Category Archives: inspiration
As per a recent report from the World Health Organization, life expectancy continues to grow globally with no signs of slowing down. It appears that the global life expectancy has increased from 64 years in 1990 to 74 years in 2011. And developed countries can comfortably add another 15 – 18 years to that number.
What does this mean to an average person in terms of their knowledge and keeping up with the rapidly changing world fueled with exponential growth in almost every aspect of our lives? Well, to understand the intensity of this major impact in our lives, we need to reflect upon the development and progress we have experienced in the past and the time line associated with this progress.
Just some 30 odd years ago in the early 1980’s the world was a much different place with ideas, systems and technologies that were being developed against skepticism, opposition and perhaps doubt as well. The world was at early stages of accepting Hip Hop into the main stream music, Sony Walkman was perhaps the coolest gadget to possess, IBM released their first personal computer, Apple Macintosh wasn’t released yet, the cold war was the major fear factor being hawked to the otherwise peaceful public going about making ends meet, and the former Soviet Union’s KGB were being portrayed in the movies as invasive and authoritative figures who intimidate to keep a very close eye on every individual or citizen and the USA was projected to be the exact opposite. The below pictures of Shanghai and Dubai speaks to how the major business hubs looked then compared to today.
Shanghai Then and Now
Dubai Then and Now
And if we were to look at the world just another 30 years ago in the 1950’s it seems to be struggling for less than half of the luxuries the world enjoyed in the 1980’s. Barely crawling out of the world war and depression with people looking for jobs and rapidly migrating to new cities in search of a living.
What truly is amazing is that it appears that the world had completely changed in just about 30 year cycle and morphed into something that is very different. And most of us expect to live past 60 years. That’s two cycles of total paradigm shifts that impacts the thinking, lifestyles, objectives, and to certain aspects the social values and political structures. In some aspects it appears that the knowledge being instilled in us is already outdated by the time we are in our 30’s depending on the time lines we choose to compare.
And in today’s world of exponential and rapid growth we are often found caught between the shifting processes where by the time we learn a particular system and become fluent with it, we are already required to begin to learn the new upgraded to updated version of the same. It appears the shift timeline is now diminished from 30 to perhaps 5 years. We are now forced to keep learning continuously and staying abreast of the latest and greatest in several aspects of our life or face the threat of being discarded as an old PC or the first generation iPhone. It is now imperative to be educated and updated to merely survive. Whether you want to keep your job, get a job, use a phone, watch television, or keep up with the inquisitive minds of our children or even travelling, you are required to learn and quickly adapt to the new and latest in each of these aspects in our lives.
Now, the process of learning and educating ourselves has also evolved. The internet and mobile browsers has taken the excuse of “ignorance” out of our lives. If we do not know something it is most likely because we haven’t taken the time to google and learn about it. And unfortunately we are often surrounded by those who have taken the time to learn this and take the liberty to quickly evaluate our lack of knowledge and thus judge our attitude towards change and learning. Those of us who haven’t managed to re-educate ourselves are faced with loosing arguments, stagnant careers, slow progress, and basic social securities and social status being threatened. The Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid seems to be much wider in the middle and amidst a major morphing process.
So for an individual in today’s world it is absolutely imperative to re-educate ourselves and learn the new and unknown. More than just learning we have to change our thinking and begin to accept change and new concepts, processes and values in several aspects of life. Today the world believes that if it isn’t broken, BREAK IT and rebuild it better and the way we like it. Today technology is not about making life easier. Technology is now influencing and changing social dynamics. A series of algorithms in Facebook alters social behavior patterns. If you want to know how much money a public company has made, all you have to do is look at their financial reports on line, and this report also tells you how much the top executives make in this given company. You can snoop around LinkedIn to see who is working where and what they do for living along with their career growth and progression. You get multiple reports on a particular political situation or revolt. The media reports one perspective, people on the growth update a different view on Facebook and others tweet the live events as they happen. The new generation are no longer interested in learning how to drive a car, instead before they learn to drive they are more interested in what technological features and energy efficient these vehicles are. Career choices are not made in terms of how much money they will make, but the new generation is more interested in what they represent and lifestyle choices.
Change is not an option. And educating ourselves and staying aware and current is absolutely essential. It doesn’t matter you like it or not. If you are feeling left behind, all you do is “Reboot”. Clear your existing cache of knowledge and upgrade yourself right now. Everything around has shifted. The new economic superpower in China, India is not a poor country, USA has the largest Debt, the richest nation in the world is a tiny Arabian Peninsula called Qatar, the most educated country in the world is Canada with 50% of the population with post-secondary education, and USA and Iran president spoke directly with each other for the 1st time in 30 years this week. Our opinions have to change and we need to be more accepting of changes and be better informed. You can do this now or wait to be educated by your child who has put the mobile browser to better use. And these young minds will be changing the world much more in the next 30 years. Also what they are learning now will be outdated by then.
But getting better educated isn’t of any use if you do not accept it and use the information to change and progress. You have to learn to let go of the old information you hold so dearly to make way for the new. Here is an example to consider. The world’s top cause of death is Ischemic heart disease. And the most common cause of ischemic heart disease is when the arteries responsible for blood flow to the heart become stiff, narrowed and sometimes blocked by the buildup of fatty deposits or plaques. The major cause of this has been linked to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat. All of which is due to lifestyle choices mostly prevalent in the developed and fairly educated nations of the world. What good is this piece of knowledge if we do not change for the better?
Upgrade, Reboot, Repeat! _ Its not a choice. Its the only option.
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 sales person who is selling you something today often tries to position their product or service as a “Solution”. It is either a solution to make your life easier, save time, save money, increase you bottom line savings, manage your job better and help you solve that particular problem. And all their products or services is designed to solve what they like to call as a `Problem“. It is a simple yet very persuasive and most popular business selling concept. The sales and marketing teams design their positioning statement or advertisements to highlight the problems you may face by not using their products and then showcase their solution to eliminate that problem for you. In order for you to buy into their offerings, they also try to build you problem bigger. They seek out your pinch points, develop the issue bigger by making you consider the consequences of not solving the problem, and then make solving that problem an imperative need that you must address.
If you apply this perspective to life, then everyone who can identify a particular problem and develop their own solution to that problem can be successful. We all face several “problems” in life all the time. We worry about the consequences of the problem and get stressed all the time. All we have to do is identify the problem dispassionately as though you are getting paid to find a solution, approach the idea objectively, develop the solution and then apply that solution to that particular problem all the time. This turns into a successful business model if you chose to sell this unique “solution” to everyone who has a similar problem.
Here is another perspective to the same matter. If you look at someone playing a video game objectively, you will soon realize that all they are doing is navigating their characters through a complex obstacle race to get to the next level. They develop strategies, lose their lives, start from the scratch again, learn from their past mistakes, and overcome their obstacles and get to the next level. And as they go higher in their game level the challenges gets more complex and difficult. However, the player relentlessly keeps the fight on until they finally finish that game at the final level. What’s even more interesting is that while they do this the players often dedicate their total attention, time and stay committed to finishing that game. They clock in several sleepless nights, skip food, and forget about all other commitments they may have. And finally all they get at the end of their game is just two simple things. 1) Bragging rights, and 2) The ultimate satisfaction of having accomplished a complex and challenging task. But these two things mean a lot to the player.
Now if you were to apply this perspective to real life again, then you can certainly develop intelligent strategies to navigate through the complex obstacle ridden life by solving each challenge and keep progressing until you accomplish your objective. All you need to do here is keep the same mind set you take to the video game, that is: it is your job to solve the problem by finding the solution to progress further. In doing this, once gain you may sacrifice several hours, skip a few meals, spend sleepless nights, and constantly keep thinking of all the ways you can overcome the challenges. But ultimately, you will develop your own solution to the problem, navigate through it successfully, regardless of the number of times you fail, and eventually progress from one stage in life to another and accomplish the task of solving several complex problems. Now all you do is hold on to the same idea, commitment and sprit for every problem in life and collect several bragging rights for several problems you have found solutions to. And above all, bask in the success of your progress through life.
The funny thing about problems in life is that it makes us often react in a less intelligent manner to it. By default we begin to fear and work about the consequences of the problems. And we end up spending more time worrying about the consequences and the inconveniences of the problem that we may face rather than spending that time working towards developing a solution. Also we often carry a fear of failing to develop a solution or developing a solution that may fail. And due to such fears we end up doing nothing or procrastinating. Meanwhile the problem just sits there and doesn’t go away or snow balls into something much bigger. This is exactly where the sales person with the solution loves to be so that he or she can sell their developed solution to you. Now your need is greater and you will do anything to solve the problem.
But what if you were to own the problem and take on the responsibility to find a solution yourself? Why wait for someone to come by and tap your shoulder and sell you a solution? Not that people are going around tapping people’s shoulders and solving their problems all the time. When it comes to your life problems, you are on your own. You own this business. This is your own video game. It is your job to apply the right attitude and develop a solution to that particular problem. And if you have played video games, you sure know that you do have the skill set required to play develop the right strategies and solutions to overcome this problem too. All you got to do is take the same attitude to this task. Weather it is a job related problem, education problems, relationship problem, health problem, weight problem, financial problem or a parenting problem, you sure can learn, read, ask around, and educate yourself to the number of possible solutions there are. Then taken on the responsibility and put in your time and effort to developing a solution to your problem and solving it. You have your browsers on your phones, at home; you have friends, advisers, and many other sources to learn from. And there are other people who have developed solutions and selling them too. What truly matters is your attitude towards your problems. If you take the responsibility to find a solution, and view your life problems objectively you certainly can solve them.
It is only a problem until you find a solution. Now regardless of the kinds of problems you may face, choose to become the video game player or the problem solving sales person, and begin to collect the bragging rights of being a problem solver and progress through all life levels with confidence. After all, solving your life problems if your job. No one is going to come by, hold your hand and walk you towards a solution.
What’s your problem?
The core problem in life is that too many of us are unquestioning followers rather than intelligent thinkers. If we didn’t depend upon others to learn from, borrow ideologies, ape other people’s beliefs and behaviours or even conform to their opinions, perhaps we will truly progress and be happier. Because when we begin to self learn and gather our own original opinions from life and experiences, our wisdom is truly first hand and reliable based on our own use of intellect and thinking. This is the only way we can bring about change and true progress.
This may be a bit difficult to the power brokers and those who barter knowledge for power, but for the free spirited and the eager minds, this is perhaps a revolution against age old wisdom, centuries old prejudice, senseless rituals, and confined wisdom. The trasition from being a conformist to a self learner and thinker will bring about greater changes in self and the world.
Please see this TED talk:
We all are shaped by our experiences in our lives. And the memories, good and bad have permanently altered our outlook towards our lives and future. We are nothing but a mind over matter that is a product of our experiences under specific circumstances in our lives. If our circumstances were any different our experiences would have been very different as well and would result in a different memory that will remain with us forever. Perhaps they lie dormant in our minds for long, but only until similar circumstance arises in our lives. I tend to draw some inspiration from the character Guido; Roberto Benigni played in the movie Life is Beautiful where in the second half of the movie he tries to create a totally different experience of a Nazi Camp for his son by telling him that they are participants in a game to collect points. In the end the son thinks he won the game while his father got killed in the process.
Experience is what causes a person to make new mistakes instead of old ones. ~Author Unknown
Our response to situations, and events in our lives are all shaped by our experiences. Your thought process, our mind set, attitude, aspirations, expectations, and social behaviour are all altered or shaped by our experiences. Many of our experiences are usually personal in nature and there are several experiences that are conceived. The personal experiences are usually deeper in nature that we hold on to for long because we have endured personally as opposed to the ones that are conceived by other people’s personal experiences or opinions which changes over time and based on our individual personal experiences on that subject. If you spend some time thinking about your experiences that have affected you and your opinions about certain things in life, you will soon realize how fragile your opinions could be as it would have been lot different only if the circumstances of your experience were different.
Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. ~Aldous Leonard Huxley
How you react to an experience and your choice of response leaves an almost permanent code of response to similar future experiences in your memory. You are more likely to response very similarly the next time you encounter a similar experience. Thus what you chose to do with your experiences plays a major factor in your development, understanding, response, opinions and future behaviours. We all carry several fond memories of your childhood that we often try to recreate for our youngsters or children. We often try to physically recreate the same atmosphere and circumstances hoping our children have the same experiences in their lives. We ape our parents’ behaviours at times in an effort to invoke similar response from our children, we tell the same old stories we grew up with to our children, or create similar environments such as taking them to a beach, playing in an open back yard etc. The core idea being that we hope our children to grow up with the same fond memories we did from our childhood.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. ~Mark Twain
When we realize how important a personal experience is to us and how it has influenced our lives in several ways, and how our choice of reaction to these experiences under specific circumstances has shaped our personality, it will dawn upon us the importance it is for us to create good experiences and circumstances for everyone who comes in contact with us in our lives. What we experience under specific circumstances shapes us and what circumstances and experiences we create influences every individual we come in contact in our lives. It is very similar to how we feel when we have met someone who makes us feel good or bad. And the other individuals’ response or reaction to the experience we bring to them affects us in return.
Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself. ~Thomas Jefferson
We all are made of our experiences that we encountered in a specific circumstance. If an individual behave in a particular way, it is because his or her experience thought him these responses and resulting characteristics were born. We are like them too and they are like is. We all are victims of our life experiences. But we each can change ourselves and others by changing the scars in memories by creating new and positive experiences and circumstances. We can influence opinions, understanding, memories, feelings, responses, love, hatred, prejudice, knowledge and lives by how we chose to behave and the experiences we create for ourselves and others. Thus by making every effort to create a positive interaction and experience every time you speak or contact others you create a better world of pleasant memories, experiences and happiness.
To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being ~ John Lubbock
So, the next time you visit family over holidays, go over to a friends home, take the time to inspire someone who looks up to you, interact with colleagues at work, meet your grand parents, siblings, nephews or nieces, make effort to create a positive experience for them has leave them with pleasant memories of you and your words and wisdom. For they often have a profound impact in their lives like your experiences have impacted you. You can begin at home with your siblings, wife and children and enjoy a life of pleasant experiences and memories. Your personal experiences are created by how others treat you. Likewise their experiences with you are based on how you treat them. It is a chain of continuous actions and reactions. But to change this link from a negative to a positive one needs to come from you.