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by Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo

presepeThere are just a few days to Christmas, a festival when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, but more universally, this is a moment when we take stock of the year and our relationships and take time to reflect. Tradition has it that the custom of exchanging gifts goes back to the Three Kings, who carried gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. Whatever your beliefs, in this article we express the hope that you may receive three gifts that we consider especially precious: awareness, gratitude and magic. Let’s find out why they are so important and can potentially bring about positive changes in your life and that of others around you. 

Awareness as authenticity

More than a state, awareness is actually a process, a journey within ourselves to discover what we are, the values ​​that guide us, and how we can act to turn them into virtues, thus helping to make the world a better place. Whatever job you do in life we hope you can do it while fully expressing yourself each day so as to show just who you really are. To gain awareness and reveal your uniqueness to the world, take a fresh look at the environment in which you live. Help improve your workplace, for example, by greeting everyone with a smile, making your desk more attractive and performing your duties to the best of your ability, no matter how seemingly boring or insignificant they may appear to casual eyes. By doing so you will rediscover your talents and perhaps unearth some of the dreams you have hidden away. If, on the other hand, you feel you are not really doing what you were cut out for, get a hold of the very useful self-help book by John Williams, “Screw work, let’s play”. This should help to guide you towards a path of awareness. In any case, bear in mind that wearing a mask, going to work each day while thinking only of the weekend and striving to complete a job you don’t like while waiting for your “real life” to start is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You damage not only yourself but also the world around you, as you are depriving others of your personal contribution to an increase in shared happiness. If you need an additional injection of confidence and hope, remember that there are many people who are continually working towards this goal, and our blog’s mission is to gather their stories of happiness and success.

Gratitude as love

Albi&Alice

In the perspective of your relationship with others, being yourself will be a generous action. We strongly believe that each of us is in the world for a reason and that using our talents, our passion and our commitment to help others, by doing well the things that we alone can do is the first and most important act of love we are called on to perform. Carrying out everyday actions with the awareness of our uniqueness and with gratitude for what we are brings a sense of fulfilment to our lives. On the other hand, when an action is driven by the “expectation” of receiving something in return, “he / she should do this or that…”, “I expect you to do such and such…”, “In my view, my boss should…”, we are slipping towards selfishness. If we measure human relations by the law of give and take, we may think we have greater control over outcomes and a more rapid path to success, but we’re actually limiting our opportunities, as we do each time we shift the responsibility for our own lives to others. The attitude “if you give me something I’ll give you something in return and if I give you something I want to be sure I’ll get something back”, means we have to check that each action is paid off, thus limiting our relationships to a finite number of possible interactions that we are able to manage. We hence become mere accounting clerks in our human relationships. This behaviour confuses gifts with exchanges, which have a completely different nature. Anyone who sincerely makes a gift expects nothing in return, if not the joy that such an action brings as it fills our lives with gratitude and love. A trade-off is no more than the name suggests, and when you want something state this clearly so there is no underlying frustration or resentment, but when you make a gift, give unconditionally.

Magic as “serendipity”

354Finally, we hope you may awaken the magic in your life and welcome the unexpected, however scary and flawed it may initially appear. The word “serendipity” describes the wonder and magic of finding valuable answers where they were unsought. Can we facilitate this process in some way, or does it occur by pure chance? Judging from our experience, we encourage you to keep your eyes open and cultivate confidence: the world is full of gifts and signs that we often fail to grasp as we are distracted by an incessant inner voice that prevents us from really observing what is happening around us. In this search, consider all options and be ready to follow different directions, even those that may lead to a dead end or involve a detour, as travelling itself can help your growth. Keep an open mind and be curious to discover what the future may hold, and remember that the true reward lies within the journey.

However you chose to spend this time of family celebration – praying, working or simply looking at shop windows – we hope you may find peace within yourself and the people to whom you are close, savouring every moment. We believe, “Lives don’t need speed, they need rhythm”: find out what “makes your heart beat” and nurture this day after day with dedication, commitment and fun to achieve your dreams.

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016.

| partem claram semper aspice |

Passodue

Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo, a couple in life and work, are founders of the consulting and training company Passodue, which operates in the field of ethical sales and marketing.
Their publications and articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines. In the US since 2013 they collaborate with researchers and professors on the topics of Business Ethics.

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