Category Archives: Change
I recently met a person who casually told me that she was in multiple relationships and hence is a bit stressed. I found it a bit strange for someone who I met for the first time said this to me in a formal business setting. Anyway, not wanting to be judgmental and polite I didn’t make any comments or react to it in any particular manner. Honestly, it didn’t concern me much, its her personal life and it was fine with me. But she went on to explain her relationships a bit more to me in an effort to clarify her position and impress upon me that I or anyone for that mater should not judge her based on this casual comment she made.
This is how she explained:
Her father was a highly passionate gardener who specializes in building nihon teien – Japanese Garden for his clients. Although a Zen Garden is mostly a Rock and Sand arrangement, he often combined the elements of a Japanese Garden with the Zen garden philosophies which was very popular with his clients.
But he did take the art and the philosophy of the Japanese/Zen garden to heart and made it the basic philosophy of his life in terms of his relationships and life in general. He raised her and her siblings with a strong belief that one should conduct their lives as a garden where they are their own gardeners. Especially, a garden of Zen, – a garden of tranquility, balance, aesthetics, space and peace. In this garden, you choose the elements that will make your life beautiful and all that you desire by you as a gardener, investing your time, passion, care and commitment. Thus, the Zen Garden of your life will be as follows:
The Japanese/Zen Garden. A pristine place of perfectly manicured trees, plants, clear path ways with perfectly located open space. The basic 4 rules to build such a beautiful place of tranquility and peace are
1) most trees and plants should be taken care of by constantly trimming them in perfect shapes and regularly watering them and nourishing them with the right amount of soil
2) some select trees and plants should be allowed to grow as per it’s natural beauty and shape
3) all paths should be clean without clutter and
4) each zen garden should have a space to sit and meditate.
5) Rocks should be strategically placed to support the garden.
Life. It’s similar to a Zen Garden where you are the gardener. Your relationships are like the trees. Each need to be trimmed and cared for as you want them to grow into your life. You shape them in your garden as opposed to them growing out of your bounds and liking. However, a select few of them can be allowed to grow to its own beauty such as a child or someone whose natural self just beautifies your life.
Always keep your thoughts and mind clear as the pathways and make it a point to provide for your personal space. A place to collect your self and your thoughts, meditate and calm down. In your life, similar to the rocks, there are a few relationships that will support you and hold you down to the ground when you need it most. You can always lean on them and use them for support. Pay a lot of importance to these rocks in your lives.
This will make your life a life of tranquility, beauty, peace and balance. Enjoy your own Zen Garden life!
A “Solution Driven” life – to live a life of a problem solver
Every sales person who is selling you something today often tries to position their product or service as a “Solution”. It is either a solution to make your life easier, save time, save money, increase you bottom line savings, manage your job better and help you solve that particular problem. And all their products or services is designed to solve what they like to call as a `Problem“. It is a simple yet very persuasive and most popular business selling concept. The sales and marketing teams design their positioning statement or advertisements to highlight the problems you may face by not using their products and then showcase their solution to eliminate that problem for you. In order for you to buy into their offerings, they also try to build you problem bigger. They seek out your pinch points, develop the issue bigger by making you consider the consequences of not solving the problem, and then make solving that problem an imperative need that you must address.
If you apply this perspective to life, then everyone who can identify a particular problem and develop their own solution to that problem can be successful. We all face several “problems” in life all the time. We worry about the consequences of the problem and get stressed all the time. All we have to do is identify the problem dispassionately as though you are getting paid to find a solution, approach the idea objectively, develop the solution and then apply that solution to that particular problem all the time. This turns into a successful business model if you chose to sell this unique “solution” to everyone who has a similar problem.
Here is another perspective to the same matter. If you look at someone playing a video game objectively, you will soon realize that all they are doing is navigating their characters through a complex obstacle race to get to the next level. They develop strategies, lose their lives, start from the scratch again, learn from their past mistakes, and overcome their obstacles and get to the next level. And as they go higher in their game level the challenges gets more complex and difficult. However, the player relentlessly keeps the fight on until they finally finish that game at the final level. What’s even more interesting is that while they do this the players often dedicate their total attention, time and stay committed to finishing that game. They clock in several sleepless nights, skip food, and forget about all other commitments they may have. And finally all they get at the end of their game is just two simple things. 1) Bragging rights, and 2) The ultimate satisfaction of having accomplished a complex and challenging task. But these two things mean a lot to the player.
Now if you were to apply this perspective to real life again, then you can certainly develop intelligent strategies to navigate through the complex obstacle ridden life by solving each challenge and keep progressing until you accomplish your objective. All you need to do here is keep the same mind set you take to the video game, that is: it is your job to solve the problem by finding the solution to progress further. In doing this, once gain you may sacrifice several hours, skip a few meals, spend sleepless nights, and constantly keep thinking of all the ways you can overcome the challenges. But ultimately, you will develop your own solution to the problem, navigate through it successfully, regardless of the number of times you fail, and eventually progress from one stage in life to another and accomplish the task of solving several complex problems. Now all you do is hold on to the same idea, commitment and sprit for every problem in life and collect several bragging rights for several problems you have found solutions to. And above all, bask in the success of your progress through life.
The funny thing about problems in life is that it makes us often react in a less intelligent manner to it. By default we begin to fear and worry about the consequences of the problems. And we end up spending more time worrying about the consequences and the inconveniences of the problem that we may face rather than spending that time working towards developing a solution. Also we often carry a fear of failing to develop a solution or developing a solution that may fail. And due to such fears we end up doing nothing or procrastinating. Meanwhile the problem just sits there and doesn’t go away or snow balls into something much bigger. This is exactly where the sales person with the solution loves to be so that he or she can sell their developed solution to you. Now your need is greater and you will do anything to solve the problem.
But what if you were to own the problem and take on the responsibility to find a solution yourself? Why wait for someone to come by and tap your shoulder and sell you a solution? Not that people are going around tapping people’s shoulders and solving their problems all the time. When it comes to your life problems, you are on your own. You own this business. This is your own video game. It is your job to apply the right attitude and develop a solution to that particular problem. And if you have played video games, you sure know that you do have the skill set required to play develop the right strategies and solutions to overcome this problem too. All you got to do is take the same attitude to this task. Weather it is a job related problem, education problems, relationship problem, health problem, weight problem, financial problem or a parenting problem, you sure can learn, read, ask around, and educate yourself to the number of possible solutions there are. Then taken on the responsibility and put in your time and effort to developing a solution to your problem and solving it. You have your browsers on your phones, at home; you have friends, advisers, and many other sources to learn from. And there are other people who have developed solutions and selling them too. What truly matters is your attitude towards your problems. If you take the responsibility to find a solution, and view your life problems objectively you certainly can solve them.
No one has ever said that life is fair. It isn’t. It is tough to just get by. But many of us plow our way to success and happiness too. Every successful person has faced their share of set backs, problems and devised a way to over come them. The path to success is paved with several hurdles and challenges that we need to over come. You will certainly find a problem in every turn. But it is only a problem until you find a solution. Now regardless of the kinds of problems you may face, choose to become the video game player or the problem solving sales person, and begin to collect the bragging rights of being a problem solver and progress through all life levels with confidence. After all, solving your life problems if your job. No one is going to come by, hold your hand and walk you towards a solution. Developing your solutions to make yourself successful is your job. All one has to do is to first, get up, and start working towards a solution.
What’s your problem?
Somewhere in this world today sits a senior executive in a company boardroom secretly disagreeing with the popular consensus of the people in the room because he or she sees something that is morally wrong and greedy objectives. Across their country perhaps sits a young graduate working on his or her secret aspiration to develop the next big software that could possibly change the world of mobile phones. Sitting at the desk in India, which was once popularly known to be a poor country, sits a billionaire working on how to take over an American corporation. Standing in a line up at the security check in USA, perhaps stands a father watching his young teen daughter being stripped of her basic dignity and being scanned through a machine and people watching her and thinks what can he do or say that could challenge the system and inspire them to develop a less invasive and more sensible process.
No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. ~William Faulkner
Similarly today there are those who choose to appease their immediate management and superiors and comply with programs and actions for personal benefits. There is a teen on his or bed thinking of ways to convince their parent to buy them the next greatest feature filled expensive mobile phone. And across the room sits their parent figuring out what can they sacrifice from their personal lifestyle to siphon out a few more hundreds to help pay their credit card bills that they never thought will be a problem one day. And there lays another young uncorrupted mind thinking about the biased information fed by someone who he or she thinks has the knowledge and wisdom and has managed to entice them to join a popular growing opinion that benefits the propagators more than the activists.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – even if I have said it – unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. ~Buddha
In this advanced and fast developing world of ours are people who are passive non conformists, those who challenge the popular opinions against harsh objections or possible persecutions and there are those who indulge in ritualistic and monotonous day to day living by conforming to popular norms and processes as dictated by those who they consider are authoritative figures, experts and intelligent people who know what they are talking about.
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. ~Bertrand Russell
If one thing statistics, recent and past history has proved to us is that the popular opinions, democratic decisions and expert advice have often been more wrong than right that has resulted are severe and damaging consequences. This is was not true the economists would have foreseen and avoided the crisis that grips the world of finance today, doctors would not have misdiagnosed several critical cases and get sued for their gross negligence, there wouldn’t be contradicting studies from researchers over drugs and food, America would not vote the president for two consecutive terms who drove them to economic crisis for personal and collective personal gains, and all corporations and their respective experts, authorities and top executives will not pay themselves millions of dollars and run their organizations to bankruptcy and get bailed out by the common mans money. These and several other such examples goes to prove that experts, authoritative figures, popular opinions, and majority decisions are not necessarily the right ones. If anything they have often proved to be grossly wrong and biased. Our dependency and reliance on such figures, people and decisions needs to be based on individual sensibilities, common understanding of morals, values and the responsibility to educate ourselves on unbiased and sound facts before we make our choices. Especially the decisions and choices we make that deeply impact our own personal well being and those who depend on us or seek our wisdom and advice that may influence theirs.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. –Albert Einstein, in a letter to a professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching position
Such individual sensibilities, the power to change their world and surroundings stems from ones personal beliefs, educated opinions and self confidence. Many great scientists, inventors, musicians, politicians, revolutionaries and contributors to society were able to bring the inventions, computers, systems, and many things that has made our lives better were able to do this only by going against the popular opinions, total dismissal, humiliation, objections and over bearing influence of powerful conformists of their times. Also many organizations and corporate are brought to their knees by those individuals who stand by sound morals and principles when the collective top executive decisions are biased and unethical. So are the popular uprising in countries against their once powerful and controlling regimes, and political figures.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
But the challenge for every individual is to develop the courage, self-confidence and the wisdom to seek and form balanced opinions based on sound values, morals and beliefs without prejudice. These qualities are needed by those who choose to progressive evolve themselves, their societies, their world and make positive contributions towards their own prosperity, happiness, achievements and growth. Alternatively one can choose to continue to be ignorant conformists, passive non conformists, and follow popular opinions against their own sensibilities and conscience. Great countries, communities, corporations, families and people are inspired by intelligent, educated and progressive thinking without prejudice. If one feels the need not to confirm to processes, decisions, and opinions, it has to be based on intelligence to truly make positive progressive progress and gains for self and to the world we live in. Weather they are political beliefs, religious or communal rituals, mundane processes, or authoritative decisions, each needs to be examined, thought, understood and practiced on intelligent, educated and balanced principles for positive and progressive living and growth. Allow your individuality to shine based on your sound moral beliefs and progressive attitude. Lead and make a new path for others to follow.
Individuality realized is the supreme attainment of the human soul, the master-master’s work of art. Individuality is sacred. –Frank Lloyd Wright
And a few more quotes:
Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. ~Robert Peel
And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will? When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the will of others? ~Galileo Galilei
Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy
Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model. ~Vincent Van Gogh
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. – Albert Einstein Quotes