“A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition.” ~ James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
“Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?” ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you.
This strategy gives you a chance to practice something that is probably completely unacceptable to you. However, if you give it a try, you might find that it’s one of the most helpful exercises in self-improvement.
As the title suggests, the idea is to imagine that everyone you know and everyone you meet is perfectly enlightened. That is, everyone except you! The people you meet are all here to teach you something. Perhaps the obnoxious driver or disrespectful teenager is here to teach you about patience, the punk rocker might be here to teach you to be less judgmental.
“Exceptions lead to more exceptions. It’s really easy to justify not doing [a] new habit (or doing an old habit you’re trying to quit) by saying, “Just one time won’t hurt.” Except that it will, because now you think it’s OK to make exceptions. And now you don’t really trust yourself to stick to your promise to yourself. It’s much more effective to not make exceptions — catch yourself if you’re thinking about it and trying to justify it, and remember your motivations. When I quit smoking, I told myself Not One Puff Ever (NOPE).” ~ Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
“We’re not in it for the short game, we’re in it for the long game. It can be hard to figure out which change to make right now, because that means giving up lots of other important changes. And I’ve seen people agonize over which change to make first, because they think the order matters. Sure, maybe it would be optimal to learn to meditate first, before making eating changes, but you know what’s not optimal? Making no changes. Over the long term, if you pick one small change at a time, you’ll have all the important habits formed. So honestly, just pick the one you feel like doing the most — the one that you’ll enjoy most.” ~ Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
“When you make a small change, your ‘normal’ adjusts. Imagine that you’re used to a whole set of conditions — if you deviate from those conditions very much, you will be uncomfortable. Going to live in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, don’t know anyone, aren’t used to the food, don’t understand the customs, don’t have the same kind of home you’re used to … this can be very difficult. But if you make one tiny change, it’s not very uncomfortable. And after a month or two, you adapt to this tiny change, and it becomes part of the conditions that you’re used to. Your new normal. Changing your life in small steps like this, one small change at a time, is much easier and much more likely to succeed than making multiple huge changes all at once. Gradually change your normal.” ~ Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
“It is better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~ Proverb
“Without the veil of envy, without the mirrors of comparison, without the torture of judgment, I saw the truth clearly: I was not where I wanted to be because I was not who I needed to become.” ~ Angela Turpin, Tiny Buddha