A Daily Dose of Sanity by Alan Cohen

BEING IN INTEGRITY

“I have a very simple definition of integrity: you are in integrity when what you are doing on the outside matches who you are on the inside. I respect people who live unapologetically. I know people who do things I do not agree with or would not do myself, but I honor them for being 100 percent who they are. They are in integrity.” – Alan Cohen
The idea here is your actions need to match up to what you believe. One of the most common reasons why this is not the case is when you’re doing something because you want to impress someone or want to fit in. I know I went through this in university – I decided to apply to a program that I essentially talked myself into thinking I want because it was what society viewed as successful. However, as I got further and further into the program, I realized just how unsatisfied I was with myself and I hated what I was doing. After making the switch out, I told myself that I will never do that to myself again.

THE VOICE THAT KEEPS KNOCKING

“The difference between those who move the world forward and those who stay stuck in a rut is that the world movers trust the voice that keeps knocking, and they act on it. You can and will be among the movers if you listen to the persistent call of greatness and move with it.” – Alan Cohen
Ever have that feeling that something isn’t right but you keep pushing it aside? Well that’s the voice that keeps knocking. Many times we have that feeling but we’re too scared to act on it. I know how that feels. Going back to the example I used, I remember vividly walking through the neighbourhood after my final exam in first year. I was with a friend and it was a beautiful day. We went to the stadium and saw a bunch of people just having fun. It was then that I was wondering if my life was really meant to be the way it was. It took me another two years before I made my move out of the university and like I previously mentioned, life has been so much better since.
So if you have a feeling that’s been bothering you for awhile now, maybe it’s time to look at what the other side is like.

REPLICATE YOURSELF

“If you are trying to imitate someone else’s greatness, you have missed the point of greatness. The secret is to find your own unique style and talents and bring them forth. No one has ever attained mastery by replicating another. The truly great simply replicate themselves.” – Alan Cohen
I agree that you need to be you, but that doesn’t mean to be closed minded and not try / see things from a different perspective. There are many things that other people are doing better than you, but I bet they made many mistakes getting there. You don’t have to make those same mistakes if you learn from them. That can mean to try out their practices, but it’s still up to you to decide whether that’s the best thing for you.

KEY TO SUCCESS

“Those who live to see their name in lights usually miss the light within themselves. They place fame and glory at the top of the ladder of success and overlook personal satisfaction and creative expression. People who sweat to become stars rarely do, while those who live to share their gifts and enjoy the ride often find their way to the upper echelons of success.” – Alan Cohen
I have seen many people want this or that but when I new shiny object comes by, they instantly change directions. Because of that, they never have the focus to see out their goals and get stuck in a rut. However, those who have succeeded are those who are driven by their own internal goals.
I think this quote by Howard Thurman would wrap up this idea nicely: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

WHAT IS ANGER

“Anger is fear under pressure. Behind every angry upset there is a fear. […] If you can discover the fear behind the anger and dismantle it in the light of awareness, the anger dissipates. The next time you are angry, ask yourself, What am I afraid of?” – Alan Cohen
This is definitely a skill that takes time to master. The goal is to catch the emotion before it fully takes over your body (hormones get released). However, in order to catch it, you will need to be fully aware of yourself. I’m going to assume that most of you aren’t at that stage yet (heck, even I’m not). So after anger takes over for the initial few minutes, ask yourself what exactly is it that you’re angry about and why. Chances are, if you dig deep enough, there will be something to do with fear.

LOVE YOURSELF

“Do not do anything to yourself that you would not wish on anyone else. Instead, do everything for yourself that you would do to make others happy … and the world will be a happier place for everyone.” – Alan Cohen
One quote from Tal Ben-Shahar: “And so I propose that we add a new rule, which we can call the Platinum Rule, to our moral code: ‘Do not do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.’”
Love yourself, and let yourself be happy.

RIDDIKULUS!

“The film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban depicts a group of young wizards in training standing before an imposing armoire—a boggart box—which contains terrifying shape-shifters assuming the form of whatever a person fears the most. Luckily, instructs Professor Lupin, a very simple charm exists to repel a boggart: “Riddikulus!” After the students practice the chant, the professor explains that what really finishes a boggart off is laughter. One by one the boggarts come forth, and when the students proclaim them “Riddikulus!” and laugh at them, they shrink to humorous, nonthreatening forms.” – Alan Cohen
If you haven’t read Harry Potter… you’re missing out… get the books here. For everyone else, I’m sure you know what this one is saying.

BAMBOO

“Bamboo is a fascinating plant, the fastest growing in the world. A bamboo stalk can grow six inches or more in one day! I know a fellow who swore he actually saw it growing.
One of the clever adaptive qualities of bamboo is that it grows its leaves in the summer and its roots in the winter. It takes advantage of each season, and while it appears dormant, it is not. The roots grown in winter prepare for rapid branch and leaf development in summer.” – Alan Cohen
This is actually a thought that took me some time to internalize. I currently have many goals set out for myself – from investment to real estate, to self awareness, to physical fitness, to being kick ass in sales. The list keeps going and I don’t have the time to do everything. However, I think this note made me realize that there are some things that I don’t need to be an expert with just this very moment (as in the conditions aren’t there for me to take actions just yet). So instead of still working on those, I should work on other things and let myself slowly prepare.

My Take Aways

A book that helped me do some reflecting of my life thus far. I really can’t believe how far I’ve come in the last 4 years, which makes it kind of scary and neat to think about where I can be in the next 4. Reading and summarizing this PN on A Daily Dose of Sanity was really enjoyable and time went by without me even realizing. There are also some really good points for me to always keep in mind and I’m kind of excited to see what else there is in this book. That said, I’ll probably end up getting this book and letting a few of my family and friends borrow it as it’ll probably put some things in perspective for them. If you’re interested in A Daily Dose of Sanity, feel free to get it via Amazon (please note that I will be getting a small amount from Amazon, though it does not affect how much you pay – Amazon just makes less money than if you were to go onto the website yourself). I also suggest you check out the actual Philosopher’s Notes (note they even have courses that consolidate many of the concepts in the books that Brian Joshnson covers and puts them into videos that are really easy to digest). This is the first program that I’ve signed up for and am definitely getting my money’s worth!

Was there a point in time where you were ignoring that knock from your integrity?

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