Life According to the Native American Code of Ethics

Native American Elder

Through my work in diversity education over the past 7 years, I have taken part in many debates and conversations about religion, ethics, morals, values, and our role as parents and educators in instilling them in our children. Many people see conflicts between the different ethnic groups, religious groups, tribes and cultures. Personally, the more closely I look at it, the more I understand that these different groups have more commonalities than differences.

In life, you get what you focus on. If you focus on differences, you will see the conflict between cultures. If you focus on commonalities, you will see similarities and how we are all connected.

Recently, I had a chance to read the Native American Code of Ethics. This code has survived for thousands of years. This is probably one of the oldest cultural codes that still exist today. There is evidence that the indigenous American people migrated from Siberia over 11,000 years ago. Yes, 11,000 years ago! Can you imagine how long that is?!

To put it in perspective, Judaism is about 5,000 years old, Buddhism is about 2,500 years old, Christianity is about 2,000 years old, and Islam is about 1,500 years old. Meanwhile, the Native American tradition goes back 11,000 years. Fortunately, if you go deep into each of these belief systems, you will find very similar codes of ethics.

My work in personal development is in the service of all these codes of ethics. I believe that regardless of which one we follow, if each and every one of us strives to live by them, to the best of our ability, we will have a better world. Striving is the most important part. Eventually, if you keep going in the right direction, you will get there.

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Everyday Resolution: How to Rub Your Genie the Right Way

The Genie of the Lamp can grant your everyday resolutions

As a life coach , I believe in new-year resolutions and having targets for the new year. People often create resolutions on their birthday or on New Year’s Eve. The difference between that and being a life coach is that I believe every day is an opportunity to set new year’s resolutions. Every day is a new opportunity to want more, to ask more, to be more, to have more, to love more and enjoy life more, to tune ourselves for more happiness and joy. Happiness is never ending. Every day, when we get up in the morning, we can start fresh. Every day can be the start of a new year. That’s why it’s better to create “everyday resolutions”.

Many of my clients ask me how come some people’s New Year resolutions seem to fall flat, while others seem to be very successful at making their resolutions come true. This question always makes me think of the genie who grants wishes. Some people know how to rub the lamp the right way and other don’t.

Golden lamp with vapour escaping from the spoutI didn’t always know how to rub the lamp right. I remember myself on my birthday, every year, making lists of what I wanted the next year to be like. For many years, nothing happened. At the age of 16, I learned that I had been rubbing the lamp the wrong way and that my genie wanted to be rubbed differently. From that point on, I suddenly felt kind of lucky. Things seemed to flow. I felt happy, successful and protected, as if my genie would take care of me, as long as I took care of him, the right way.

Everyone has a genie that sits in their subconscious and waits for instructions. If you speak his language, he will lead you to where you want go. If not, he will steer you in the opposite direction to your dreams.

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I’m Always Late for a Very Important Date!

White rabbit and his watch

Time is a precious resource. Some say it is the only resource we have. Have you ever missed something important because you came just a bit late? This happens to a lot of people, and sometimes too many times. The outcome can be very problematic.

There are some people I know who are always late. They are rushed, don’t think clearly and are in a total state of chaos. Many kids grow up in such households and learn to be the same when they grow up. Parents who are always late raise kids who do not value their own time and miss many opportunities.

Being late from time to time is very natural. It is a good idea not to be in a total state of panic for being late by one second. It happens. We are only humans. The thing is, what you generally do becomes a habit. After three meetings that you turned up to, late or on time, gives you a label: punctual or always late!

People who are labeled as always late are not necessarily always late, but the attitude towards them is more negative. Can you think of a person you know who is always late? Your level of trust in them goes down. Things are harder for them as well! If they need to start every interaction by apologizing for being late, they are put in an inferior position right from the start.

All in all, being always late is not good for anyone. It creates negative attitudes towards you, which is not something any parent wants for their child.

Here are some tips to make sure you are not an “always late” person and you are not raising the “always late” kids.

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Teen Life Sucks (or Does it?)

Baby toes

Sometimes, when I talk to teens, they tell me that teen life sucks.

It is sad to hear them say that at a time in their lives that is supposed to be wonderful, interesting and exciting. The teenage years are when they form their identity and it is sad to hear that they came to the conclusion that teen life sucks.

It is sad because if they believe it sucks, they are more likely to feel that it sucks. If they think teen life sucks, their subconscious will create a self-fulfilling prophecy, and their life will actually “suck”. It is not the thought that makes it true, it is that subconsciously, the thought will lead to action that will make it true. Whatever you believe, this is your reality.

I love those Buddhist quotes and there is one in which the Buddha said it perfectly, “Wherever you go, there you are”

My motto is that in life, you get what you focus on. If you get up in the morning and you focus on what sucks, you will get exactly that, life that sucks!

Teen life is complicated and involves many aspects. Yes, there are components that do not work the way we want them to. Sometimes, they work to our advantage and sometimes they do not. It is still a far cry from considering teen life as sucking completely.

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Teen Sex: Not Allowed!

Let's talk sex

Recently, I saw a client who was very concerned about her teen daughter getting closer to a boy she was spending time with. She suspected they were having sex. She was completely panicked about it and started preventing her daughter from seeing her boyfriend. Her daughter was 16 years old and had been seeing this boy for over a year. I asked my client why she was worried and she didn’t really know how to answer. In her mind, teen sex was out of the question. Teens should not have sex and that’s it.

My client had many issues with sex that she never had a chance to discuss with anyone in her life, not even her husband. It was one of those things she never believed she would ever discuss with anyone. It was private, done behind closed doors, quietly, so no one would hear or know. Especially not the kids.

I told her about a story I wrote. It was about a group of teens discussing the topic of parents having sex. One of them discovered, by accident, that his parents were having sex and the story is about how they deal with this “discovery” as a group. I wrote this book (to be published yet) after listening to my then 15 year old daughter and her friends having this same discussion: do parents have sex? I was very proud of my daughter, who was the one saying, “of course they do”. Most of the other kids felt sick just imagining it.

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How Many Friends Can We Really Have?

150 is the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships

In today’s world, when you can have 4,000 “friends” on Facebook, it is hard to determine the true definition of friendship. Knowing 4,000 people (and even only 1,000) does not mean you are friends. It means you know of, or maybe even have been acquainted with, that many people. Sometimes, you share nothing in common other than you happen to have a mutual contact. You might not have even met!

Professor Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist at the University of London, tried to find the answer to the question “How Many Friends Can We Really Have?” He found that there is a limit to how many friends we can have with whom we can maintain meaningful relationships. Dunbar claimed that we can only have relationships with an average of 150 people for them to be considered stable, effective social relationships. This is called Dunbar’s Number.

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How to Be Happy in Life: The Happy To Do List

Happy to do list

Happiness is a choice! This is my motto in my life and in my work. I coach many people on how to make this choice and find their own happiness.

One of the strategies in bringing happiness into our lives is to get into good habits that make us pay more attention to the good things we already have. It makes us feel happy about what we have in life and attract more of it through our focus.

Together, my clients and I come up with a simple “happy to do list” – a list of things they can do to change their happiness level within 3 weeks. This list follows the rule that it only takes 21 days to make a habit.

This Happy To Do list is written in past tense. It’s more of a list of accomplishments to tick once they are achieved. When you go over it, instead of seeing things you still need to do, your focus is on your successes.

I promise that if you do this every day, then after three weeks, you will feel happier.

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The Stress Pill: The Final 30 Causes of Stress

There are many causes of stress in our life. In the previous chapter of the stress pill series, I listed 30 causes of stress, which you may choose to avoid. Here are some more scientific evidence-based beliefs, ideas and thoughts that increase your level of stress.

1. Be dependent on others! We are not meant to be alone and it is only fair to expect others to do things for us. If you can count on someone else to do the job, then let them do it. Avoid going to new place on your own and never associate with new people. Always go to new places with a friend. If your friend is not coming to school for example, do not go to school that day because your productivity will be low anyway. Alternatively, you could recognize that you are unique. Your desires are your own. If you wait for someone else to do things for you, you may never get them done.

2. Everything that went wrong is your fault! Even if you had no direct connection to it, think that it is your fault. You could have done something to change it, so why didn’t you? Take the blame for everything. It makes you a sage! Unfortunately, it makes you tired and stressed too. Despite what you might think, not everything is related to you, and not everything is your responsibility to fix.

This post is part 4 of 4 in the series The Stress Pill

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Do Women Talk More Than Men? (Poll)

Man and woman holding up speech bubbles

I’ve always believed that women talk more than men. I don’t know why. I’ve just had this belief for many years, even though I’ve been together with a man who talks more than I do.

If I had to come to conclusions about men and women’s talking habits based on my personal experience, I would say that men talked 50% to 70% more than women. Yet I still think women talk more. I think I have held this belief since childhood, because there is a social belief that women talk too much and I never bothered to question it.

In my parents’ house, my mom didn’t talk more than my dad. There were four sisters in the house, and we definitely talked more than our brother, who was very quiet. I always just thought my personal circumstances were different from the average.

When I got married, I thought I was just not a typical woman and my husband, Gal, was not a typical man. But maybe this is how you see yourself and your partner, too…

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The Stress Pill: 30 More Stressors

A pile of pills

In the previous chapter of The Stress Pill, I described some ways people make themselves stressed. I call them “stress pills”. Others call them Stressors.

Here are another 30 tips on how to increase your daily dosage of stress. Of course, if you can avoid them, your stress level will go down and your happiness will go up.

This post is part 3 of 4 in the series The Stress Pill

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