Improving Step by Step

My goal is to encourage you to start improving your life step by step, day by day. To try to seize what this life on our planet can offer you. Unfortunately, we live most of our lives blind or only half awake. Our lives are mostly governed by patterns we adopted from our upbringing. Most of us got the majority of our beliefs and thought patterns from our parents or caregivers.

Isn’t it interesting how many times children buy the same brands of cars as their parents and follow the same profession? How many times do children vote for the same political party, value the same possessions or see success in the same way whether it is in the form of job security, education, or amount of money? How many times do we bear the same resentments and anger about political and religious leaders?

And we think that’s normal. Or better said, we don’t question it. That’s the way it is. In theory, nothing is wrong with that. Taking on all of these patterns helped us survive when we were completely reliant on our caregivers. If they wouldn’t hold us and nurture us, we would die. If they didn’t love us, we would die. If they wouldn’t feed us, we would die. It makes complete sense that nature built us this way. It built us for survival.

Evolution developed our bodies, our minds and our emotions so that our chance for survival is the highest. If we started rejecting what our caregivers think and believe our well-being would be threatened. Nature doesn’t want that. It wants us to grow up and reproduce. That’s in our genes.

So it made us acceptable in the eyes of our caregivers so that they would take care of us. We can therefore understand that we don’t make only simple decisions like what car to buy or which party to vote for from childhood programming but also deeper beliefs about what is right and wrong, how to behave, how to make choices, and what is important. As much as I hate to say it but we mostly become a copy of the main characters in our time growing up. With all their positive and negative traits.

We didn’t choose what to believe or what to think. It was given to us. It is now so deep in our unconscious being that we don’t even know it’s there. As you can read in an amazing book called “The four agreements”, we have domesticated ourselves. This means that when we were children, our parents taught us “right from wrong” in their own flawed way. We now unconsciously have all of these beliefs stored deep inside of us and these beliefs are running our lives.

We never consciously chose any of them yet that governs our every day. We don’t need our parents’ guidance anymore. We are imprinted by them and we guide ourselves in their steps on our own. We have adopted the same patterns of thinking and being.

This is the general overview and yes, some were luckier than others in how they were brought up, and what kind of patterns of behaviour and beliefs they took. But there is a part that is not completely free in almost all of us. It is virtually impossible to escape this conditioning because your parents are human and they made mistakes.

Where the luck lies in all of this is that everything can be healed and changed.
You can get rid of the autopilot that is guiding you in your life right now and take over the wheel. You can start living a better life. You can reach your goals. But you have to do one thing. Become more conscious of yourself and start doing small incremental changes in your life day by day every day.

Becoming conscious

If there is something you would like to achieve in your life that you haven’t achieved yet if there is something you would like to experience that you haven’t experienced yet, the only way to get there is to become a conscious human being that is able to make choices without all the baggage that you brought with you from childhood.
Why am I saying this?

Thomas Jefferson said:
“If you want something you’ve never had, You must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

To do something you’ve never done you have to be able to make choices. Different choices that you took before. Something in you has to change because otherwise, you will get the same thing you were always getting. As the saying goes: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’

And the only way you can do something different is to be able to make a better decision. Think about it. Your current decision-making process brought you to where you are. It is not possible for this same machine to bring you higher.


Becoming “conscious” is our goal, if we want to improve our lives, create the life we want to live. How do we become conscious?

The first skill we have to master to become conscious is awareness. We have to become able to notice what is happening to us and return to the present moment. So many times in the day we just get lost in thought, worry, and fear and let life go by while we indulge in worst-case scenarios in our heads.

Michel de Montaigne said:  “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

This sums up our lives beautifully. We make it difficult to live life to the fullest if we spend it in mostly unconscious fears and worries about things that might happen sometimes in the future but in 95 % of cases never do.
When this happens, when your thoughts start racing, or when you feel that surge of anger when someone cuts you off on the road or you drop something on the floor. These are moments when your primitive emotions take over and run the show without you knowing. This is the most important moment where you have to be able to regain consciousness and take the steering wheel of your life.

Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychologist and Holocaust survivor said in his book Man’s search for meaning: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

You drop eggs on the floor and they break all over your kitchen. That millisecond before you start cursing there is a space where you can consciously make the choice that is the best for you. Is becoming furious, shouting and being in a bad mood for the rest of the day really the best alternative for you? Or would it be better to stop yourself before being completely taken over by anger, forgive yourself for dropping the eggs, clean the eggs and continue cheerfully through the day?

How do we develop this skill to catch ourselves when our minds do their thing and we get caught up and lost in thought? First, a very important notion here is that this is a SKILL. This means you can learn how to do it. You were not born with lashing out at people or losing your temper while driving. You maybe didn’t choose this, it came as a result of your socialization, but what matters is, that you can change, because this is a skill that can be cultivated and taught. You can learn how to catch yourself losing your mind all on your own.

The keyword we are searching for here is mindfulness. And I will present to you the only way I know how to cultivate mindfulness that I know works because I’ve been using it for more than 4 years – meditation. I don’t know how many meditation techniques and styles there are but you don’t have to overcomplicate. Every form works.

Step number 1 is sitting down and following your breath without losing focus. When your mind wanders off, just imagine it as a child that gets lost and you just bring it back without anger.
When I started meditating I helped myself with 2 meditation apps: Calm and Headspace. I chose to continue with the Calm subscription and used it for years. Start with the beginner lessons in these 2 apps and you are off to an amazing start. (Currently, I just put a timer in the app called Insight Timer. But Calm is still an amazing app.)

In time you will develop a high enough level of awareness that will allow you to choose your response in almost all daily occurrences. Yes, you will still succumb to your “monkey mind” once in a while, you will still react emotionally and you will still do things you will later regret. But there will be fewer and fewer of these kinds of situations because you will have the time and space to make the decision you actually want.

You will not snap back at your coworker when they ask you the same question 3 times, you will not brush off your child or elderly parent when they want some of your attention and you are in the midst of chaos at work.

This is all possible. And it will help you lead a better, happier life.

A long time ago I actually took pride in my quick anger, I thought that made me stronger and that people will not fuck with me because I get angry quickly. But now I see this was only showing my weakness, I was the little person that couldn’t handle my emotions, and I let outside circumstances guide and influence me.

Albert Camus said: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

With awareness and the possibility to choose your response, you become invincible. Nothing can touch you because you are whole. People can touch you and you don’t get angry, or defensive even in the areas where you feel the most vulnerable. For example, you are very sensitive to the question of children and marriage because you are in your mid 30ies and all your friends are married with children. Now when the discussion around you is about family and children, you tense up, become irritated and cannot enjoy the company, the setting, the food anymore. Your mind starts to take its own course, it makes up stories to “protect you” but all it does is distances you from you, from your friends, from your love of this world you can enjoy at this moment.

To be able to handle all the situations that life throws at you, the first step is being aware of what is actually happening to you all the time. And meditation is definitely the way to go!
Start meditating today. Push it through the beginning, because as we know, beginnings are hard, stick with it and your life will never be the same again.

It really is one of those life-changing habits. I still remember the feeling of peace I felt after my first ever meditation. I couldn’t believe the calmness and clarity when I opened my eyes after finishing it. It was only a 10-minute session but it felt amazing. Something completely different.
My mind was always too active, working overtime, so severe I couldn’t sleep. Meditation was one of my first weapons to fight insomnia and it often worked. It couldn’t help me when I was waking up in the middle of the night in sweat but at least I could fall asleep right.

After a while, you will try different kinds of meditation, not just following your breath but maybe also sounds, body sensations, emotions, loving-kindness meditations, walking meditations etc… All amazing tools in your arsenal of awareness.

What made a huge change for me was a book called Universe has your back by Gabrielle Bernstein. After reading her book and her explanation of the different feelings she described when she went on stage. Imagine the first possibility, going on stage in fear, questioning what you have of value to share and the other option, you go to the stage in full faith that everything will be ok, you trust and just let go. Believe that people who came to listen will sense you and your energy.

Just think how it would be to go through all life’s situations with this kind of faith. And even when you get caught up in fearful thoughts, by the power you gained through meditation, you quickly gain the faith to explore and continue with your life, and your projects. This is a completely different life right there.

And this is my second level of meditation. When you are just sitting down in faith in the universe. When you keep your focus on the energy around you. You don’t notice your breath anymore, just the empty space all around you and you bathe in the peace, clarity and gratitude for life. This is when you start smiling for no apparent reason but being alive and experiencing the beauty and joy of life without your external world changing. Thats all you need to be happy. You.

Besides Gabrielle Bernstein, I also got a lot of good lessons from doing the meditations of Joe Dispenza. He has some amazing meditations, also walking meditations like this one: Dr Joe Dispenza Walking Meditation 5 Unlocking the code in which you can literally feel how you are a different person when you finish it. I encourage you to explore different teachers and find out what calls out to you. I also read books and listened to meditations from Tara Brach and Sharon Salzberg and also others I found in another great meditation app Insight Timer (For example I listened to Lisa Abramson “Melting Stress and Anxiety Away” every night before I went to sleep for months). Sometimes I even got out of bed and did this meditation If I couldn’t sleep.
Explore, keep an open mind and enjoy.

The choice

After you become aware of a trigger after you catch yourself reacting on autopilot you can make the next step in bringing your true self to the surface. You allow yourself to feel what is happening inside you but not react automatically to it. You can choose what to do.

Why would you choose to do anything that doesn’t serve you? Why would you choose a minute of feeling angry, resentful, feeling hate, when you can rather just be present and grateful for the gifts of your existence. It is impossible to do it if you are stuck in unconsciousness, but if you become present, everything is possible. You have the opportunity to choose.

You took responsibility for all aspects and not you create a world you love living in.
Because you are in charge. You are the master. You decide. Enjoy your freedom. Your life will improve without a doubt. Just remain aware and make choices that serve you.
Sometimes it’s hard. But definitely worth it.

Good luck!


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