Tag Archives: people

Life is not being who you are…..Constructive Dissatisfaction!


unhappy-woman

 

It is commonly said that we need to be who we truly are. This is of course said in the context that we need not to be what others want us to be or spend a life trying to be someone who we aren’t.  But does being who we are good enough? Is that a right goal for an individual living in a fast, progressive and competitive world?

 

We aren’t perfect people and most of us are far from being what we truly can become. We have several flaws in our habits, choices, behaviours and decisions. Some of us strive to do good and change while many spend a great deal of their lives with the desire to change but without any significant steps taken towards becoming better. A very good friend of mine once pointed out to me that one seizes to progress when they begin to believe that they are right about everything and have the best of opinions. That is absolutely true because one thing that is constant about our lives is “change”. And if we refuse change and accept the fact that we constantly need to keep learning and adapting to the knowledge we gain all through our lives.  If we do not keep learning and keep progressing we invariably get clouded with stagnant opinions, old bad habits, repeating out mistakes, addressing the same drudgery and never making any serious gains in our life. In other words we live a reactive life and fall victims to what life throws at us.

 

But there are those who change the world, do great things within their own little worlds or do great things that leaves a major impact on several others.  These are individuals who think beyond being who they are. They are constructively dissatisfied with themselves. They want to do better, change for the better themselves, they want better things in life, better family conditions, better jobs, better earning potentials, and progress. They fight the status quo, they feel the need to go beyond who they are and live to their fullest potential. These are not people who play the blame game. They take responsibility of their own lives and set out to do something with it. For many of them life is not about work, family, rest time, TV time, Beer time, and socializing time. They make time to do things differently. They take the time out of their lives to think, put the hard work required to change, self improve, learn, and progress. Some of them dream bigger, work harder, think smarter, make sacrifices, and move ahead from changing one aspect of their life at a time to another all through tier life.

 

Life isn’t fair or easy. No one ever has claimed to be so. From the richest to the poorest have their problems and moments of happiness. They each face their set of challenges and shattered dreams.  Many feel trapped with unhappy relationships, stagnant careers, hard working conditions, bills and day to day living. But there are those who do things to fix the unhappy relationships with open and constructive discussions, change careers or take on a diploma or other courses to get better jobs, look for easier jobs, manage their finances better, and progress. They do not accept their conditions. They take life by its horns and make the necessary changes. These are the people who make progress and life happier and accomplished lives.

 

The key to such progress towards a better life begins with constructive dissatisfaction. And this begins with self. Some honest introspection about our choices, character, progress, life and potential often leads to a certain level of realization for self improvement. We often see and judge ourselves by what our potential is, but others see and judge us for what our actions and accomplishments are.  Often there is a huge disparity between the two. If we truly are progressive people who love to live a successful and happier life, we need to bring these two sides of our lives closer. We need to bring our potential and dreams to meet with our actions and behaviours. There is always room for improvement, there is always a better way to do things. The need is to do it. We need to take the trouble to make things better from the inside out. Just dreams, desires, wishes and will always get us the same challenges, excuses, and same conditions of living.  We need to get off the couch and stop finding reasons and excuses for our troubles and dissatisfactions.

 

We need to be constantly constructively dissatisfied if we truly desire to change our lives and become better individuals and live a happier and accomplished life. Ask yourself what are you dissatisfied about today and get up and take action towards changing it today. There is no magical Monday to begin a change. There is no “let me start that diet on Monday”. There is no Monday to begin a positive change. Great ideas and inspiration comes at the darkest times and way past mid night. And the action begins that morning or that very moment. There aren’t any magical prayers or miracles that will help change your situation either. If there was one, everyone would be aware of it and will all be having a great life. There is just one thing that will change your situation: the old fashioned and worn out wisdom of simple “hard work”. So stop being who you are and set out to become who you can be!


Inspiration from Adversity


A few 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


New years resolutions? Again?


enjoying_life

 

It’s once again the time to reflect upon our last few days of gluttony and happiness with some amount of guilt and a lot of happiness. Soon, if not already, you will be asked and begin thinking about your New Year’s resolution. Once again many shall dismiss the need for them while others make some with the intentions to keep. While losing weight and getting healthy will continue to be the most popular choice, getting a new job, making more money, purchasing the dream home or car and moving to a new city shall remain in the top 10. Many shall reflect upon the good and the bad they experienced this last year and some shall learn from their experiences while others shall dust them off and continue to waddle into the next year with no lessons learned.

A few blog posts ago I had written a short story about how life lessons are very similar to climbing a mountain. It was a short story of a young man learning to climb a mountain from his uncle and after having reached the top his uncle passes some words of wisdom on the experience and how similar life can be. One of the lessons in this story was about how important it is to find strong grips to hold on to and use it to pull yourself higher up. But with that, a climber also needs to learn to let go of the previous one that he or she is holding on to presently. In order to progress we have let go of the old comforting footholds and have the courage to try and step upon new and higher grounds towards the top. Also from each experience we have we gather some wisdom on which footrests and grips are stronger and reliable in order to proceed further.

When a person is drowning they often try harder and do everything they can to swim towards the bank. Similarly, while swimming one tries to put their best effort at the beginning and spend all their force and energy towards the finish line. But what if one remains consistent all through the race and continuously progress from one stride to another? Why does one have to do their best only towards the end? What would happen if one spends such wisdom, energy and efforts all through their life at everything they strive to accomplish?

It is very nice to use the New Year as a symbolic time to reflect upon the past and make plans towards the future and set out with all good intentions to achieve them. But I believe we need to do this all through the year and it should be a continuous process of self analysis and progressive development. A healthy eating plan need not be out of sheer guilt after indulging during the Christmas Holidays. It should rather be a continuous process all through the year. The same applies to any progressive development and strategies one pick up in an effort to develop and achieve in life. But all through this process we have to learn to let go of the old and move ahead. We cannot progress by holding on to our old ways, thinking, hate, prejudice, anger, or habits. The only way to move ahead is forward towards better things and higher goals in life. We need to constantly reflect upon the choices we have made and what it has brought us and then amend our thinking with realization and action towards self improvement. Building better relationships, taking the time to improve meaningful relationships, learning something new, giving up on old stubborn ego based habits, and making better choices always leads to happier endings and content life. Some of these may not be easy, and we may need to persevere and struggle to make it happen. But the rewards of such things in life are equally greater. As an example: What is the greatness in loving someone who is already in love with you. It is given that you the mutual love in itself is a reward in a way. But the real greatness is in forgiving someone you doesn’t love you and still respecting them and loving them for the good in them, regardless of what they think of you. This makes you a better person, gives you greater wisdom, respect and the rewards shall equally be greater in life.

While making a New Years resolution this time, consider making a resolution to actively indulge in self improving habits by continuously reflecting on your actions of the past and taking action towards getting better all through the year. Making new and developmental resolutions should be a daily and continuous habit to truly improve and succeed. Have a vision for self and pursue it relentlessly from the begning to the end until you accomplish it. We do it at work, we struggle to help make others visions come true, we spend out time and energy towards realizing others dreams. We need to do the same for ourselves too. We need to develop a vision, dream, develop strategies, make plans, and put it into action. Then we have to overcome obstacles, face challenges and persevere and once the goal is accomplished, move on to the next dream. From this year to the next and forever!


Steve Jobs Syndrome


“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” ~ Steve Jobs

Although this is an age old habit of ours, I prefer to call it the “Steve Jobs Syndrome” because it is easier to relate to in our current times.

Steve Jobs is beyond words of appreciation and talent. Certainly his wisdom, thinking and ruthless talent for making things better had left us with better technological products and a company that is lot richer than several countries. He was an inspiration for our generation and will probably continue to be for the next few. But this was Steve Jobs. He did it and did it better which gave him the kind of confidence that he could make a lot of things better. His biography tells us of his core behaviour pattern where he seemed to be very adverse of several things that were beyond his subject which he believed to be poorly designed and made. He believed that he could make all things better and improve as he did with several things that he could. But then again he carried a rare talent that was sharpened by his vast experience, contacts, persuasive skills, relationships, successful track record and financial success. There are several things he failed at as well. Things he could not improve or lost his bet on which is silenced by this achievements.

This phenomenal success story of Steve Jobs has perhaps given birth to this behaviour pattern in many individuals who seem to assume the status and believe that they too share similar intellectual traits. Yes, there are many who are as smart as Steve Jobs or even lot more than he was.  But the victims of this  “Steve Jobs Syndrome” are those who seem to carry a misconception about themselves as being able to make everything better and impose their ideas of improvement on matters that they have very little experience or information about. They think of themselves as Steve Jobs of their industry or subject. Yet they are no way as greatly successful or knowledgeable as he was about his subject.

For a mere $12.00 you can buy a ticket to sit on a comfortable seat in a movie theater and critique a multimillion dollar production probably based on a best-selling book that perhaps inspired a good part of our generation.  You can point out the mistakes, the flaws, punch hols in the story line, trash the characters played by the actors, comment on the directors ideas as though you could truly do it better. All this is done with absolutely no experience on movie making, productions, script writing, creative thinking, directions, leave alone the politics the legalities, accommodating the production companies demands, the actors demands etc. Steve Jobs also said that you “do not need to understand how the transmission works to drive a car”. But if you want to critique the driving experience while shifting gears you had better understand how a transmission works.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. ~Dale Carnegie

Similarly we about our lives passing callous comments and imposing our unsolicited ideas, opinions, and suggestions on several matters that is beyond our comprehension or knowledge base. Many of us aren’t the best in what we do for ourselves in terms of earning a living. Or for that matter we aren’t the best in anything. We have failed relationships, half hearted efforts, mediocre performance, average success, average career progression, etc. Yet we have the  audacity to criticize others and their talents, and actions. It sure begs the question, “based on what knowledge?” but we quickly bury it under our inflated egos and arrogance. We criticize just because we can and there are no consequences to our ignorance and arrogance.

When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical. ~ Unknown

 

Can we do better? Can we truly improve things around us or have valuable suggestions and opinions? Yes! we sure can but only after being educated enough on the subject in question that earns the right to do so. You can can change the world with your opinions and thinking and move it forwrd. You too can leave a ding on this world of ours. But you need to have te knowledge, wisdom, courage, to be a Steve Jobs. And this is not done with Cynicism or criticism. You have to earn your ranks and wisdom. Hence, it is very necessary to form educated and well thought out opinions. If you care to make anything better, you better roll up your sleeves and learn this subject well. You will fail, but learn and then you may succeed and then your opinion would be valuable enough. But first master your core subjects and try being an expert in your own field. Learn by experience what it feels like to earn the right to critique someone else. We can only understand this truly when someone who knows very little about us criticizes us.

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
Albert Einstein

Many of us are victims of this “Steve Jobs Syndrome”. We think we know everything and interfere in matters that we have very little facts or knowledge about. You are not Steve Jobs. Often, those who are the true subject matter experts, remain quiet and watch us with amusement which we think their silence is the proof that we are right. Educated and fact based opinion is key to any persons success and positive growth. Become Steve Jobs before you act like him. Earn your voice.

 


Our vital life lessons often lie within our experiences


 

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

– Tom Bodett

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turn your wounds into wisdom.  ~Oprah Winfrey

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Climb

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

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

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

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

 

The Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisdom begins at the end.  ~Daniel Webster

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

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


THANKSGIVING – What are YOU Grateful for?


THANKSGIVING – What are YOU Grateful for? November 17, 2012 For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. ~Ralph Waldo EmersonI used wake up with a head ache often. Lying on the bed and staring at the morning sun light tearing through my curtains on the wall, I reluctantly think of my sad life briefly and curse every moment of it. Why do these things happen to me? What did I do wrong to deserve this? Why can’t anyone understand me or just simply reciprocate my honesty and genuine love with theirs? What does it take for people to be nice and honest?…… this bloody job I got to go to this morning… ah! I hate this life, I hate it vehemently and I hate everything about it!He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~EpictetusThese were the things I used to think almost every single morning when I was depressed a not so distant past. These feelings and thoughts were often compounded by the drudgery of day to day living with my bitter self and extremely critical and cynical outlook towards life. And I loved it! It soothed my soul with self pity. I could cuddle my thoughts and my love of pain and sleep away in my tears until the next

via THANKSGIVING – What are YOU Grateful for?.


Giving Thanks


For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I used wake up with a head ache often. Lying on the bed and staring at the morning sun light tearing through my curtains on the wall, I reluctantly think of my sad life briefly and curse every moment of it. Why do these things happen to me? What did I do wrong to deserve this? Why can’t anyone understand me or just simply reciprocate my honesty and genuine love with theirs? What does it take for people to be nice and honest?…… this bloody job I got to go to this morning… ah! I hate this life, I hate it vehemently and I hate everything about it!

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus

These were the things I used to think almost every single morning when I was depressed a not so distant past. These feelings and thoughts were often compounded by the drudgery of day to day living with my bitter self and extremely critical and cynical outlook towards life. And I loved it! It soothed my soul with self pity. I could cuddle my thoughts and my love of pain and sleep away in my tears until the next time the sun breaks through those bloody curtains in my room. A lifestyle as my beloved brother so eloquently puts it: “wallowing like a hippo in a swamp”. A despicable life of absolute ungratefulness, total disregard to the people who still love me, support me, care about me, and stubbornly displaying my disrespect to my work, my colleagues, their collective support and understanding and all the wonderful things I am gifted with in my life.

After the daily ritual of waking up with such extreme negativity I choose to conveniently forget the wonderful shower I have under the 10 inch Rain shower head that I had installed, sit in my super gorgeous Audi A6, listen to the soothing music on my Sirius Sat Radio, and glide to the prestigious company that I work for. I treat myself to a fancy lunch with my colleagues, return home in the evening and visit my brothers house and share a few million laughs with my ever entertaining and extremely funny nephews, get smothered in love, affection, concern from my family, then continue to meet with my friends and enjoy a few drinks and share a few more laughs and get back to my dungeon late at night. Dungeon: that is exactly where I lived. A nice 3 bedroom brightly lit house filled with old bad memories and my lonely self. And then I continue to wallow like a hippo in a swamp.

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. — Cicero

Oh yes. I did many other things I could to divert my attention and try to appreciate the pain and sorrow of others. I sponsored a child, gave away money as much as I could with all the generosity I could muster. I helped everyone as usual without any regard for self and my own need for rest, money, security etc. Volunteer at the local shelter for the homeless, donate food to the food bank, and be as charitable as I possibly can be.

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. — Christiane Northrup

But what I never did was to be grateful for what I have and the amazing life I could live where I could do all these wonderful things for others become useful for self and others, and the endless love, support and the joy I enjoy from my family and friends. The concept of Thankfulness and Gratitude didn’t exist in my swamp! Not a single bit! Yeah, yeah! They told me everything I knew already. Be positive, look at the tragedies that other people have gone through and still continue to be positive in life, take up a hobby, appreciate life so on and so forth. But they haven’t been hurt like I have. They haven’t experienced my pain. How would they ever know my pain and how it hurts me? They were never betrayed, they weren’t emotionally abused, looted, pillaged and lived through what I called a “Shakespearean “betrayal! Ha! Advice is cheap! Save your breadth, do not teach me the things I already know, but just simply keep giving me love and sympathy. That is all I needed now. And I continued to become a bitter person every day and morphed into this obese sloth that always had something negative or cynical to say about almost everyone or anything that I came across. Look at that idiot how he is driving his car, stupid waitress, ruthless boss, unjust and over demanding customers, lazy goal keeper, bloody airline staff, and thus the list continued.

To live a life of gratitude is to open our eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us. Such a life provides less space for our suffering because our attention is more balanced. We are more often occupied with noticing what we are given, thanking those who have helped us, and repaying the world in some concrete way for what we are receiving. — Gregg Krech

Then one fine day, I woke up just simply tired! TIRED! Tired of being me, and what I had become. No, I didn’t have any life altering experience, no incident of intense inspiration, no epiphany, no bolt of lightning! Just simply woke up totally tired of being a despicable negative slob. I dragged myself to the mirror in the washroom. Took a good look at myself. And there I found this animal I never knew. Jouls hanging like a bulldog, a big pot belly, man boobs, un kept 70’s style long hair, a permanent frown, bags under my eyes, and just horribly haggard. And I couldn’t help think of this whole world around me and how they continued to still respect me, tolerate me, love me, and support this monster I had become. This negative, ugly, bitter and ungrateful monster, that I myself would never want to do anything with.

I soon began to realize a few very important things as I continued to ponder on what I had in my life as opposed to focusing on what I didn’t have. I am an intelligent person with great wisdom. I am free and without any serious responsibility but for my own self. I have sufficient time on my hands. I am educated, smart and well travelled. People value my opinion, seek my advice often, some look at to me for guidance or inspiration. I am nothing short of a perfectly able person with the ability to think on my own and free to choose how I want to live. And yet I chose to live the way I did. There was nothing holding me back from achieving whatever I wanted or desired for. And if there were any obstacles on my chosen path, like they always do, I could certainly come up with something to overcome them or avoid them based on my skills, intelligence and choice. But in order for me to become useful, and continue to be valuable in this world and inspire others to make changes towards a positive life I needed to do one thing first. I had to realize and deeply understand the amazing things I am truly blessed with. I needed to learn to appreciate the things and people around me with absolute honesty and humility. I had to learn to be GRATEFUL! And once I do that I need to take the responsibility to express my gratefulness everyday by my actions.

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it–would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have. — Ralph Marston

Since that day my life began to change a little every day. I laugh at the silliness of the drivers in rage, I have learned to be more patient with the waitress, understanding of my bosses challenges and limitations, more empathetic of my customers situations, cheer on the goal keeper for at least trying his best to stop the puck, request for the window seat as opposed to rudely demand at the check in counter, and understand their challenges too and not to expect to get a window seat and be pleasantly surprised when I get one. Life became easier, and suddenly I begin to notice nicer people, kinder people, more smiles and tolerance. With this came the “can do” attitude, the courage, the art of working towards solutions as opposed to worry about problems, and above all making better choices and taking full responsibility for my choices and the resulting outcome.

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

I believe that all of us are too busy in our respective lives lost in our work, sorrows, pains, relationships and momentary self gratification by accruing materialistic things. We are too busy satisfying our bosses, our friends or loved ones, or just pampering our own self, our inflated egos, our sorrows and complexes. And being lost in this fast changing indulgence of momentary experiences of small satisfactions we often neglect the very core things, people, and experience that nurtures, feeds and holds our soul. These are often the experiences and things that mater the most in our lives, which we unfortunately only realize after having lost them.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

So, take some time from your life to think about those people who hold you, understand you, support you, and care about you. Take some time to list the wonderful things that you have in your life for a change. Take the time to count your blessings. And think how your life would be without these people, and things. And when you learn and realize these blessings, GET UP and GO EXPRESS YOUR APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE! Express your gratitude just in action, words and your attitude in life. Honor their love for you by taking care of your life. And there beings your first step towards living a truly happier and satisfying life.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

A few things you can do to become a more thankful being and appreciate life more.

  • Count your blessings, the things you have and the people who are always there for you (in person, morally, emotionally etc)
  • Enjoy what you have and do not cry over the things what you don’t. But also work towards getting the things you desire. They will not come to you by being bitter. Work towards it, earn it.
  • Exercise your choices in life and choose to be positive and better. Not negative and bitter.
  • Be generous and help others. By sharing their problems that you can help diminish will help you appreciate the problems that you do not have. Offer to help others if and when you can.
  • Be charitable. Support those who are less fortunate.
  • Thank others as much as you can. Express and show your appreciation for the things they do for you. Send a thank you note, give a hug, phone them and let them know you appreciate their presence in your life.
  • Practice some self criticism in an effort to self improve always. Learn to look at your life as an opportunity to do something positive as opposed to wasting it away in worries, anger, bitterness and hatred.
  • Turn your negativity to positive behaviour and inspire others to do so.
  • Earn others respect and love by developing a fine character and behaviour.
  • At times, take a break, stop, breadth and soak in the abundance of natural surrounding you are blessed with that you can enjoy.
  • Appreciate life, and the good health you have. It will eventually fade away and your end will be very near. Trust me this does happen too fast.
  • Make efforts to bring joy and happiness to everyone you touch in your this short life. You live only once and for a very short time. Let people remember you for your good rather than your bad.

Read my other post “If I die today..” it helps focus on all the great things you can do today if you knew how close your end can be.

Be Grateful to life, your family, friends, and everything that is around you that you often take for granted. Just like your mobile phone, you will be lost and troubled without them. They are your connection to your inner self! Be Grateful!


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