Category Archives: hope

We would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism


Many months ago I had watched Conan O Brian being interviewed by Piers Morgan on his show.  Although known for his antics and humor I like Conan for his inspirational quotes and experiences that he shares with his viewers or an audience he is asked to address. His popular address to the class of 2000 at Harvard, his 2011 Dartmouth College commencement address, or just his personal experiences and challenges have all been an inspirational and wisdom filled lessons.

Similarly, reading up several successful peoples biographies have often been a major source of inspiration to me as it has been for several others who seek to learn for other peoples experiences and struggles. As we anxiously seek to read up and learn about peoples success and learn their secrets to their individual fame and fortune, we often end up turning the last few pages of the book with a profound sense of wisdom gained and with an understanding and awe of the person for having the courage and perseverance to overcome their share of adversities and at times impossible challenges to achieve their successes. At times we also learn how their adversities changed the course of their lives to success in the form of new opportunities.

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. ~Garth Brooks

From such knowledge we collectively learn one single and strong fact about life; that even the greatest of them all never had it easy or without problems. The road to any success for all of them have always been paved with several obstacles, hurt, pain, agony, delays,  misfortune, mistakes, blunders, and countless lessons. But with them also came, wisdom, courage, perseverance, valuable experience and amazing successes. And from learning these facts, it invariably begs the question, how ignorant or arrogant are we if we expect our success without such adversities? What makes us so special for us to expect our lives to be easier and pave our path to success with bed of roses?  Weather we expect success in our individual jobs, marriage, relationships, business, good health, sports, education, finances, parenting, or any chosen goals in life, it is almost certain that we will have to face and overcome our share of challenges.

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Facing our challenges is very similar to how a mere stone is turned into a precious diamond. From a dirty stone in mud a diamond goes through a strenuous process of cutting, bruiting, grinding, polishing, and further cutting until all its facets are carved out to dazzle everyone.  Liked wise, our share of grinding, cutting, and hardships brings out our courage, wisdom, wit, will, perseverance and determination that enables us to dazzle others by our eventual success.

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney

People who succeed in their lives often learn and reinvent themselves by bring about the changes that are necessary to help then achieve their ambitions and desires. They are quick to identify their faults, self improve, struggle, and get out of their comfort zone towards attaining their dreams. For they quickly learn that they will get the same results by doing the same things over and over again, and that they need to change their ways to behaviour to drive the changes they seek towards success. They do not fear committing mistakes, they do not avoid challenges or risks, they do not choose to escape from their troubles, but they stand and face them courageously, they develop solutions to their problems, they face their adversities by staring back into its eye. Greatness comes from standing up and doing the right thing regardless of the difficulties in life, they never sacrifice their morals, values, principles and righteousness. They instead draw strength from them, they differentiate themselves from others by upholding such characteristics, and they believe in their self and never give up. From the prophets (who are considered to be the chosen ones by the creator), to several kings, scientists, leaders, sportsmen and women, experts, celebrities or businessmen, inventors or politicians, each have to go their share of challenges to succeed. There is no easy path to success.  It is almost imperative and essential to gain the wisdom and experience for everyone to not only succeeded, but to be able to handle their success and manage it with humility and greatness.

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark

Alternatively those who choose to escape hardships, run away from their troubles, choose the easier options to avoid stress or risks, do not accept to make sacrifices, choose not to change for the better and take pleasure from their status quo as oppose to challenge it, often find themselves in the same place facing the same troubles time and over again. The same monotony, the familiar problems, the sweet self sympathy, and the embraced bitterness and negativity consume their lives. Every challenge remains a problem as opposed to being an opportunity to develop a solution.  Every adversity is a reason to wallow in self sympathy and depression as opposed to face it and overcome them.  The reasons to their problems become excuses and although they remain undeserving due to their lack of positive action, they become consumed by their growing false sense of self entitlement.

Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

So, if you are tired of your troublesome life and the adversities you face, or have resolved to giving up on turning your life around and giving in to failure, then ask yourself what are you doing to overcome your share of adversities? None of us are any different from the other in our abilities and will to change. The difference is in our minds and choices. Everyman was just an ordinary person until they overcame their challenges to do something extraordinary and succeed. No great person or successful person has escaped life lessons and constant need to face their share of challenges and overcome them by learning new facts about life over and over again.  We live only once and life is too short in today’s fast paced and rapidly changing world. Everything we do daily changes our course and destiny. Where do you choose to be? It is your choice and nothing can stop you from getting where you want to go in our life.  When we learn to compare our troubles with those several others who face physical disabilites, health challenges, famine, war, loss of loved ones, etc, we will quickly find shame in voicing our adversities. Remember that to become a greater fighter or a tennis player, it is important to choose an opponent to practice who is better and stronger then yourself to become good. Hence learn to see your adversities as your challenging sparring partner.

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. ~Norman Vincent Peale


No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking


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“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?


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!


Conscience is your Compass


 

 

Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt. ~ George Sewel

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


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