Four Minute Journal in Evernote

Daily practicing of gratitude, affirmation and goals can help you be more happy and more focus on what you want to achieve in your life. One of the ways to do this is via a journal.

In the past I’ve been journaling in my notebook, in a word document and in Evernote. I felt disorganized. Over the christmas break I found a system that has been working for me only using Evernote mimicking the very successful five minute journal. I call it the four minute journal. I am enjoying it and I thought will be great to share.

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A great example journal is the Five Minute Journal from the Intelligent Change company. The journal contains all the sections I think are good to start the day with gratitude, affirmations and goals.

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The Five Minute Journal sections include:

  • A Grateful section
  • Daily Affirmation section
  • What would make your day great section
  • Other sections that are a reflection of the day

This journal is great, but I travel a lot and carrying a paper journal is sometimes impractical. I am also an avid user of Evernote. So, I thought, well maybe I can mimic this great paper journal so it can work in Evernote. Here is how I did it.

Preparation

  1. Create a notebook called Journal (Go to File / New Notebook).
  2. Add the Journal Notebook to shortcuts (Go to View / Notebooks and then right click on the notebook and select Add to Shortcuts).
  3. Create a template, called Template Journal Entry (check it out here to see it and download it).
  4. Copy it inside the Journal notebook.

Morning Routine

After I mediate, take a shower and do my coffee, I sit down and do the following:

  1. Duplicate the template note (right click on the Template Journal Entry note and select duplicate note). duplicate
  2. Open the new note with name: Template Journal Entry copy. 
  3. Rename it to today’s date. I use the convention yyyy-mm-dd, since it will allow me to order the nodes by Title.
  4. Insert an inspirational quote. I have a link in the template which helps me finding an inspiring quote that I can related at that moment. When I found it, I copy it in my note.copy-quote.jpg
  5. Add three things you are grateful for.  This don’t need to be the usual things (e.g. kids, job, home). I try to think about small things.
  6. Write your daily affirmation. I write this from scratch not looking at my vision statement or previous affirmations. It helps me reorganized and tweak my vision.
  7. Write 3 things that will make your day great. I think about this as three achievements that can get closer to my most  important goals.
  8. Move excitedly to your other daily tasks.

This is an Example of yesterday’s note

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I hope you  find this post useful and will help you with your morning routine. Happy New Year 2018!

Using meditation to visualize your goals

I was listening to the Tim Ferris Podcast interviewing Dr. Michael Gervais, who is a high performance psychologist.  About 50 min into it they started talking about visualization, which Dr. Gervais refers to it as imagery with goes beyond visualizing.  He talks about creating an electric charging moment where we not only see what we want to achieve in full color, but feel it, hear it and smell it. How to do that? Minimizing distraction and training  to improve creating those imageries. Mediation, I think is the way to do it.

I personally like Sadhguru mediation practice  (Chit Shakti) that helps you visualize your goals in the short, medium and long term. I've being doing this mediation for almost 2 months.  He talks about sensing  joy when you feel your dreams being accomplished. He also mentions, as part of your visualization,  experiencing the well being that is spread around including everyone as part of your goals. It seems to me like a great focussed life purpose, which is ultimately serving others.

For example, one of my short term goals is to improve my mother's well being. I  envisioned she saying thank you to me because I found her a nicer place to live with a pleasent view with tall big trees in a place where she can walk peacefully. I imagined she is hugging me while we are sitting together in the living room looking at the branches playing with the wind. I feel her closeness, gratitude and peacefulness.

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This is what I do:

  • I wake up and drink 1/2 litter of water.
  • I go to my living room and place a yoga matt or sleeping bag on the floor.
  • I place a small cushion on top of the mat and put myself  looking east doing a half lotus position, putting my back straight and lifting my head a little bit to the sky.
  • I put my hands looking up resting in my tights and do a Gyan Mudra. The tips of my  index and thumb are slightly touching while the other 3 fingers are bended and closed together like making a container form.
  • I do deep breathing for 5 minutes. I inhale feeling my lungs and counting 10, then hold for 3 seconds, and exhale for 10 counts all through my nose.
  • I do 3-5 minutes of gratitude about big things and little things. For example, God thank you for the house that I live,  thank you because someone help me at the metro, thank you because I found a parking lot near the entrance of the gym, etc.
  • I chant OM 7 times,
  • I do the Sadhguru guided mediation to visualize, feel, touch my goals for 2, 5 and 10 years.
  • At the end, I think about what I will accomplished on my day and how I can improve (e.g. forgiving somebody that hurt me).

This practice takes me 30-40 minutes. I feel great and experience that  I'm more aware and conscious about my dreams during the day than when I  visualize them on my phone, a paper or board sporadically.  It also helps me start my day connecting to God and experiencing gratitude.

Namaste!

 

 

Spectacular structures to tell a story about your vision

IMG_0225I visited two weeks ago the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the biggest Mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the 8th biggest one on the world. The Mosque is an incredible symbol of modern art that can accommodate more than 40,000 people at the time of prayer. It clicked with me why visionaries build structures like this one to keep alive a message of their vision.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, united in 1971-1972  the Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Kalba, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain) into one federation the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Twenty years later the Mosque construction began as a symbol that would represent the unity and the cultural diversity of the Islamic world. Now every time tourists go to the Mosque, they learn the story of Sheikh Zayed and how the United Arab Emirates came to be.

IMG_0221After visiting the Mosque, I went back to my hotel and did some work. At sunset, while I was mediating siting at the shore of the Fairmont Bab al Bahr hotel, listening to the waves from the  Khor Al Maqta waterway, and looking at the other end the Mosque lightening up, a question came to me:  What structure would I like to build so others can tell a story about my vision?

I have never thought about building a physical structure. I have always dreamed on creating a huge impact on the world by technology, innovation, and inspiration. How can I help save more lives, increase live longevity, make people happier, etc.

Two topics I like very much are technology and health. I believe sharing of and analyzing   (e.g. applying machine learning) data to understand better medical illness, pandemics and environmental impacts on health can improve the world we lived in. What will the structure for me look like?  I don't know. I will say that at the moment  I'm having good conversations with other like-minded architects.

Hopefully soon I wil have a structure like the Mosque to help tell my story.

 

The BELLS strategy to become great

Yesterday I attended church at the Seneca Creek Community Church. The message was very practical and resonated with lots of habits some great people I think already have in place. Mark, the pastor based his talk on Michael Frost’s book called the Five Habits of Highly Mission People. The whole point of the book was to provide strategies for living “questionable” lives to inspire others to find God. Here is my practical take on it, which is independent and doesn’t assume that you believe in God or not. For sure these habits will make us become better every day.

  1. Bless: confer prosperity or happiness by any of these:
    1. Complement others and encourage.
    2. Do acts of kindness helping others without expecting anything in return.
    3. Give. A gift is an act of thoughtfulness and love.
  2. Eat: Eat with others. It reminded me of the book by Keith Ferrari “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time“. Plan in advanced breakfast, lunches and dinners when traveling to meetings.  Go to places where you can meet with others. I have met people at a Whole Foods in San Francisco at lunch time when I go attend meetings at the Moscone Center. In busy meetings, this place is packed and you need to share a table. Is better to learn from others while you eat.
  3. Listen: Stop and Listen. The need for listening  is why mediation is so important. Ideas don’t come when we are busy thinking. Pray, think about a problem and sit in silence.
    1. Schedule it: The trick is to put in the calendar. I do it as soon as a wake up, maybe for 20-30 minutes. I need to go sleep around 10 the day before, so I can wake up between 5 or 6. This means cut TV or others distraction before going to bed.
    2. Channel it: I like the affirmations strategy by Jack Canfield. He tells that an  affirmation needs to be concrete.  For example: “God is my unlimited supply.  May large sums of money come to me quickly and easily under the grace of God, for the highest good of all concerned, I’m easily earning Y doing Job Z“. He also suggests adding “this or something better” at the end. Why? Jack says: because Our rational mind is useful for strategic planning, but quite often God’s plans are a lot better than our plans ever could be. We need to listen to align with the plan God has for us.
  4. Learn: The book talks about learning about Jesus, which will help us act better think better, forgive others faster, etc. We need to grow or perish in our different dimensions. A way to grow spiritually is learn about Jesus and other great people.
  5. Sent: I was not sure why this habit was called this way. Here are the two ideas form this section:
    1. Reconcile with others. Make peace with others.
    2. Invite people to enjoy the beauty of the world. A great podcast that resonated with this idea, was the interview with Tim Ferris and BJ Miller. BJ Miller, who woks at the Zen Hospice Project  shared his insights about the approach to mindfulness and how to look at art.

I hope this blog is useful and inspires you to become great! God Bless you!

 

Think like a winner: Lessons learned from a 5 year old

I have found that board games are one of the best activities to spend time with your kids. It is a great time to talk about life in general, how their day went, who do they played with at recess, what they learned, and what it’s bothering them most. It is a great time to teach them to be patient and to stop and think about making decisions.

My daughter is 5 years old and her favorite game is the matchmaking memory game. Cards are all placed facing down. Players take turns to pick two cards. If the cards match, the player picking the cards keep them. The player that has more matches at the end of the game is the winner.

I try to play hard, to concentrate and to memorize the position of the cards. I repeat the name, the image and create a story around it. They are like 50 cards. It is hard to make a consistent story of the cards spread everywhere. The incredible fact is that she ends up wining most of the times without any effort of internal repetition or effort to memorize any card. This weekend I found the reason.

When we were playing last Friday, she suddenly stopped and said she wanted to write something in her notebook. I said I was fine. While she was writing, I was looking at the cards trying to remember the images of the ones we had turn over in the last hands.

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Then she showed me the note and I understood why she wins most of the times. She really wants to beat dad. Her desire is so big she wrote it down “Win the memory game”. She showed the note to me with excitement and really meaning it. Her sparkling eyes told me everything. It is not about how hard you work and concentrate on the details of your job or work. It is more about your desire to be triumphant. That desire will overcome the obstacles, will bring all the energy needed to pursue your dreams, will make you concentrate on the important tasks, and might beat your dad in a board game.

Take your goal and put all your desire on it, write it down, flip the cards and make it happen.

 

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You might guess what happened at the end of the game…  I lost again!

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