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III – Self-Leadership = Self-Improvement

44 - Sumo Wrestler

KAIZEN = Japanese word meaning constant and never-ending improvement.

Success on the outside begins with success on the inside. If you really want to improve your outer world (health, relationships, finances, etc.) you must first improve your inner world. The most effective way to do this is through the practice of continuous self-improvement. Self-mastery is the DNA of life mastery.

Change is the most powerful force in our society today. Most people fear it. The wise embrace it. Self-Improvement implies continuous change. What once got you here wont get you there. Evolution (therefore, self-progress) implies continuous change, adaptation and openness for new concepts.

Zen tradition speaks of a beginner’s mind: those who keep their minds open to new concepts — those whose cups are always empty — will always move to higher levels of achievement and fulfillment.

And once you take the time to build a strong character – full of discipline, energy, power and optimism – you can have anything and do anything you want in your outer world.

When you have cultivated a deep sense of faith in your abilities and an indomitable spirit, nothing can stop you from succeeding in all your pursuits and living with great rewards.

Master your mind, care for your body and nourish your soul.

“The only limits on your life are those that you set yourself.” (Yogi Raman)

Here are the 3 steps towards self-mastery and mastery over life’s circumstance:

1 – Once you go out of your circle of comfort and explore the unknown you start to liberate your true human potential. Push yourself daily. Work hard to improve your mind and body. Nourish your spirit. Do the things you have always wanted to do but didn’t because you tricked yourself into believing that you were too young, too old, too rich or too poor.

2 – Identify the things that are holding you back. Make a written inventory of your weaknesses… then, do the things you fear. Remember that fear is nothing more than a negative stream of consciousness. No experience is inherently painful or pleasant. It is your thinking that makes it so. It’s all a matter of conditioning. Fear is a conditioned response that sucks life, energy and creativity out of you. Fear is your own creation, so you must do the thing you fear the most.

3 – Truly enlightened people are prepared to put off short-term pleasure for the sake of long-term fulfillment. Stop procrastination and get things done.

Once you start to explore (1) new ways for improving your mind and body, (2) facing fears and (3) thinking on long-term accomplishment rather than short-term escapades, start on building rituals. Excellence is nothing but a habit. Use the following 10 rituals to build your new and improved best version of yourself.

The Ten Rituals of Radiant Living:

I – The Ritual of Solitude. Include a mandatory period of peace on your daily schedule. Take time to explore the healing power of silence and come to know who you really are. Think of the Ritual of Solitude as a pit-stop for the soul. Its purpose is self-renewal and this is accomplished by spending time alone, immersed in the beautiful blanket of silence. Solitude and quiet connects you to your creative source and releases the limitless intelligence of the Universe. The Ritual of Solitude works best when you practice it at the same time every day because it becomes integrated into your routine as a ritual and habit that you will never neglect. Explore this ritual by also commuting with nature daily.

II – The Ritual of Physicality. As you care for the body so you care for the mind. Exercise. Do some Yoga! Take vigorous walking in natural surroundings and breathe fresh air. To breathe properly is to live properly. The art of effective breathing adds on energy. Proper breathing requires you to take in more oxygen to liberate your energy reserves along with your natural state of vitality. Breathe more deeply and from the abdomen. Cup your hands over the stomach and feel its soft movement.

III – The Ritual of Live Nourishment. Fuel your body with live foods. Take on a vegetarian diet, rich with fruits, vegetables and grains. A poor diet has a pronounced effect on your life. It drains your mental and physical energy. It affects your moods and it hampers the clarity of your mind.

IV – The Ritual of Abundant Knowledge. Expand your learning skills and your knowledge base for the good of yourself and all those around you. Not applied knowledge is only potential power. Applied knowledge manifests itself as wisdom. Read regularly but be selective, aiming for books that will improve both you and the quality of your life. Don’t just read. Re-read, study, analyze and take it all in, then put it to practice. But be sharp: some books are meant to be tasted, some books are meant to be chewed and, finally, some books are meant to be swallowed whole. Read the right books. The answers and solutions of life’s problems and challenges are all recorded on the pages of books. Learn how those who have preceded you have handled the challenges you are currently facing. Apply their strategies for success and you will be astonished by the improvements you will note in your life. Be aware that the “right books” depends on your good judgment, but a good starting point is to study the biographies of those you admire. It’s not what you will get out of the books that is so enriching — it is what the books will get out of you that will ultimately change your life. Books do not actually teach you anything new. Books simply help you to see what is already within your self.

V – The Ritual of Personal Reflection. Take time to get to know yourself and connect to a dimension of your being that you never knew you had. Search for your hidden talents. By becoming wiser inwardly you’ll start feeling more at ease with yourself. Take Benjamin Franklin’s example: Every evening, after a full day of productive work, he would retire to a silent corner of his home and reflect on his day. He would consider all of his actions and whether they were positive and constructive or whether they were of the negative sort, in need of repair. By clearly knowing what he was doing wrong in his days, he could take immediate steps to improve and advance along the path of self-mastery. So, take a written inventory of your day. List your activities and interactions. List your thoughts. Get introspective. By looking at what you are doing, how you are spending your day and the thoughts you are thinking, you give yourself a benchmark for measuring improvement. The only way to improve tomorrow is to know what you did wrong today. Stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Eliminate your lack of self-awareness.

VI – The Ritual of Early Awakening. Make it a habit to rise with the sun. Remember that it is the quality of sleep that is important (not the quantity). Sleep provides your body with rest, processes the gathered information along the day and restores your energy levels. Before you go to sleep, don’t watch the news or argue with anyone or even go over the day’s events in your mind’s eye. Just relax! After waking up, start the day off well. Think positive thoughts. Give a prayer of thanks for all you have. Work on your gratitude list. Laugh! Laughing is medicine for the soul. Then, ask yourself this question: “What would I do today if today was my last?” What would you do? How would you treat people? Visualize your day beforehand.

VII – The Ritual of Music. Music is a spiritual boost, a motivator. It has the power to make you laugh, dance and sing.

VIII – The Ritual of the Spoken Word. Reciting Mantras keep you focused, strong and happy. In Sanskrit, ‘MAN’ means ‘mind’ and ‘TRA’ means ‘freeing.’ So a mantra is a phrase which is designed to free the mind. Repeating a mantra aloud has a wonderful effect on your spirit. When in need for motivation, you might repeat, ‘I am inspired, disciplined and energized’. To keep your sense of self-confidence you might think, ‘I am strong, able and calm.’ What you say to others is important. What you say to yourself is even more important. You are your thoughts. You are your self-talk. What you say (to yourself and aloud) is a Mantra and it will be manifested in your external reality. So, choose your way to think and express yourself wisely. The words you say to yourself affect your self-image that determines what actions you take. Your self-image is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Words have power. By filling your mind with words of hope, you become hopeful. By filling your mind with words of kindness, you become kind. By filling your mind with thoughts of courage, you become courageous..

IX – The Ritual of a Congruent Character. This ritual requires you to take daily, incremental action to build your character. Strengthening your character affects the way you see yourself and the actions you take. Thoughts lead to actions that build habits. Your habits form your character which will pave your destiny. So, cultivate your virtues and create a meaningful life. Do the right thing. Act with integrity. Be guided by your heart.

X – The Ritual of Simplicity. One must never live in the thick of thin things. Live a simple life. Focus only on your priorities, those activities which are truly meaningful. Reduce your needs (for fame, fortune, food, glory, money, attention, helpfulness, etc.). If you will always want more than you have, how can you ever be happy? Stop picking up the phone every time it rings, stop wasting time reading junk mail, stop eating out three times a week, give up your golf-club membership and spend more time with your kids, spend a day a week without your watch, watch the sun rise every few days, sell your cellular phone and dump the pager.

In conclusion, always be brave. Stand your ground and follow your dreams. They will lead you to your destiny.

For more on the subject check Yogi Raman’s teachings


II – The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

43 - yaquina lighthouse

He who serves the most, reaps the most, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. This is the way to inner peace and outer fulfillment.

“You have now learned that the mind is like a fertile garden and for it to flourish, you must nurture it daily. Never let the weeds of impure thought and action take the garden of your mind. Stand guard at the gateway of your mind. Keep it healthy and strong — it will work miracles in your life if you will only let it.”

Robin Sharma – “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”.

Those who are truly enlightened know what they want out of life, emotionally, materially, physically and spiritually. Clearly defined priorities and goals for every aspect of your life will serve a role similar to that played by a lighthouse, offering you guidance and refuge when the seas become rough.

When you clearly know what aims you wish to achieve over the course of your life, be they material, emotional, physical or spiritual, and you spend your days accomplishing them, you will ultimately find eternal joy.

The lighthouse in Yogi Raman’s fable will always remind you of the power of setting clearly defined, purposeful goals and, most importantly, of having the character power to act on them.”

Fully actualized people understand the importance of exploring their talents, uncovering their personal purpose and then applying their human gifts in the direction of this calling.

The key is to have the discipline and vision to see your heroic mission and to ensure that it serves other people while you realize it.

Setting clearly defined objectives for what we desire in our mental, physical and spiritual world is critical to your realization.

Anyone who wishes to improve the quality of their inner as well as their outer worlds would do well to take out a piece of paper and start writing out their life aims.

You change your life the moment you set your goals and start to seek out your Dharma (=life’s purpose)

Whatever it is, find your passion and then follow it.

When the mind is used properly it filters out what you perceive as unimportant and gives you only the information you are looking for at that time.

The moment I decide to concentrate on my heartbeat, I start to notice its rhythm and its qualities. Similarly, when you decide to start concentrating your mind on your life’s main aims, your mind starts to filter out the unimportant and focus only on the important.”

There is nothing wrong with mapping out a full range of smaller goals in the process of planning your bigger ones.”

5 step method to reach your objectives and fulfill the purpose of your life:

1 – Picturing: form a clear mental image of the outcome. The clearer this mental picture, the more effective the process would be.

2 – Get some positive pressure on yourself to keep you inspired. Pressure can inspire you to achieve great ends. One of the best is the public pledge. Tell everyone you know whatever your goal might be. Pressure can exert great power on the building of good habits and the attainment of goals.

3 – Never set a goal without attaching a deadline to it. Also, a goal that is not committed to paper is no goal at all. Elaborate your own “Dream Book” and fill it with all your desires, objectives and dreams. Divide your “Dream Book” into separate sections for goals relating to the different areas of your life. Fill your Dream Book with pictures of the things you desire and images of people who have cultivated the abilities, talents and qualities that you hope to emulate.

4 – The Magic Rule of 21: for new behavior to crystallize into a habit, one had to perform the new activity for 21 days in a row. A bad habit once acquired could never be erased, but only be replaced. The only way to permanently install a new habit is to direct so much energy toward it that the old one slips away like an unwelcome houseguest. There is tremendous power in a ritual. When you insert any activity into your routine by doing it the same way at the same time every day, it quickly grows into a habit.”

5 – Enjoy the process. A day without laughter or a day without love is a day without life. Make sure that you have fun while you are advancing along the path of your goals and purpose. Remain spirited, joyful and curious. Stay focused on your lifework and on giving selfless service to others. Live with PASSION. A burning sense of passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams. Doing things because we feel we have to do them rather than we love to do them is a formula for misery. Feel passion for life. Reclaim the joy of waking up every morning, full of energy and exhilaration. Breathe the fire of passion into all that you do. You will quickly reap great material, as well as spiritual, rewards. Take complete control of your life. Decide, once and for all, to be the master of your fate. Run your own race. Discover your calling and you will start to experience the ecstasy of an inspired life.

For more on the subject check the wisdom of The Sages Of Sivana

I – Care for your mind

42 - poison garden

Exposure to novelty (new people, different books, diverse cultures) stirs your creativity, your vision and your habits. Question everything. Observe. Meditate.

Nurturing your mind like a garden will make it blossom. Cultivate diversity and wisdom. Miles Davis and Django Reinhardt were known to rejoice with kinds of music, which were different from the aesthetic paths that made them popular. Jim Hall explicitly referenced his search for inspiration, not in music, but in paintings, books and nature.

Avoid growing weeds. Your mind is your treasure. Protect it like a gardener protects his garden. Even more so, protect your mind like a guard protects his king!

Avoid throwing toxic waste into your precious garden: worries, anxieties, fears, lament, stress, confusion, fights, arguments, mockery, jealousy… they all drain your minds’ energy and vitality, injuring your soul.

Work on your information diet. Never settle or afford the luxury of a negative thought as it may injure you in subtle unconscious ways. Adopt a positive paradigm about the world. Start by describing three daily positive things you are grateful for.

The way you think stems from habit. Make positive thinking your habit. Through mental conditioning comes Mastery. If you come to think about it, there is only one thing you have absolute dominion over: YOUR MIND.

You can’t control the weather, the markets or the news of the world. You can’t control what happen around you, what others say or think about you. You can’t even control if your plans, projects or business ideas will work out in the end.

You can only control your attitude toward these events and your mind about circumstances: the way you look at, interpret and think about what happens around you. Put on green glasses and you’ll see the world as green. Switch them to red and suddenly the world seems red.

Your outer world reflects the state of your inner world. You take the driver’s seat of your life once you master controlling your thoughts and the way you respond to circumstances and events.

There are no absolutes. The same event or the same person might be interpreted in completely opposite directions. It’s up to you to decide which way to go. How will you interpret and process the circumstances of life? You choose your response.

Through this new light, events are no longer positive or negative. Those are just different labels you put into things when judging what surrounds you. Instead, one should experience and celebrate what may come. Every event offers you lessons that inspire or fuel your inner growth.

Life itself, then, becomes the major plateau for you to sharpen your own exercises and techniques on building mental toughness. Persistence is the mother of personal change. But the goal is not to reach the finish line. The goal is the process towards the line. Let go of the outcome and focus on the process of personal expansion and growth. You’ll never see the finish line in the horizon again, because it ceases to exist. Instead, there’s only what truly matters: The path.

Concentration is at the root of mental mastery, and also favors the secret to eternal happiness: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it. Once you are concentrating your mind power and energy on a worthy pursuit that you love, abundance flows into your life, and all your desires are fulfilled with ease and grace.

To be worthy, your passion must, in some way, improve or serve the lives of others. Once you find out what your life’s work is, your world will come alive. You’ll be driven by your priorities in an effortless and gentle way. And given your enthusiasm and love for what you are doing in your life, you start living in the moment. Your attention is fully and completely on the task at hand. Therefore, there are no energy leaks. Discover your real reason for being here and then have the courage to act on it.

Take some daily time to silently contemplate not only where you are, but also where you are going. Take the time to reflect on your purpose and how you are living your life, every day. Most importantly, think deeply and genuinely about how you would improve the next day. Daily incremental improvements produce lasting results, which, in turn, lead to positive change.

In short, caring for your mind starts on meditation, the process where you improve concentration over your thoughts and actions. Stronger ability to concentrate leads you in finding meaning (a.k.a.: your life’s purpose) which resumes in a happy fulfilling life.


  1. The Heart Of The Rose – Meditation with a flower.
  2. Opposition Thinking – when an undesirable thought occupies the focal point of your mind, immediately replace it with an uplifting one.
  3. The Secret Of The Lake – Visualization (the mind works through pictures. Pictures affect your self-image and your self-image affects the way you feel, act and achieve). See yourself as you want to be. Visualize mental pictures of all that you want to be, to have and to attain in your life.

For more on the subject Check Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”