kindness

What’s Life Got To Do With It?

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Recently I came across Arthur, an older gentleman who used to live in our building. I had not seen him or his wife for six months and in the past we had talked a few times. They seemed to be nice and private people.

Although we did not speak the same language when I saw him he was in tears, trying to explain in English that his wife passed away a few months ago.

He was devastated. And, I could not help but feel a degree of his pain, as I thought of my wife upstairs.

There are times when we lose someone dear to us. It is something most of us try to avoid thinking about, and we tell ourselves we’ll deal with it when it happens to us. But we all secretly hope it never does.

Our impermanence is something, however, we should be thinking about. When we do that, it actually helps live a better life.

The thought of our eternal departure reminds us to appreciate our family, loved ones and friends while we are still all present in each other’s lives. Even in those mundane moments, or the tough times, the prospect of someone no longer being a part of our daily lives is a reminder to hold every moment with them close to the heart and memory.

When the specter of what is always just beyond the horizon of our days becomes something we embrace, we learn to live a different life.

If you were told you had less than one year to live, what would you do with each of your remaining days?

Would you live a life that never pushed the boundaries beyond your comfort zone? Or, would you reach out to the world in a way you have never done, full of fearlessness?

Would you squeeze the very last drop out of your life and make it as fulfilling as possible?

Or, would you remain fixated on the excuses many of us accumulate that keep us from living a life on our terms?

Would you do something out of the ordinary scope of your life?

What happens if you learned that your spouse, partner or loved one had less than a year to live? What would you help that person do with each of those remaining days?

Perhaps your first instinct is to say, “I’m only human. I only can do so much.”

I’d like to challenge you to think with regard to your own life, how you can rise up to the fact that our life as it is today will not be like that forever. Unfortunately, most of us will experience the passing of our other half or someone who is a kindred spirit.

The way to meet the permanent sleep that awaits each of us is to accept the idea of mortality every day.

It is by doing this, mindfully, each and every day that we can then do the following:

  • Live life to the fullest.
  • Be good to people and appreciate their presence in our lives always.
  • Take care and enjoy our families, even in those moments that are seemingly banal and not full of any excitement other than simply occupying the same space in a room.
  • Do the things you have always wanted to do: a trip, start a new business or write a book, etc.
  • Treat yourself and your partner often to little and simple things, which demonstrate you care.
  • Do something outrageous and fun, just because.
  • Invite people (even strangers) to your home and into your life.
  • Really see and experience the growth and development of your children instead of always being at work or too tired.

Many times we do something because we feel we ought to do this or the other to keep somebody happy, buy what about you?

Life is too short to hate, to be unfulfilled or not to be grateful for each day. Say “thank you” more often. Be ambitious to do your thing, but humble at the same time. Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry if you made a mistake.

Forgive yourself in life. It’s okay if you didn’t become an astronaut, quarterback or a successful entrepreneur or even actor. Life is still good because you have it and those who you love with you. It’s fine that you followed another path and became something else. Glamour is overrated.

Realize that your mission is to live your life, experience the journey and if you are part of a couple, to make the other person’s life better along with your own.

If you live to be 80 years old you are living for only 29,200 days. Think of those 365 days a year mindfully and with purpose. With your time on earth you are meant to say, “I lived. I experienced. I loved.”

Get to a point in your life where if something happened to you – or someone you loved – you can say have no regrets. I lived my life. I cherished my family and those around me. And, I wrote the definitive story of an amazing life.

What a powerful feeling if all of us can experience that.

What a life!

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: February 29, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Suggestions For A Meaningful 2016

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1) Offer to help when you can.
2) Be grateful for the little or a lot you have.
3) Laugh every day and make someone laugh.
4) Simplify your life.
5) Do not worry for the details.
6) Take care of your health.
7) Be authentic, be real.
8) Love and care for your family as well as your friends.
9) Always set time for yourself every day. Time to relax, time to learn new things.
10) Focus when you work.
11) Enjoy when you play.
12) Take time to recharge.
13) Take on a hobby.
14) Volunteer some of your time and talent when you can.
15) Be humble always.
16) Don’t hold grudges even if you were wronged.
17) Speak your mind without being negative.
18) Enjoy life, enjoy the nature.
19) Try to make a difference anyway you can.
20) Do not add to the mundane.
21) Play with children and make them laugh.
22) Be respectful of others.
23) Always welcome discussion and different points of view.
24) Be open to opportunities, to new friends.
25) Don’t come across as a know-it-all, even if you do know a lot.
26) Be spontaneous.
27) Show the ropes to someone.
28) Take initiative to lead when you can.
29) Do not fear life.
30) When deciding on an outcome use logic, followed by your intuition and then emotion.
31) Do not hate, it’s not worth it.
32) Leave your preconceived notions aside and just live.
33) Challenge your brain with new things, new languages, new areas of interest.
34) Realize everyone of us are only human and frail no matter our age and plan accordingly. Focus on new experiences.
35) Last but not least “it is not the destination but the journey that counts.”

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: December 31, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Mad About Life? Don’t Be. Yes, You!

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Do we really need to get bitter with life? All of us experience setbacks daily in our lives. Is it fair to say that everything that happens to us is somebody else’s fault and not ours? Not really. Maybe sometimes it can be someone else’s fault, but not always. It’s not nearly enough as we may think.

In the process of blaming others, we change. We do not trust others as we used to. We start to get colder. We blame life with expressions such as, “Life’s not fair.” Or, “I should have gotten X.” Or perhaps, “Why hasn’t anyone noticed me. Am I invisible?”

We get mad with ourselves. We get angry at those around us and feel trapped in what we call, “current conditions.” There are serious implications, which can spiral our life downwards if we don’t notice first.

Our relationship with loved ones can suffer. Our work can suffer, and of course, our health and financial situations too. How do we avoid this mess?

How Am I Doing?

First, you need to ask yourself how you’re doing with any given situation. How do you perceive the challenges? Be aware of the side affects such as irritability, general malaise, lack of patience or fun in your life.

We all tend to personalize what is happening in our lives. And yes, sometimes it is very personal. But how we perceive things and those challenges makes a difference. No matter how life seems, it doesn’t stop it from being absolutely beautiful. And, each day is meant to be lived as if it’s the last – because it’s that precious.

Enjoy the outdoors. The sun. The air. The water. Life is there, if you just stretch and reach out for it. Relationships. Friendships. Family.

Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. No one is guaranteeing us anything. That’s not how life works. You need to look for the joy in the challenges that will come your way.

Don’t get comfortable, because that’s when you stop reaching out and searching. That’s when you stop dreaming. Believe that anything is possible. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Don’t believe them. People will always criticize you. They won’t like your ways. It’s your dream. Your life. Claim what’s yours.

Don’t Close Down

We don’t need to close down to anticipate the punches. Actually, a boxer in the ring will always keep his eye on his opponent. He may guard himself and keep his arms and gloves in a defensive position, but he’s got his eye on his adversary.

Take life head on. Don’t forget your values. Being bitter is not a value that will benefit you. It is only toxicity.

Every day I see people who are not open to life. In business interactions, for example, many people want everything for themselves as if they were on a desert island and playing “Survivor”. That might be a winning strategy in the short-term, but ultimately, it is going to bite you. In business, as well as life, negotiation is the name of the game.

Life is about giving and taking.

Yes, life is full of human piranhas. They prey on the naive and look to take advantage. That’s a fact. They exist. So, keep your eye on your worthy opponent and don’t be eaten alive.

Forget the News

Life is to be enjoyed, no matter what is happening in the world. The news is terrible these days. You see stories of death, war and famine. But beyond that, you see commentary couched as “news”. Everything is negative and toxic. It doesn’t matter from which side of the aisle you get your so-called “news”.

Why not do a little experiment? Filter out the news. Or, don’t watch it at all. Ask your friends and colleagues to update you on anything important happening in the world. But, whatever you do, don’t listen or read the news for more than 15 minutes a day. It’s a waste of time and it actually works to anger or depress even the strongest minds.

Before the 24-hour news cycle, we only watched the news either in the morning for a few minutes or in the evening. Now, it’s on all the time. Seriously? Most of the time, nothing has happened from one hour to the next, or even day to the next. The story that is gripping and should warrant your attention for more than a few minutes happens few and far between.

Do Unto Others

Instead, live by the Golden Rule. Remember that one? “Do unto others every day, as you would have them do unto you.” We go about our lives and we tend to forget about those around us. Don’t.

Try to help wherever you can. Try to get away from not having the time to reach out because you’re so “busy”. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to send a kind text or a few minutes to make a phone call. Putting it off until tomorrow or sometime in the future is only an excuse because it is never the “right” time.

There’s no better time than now.

As you know, you don’t always need money to help someone. Your time is a worthy and needed gift to someone who is alone or lonely.

Waking Up

Please don’t just wake up in the morning hating the day because of this or that. It sets the tone for your day, your month, your week and your life.

We all have issues we have to deal with. We can’t compare our lives to that of anyone else’s because we don’t know what others deal with behind closed doors. It’s safe to say, however, that we all deal with things.

I see young people who are already beaten by life. They have so much to live for, and yet they don’t see it. And then you look at older people and many have the energy to take on life – still with the smile and kindness that you wouldn’t expect from someone their age.

Life is to be cherished. If you don’t like the status quo of your life, change it! But, by all means, don’t become indifferent to it. That simply makes it more of a struggle than it has to be.

To better times!

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: August 11, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Your Brain on Greed

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Greed over the years has had different and, at times, controversial connotations. Some claim greed is good. This has been depicted, for example, in movies when it comes to young aggressive stockbrokers, car salesmen, etc.

The truth of the matter is, at times greed helps sell items and services. There are mainly two forces that will make an individual buy what you want them to buy. One is greed; greed for getting something that will help them get more benefit than others. In other words, if someone doesn’t act on the purchase, he or she stands to lose something.

The second force is fear of loss, or what someone might not get if they do not act on a particular opportunity that appeared to them.

This principle has been used in sales for many years.

What is Greed?

But, what is greed and how has it transformed our collective way of thinking over the years? According to the dictionary, greed is the self-serving desire to further the pursuit of money, wealth, power or other possessions. This especially happens when it denies the same to others.

Whether greed is considered good or not, it is for you to decide and apply it or not to your life according to your values.

Effects of Greed

But, realize this, greed has brought many people problems in this world. The problems are too many to list, but wars have been started because of greed. Corporations have acted against people’s interests because of greed. Often, politics does not serve the many, but the few, because of greed. Income inequality can be traced back to greed. For example, in the United States, the top 1 percent owns more wealth then the bottom 90 percent. Obviously we have an issue of inequality.

Anywhere you look, whatever the country, it’s probably safe to say that many people feel things are not getting any easier for them. And, the fact of the matter is that greed and the affects of greed will not get any better with time. On the contrary, it seems as if the differences are getting more pronounced.

How Can We Prosper?

The only way that I see it is to be a self-starter. Each one of us has to be innovative and creative. More and more of us will be forced to go out and start our own businesses. If you haven’t seen the trends yet, please do some research. Full-time jobs are on the decline. If you think you’re going to have your job for five, seven or ten years, think again. You’re on your own.

Your best bet is to create your own business, small company or organization and offer a solution to others in some form of product or service. Only then, can you feel that you have some control over the forces that are in action in today’s world. Only then, can you feel that you can call some of the shots.

Social Good

But while you’re out there on your own, being your own headhunting firm with a client roster of one–you, remember a few other things. Most of us are in the lifeboat with you. Be empathetic to other people’s needs. There’s no need to be all about greed. Try to help wherever you can and if you can dedicate a percentage of your profits to a good cause, I’m sure it can use the help.

As tough as things are in the world, we are moving toward shared social responsibility. People notice companies and businesses that are dedicated to social good, as well as profits.

We might not be able to change the world, but we can each demonstrate what we can do in the midst of chaos, confusion and uncertainty. Make people aware of what is going on. Help people understand that you’re going to lend your voice to social good by creating a business environment that will be respectful of people’s needs. Business decisions can be profitable and not adverse to others. There’s no need to work with greed as your primary or only motivation. It’s a fine line, but a happy medium does exist.

The world would be a better place if all of us were more giving. And although you might be thinking what difference you can make being only one person, the fact is that you can make a difference. In Margaret Mead’s words, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Just think what all of us can achieve one person at a time. If we could set aside our egocentric desires and think in terms of what good can come of our lives, we can change someone else’s life and prosper.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 24, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Making Sense of What is Happening Around Us

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Looking at what’s happening in the world today, hearing the news, seeing the images of people suffering, you cannot help but wonder what is wrong with people when life, to some, has no value. I just can’t sit on the sidelines and not express my opinion. And yes, I won’t make this post political, but if I can offer some insight to what is going on that might be helpful. Maybe I can offer some way to make sense in dealing with our present.

From the beginning of time, as we all know there, there have been the “haves and the have-nots”. All you need to do is look at history and see that nothing really has changed in the world aside of the fact that we are more advanced in innovating, technology, science, etc. But, all of this has come at a price. Call it increased health risks, environmental pollution, climate change, conflict, etc.

In the news, for the most part, you hear of misery – who killed who, the oppressed and the oppressors, human suffering and for some, a total disregard for life. Do you ever wonder why? Why do people have to live this way? You have heard the expressions, “Why can’t we all get along?” or “Live and let live.” Why don’t all people aspire to such ideas? I suppose, it is easier said than done. Human conditioning may not allow it. Greed does not allow it. Peace requires an incredible inner strength for someone trying not to get affected from everyday events and keep a can-do attitude in the midst of this chaotic environment.

While most of the press and TV seem to glorify human suffering to sell to a larger readership, get larger audiences, increase the amount of followers, we are left in the middle of the ocean on a raft, trying to live our lives and make sense of everything that goes on. How does someone get through all this? How can everything can be explained? What can we do?

I wish I had all of the answers. I wrestle with being peaceful and finding peace every day, but I think the writing is on the wall. All it takes, again, is having a look through history, and you can see that the pattern repeats itself. Over and over. You can see this cycle never ends, and you may not understand why.

If you find yourself suffering in any way, realize this – human dignity is priceless. Be the best you can be with what you have to work with whether education, resources, work etc. Never underestimate or lower yourself due to conditions you encounter. Your present conditions do not define the person you are or your worth as an individual.

Be open and ready to discuss issues and always try to negotiate a mutually beneficial solutions by being willing to give a little in order to get to your goals. Instead many prefer to criticize, become inflexible in their way of thinking which leads to disagreements, frustration, isolation and getting
nowhere.   

As my parents taught me once, keep your head high. We all walk on the ground but some of us look at the stars. Try always to extend a helping hand to others no matter how much or how little you have.  Some people are so self absorbed with their own agendas of their everyday lives, that their viewpoint tends to get myopic.

Don’t hold grudges.

Do not hate. Hatred robs you of your energy. It takes so much out of you to be irate and miserable. It takes so much less to love.

Make a difference.

No matter what, be the change.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 28, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to do Social Good and Feel Great About It

 

How would you feel if you are able to bring some good to society, give a helping hand to people struggling around you and at the same time feel good about doing so? It does not matter whether you are a Millennial, Gen-Xer, Boomer or part of the Greatest Generation, donating, giving to charity or volunteering, you can still give of your time or money and see an immediate impact.

Volunteering is more grassroots and organic, and allows you to experience the work of a charity. Find a mission that represents you. It does not need to be elaborate and difficult to grasp. Case and point: A soup kitchen. Volunteer some of your time one day to serve some meals for the elderly. I did this with my family for Thanksgiving one year and I received more than I ever thought possible. I realized I benefited so much in spirit and the fulfillment from the act was something unforgettable. You can contribute toward meals for children of the Appalachia region. Many of them go to bed hungry.

In Kentucky, for example, between 2010 and 2012 about 15.6% of the population was ” food insecure”, which meant that at times throughout the year their families were not able to afford food. There are many ways each one of us can help by supporting local food banks or other local projects where the goals are to feed, clothe, house and even provide disaster relief for families and the elderly. You can always start at home where there are so many organizations supporting various groups in need or you can help in faraway places for equally valuable causes.

Dollars can get you very far when you are contributing to a specific cause in Africa, for example. Take micro-funding – $100 loans start businesses for the people in Africa. Even less buys desks for children in Malawi, many of whom sit on the dirt floor to study as opposed to a desk in school. You can help support a young African who makes lamps by hand to donate to children so they are able to study at night. These children work all day to help their families survive and they are so poor that they study by candle light at night, which is not conducive to their eyes or study.

Doing even small things can help you see results immediately. The smile from an elderly man who needed a meal in a soup kitchen, providing food to a family in the United States who can not buy food, $100 for a business in Africa, a desk, a lamp – all simple things that we sometimes take for granted, but they can make an incredible difference in the life of one person.

Doing good and making change immediately is something almost anyone can do and all it takes is just a little bit of time or money and a desire to make a difference.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 9, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be Nice: Not A Fancy Title, But Being Real

No, really be nice. We hear so many sentences with the word “nice” included, but we seem at times to forget the basics because of everyone’s busy schedule and due to life’s complexities. Yes, I understand things need to get done, but what about showing gratitude and being thankful for as much or as little we have?

The fact that we woke up this morning breathing and being able to feel the warmth of the sun on our face … we need to be grateful for that simple gift. And, in return pass it on. When you are on the elevator and someone walks in, greet them. Mean what you say, don’t hesitate no matter your stage or circumstance in life. A kind word or smile does make a difference. Whether an artist or a doctor, don’t try to be lost in your life’s whirlwind. Be there for others and show them you genuinely care. The world can be a lonely and cold place if most of us get bogged down with the humdrum daily regiment. At times people can use a helping hand, a smile, an encouraging word, a sympathetic ear. Allow a few minutes of your busy day to be set aside and offer it unconditionally to the people around you. Practice this every day and I promise your perspective about life will change.

The other day while walking in the city I saw in front of me an old friend. Both of us had lost touch a number of years ago. We connected and it was such a surprise and treat. We practically picked up where we left off all those years ago and it felt great. Of course, I could have changed direction before he saw me due to my busy schedule, and the fact that I was running a little late, but I didn’t and that’s my point. We should all try to be open with ourselves and open to others. You never know who is going to be there to talk to you and what opportunities you might have opened if you only say “hello”. Some great friendships have started or simple connections have been formed by just talking to someone while waiting for the train, the plane, or the elevator. People know if you’re sincere and nobody minds if you come across real and also be available to help if need be. Here’s to kindness!

How about staying in touch with a friend calling them out of the blue to see how they are doing? Kudos to those of you who already doing any of the above.

Posted: March 27, 2014

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life On Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.