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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

Life Goals that are never achieved can hurt you


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Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.  ~Doug Larson

 

Like many of us, I have my collection of unaccomplished goals in life. Several dreams and ideas I once had and set about to achieving them but never stayed the course and accomplished the goals that seems to be all important to me at one time. Loosing weight, getting healthy, starting my own business, getting a better job, adopting a healthier lifestyle, earning more money, buying a fancy car and the list goes on endlessly. Some of them I did manage to achieve, some I worked very hard  towards but gave up along the way, some I continue to work towards periodically, and some I shamelessly blame the circumstances or have managed to find an excuse to justify my failure. The series of these unaccomplished goals at times are overbearing on my motivational levels and setting newer goals in life. As we all know, we each have our set of several small and big life goals in life and we spend our life trying to achieving them. The dreams and ambitions are never ending and a continuous process where we pick up newer ones as we go along. Some we set to achieve, and some we let fizzle away sooner than we spent time coming up with the idea. Before we realize we are sitting amidts a clutter of unfinshied work. This is no different than sitting over a stack of papers in the pending file, or several pots and pans overfolwoing the sink in the kitchen that neeeds to be done but you never get the time to do it, and you ahevt nothign but mess around you. The long list of pending dreams only grows as your mind keeps jumping from one to another. So, what does drive such ambitions in life? What makes those other winners, and achievers in life different from us and why can’t we achieve our goals in life? After all, if we think about it, we realize that we too can do the same things many of these successful people have done and become successful. We are able, smart and hardworking people too who carry several or more of the skill sets displayed by many of these achievers. What truly differentiates us from others in achieving our goals and becoming successful and feeling great with the positive sense of accomplishment?

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.  ~Henry Ford

 

Playing a game on the Xbox or Playstation is simply an almost profound experience. The thrill of beating the opponents and getting to the next higher level keeps the player glued to game until all stages are won and have been totally satisfied that you have finished the game and achieved the ultimate score or level. If you put in a little more thought into it, you will realize that the amount of effort and skills punt into the relentless pursuit of achieving the ultimate score or beating the toughest level is par excellence. The player looses several times over and gets back into the game to cross that stage to the next. Then the perseverance and will continues from one higher and tougher level to another. From one maze and set of hurdles to another tougher obstacle the player consistently sets and relentlessly tries and beats the goals each time to eventually win the game. Night or day, sometimes all through the night and without break for food the game goes on. I find this whole process and the level of commitment to be fascinating. The process of choosing the goal, the level of focus towards attaining the goal, the strategic planning, execution and the perseverance brought to the game is nothing short of some excellent behaviors displayed by several world class achievers.  But what amuses me more is that why don’t people put in the same level of efforts, persistence, skills, and self induced motivation into achieving greater things in life. Where does the never say die attitude, the will, the level of endurance, the drive to face any obstacle and over come them regardless of number of times they have to go at it, the highest level of persistent until the game is won go when it comes to setting and achieving life goals? After all, it takes the same exact process that ones already endure to win at a video game to achieve greater and much more rewarding successes in life.

It is never too late to be who you might have been.  ~George Eliot

When it comes to setting real life goals and achieving them, there are several theories and strategically developed points that help one go about becoming successful. But there is little said about the purpose of life goals in comparison. Often it is the “purpose” of every life goal that drives an individual to stay the course and relentlessly pursue the goal to success or it lets them to deviate and eventually loose its value and interest in attaining them. The true driving factor towards any success in life, is the true value of the goal you set yourself to achieve. The value of this goal can only be defined by the purpose, the need, and what the end result will mean to you in your personal life. For example: If you aim to get a better paying job. It is more important to think of this goal through with the focus on why do you need this and what will you specifically achieve by attainting this goal. If the next job pays more, what will the pay increase accomplish and why is that important for you. You need a higher pay to afford a more comfortable living, buy an expensive car, save more for frequent holidays, buy more things for your children or family etc.? And why is this important? Is there any other way you can derive the same level of satisfaction with other things in life as opposed to being able to buy more things, or have you considered cutting down from your current list of expenses and save the amount of money you need to achieve these objectives? These are the kinds of questions one needs to truly ask and spend some time before choosing a life goal. The answers to such questions helps develop and realize the intensity of your particular need. The higher the need the more persistent you will be to achieve this goal and face any hurdles you may face along the way towards achieving this. If this need or choice of goal is not high on your need list, you will most likely be inclined towards giving up pursuing this goal at some point along the way. It could be your first major obstacle, the time it consumes, or you may find another way of attaining the same end results and you will soon lose steam. Before you realize you will soon have left behind a trail of such half initiated dreams and objectives that never got completed.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

~ Zig Ziglar

The trouble of such unaccomplished goals and objectives is that it soon becomes a habit and would have taken the best of your time and skills. A sense of being a failure will begin to creep upon you and you will soon begin to be judged by your series of unaccomplished goals rather than your efforts or purpose in life. Several of us have such unaccomplished goals in life. For some reason to other, we all are guilty of doing this. We dream up an end result, get all excited towards achieving them, list up a rough idea on how we will go about achieving them, drum up some support, and begin to share our dreams and ambitions with everyone we can. But later, we lose focus and let other priorities and challenges take precedence before we realize we are dreaming up or chasing another goal we have chosen. This happens because the need to achieve the goal and the true end results of achieving them was not really high up on our “needs” list.  We find ways or learn of another means of achieving the same objective or often find other more interesting dreams to pursue.

I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.  ~Zig Ziglar

You will find several processes and methods developed by many lifestyle and motivational coaches at the book store or on the web. But all of these processes are only meaningful if and only if your have chosen a goal which holds a very high value in terms of your needs. Once the need to achieve this goal is very well defined and understood with all your mind body and soul, you will develop a strong sense of focus towards achieving it and will set forth towards accomplishing your objective regardless of the obstacles, difficulties, challenges or time. Whether it is loosing weight, winning someone’s love, getting a better job, getting a promotion, making more money, buying a bigger house, it is worth spending considerable time on thinking through your choice of life goals and what it truly means to you and gets you in your life. It is imperative to  ask why this goal is important for you, and what impacts will the end result have in your life and more so, if the end result of achieving this goal is truly what you desire and if that is worth the time and trouble you are willing to put into achieving this goal in life. Imagine the surge of positivity and energy we can experience by being successful in life by accomplishing and achieving the meaningful goals we set for ourselves in our lives.

 

Life golas that are abandoned or never achived sits in your mind like clutter. The sense of unaccomplishment, failure and depression due to these feelings will conitnue to hurt you unless you do somethign about it. You need to stop procatinating right NOW!. Get up, get moving and first filter through the set of goals you have got. Discard the ones that are less meaningful in life and work on the ones that gives you a greater sense of purpose and value. Goals give you direction, focus, aim, motivation and purpose. Achieve them, accomplish more meaningful goals and live a happier and successful life. Once you have achieved one, set another higer goal and write your own success story. Remember: The only thing that stops you from being successful is you!

 Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.  ~Les Brown


Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth


 

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Somewhere in this world today sits a senior executive in a company boardroom secretly disagreeing with the popular consensus of the people in the room because he or she sees something that is morally wrong and greedy objectives. Across their country perhaps sits a young graduate working on his or her secret aspiration to develop the next big software that could possibly change the world of mobile phones. Sitting at the desk in India, which was once popularly known to be a poor country, sits a billionaire working on how to take over an American corporation.  Standing in a line up at the security check in USA, perhaps stands a father watching his young teen daughter being stripped of her basic dignity and being scanned through a machine and people watching her and thinks what can he do or say that could challenge the system and inspire them to develop a less invasive and more sensible process.

No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors.  ~William Faulkner

Similarly today there are those who choose to appease their immediate management and superiors and comply with programs and actions for personal benefits. There is a teen on his or bed thinking of ways to convince their parent to buy them the next greatest feature filled expensive mobile phone. And across the room sits their parent figuring out what can they sacrifice from their personal lifestyle to siphon out a few more hundreds to help pay their credit card bills that they never thought will be a problem one day. And there lays another young uncorrupted mind thinking about the biased information fed by someone who he or she thinks has the knowledge and wisdom and has managed to  entice them to join a popular growing opinion that benefits the propagators more than the activists.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – even if I have said it – unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.  ~Buddha

In this advanced and fast developing world of ours are people who are passive non conformists, those who challenge the popular opinions against harsh objections or possible persecutions and there are those who indulge in ritualistic and monotonous day to day living by conforming to popular norms and processes as dictated by those who they consider are authoritative figures, experts and intelligent people who know what they are talking about.

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.  ~Bertrand Russell

If one thing statistics, recent and past history has proved to us is that the popular opinions, democratic decisions and expert advice have often been more wrong than right that has resulted are severe and damaging consequences. This is was not true the economists would have foreseen and avoided the crisis that grips the world of finance today, doctors would not have misdiagnosed several critical cases and get sued for their gross negligence, there wouldn’t be contradicting studies from researchers over drugs and food, America would not vote the president for two consecutive terms who drove them to economic crisis for personal and collective personal gains, and all corporations and their respective experts, authorities and top executives will not pay themselves millions of dollars and run their organizations to bankruptcy and  get bailed out by the common mans money. These and several other such examples goes to prove that experts, authoritative figures, popular opinions, and majority decisions are not necessarily the right ones. If anything they have often proved to be grossly wrong and biased. Our dependency and reliance on such figures, people and decisions needs to be based on individual sensibilities, common understanding of morals, values and the responsibility to educate ourselves on unbiased and sound facts before we make our choices. Especially the decisions and choices we make that deeply impact our own personal well being and those who depend on us or seek our wisdom and advice that may influence theirs.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. –Albert Einstein, in a letter to a professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching position

Such individual sensibilities, the power to change their world and surroundings stems from ones personal beliefs, educated opinions and self confidence. Many great scientists, inventors, musicians, politicians, revolutionaries and contributors to society were able to bring the inventions, computers, systems, and many things that has made our lives better were able to do this only by going against the popular opinions, total dismissal, humiliation, objections and over bearing influence of powerful conformists of their times. Also many organizations and corporate are brought to their knees by those individuals who stand by sound morals and principles when the collective top executive decisions are biased and unethical. So are the popular uprising in countries against their once powerful and controlling regimes, and political figures.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

But the challenge for every individual is to develop the courage, self-confidence and the wisdom to seek and form balanced opinions based on sound values, morals and beliefs without prejudice. These qualities are needed by those who choose to progressive evolve themselves, their societies, their world and make positive contributions towards their own prosperity, happiness, achievements and growth. Alternatively one can choose to continue to be ignorant conformists, passive non conformists, and follow popular opinions against their own sensibilities and conscience. Great countries, communities, corporations, families and people are inspired by intelligent, educated and progressive thinking without prejudice. If one feels the need not to confirm to processes, decisions, and opinions, it has to be based on intelligence to truly make positive progressive progress and gains for self and to the world we live in. Weather they are  political beliefs, religious or communal rituals, mundane processes,  or authoritative decisions, each needs to be examined, thought, understood and practiced on intelligent,  educated and balanced principles for positive and progressive living and growth. Allow your individuality to shine based on your sound moral beliefs and progressive attitude. Lead and make a new path for others to follow.

Individuality realized is the supreme attainment of the human soul, the master-master’s work of art. Individuality is sacred. –Frank Lloyd Wright

And a few more quotes:

Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs.  ~Robert Peel

And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will?  When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the will of others?  ~Galileo Galilei

Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.  ~John F. Kennedy

Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. – Albert Einstein Quotes


Every “problem” is an “opportunity” to find a solution – Cubixrule!


 

“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. 

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 in life.

Many years later, my older brother once again (God bless him) 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.

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?


Advice is Cheap – Choose your advisers


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If it’s free, it’s advice; if you pay for it, it’s counselling; if you can use either one, it’s a miracle.
Jack Adams

Advice is cheap. It doesn’t cost anything but time and emotions for the person who gives advice. Which incidentally many have ample to dish away. Everyone can give advises too. I can give you advice about things which I have absolutely no idea about. Your friends can give you advice on love or relationships that they have personally never been in either of these situations.  An employee of any financial institution can advice you on global economies regardless of their institution being on the verge of a bail out themselves. Advice is cheap. Be good, be positive, be courageous so on and so forth. There are those who may advice you who themselves do not practice what they preach.  I have often learned a lot from such advisers more and followed their advises often. And as time passed by I realized that it is easier to give advice but there are several other factors that can stop you from practicing the same. Which also helped me realize the value of these advises about the right things to do in life and how difficult it is to walk the righteous path and hold on to your values.

 In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.
Solon

Why do people give advice? It may not cost them anything monetarily. But the concern, love, concern and care they experience for you often holds lot more value to them than it does to you. Many advice because simply they care. These types of advisers are usually your family, friends or those who know you personally. Then there are those who offer their unsolicited advises whether they are concerned or not. They perhaps take more pride in their position where they can tell something of value and get some acknowledgement in return. And when you seek advice from some they either give you their opinion or advises based on their individual beliefs, experiences and feelings towards the subject. These advises can be biased or unbiased depending on their objective that moment.  Even subject matter experts are often wrong. Many advises from subject matter experts often change depending on the research programs and findings. One day wine will be very good for your heart the other day it wont. Likewise, you will be told to have 3 -4  cups of coffee by a Doctor on TV one week, and two later you will be asked to cut down to one. Meanwhile, you have only battered your heart for no good reason as a result of your actions based on such advises. 

 When you seek advice, do not withhold any facts from the person whose advice you seek.
Abu Bakr

 So how do you go about getting the right advice and seeking help when you need one? The fact is that the responsibility is upon you on who and what kind of advice you seek. If you want someone who simply needs to agree with you and your decisions you may seek anyone from your social circle who shares your similar ideas or values. They will often agree with your decisions and pamper your ego and actions regardless of whether they you are right or wrong.  But if you truly need a formidable person who can guide you with an unbiased opinion, then it has to be someone who knows you well and cares enough about you to tell you the facts and give the best advice they possibly can based on their individual knowledge and experience.  These are people who are from your immediate family and friends circle who know you over a period of time.

 

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.
Anne Frank

 When you ahead out to seek some professional advice or guidance on a particular subject matter it is imperative that you place your trust and seek advice from those who truly are just, unbiased and are known to have provided good fact based advice to others. For example, seeking advice on a relationship from someone who themselves have had a failed relationships wouldn’t be wise. Similarly, seeking advice from a home owner on the right price for a home that you hope to purchase might not be the only advice you will need on that subject. If you truly seek to acquire a balanced and sound guidance on a subject you will have to go seek for it with some honest introspection, hard work and multiple sources before you are able to form an educated and well-balanced opinion. Such effort based, balanced and educated opinions often result in sound decisions and successful outcomes in life. I had mentioned honest introspection earlier because it is equally imperative and supremely important to remove your pride, prejudice, ego and preconceived notions about the subject from your mind on that particular subject in order to enable yourself to be open to what you learn from seeking such advises.

 

I never had a man come to me for advice yet, but what I soon discovered that he thought more of his own opinion than he did of mine. 

~Josh Billings

 Next time you find the need to seek advice or a valued opinion, take the time and put some thinking on choosing who you seek advice from. Value the advises that you receive from those who are concerned about you and love you. Be open to advises and learn that even people who may not have followed what they preach may teach you a valuable thing or two. Learning from other people’s mistakes saves from making your own. Be open to advises, do your research, explore your sources and options and learn well before you form your important decisions in life. Advice is cheap. But if it costs anyone it costs the person who bases his or her decision on that advice.  Your choice on the advice you follow and the sources and people who you seek advice from often has a great impact on major decisions in your life.  Advises can be from others, but the final decision and the outcome of following those advises are yours.

 Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.  ~Cicero


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