dean Karnazes isn’t a freak. He is a normal guy who has chosen to do some incredible things. He was nobody before he decided to do this. In fact, there are people with bodies far more suited to endurance running than his who haven’t done anything.

The fact is – anyone can choose to do something incredible.

And ‘anyone’ includes YOU!”


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Sir Edmund Hillary

At the end of the day, humans are noble because their passion to go higher is stronger than the fear of death.

image source

“Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest. 

They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. Hillary was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century”. (Source and photo credit: Wikipedia).

On the occasion of Sir Edmund Hillary’s birth, 20 July 1919.

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About love

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The secrets of body language

A very interesting documentary about body language and non-verbal communication.

“… human communication consists of 93 percent body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves…”

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Stay hungry, stay foolish

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life…

I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I‘ve ever made.

If I had never dropped out, I would have never drop in on that calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college…

…Again…You can only connect the dots looking backwards…So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You got to trust in something your guts, destiny, life, karma, whatever…

So, at 30 I was out (fired from my own company) – and that was devastating. I really did not know what to do for a few months. …But something slowly began to dawn on me. I still loved what I did. ….I had been rejected, but I was still in love and I started over…

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.

You got to find what you love and that is a truth for your work as it is for your lovers…. If you haven’t found yet, keep looking. Do not settle. As with all matters of the heart you will know when you find it.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today is the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer was no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that we are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

Death is Life’s change agent.

Your time is limited. Do not waste it living someone else’s life. … Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Somehow they already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Stay hungry, stay foolish!


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Escape or your brain will

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Act like a scientist – Lay your foundations today.

“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of a planter — for the future. His duty is to lay foundation of those who are to come and point the way”

Nikola Tesla

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Psychology tests

Some interesting psychology tests to take part and get your results immediately.
Click here

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You must live your life like a stretched bow, always ready to act… Rubbish


source: manolosway

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From sports psychology to the game of life

source: BBC

Discover the secrets of motivation

Discover the secrets of motivation

Top coaches know that being psychologically motivated is important in helping you be the best in sport.

Instead of leaving motivation to chance, sports psychologists use a range of techniques to help sports stars perform at their best.


Not everyone has the same kind of motivation and experts believes there are at least two main kinds.

  • Ego orientation: Playing sport because you want to be the winner
  • Task orientation: Playing sport because you enjoy being the best by improving your own personal best performances.

You can have both kinds of motivation – but it’s best to be high in both ego and task orientation or low in ego and high in task orientation.

People with these types of motivation work hard at sport and do not give up when things are not working out.

People who are high in ego orientation and low in task orientation do not always succeed and may give up when they are no longer winning.

Which type do you think you are – and what should you do about it?”I can’t seem to motivate myself. I know I can improve my fitness and my ability in sport but I can’t seem to get there. What can I do?”Does this sound like you?

If so, you need to start getting motivated and start using goal setting.

By setting goals you can:

  • Achieve more
  • Improve performance
  • Improve the quality of your training
  • Increase your motivation to achieve
  • Increase your pride and satisfaction in your performance


    Goal setting is a hugely powerful technique that can bring you strong rewards and get your motivation levels up.

    At its simplest level the process of setting goals and targets allows you to choose where you want to go in life.

    By knowing what you want to achieve, you know what you need to concentrate on and improve and what’s a distraction.

    Discover the secrets of motivation

    When goal setting it is important to:

  • Pace Yourself
  • Reward Yourself
  • Keep a realistic goal
  • Keep notes of your goals
  • Don’t feel guilty of failure
  • Find someone to get sporting with!By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals.You can see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind and increase your levels of motivation.

Achieving Goals

When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done it.

Observe the progress you have made towards other goals too!

If the goal was a significant one, or one that you had worked towards for some time, take the opportunity to reward yourself appropriately, maybe buy that pair of trainers you’ve been saving up for!

Feedback for failure

Where you have failed to reach a goal, ensure that you learn a lesson from it.

It could be that:

  • You didn’t try hard enough
  • Your technique was faulty and needs to be adjusted
  • The goal you set was unrealisticUse this information to adjust the goal appropriately or set different goals to acquire new skills or build stamina.Feeding back like this turns everything into a positive learning experience – even failing to meet a goal is a step forward towards perfect technique!Remember that the fact of trying something, even if it does not work, often opens doors that would otherwise have remained closed.

Feedback: Success

Where you’ve achieved a goal feed back to yourself and into your next goals:

  • If the goal was easily achieved, make your next goals harder
  • If the goal took too long to achieve, make the next goals a little easier
  • If you learned something that would lead you to change goals still outstanding, change them!

If while achieving the goal you noticed a deficit in your skills, set goals to fix this.Remember too that goals change as you mature – adjust them regularly to reflect this growth in your personality.If goals do not hold any attraction any longer, then let them go – goal setting is your servant, not your master.It should bring you real pleasure, satisfaction and achievement.

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If you want to increase your “likes”…

…Life is out there


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A bit of Banksy


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Do not buy other people’s dreams

from: Banksy and Photobucket

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Amazing creatures

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People’s unique talents

Some thoughts on the following picture: There will always be a great deal of people who consider uniqueness an abnormality 😦

So many people in the world are not truly aware of their talents.

Mentalism and discrimination are the only mental disabilities.

Keep going – keep expressing freely – be yourself!











photo credit: All About Autism
read more on the Telegraph

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How to deal with social phobia – Action on the spot

Social phobia is the constant and persistent fear experienced by someone exposed in a social environment or situation. That fear is dominantly the fear of humiliation or non-recognition/acceptance when the person expresses themselves or interacts socially.

For example, a schoolboy who avoids raising his hand and participating in the class, an interviewee who keeps trembling in every interview, a person that fears the possibility to be left alone in the middle of a party, an employee who avoids to cross the office to feed the printer with paper because she does not want to be seen by her colleagues, or someone who constantly avoids to look other people in the eyes, might suffer from social phobia.

The symptoms of social phobia may vary from sweating, blushing, dizziness, coughing – even vomiting, lack of concentration, confusion, inadequacy of expression  and reasoning (mind going blank) in the short term, to stress, depression, desperation and isolation in the long term.

Social phobia is viewed by some as a natural condition that occurs more or less to everyone and thus, it should not be considered as a disorder. On the contrary, behavioural science regards social phobia as a condition that could harm severely and deeply people’s ability to interact socially, develop themselves and enjoy life.

Tips to help deal with social phobia at the very moment it occurs.

Step back for a moment: you do not have to suffer the consequences and the embarrassment of a panic attack, despite the fact that exposure generally helps in the long term. However, strong negative experiences can be de-motivating and energy consuming. So, excuse yourself and take some time to relax and then return to the scene of action; do not run away. Do not push yourself to overcome the situation right here and right now.

Remember: a social phobia episode does not last forever. It usually takes 20- 30 minutes to consume all its “fuel”. You can take advantage of that time to avoid immediate exposure. Many people after this, experience a feeling of relaxation and euphoria and even a mood to socialise.

Breathe deeply and gradually slowing down.

Try drinking some water, eating something or even drinking a little alcohol.

Find someone to talk to, to accompany you, or even share with your discomfort. One of social phobia’s main fears is the revelation of a problem of yours of social nature. When that fear disappears, though painful,  it leaves you with a feeling of relief.

Remember: other people do not know how you are feeling. That means that they do not realise your discomfort, nor do they share all the thoughts of humiliation you experience.  So, relax and be bold!

Pauses during communication can create embarrassment. Try using open ended questions such as: “How do you…” . “Tell me more about…” What do you think about…”

Do not be too harsh with yourself. Everyone has their moments of embarrassment.

When you leave a social situation that treated you with disappointment, do not feel defeated. Every moment of ‘wear’ brings you closer to your win.

In a future post there will be some tips on how to prevent and eliminate social phobia in the long term.

painting by Jessica Derleth 

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Break the rules

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Always risk

photo credit: Graham Lock

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What you believe is your destiny

Photo by Pavlos Kapralos. Regent’s Canal, London.

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Take it out of you

Express yourself. Do not only be a collector of what the world gives you. Respect this equity that input must equal output. Speak up and express yourself, if you want to stay responsible (response + able) and responsive. Give your energy back to the universe, because the world is waiting there to play with you. No matter how much you trust your path, you must stand up for who you are. “I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts“.  -John Locke

image credit:

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Do you remember?

image credit:

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Some times we take things for granted…

…But it is better to always put ourselves in other people’s* shoes.

*other animals’ shoes too


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Think positive

source: Inspiration

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There will ALWAYS be a solution to your problem

…step back and think!

image credit

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The man who walked to the top of Kilimanjaro on his…hands

for more visit

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It has been a while since Naima ( and Ganesh (  nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award” and “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. Although I am not a participant in any of the blog-sphere contests, their gesture was so moving for me. I need to sincerely thank you Naima and Ganesh for your nomination. Your offer is so honouring for me because your blogs fall within that category of the elaborate blogs, the ones that need time to be made and perhaps to be appreciated and understood in full.

Naima is a young poet with rare sensitivity. I was so good to have read some of her poems and now it is a shame, that for the last couple of days I do not see her around in the blogsphere 😦
Ganesh with his clear, simple and strong messages is an oasis among the dozens of blogs regarding spirituality, and a source of inspiration for me and for my blog.

This is also a good opportunity to thank all the people that follow my blog as well as all those who give me inspiration with their posts. As I would have done if I had participated in the contest I would like to thank especially the following people (at least):

1. David Kanigan and Lead.Learn.Live:  Funny, thought-provoking, motivating, inspiring and simply so interesting. If Lead.Learn.Live were a magazine I would never miss a single issue.
2. Charlie and Tom with their Photo Botos: I have not found so far a single photo there that does not leave me ecstatic.
3.  Frances Antoinette and francescannotwrite: Excellent readings (and writing) – food for thought – that leave me with a taste of logic and harmony.
4. OAKWORLD: Readings that contain universal truths and reveal an inquiring spirit with strong sense of justice.
5. Nikolay Kotev and European Scientist and Journalist: Αn elaborate work with impressive photographic coverage that explores in detail sensitive and sometimes undervalued historic issues.

…and many many more.

Thank you all!

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alternative title: the Equity Theory


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Dedicated to all fathers – Happy father’s day

…just because sometimes they do not know how to express their love and they suffer as a result of this. Happy Father’s Day 🙂

(cartoon seen on

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Just a picture #3


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If you want to find the way out, simply remember how you got in in the first place*

*(view it from the bottom to the top)

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“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

or “Never yield to force” – Winston Churchill.

picture from

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Is it always good for someone to be confident?

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He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary – F. Nietzsche

picture from Draft Photo
article source: Psychology Today

4 Steps to Get Promoted

I recently decided to try rock climbing and found that the lessons I learned that day were the same ones I’ve unconsciously used to progress in my career.

Step 1:  Find a Great Belayer (Coach)

Given that it was my first time rock climbing, I found myself trying to figure out which out of the 5 belayers would provide me the encouragement I needed to climb up the rocks.

A belayer is the person that keeps the rope locked off in the belay device whenever the climber is not moving.  This role is important because he or she would be the one to ensure you don’t fall down the rocks and seriously hurt yourself.

The first time I went up was quite scary because the guy who was my belayer was not paying attention to anything I was doing and was more concerned with the ladies around him.  It was only until I slipped and started to freefall that he started to focus on helping me.

Lets say I was not impressed with him and decided to go find another belayer that would work better with me.  And, I did.  Scott was fantastic.  He provided the right level of coaching and helped guide me to the right spots so that I could pull myself up the rocks.  Similar to the working world, having a great coach to make sure you don’t fall but gain confidence in your abilities is important to progress.

Step 2:  Have a Support System

Fortunately, I had a few friends that wanted to try out rock climbing with me.  All of us struggled on different levels of rock climbing but right when you think you couldn’t go any further, we started to cheer each other to help motivate the person to keep going.

In other words, it’s your closest peers that will help support you in meeting your objectives.  Some skeptics may not agree with this but I would rather have someone I think is great get the promotion than someone who I think didn’t deserve it.

Step 3:  Be Resourceful

Climbing to the top doesn’t always mean that you get there by only go up and it doesn’t always mean you will go up as fast as the person next to you.  I realized this when I decided to do a chimney climb, which means that I decided to rock climb a rock cleft that’s large enough to fit a climber’s body.  Think of chimney except instead of brick there is a rock slab in front and behind you.

I’m not the most physically fit person but knowing that there was someone else down further from me also do the same climb, I felt an unconscious desire to compete.  You know…see who can get to the top the fastest.

Needless to say, I did everything to climb up as fast as I could between the two slabs of rock.  I did a vertical worm dance – where I was literally worming up the rocks.  I did a vertical crawl to see if that could get me up fast.

In the end, I couldn’t go fast but with patience and A LOT of breaks, I was able to make it to the top.  Progressing your career is similar, some of us specialize in one area and are able to move up fast and others, decide to diversify our experience resulting in a lateral career growth.  In the end, if you really want it, it will happen.

Step 4:  Be Focused – Know Where You Are Going

After spending the whole morning rock climbing, we moved onto spending the afternoon propelling down cliffs.  Nothing really prepares you to trust a skinny piece of rope, when you’re propelling down a few hundred feet.

My best friend was really scared and when it was her turn to go over the edge and lean back with legs straight and feet against the rock, she looked at me and all I remember saying to her was “it’s ok, you’ll be fine”.   A level of peace and confidence rushed backed into her and she propelled down slowly.

She was so focused on looking up that she forgot to look down at the tree she was going to propel herself onto.  Fortunately, she was warned that she was about to sit on a tree and was able move away to get down safely.

In short, progressing within a company is similar to rock climbing.  It’s important to have great mentors and surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed.  Also, keep in mind that moving up may mean that you move laterally.  Just make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into; otherwise, you may be propelling onto a tree.

Would love to hear what you have to say.  Let me know your experiences on how you have progressed in your career.

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If you are lost


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Moby – Everloving

A beautiful, “money-free” music video.

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“The flowers of the cherry tree,
How they wave about!
It’s not that I do not think of you,
But your home is so far away”.

The Master commented, “He did not really think of her.
If he did, there is no such thing as being far away”.

Confucius, Analects

picture from Simple Truths

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The nature of motivation

Child having fun and cheering-Nottingham 2011 / Pavlos Kapralos 

Throughout psychology and organisational science’s literature there are dozens of theories, sub-theories and researches regarding the nature of motivation. Below are presented the most influential views.

Based on the evident relationship between the human needs and motivation, Abraham Maslow (1943), grounded his motivation-need theory on the concept of the hierarchy of the needs. Maslow’s Need theory suggests that humans have 5 sets of needs: 1. Physiological needs, such as need for food, sleep, or need for oxygen, 2. Security needs, such as need for residence, 3. Love and social needs, such as need for friends and social life, 4.Esteem needs, such as need for praise or achieving self-imposed goals, and 5. Self-actualisation needs, like need for being fulfilled through self discovery, ideals, values and self-perfection.  Maslow claims people move from a lower level of needs to a higher, only if they have satisfied the needs of that lower level. Thus, someone placed on the lowest level of the need hierarchy i.e the physiological needs level, would never be strongly motivated  with a higher need level stimulus. In work for example, a poor man that is striving to fulfill his basic needs, would be more responsive to money (that is food, primarily) and thus, would be less motivated by a praise that addresses his esteem needs.

The generic nature and the suggested universality of the theory, as well as the many obvious exceptions to the rule of Maslow’s concept, raised considerable scepticism. Vroom maintained that humans are more complicated and sophisticated beings, who associate their actions with  possible outcomes. a) If the expected outcome is worthy and luring, b) if there is a connection between their performance and the outcome and c) if there is a connection between their effort and the performance, then a person is motivated and performs better. This theory is known as VIE (valence, instrumentality, expectancy) theory, or simplest as Vroom’s Expectancy theory. This theory presupposes an external reward, and it is the most  prominent supporter of extrinsic motivation effectiveness.

The idea that people are logical and they decide based on personal planning, inspired amongst others, Adams (1965), who presented a theory that assumes that people, uninterruptedly, compare themselves with others. Based on this comparison, they constantly rearrange their priorities and plans. When the outcome of a comparison is satisfying for them, there is equilibrium; when they notice that there is an inequity, they initiate an action that will restore equilibrium. This theory is known as Equity theory. In social life for example, when someone considers that is not rewarded or appreciated equally to the other members of the social group, he/she moves to action or certain kind of behaviour. That behaviour can be either putting less effort, which is the case of withdrawal or de-motivation , but it can also be an increased effort to achieve a better status.

Locke and Latham (1996), propose a modern theory of motivation called Goal-Setting theory. This theory argues that if someone sets difficult goals, the more probable is that he/she will try harder. However simplistic the rationale may look, Goal-Setting theory is probably the most criticism-resistant concept. The theory also argues that self-administrated goals are better than externally imposed ones. Besides, the theory works better if there is a “feedback loop”,  that reinforces the commitment and therefore, the effort of the certain person.

Finally, the Self-efficacy theory of Bandura (1986) suggests that an individual is more likely to a) undertake a task and b) perform better when he/she has a realistic and confident perception about his/her own abilities and skills. The existence of confidence alone is not adequate, because it can lead to incorrect estimations of the situation. This quality, called efficacy, can be further developed by support from the social environment and expressions of belief to ones’ abilities, by experiences of adequacy in similar past situations and by projecting other people’s (that are of equal ability) achievements on themselves.

For more on the contemporary theories on work motivation check this: The “almighty” of money, money, money…

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