Life Lessons from an All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant

indian-food Photo: Indian Food by Jm Verastigue


Last night, together with my wife and a couple of friends, I had a meal in an All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant. In the UK, it’s not that common to have an all-you-can-eat-buffet, outside of breakfast or lunch-time specials.

It was a huge Pan-Asian restaurant, and there were sections for Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese and many more types of food. Even British-style fish and chips (maybe that’s what the ‘Pan’ part meant!)

The selection seemed almost infinite. And when one food tray was starting to run low, it was soon replaced with a full one. A small army of staff kept everything running smoothly. As soon as you had emptied your plate, it was whisked away, and you were free to help yourself to another, and fill it with whatever you wished.

Not being used to the idea, it was very tempting to overdo it. And I did. Each time I went back for another helping, I thought, I’ve got to get my money’s worth!

By the end of our two hour table reservation, I was completely stuffed, to the point of being uncomfortable. But why?

Apart from the obvious answer being ‘Greed’, a part of me must still be focusing on a ‘lack’ mentality. That I’ve got to ‘get it while I can’, and if I don’t it will be taken away from me. Instead of stopping when I was comfortably full, I had to take more than my fair share.

And yet, like Universal Supply, I knew my own supply of food wasn’t going to run out. There was clearly more than enough to go around. And me taking whatever I wanted wouldn’t result in someone else going without.

Maybe I should go there more often, until finally I ‘get it’! Or maybe I should make more of an effort to ‘get it’ in practice, rather than just in theory.

Sometimes, ‘self-help’ and ‘helping yourself’ can mean the same thing.

Design for Life

Trees Photo: Sakura Trees by Petr Kratochvil


It’s been another hot summer’s day. Walking along a tree-lined pathway, it occurred to me that in nature, things effortlessly follow their own blueprint. I’m sure that trees don’t doubt their ability to grow tall and strong. A stalk of grass probably doesn’t compare itself to a neighbour.

Do we have our own “Design”? I think if we’re guided by our intuition, we know when something feels right. But we don’t have to follow it, and often Life gets in the way to drown out our inner voice.

We have the ability to rewrite our plans, over and over – which can be a blessing or a curse. Having the freedom to create our own life, means that if the doubts creep in, we can end up settling for less than our best. 

It’s an obvious statement, but Life is all about Creation. I used to believe that we have to take whatever Life throws at us. I now see that we actively co-create our experience together with Life. We are deeply involved in the process, every second of every day. Whether we’re aware of it or not.

Surely, we have a responsibility to ourselves to find what lights us up, and pursue it, to the extent that we can. Even if it remains a hobby, rather than a career. But more than that, if we lift ourselves up, we pass the benefits on to those around us, and subconsciously give them permission to do the same.

So, you know what to do… Find your talent. And shine your light.

Piece of the Action or Peace of Mind


Photo: Safe Harbour by Tamara Ward

Zig Ziglar: ”If standard of living is your major objective, quality of life almost never improves, but if quality of life is your number one objective, your standard of living almost always improves.”

What is it that you focus on the most? If you’re not happy with your current circumstances, it makes sense to set goals to improve them. You have to start from where you are, but where should your emphasis go?

It’s tempting to focus on the money. Many of us have done it at one time or another. I know I have. “If only I had more money…” “When I get more money…” “If I had the money that they have…”

But really, is the money an end result, or just a means to an end? We need money to live in a material world, no question. But basically we want peace of mind. Happiness. Maybe having a big house and new car will give you lasting happiness, and maybe it won’t. But doesn’t it make sense to go directly for the end result?

If you want happiness, cut out the middleman and go for it. Focus on it now, plan for it and take some small action towards it. What really inspires you? What would you do if the money was already taken care of? If you can’t find the time and effort to practice being happy now, how will you do it when you’ve got all the “things”, and you’re still chasing happiness?

Don’t forget to appreciate the good things you already have. It’s sometimes easy to forget, when you get caught up thinking about the future. It may be a cliché, but there are so many things that happiness can’t buy. If your focus is happiness, you’re unlikely to have many of the hang-ups about money that stop you getting it in the first place.

Relax and enjoy the good things in your life now. Then get started on being really happy.

Virtual Reality?


Photo: Binary Digital by Marcos Tulio

The penny dropped for me, while watching the BBC documentary “Wonders of Life”. The programme explained how different animals perceive the world in completely different ways. The Catfish, for example can “smell” the chemicals in the water to help orientate itself. Each species has its own way of making sense of its surroundings, and experiences life in its own way.

It occurred to me that we do a similar thing. Our brain interprets the signals it receives, to give us our individual picture of the world. But is it “reality”? Can there actually be an objective reality, when all our experiences are self-filtered?

If we don’t experience a “standard” reality, then our experiences should be open to change. In the same way that we can literally change the images we see by wearing sunglasses, we can consciously change our outlook by changing our thoughts.

How we view what happens in our life is really only our perception anyway. So if you don’t like what’s happening to you, “go within” and change your outer world.

“90” or “100”?

Question MarkPhoto: Help by Kosta Kostov


Motivational author and speaker Dr Stephen Covey has developed the “90-10 Rule”. The ’10′ refers to the 10% of our life that happens to us – the circumstances beyond our control. The ’90′ represents the other 90% of life that is under our control – how we choose to react to those circumstances.

Imagine if your alarm clock fails to go off and you over-lay. You have to fill up with fuel and there are huge queues. You hit all the red lights possible, and you’re stuck in traffic, meaning you are going to be late for work. You can’t change that, but you can decide how to react to it. Do you let yourself get out of control, or do you accept that sometimes these things happen, and find a better way to deal with it?

The ‘90-10’ rule makes perfect sense. But for me, I prefer to think of us as 100% responsible for our actions. If something upsets or angers us, that’s how we have ‘chosen’ to respond.

It’s not that we should try and repress these emotions, but sometimes it’s good to step back and take a wider perspective. How we’ve initially reacted is not the only way to deal with the situation.

Also, I think that for something to happen to us, or for us to be aware of it, we must be on a similar “frequency”. Not in the sense that we are to blame, but on a subconscious level, we have attracted it with our thoughts, beliefs and actions.

The way to move forward is to think and act more positively. How many times do we stop ourselves from trying something new, because of our fear of failure? If you “knew” that you would succeed today with every action you took, what could you accomplish?

If there is something important coming up in your day, why not take a few minutes and focus on how you would like it to develop. Visualize the outcome you want, and imagine yourself succeeding. Even if things don’t go exactly to plan, know that you will be able to cope with whatever happens. You always have coped up until now, and with a little extra focus, you could see positive changes.