An unexamined life is not worth living, said Socrates, the great greek philosopher. That’s why journaling is a fundamental practice for your own personal development.
It took me a while to appreciate the importance of journaling and to experience the positive effect it has on my personal growth. For a long time, journaling was an on-and-off activity to which I was not committed.
What’s our answer to the terror attacks in Paris? How can we respond in a way that is meaningful and effective?
Almost two weeks have now passed since multiple terror attacks hit Paris, taking the life of over one hundred people and spreading fear across the capital of France and well beyond the country’s borders.
For the past 25 years, I have been flying into conflict areas, primarily to Colombia. I sat down with drug kingpins at their ranch. I talked to leaders of armed insurgency groups. I walked the alleys of marginal barrios with members of death squads. I facilitated ceasefire talks between a guerrilla and the government. I listened to members of gangs. In all these instances, I had to know how to build rapport.
In fact, I learned that building rapport is essential to success.
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Taking care of our emotional health will make us feel better about ourselves and about life. It will improve our ability to connect with others and to build meaningful relations.
The stoic philosopher Epictetus taught us that our own freedom depends on the ability to let go of the things we cannot control:
Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.
Great results in life are the result of a compounding effect: a major achievement is the sum of smaller goals achieved along the way.
Behind the peak performance of great athletes there are hours and hours of training. Behind a new invention, there are years of testing and failed attempts. Behind the publication of a book there are years of doing research and honing writing skills. I know, because I just published a book, the result of years of work.
Personal growth and making your own contribution to the world are intimately intertwined.
There is no real contribution, which is not rooted also in personal transformation, and no lasting personal change occurs unless you also contribute to world transformation.
Both personal transformation and world transformation require you taking risks. You need to step out of your comfort zone, if you want to grow. You need to take the risk of stepping into the unknown, if you want to move forward.
An encounter was responsible for changing the course of my life and for setting me on a path that would reveal my life purpose to myself.
Such a defining moment occurred when, in a marginal area of Palermo, I met with a young man affiliated to the Mafia. It was back in the summer of 1991 and I was taking the first steps in journalism.
Back then I was 22 years old, living with my parents in Trento, my hometown in Northern Italy. I was going to college and working part-time at a local TV station.
“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about.” – Parker J. Palmer
What’s your purpose of life? Who are you meant to become and to be?
This blog is dedicated to helping you find your own voice. To discover what’s the contribution you are called to give to the world.
Did you already get the BBQ and the drinks ready to celebrate 4th of July? For me, It’s a bit of an hectic celebration day, as I’m preparing to travel to Colombia, while I am also reviewing the work of the copy-editor on my forthcoming book’s manuscript … but I will celebrate this historical commemoration: the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 when we commemorate the freedom from British rule in this country.
In 25 years of conflict resolution work around the world, I learned that building rapport is essential to success. I would have not be able to gain insights, understand a situation, and even influence decisions, were it not because I gained the trust of my interlocutors.
And building rapport is the first step to building trust.