• Zarmina Penner

A Clean Slate


It's 2022, and again we have a clean slate to start fresh, another opportunity to redefine ourselves and our outlook on life. It is an opening. If I reflect on the past 22 years, I would say that to stay on track to living a peaceful, meaningful, and fulfilling life; one needs three things: 1) a clear sense and knowledge of self to make the right life choices, 2) a life philosophy as guidance for Yes and No decisions, i.e., to know what to do and what not to do. 3) a personal mission to give what we do meaning because life without meaning is a drag and a rat race. Any mission is ultimately about how we can support others. I have focused mainly on the first aspect in past posts because everything initiates from the self. In this category, understanding the role of our ego and managing it is essential. The ego can be a tremendous asset or a huge liability, depending on how we react to its chatter. Since an unmanaged ego uses our fabricated identity to manipulate us into adverse reactions to outside triggers, I propose a shortcut to better ego management and more peaceful life: Toss out your identity and the stories you are telling yourself about yourself, and you will weaken the grip of your ego on you. It will free you from pride based on your identity. Be careful when stress throws you off balance—that's when the ego tends to raise its sly head. On the other hand, a well-managed and in-control ego is necessary for moving our lives forward with intention. Success goes in line with a good reputation. Therefore, first, identify your personality type clearly and develop your talents, then as a finishing touch, build your reputation, others' perception of you, consistently by what you think, say, and do daily. They should match.

I define a life philosophy as a set of rules that guide our daily actions. It's like an operating system that helps us run our lives. Without it, the most influential voices nearest to us push and pull us in all directions. Therefore, having a robust life philosophy is an absolute must, too.

However, the philosophy must remain flexible and be repeatedly examined and adjusted. Here we have to examine facts and beliefs. As a fact, we can, for example, say that frugality is an excellent way to manage our money because it will eventually lead to more money saved to spend on meaningful things. A belief is different. We might believe that being unkind to others makes sense when we observe influential people, potentially even our role models, systematically being insensitive to others. Kindness might then feel silly, weak, and not a clever real-life strategy at all. It becomes a dilemma because we humans know deep down that kindness, without a doubt, is a good trait.

To resolve this dilemma, we need a wise life philosophy that guides our beliefs and does not look to others for guidance. It is fair to say that kindness is always a strength; however, within the bounds of protecting our safety. ”Rogues” of all kinds can misuse kindness to intrude on us. Kindness with discernment and scrutiny may be a rule for you. It is beneficial to re-examine and adapt your rules to your circumstances as a routine practice. A good time for that is when a new year starts, i.e., now. Lastly, finding a constructive focus for our life force and energy is healthy and gratifying; that is how I define a mission. A mission in essence is how we support each other in whatever way we best can by creating better realities in our microcosms. For example, I enjoy focussing my energy on making workplaces a better place by sharing my insights with leaders like you who can make a difference. As leaders, managing ourselves better and having a well-examined life philosophy powered by a consistent mission will significantly impact the lives of many others in the workplace. And that is all that is needed. With kind regards, Zarmina P.S.: Please do forward the newsletter if you know someone who might benefit from this content. And, of course, I am as always thrilled to receive your comments and suggestions.

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