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Upgrade – Reboot – Repeat: The process for continuous self progress


 

 

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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

 Shanghai

Dubai Then and Now

DubaiDubai-Then-And-Now-2

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.


We would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Great ideas have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds


 

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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


Are you a Conformist or do you have the courage to change your world?


TED Talk http://youtu.be/a181ctQyGY4

http://youtu.be/a181ctQyGY4

 

CLICK BELOW FOR VIDEO

TED Talks


Are you a Thinker/Self Learner OR an Unquestioning Follower?


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:

TED Talks


The “Anger” dilemma


 

anger-management-balls

Jim gets an unpleasant call one day from his son Arnold: Dad I am at the ER at the Hospital, There has been an accident, but I am fine. Jim doesn’t bother to ask the details after listening to his sons voice, but rushes to the ER to find his son admitted with a severe burn on his face.

Arnolds chin, nose and a side of his face was burnt in a fire accident. Although he was in pain and severe agony, his shock from the incident wasn’t worn out. It appeared that he was still living through the moments of the unfortunate incident over and over again. The shock and emotional trauma seemed to be more agonizing for him than the physical ones.

After the initial shock and hurt, Jim managed to collect himself and sit beside his son and assure him that he will be fine soon. Once the doctor on duty came by and assured Jim that although Arnold suffered these burns he should recover soon and should be fine, Jim managed to step out for a bit to take a break from the ever busy and frantic sounds of nurses, equipments, monitors and patients.

Outside the ER he found Arnolds childhood friends sitting at the waiting area. Nick and Andrew were Arnold’s best friends since his nursery. Living in the same neighbourhood they practically grew up together. Hence, anticipating a breakdown of events that lead to this accident, Jim sat down beside them and asked them to walk him through the tragedy.

It all began when the three decided to have a BBQ that evening over a charcoal grill. After their initial efforts to ignite the coal using some paper and dry sticks failed, their interest shifted to setting the grill on fire with other things they could find in the garage. Once the fire started, Arnold took the lead in turning this project into a sort of a bonfire. He kept through things into the fire that could combust into a bigger fire balls. The more he instigated the fire, the bigger it became. And finally, out came the infamous lighter gas can. While Nick strolled away from this site and Andrew stepped inside to grab the meats, Arnold decided to throw the butane can into the fire in an effort to spite its fury and watch what happens.

The can exploded on his face. The fire ball was big enough to burn his face and throw him a few feet away. Andrew and Nick heard the sound and rushed to rescue Arnold and got him to the hospital.

Jim was shocked at the stupidity of his usually well behaved and academically smart son. He asked Andrew and Nick how come they didn’t stop or advice him against this. Nick said he got scared, warned Arnold and eventually stepped away from the fire. Andrew said he didn’t expect this from Arnold, but was there immediately out to douse the fire with water and later an extinguisher after he pulled Arnold away to safety. He managed to get Arnold into the car and to the hospital while the fire site was covered with smoke on the yard smelling really bad.

Although Jim was very disturbed by his sons’ behaviour and poor judgement, he couldn’t help think that this becomes a much needed and valuable lesson for his son for the rest of his life.

Let us assume the FIRE in this story represents ANGER. And Arnold was playing with this fire contrary the several advices and blatant facts. The lessons from this incident are as follows:

  • Although Anger is necessary at time, it has to be within a controllable limit
  • Do not play with Anger if you are not willing to withstand the consequences
  • Don’t blame the fire for burning you, blame yourself for instigating the fire
  • If you instigate it and keep throwing things to spite it, the Anger may blow up on YOUR face
  • Smart people walk away from Anger
  • Good people douse the anger with whatever they can
  • The bruises from Anger will bear emotional scars for long
  • If you instigate anger, it is very likely you will be the ultimate victim
  • Once doused, the event will stink for a long time

In our world, Anger is seen as a bad behaviour displayed by the week and cowardly. The person who gets Angry is looked down upon.  There are dire consequences to face if one looses his or her cool due to anger. There are anger management lessons to control and manage anger. But there is very little said about the instigators. The Arnolds of the world and their plight as a victim often takes very little interest. Their stupidity and poor judgement of playing with Anger is often do not get criticised. In fact it is quite the contrary. They are the poor victims and the sympathy lies with them. While the stupidity, hate and displeasure is against the fire to the person who dared to express his or her displeasure with the natural human reaction called Anger.

Anger is certainly a negative behaviour with often severe bad consequences. In anger an individual easily tends to lose logic, and basic common sense. Rage and the need for vengeance takes over sensibilities, intelligence and tact. And it is a proven fact that people get angry for the most trivial and silliest reasons majority of the time.  A study conducted by the British Association of Anger Management a few years ago brought out some interesting statistics:

  • 45% of adults lose their temper at work
  • 33% are not in speaking terms with their neighbours due to anger
  • More than 80% of drivers have been involved in road rage incidents
  • 50% of people have reacted badly when faced with computer problems at work.
  • And (nor surprisingly) 1486 incidents of serious air rage reported by the Airlines.

Of course, the instigators are not interesting enough. The airline staff can continue to instigate and play with fire, annoying neighbours are do the same, and the tech support can always slow down your computer with the much necessary “Upgrade”.  If you react, you will need to control your anger and go to some anger management class while the Arnolds of the world can rake in the sympathies as victims.

So what is this Anger? Well, one popular website, WebMD describes it as: “..a very powerful emotion that can stem from feelings of frustration, hurt, annoyance, or disappointment. It is a normal human emotion that can range from slight irritation to strong rage.”

The website goes further to describe the consequences of suppressed anger as follows:

“Suppressed anger can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Anger that is not appropriately expressed can disrupt relationships, affect thinking and behavior patterns, and create a variety of physical problems. Chronic (long-term) anger has been linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems. In addition, anger can be linked to problems such as crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behavior.”

Therefore, it is necessary to express our anger, but the key is the manner we choose to express it. As I have mentioned in my other earlier posts, our life is defined by our reactions to it. Hence it is imperative for us to carefully choose our reactions and what we choose to get angry over.

Over the years, unless instigated by constant probing, irritation, disrespect, emotional and personal punches to my ego, I have learned to control my reactions mostly. But I continue to burst out in rage when I lose control because of bottling up my frustration, hurt and annoyance. After all, it is a normal human emotion that I am trying to suppress. But what amuses me and seems to work often is what Nick and Andrew did in the story above. Walk away from the situation that angers you, or douse it with whatever I can. In most cases these are the things that helped me douse the anger:

  • Reason
  • Humour
  • Logic
  • Learning to be assertive
  • Agreeing to disagree
  • Disconnect from the discussion if it doesn’t concern me personally
  • Stop and try to understand the other persons perspective or reasons

And one of the most important thought process that has helped me manage my anger better is understanding and accepting the fact that we live in an imperfect world. Like ourselves, others tend to do mistakes too. Letting people do their share of mistakes and learning through their pitfalls is one of the grater services you can do to people.  Although it is at times at the expense of your time and emotions, the patience you can muster with some understanding will often go a long way. I am sure many of us can recollect a time when someone chose to overlook our short comings in life. Giving space to people to do mistakes and learn from it often helps them learn faster and more effectively than wasting your time and emotions of trying to advice, coach or instruct them on what is the right thing to do.

My experiences now are lot more subtle and often funny as opposed to anger and dismay. I let the speeding car that comes up and sticks to my bumper pass, only to find them stopped by a cop further down the road. When someone cuts me off on the road, I smile and let them be, and often find someone one else expend his rage and emotion at that inconsiderate driver. I choose to sit down and use the speaker phone mode when talking to customer service. I ask them very politely to explain to me why they think that their response is a reasonable one. Often they end up correcting themselves when you put them through the exercise. I try to walk away from people who are being unreasonable, and return to the discussion after giving them some time to mull over their argument and see reasons themselves. All one needs to do is state the facts and walk away. A reasonable person will often come around. And a smile often solves many things.

There are many things in life that is not worth the trouble of draining your emotions.  Many things in life tend to fix themselves. You need not be the one to take on the responsibility to fix everything that you find wrong. Do whatever you reasonably can to make things better. Unreasonable angry people will eventually learn and find ways to cool down. If they do not they will face the consequences like Arnold.

Life is too short to live as an angry teacher. But it is more gratifying to live it as an eager student.


No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what is your problem?


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