You are what you feed

Angela Duckworth recently shared, this parable, quoted verbatim from Tim beck’s recent article:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good—his is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Powerful!

My favorite prayers

Here is two favorite prayers I learned in the past 12 months:

  1. The Serenity Prayer
    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference”.
  2. The Dunning-Kruger Prayer
    “God let me be smart enough to know how dumb I am,
    and give me the courage to carry on anyway”.

Powerful!!!

Engineering a little bit of joy in our life!

When 2021 started, I was thinking about what was going to be my goals for the year. I started setting yearly goals in 2018 and it has been life changing, but this time, I wanted to change it up a bit, and instead of setting goals and doing everything I can to reach them, I wanted to do the opposite. Instead of running towards something, pursuing something in front of me, I wanted to remove things that were keeping me from running, I wanted to get rid of all anchors so I can be able to move forward at full speed.

So how did I go about removing my anchors?

I bought a little book on Amazon called Gratitude Journal for about $6 and It’s a very simple but wonderful journal that has some questions as prompts to think about the day ahead and also be able to look back at how the day went at the end of it.

So every morning when I wake up (except on rare occasions), I write in my gratitude journal. And I have 3 specific questions I answer every morning:

  1. Today, I’m grateful for …
    For this question I try to find 2 or 3 things I am grateful for, from the previous day and it can be anything like “I’m grateful for getting home safe.” , “I’m grateful that I had a really ripe avocado last night.”, “I’m grateful that traffic lights were working, and it helped me get home without getting into an accident.”
  2. How will I make today awesome . . .
    For this question I write down 2 or 3 things I’m going to do to make the day go by fast, or emotionally easy and some real example I have actually written down are: “I’m going to work hard and leave everything on the playing field (give it my all).”, “I’m going to strike a conversation with that person that I really don’t like for some reason.”, “I’m going to be kind and present.”
  3. Positive affirmation . . .
    For this question I write down something positive about myself, like “I look good.”, “I’m a smart and caring person.”, “I’m proud of myself for noticing and willing to get help in becoming a better husband and a better father.”

And every night before bed, I answer 3 specific questions:

  1. Little things that made my day . . .
    With this questions, I look back and see which little things that made my day a little brighter and it could be something like “I got home and my kids came running to hug me.”, “I talked with my mum about various things.”, “A coworker said something nice about me.”
    This is by far my favorite question to fill out, because it helps me look back at the day and force myself to find something nice about that day especially when it feels like it was a looooong day!
  2. Learning(s) from today . . .
    I try to find at least one thing I learned that day, and it could be anything from “Today, I learned a new word” to “I was having a conversation with someone and they said something that really resonated (and state what that thing was)”
  3. Goals/Plans for tomorrow . . .
    Here I write down one or two goals I have for the next day and these days it has been mostly 2 goals : “I want to be more kind towards others and towards myself.’ and “I want to be present, in the moment with whoever I am with or wherever I am.”

Lastly at the bottom of the page, I rank how the day was from a -2 to a +2. So some days are 1 or 0. And this ranking is only about how I felt that day emotionally. I could have a really busy day with lots of challenging work and I’m exhausted at the end of the day and I might rate that day a +2 because I was very happy emotionally.

After 30 days, I look back and see what I did on the days I had -2 and try to limit or delete the things I did on those days out of my life if I can, and I write down what I did on the +2 days and try to repeat or replicate those in my daily life and I even go a step further and schedule those things I did on the +2 days and have them on the calendar for the next month that way nothing else gets scheduled before them, which makes a huge difference in whether I have a good month or a great month.

Some of the things I found that makes my days +2s are: talking to my mum (and these are long telephone conversation sometimes 4 to 6hrs), having dinner with Valerie (my wife) and having different conversation about various things, Working really hard at work and giving my all, having a conversation with a colleague and going deep on a subject, playing with the my kids before they go to bed …

Maybe with me sharing this, It might help you find what I’m able to find, the ability to find great things about my days especially on those days where it feels like it was a dread, and being able to track what happens on the days with +2 and do more of that and what happens on days with -2 and do less of that is a very easy way to engineer some joy in our daily life.

Vulnerability is freedom

Being vulnerable frees us.

It gives us the freedom to act on our beliefs and values.

It gives us the freedom to make things better.

It helps us to connect with one an other.

It helps us to realize what we might not be able to, otherwise.

This time

We all want to be seen and to be heard.

Next time when someone is telling you about what happened to them, don’t bring up a similar story that happened to you or someone you know; just listen, ask questions and listen more.

Let it be about them this time.

Beliefs becoming our identity.

Beliefs are what we think to be true. Values are what we think are important.

When we mix the two, and take our beliefs to also be our values. Then, it’s hard to question our beliefs since they are now part of who we are, our identity.

Question your beliefs, and be ready to change them as new information comes in, and you reach new understanding. Be curious, find ways that support your beliefs or ways against them, argue them to better understand not only your beliefs but also the beliefs of the other side.

Question what you believe to be true, often!

Life is finite

In January, we celebrated my mum’s birthday. It was special not only for my mum, but also for the whole family. Even though it was a video call, it felt like I was there. I could see my mum’s tears of joy and a smile on her face, and it made me feel great.
My sister reminded me of something. In her letter to mum, she reminded me that life is finite, one day we won’t be here, we might as well let those we care about, know; and we should remind them as often as possible.
I don’t have to wait on someone to have a big day to let them know I’m here and I care. I can and I will do that as often as possible. Thank you sis for this reminder!

Maybe you needed to hear this, a reminder to be kind and compassionate to everyone.

5-Frank Points Friday

Hi All!

Here is your weekly dose of “5-Frank Points Friday,” a list of what I’m pondering and exploring.

What I’m watching – This will be 3 in 1 point
Coherence (Tubitv), Predestination (Amazon Prime, iTunes), Triangle (Tubitv, YouTube). These movies were recommended to me by a friend of mine, and they didn’t disappoint. Great drama, horror, psychological thriller I have seen so far!

Podcast Episode I’m listening to –
How to Become Batman from the Invisibilia Podcast (Apple Podcast, Stitcher). In “How to Become Batman,” Alix and Lulu examine the surprising effect that our expectations can have on the people around us. You’ll hear how people’s expectations can influence how well a rat runs a maze. Plus, the story of a man who is blind and says expectations have helped him see. Yes. See. This journey is not without skeptics.

Question I’m Wrestling with –
If you woke up tomorrow morning, and you discovered that you only had 10 years to live, what would you stop doing?

What I wish for you in 2021 – This was yesterday’s post and here it is again.

I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Quote I’m pondering –
“You never know if a good day is a good day.”

And, as always, please give me feedback on Twitter. Which point above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Other suggestions? Please let me know. Just send a tweet to @realfrankibanga and put #5FrankPointsFriday at the end so I can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, all.

Much love to you and yours,

Frank

___________

P.S: This is my last post for 2020. I’m taking the next few weeks to recharge myself, to evaluate how 2020 was for me, the lessons I learned, I’m setting new goals for 2021 and most importantly I’m going to rest. This has been a long and trying year for all of us, especially this time of the year and my heart goes out for those who lost loved ones, friends, colleagues, and those who are currently in hospitals fighting for their lives, my heart goes out for you. I hope 2021 is the light that we’re all waiting for and I can’t wait for this year to be over.
I wish you and yours a safe, happy, and healthy Christmas and A wonderful New Year! Take care of yourself, and if you can, someone else too.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!