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The Biggest Problem Of Humanity

The importance of taking out time for oneself

I came across a really interesting medium article today, being posted by Benjamin Hardy. I don’t know this man personally which brings me to no further description of who he really is as a person. 
Based on his own description on medium, he seems to be a bestselling author and PhD candidate in Organizational Psychology. 
However, his article stimulated a thought in my mind which I would like to share. I would like to state ahead that this thought is based on some observations of interactions made with people, books, articles, etc. made by myself in combination with my personal reflection.

I believe that his article with the title “30 Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable in 2019” could be used as a really good base in order to reflect on some individual behaviors and furthermore could be used as a guideline to make a change in your life, if needed. 
However, when reading all of his subpoints, I came to a personal conclusion which is based on my individual experience and the attempt to build up habits with a positive effect on the overall life experience.

There is no general rule

Reading articles, books, and watching self-improvement videos on different media channels might be inspiring sometimes. 
But often, when starting to adapt recommendations from people which are based on scientific study outcomes or their own experience, I have realized that it mostly sounds much easier than it proves to be in reality.
I believe that there is no general suggestion which proves to be right for everyone. It doesn’t mean that if yoga, meditation or the vegan diet has a positive effect on a human being’s well-being that it has a positive effect on everyone, even though it has been proven by people doing it or scientific articles stating it. 
These recommendations might be more confusing to oneself than it has been before, after reading all of this. 
Talking out of my own experience, I have tried a few techniques which were praised by gurus and well-known individuals promising the 
best-possible outcome which was proven to be wrong in my case. Therefore, I believe that it is highly important to have such researches and recommendations around oneself, but the most important thing is to reflect on these and ask oneself the question if these techniques align with the personal goals and individual personality. 
As we are all the same based on the fact that we are human beings, we still differ in our background of experiences which we have made throughout our lives.

We constantly change

In order to have a good base for personal reflection, we need to know who we individually are, or at least what we strive for. 
The biggest question of all questions out there, isn’t it?
A tough question with an answer hard to think about in many cases as many people don’t really know what to answer to that, including myself. 
I believe that there is no fixed answer to that as we are constantly changing in every second of our lives. 
Of course, not everyone. 
Benjamin Hardy mentions an important research study in the field of psychology which states that there are two different mindsets people have about themselves. 
One is the “fixed” mindset which leaves no room for imaginations, whereas the “growth” mindset provides a good base for change, growth, and evolvement. Consequently, I believe that not everyone sees herself/himself as a changing human being.

However, having said all of this, this article stimulated a thought in my brain with which I hope to stimulate another thought in someone else’s brain. When reading all of Benjamin’s recommendations of what to do in order to create some change in life and reflect on things, I believe that one thing is much more important which comes ahead of all these bullet points which is additionally one of the biggest problems of humanity.

Biggest problem of humanity

Talking from my perspective, I believe that the biggest problem is that people don’t spend time with themselves to give some space for personal development and growth in order to know what is right and wrong for themselves. 
Being stuck in responsibilities of being a mom or dad, CEO of a company, professor in university, full-time student, and so on, many forget to take some time out for themselves by truly reflecting on themselves from the bird’s eye view. 
Consequently, we get pulled into different directions deriving from examples around ourselves which show us how the ‘perfect’ life, body, habit, and day structure should look like which might not be the right one for the individual self. 
For example, being still in college, I have observed how the pressure and schedule of lectures, projects, assignment has pulled me into a direction where I had no time to reflect on my individual self over some time which resulted in negative emotions about myself and life. 
Having the priority to get out of it, I was able to take out some time every day by using the app Headspace to reflect on some general things and set up some principles which help me to survive the inner fight between commitments, responsibilities and my inner felling of what is right and wrong for me. 
Still, it is a hard way which I believe every each of us goes through in every day of their lives. Seeing and interacting with many individuals working in different fields, I see a general layer of negative emotions and dissatisfactions with life which furthermore affect relationships with other people, consumption behaviors, and the overall well-being of humanity. Therefore, I believe that it is the most important thing to create this space of time for ourselves with no external distractions to take the time and sit, walk, dance or do whatever is it in each individual case to reflect on ourselves and who we really are.

Suffering is good

At this point, I would like to share a three-day experience with a Buddhist monk which I was able to have a couple of years ago. 
As I was interested in not only reading books about the Dalai Lama and studying the history and mentality of Buddhism throughout books, I was happy to experience it myself in a setting of a three-day meditation foray combined with some acupuncture needles being put in different parts of my body. 
By the way, I can highly recommend it.

However, having asked him general questions about life and the Buddhistic approach which could be explained in another unlimited story, I would like to mention one thing which has extremely burned into my mind while listening to it. Talking about general challenges of humanity and the individual challenges every each of us is facing, the monk was talking about suffering. 
Just by hearing this word, I was automatically pulled into a world of feelings which didn’t feel good as I have always experienced suffering as being something bad. 
Having said this in front of him, he answered in a very authentic and extremely unusual way that suffering is the best thing every individual can experience. 
I was stuck. 
How can something so harming sound completely positive to someone?After hours of explanation from the Buddhist perspective, I was enlightened that it really depends on our own individual perspective of how we look at things and what we take out of our individual experiences filled with suffering. 
Looking from a positive perspective with the openness to accept the suffer as it is and seeing it as a challenge and base for improvement, it might look completely different than looking at it as a bad thing.

I believe that spending time with oneself might seem as a suffer sometimes as we are used to be surrounded by people, information, and other stimuli creating chemical reactions in our brains. When sitting with oneself, it might seem scary as all of these stimuli disappear. A moment is created in which we are confronted with ourselves, with our individual thoughts which might seem endless and also scary. 
Still, by seeing it as an opportunity to get to know our individual self’s a little bit better, it turns out to be a privilege every each of us can prioritize for oneself. 
Therefore, I assume that taking out at least 3–10 minutes each day with oneself can create positive long-term effects regarding the relationship with oneself and others. Consequently, the overall well-being of this earth would rise to an enormous amount.

Create the space

There are many apps nowadays providing help in the attempt to “learn” how to meditate. As I am not a fan of this term ‘meditation’ and how it is being used by many people as I believe that every moment can be a moment of meditation, I still think that these apps are incredibly helpful.
I like to use Headspace as it tracks the development over time which is always cool to look at in order to see the personal hours spent with meditating with this app.

I have to laugh myself when reading the title of this article as I am confronted with this problem myself every day. Still, I believe that we can all do something about it as nothing is impossible to create a better environment for ourselves and the people we interact with. 
Let’s not stop questioning and reflecting and everything will turn out how it’s supposed to turn out. To the better or the worse. But suffering is good.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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