Tag Archives: Inspiration

Modern Bodhisattvas

‘…literally a living being (sattva) who aspires to enlightenment (bodhi) and carries out altruistic practices’

That’s the definition of a bodhisattva according to the Soka Gakkai International website. It’s a word I came across years ago, which has stuck with me. I remember reading how there are many bodhisattva – traditionally individuals who sacrificed passing on to nirvana (bliss) in order to help others.

Well it’s struck me recently that there are several modern bodhisattvas, reaching out to inspire and educate us. They aim to improve not just our own lives, but society in general.

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This list could be far longer than it is, if I included everyone I have ever read a book by. I could also include more obvious people like Oprah Winfrey or Deepak Chopra; people who have been doing this for a lot longer.

Instead I have narrowed my list down to two guys whose regular podcasts I listen to often, whose feeds I’m subscribed to on my iPhone for the walk to work, plus two individuals whose YouTube videos and Instagram posts render me all aglow with positivity.

lewis howes

Taken from Lewis Howes Instagram feed

Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness podcast series was one of the first two I ever subscribed to. It’s a treasure trove of advice, promise and life lessons, helping to answer the question what is greatness for you? (No easy task!)

Lewis himself has struggled through a lot: watching the effects of bad choices on his brother; occasionally suffering that anti-climactic sensation after a shot of success; and finding his long-nurtured dreams were suddenly out of reach (to name just three).

These trials and tribulations ultimately have led to Lewis’ own form of greatness. He is great at bringing together a wealth and variety of successful people. He chats with men and women of different ages and backgrounds. Some had tough childhoods, others faced adversity as they reached for their goals.

Lewis’ academy allows us all entry as its students. Its teachers change from week to week, but its Principal ensures all lessons are accessible and hit their mark. Classes can be theoretical, challenging the mind, and practical, leading us to action; and they can often be a satisfying combination of the two.

Be sure to subscribe to The School of Greatness podcast for thrice weekly programmes, and also head over to Amazon to get a copy of his same-titled book (itself a great read).

Courtesy of marieforleo.com

Taken from marieforleo.com

Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo came to my attention through her YouTube show Marie TV, a lively mix of motivational monologues and interviews with other thought leaders.

However, Marie has had a colourful background before the launch of this, proving to us all that it is never too late and it is always possible to take a new path and try something different. She worked in the corporate world, was one of the first ever Nike Elite Dance Athletes and has authored the bestselling Make Every Man Want You.

Marie now describes herself as a “multi-passionate entrepreneur”, a term perhaps more of us should be employing in a world that demands ever more from us and where we regularly switch roles.

Questions and quandaries are welcomed by Marie and her team, and she aims to answer some of them on Marie TV, delving into her own experiences and the wisdom of others. She also works to answer questions we might not yet have encountered by bringing on a range of guests, recently including Marianne Williamson (on bereavement), Chris Guillebeau (choosing the right path for you) and Tony Robbins (on mastering your money).

Marie has strong ethics in her life as well as her work, including “enforced” breaks for her team and time away from technology to rest the mind. What a role model!

Simply type in Marie TV or Marie Forleo to YouTube to find her videos.

Taken from jeffsanders.com

Taken from jeffsanders.com

Jeff Sanders

The 5AM Miracle podcast by Jeff Sanders is the show I have been following the least amount of time, but I am already an avid listener.

The whole premise of this podcast hooked me from the start. I am without a doubt most productive in a morning. I do much better through early to bed, early to rise. This series backs up that philosophy through science and practical applications.

Once a week Jeff shares discussions with other prescribers of this way of life alongside his own thoughts and practices. Some of these practices and the ideology behind them could be called “common sense”, but it’s amazing how few of us bring them into play. For example, check out his podcast on 7 Productive Habits to Complete Before 7:00 AM and you’ll see what I mean (as well as alter your own thinking).

Jeff’s book The 5AM Miracle is on my Amazon wishlist for reading in the not-so-distant future, but in the meantime I’m staying tuned in to his podcast (all previous episodes can be found on his website too).

Taken from thebachbook.com

Taken from thebachbook.com

Jordan Bach

Jordan Bach, keeper of The Bach Book and his own YouTube channel chock full of optimistic videos, is another “modern bodhisattva” who has only just come onto my radar. Or so I thought…

Delving back through my liked videos on YouTube, I discovered I clicked the thumbs up on his first video God Loves Gays years ago. At the time I was reconciling distinct and contradictory perspectives on homosexuality in religion and spirituality. While I may not remember the exact details of that video, I can recall how deeply Jordan’s argument resonated with me. It was a source of comfort.

And this is what I would say about all of Jordan’s videos. They console. They warm the heart and soul. They shine a light into your life, even if only for the three or four minutes you’re watching. He speaks from a rich, personal place, whether reflecting on his own life or world events.

I would also say that Jordan is fervent promoter of others. He might not do the one-to-one chats on podcast like Lewis Howes or Jeff Sanders, or the in-depth video discussions like Marie Forleo. What you get instead is a mirrored surface, showing us all the messages of other greats past and present. In this way you see a reflection of your own spirit as well.

You only have to check out Jordan’s Instagram account to feel this.

What do all these modern bodhisattvas have in common? Well, as with the definition given at the opening of this post, they all carry out altruistic practices. They have a serious calling to improve their own and others’ lives, and they do this well.

They not only inspire us through social media and big events, but through their philanthropy and ethical business ventures.

Furthermore, they connect with other motivational figures, acting as springboards for our own interconnectivity and aspirations in life.

Lewis Howes, Marie Forleo, Jeff Sanders and Jordan Bach are my top four beacons of hope and exemplars of right living right now.

Have I missed anyone off this list who you feel should be included? I’m totally hooked on these inspirational podcasts, videos and books right now, and would love to hear any other suggestions (I’ll even accept more ancient teachers).

Splitting up savings

‘Though small was your allowance, you saved a little store; and those who save a little shall get a plenty more’ – William Makepeace Thackeray (19th Century novelist)

It’s been a few months since I last wrote about savings, and am pleased to say my savings are still growing, though now I’ve moved on to a different purpose.

Now I’m saving to pay for house move fees!

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I hope you’re feeling just as satisfied with how well you’re managing to set aside money every month, whether it’s a little or a lot.

Today’s post is just a quick update on how I’m managing my savings right now…

In this article I described ISAs and pointed out that I’d probably set one up this year. Well, I haven’t!

The Tesco Internet Saver I opened in January 2015 had done its job, earning me higher interest than most instant access saving accounts. The bonus had been paid and the annual interest rate dropped drastically.

Better accounts are now out there.

So I got onto Money Saving Expert (as usual!) and checked out the best rates going.

I knew I wanted the best returns I could get, but without paying monthly fees. I also didn’t want to lock all my money away for a long time, just in case of an unseen emergency.

I discovered that the RCI Bank offers a relatively amazing 1.45% AER interest through their Freedom Savings account, so that was one contender. Plus, it’s easy access and online management. The downside – if the bank did go under, getting the money back could be trickier as it’s a French bank (owned by Renault). They still cover up to €100,000 though!

I also saw that Charter Savings Bank – a British establishment, covered up to £75,000 as standard by the FSCS – offered a good rate of 1.70% interest. This, however, is on money in the 120-day notice account, so if I needed to withdraw it, I’d need to allow four months to receive the cash. Not ideal.

Then I had a EUREKA sort of moment.

Why not split my savings?

I’ve now got a few thousand £££s in the Charter Savings Bank, earning a bit more interest, and a little less in the RCI Bank earning a little less interest. Ultimately, when both interests are added after a year (grab a calculator!), this still comes to a decent amount even adding nothing extra in.

So always bear in mind it IS possible to split your cash, as long as you’re well organised and willing to keep a close eye on your finances.

How I keep on being grateful

‘Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world’ – John Milton, poet and civil servant

Regular gratitude is the foundation of every stong relationship we can have, whether romantic or otherwise. It comes in extremely handy even in the workplace.

We should take every opportunity we have to show how grateful we are, even when someone has performed the simplest of tasks.

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When I was teaching, it was something I fell short with. As I felt less and less appreciated, I showed less and less gratitude to the students for any good behaviour or work they did. I saw it as their duty. Big mistake.

The same goes in all walks of life, from the kitchen to the office to the supermarket. People don’t have to do what they do.

Never let someone feel unappreciated or like their efforts are expected.

Here are five simple ways I try to display my gratitude to others.

Keep your eyes peeled

Always be ready to pick up a small, impromptu gift for a lover or friend. It reminds them how grateful you are that they are simply in your world.

This doesn’t have to break the bank. It could be their favourite chocolate bar, fruits or magazine.

For me and my other half, it’s usually picking up a packet of our favourite crisps when we pass Sainsburys or Asda!

DIY

If you have some time to yourself, why not put in extra effort and create something heartfelt and handmade?

One of my top gifts I ever landed on was a jar of home-mixed fajita spice – a moving-in present for a friend who’s particularly good at fajitas.

You could bake their favourite cake or perhaps give card-making a go, adding in a special personal message of thanks.

Me and Alex have nicknames for each other which lended themselves to cartoon characters, so from time to time I draw these two little personalities along with a message. No amount of money can make a thank you card that fantastic.

Treat them

If you happen to be passing a café, shop or pub with your friend or loved one, consider nipping in. Splash out on a fresh cup of coffee or tea. Treat them to a beer. Buy them their favourite sandwich for lunch or a muffin to snack on.

I’ve even done this for colleagues because I walk past a little coffee shop at the entrance to my place of work.

Cut out the middle man

Do you have a garden of your own filled with flowers and interesting foliage? I like to cut some in-season blooms, tie them together and deliver them myself to someone as a birthday present.

Forget InterFlora or the supermarket.

Save them the hassle

Do something for someone that they won’t enjoy doing or maybe don’t have a lot of time to get done.

Next time you go to your friend’s house for a cuppa, hop into the kitchen and clean the pots first. Even do any that they left from earlier and will have to eventually wash.

When your parents walk in from the supermarket laden with bags, take some and put it away for them.

Cleaning your own car? Consider doing your other half’s vehicle too, if they’re around.

 

These are just five simple things you can do to make someone special in your life really feel special. There are unlimited amounts of things you could do besides these, and unique things will spring to mind based on your friends and family.

Showing our gratitude not only bolsters our relationships with others, but also our own sense of wellbeing and harmony.

And do remember to show yourself gratitude regularly. This could be listing three or four stand-out positives from your week.

A Saturday night glass of wine for a week’s hard work.

An hour of your favourite TV show after an afternoon’s blogging.

Some new clothes for several months’ solid saving.

Above all, remember to just say THANK YOU whenever you can.

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I’d love to read what you do to say “thanks” to yourself and those around you! Please leave any ideas in the comments section below, and as ever, thanks for reading =)