Life is unpredictable. And that’s okay. Embrace it.
When nothing is certain, everything is possible!
Your plans for tomorrow, next month or next year may not unfold as you expect. But it’s important to make plans and move on.
Landon Donovan once said, “Life isn’t perfect, of course, but we all know it’s how you react to things that counts.”
Imperfection is the basic principle of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy of accepting your imperfections and making the most of life.
“Wabi” is said to be defined as “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance” with a focus on a less-is-more mentality.
“Sabi” is translated to “taking pleasure in the imperfect.”
The concept of wabi-sabi, is wide and almost impossible to distill in a single post, but can easily be applied simply to moments of everyday life.
The relentless pursuit of perfection — in possessions, relationships, achievements — often leads to stress, anxiety, depression and hasty judgement.
This is where wabi-sabi invites a pause.
The Japanese philosophy encourages us to focus on the blessings hiding in our daily lives, and celebrating the way things are rather than how they should be.
Wabi-sabi prizes authenticity.
Wabi-Sabi is “a way of life that appreciates and accepts complexity while at the same time values simplicity,” writes Richard Powell in his book, Wabi Sabi Simple.
Richard says it acknowledges three simple realities:
“Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”
In Zen philosophy, there are seven aesthetic principles in achieving wabi-sabi:
• Kanso — simplicity
• Fukinsei — asymmetry or irregularity
• Shibumi — beauty in the understated
• Shizen — naturalness without pretense
• Yugen — subtle grace
• Datsuzoku — freeness
• Seijaku — tranquility
The timeless wisdom of wabi-sabi is more relevant now than ever for modern life, as we search for meaning and fulfillment beyond materialism.
Wabi-sabi is like minimalism with a conscious choice.
The concept has its roots in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
A common explanation is the example of a well-loved teacup, made by an artist’s hands, cracked or chipped by constant use.
Such traces remind the observer that nothing is permanent — even fixed objects are subject to change.
A great example of wabi-sabi in creativity is the art of kintsugi, where cracked pottery is filled with gold dusted lacquer as a way to showcase the beauty of its age and damage rather than hiding it.
The fault is not hidden but highlighted.
This is not to say the Craftsman was sloppy (wabi-sabi isn’t an excuse for poor craftsmanship). Wabi-sabi draws attention to the cracks in a tea cup as part of the beauty of the object.
In his book The Unknown Craftsman, Soetsu Yanagi argues that imperfections are necessary for a full appreciation of the object and the world.
We in our own human imperfections are repelled by the perfect, since everything is apparent from the start and there is no suggestion of the infinite.
Wabi-sabi is everywhere, you just need to know how to look, and what to do to embrace the concept in your life.
The cracks in the old teacup are seen as assets rather than flaws.
“Wabi-sabi is a different kind of looking, a different kind of mindset,” explains Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. “It’s the true acceptance of finding beauty in things as they are,” he says.
What does it take to embrace Wabi-sabi in your life?
Robyn explains that you don’t money, or special skills to appreciate your imperfections and make the most of life.
Bringing wabi-sabi into your life doesn’t require money, training, or special skills. It takes a mind quiet enough to appreciate muted beauty, courage not to fear bareness, willingness to accept things as they are — without ornamentation. It depends on the ability to slow down, to shift the balance from doing to being, to appreciating rather than perfecting.
Mike Sturm says Wabi-sabi is about accepting yourself and building on what you already have in life. He writes.
Embracing wabi-sabi is as easy (or as difficult) as understanding and accepting yourself — imperfections and all. It’s about being compassionate with yourself as you are, and building on whatever that is — not feverishly trying to rebuild yourself in order to pose as something else entirely.
Today, appreciation of the things we have, people we love, and the experiences we have the opportunity to weave into our lives is losing value.
Wabi-sabi represents a precious cache of wisdom that values tranquillity, harmony, beauty and imperfection, and can strengthen your resilience in the face of materialism.
It gently motions you to relax, slow down, step back from the hectic modern world and find enjoyment and gratitude in everything you do.
Put simply, wabi-sabi gives you permission to be yourself.
One can never see too many summer sunrises on the Mississippi. They are enchanting. First, there is the eloquence of silence; for a deep hush broods everywhere. Next, there is the haunting sense of loneliness, isolation, remoteness from the worry and bustle of the world. The dawn creeps in stealthily; the solid walls of the black forest soften to grey, and vast stretches of the river open up and reveal themselves; the water is smooth, gives off spectral little wreaths of white-mist, there is not the faintest breath of wind, nor stir of leaf; the tranquility is profound and infinitely satisfying. Then a bird pipes up, another follows, and soon the pipings develop into a jubilant riot of music. You see none of the birds, you simply move through an atmosphere of song which seems to sing itself. When the light has become a little stronger, you have one of the fairest and softest pictures imaginable. You have the intense green of the massed and crowded foliage nearby; you see it paling shade by shade in front of you; upon the next projecting cape, a mile off or more, the tint has lightened to the tender young green of spring; the cape beyond that one has almost lost colour, and the furthest one, miles away under the horizon, sleeps upon the water a mere dim vapour, and hardly separable from the sky above it and about it. And all this stretch of river is a mirror, and you have shadowy reflections of the leafage and the curving shores and the receding capes pictured in it.
Well, this is all beautiful; soft and rich and beautiful; and when the sun gets well up, and distributes a pink flush here and a powder of gold yonder and a purple haze where it will yield the best effect, you grant that you have something that is worth remembering.
Somebody once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become. — Anonymus
Sometimes, to become successful, we do not need to add more things, we need to give up on some of them.
Even though each one of us has a different definition of success, there are certain things that are universal, which, if you give up on them, you will be more successful.
Some of them you can give up today, while it might take a bit longer for others.
1. Give Up On The Unhealthy Lifestyle
Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live. — Jim Rohn
If you want to achieve anything in life, everything starts here. First, you have to take care of your health, and there are only two things you need to keep in mind:
Small steps, but you will thank yourself one day.
2. Give Up The Short-term Mindset
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. — Mae West
Successful people set long-term goals, and they know that these aims are merely the result of short-term habits that they need to do every day.
These healthy habits should not be something you do; they should be something you are.
There is a difference between: “Working out to have summer body” and “Working out because that is who you are.”
3. Give Up Playing Small
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.– Marianne Williamson
If you never try and take great opportunities, or allow your dreams to become realities, you will never realize your true potential.
Moreover, the world will never benefit from what you could have achieved.
So voice your ideas, don’t be afraid to fail, and certainly don’t be afraid to succeed.
4. Give Up Your Excuses
It is not about the cards you are dealt, but how you play the hand. – Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Successful people know that they are responsible for their life, no matter their starting point, weaknesses, and past failures.
Realizing that you are entirely responsible for what happens next in your life, is both frightening and exciting.
However, it is the only way that you can reach the success because excuses limit and prevent us from growing personally and professionally.
Own your life; no one else will.
5. Give Up The Fixed Mindset
The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. ― Robert Greene, Mastery
In a fixed mindset, people believe that their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits and that talent alone creates success — without effort. They are wrong.
Moreover, successful people know this. They invest an immense amount of time on a daily basis to develop a growth mindset, acquire new knowledge, learn new skills and change their perception so that it can benefit their lives.
Remember, who you are today, it is not whom you have to be tomorrow.
6. Give Up Believing In The “Magic Bullet.”
Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.— Émile Coué
Overnight success is a myth.
Successful people know that making small continuous improvement every day, will be compounded over time, and give them desired results.
That why you should plan for the future, but focus on the day that’s ahead of you, and improve just 1%.
7. Give Up Your Perfectionism
Shipping beats perfection.— Kahn Academy’s Development Mantra
Nothing will ever be perfect, no matter how much we try.
Fear of failure (or even fear of success) often prevents us from taking action and putting our creation out there in the world. However, many opportunities will be lost if we wait for things to be right.
So, “ship,” and then improve (that 1%).
8. Give Up Multi-tasking
You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ― Winston S. Churchill
Successful people know this. That is why they choose one thing and then beat it into submission. No matter what, a business idea, a conversation, or a workout.
Being fully present and committed to one task, is indispensable.
9. Give Up Your Need to Control Everything
Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us. — Epictetus, Stoic philosopher
Differentiating these two is important.
Detach from the things you cannot control, and focus on the ones you can, and know that sometimes, the only thing you will be able to monitor is your attitude towards something.
Moreover, remember, nobody can be frustrated while saying “Bubbles” in an angry voice.
10. Give Up Saying YES To Things That Don’t Support Your Goals
He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.— James Allen
Successful people know this that to accomplish their goals, they will have to say NO to tasks, activities, and demands from your friends, family, and colleagues.
On a short-term, you might sacrifice a bit of instant gratification, but when your goals come to fruition, it will be worth it.
11. Give Up The Toxic People
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
People we spend the most time with, add up to whom we become.
There are less ambitious people, and there are more ambitious people than us. If you spend time with the ones that are less driven than you, your average will go down, and with it your success.
However, if you spend time with people more advanced than you, no matter how challenging that might be, you will be more successful.
Take a look at around yourself, and see if you need to make any changes.
12. Give Up Your Need To Be Liked
The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important. — Oliver Emberton
Think of yourself as a market niche.
There will be many people that like that niche, but there will be individuals who do not, and no matter what you do, you will not be able to make an entire market like you.
This is entirely natural, and there’s no need to do anything to justify yourself.
The only thing you can do is continue being authentic, and know that growing number of “haters” means that you are doing important things.
13. Give Up Your Dependency on The Social Media & Television
The trouble is, you think you have time. — Jack Kornfield
Impulsive web browsing and television watching is a disease of today’s society.
These two should never be an escape from your life or your goals.
Unless your goals depend on either, you should minimize (or eliminate) your dependency on them. Moreover, direct that time towards things that can enrich your life.
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