Language is….wonderful! Ever since I discovered the world of metaphor, double entendre and riddle, I have been a lover of word-smithing (it’s a word) and the art of literary and linguistic manipulation. Here now are seven unique definitions of words that we all know and the impact that these unique definitions have had on my life.
When your mind, your body and your soul are fully aligned towards one purpose: when you know what you want to do, why you want to do it, you feel good doing it and you feel bad not doing it.
Most definitions of integrity that I had heard until I encountered the above basically broke integrity down into honesty vs dishonesty and the main struggle was to try and be honest and not tell a lie.
This definition of integrity? I prefer!That’s because the end result of achieving integrity is the type of life that many of us dream of but few of us ever really achieve: a life where we take control of our mind,body and soul and direct them all in one direction. A life where we feel,in the core of our gut, that that is the direction we should be headed in and can think of millions of reasons why we should be headed that way at the drop of a hat.
It means not only will you no longer lie to others and yourself. The primary job when we look at integrity in this manner is removing any contradictions or internal barriers that exist within us. With clear sight on our destination, this process, though difficult, is much easier than trying to live a lifetime ‘without lying’. After all we are simply removing obstacles and changing direction without any doubt as to where we are headed (as you can tell, knowing where we are headed is what excites me the most about this definition). Great definition that is hard to achieve but has fantastic rewards.
Freedom is when you are fully honest and fulfill all the promises you make to yourself. When you say you are going to do something you do it. When you make a promise to yourself you never have to worry about breaking it. This is the type of life where you never ever doubt yourself because you know that you take yourself and your word and your promises seriously.
Very closely linked to the definition of integrity. Most people tend to think of freedom as a life without limits. A life where no one restricts what we are, what we say or what we do. As opposed to hinging freedom on the actions of others, I like the above definition of freedom because it puts the responsibility squarely on the one thing that we have absolute control over: ourselves.
The way to achieve this definition of freedom is the same as how we would achieve integrity. Know what we are after and go about eliminating any internal (ultimately external but we must begin with internal) barriers that may stop us from fulfilling on the promises we make to ourselves.
Being 100% honest with another human being. Not only showing them our best side, but our most hideous, disgusting side so that they can also feel comfortable to be themselves around us and are never in fear of us.
This one has gotten me into a helluva lot of trouble and will probably be the one that people will agree with the least. In my humble opinion, should you want a relationship with someone that will last a looooonnnnnggggggg time, then from the get go be as frank as possible about your shortcomings and your failings as well as your strengths.
I began doing this in my teens out of fear of getting into a relationship with someone (male or female, old or young) and then having them abandon me later on because they realize I am not the person they thought I was (how many times have we heard of this happening). So I started the art of showing my most obnoxious and worst habits in bite size chunks whenever I would meet you.
Interestingly enough, it’s worked out pretty OK for me. Whenever people trust me, there is a genuine, deep trust and very few people have ever accused me of having hidden agendas because I am usually quite open with my agendas and my intentions, no matter how selfish, from the get go.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you should just begin talking about your criminal history or your unique romantic attraction to oak trees in the first five minutes of meeting someone but make it an objective, even at a subconscious level, to reveal your ugly side as soon as you can. As I have alluded to in the past, we all have ugly sides, and you showing yours, makes it that much easier for me to show you mine.
4) A Problem
A problem is one of two things:
a) A sign from God that something is wrong in your world that you need to fix and:
b) Your opportunity to grow beyond your current limitations
To paraphrase a quote from the great Alby Einstein: the problems of today will not be solved by the thinking of yesterday. If you have a problem and it persists it is because you can’t handle it or solve it. I know of very few problems, short of spiritual/existential ones, that some human being somewhere in the world, or in history, has not solved before. All you need to do is find people who have solved the problems that you need to solve in the past and find out how they did it. Learn how to solve this problem and as a result you will come out a better man, or woman or XXY, on the other side. And the act of disciplining yourself towardssolving a problem and/or creating something much greater than the problem ever was, typically has multiple rewards that go beyond solving the problem.
When you look at someone that you have known a long time and all you see is a putrid, disgusting, smelly, repugnant, idiotic, son of a (insert animal here) that drives you absolutely mad when they once made you feel over the moon or safe or secure or loved. If in that moment, you choose to love them and give to them unconditionally. You are in a rare breed of people who love truly love. Truly, madly, deeply and unconditionally (Mwangi, the Displaced African, 2008)
In short, in my humble opinion, love is a choice. Infatuation (the heart palpitations, the persistent thinking about someone, the uber-high oxytocin levels, the persistent grin on your face, the feelings of safety, security and love around someone) is not love. It is the precursor to true love, it drives us together. But once that oxytocin fades, that’s when love gets its chance to shine. That’s when you get your chance to test just how much you can exercise this power of free will. You do this when your emotions are telling you that they are about as appealing as athlete’s foot during a marathon. Contradicts the definition of integrity and freedom, but hey they say love is tantamount to insanity. And what I am suggesting here is insane. Immaculately beautiful, but insane.
A permanent change in behavior caused by experience.
I first learned this one when sitting in Year 11/ Form 3 Psychology class. Until that point in time I had always thought that learning was the act of accumulating facts in your head that you could recite at will to either get a job done or impress your fellow man (the latter is an art that we Africans have perfected: to perspirate grandiloquent words indiscriminately and magnanimously into sentences without ejaculatory appreciation for their meaning or application).
When I learned this definition that changed all that. Learning is interacting with something in the world and coming out different on the other side. It might be that you pick up a piece of information that you never knew about before. In this case, new brain cells get added to your brain where they will stay waiting to be retrieved and used.
It might also be that you form new connections between old pieces of data, such as phone lines + computers = Internet. It might also be that as a result of performing a specific activity, your body acclimatizes to the movement to the point that the activity can be performed at the drop of a hat.
In short the best way to learn is by actually interacting and doing something with what you learn. Rather than sitting in the middle of a library trying to cram facts, actually take a moment to understand how that knowledge gets applied in the real world, go interact with people who use the data on a daily basis and make the information a part of you.
Another way this changed the way I do things is that any time I had to learn something, I immediately tried to connect any new information with information that already exists within my head. This is what makes tools such as mnemonics so powerful. So, if you have something you need to learn, like say how to find the circumference of a circle, perhaps try to measure the radius and diameter of your wheel and find it’s area rather than sticking strictly to abstract drawings on two dimensional pages.
This one just got me to the core of my soul:
A decision is when you set your sights on something and cut yourself off from any other possibility other than what you have set your sights on.
This means that we can no longer “try” to do things. We either do things or we don’t. We either commit to doing something and doing it to the best of our abilities and powers or we don’t. We don’t “try” (which is usually our way of saying, we won’t give our all, we’ll give a half hearted attempt because we are scared of fully committing to something, failing and making a fool of ourselves).
We set our sights on that which we love, become people of integrity and freedom who know we have nothing to fear whenever we reveal our ugly sides to others and we use any problems we encounter as opportunities to grow and thrive beyond the problem.
I hope this article wasn’t too abstract. It felt a helluva-lot-of-good to write this article and I hope it feels a helluva-lot-better-to-read-it and you get things that you can apply to your life.
Be blessed and bless others,