Category Archives: HEALTH

Your life as a Zen Garden


Best-Zen-Garden-Wallpaper-on-Garden-Decor-zen-garden-wallpaper-iphone-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!

 


Stop being the problem and Start becoming the solution


kc


What can a better you do?


A better person inspires better people, makes better families who build better societies, who make great countries, who influences a better world.

ONE SOURCE TO A BETTER YOU: http://despicablewonderfulyou.wordpress.com/

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Why being a Non Conformist is AWESOME!


Leonardo
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Why being a Non Conformist is AWESOME?


Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve


lettinggo

 

“We seek the divine creator to forgive our greatest sins, and he forgives. Then who are we not to forgive those who wrong us?” – Anonymous

Aren’t we too quick to point fingers and tell people where they are going wrong? Often we appoint ourselves as the authority on what is right. But we seldom would accept, acknowledge or seek to find our own wrong doings and blunders in our lives. Many of us are afraid to face the disgust of our own mistakes and sins. Yet we are always ready to make others feel disgusted of theirs.

We aren’t perfect nor is the world we live in. We are all wrong doers and often many of us are much more worse than we would like to accept. We do several immoral things in our own personal lives and chose to forget it or be secretive about it, but we will never give up a chance to blame others of their immoral actions or tarnish their character based on their share of mistakes and sins.

But there are times when we do realize and repent. Our conscience shakes us and our guilt consumes our pride and we set out to repent for our wrong doings. And when we set out with such honest guilt and sincerity we solely seek for forgiveness. Forgiveness from those we have done wrong to or from a divine source we place our faith in. But this is just perfect for us, our inner peace and our own emotional balance and health. Even if we do not get the forgiveness we seek, we find solace in the fact that we have repented in enough in terms of undoing our wrong and perhaps going above and beyond by being extra nice.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Alas we learn to forgive others we seek forgiveness from others when we do wrong. The petty mindedness of us fuels our pride and arrogance to stand against basic decency and humanity and hold grudges and anger against others. A very convenient position to hold that blinds our logic and sensibilities and stops us from realizing how we ourselves would feel if we were put in a similar position. When we are wrong we rightfully expect others and even God to forgive us of our mistakes and sins. But when the same is asked of us and life provides us a chance to reciprocate, we soon turn our arrogance and petty mindedness without any shame.

Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always make you less than you are.

Malcolm Forbes

Several people spend a life time holding such grudges and refuse to forgive others. They choose to dwell in their hatred, anger and smallness rather than to understand life and reality, forgive and become greater human beings and move ahead into a much more peaceful and respectable life. We strain and loose several valuable years and time of good relationships in this one short life of ours. We estrange ourselves and let our anger and arrogance separate ourselves from our own blood and friends due to their mistakes and our inability to be mature and forgive. We lose our ability logically discuss, heal, understand, let go, and forgive in an effort to keep relationships. Instead we chose to forget all the goodness and good times we enjoyed from that person and judge the person with their one big mistake. Yet we will die of hurt when someone dies the same to us.

Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~Mark Twain

Forgiveness: According to the Merriam Webster dictionary to forgive is A) to give up resentment of, or claim to requital for B): to grant relief from payment of 2) : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON intransitive senses : to grant forgiveness.

Even though many people may say they have forgiven someone who has offended them, it nevertheless takes a long time to free themselves of the hatred and anger in their hearts. Their behaviour tends to betray that anger. On the other hand, the forgiveness is required to be sincere. Because we need to realize the fact that as human beings each one of us are tried and tested in every step of our lives and we engage in a continuous process of failing and learning from our mistakes. Thus it is imperative for each one of to learn to be tolerant and compassionate as we will eventually expect the same from others.

I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one. ~Henry Ward Beecher

So why is it important to learn to forgive? Here is one scientific reason: According to recent research, American scientists established that those capable of forgiveness are healthier in both mind and body. The team of scientists and health psychologists studied 259 people. The scientists invited the subjects to attend six one-and-a-half-hour sessions, and aimed to instruct the subjects in forgiveness during their conversations.

The subjects of the experiments stated that they suffered less after forgiving people who had wronged them. The research showed that people who learned to forgive feel much better, not only emotionally but also physically. For example, it was established that after the experiment psychological and physical symptoms such as stress-related backache, insomnia and stomach aches were significantly reduced in these individuals.

For those who claim to be religious or live in a constant pursuit to become a better human being based on their faith systems it is important for them to realize that forgives is a major part of all faith systems in the world. Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day traditions and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness of one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and divine forgiveness.

Here are a few examples of some leading religions and their ideas and philosophies about forgiveness:

Judaism: If a person causes harm, but then they sincerely and honestly apologizes to the wronged individual and tries to rectify the wrong, the wronged individual is religiously required to grant forgiveness to this person.

Christianity: Jesus speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. A quote from Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Islam: One of the names for Allah in Islam is Al-Ghaffur- meaning The All Forgiving entity. Forgiveness often requires the repentance of those being forgiven. Depending on the type of wrong committed, forgiveness can come either directly from Allah, or from one’s fellow man who received the wrong. In the case of divine forgiveness, the asking for divine forgiveness via repentance is important. In the case of human forgiveness, it is important to both forgive, and to be forgiven. In fact it is believed that a practicing Muslims’ pilgrimage is not accepted if forgiveness is not sought from those they have wronged against.

Buddhism: Forgiveness is seen as a practice to prevent harmful thoughts from causing havoc on one’s mental well-being. Buddhism recognizes that feelings of hatred and ill-will shall leave a lasting effect on our minds and eventually shape our destiny.

Hinduism: The concept of performing atonement from one’s wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness is n essential part of the practice of Hinduism. Repentance is the lay of Karma. Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. The effects of those deeds and these deeds actively create present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one’s own life, and the pain in others.

“Forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply. He began by forgiving us. And he invites us all to forgive each other.”

Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve

Doctors have proved that forgiveness and letting go of grudges immediately and drastically improved your health and quality of life. Here are a few proven benefits of forgiveness:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

So, how do you go about making the change and becoming a mature, generous and progressive indidivual by learnign to forgive others? Well, it is a process of learning and understanding who you turly are and how do you want to grow towards becoming a better and greater person in life. It is easy to be like the rest of the petty minded people and dwell in your misery and hold grudges. But it takes a great heart and progressive thinking to learn, forgive and move ahead in life. Here are a few things suggested by the mayo clinic on how to go about forging people:

  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
  • Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
  • When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

What stops you from becoming free of hatred and anger in life is often your ego and inflated pride. Which, we all are aware has never done any good to anyone in their life. The power of forgivness is greater than that of hate and anger.


Our vital life lessons often lie within our experiences


 

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

– Tom Bodett

Life provides us with many experiences. In these experiences, regardless of them being good or bad, there can be many lessons, inspirations, solutions, and wisdom one can learn from. It only takes a short moment of reflecting upon them with an intention to learn and move ahead. Similarly there are many parallels in life with certain basic things we do. Organizing our work, use clear and analytical thinking, being courteous and tolerant, and choosing our words carefully are some of the things we do at work and in our professional environment. But we seldom choose to adapt to such behavior at home and amongst our family and friends. If we choose to adapt such behaviors at home as well, we can avoid a lot of simple problems the clutter out personal lives.  Maintaining discipline, controlling anger, choosing a calm and composed demeanor, choosing the words we speak, taking a more relaxed perspective, choosing to listen more and inspire by our own behaviors are some of the key things we can apply in many different aspects of our lives. If we can apply these principles, and demeanor at work, we can do the same while playing sports, and in our personal lives, at home, amongst friends etc.

 

Experience is not what happens to a man.  It is what a man does with what happens to him.  ~Aldous Leonard Huxley, Texts and Pretexts, 1932

Here is a short story which helps illustrate how such parallels come together to help understand life better. It is a short story of a young man, who, like many of us has been through some tough times in life and lost his will to keep fighting to keep his sanity in this world of treachery, deception and injustice. Life is full of wonderful experiences, that give us a lot of happiness and joy, but often along with all the joy we each have our share of sorrow and pain. This short story is about an experience that changed his life.

This young man has had more than his share of sorrow over his share of happiness, but the pain and turmoil he has been through has left many a deep scars that he is unable to cope with. Corporate politics, being penalized for doing what he thought is the right thing, unable to live a life of clear-cut principles but instead having to cope and adjust to what we call the “Grey Area” under the banner of diplomacy. Deceit in friendships, and failure in love, loss of trust in people, and the faith he once had in good. Looking around he finds himself surrounded by nothing else but violence, greed, selfishness, betrayal, arrogance, ruthlessness and disorder. One can imagine the state of mind of any individual in such circumstances. Many of us have or continue to experience many of these symptoms of social integration as I like to call it. Some have faced more hardships and hurt and some few, nevertheless, which often leaves a lasting change in behavior or attitude towards normal social interactions.

Seeking some peace and perspective he turns to his parents who have tried to support him with all they could offer within their limited means and wisdom they had to share, based on their wisdom and experience. After a lot of trials and support one day his parents call him over and hand him an envelope. In it lies a round trip ticket to his uncles’ cabin located in a totally secluded part of the Rockies.

Surrounded by still lakes, lush trees and majestic mountains, lives his uncle who is a renowned Mountaineer and adventurer. Having conquered a few Mountain peaks which were named after him, he spends his summers with a few fellow adventurers in his cabin teaching people how to climb mountains or run practical classes in wild adventure trekking. He was a man of many interesting and varied experiences and a collection of even more interesting friends with varied lifestyle.

So, one day our young man arrives at his cabin with a back pack looking totally tired and beaten up. Upon setting his eyes on him, his uncle pauses and takes a gulp in shock. Seeing his favorite nephew, who was once considered to be a dashing personality filled with vigor and zest for life is now nothing more than a bundle of nerves and sorrow. Although hurt by his appearance his uncle hugs him in his usual pride and love for him concealing his displeasure, shock and dismay.

Turn your wounds into wisdom.  ~Oprah Winfrey

That night, after supper uncle and nephew have a long chat over a few drinks. The young man cries his heart out to his favorite uncle and tells him of all that he has experienced and how he has lost faith in Good, God and Justice. How he felt he was betrayed by his friends and the person he loved, and the scars he has borne. Further due to these experiences how his behavior and attitude has changed and he has become very cynical and negative as a person, which is affecting his work, social live and his loved ones at home.

Having heard in detail of his life, and feeling very sorry for what he has been through his uncle continued to ask several questions in detail and listened to him with great attention, patience and interest. It was almost past 1:00 am and his uncle told his nephew, that he wants to take him the next morning to climb a mountain that he himself has never climbed before. He said that if he would help his uncle conquer the peak which should probably take a large part of the day, he would give him a gift that would solve all his problems and sooth all his sorrow. The gift would make him a very strong and a dynamic individual and he will be able to win all that he wishes for, and in due time and live a very happy and content life by turning things around his way.

Not having climbed a mountain before and looking for something different to do, the young man agrees. He spends his reminder of the night thinking of what the gift can be? Soon his thoughts drifted to all that he can do and how wonderful his life could be once he gets this gift. The life he will live, the things he would get for himself and the life of joy that he would lead. A good long spell of escapism filled with dreams and wishes coming true all that night as he lay staring at the ceiling.

Next morning he finds his bag packed and ready for the climb. His uncle gives him a pair of pants and a light tee shirt and is all excited as this is yet another mountain he has been waiting to climb and possibly map it right, which could give him the right to name the peak yet again. Sharing his excitement the young man, joins his uncle for the hour-long drive to the foot of the mountain. On reaching there he is left speechless standing at the foot of the mountain looking at the sheer size of the rock. He and his uncle stand there for a few long minutes scaling the rock in detail. The terrain filled with rugged surface, the sharp edges, the several crevasses, the steep rise and the jagged edges. The young man thought of the near impossible task that lies ahead of him. But having faith and total confidence in his uncle, he puts on his climbing shoes and with the help of his uncle, he puts on the climbing gear. The waist harness, the pulleys, sling harnesses, the various ropes around his shoulder, and several hooks and gloves, a small hip sack with chalk and sand in it, a bottle of water, and a very heavy back pack over his shoulder filled with more hooks, ropes, first aid, spike nails, four claw shoes, hammers, etc. He felt he was carrying at least twice his weight and wondered how he will manage the ascent.

 

There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.  ~Laurence J. Peter

The Climb

Once they were all loaded up with their equipments, they began the assent. The uncle began leading the way and shouting his instructions to his nephew as they began the accent. Look out to the left, foot hold to the right, hand hold at two 2 O’clock, etc. Since the uncle lead the climb, he was responsible to hammer the nail in the rock, grip the pulleys, run the ropes through them, assemble the hooks and continue to do so as he climbed. Quickly the young man learned the basics and was doing well. Hold on to secure grips and scale the immediate 2 to 3 foot ahead, look for secure hand holds and quick foot stops. Use his hands to lift his body with little force on his foot stops. Moving from one hand to another, and using the help of the ropes his uncle keeps dropping down he continues to climb. Every once in a while he briefly looks down and feels thrilled to see how far they have climbed, but every time he looks up he is unable to see the peak due to the slopes and curves of the rock. However, he makes good gains in his climb for a first timer and keeps getting valuable tips from his uncle. Hold on to the grip, don’t climb now, take a breather, let go of one hand and feel for a hand hold in blind, pull yourself up faster etc. Before they realized they were half way up the mountain and quiet tired. The uncle was now scaling for a rest stop which is typically a short but firm horizontal plain where the climbers could typically stand on their two feet with no hand support. Often here the climbers leave behind some supplies to reduce their weights and take a short break depending on the reminder of their climb. While the uncle tried to swing towards a rest stop side ways that he thought could work, he happened to slip and lost his grip. He now began to fall off the cliff but firmly holding on to the ropes. He knocked his elbow on the rock and kept pushing himself away from the rock every time he came near and fell several feet down very fast, but he held on to one of the ropes he had run though and began to try and break his fall by tightening the harness to the rope by which the fall ended by a quick jerk on his harness as the rope locked on. The young man felt he was done for. Several thoughts ran through his mind while watching the whole episode. He being stuck alone, loosing his uncle, his family, and the possibility of loosing his life, how will he survive etc.? But he also tried to closely watch his uncle struggle to get back to his hold on to the ropes. The sigh of relief was like never before. As the time went by his uncle managed to scale back the altitude and managed to find a rest stop for both of them. A short break was surely warranted after their near death experience.

A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.  ~Author Unknown

Both of them took advantage of their break by sharing a few tips, while the young man had a few questions, they decided to drop off a few of their supplies which they didn’t need for the rest of the climb and took quick notes on the points where they have had secure nails and hooks planted firmly onto the rocks. Having scaled slightly over the mid-point of the rock they were pretty confident that they will be able to make the climb before sunset. Quickly they began to ascend again.

This time the conditions were a bit harder as the edges were sharper, colder temperatures, and slippery rocks as several years of hard windy conditions have smoothened the surface. There were fewer hand and foot holds how. But there were deeper crevasses, and sharper edges. They had to rely more on their strength and agility and speed rather than the tools and equipment they had. They had to rely on their experience of the first half of the mountain to understand where the possible holds could be based on the sheer character of the mountain. There were several short and steep cliffs that they couldn’t climb and hence had to swing themselves to wide spans to look for grip holds and supports. Each swing being a dangerous one and taking all steps necessary to ensure they do not slip like earlier. Now both had to rely on each other for support as they climbed the final few feet of their mountain. One clinging to other for support and at times one carries the other person’s weight when required. Giving a helping hand to one another, and looking up towards the peak they went on to continue their mission. When they looked down they couldn’t see the foot of the hill as it was covered by haze and dust and the rocks. But the peak now was in clear view. Soon they were at the top. As the young mans uncle grasped the final sharp yet strong edge of the final peak he looked down to his nephew and said we’ve made it!

 

The Lesson

Yet another mountain conquered! Another tremendous feat accomplished, that only very few can accomplish in this world perhaps. It sure was an exhilarating sense of achievement that perhaps, can only be experienced by such few individuals. As they off loaded their equipments and released their harness and sat down looking around, the young man couldn’t help notice that his uncle was not jumping ecstatically of his accomplishment. But he was calm, a wide grin on his face and kept looking at his nephew and enquiring how he felt and how was the experience. Looking around, the view was something the young man had never seen before, imagined or experienced. The sky was lit in several shades of orange, blue and purple as the sun began to set. He could see a string of other mountain peaks gleaming in the riot of colors. Total silence which was almost hurting his ears. He for the first time felt and realized what it meant to have a breadth taking experience. Although every inch of his muscles was hurting and he was in pain, the sense of accomplishment and scene was worth every second of the experience. He looked over his shoulder and saw his uncle sitting beside him and thanked him for the wonderful experience. He realized that this experience will last him for the rest of his life. Then he asked his uncle what he was thinking of naming this peak.

His uncle quickly replied with a big smile on his face that he had already decided before the climb to name this peak after his dear nephew! The young man couldn’t believe what he just heard. He stood up in disbelief and began shaking his head urging his uncle to not name it after him as he has done nothing worthy of such love and recognition. His uncle assured him that he did want to name it after him and this was the gift he had told him about last night before they went to sleep.

This confused the young man. Although over whelmed by his uncles’ gesture and gift, he couldn’t understand how this could end all his turmoil and bring him all the happiness and joy he spent the night dreaming about. His uncle could see the total state of confusion in the young mans eyes and smiled. He asked him to sit down and he sat beside him. He asked the young man to listen to what he was going to tell him today at this mountain peak and try to understand it. He urged the young man to hold on to every word he was going to utter and to ponder over the greater meaning of his words. And then he went on to explain to his nephew the following:

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.  ~Doug Larson

Life is like climbing a mountain, he said. Today, consider that you have learned a great lesson in life by climbing this mountain. Think of every single move you made and every single action of yours while climbing the mountain. This is exactly what you need to do in life if you truly want to succeed and experience true happiness, peace and sense of accomplishment as you do right now having climbed this mountain.

Life is full of crevasse, foot holds, hand holds steep ascends and sharp declines. Life is huge with several sharp edges and rugged patches. Amongst these lie our several hidden opportunities and dangers. And it is how we make use of these and how we maneuver ourselves is what makes our life a success or failure.

Let us reflect on what you did today from the very beginning. You first looked at the task on hand and wondered how big it is and how you will accomplish it. Then you took some time scanning it and studying the sheer magnitude of the task before you set out to accomplish it and then you firstly began preparing yourself for it by putting on the appropriate gear and taking up the proper equipment along. Similarly life is like this too. It’s filled with rugged surfaces, sharp edges, steep climbs and deep falls. But amongst which lies the foot and hand holds that help you climb, the gears of knowledge are at your disposal, and there is always a lot of support one can find. You will need to look for these supports, identify them, test them, and use the appropriate tools and gifts of skills that life gives you.

Convert difficulties into opportunities, for difficulties are divine surgeries to make you better.  ~Author Unknown

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. ~Horace

Each event, turn or a phase in your life is like a mountain. Be it love, work, relationships, friendships, family etc. Each is like a task, it looks like it expects too much from you, and its an enormous task, but once you take a step back and have a broader perspective of it and understand it for what it is and have a mental clear understanding of the issue at hand and most importantly you prepare yourself with the right education, knowledge, and attitude you will have a greater chance of succeeding in accomplishing it or overcoming the obstacles. Many always approach their problems with a very wrong attitude and never prepare for it properly. People, and in this case yourself, lay thinking of the life they can have, after they have succeeded in life and waste their time instead of taking the much-needed steps to achieve the task. For example, if you had slept well last night without staying up in excitement of what life would be after you get the gift you would have been lot more agile today and we could have climbed faster. People are often blinded by their instincts and emotions which prevent them from taking an objective view of the issue at hand. Some handle their problems with no proper thinking and some with no proper equipments. The hooks, harness, gloves, sand and chalk, proper shoes are very similar to knowledge, experience, life lessons, smartness, education and wisdom. And the wrong tools are limited vision, narrow-mindedness, immature thinking, cluttered mind, cynicism, negativity, anger, rage etc.

Then consider how you climbed the initial phase of the mountain. Like the mountain, life too gives you several hand holds and foot holds. It is important for you to search for them and identify the good ones from the bad. Each hold or grip is like a change and opportunity in life. You have to choose the ones that will help you get ahead in life safely, faster and on secure paths. Some are weak opportunities and some are strong. Many make bad choices in these and hence end up where they are. Be it education, path in life, career, love, friends, they are let down only if they make poor choices in these. Each of these opportunities is plenty in life, but you have to search them and choose the ones that will take you to your destination safely without letting you down. They are also like any particular short-term situation in life. Each hand hold is like a situation you experience in your life. Here you have to understand that you will have to experience it and let go of it and move on. If you hold on to your hand holds and never let go, you will never get hold of the next one, hence never go ahead in experiences. Usually it’s common in relationships, especially when in love. People hold on to broken relationships like for the longest time and never move ahead in life. They spend more time hanging on to it which was primarily their lack of wisdom or a bad choice to choose that hand hold. They tend to over analyze and hang in there in sorrow and wallowing in self sympathy. They hang on way too long and hence never go ahead or move on. Remember that you will always have to leave one for the other. Unless you let go of the hand hold first, you cannot hook on to the other and pull yourself higher. Or else you will stagnate and eventually get tired of being stuck in the same place far too long.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  ~Marcel Proust

Next, the ropes you used and they way you used are the few precious relationships everyone has in their lives. And these relationships are based on your good deeds, acceptance, respect for them, behavior, honesty and loyalty towards them which are like the hooks and pulleys these ropes were passed through. The better your deeds towards them, they stronger the hooks and nails are. As it’s very important to secure the nails in the rocks and the hooks and pulleys, it is equally important for you to build these relationships on strong and secure deeds honesty and integrity. After all the ropes/relations lie and depend on these. So then again, it’s in your hands how you build these relationships. Their dependability lies in your hands based on how you have securely planted the hooks and what kind of hooks and nails you have used to ensure their integrity. These very relationships are the vital life saving lines for you in your life. Like you reach out and grab on to the ropes when you fall or climb up, it is these relationships that play a similar role in your life. It’s these relationships that help you climb in your life and they are always there when you fall to help you and support you. These relationships are often found in close friends, and some family members. They last you a life time. But again it is how you build these relationships and when do you rely on them and for how long and how much. Like the ropes there is only so much weight and pressure it can take. Nothing can be taken for granted in life.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.Colin Powell

In general many things in life are totally dependent on our choices, approach, attitude, planning, and execution of the plan, preparation, and commitment and in this particular order. It always begins with our choice. What do we choose to do? Like, you choose to climb the mountain today along with me. Next is the approach and attitude, even if it’s not your choice, how did you approach the task or situation? Did you step back and try to understand it? Studied the task on hand? Where you negative, positive, willing to cope and adjust, manage the situation as best as you can? Then did you plan what to do and how to do it and did you follow the plan? How did you prepare for the task? Pay attention to your back pack, which is yet another vital aspect of your life and climbing a mountain. It best compares to your education and experiences. Many of us think it’s useless or don’t pay much attention to what we are supposed to learn from it. Like the back pack, its heavy in the beginning, filled with things we need and some we don’t. But as we climb and we use these tools the back pack becomes lighter and easier to carry. Similarly, we need the experiences and education. As we go ahead in life we often use them up and often collect some new ones too. But regardless of what it is if we do not learn and use them we waste what life has given to us.

So, life is such. And life is very similar to climbing a mountain. Always look ahead and up towards your future and the next move up. Do not look down as your past could be too steep a fall and it’s also something you have left behind and moved on and as you continue your climb up, you loose sight of the past, but the experience always lives on. But let your past be such were you have left behind the nails and hooks and ropes which your next generation and others could use and follow. Let it be your legacy that you can be proud off. In you life as you go ahead you will find the resting places as well. Stop by, take a breather, think things out, and clear your cluttered mind. Use these breaks to reflect a little of your past and plan your next move towards your future. It’s ok to do nothing at all for a while in life, but you can’t stay there for ever, or else it will go dark and you not have the daylight to climb the mountain. Leave behind what you don’t need there, as the higher you go, you will need more wisdom than tools. Also remember you cannot do anything alone, you often have to learn from others as well. Some people live a pseudo life pretending to know it all and done it all who never truly learn. They may impress the like-minded or the uneducated people but fail to impress the wise and the accomplished. You weren’t arrogant, or too proud to learn, you took tips and learnt a lot today. Thus you were able to get ahead with some help. And lastly, when you get to the top? Don’t loose your character. Be humble and modest about yourself. People who celebrate wildly at the top of the peak often loose their balance and fall back down. The peak is very narrow and just enough to plant your accomplishments which others can follow and learn from. Now this is my gift to you. Hope you will cherish this experience and carry the credit of this peak and your name associated to it with humility and pride as well. I would want you to share what you have learnt with others and use what you have learnt today for the rest of your life. By doing so I assure you that many of your concerns will end and you will begin to live a life with more caution but yet with more happiness, accomplishments and success. Let this Mountain of experience take you to your peak in life and set a path that many others can follow.

Wisdom begins at the end.  ~Daniel Webster

With these profound words and the experience the young mans life changed that very moment. He sat there and watched the sun set as he recollected every single experience he gained today and was clinging on to every single word his uncle told him. He then decided to set his past down and begin tomorrow with a renewed vigor and use this wonderful experience he gained this day as a lesson about life.

Such are many profound lessons one can learn from simple experiences in life. Perhaps this story will help many of us to rethink our lives and experiences and help us make better choices, and draw some strength from the lessons this young man learned. Life is very similar to climbing a Mountain. There may be some mountain we need to climb again, but we have to persevere until we conquer the peak!


LIFE happens….


 

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon

I truly believe in this quote. I have looked at many other lives along with mine and realized that we keep missing on “life” and/or the essentials of what is “life” while we do other things that we give priority to. If one spends some time giving this a little thought and try to stop every once in a while to appreciate the experiences, I believe, it will have a profound effect in one’s personality and help align their live with the aspects that truly fulfills their purpose and existence in life. Here are a few that I have noticed…

Life happens such….

We miss the joys of being a child while we spend our childhood trying to grow up fast.

We ignore the “education” while we work towards just getting a certificate.

We neglect the pleasure of giving when we get consumed by greed.

We forget to inspire while we focus on leading.

We do not realize the value when we aspire for instant gratification.

We are oblivious of the pleasures of love when we hold on to hate.

We neglect our family when we concentrate on making money.

We insult out intelligence when we indulge in boasting.

We forget to follow Gods message when we blindly follow religious rituals.

We degrade ourselves when we display anger and arrogance.

We neglect the sacrifices of our parents when we get too busy for them.

We forget what truly makes us happy when we become too busy to succeed.

We become less human when we depend too much on machines and systems.

We become too hardened when we do not share the pain of the distressed.

We become poor in values when we become too rich in possessions.

We let in ignorance in our minds when we critique someone else’s efforts or failures.

We belittle ourselves when we get eager to condemn others.

We insult the creator when we make fun of his creation.

We disrespect nature and its purity when we pollute.

We forget our blunders when we get too blinded to punish others for theirs.

We forget our sins when we focus on finding faults in others.

We attract bad luck and fate when we hurt others feelings and emotions.

We insult our intelligence when we get consumed by rage.

We disrespect humanity when we take pleasure in others sorrow.

We insult our own faith when we criticize others beliefs.

We try hiding our ignorance when we speak without knowledge.

We destroy our future when we live for the day.

We destroy our day when we live for the moment.

We destroy the moment when we live in denial.

Many of us, if not all, are guilty of such things. We do not learn from many such experiences in life because we are too busy doing the opposite or focusing on wrong behaviors. But we are such that we shrug it off and hide behind our standard excuse of “we are only human”. “Only Human”??? Really?

I beg to differ, because I see ourselves as a very advanced and evolved creation. Each of us posses a superior and unique intellect and skill sets. And it is well within our abilities and intelligence to make the right choices with some focused thinking and evaluation of self and the situations we face in our respective lives.

Life just happens to every one. But what we can do with it is amazing. It is for us to experience it and take it where we what we what it to be because with our choices and behaviour we can change each and every single aspect of it and learn from it and enjoy it.

But life is too short. By the time we get half way towards our goals, we often find ourselves way past our prime. So live life today and everyday to the best of your ability. Every day your spend doing nothing worthwhile is a day that will bear heavily upon your conscience when you are old. You can live in denial and refute the advice, but the bitterness of guilt is only yours to endure, and it sadly sinks in when you have little patience to bear in life.


Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others


 

Pursuit of Happiness

 

Happiness! To each one of us, it is derived from something different. But it also the source of our happiness changes with time and as we move on to different stages in our lives. These kids of happiness are just momentary happiness and will pass away as they come by in our lives. Then there are those perceived sources of happiness that we develop in our lives. These are those that perhaps looses it value soon after one has attained it. Often such sources could be a car, a house, or even money. People often mistakenly set these sources as their goals in lives. But they soon realize once they have achieved these perceived sources of happiness that they do not last and these are just another momentary happiness.

 

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. ~James Openheim

 

Many of us live a life in a never ending pursuit of true happiness without realizing what it truly is. For example; If money brings true happiness are all the rich people truly happy? Apparently not, they too go through several marriages, heart breaks, health issues, guilt, regrets, and surprisingly they suffer from loneliness.

 

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. ~Margaret Young

 

There are several studies conducted by leading Universities and Interest Groups to identify what this true happiness is and how it affects people and their lives. In our time and age we see the list of billionaires growing rapidly every year around the world. While you see the dot come billionaires choosing to live a relative modest lives (in comparison to their billions) and continue to work harder and stay ahead in their game, you will find the several common folk who have achieved relative successes in their respective lives still continue to restlessly set newer and higher goals to attain in order to live a life where they feel content and happy.

Of the several sources one seeks happiness from; studies have identified these few key definitive things in life that truly makes people happy.

 

Probably no greater honor can come to any man than the respect of his colleagues.  ~ Cary Grant

Respect and admiration: This source of happiness is one of the major ones that truly makes people happy.  Hence you see successful and rich people like Silicon Valley Billionaires, Actors, Scientists, Authors, Politicians continuously strive to reinvent themselves and stay atop of their chosen field of expertise. The true happiness is derived from the respect and adulations they garner from their peers, work groups, family and friends alike. One needs to strive to become and remain an inspiration for others by their behavior, character, work, actions and deeds always. These key aspects will help one realize their effects on people and often induce the need to become better and enjoy the happiness they derive from the love and admiration they get.

 

Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.  ~ Stephen R. Covey

 

Socioeconomic Security: This is primarily achieved by being financially stable and developing secure relationships. Several successful people often fall apart and spiral downwards because they do not manage their finances well and/or develop strong and secure group of close friends or relatives who will be there for them in times of need. Although money is one of the major sources for stability and economic security, it is not necessary for one to be a millionaire to achieve this. As long as one manages a lifestyle where all relative needs and wants are being fulfilled from time to time, and investing in a relatively comfortable saving or securely growing prospect they derive a sense of comfort and security which gives them happiness and peace. But once this is achieved a social security takes precedence in their lives. Social security is important for ones emotional well being and happiness. Thus it is important for any individual to develop a small group of friends or relatives or both, and garner a relationship that is dependable and beyond material or formal constrains. These are relationships that will remain the same and you can count on in times of need or help.

 

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. ~George Bernard Shaw

 

Purposeful Living: A key to living a life of happiness is achievement. This is when you spent time and your effort to achieve something that you had set for and saw purpose in. What is this purpose? For those who search for the meaning of life, the realization eventually comes as a shock that they themselves will have to develop the meaning. It is in the individuals own ability and choice to develop a purpose in life and give it meaning in terms of it eventual objective. Thus is become imperative to develop sensible and meaningful purposes in one’s life. A purpose that is meaningful to self, that is valuable to others, that eventually generates a positive outcome that if beneficial to self and others. It is also important to choose a purpose that is morally right and respectable which will make your efforts worthy and will coincide with the first point discussed above – Respect and admiration.

 

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

Clear conscience: A clear conscience and mind that is free of any major guilt empowers the mind with a sense of self esteem and confidence which is another major source of true happiness. A mind cluttered with guilt, mischief, lies and deceit remains in a constant state of stress and confusion. It is inevitable for one to live a life free of guilt, but it is certainly possible to undo a lot of things we regret in life. We can forgive, apologize, avoid repeating our mistakes, be generous if giving, be charitable, and make serious efforts to constantly be self critical in an effort to self improve and become better. In one study when several people who are believed to be successful were asked what they hoped and wished for after they had achieved all their goals and success in life; the majority of them said they wanted to be forgiving and more charitable in their lives. Holding long time grudges and hurtful feelings towards others is one of the most common habits of many people. This only develops a constant level of discomfort, a sense of guilt and regret in our lives. Many try to overcome this feeling by denial, or refusal to do anything about it due to their ego or pride. But few take the step to make that call and apologize or forgive someone and move ahead in life. Often we pamper our egos and pride at the cost of our own happiness and clear conscience.

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama: “What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.”

 

Achieving true and lasting happiness lies in your own hands, actions, and choices in life. It is how you set out to achieve it and differentiate it between the momentary happiness and lasting ones. And once this true happiness is achieved, you will find yourself to be at peace, and tranquility and armed with the confidence and desire to live a greater life that is destined to achieve greater things in life.

Buddha: “Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.

 


You Pass through life but once. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny


 

 

A few months ago I had a near death experience where my heart failed to produce its electrical pulses and a Pacemaker had to be put in to keep it going. Soon after the few fatal episodes of fainting due to the oxygen not being sent to my brains as my heart failed to beat, I found myself at the ER with a temporary pacemaker placed through one of the arteries through my neck.

In the next few days that followed I was going through a series of test before a permanent pacemaker was eventually going to be implanted. While I lie at the Cardiac ward awaiting the day to come and go soon, I was overwhelmed with thoughts and memories about my life, and the realization of how short life can be. Invariably I did question the creator and why I was chosen to be the 1 in a million to have this problem. I am rebuilding my life again and doing all the right things in life to build upon a new found courage and wisdom where I began to make serious efforts to become a better and positive person. I couldn’t get the “why me?” out of my mind regardless the fact that I fully well was aware that it could have been worse and this was nothing compared to the millions of kids and innocent people who are suffering with much more severe and fatal conditions for no fault of theirs.

The night before the surgery, I took a walk around my ward to relax a bit and ease the anxiety a little. While I was observing the people, the tirelessly serving and caring nurses and watching the pictures that were put up on the walls in the corridor, I was stopped by a couple of the posters that caught my attention that were hanging on the wall by an exit door.

One read this:

Watch you thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Needless to say this did have a profound effect on me and my way of thinking about life. Especially after experiencing firsthand how short life can be and things can happen so suddenly and turn your whole life around or end it.

We are often very careless of our own behaviour and the effect it has on the people we interact with. We about life as though we have all the time we can to say and do things without thinking of the effects and consequences that they make have on ourselves and others. As we proceed towards our final destiny we seldom stop to think about ourselves or analyze our actions, deeds and behaviours. We hurt others, become greedy, do and say things without paying any attention to its meanings and how it is perceived by others, do not care about others, and choose to live life as though we have nothing to do with others and this world and we can only care less about them. Yet we rely on others for their compassion, help, assistance, friendships, love, guidance, support, kindness, wisdom, courtesy etc. We expect the world to be fair to us, nature to be kind, resources to be endlessly flowing, weather to be mild, systems to be fair, politics to inconsequential on our individual lives, etc. One day comes along when we will have our kids and younger generations look up to us for our wisdom, guidance, support, assistance, kindness, compassion, empathy and help just as the world we share today does from us as well.  And yet we seldom pay attention to our character. We continue to expect everything and at times demand all that we desire regardless of the fact we are worthy of them or have earned the right to have them.

But if we truly watch out thoughts, pay attention to our words, be mindful of our actions and carefully control our habits, we can certainly build ourselves a fine rewarding character that will pave our success and destiny. For when we are nothing more than just a tomb stone, the world we leave behind shall only remember and love us for our character, and the deeds we have left behind.

The next poster hanging on the opposite wall was a famous quote by William Penn:

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.  ~William Penn

Now I try to live with more care with a realization that every action of mine is very important for myself and perhaps more important to others and becoming better myself I can influence others to do te same. Because one thing I now know very well is that I do not want to be at the doorstep of my death again with any regrets or guilt, but rather with pleasant memories, loved ones and amongst those I know I have managed touch thier lives positvely. Death, is only a few steps away from us and much closer to us than we can every realize, but today we have life, so lets do all the good we can today!


To live in tune with our Conscience


I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. Leonardo da Vinci

The strange thing about us human beings is that we often spend a lot of time and energy searching for ideas, and answers which often are found within ourselves. Many blame the world and everything they can and some often find their answers within. One of the most important answer we often seem to seek is: if we are doing the right thing? Or is what we are doing good for us? And as many accomplished and successful people have pointed out based on their own experiences: “listen to your inner voice or gut feeling”. Somehow this inner voice seems to know all the right answers and helps guide you often to the right things in life. And when we do something wrong it begins to eat us up from inside with guilt. But this inner voice is only heard if one pays attention and takes the effort to query or listen to it. And it only works if you take the necessary positive actions to do the right thing. This magical phenomenon that all of us have been gifted with is almost like a divine compass called Conscience. This is also often referred to as the inner God, or the God within us. Like all the greatest gifts that we have, Conscience is also another intangible and immeasurable possession like love, feelings, thinking etc.

Conscience is often found as a feeling of remorse when a human being commits actions that go against his or her moral values and beliefs. Conscience is like an aptitude, intuition or judgment of our thoughts and behaviours that distinguishes right from wrong. And us humans are asked to invoke this conscience universally through all religious belief systems and by means of any basic intellectual norms.

The word “conscience” is derived from the Latin word conscientia, meaning “privity of knowledge” or “with-knowledge”. The English word implies internal awareness of a moral standard in the mind concerning the quality of one’s motives, as well as a consciousness of our own actions. Conscience may be defined as the practical reason employed when applying moral convictions to a situation The many philosophers, or saints often ask to invoke our conscience to develop it, as they themselves do through daily contemplation or meditation combined with selfless service to others. Such developed state of conscience helps create a strong sense of intuitive insight or revelation to many. This helps a person to use their intellect towards positive and humane causes, pursue further knowledge, be self critical with the focus of self improvement and on a general level apply fair justice in his or her life.

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience. Mohandas Gandhi

Yet we, the most developed and gifted species choose to live by killing our own conscience. Our pride, ego, anger and prejudice help us do things against our very own conscience until it is too late. The sad fact is that while one does things that go against their own moral values or beliefs, the conscience keep telling them that it is wrong. Once we do things against our conscience and fail, our conscience begins to hurt us with the feeling of severe guilt. But instead of taking the necessary positive steps to undo the damage many still continue to stifle this inner voice with rage and anger or drown it in intoxication. We the intelligent, civilized and knowledgeable species choose such.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

It is plain common sense that many of our personal and worlds’ ills are result of actions in rage and blind fury. The things we say to hurt others, the things we do to hurt others and ourselves, the greed we posses, the prejudice we hold, the disrespect we show are some of the things we do often against our conscience. The violent killings, the communal riots, steeling, damaging things, wars, or theft are all things that people do against their basic human moral values and beliefs. The greatest crimes against humanity are often over the deliberate killing of our own conscience. The person who commits the atrocity and the person who witnesses it and chooses to close their door on the facts and reality are both guilty of killing their own conscience.

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. Albert Einstein

But this gift of conscience is a wonderful thing. It is the conscience that makes the individual set out to accomplish great feats and do the impossible, it makes people charitable, invokes the wealthy to become philanthropists, invokes love, compassion, and righteousness. It makes us become better people, do greater things in life, and helps us succeed.

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses. Friedrich Nietzsche

Development of Conscience:

Most people live with a self conceived idea and parameters of morality. It may be okay to lie a little but not to deceive or they may be comfortable to speak just to the advantages of doing something but choose to hide the negatives. But in general terms there is limit to who they choose to do and what they do not based on their moral values and comfort. These limits they choose change though time based on their individual experiences, social pressures and norms, or communal rituals and belief systems. But the conscience within eventually brings about a sense of balance as an individual evolves. But until such time the turmoil one can endure often affects their success and happiness in life.

When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society. Pope John Paul II

So, how can one develop sound and balanced approach towards nurturing their conscience and morality to live a happy, content, and successful and guilt free life?

There are several theories based on studies of set groups. But it takes some honest self criticism and the will to self develop to come up with some key objectives:

1) One needs to see the need to self develop and the need to adhere to balanced and just moral values and conduct. This in turn helps develop their inner conscience on sound principles which will allow them to do what is right and make them feel bad when they go against it.

2) Fair judgement on balanced opinions and values. This can be practiced by not immediately reacting to any given situation. Exercising calm and some thinking can always help take a positive approach towards issues at hand. This becomes crucial to control haste and anger where patience and understanding would be more valuable.

3) Respect and Equality for one and all. This would avoid people holding prejudice and tame ones ego. People who do not practice this often continue to live a life of arrogance, and self indulgence at the cost of other people’s happiness, self respect and peace. But they also live a life of continuous fight against their inner guilt and general level of discontent about everything in life.

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune. Carl Jung

Life is too short to waste time over petty behaviours and toiling in guilt. Many of our ills and unhappiness are out of our own choices and actions in life which are often against out very one divine gift called conscience. By awakening and living in tune with our own conscience we can build better lives for ourselves, make more progress, co exist happily with one and other, live happier and become successful based on moral and clear thinking without the fear of guilt.

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience. George Washington


The difficult art of choosing right from wrong


The right choice is often a difficult path

Amongst all the wonders we are blessed with, one of the most powerful things that we have got is the power of “free will” or Choice. Specifically the choices we can make in life on a day to day basis between good and bad and how we wish to be or become as evolving human beings. I must also say that I am aware that choices are at times limited to people based on the circumstances they live in, but I am talking about the choices that still many have in lives in an effort to have a better living and happier and meaningful lives regardless of their circumstances.

It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch

Choice: a mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence.  In any given day as human beings we are subject to making several choices that affect our living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect our lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health.

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. – George Eliot

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices. We may choose to blame the circumstances, but nevertheless the choice was ours and we are solely responsible for those choices and the eventual outcome. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often we end up choosing easy from hard and sadly the hard ends up being the right one to choose. The righteous and just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in your very power.

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

Before I was sent to England for schooling, my oldest brother sat me down and gave me a few valuable tips on what to expect and how to cope in a boarding school, new country, and above all how to uphold my dignity and self-respect. He always had a profound way to deliver his advice which would stick like a note with a board pin into my brain. His advises, as I can recall, always puts butterflies in my stomach and makes me smile as he would start off in all seriousness and end up with a hilarious one-liner and a smile. He told me about how friendships should be an equal relationship, how to take pride of who I am and uphold our decency, how to learn from my mistakes etc.  Among a barrage of things he threw at me that day over lunch he mentioned to me that there will be every vice, temptation, and choices of right and wrong thrown at me in my life as I go on. But, what makes one into a fine man or a failure, are the choices he makes and actions he takes once his choice has been made.

A personal expereince on chosing to do what is right :

I was 17 then and I remember it was a Wednesday. Quiz day in Physics every Wednesday, first lesson in the morning. I wasn’t prepared, totally clueless and dumb as a needle on the subject that week. Perhaps my heart was too tangled in my dreams of falling in love with the amazingly new cute girl who helps out at our daily lunch hall. Anyways, as soon as our teacher came in, he passed out our question paper and told us that he will be very disappointed with anyone who will get less than 90% in this weekly quiz as it was one of his easier ones. Translated it means as follows: “It’s a tough paper, as it has just one question which clearly involves a lot of calculations. Should you get less than 90% he will put in a good word in our principal’s ear about our performance.” Having distributed the question paper and made his statement, he gave us 45 minutes to finish and he walked out of the class room.

The moment he walked out. There was the usual yet typical mumbling, cursing and looking at each others face for a few moments. Then one of us boldly walked up to the door stuck his neck out to see if our teacher wasn’t close by, and shut it back firmly and walked back to his desk. Quickly, almost everyone flipped out their text books and began to answer the equation precisely and fast. I looked around in amazement as I saw my buddies scribble away in a frenzy like they were writing their wish lists for toys and girls. I too had my text book with me, but I was thinking if I should or shouldn’t follow suit. And just then I remembered my power of choice and should my poor choice get the best of me, how will I let down my dearest brother’s aspiration about me. So, I sat there and stuck to my choice and decision to do the right thing and not cheat. My closest buddy glanced at me and asked me what was wrong? He quickly offered his text book to me to follow suit. I politely refused. He called me an idiot and nodded his head in disgust and disbelief. I sat through for 45 minutes and tried working out some other equation I knew as practice on a piece of paper. The teacher came back and collected everyone papers and took off again.

Next morning I was at the center meeting hall in school where all students gather to grab their mug of coffee or tea before the classes begin. I knew I was going to be embarrassed and humiliated in my Physics class just before our first break. So I was being quiet and already being embarrassed of my upcoming doom. And before I realized, as all bad things do, the hour was upon my head. I dragged my foot from one class to another and planning out how I will react and how will other classmates react at the meeting hall soon after the class and spread the news about the scores to everyone in school. Particularly, how my score will be announced by our ever so sarcastic teacher in his classic British humor with a snide remark that will make everyone laugh.

After all of us sat down and there was this impatient silence for a bit for the scores, our teacher called out my name first. I stood up with my chin stuck to my chest. He said I was the only student who passed the quiz and the rest failed. He further went on to say that if anyone disagreed with his scoring they were free to talk to the principal about it. For a moment I took it as his first sarcastic jab. I waited for a few more seconds for the next. But no one else reacted, and he asked me to sit down and continued with that day’s lesson. No one questioned his scores due to their guilt and I sat there feeling silly but yet still unsure of his decision. At the end of the class, he walked up to me as I was leaving the door, and said, he was extremely proud of my decision not to cheat and offered to tutor me after class if I needed any help in his subject as he was pleased to have a student with such honesty and integrity in his class.

During the break at the main meeting hall, my class mates walked up to me and shook my hand and said they had a lot of respect for me and my decision. They also went on to share this news with their other school mates. I was approached by other fellow school mates who heard about this and shook my hands and expressed their appreciation. And I was amazed to see how a simple choice to do the right thing could have such an amazing impact. I couldn’t help but think of what I had expected of my choice earlier that morning and what it had turned out to be. It was an experience that I still am very proud off till date. And it was an experience that thought me and reaffirmed what my brother had told me about choice. “What makes one into a fine man or a failure, are the choices he makes and actions he takes once that choice is made”.

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

We are always faced with such choices in our lives. We are always given these options and choices to choose from in almost every aspect of our life. But we need to have the wisdom, integrity, and the will to make the right choices for ourselves. The life we live is designed to challenge you to make the right choices in life. And each of your day to day choices result in a continuous change and the resulting consequences that shape your life. One must always remember that one can change his or her life by simply making the right choices in life. It’s entirely up to you. You can get rid of old habits, change unwanted situations, make better lifestyle choices, choose a better diet, choose better food, better friends, better reactions to situations and problems, and give yourself the wisdom and courage to achieve great things in your life by making good, educated and right choices in life.

“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

In today’s world, many of us are also spoilt with choices. We do not know what is good for us and what is not. Young high school kids have trouble picking a profession, university or a carrier. Young graduates have trouble picking jobs, or company to work for, others have to choose their life partners, financial options, cars, life style, cell phones, televisions, computers, and even a simple cup of coffee is from a list of options and variations. There were times where I can walk into a Café and ask for a cup of coffee. I would get a cup of coffee, a jar of sugar and a pot of milk. Today in the name of quality service, brand and marketing gimmicks for an extra $4 whether you like it or not, you are forced to pick from Columbian, American, Costa Rican, host of other gourmet beans, ground, coarse, fine, Grande, Venti, Tall, milk, 2% milk, cream, black, white sugar, brown sugar, honey, sweetener, and still end up with just a coffee to kick-start your morning. But often these wonderful choices for many are bigger problems than convenience or luxury.

“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

Often individuals who make deliberate poor choices in life often seek the easy way out continue to take poor decisions that end them up assimilating a string of bad experiences, and resulting consequences due to their poor state of living. They will rather choose to get a fat loan or more than affordable car whether they have the means to fill the gas to run it or not. Some choose to spend their parents earnings on their cell phone bills and but never on a clean pair of jeans or clothes. They will choose to take advice and rest on the opinion of some half baked, semi-educated, councilor or a “friend” who will encourage dropping off from school and taking a hike across the country or to another country, smoke weed and have fun or get into a get rich quick dot.com business or buying their share of the pyramid scheme they themselves got suckered into. But they will hardly choose the advice of their selfless, hard-working, sacrificing and extremely caring parents and well-wishers who will often be willing to support their ambition with the best quality of education, universities, and help along the way by paying off their tuition fees as opposed to bank loans, get them a vehicle, give them a house to stay, etc.  I once was told that a person will invariably choose the best and eventually become very successful in life, if he or she is given only the best option as the only and last option to choose from. I guess is has become even more essential to educate todays’ youths on the realities of life and the consequences of human choices. Especially to help them from chasing unrealistic dreams such as the numerous pyramid or other get rich quick schemes with very little efforts. They need to be educated of the resulting proven consequences of better choices and to indulge in creative thinking and strategic planning and development of ideas for the real world that will help them succeed.

Educated and quality choices about self, others, life, and character will only result in success, happier life and great achievement!


Solving your problems


 

“Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solution.” ~Stanley Arnold

Problems! Dont we all have them? Relationship problem, financial problem, technical problem, political problem, etc. The list could possibly never end.  We face problems from the day we begin to breathe. Even the most basic aspects of life begins as a problem. Unable to talk, walk, express moods, communicate, eat, were all once problems. But we didn’t see these as problems. Even in our infant stages of life without adult thinking abilities, we are naturally wired to resolve them. We try, and try again until we over come these “problems”. Perhaps it is our most basic instincts and nature to see each of these problems as challenges and approach them relentlessly as opportunities to grow. Many of us as kids often take the same approach towards over coming many of our challenges too.  We will stay up all night, fight sleep and often skip meals to repeat all the stages till we overcome all the stages until we beat it and finish that video game. And once beat that game what do we do? We go get the next tougher game to beat. 

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems. – Mohandas K. Gandhi

This wonderful attitude and behaviour pattern surprisingly fades as we grow older. We lose the vigor and the attitude we take towards solving the problems we face. Certainly, the problems do become a bit more complex in life. But sadly our attitude and approach becomes lot weaker. We learn to take on more stress, worry more, procrastinate, escape from problems or find excuses. But what would life be like if we didn’t do these and continues to approach every problem in our adult life as opportunities to solve them? We would invent or develop “solutions”! Solutions to enable people to carry over 10,000 songs in a tiny chip, solutions to fly over 200 people on a 710,000 lbs of aircraft across the atlantic, solutions to over come our common or complex problems in life. The key is how we approach these “problems” in life.  

“Cubixrule” is a term I came up with for the process I use to solve many things that I consider a problem. It is rather an unconventional way to approach a problem where I learned to see them as an opportunity to find or develop a solution rather than worry about it endlessly and let it consume my life and health.

The term “Cubixrule” itself was inspired from Rubik’s Cube, which I was introduced to by my older brother when I was about 11 years old. It was the hottest things in the world then. Everyone was talking about the complexities of this puzzle and were racing to figure out a solution. After several weeks I had developed a solution on my own. Ever since I learned to solve it by myself by developing a few short series of algorithms, I began to apply the belief that if I could solve such a complex puzzle, I must be able to solve many other problems as well.

Many years later, my older brother once again got me another puzzle. This time it was another puzzle developed by the same inventor Rubik again. This one was called Rubik’s clock. Along with this puzzle, my brother gave me a copy of a Time magazine in which there was a small article about this new puzzle and how the inventor himself was seeking a physical solution still. The computer suggested a few million possible solutions to this puzzle, but an actual physical solution was not developed yet. Unlike the cube this puzzle was a disc with nice clock faces on either side. The objective was to turn the four dials on the side of this puzzle and get all the nine clock hands to the 12’0 clock position on both sides.  

Three and a half days later, I had solved the puzzle and had developed a 17 step solution to solve the puzzle in less than 30 seconds. Once again I applied the “Cubixrule”. By this time, I had formed a definition for this word in my mind. It was a few positive fact based statements to define the thought process to solve a given problem.

 Cubixrule – is a thought process where it is believed that:  “Every problem has a solution. It is only a problem until a solution is developed by someone. Therefore, every problem is nothing more than an undeveloped solution. And the challenge to be the first one to develop the solution is an opportunity to lead the world to a new higher level”

 I have since often reverted to “Cubixrule” when ever I have been pushed against the wall by a problem or stressful issue in life. My mind begins to think of various possible solutions that I can possibly come up with in a short period of time. And strangely after mulling over this phase for some time, I often stumble upon the “Eureka” moment often in the middle of the night or in my dream. This eureka moment is when I come up with a solution that was earlier considered to be unthinkable, unimaginable, impossible, or often simply plain stupid. And it arrives with a sense of confidence, and vigor that never dies until I have tried it and made it work.

“Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

But “Cubixrule” has its challenges too. Because it involves a level of unconventional thought process, sense of immense confidence in self and determination to come up with a solution that was undeveloped ever before, it may be considered to be stupid by the world around us. Historically, when someone spends their time on doing something that is popularly considered to be as impossible, it has always been considered to be a waste, an effort in vain, and often stupid. And the challenge is not to give in to this pressure. Never!  There may be several trials, errors and failures in Cubixrule. But being persistent, logical, analytical, and realistic is a must if you are determined to succeed. It is also important to always see every failure as a lesson to learn from and build on its teachings. Always remind yourself that the problem on hand is just an undeveloped solution.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

It is true when they say that: “Only the ordinary people do the most extraordinary of things”. Every scientist, politician, visionary, inventor, discoverer, musician who gave our world many wonderful things and knowledge were once considered to be ordinary. Each and every one of them faced their hardships, critics, ridicule, depression, stress and obstacles and overcame them by their own respective versions of “Cubixrule”. They each did the extraordinary. The saw the undeveloped solution and set to develop one themselves and eventually proved their world wrong.  If one digs a little deeper into any of the major inventions, processes, solutions that we enjoy today and how they were developed, we will soon learn that each one of them faced and over came their problems by seeking out the respective solutions.

How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself – so always think positively. – Norman Vincent Peale

Likewise, we are all such ordinary people who can certainly do extraordinary things. Many of us many not realize that we have been doing many such things since our childhood. If we were people who fear failure or what people will say or think we would have never learned to walk as a child, we would have never learned to speak, learn, express our feelings, study, face the world, have relationships, grow up and succeed. But we did and continue to do such things all the time. We each faced our share of respective challenges and over came them after a few falls, failures, trials and errors. Some hurdles in life may be small and some very tough, but nevertheless, we  use our internal positive will and energy to over come them. We can move further to solve many such problems in our lives and accomplish many extraordinary things. All we got to do is to see each problem we face with our version of “CUBIXRULE” based on our objectives, will, and the desire to solve it. Be it a financial problem, a relationship, a work related, mechanical, or any problem that life throws our way, the attitude, will, and the determined approach we apply will eventually help solve it. The art is to look at the “problem” as an “opportunity” or a challenge to use all our skills, experience and intelligence to find a solution and solve it!

So, what is your problem?


Progressive People, Regressive Religions


I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is. ~ Albert Camus

 

An interesting fact prevails in all of these various religions that were established at different times based on different messages from different Prophet’s in different cultures. The surprising fact lies in the “similarities” in these “religious” systems. The message and the moral basic core principles are identical. When one investigates further, we can see that there are many similar rituals practiced by the followers of all these various faith systems including monotheistic and polytheistic ones. For example, the similarity of two faiths and belief systems which is widely considered to be opposing in fundamental concept, Islam and Hinduism have quite a few similar rituals: one being monotheistic and against idol worshiping, while the other a polytheistic, with an idol for each of their gods and their respective attributes. They both have holy water, both have the practice of circling around their place of worship (Muslims around Kaaba, and Hindus around their temple), both cut their hair after pilgrimage, both fast, both offer sacrifices, both bow to their Gods. Further, they have the same beliefs in good and bad, love, peace, and respect. Yet it is believed by their respective followers as an opposing religion surprisingly.

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.  ~George Bernard Shaw

 

People have progressively evolved into more intelligent beings but religions havent. Hence, as man becomes more intelligent, the religions and several rituals and illogical practices are losing value and significance rapidly. As people evolved and developed into more intelligent beings, so did their ability to comprehend, learn, communicate and better understand life. In our current advanced age and time we still have trouble communicating and understanding our own language, nuances, behavior and most importantly controlling the integrity of a message, which only proves that this communication skill is still in a state of evolution and will continue to be so. Thus, many people who try to learn the doctrines and writings of this man-made religion happen to question aspects of it which doesn’t appear to be logical or make sense. Many such doctrines are questioned on a few selective messages therein which clearly doesn’t appear to be part of those with divinity. Particularly, messages that defy or contradict equal respect for both genders, tolerance and respect for all religions, serving humanity regardless of race, color or creed, be forgiving, how to be modest, and rights of all human beings to be equal. Such differences between what the Prophet’s preached which is considered to be divine and what the religion proclaims has caused many to explore these religious beliefs further. The result of such questions which are often considered as blasphemy in nature by the stubborn and illogical religious heads of these religions has provided very few logical answers that are convincing. Clearly, man has evolved much further than expected by those who formed these religions a few thousand years ago. It is quite disappointing to still watch a small portion of the more educated and advanced people of today often blindly follow a specific fundamental set of religious beliefs and practices that often defies any logic, divinity or are in line with the original messages by their own Prophets. Although we witness each generation evolving into more intelligent begins than the last, many of us still trust and follow the wisdom of people who lived several generations past. This is where people began to shift their faith from God of mankind to religion. Perhaps in a way a shift from humanity to community.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. ~ Mohandas Gandhi
However, no matter the religion or the respective deity or symbol, all of them preach very similar aspects of life, morals and values and often indulge in similar practices and rituals. What makes them different are the rules, laws of conduct, social norms, symbols of identity, attire, social behavior and systems of control that were developed by people who soon took control of the followers of the prophets under the banner of religion. This need and desire to control and exercise power over the respective communities or followers, gave birth to the evils that human beings fester till date. Ego, pride, arrogance, and vainglory are some of the key characteristics of these appointed spiritual or religious leaders of these faith systems today. Surprisingly, these are the same characteristics of Satan under which he refused to obey God and bow to his creation – man. Under these very influences these leaders often abuse their power and try to manipulate their people to achieve their personal goals and egoistic aspirations. They often are very wise and recruit people who are accustomed to obeying commands blindly due to fear of persecution from the powerful. But the true shock is when educated people armed with some basic rational thinking also choose to blindly follow such leaders and actively participate or support in their egocentric and political aspirations under the pretext of religion.
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama
Before one speaks of his or her religion, it pays a lot to get educated a little about the true and unbiased history, inception, growth and evolution of thier faith system. History has proved time and over again, that all of the popular religions or faith systems of today had begun with peaceful intentions. Each of these religions were spread with humble intentions but each had a handful of leaders who used violent force unfortunately due to their individual choice, limited wisdom, ego, and the lack of any other system available to them but religion as a viable political system to manage people and install familiar culture that is easier to manage. Each of these “religions” went through a phase of power struggle soon after their inception and the demise of their  Prophet. In the immediate years to follow, each had their share of religious leaders trying to use and manipulate the then political leaders and kings to their advantage, each have good followers and bad ones, all of these religions had leaders who were good and bad as well, every religion has their share of positive social and scientific contribution by people from their faiths. Some had great builders and ambitious plans to expand their cultural richness, some were conquerors of different strategic lands and some tried to spread their culture, beliefs and religious practices by force. But regardless of the religions or practices, all have the same fundamentals of good values and morals and each have their own set of social rules and norms that drive and influence behaviours based on moral living, love, tolerance, peace, justice and faith in the creator.
A just laicism allows religious freedom. The state does not impose religion but rather gives space to religions with a responsibility toward civil society, and therefore it allows these religions to be factors in building up society. ~ Joseph Ratzinger
I oppose religion based charities. I believe if a religion preaches to serve humanity, then the charity work should be without the need to convert their faiths. Not in this age and time. The people of faith, especially who are seen or hold the position as leaders or experts should not speak words of hate, anger, rage and incite such concepts in people. If anything, these are the people who should be preaching tolerance, love, peace and instill hope, faith, and inspire morality. But all that we see is many such people doing exactly the opposite and tragically people following them like cattle. People of good faith should rather strive to inspire others by their character, demeanor, deeds, love, respect for others as opposed to their attire, communal strength, and rituals.  And above all, should evolve with time. The need for progressive evolution has become more essential now more than ever. Past mistakes of others and poor past leaderships should be left in the past and we need to see ourselves as the new builders of society.
That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.  ~ Albert Einstein
If we can primarily be human beings and begin to behave like one that could alone ignite a flame of enlightenment. Do not choose to be blinded by your faith systems, and live in the assumption that your faith is the only path to heaven. If this is true, the creator would not have sent several prophets. Followers of the wrong faiths could be wiped off this planet if the creator chooses, followers of other faiths will not be prosperous and happy, followers of other faiths will not have their prayers answered and people who follow wrong faith systems will not be able to procreate and give birth to pure innocent souls. Thank the creator for life, for making us human, giving us the ability to think, creating us and this world with all its endless resources, our ability to learn and appreciate, love, be loved, procreate, help others, and appreciate his or her divine powers being exercised on us and creation every day. Do not be blinded and instead choose to thank for a man-made religion, rituals, age-old beliefs and fables, or mundane stories of proof less miracles. Learn, read, explore and understand. Do not blindly follow like a cattle but use your own ability to seek, read, learn, think, understand for yourself. Be sensible enough to differentiate between the man who speaks the words of compassion and love from the scriptures from the man who speaks of hate, intollerance and prejudice in the name of religion. If we refuse injustice towards one and all regardless of their cast, creed or color we can bring change. If we can lead by example of character rather than a display of costumes and rituals we can creat a positive influence. If we can be charitable to all humans regardless of their religion, color or culture we will bring peace. With such a balanced approach and the will to coexists by mutual respect and understanding and by removing ego and pride from the equation, mankind can and will eventually develop a much more peaceful and resourceful living. They can leave behind a life of love, and peace for their loved ones to enjoy, thrive in and sustain for the other following generations to come. But we must remember to eliminate the dreaded characteristic of the evil: “ego and pride” especially associated to our faiths and our belief systems as it has no place in there. We need to realize that if we feel the need to keep our faiths, then we need to keep the faith in God of mankind as opposed to the man-made religion, religious leaders, religious systems, rituals and beliefs. Learn and seek yourself for the truth and answers using your logic and intelligence and you shall find it. If God does exisit then it is only in your heart where he or she lives and in your conscience where the truth resides.
I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. ~ Khalil Gibran

Your excessive FAT will kill you just when you want to live longer


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You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be. – David Viscott

If you look good you feel good. It appears that people who feel good usually tend to set a higher goal to achieve and move ahead. They exude a level of positive energy that helps them catapult themselves to achieving greater things in life. And one of the things that helps a person feel this good is being healthy. It is perhaps one of the single most important aspect that contributes to a great living and positive life.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  ~World Health Organization, 1948

This is yet another universally well-known fact that we usually pay very little heed to, and continue to indulge in habits and behaviours almost deliberately that makes us unhealthy. And one of the most common and notoriously famous is our body over weight. I am one who is guilty of this as well. Yes, I am fat and I do not wish to be unrealistically sensitive and deliberately oblivious about the obvious lard I carry around my belly. But unlike many, I choose not to blame the habits, diet, or the activities, or my life style but I instead put it squarely on my choice.

When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no “I’ll start tomorrow.”  Tomorrow is disease.  ~Terri Guillemets

I once saw a famously handsome actor on a talk show after his movie was released where he portrayed a character as a rather chubby person. He was back to his slim handsome self on the show. So the talk show host asked him how he managed to put on that much weight and reduce it so fast. His answer was rather simple but I found it to be quiet profound in a way. He said: “Its simple, you eat a lot of calories and don’t work out or choose a lifestyle that doesn’t burn your calories to put on weight, or eat lesser calories and work out to burn your excess calories, simple!”.

In my daily life I used to live like a slob mostly. My mornings through the coffee drive through is like a stealthy spy trying to avoid the peering and harsh list of fat doughnuts, muffins and sandwiches screaming at me to pick them up. My stop at the gas station is another bloody battle from those gleaming shiny bars of chocolates strategically sitting by the counter waiting to catch my eye, and those horrible bag of chips sitting all puffed up and pretty wearing the pictures of the contents within to tease me. And Oh! Don’t mention the array of stout cans and bottles of drinks standing tall in line like marching soldiers looking at me through their well stocked glass door refrigerators! Ah! What a battle it is daily! And the horrible Clerk at the till: “Would like to pick up two bars of these Chocolates and get a gazillion points for putting on those extra pounds sir?” Please??? Batting her fake eyelashes!

Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow ye diet. – William Gilmore Beymer

Anyways, the time had come! I could barely see my manhood standing straight! I officially had a belly! A Paunch! A disgusting mass of fat belted around my waist. And that was it! I am not going to be another slob and make excuses anymore. I had to do something about it! So my first few attempts were to ask a few friends, then a few guys at work, and try a list of endless diets. The friends agree and say they too will join you, but they wont, people at work will give you pointers that are the usual run of the mill, others who have some sort of structure offer to train you and write up a training program for you, and the diets work great for a while and you eventually give up as usual. You can go for a cleanse, inject B12 shots, eat cabbage soup, balance your intake of calories with the new fad diet, cut carbohydrates and kill yourself with protein, and the list goes on. You  water the first week, the second week your craving for sugar and carbohydrates start making you mad, and by 3rd week you don’t need an excuse to give it all up because by now you have already lost a few pounds. Now you put it all back in just 4 days.

So, I decided to go to a gym and pay for a personal trainer who will perhaps give me some intelligent and educated advice and put me on some kind of a plan. After floundering through a list of great deals offered by the numerous gyms, I chose one were I will not have to find myself amidst a crowd of steroid junkies or people who look like models for a Fitness magazine where I will have to squirm and cringe with shame. I also looked for someone who had some credentials. Like who has got some certificate in weight training, and has schooled in body fitness programs etc.

I had my first meeting with him. He started talking about what you eat; tell me about your life style, what are your life goals, what motivates you etc. I bluntly told him look buddy. Don’t patronize me and waste my time here. I have done it all, the diets, the dramas, and the excuses. I have done the research and picked you for your reputation and credentials. So let us cut the pep talk and get to the program. Build me a program based on my body that I will not give up due to excessive fatigue, and I can gradually increase the intensity that will help me get back to shape. I have made up my mind and chosen to make myself healthy and feel good. There was nothing that could stop me.

Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality. – Ralph Marston

He first made me stand on a scale. It was a funny scale with a digital monitor and rabbit ears that I had to hold on to for about 2 minutes. It spat out a printout at my lard covered body. It is called a Body Composition Analyzer. It did a simple math that is available on several websites (just search for body mass calculator) and listed my body mass index and details. It said how much I am over weight, how much fat I have in my body. Where are the fat concentrations on my body, what my ideal weight is, and how many calories I will need to burn per day in a six-week program or a 10 week program to get to my ideal weight? So I had to loose 1200 calories per day for a 4 week program to get back to my ideal weight and statistics. It will bring me back to shape, increase my stamina, increase my energy and hopefully enhance my libido.

Next the fat burning program. He gave me a 1 hour program and worked with me for the hour to show me what to do. 10 min on the elliptical trainer, 15 squats, 15 pulls on a rowing machine, 15 chest stretched with a 15 lbs weight, 15 times lie down and lift both your legs to about 30 degrees for my abdomen, 15 times lift 10 lbs weights from waist to shoulder with arms stretched, 15 times pick a 8 lbs ball from my left toe to right shoulder and vice versa for the opposite side. I was sweating like a roast pig in a smelter. Phew! He told me that was approximately a 600 – 700 calorie burn out. The rest I had to reduce with my calorie intake. Simple! If I do these 5 days a week for 4 weeks he says I will be back in shape.

I got back home. Went on the net to see how I can reduce calories. The research told me roughly 3500 calories equates to 1 lbs of body fat. You should not cut down more than 1000 calories per day from your daily current diet. So my quick calculation said cut my cola and soft drink intake (that’s 280 calories) opt for a 0 calorie drink, cut French fries (270 calories), cut down hamburgers (300-500 calories), chocolates (1 bar about 500 calories). So I need to make simple educated choices on what I eat and I can easily cut down over a 1000 calories per day and I needed to just cut down another 600 calories only with my work out. How simple is that?

You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Then I went on to learn a few simple common tricks:

  • 8 glass of cold water helps not only wash out the toxins but keeps you hydrated which makes you feel energetic and revived, it also helps make you feel full.
  • Eat frequent small healthy snacks between meals especially. A fist full of almonds, celery sticks, baby carrots, and a fiber bar etc. It stops you from over eating during regular meals and keeps you feeling full.
  • Eat slowly. Wait a few seconds before you fill your mouth again between bites. Your stomach needs a few seconds to get the food and tell your brain it is full.
  • Eat water melons, cantaloupes or an Apple at night at least 2 hours before you sleep. Have a low-calorie dinner basically.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of what you like. This only increases your cravings. Eat and indulge a little. But control your portions. You do not need to devour all that is on the plate. Eat what you feel like eating but control the portion or quantity.
  • Eat light for dinner. Or at least balance your intake. If you pigged out for lunch balance it for dinner and vice versa.
  • Don’t look for a closer parking spot at the grocery run or work. Park at the end and walk. It may be just a short distance but it helps your metabolism. You can walk for hours shopping at the mall so why can’t you just walk a short distance to and from your car? Take the stairs not the elevator for at least a few flights.
  • And don’t make excuses. Not tomorrow, not starting Monday, not after this weekend. Wake up. take a decision, and begin now! Do it now do it for yourself and don’t do it because people tell you.
  • Be healthy, and you will look very nice, feel positive and look at life differently. You will attract the opposite sex more frequently, agree or not it will help boost your morale and confidence. You will begin to think better, sleep like a baby, wake up fresh in the morning, work smarter etc. Make a positive choice and firstly make that choice about your health, appearance and habits.
  • Try carrying a bag weighing just 5 lbs for a day in your hand. Or just tie it to your waist for a day. You will soon realize how it will feel if you will lose that excess 5 lbs from your body. What many do not realize is how depressed they are when they are over weight. The realization comes soon when you begin looking weight. You sure feel much more positive and happier.
  • You do not need to starve, drink or eat other clinically developed chemicals, get on a program where a stranger has to charge you to make you do the things you knew in the first place, cook special meals for yourself, or get you a secret potion. Just simply use your common sense and eat right and burn more.
  • Remember – eat fewer calories and try to burn some daily. It is not a big secret or rocket science or you don’t need a fitness guru or a Doctor to tell you this. Yes, if you have any ailments or health complications Doctors are just like God sent. But for simple weight loss? Use your common sense and not your excuses!

Love food, eat well, remember that you only live once, so enjoy life, eat all the things you like, use simple common sense to be healthy!

From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.  ~Catalan Proverb

The problem with people is that everyone knows when they need to lose weight but never do it. Like a smoker knows the dangers of smoking but still chooses to smoke. While the overweight individual looks at a smoker and thinks in their mind how stupid they are for not doing anything about it, the smoker thinks the same about the overweight individual. Not doing what is right and needed, and choosing to continue doing what is wrong is nothing but stupidity. One can choose to blame the world, the weather, people, and the dog next door. No matter how you spice it, dice it or slice it an “excuse” and it is nothing but just that – an “Excuse”.  And there is absolutely no one who can help you but yourself. It isn’t the next Fad diet, the old proven diet, the quick loss diet or the cleanse. It is you, your will and desire to look good, feel good and be happier! A diet program may be a good start for some, but the will to keep it going is all about you and your desire to get healthy and feel great.

The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. – Benjamin Mays

So, get off the couch, stop opening the refrigerator door to see the contents there in for the 100th time in the day and do anything you can to burn just a few calories to begin with. Just take one such simple first step, then another a few days later and begin your journey to a better and healthier you. Try and experience a healthy you for a change. No, losing weight is not a cure to your life problems. But it sure helps you take a fresh new look at the same problems with a positive attitude and to act upon a solution to resolve them. It is simply amazing when you feel the sudden surge of energy and positivity than the lethargy and guilt! The saddest fact about living life as a ticking time bomb is it explodes just when you want to live longer.

More die in the United States of too much food than too little. _ John Kenneth Galbraith


Your CHARACTER defines the real you


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“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses and avoids.”

“A good character carries with it the highest power of causing a thing to be believed.” ARISTOTLE (c. 384 – c. 322 BC) Greek philosopher

 

We each in some form or another yearn for love, respect, compassion, acceptance or acknowledgement regardless of our denials or refusal of this fact due to our respective egos. These things have a larger impact in our lives by bringing “value” the several things we do or set to accomplish in life and in the process helps build our purpose and define our lives for us.

 

“A man’s character is his fate.” HERACLITUS (c. 540 – c. 480 BC) — Greek philosopher

 

 

We each end up searching and finding a mate, sometime we demand as opposed to command the respect we believe we have earned, and at times of difficulties and hardships we anticipate the comfort of compassion and frequently and often secretly desire some sort of acknowledgement or praise for the good deeds we have done or the things we have accomplished. When we do not receive these very things that we so dearly desire, we are left disappointed or hurt. Our life, the things we do, the efforts we put in and all our dreams end up feeling meaningless when we do not get the desired “ultimate outcome” .  Such is life. If victory wasn’t the desire wars would be futile and the ultimate outcome of conquering the land or resource will be meaningless.  We are ultimately simple beings often doing one things or the another to earn the very things we desire that completes us, or gives us purpose, satisfaction, meaning, direction and comfort in our lives.

 

“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, and only character endures.” HORACE GREELEY (1811-1872) — New York newspaper editor

 

But these things we so desire are only earned and stays with us based on our characters. For example: we can certainly attract people towards us and invoke love in them for who we claim we are or who we pretend to be, but the love will only be gained and will remain with us if it was built and based on our sound character.  Similarly we will attract a pseudo love or temporary love that will never stand the test of time, hardships, stress, or have integrity or loyalty. Worst is that we will lose such love the moment our true character comes out.

 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (1929-1968) Civil Rights leader

 

The interesting thing about our personalities that invokes people to react to us is our character. Many of us manipulate others to gain the love, respect, compassion and acceptance by pretending to be who we are not and later left hurt and disappointed when we fail in this endeavour. There are those who pretend to be rich, pious, religious, holier than you, hard working, honest, smart, authoritative, experts, etc to gain their desired “ultimate outcome” be it respect, acceptance, love, etc. But when these are not based on truth or honestly the character shall soon reveal the truth and the true identity shall surface. Any honest or intelligent person who meets such pretentious individuals soon identify the true character.  One can do anything but the true ‘character” always prevails and defines the outcomes of what we set to achieve in our lives.

 

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” HELEN KELLER (1880-1968) American blind and deaf writer/lecturer

 

In todays world character holds a greater bearing on our respective individual personalities, goals, values, and most importantly our choices that defines our lives.  Even those who play video games are given the option to build or choose a “character” that will define the strength, qualities, skills and level of success in winning the game. Each character brings with it a whole new and specific set of virtues, strength, character, personality that defines the outcome of the game. The exact same results are defined by our real life characters. What we attract, how we react to experiences in life, how we approach events and people, how we cope with situation, how we reach out and achieve success and how we persevere and fights against this difficult life to accomplish out “ultimate outcome” is defined by our character.

 

“The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.” ABIGAIL VAN BUREN (“Dear Abby”) advice columnist

 

Love, respect, regard, acceptance, compassion, are all attributed to an individual’s character.  One can be rich, occupy an authoritative position, look dashingly good, appear very beautiful, or religious, the true character is what will eventually prevail and get the world to react to it. Character is what will make or break you. So, what does a desirable and respectable “character” look like and what does it consist of?

 

 

Honesty: One needs to be honest and deal fairly with people regardless of how they feel about the individual. Keep your commitments, fulfill your promises and honor your words.

 

Respectability: Respect yourself and others. Conduct yourself with decency and be watchful of your behavior. Learn to be considerate of other people’s feelings and beliefs. You do not have to agree with them but you need to have the wisdom that peoples beliefs can be just different but not necessarily right or wrong and they are build by years of personal experiences and events in their individual lives. Respect them.

 

Choices: Your life is nothing but the result of YOUR choice. Make educated choices and weigh in the different outcomes of the choices you make. It is your life and your choices is all that makes the difference. By making good choices you influence the desired outcomes in life and all the appreciation, admiration and gratification that comes along with it.

 

Fairness and balanced opinions: Life is not fair, nor are many people and things. But it doesn’t help you becoming like them. You can only bring about fairness by how you play life. Build and uphold fair values and ideologies in life. Be fair in your judgment and actions. Develop and hold balanced opinions. Nothing is the “only” way. There are several ways to look at one single thing in life. Be fair, be known by your fairness and balanced judgment and suddenly you will find the world around you react to you in similar manner.

 

Compassion: Be honest in expressing your feelings ands care for others. Lend a helping hand whenever you can. Serving humanity is the greatest and the most satisfying aspects of life. Like yourself almost every other human being at some point in their life seeks other peoples help. Be there for others when they need you, especially those who depend on you.

 

Gratitude: Express gratitude every time you have an opportunity. Be thankful for all the things you are blessed with in life and appreciate them. There are many who are less blessed than you and there are many who may appear to be more blessed than you. Every human being finds himself or herself in the middle. The rich are unhappy so are the poor. Each person at the end of their spectrum have their share of happiness and unhappiness. Do complaint or compare. But be appreciative and strive to get better and build on what you are blessed with.

 

Be self critical: In order to become better and truly grow in life, one has to learn to be self critical. Ask yourself if how you live is right? Develop moral values and high principals in life. Strive to become a better person. Improve your quality of life, thinking, speech, behavior and choices.

 

Inspire: Build your personality on sound values and actions of positive progress in life. Just as you have a set of individuals and experiences that have inspired you in your lives, you too will invariably have that effect on others. Learn to live life in a manner that inspires others. Your advices and wisdom fall short of your actions and deeds in life.

 

Moral Values: Do things that is right and that which appeals to your moral conscience. Moral behavior develops moral character. The most difficult of times in life are the most testing of your moral behavior and choices. Strive to always be connected to your moral self and chose to do what is right, even if it is the most difficult. It will help you live a life free of any burden of guilt.


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