Tag Archives: stress

To climb a mountain called LIFE!


“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!


An “Opportunity” to Success!


 

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When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959

 

Maher sits at the edge of the bench that is situated right beside the platform of the train he intends to board. Bags packed, vigilant, one foot stretched and the other partly folded under his bench on its toes he awaits. He has done this many times before, and he shall do it again. But only this time he is determined to make it. No is not going to take any chances this time around. He has used up all his excuses and tired of missing his train in the overly crowded platform where every single person awaits with the same determination to get on this train.

 

He has been pushed, punched, elbowed, cheated, stepped on, tripped, trampled upon, tricked and delayed while trying to get on this particular train. He has met the cowards, the ruthless, the greedy, the inconsiderate, the cold hearted, the rude, the intimidating and the friendly that stabbed his back at this platform. But today he draws his strength from the wisdom gained from all that he has met and experienced.  He has thought out his path to the door of the train very well. He now will combine the tactics of all those he met and avoid all the things that has happened to him in the past by using his wit and execute his well thought out and rehearsed plan to get on this train this time.

 

Yes there are millions at this platform daily and each waiting to get on this train or the next one that comes by again in a while. But today it is Maher’s turn. He intended to get on this train. If he does miss it again, he shall learn again from his mistake, and will avoid yet another hurdle that will stop him from getting aboard. But he is poised, vigilant, eyes on the tracks, senses heightened and in tune with all who surround him. He understands that every person around him also intended to get to this destination desperately, just as he does. But not everyone around him has had the fortune to have the experience he has gotten in the several  times he missed this train. The several early mornings he has woken up to get on this train, the sleepless nights he has spent analyzing his experiences, the hundreds and thousands of faces and kinds of people he has seen at this platform and the thoughts of techniques and ways these people have used to get on this train are the chips he holds today. He is going to cash them all in when the train arrives today.  This is the train called “Opportunity” after all, and is heading to destination “success”. Of course, everyone wants to get on board, and everyone has got their ticket, but if only a ticket is all you needed to get on this train. It comes every so often without fail. But it isn’t easy to get on board. After all, it is the train called “opportunity”!

 

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. ~Benjamin Disraeli

So, where are you?  Are you at this station? Are you on the right platform? Are you on time? Maher seems to have got the experience and the wisdom he needs to get on board. He is determined and awaits the train. All poised, planned, vigilant and ready. Are you there beside him? If you want to get to success, here comes “Opportunity”.

 

It is often hard to distinguish between the hard knocks in life and those of opportunity. ~Frederick Phillips

 

No matter what you do or where you are. No matter what you want to succeed in. Be it love, relationships, work, business, school, sports, or in life in whole. When opportunity arrives, you better be ready to get on board. Just a ticket you hold is not enough. It only get you to the platform where the train arrives. All the adversities and the misfortune are absolutely essential for you to get ahead of the line and get close to the door when the train arrives. Draw strength and learn from them as opposed to indulging in vain thoughts of why and wasting time in revenge. Instead, move ahead, there may be many more kids of people and experiences you may have to face before you avail the opportunity. This train leaves full. Almost everyone who have got on it have faced their share of hardships. Some handled it with grace, some with courage, some with smarts, and some with wit. Those who didn’t and succumbed their share of hardships, are still learning and are there on the platform awaiting their next train and some of them have given up and returned home. But there are those who got on this train by means that are despicable and at the cost of other innocent peoples goodness. But although they got on this train of opportunity, they may never get to the destination “Success” for they will be thrown away from the train or be forced to jump out by those righteous other people on the train.

 

Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as a daily opportunity. ~Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

 

Success doesn’t come easy. Yet everyone has a ticket to the train called “opportunity” that takes you there. The challenge is be at the station on time, determined to get to the front of the door with your bags packed with the credentials, with gathered experience, wisdom, and a strategy to get on board, and vigilant, aware and poised and ready to avail the opportunity. If you happen to miss this one, like many others do and did at this platform every day, you can wait for the next one. And it will come, keep the faith!

Opportunity is a parade. Even as one chance passes, the next is a fife and drum echoing in the distance. ~Robert Brault

 

Remember that  we get our share of opportunities daily. They may not be the opportunity that we are eagerly waiting for, but they can surely be an opportunity for other great things in life. An opportunity to help someone, learn something new, do a great deed, do something different, invent, innovate, develop a solution to a problem, build a relationship, fix a broken one, get healthy, show someone you care and love, forgive someone, or just become a better person. Availing such several small opportunities will only make you prepared for the next and eventually the big one you have been waiting for. Also remember that all the hardships you face along the way are also often opportunities in life. A divorce helps you end a bad relationship and creates an opportunity to seek and build a much happier life in future, a job loss allows you to get out of your comfort zone of daily mundane monotony and seek a better paying and challenging opportunity, a failure in a project is only an opportunity to amend your mistakes, solve the problems and try again to make it better next time. Every failure is only an opportunity to succeed the next time around by becoming stronger and prepared.

 

Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along. ~Hugh Allen

 

 

 


Awaken your Conscience – the beginning to happiness and success


 

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The strange thing about us human beings is that we often spend a lot of time and energy searching for ideas, and answers which often are found within ourselves. Many blame the world and everything they can and some often find their answers within. One of the most important answer we often seem to seek is: if we are doing the right thing? Or is what we are doing good for us? And as many accomplished and successful people have pointed out based on their own experiences: “listen to your inner voice or gut feeling”. Somehow this inner voice seems to know all the right answers and helps guide you often to the right things in life. And when we do something wrong it begins to eat us up from inside with guilt. But this inner voice is only heard if one pays attention and takes the effort to query or listen to it. And it only works if you take the necessary positive actions to do the right thing. This magical phenomenon that all of us have been gifted with is almost like a divine compass called Conscience. Like all the greatest gifts that we have Conscience is also another intangible and immeasurable possession like love, feelings, thinking etc.

Conscience is often found as a feeling of remorse when a human being commits actions that go against his or her moral values and beliefs. Conscience is like an aptitude, intuition or judgment of our thoughts and behaviours that distinguishes right from wrong. And us humans are asked to invoke this conscience universally through all religious belief systems and by means of any basic intellectual norms.

The word “conscience” is derived from the Latin word conscientia, meaning “privity of knowledge” or “with-knowledge”. The English word implies internal awareness of a moral standard in the mind concerning the quality of one’s motives, as well as a consciousness of our own actions. Conscience may be defined as the practical reason employed when applying moral convictions to a situation The many philosophers, or saints often ask to invoke our conscience to develop it, as they themselves do through daily contemplation or meditation combined with selfless service to others. Such developed state of conscience helps create a strong sense of intuitive insight or revelation to many. This helps a person to use their intellect towards positive and humane causes, pursue further knowledge, be self critical with the focus of self improvement and on a general level apply fair justice in his or her life.  

Yet we, the most developed and gifted species choose to live by killing our own conscience. Our pride, ego, anger and prejudice help us do things against our very own conscience until it is too late. The sad fact is that while one does things that go against their own moral values or beliefs, the conscience keep telling them that it is wrong. Once we do things against our conscience and fail, our conscience begins to hurt us with the feeling of severe guilt. But instead of taking the necessary positive steps to undo the damage many still continue to stifle this inner voice with rage and anger or drown it in intoxication.  We the intelligent, civilized and knowledgeable species choose such.

It is plain common sense that many of our personal and worlds’ ills are result of actions in rage and blind fury. The things we say to hurt others, the things we do to hurt others and ourselves, the greed we posses, the prejudice we hold, the disrespect we show are some of the things we do often against our conscience. The violent killings, the communal  riots, steeling, damaging things, wars, or theft are all things that people do against their basic human moral values and beliefs.

But this gift of conscience is a wonderful thing. It is the conscience that makes the individual set out to accomplish great feats and do the impossible, it makes people charitable, invokes the wealthy to become philanthropists, invokes love, compassion, and righteousness. It makes us become better people, do greater things in life, and helps us succeed.

Some quotes on Conscience:  

 

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
Albert Einstein

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.
Mohandas Gandhi

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.
George Washington

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
Leonardo da Vinci

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.
Carl Jung

War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.
Leo Tolstoy

When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.
Pope John Paul II

 

Development of Conscience:

Most people live with a self conceived idea and parameters of morality. It may be okay to lie a little but not to deceive or they may be comfortable to speak just to the advantages of doing something but choose to hide the negatives. But in general terms there is limit to who they choose to do and what they do not based on their moral values and comfort. These limits they choose change though time based on their individual experiences, social pressures and norms, or communal rituals and belief systems. But the conscience within eventually brings about a sense of balance as an individual evolves. But until such time the turmoil one can endure often affects their success and happiness in life.

So, how can one develop sound and balanced approach towards nurturing their conscience and morality to live a happy, content, and successful and guilt free life?

There are several theories based on studies of set groups. But it takes some honest self criticism and the will to self develop to come up with some key objectives:

1)      One needs to see the need to self develop and the need to adhere to balanced and just moral values and conduct. This in turn helps develop their inner conscience on sound principles which will allow them to do what is right and make them feel bad when they go against it.

2)      Fair judgement on balanced opinions and values. This can be practiced by not immediately reacting to any given situation. Exercising calm and some thinking can always help take a positive approach towards issues at hand. This becomes crucial to control haste and anger where patience and understanding would be more valuable.

3)      Respect and Equality for one and all. This would avoid people holding prejudice and tame ones ego. People who do not practice this often continue to live a life of arrogance, and self indulgence at the cost of other people’s happiness, self respect and peace. But they also live a life of continuous fight against their inner guilt and general level of discontent about everything in life.

Life is too short to waste time over petty behaviours and toiling in guilt. Many of our ills and unhappiness are out of our own choices and actions in life which are often against out very one divine gift called conscience. Awaken your conscience, live happier and become successful based on moral and balanced conscience!


The right choice is often a difficult path


The right choice is often a difficult path

 

Amongst all the wonders we are blessed with, one of the most powerful things that we have got is the power of “free will” or Choice. Specifically the choices we can make in life on a day to day basis between good and bad and how we wish to be or become as evolving human beings. I must also say that I am aware that choices are at times limited to people based on the circumstances they live in, but I am talking about the choices that still many have in lives in an effort to have a better living and happier and meaningful lives regardless of their circumstances.

Choice: a mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence.  In any given day as human beings we are subject to making several choices that affect our living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect our lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health.

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices. We may choose to blame the circumstances, but nevertheless the choice was ours and we are solely responsible for those choices and the eventual outcome. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often we end up choosing easy from hard and sadly the hard ends up being the right one to choose. The righteous and just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in your very power.

Before I was sent to England for schooling, my oldest brother sat me down and gave me a few valuable tips on what to expect and how to cope in a boarding school, new country, and above all how to uphold my dignity and self-respect. He always had a profound way to deliver his advice which would stick like a note with a board pin into my brain. His advises, as I can recall, always puts butterflies in my stomach and makes me smile as he would start off in all seriousness and end up with a hilarious one-liner and a smile. He told me about how friendships should be an equal relationship, how to take pride of who I am and uphold our decency, how to learn from my mistakes etc.  Among a barrage of things he threw at me that day over lunch he mentioned to me that there will be every vice, temptation, and choices of right and wrong thrown at me in my life as I go on. But, what makes one into a fine man or a failure, are the choices he makes and actions he takes once his choice has been made.

I was 17 then and I remember it was a Wednesday. Quiz day in Physics every Wednesday, first lesson in the morning. I wasn’t prepared, totally clueless and dumb as a needle on the subject that week. Perhaps my heart was too tangled in my dreams of falling in love with the amazingly new cute girl who helps out at our daily lunch hall. Anyways, as soon as our teacher came in, he passed out our question paper and told us that he will be very disappointed with anyone who will get less than 90% in this weekly quiz as it was one of his easier ones. Translated it means as follows: “It’s a tough paper, as it has just one question which clearly involves a lot of calculations. Should you get less than 90% he will put in a good word in our principal’s ear about our performance.” Having distributed the question paper and made his statement, he gave us 45 minutes to finish and he walked out of the class room.

The moment he walked out. There was the usual yet typical mumbling, cursing and looking at each others face for a few moments. Then one of us boldly walked up to the door stuck his neck out to see if our teacher wasn’t close by, and shut it back firmly and walked back to his desk. Quickly, almost everyone flipped out their text books and began to answer the equation precisely and fast. I looked around in amazement as I saw my buddies scribble away in a frenzy like they were writing their wish lists for toys and girls. I too had my text book with me, but I was thinking if I should or shouldn’t follow suit. And just then I remembered my power of choice and should my poor choice get the best of me, how will I let down my dearest brother’s aspiration about me. So, I sat there and stuck to my choice and decision to do the right thing and not cheat. My closest buddy glanced at me and asked me what was wrong? He quickly offered his text book to me to follow suit. I politely refused. He called me an idiot and nodded his head in disgust and disbelief. I sat through for 45 minutes and tried working out some other equation I knew as practice on a piece of paper. The teacher came back and collected everyone papers and took off again. 

Next morning I was at the center meeting hall in school where all students gather to grab their mug of coffee or tea before the classes begin. I knew I was going to be embarrassed and humiliated in my Physics class just before our first break. So I was being quiet and already being embarrassed of my upcoming doom. And before I realized, as all bad things do, the hour was upon my head. I dragged my foot from one class to another and planning out how I will react and how will other classmates react at the meeting hall soon after the class and spread the news about the scores to everyone in school. Particularly, how my score will be announced by our ever so sarcastic teacher in his classic British humor with a snide remark that will make everyone laugh. 

After all of us sat down and there was this impatient silence for a bit for the scores, our teacher called out my name first. I stood up with my chin stuck to my chest. He said I was the only student who passed the quiz and the rest failed. He further went on to say that if anyone disagreed with his scoring they were free to talk to the principal about it. For a moment I took it as his first sarcastic jab. I waited for a few more seconds for the next. But no one else reacted, and he asked me to sit down and continued with that day’s lesson. No one questioned his scores due to their guilt and I sat there feeling silly but yet still unsure of his decision. At the end of the class, he walked up to me as I was leaving the door, and said, he was extremely proud of my decision not to cheat and offered to tutor me after class if I needed any help in his subject as he was pleased to have a student with such honesty and integrity in his class.

During the break at the main meeting hall, my class mates walked up to me and shook my hand and said they had a lot of respect for me and my decision. They also went on to share this news with their other school mates. I was approached by other fellow school mates who heard about this and shook my hands and expressed their appreciation. And I was amazed to see how a simple choice to do the right thing could have such an amazing impact. I couldn’t help but think of what I had expected of my choice earlier that morning and what it had turned out to be. It was an experience that I still am very proud off till date. And it was an experience that thought me and reaffirmed what my brother had told me about choice. “What makes one into a fine man or a failure, are the choices he makes and actions he takes once that choice is made”.

We are always faced with such choices in our lives. We are always given these options and choices to choose from in almost every aspect of our life. But we need to have the wisdom, integrity, and the will to make the right choices for ourselves. The life we live is designed to challenge you to make the right choices in life. And each of your day to day choices result in a continuous change and the resulting consequences that shape your life. One must always remember that one can change his or her life by simply making the right choices in life. It’s entirely up to you. You can get rid of old habits, change unwanted situations, make better lifestyle choices, choose a better diet, choose better food, better friends, better reactions to situations and problems, and give yourself the wisdom and courage to achieve great things in your life by making good, educated and right choices in life.

Here are some chosen inspirational quotes from some well-known people, that helps understand the power of choice:

 “Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

 “You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in the that field of possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra (1946-…, physician and author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)

 “Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

 “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

 The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. – George Eliot

  Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

 It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch

In today’s world, many of us are also spoilt with choices. We do not know what is good for us and what is not. Young high school kids have trouble picking a profession, university or a carrier. Young graduates have trouble picking jobs, or company to work for, others have to choose their life partners, financial options, cars, life style, cell phones, televisions, computers, and even a simple cup of coffee is from a list of options and variations. There were times where I can walk into a Café and ask for a cup of coffee. I would get a cup of coffee, a jar of sugar and a pot of milk. Today in the name of quality service, brand and marketing gimmicks for an extra $4 whether you like it or not, you are forced to pick from Columbian, American, Costa Rican, host of other gourmet beans, ground, coarse, fine, Grande, Venti, Tall, milk, 2% milk, cream, black, white sugar, brown sugar, honey, sweetener, and still end up with just a coffee to kick-start your morning. But often these wonderful choices for many are bigger problems than convenience or luxury.

One key factor that disturbs me most is the choice and decision of young kids today. They are very quick to choose, decide and almost demand the best and often most expensive when it comes to their clothes, video game units, laptops, mobile phones, and girl or boy friends. But in their most vital and formative age of life they deliberately choose the most vain, aimless, lazy, and easy way out of them, including education, profession and future. They either, opt out of school, defer university entrance, choose other vain interests over scoring good grades at school, learn, aim for an easy degree to graduate in, or a comparatively lower ambition in life when they have a choice to do better. This way they dwell in a world where mediocrity is considered the norm. They do not choose to get the best of grades, make it to the best of universities, get the best of professional qualifications, excel and specialize in their professional qualifications, get the best of jobs and live the best of lives.

I do not mean that everyone has to be successful or be the top achiever in life although each truly carries the ability and can if they wanted. Being ordinary, mediocre is fine as well, but only if you can be happy and do not eventually become bitter of your own choices in the future. Often such individuals who make deliberate poor choices in life often seek the easy way out continue to take poor decisions that end them up assimilating a string of bad experiences, and resulting consequences due to their poor state of living. They will rather choose to get a fat loan or more than affordable car whether they have the means to fill the gas to run it or not. Some choose to spend their parents earnings on their cell phone bills and but never on a clean pair of jeans or clothes. They will choose to take advice and rest on the opinion of some half baked, semi-educated, councilor or a “friend” who will encourage dropping off from school and taking a hike across the country or to another country, smoke weed and have fun or get into a get rich quick dot.com business or buying their share of the pyramid scheme they themselves got suckered into. But they will hardly choose the advice of their selfless, hard-working, sacrificing and extremely caring parents and well-wishers who will often be willing to support their ambition with the best quality of education, universities, and help along the way by paying off their tuition fees as opposed to bank loans, get them a vehicle, give them a house to stay, etc.  I once was told that a person will invariably choose the best and eventually become very successful in life, if he or she is given only the best option as the only and last option to choose from. I guess is has become even more essential to educate todays’ youths on the realities of life and the consequences of human choices. Especially to help them from chasing unrealistic dreams such as the numerous pyramid or other get rich quick schemes with very little efforts. They need to be educated of the resulting proven consequences of better choices and to indulge in creative thinking and strategic planning and development of ideas for the real world that will help them succeed.

Educated and quality choices about self, others, life, and character will only result in success, happier life and great achievement!


The power of YOU! Your true worth and purpose in life.


Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ~ Helen Keller

We are people who constantly endeavor in a firm mission to make our life worth while and with purpose. Every living hour of interaction with other people, nature and life is merely a process of brining purpose to our action in which we seek some satisfaction of self. Thus it is very important for each of us to realize and question our purpose in almost every aspect of our life. What is the true purpose for our respective lives? What is the fundamental purpose to work? What is the purpose of marriage? Or most importantly, what purpose do we fulfill in another persons life?

Every one of us have been created uniquely with unique skills, capabilities, thought processes, and characters. But finding the unique purpose that we will full fill is something that we have to seek, develop and accomplish ourselves. No one is going to do it for us. In order for us to understand this we first need to realize the power of our individual influence.

The world of tomorrow, and the people who will live then, will live a life that has been shaped by the actions we take today. We know this too well because we ourselves life a life of the actions and steps taken by our ancestors. Similarly, we live our life today which is highly influenced by a hand full of individuals who made great contributions, inventions and discoveries. The moment we realize this simple fact and make a choice to exercise our existence to make a good influence to humanity we find purpose.

Only a life lived for others is the life worthwhile. ~ Albert Einstein

We unknowingly often fulfill many purposed in other people’s lives. For example: we fulfill the purpose of being an adviser when one seeks this from us, we fulfill the purpose of being a friend when people need us, we fulfill the purpose of being an mentor to those who look up to us for guidance. We also influence the world around us by our choices, purpose and reactions. Hence we must make good of our purpose and ensure that it aimed towards a noble cause.

How we think, process any given information, make our choices and react is unique to us. And this shapes our world around us. We influence people and many other greater things in life by these unique and individual reactions and choices. This individual identity of ours fulfills a unique purpose in life. We matter. Our actions matter. And hence it is important to improve our actions and reactions constantly to make a better and good impact on our life and world.

There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission – a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment, he finds greatness. It is his finest hour. ~ Sir Winston Churchill

You can make a unique difference.

You matter!

Remember that your actions and purpose has greater significance in many other people’s lives!

Your contributions to mankind, world, family, and evryone you touched in your life are the only things that show your true worth and character. These are the only things that make your life worthwhile and it begins with you!

 Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs


Personality Progressive Development


 

 

Yes, personality has external and other factors that determine it. Heredity, our respective external environment, personal experiences and specific circumstances have a bearing on our respective individual personalities. However, other than heredity, we as humans can exercise your power to choose and think to make the changes we need to our personalities as opposed to blaming other factors. As we grow older, gain maturity, develop our own beliefs, opinions, ability to think, ability to differentiate between good and bad, ability to choose and disregard, we can make the much-needed developments to make ourselves better human beings in the process. As we all know that personality always changes over time and based on individual experiences, we can surely choose to make these experiences and time to shape ourselves as better individuals. It is easy to blame our faults and lack of ability to progressively evolve into better human beings, but it is imperative for us to take ownership of our own good and change our personalities for the better.  

Here are some ideas to help build a positive personality. Following these can and will help you become more popular, likeable, loveable, and impact your life very positively:

Identify yourself first: Be reasonably self-analytical and critical. Compare yourself to an ideal personality you seek to become and ask yourself why that personality. Identify areas you need to develop or improve. Try to understand who you really are, where do you come from, and what are the good and bad morals and values of who you truly are.

Recognize the need for improvement and progress: Realize your pitfalls and mistakes. List areas of improvement and development needed. See where you what to be, how do you want to be, how do you want people to see you as. And in doing so, ensure you are being realistic and are aiming for honest, moral and positive attributes.

Learn willingly and openly: Learn from others, pick their goodness and good wisdom, and reject their bad habits and beliefs. Search for good sources to learn from all and every experience from your life. Don’t reject anyone or any things you can learn from. Wise wisdom can be found in any place from anyone, so can immoral aspects. Choose the good and keep learning.

Take charge and responsibility: Know that you have the capability and courage to become who you want. Be determined and take charge of your own development. Not doing anything will not get you anywhere. So, become responsible and a confident individual.

Be genuine and honest: Be honest in your efforts. Be honest to self and be honest with others. Your honesty is clearly visible. Do not take others for fools and assume they can’t see your dishonesty. If people do not react it doesn’t mean they believe you. Your honest is very clearly visible in your actions, deeds, and words.

Be considerate and polite: Develop basic skills to behave, talk, act and think in a considerate and polite manner. By respectful of others before you expect them to show these attributes to you.

Follow through your commitments: When you give your word or commit to something, be bold, courageous and honorable enough to follow through with your actions. Weather it is in a relationship or work, one has to learn the value of integrity and consequences of misleading someone and having them pin their hopes, desires, wishes and emotions to their commitment. A person, who doesn’t stand by their word and follow through in actions, will never be able to find true happiness or respect within or from others. 

Be selective and aware of your choice of words: Use positive words always. Speak softly, yet clearly and firmly. Think of sentences and words before you speak to avoid misunderstandings. Use kind and eloquent words when and where possible. Control your voice when you speak. Be aware and respectful of your surroundings. Think how you are coming across to your audience.

Be sensible with criticism: Do not criticize. You may casually be critical amongst your close friends and family, but be aware there is a limit there too. If people laugh along with you it doesn’t mean they approve of your criticism. And remember that there is only a fine line between criticism, condemnation and character assassination.

Be a good listener: One of the key factors is to be a good listener. Learn to be patient, show genuine interest, look them in the eye, and truly listen to what they are saying to you. Ask questions, don’t interrupt, and be considerate.

Motivate and Inspire: Speak words and act in a manner that inspires others and motivates others to become positive and be happier. I call this putting butterflies in their stomachs. Say things to help others that make sense and makes then smile and ticklish in their stomach. Positive words with a smile, smell good, dress good, walk tall, etc.

Recognize Good and appreciate it: If you recognize and appreciate a good behavior in a person, it makes the other person repeat this particular behavior more. When you see good, walk up to this person and express your appreciation. You there by build their confidence and boost their positive behavior.

Be generous and helpful and expect nothing in return: Help others generously. Help by sharing knowledge, teach, share wealth with the poor, share your wisdom, your experiences, share your goodness. And do it with humility by understanding you too take and need others help in life. And do it freely as a good human being and expect nothing in return.

Be humble and grateful: Thank people, give away your ego in exchange for gratefulness. Be nice, and do not show off. Let yourself be known by your character and class. Not as a shameless and cheap loud mouth.

Be honorable and loyal: Keep your, morals, values, principles and honor intact. People will learn to depend on you based on these virtues.

Carry a great sense of humor: This one attribute will help you sail through any problems, complexities, stress and relationships. Take a lighter look at situations and learn to see the funnier side of things. Laugh at them and share the laughter. Learn to laugh at yourself.

Don’t procrastinate: Daily make it a habit to list things, then prioritize them and aim to complete the top three at least in a given day always. This will eventually give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment and impact your attitude positively.

Take care of your appearance: Don’t become careless and disregard your appearance. Always aim to look good, maintain good hygiene, appear to be clean, smell good, dress well, etc. Take care of your health, weight, and appearance.

Earn Respect: Don’t expect people to respect your title, age or gender. Earn their respect by behaving in a manner that contributes to your title, age gender etc. Earn the right to give advice, comment, or speak. Give respect before you expect it from others. And command respect by your behavior, do not shamelessly demand it when you do not get any.

Become a better Human being as well. Or more importantly be a human being that makes others what to be like you. Be able to respect yourself and see how you come across as a person and an individual to the world around you. Here are a few perspective I like to share to become a good human being first:

  • Love everyone regardless of caste, religion, creed, color, country or culture but for the good in them. The will love you back for the same reasons.
  • Strive to become a moral and responsible individual.
  • Respect all as well and above all do not be critical of the differences. They will reciprocate in the same manner towards you.
  • Be honest to self first. You will be rewarded and others will respect you for that.
  • Build character by actions and deeds, and not by words. You will inspire others and your loved ones by this.
  • You will find common ground with every person you meet if you want to. But you should be willing to communicate and be approachable.
  • Establish your identity by character. Not by your skin color, culture or religion. You will win the love, respect and appreciation of all people you meet all through your life.
  • Take pride in who you are and what you are made of. If you don’t respect yourself, your culture or religion, others will not respect these either.
  • Don’t build a pseudo personality in order to pretend to be affiliated to a popular group or a person to win their love and respect. Real people can see through it. And you eventually will find yourself to be lonely as your pretentious guard will one day fall.
  • Learn and be self-critical! Do not be so pig-headed that you never improve yourself and deteriorate over time in knowledge and wisdom.
  • Lastly, please take time to appreciate what you like in others. It’s a simple phenomenon. The more you appreciate what you liked in one person, the more that person feels like giving it to you and others.

 


Million Dollar Business Idea?


 

No, this is not another pyramid scheme. Neither is this a get rich quick idea.

Everyone seems to have an idea or two to make money other than working as an employee for someone else. And there are many who have the grit and will to put it in action. But not everyone succeeds. And there are many who aspire but never wish to perspire to achieve their dreams. Often there are many obstacles, circumstances, and situations in life that does not allow the time or the energy to pursue such dreams. But, these dreams live on.

There are many valid business ideas that could make a million dollars that get buried in these clutter of unfulfilled dreams and ambitions. With various reasons that hinders or stops one from achieving these dreams there is one big factor that prevails. Failure! The fear of investing their money, time and life in an idea that could fail stops many from going ahead. But, having said that, it is also perhaps one of the easiest of factors to overcome. Here I wish to discuss a few simple concepts in the process of developing the fairly secure million dollar idea that would earn you a million dollars.

*** 

The million dollar dream building:

For ease of understanding, I am breaking this down to the simplest form based on the basic principles of marketing that would help conceive the concept:

The Million Dollar Math:

To make $10,00,000 one needs to understand this in exact numbers. You need to first have a very clear understanding how this million dollar is actually broken down in terms of units/service  (referred to as a “product” here on), and consumers.

A million dollars in other words is ten hundred thousands. That is: $10, 00, 000.

If you wish to make a million dollars for yourself, you will have to sell a product a million times with a $1 profit per unit sold. Simple?

So, if you have a $100 profit margin, then you will have to sell your product only a 10,000 times (ten thousand).

A higher the profit margin, lowers the units to be sold. Remember that this unit could be a tangible product, or a service.

Once you understand this, all you have to do is develop the right product/service and back it with a sound marketing plan. A very good and valuable product with its unique feature at a fair market price based on the target buyers’ affordability will sell. In other words, if you were that target customer, will you buy it and why? As simple as that! In order to make this happen, you will need to know a few simple concepts of marketing. Below are a few simplified yet essential features of a marketing plan.

The Product:

This is where it is all about you, your skills, creativity and interest. However it is extremely important to keep the user of the product you develop in clear focus and the true “need” or “use” of the product to the end user. While developing the idea of this product one needs to consider these five common things:

  • What will the potential buyer want or need this product for?
  • Why will this potential buyer buy this product?
  • What are the key characteristics of these potential buyers demographics? That is, what is the typical age group, sex, income, affordability, lifestyle, culture, where they live, etc.
  • Does your product fulfill a need or a want?
  • And are there similar products already there in the market place. If you do not see it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. A little honest research is very essential.

Next you need to understand the product in detail. The workings of it, the design, the use, the looks, appearance, etc. You need to know your product or service in-depth. You should aim to become a subject matter expert in that product to be safe.

You also need to understand the market and industry of the product or service. You need to study the actual worth of the product. Look for examples of similar products. Understand and learn how they work, why they are priced as such, how they are sold, who buys them etc. You also need to constantly ask yourself why will anyone buy your product or service. What is unique about your product that will compel a buyer to buy your offering from the other seller?

For example: If you think it is a brilliant idea to start-up another On-line Home Rental service offering, where home owners can advertise their rental property and prospective renters can search and rent homes, how does it compare?

  • What will you offer differently compared to the other players?
  • What will be unique about your service?
  • Is that unique offering enticing enough for the consumer to shift their loyalty?
  • How many potential renters are there in your city?
  • How many rental homes are there in your city?
  • What percentage of people go on-line to search rental property from the potential renters?
  • How many such on-line sites are there and how many listings are there per site?
  • Is there room for another player?

These are some question one needs to ask and study when developing a product or service.

The Price:

Disposable shaving sticks with blades are cheaper in price and sold in packs with multiple units. But, the individual shaving sticks, from the same manufacturer, comes with few blades. And the user will have to buy the blades separately which are often more expensive than the shaving sticks. Yet there are consumers who choose to buy the individual shaving sticks and blades separately and willingly pay more for the negligible shaving comfort. So the question is, who is your target customer? The one who wants to save money, or the one who is will to pay more? Remember the million dollar math. Higher the profit margin, lower the units to be sold.

You will also need the actual and real cost to market or serve. This means what will it cost you to manufacture this product and bring it to the stage where the potential user/buyer will make the purchase. These typically involves these common costs to consider:

  • Cost to develop and make the product
  • Cost to package and make the product look desirable
  • Cost to sell it (marketing, selling staff, advertising, etc.)
  • Cost to deliver (transporting to the place of sale or the customer)
  • Over head costs (staff salaries, real estate-rent, utilities etc)

Now once these costs are detailed add-on a realistic profit margin to it. Do not be greedy and over price it, or do not make it too cheap and decrease its value. The price is based on what the target consumer is willing to pay for the product or service based on the value it has for them. It is called “fair market value” or FMV. It simply means that, it is a price a knowledgeable and fair potential buyer will be willing pay for the product or service you offer.   

 

The place you sell or do business in:

I love food. I enjoy all kinds of food, such as Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Indian, Chinese, etc. Hence I love to cook. I can get any recipes from books, Television, internet and my wonderful sister in-laws ultra fantastic recipes and create some amazing and delicious food. But I hate cleaning up. Perhaps that is why many of us choose to get food delivered home. And every once in a while, we choose to go and dine out. Although, we can make many good and great dishes ourselves at home, we choose to go out and pay for it. We opt to dine out, have someone cook some great creations, and serve it to us. And we will pay a price that we fully well are aware is at least 200% more than the cost of it and still leave behind a handsome tip to the waiter. And we do all this for the “experience”!

I walk into several restaurants and wonder why did they even bother? The décor is at best drab, the tables/furniture pretty bare, service is just short of being shot at, and often the food is worse than what I can make if I were drunk out of my senses. And to add to this condition, if one dares to jump over the fence of baffling curiosity and converse with the owner of this business, they will unwaveringly express their disappointment at their customers. They will blame the market, economy, the government, culture, weather, and the dog at their home but never themselves or the state of their place of business.

One of the essential parts to a successful business is its location. Where do you sell your products or service? Is it on-line, is it in a business district, does it have customer parking, does it have a steady or good flow of your target customers, or is your product sold at a retail location, does it have a prominent shelf space etc. These are some of the things you seriously need to consider.

Always remember that the environment or atmosphere usually has a huge impact on the business. There is a very good reason for the kids of music that is played in a supermarket, a fashion retail outlet or in a hotel elevator. Which begs the question, why do some Indian restaurants play sad and depressing music? It usually kills my appetite.

How will you promote your business?

How will you make the customer come to you, see your product or service and make the purchase now? How fast do you want to make your million dollars? Will a one dollar a day pace suffice or do you have a fixed time frame to make your first million dollars? If so, how will you sell those units within that time frame?

There are several creative ways to do this. But no matter how you plan to do this, and come up with new ingenious ideas or traditionally proven methods, you will always have to keep asking yourself this; why will the customer buy from me? Or, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see if your promotional idea invokes you to make the purchase. Until the numbers shows in sales, keep developing these ideas. Whether it is a free promotional offer, a special discount, a limited time offer, a free gift, it has to make sense to the buyer.  

I remember a Photography Film Processing Lab not so long ago before the digital photography industry killed their business. The owner of this lab came up with a new and different idea to promote his business. He bought a consignment of promotional products from a liquidation dealer. And he charged $0.50 cents more per print to process a film roll and would give each customer a random number to pick. Based on the number the customer could win anything from a key chain, to a television. His store will packed with these floor to ceiling promotional goods and a beeline of customer all through the mall. 3 months later the promotion died, but the beeline lasted a few good years.

Similarly, you would buy your child a Kids meal at McDonald’s knowing that they won’t eat the food, but the free toy will shut them up for a while.

That’s promotion in a nutshell.

 

 So, what is your Million Dollar Idea?

It doesn’t have to be what everyone does, or something that has never been done before. It has to be good, realistic, and positioned appropriately. More than anything else, you will have to believe in it based on realistic numbers and research.  There are several brilliant products and services that were once laughed at or criticized but is one of the most successful ideas or products in today’s world. A personal computer in every house was once such a dream of a famous individual. Build your million dollar dream and make it happen!

 

Some select Quotes to remember!

 

And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.
Andrew Carnegie

As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.
John Greenleaf Whittier

Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.
Gary Ryan Blair

Do not trust people. They are capable of greatness.
Stanislaw Lem

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.
Howard Aiken

Every young man would do well to remember that all successful business stands on the foundation of morality.
Henry Ward Beecher

Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.
Robert H. Schuller

 If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been.
Robert H. Schuller

If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.
J. Paul Getty

In modern business it is not the crook who is to be feared most, it is the honest man who doesn’t know what he is doing.
William Wordsworth

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie

No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.
Niccolo Machiavelli

Not for nothing is their motto TGIF – ‘Thank God It’s Friday.’ They live for the weekends, when they can go do what they really want to do.
Richard Nelson Bolles

Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
Thomas J. Watson 


Power of Choice


 

 

 

Amongst all the wonders we are blessed with, one of the most powerful abilities we have got distinctively from other living beings, is the unique power to choose. Here I am talking about choices we make in life on a day to day basis between good and bad and as human  beings as opposed to be possessed by emotions, ego and pride which often is not necessarily the right choices. I must also say that I am aware that choices are at times limited to people based on the circumstances they live in, thus I am talking about those who can still make better choices in lives in an effort to have a better living and happier and meaningful lives regardless of their circumstances.

What is this ability to choose? What is choice?

It is the mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence.  In any given day or human beings are subject to making several choices that affect their living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect their lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health.

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often as humans we end up choosing easy from hard and sadly the hard ends up being the right one to choose. The righteous and just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in your very power.

We are always faced with such choices in our lives. We are always given these options and choices to choose from in almost every aspect of our life. But we need to have the wisdom, integrity, and the will to make the right choices for ourselves and in an effort to make our world a much better place. The life we live is designed to challenge you to make the right choices in life. And each of your day to day choices result in a continuous change in the resulting consequences that shape your living. It may seem hard to imagine right at this moment, but you can change your life by simply making the right choices in life. It’s entirely up to you. You can get rid of old habits, change unwanted situations, make better lifestyle choices, better diet, choose better food, better friends, better reactions to situations and problems, and give yourself permission to achieve great things in your life by making good, educated and right choices in life.

Here are some chosen inspirational quotes from some well known people that will help you understand the power of choice:

“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in the that field of possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra (1946-…, physician and author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)

“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. – George Eliot

 Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch

In today’s world, many of us are also spoilt with choices. We do not know what is good for us and what is not. Young high school kids have trouble picking a profession, university and ambitions. Young graduates have trouble picking jobs, or company’s to work for, others have to choose their life partners, financial options, cars, life style, cell phones, televisions, computers, and even a simple cup of coffee is from a list of options and variations. There were times where I can walk into a Café and ask for a coffee. I would get a cup of coffee, a jar of sugar and a pot of milk. Today in the name of quality service, brand and marketing gimmicks for an extra $4 weather you like it or not, you are forced to pick from Columbian, American, Costa Rican, host of other gourmet beans, ground, coarse, fine, Grande, Venti, Tall, milk, 2% milk, cream, black, white sugar, brown sugar, honey, sweetener, and still end up with just a coffee to kick start your morning. But often these wonderful choices for many are bigger problems than convenience or luxury.

One key factor that disturbs me most is the choice and decision of young kids today. They are very quick to choose, decide and almost demand the best and often most expensive when it comes to their clothes, video game units, laptops, mobile phones, and girl friends. But in their key and one of the most vital times of life they deliberately choose the most vain, aimless, lazy, and easy way out of them all of education, profession and future. They either, opt out of school, defer university entrance, choose other vain interests over scoring good grades at school, learn, aim for a easy degree to graduate in, or a comparatively lower ambition in life. This way they dwell in a world where mediocrity is considered the norm. They do not choose to get the best of grades, make it to the best of universities, get the best of professional qualifications, excel and specialize in their professional qualifications, get the best of jobs and live the best of lives.

I do not mean that everyone has to be successful or be the top achiever in life although each truly carry the ability and can if they want. Being ordinary, mediocre is fine as well, but only if you can be happy and do not eventually become bitter and a burden on the rest of the society, and your loved ones and a total waste of life. Often such vain individuals who often seek the easy way out continue to take poor decisions that end them up assimilating a string of bad actions, and resulting consequences due to their poor state of living. They will rather choose to get a fat loan or more than affordable car where they have the means to fill the gas to run it or not, but will use educational loans as an excuse not to study further, they will choose to spend their parents and their meager earnings on their cell phone bills and testing fees but never on a clean pair of jeans or clothes. They will choose to take advice and rest on the opinion of some half ass, semi educated, pea brain school councilor or the worst amongst the lot, overly friendly irresponsible teachers advice who will encourage dropping off from school and taking a hike across the country or to another country, smoke weed and have fun or get into a get rich quick dot.com business or buying their share of the pyramid scheme they themselves got suckered into, before they get back into the groveling and hard and difficult life of books and professional qualification. But they will hardly choose the advice of their selfless, hard working, sacrificing and extremely caring parents and well-wishers who will often be willing to support their ambition, best quality of education, universities, and help along the way by helping or paying off their tuition fees as opposed to bank loans, get them a vehicle, give them a house to stay, etc.  I once was told that a person will invariably choose the best and eventually become very successful in life, if he or she is given only the best option as the only and last option to choose from. I guess today’s youths must be given a course in high school on the realities of life and the consequences of human choices and their options to choose their future, designed especially to systematically break their stupid and life wasting unrealistic dreams of getting rich quick with very little efforts by highlighting the notoriously proven schemes such as, pyramid schemes, peddling drugs, doing business without qualifications, etc. Instead they need to be educated of the resulting proven consequences of such choices and to indulge in creative thinking and strategic planning and development of ideas for the real world that will help them succeed.

Educated and quality choices about self, others, life, and character will only result in success, happier life and great achievement


Your world is a result of your “reactions”.


 

Stress and difficulties have been my best buddies all through my life. In fact they are buddies with every one of you.  But regardless of mental stress and the troublesome  circumstances life has taken me through, I have been fortunate to realize my own behavior and often laugh at the things I do. Especially when I find myself or others under pressure, I find we do many silly and often stupid things. Our rational and cognitive self disappears and instant emotional responses take precedence which invariably stands tall opposing our basic logic.

Allow me to explain myself by sharing one of my such irrational responses to a situation: I once got on a popular diet recommended by someone close which promised a drastic weight loss in a week – 10 days time which would be a good kick-start to get on an eventual balanced diet program. Having stuck to my diet from day one which involved consuming copious amount of bland vegetable soup and low-calorie raw fruits and vegetables, I arrive on my 4th day successfully. I had dreaded this day because it involved me surviving on partly skimmed milk and bananas. Of course, I hate milk!  But as my luck would have it, my morning began with my daily dose of senseless comedy and needless stupidity.

Here is a short version of what I mean: A customer with an annoying disposition calls me when I was in the washroom and left a message for me on my voice mail. I see the message on my mobile phone and decide to listen to it once I am out of the door, on my way to work. Meanwhile, he calls my boss asking him where I was and that I didn’t pick up his call. By the time I was heading out my boss calls me asking me why my customer was calling him and why didn’t I pick his call. Having explained to him my obvious reason, I call up my customer to help his query. During which my boss calls me to check if I had called him. He gets my voice mail as I was still on the phone and thus leaves a message to call him back. He assumed that, perhaps my phone wasn’t working and all calls were going to the voice mail directly. After I was done with my customer, I picked up my voice mail again and then called my boss to let him know that I resolved the customers concern, and my phone was just fine and I am furious with his impatience and micro management and my this annoying customers behavior.  Phew! No, this isn’t an exaggeration. It is exactly a day in the life of a Senior Manager in the corporate world of today.

Anyhow, in this madness and my rage, I stop by at the gas station to pick a couple of bottles of my hated milk for the day. I rushed in and walked past the puffed up shiny bags of potatoes chips wearing their contents proudly on their chest, and those gleaming bars of chocolates screaming for my attention. I got to the refrigerator and quickly scanned through the neatly stacked stout cans of soft drinks in all colors and shapes and calorie counts looking for my milk. And there again there stood several of them in different colors, flavors and shapes and sizes. I quickly scanned and saw one in blue which read “French vanilla”. Yes, perhaps this flavor will help me guzzle it down with some relative ease and thus grabbed it, paid for it and got back into my car. As I began drinking it on my way to work, I found the flavor to be rather strong and thick. But as I couldn’t take my eyes off the road to read the fine prints I continued consuming its contents until I finished it. And once I reached my work, I looked at the bottle and the writings in small letters. It said “Coffee creamer” and when turned it around to see its calories I realized that I just had consumed the whole 1000 calories of its contents.  There crashes my diet plan and three days of sacrifices.

 It is amusing how we react to such simple daily pressures. And what is even more amusing is how easy it is to avoid such reactions. If I had only cooled down and controlled my anger I would have been a bit more focused. If only I realized there was absolutely no need for me to rush to work, I could have been a bit more diligent in picking up the right bottle of milk. I could have very well done that. But I didn’t and hence ended up doing something totally stupid.

 It is so odd to see us; intelligent beings do such stupid things in life. Many of our problems and unpleasant situations are created by us and our instant reactions. And we would be the first to see such stupidity in others and either correct them or laugh at them. But we seldom think about our own such behavior. No matter the external situation or circumstances. The choice of how we react to it is absolutely in our control.

 The power to choose our reaction:

It is the mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence.  In any given day as human beings we are subject to making several choices that affect our living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect our lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health.

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices. We may choose to blame the circumstances, but nevertheless the choice was ours and we are solely responsible for those choices and the eventual outcome. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often we end up choosing easy from hard and sadly the hard ends up being the right one to choose. The righteous and just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in you.

Here are some ideas on changing the outcome by changing your reaction:

1. When someone can not understand your point of view, try rephrasing it differently with calm. Do not express frustration or anger but instead express patience and stage what you are trying to say differently. Do not brand them as stupid or crazy if they cannot understand you. It could be your choice of words and demeanor is confusing to them. It may be easy for others to understand you but it doesnt mean that this person would also be able to do the same. Remember that each person, their experiences, comprehension, and demeanor is different. You have to match their understanding to make your point. It is not necessary for them to meet your style of communication.

2. When faced with an aggressive or pushy person, do not push back or try to retaliate with more aggression or rage. Instead, try walking away and avoid a futile attempt to communicate with someone who is obviously has lost their mind in anger. Allow them to cool down. Life doesnt end at that moment. You can always return to discuss the concern or issue later again if it is worth your time.

3. In an argument, state your point calmly and patiently try to explain. There is absolutely no point in raising your voice or expressing anger which makes one deviate from the point of concern to a battle of rage and ego. Remember that a disagreement is often with a certain issue and work or discuss to agree or agree to disagree. Do not turn it into a battle of egos or who can shout louder than the other. The volume of your voice or the choice of harsh words has never helped driving a point through. It has only helped aggravate the emotion. (I thank my sister for this lesson). 

4. When someone is stubborn in doing something that you believe is wrong and they do not listen to your advice, learn to let them learn by their mistakes. As you learn from your mistakes and people need to learn from their failures, let them go through the process. Some people choose to learn this ay and it is better for them. And also remember that some people may choose to do something which they fully well know could result in getting hurt. But they have their own reasons. For example: I know those who go out of their way to be nice to people who could hurt them because they belive that their nice and loving behaviour may help inspire the other person to become a better person.  So learn to be supportive of such people. Allow them to do as they seem fit after having explained your concern. But be there to support them with your love and understanding if they get hurt.  

5.  Do not stop yourself from reacting to any situation. By staying silent to avoid possible discourse, you invariably position yourself as a victim in your mind. Instead try to react in a manner that you express your point respectfully without hurting anyones ego.  Remember that as your react to a given action. Your reaction provokes others to respond too. So try to react in a manner that will invoke a positive response from others. In other words, your reaction can calm things. Your reaction can aggravate a situation. And your reaction can inspire others to be like you.

  • React to a problem with a solution not stress.
  • React to anger with calm and composure not anger.
  • React to stupidity with humor nor ridicule.
  • React to adversity with empathy not rage.
  • React to authority with compliance not aggravation.
  • React to injustice with polite defiance not violence.
  • React to ego with class and humility not disrespect.
  • React to confusion with patience and rationality not impulse.
  • React to arrogance with avoidance not submission.

Remember that your reaction can inspire change. Be inspirational! The world is often nothing more than a result of your reaction to any given situation!

I leave you with some chosen inspirational quotes from some well-known people about choice and reactions:

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. ~Wade Boggs
~

“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

~

 For some reason I did something where I realized I could get a reaction. That was when I broke out of my shell at school, because I really didn’t have any friends or anything like that and I just kind of was going along, and then finally I did this zany thing, and all of a sudden I had tons of friends. ~Jim Carrey 

“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in the that field of possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra (1946-…, physician and author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)

~

Reaction – a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on. ~Victor Hugo~
“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

~

That’s what takes people out of the fight half the time. They get hit and half the reaction is your ego is saying, ‘I cannot believe that person just lit me up – how humiliating.’  ~David O. Russell~

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

~

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. ~Carl Jung
 
~

 Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

~

It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch


Paradoxes of our changing times, people and paradigms


 

Please enjoy the above audio feed

 

Sensible humans, insensible beings.  We the knowledgeable and the most gifted of creation do many things that opposes our own basic sensibilities. It is amusing to see people who know the right from wrong but still choose to do what is wrong. For example a person knows the consequences of smoking, the cigarette packs carry horrific pictures of how the internal organs of smokers appears when damaged, and there are seriously alarming statistics for anyone to learn from, yet the knowledgeable man knowingly chooses to smoke. Those who live in a free world with fair law and protection feel the need to carry a gun for self-protection etc. With all the progressive evolution and technological advancements it still appears many things haven’t changed sadly. Man still continues to live in fear, hunger still kills people, and wars still seem to be inevitable.

I often wonder where the days have gone where people welcomed others to visit their country proudly with a warm smile. Have you seen the expressions and demeanor of today’s immigration officers across the world? People now have become accustomed to handing their self-respect and dignity to these uniformed first faces of the country they visit. Being intimidated, unwelcome and at times getting insulted has become a norm while visiting many of our so-called “first world” nations. I find it very shocking and upsetting to see how we have chosen to sacrifice our manners, hospitality, culture, and respect for others under the excuse of terrorism? Aren’t people able to see how they have allowed institutional authorities to scare them into dropping their own privacy, dignity and respect at the feet of a security officer, where some of them take the liberty to abuse the power and authority with arrogance and total disregard to basic human dignity?  I find it appalling to see a father of a young girl stand in line at an airport security check in and watch the pride, love and honor of his house being touched and “patted down” by hand or video screened by a total stranger and he cannot do anything about it. When will our mute conscience scream out for justice for self and all? Is this the state and condition of living we choose in our advanced and developed world? Does security measures have to be this humiliating and disrespectful? Can’t there be a more efficient and respectable process developed with all the technology we have in place today? Do we really have to pack our dignity and leave it at home before we decide to travel for a simple holiday? Does the new highly advanced metal detector really need the person to assume a less dignified position and hold their belongings in both their hands up over their forehead? And the only alternative option is an invasive and more degrading hand pat-down by some stranger under the arrogance of authority? Is this the educated, free and respectable world? This is the free country of today that claims to uphold the respect, dignity and equal rights for everyone?

The age and times of today have changed a lot and less reasonable on the account of political ambitions and personal financial gains of a few powerful people. It seems to be a world that is run by corporations like a corporation. Certain countries are run by corporations and some countries are run by taking-over corporations. We are now witnessing a serious shift in many traditional institutional methods along with age-old perceptions. The military superpowers of yesterday are standing on their knees before the economic superpowers of today. What was once touted as a free country is lot more constrained, rude, interrogative, and invasive where their own people are being oppressed softly than the ones they admonished during the cold war days. The “show me your papers” has been replaced by a simple credit card, social security card or even a basic drivers license. People are watched more carefully and closely with total disregard to their privacy and dignity by advanced technology preying deep into their personal lives. Today’s power abusing government officials keep us so puzzled with their intimidation and scare tactics that we do not have time to realize that our basic rights have also been taken away by new laws and regulations in the name of security. Democratic governments have begun to treat people like dictators while dictatorships have learned to control their people with the false pretext of democracy. Broken homes grow with more frequent divorces over trivial reasons as people become wealthier. The unreasonable distribution of “divorce settlements” feed this trend regardless of the fact that divorce is one of the top reasons for bankruptcies. It has become a legal, super-sensitive and precarious task to correct and reprimand your own children when they misbehave. Basic human lives have lost their value. Countries that were considered poor have become richer while once prosperous countries battle economic crisis. Elected leaders continue to make poor and selfish decisions while people continue to suffer helplessly, and wisdom sits under the thumb of people’s mobile web browsers while they continue to make poor choices and continue to become more ignorant on account of their arrogance. I wonder at times how this world will be, if countries can form coalitions to help other countries, stop wars, maintain peace, eradicate disease and poverty and educate, as opposed to standing together only to fight a common enemy sitting over valuable natural resources.

As people we have become more individualistic in nature by shrugging off our basic responsibilities towards our loved ones, family, humanity and the world we share. We are quick to retaliate against our loved ones when we put up with lot more nonsense from people who don’t matter to us. We easily hurt the people who love us without thinking, but we think twice before we say anything to a stranger. We have chosen to work harder at our jobs to succeed while we feel tired to work on the necessary relationships of our lives. “Sorry I do not have the time to attend to your human wants honey because I am too busy attending to the wants of a heartless entity I work for.” Money takes precedence over humanity. We have increasingly become more critical, untrusting and disrespectful of the opposite sex. Socially we have become stranger and paranoid. We look at almost everyone with suspicion. We may live in a community for several years yet we do not know our very neighbors name. Personally we have become more egoistic and arrogant regardless of what we truly are. We have become more demanding and short-tempered. We choose to be rude, unhappy and disrespectful to others over the most minor of incidents. Dignity and self-respect is put in the bottom shelf. We have increasingly become cynical human beings.

We hate and condemn narcotics traffickers and producers yet we pay top dollars to abuse our bodies with such drugs. We despise and religiously oppose prostitution, sex crimes, sex trafficking, child pornography, but yet we create a demand for them by indulging in such heinous and animalistic behaviors that are serious crimes against humanity. Are the producers and traffickers worse or the people who create the demand for such industries by paying top dollars worse?  The producer often escapes the legalities due to their connections while the consumers of such vices are clearly visible and yet not charged because of their fame and money. Yet the strictest of laws and severest of punishments are generously doled out on the victims of sex trades and traffickers of narcotics.

Look at the state of all these religions across the world. What a paradoxical mess they are in. Holy men caught in sinful acts. Religions of peace are being tainted by acts of chaos and terror. Men are treated as Gods by highly educated people, while God has lost his value over the many rituals and norms of the man-made religions. When all prophets were sent by one God and all are have the same family and creation, why do we separate them by different man-made religions and rituals? Yet, strangely the modern and evolved man chooses to follow the age-old paradigms developed by men thousands of years ago. Common knowledge about faith indicates that God created mankind in his own image and conveyed the message to live in peace, be humble, respect and serve humanity, treat each other like you would want to be treated yourself, love thy neighbor, be righteous, uphold morals, and help the needy and the poor. But the religions that were developed by the followers of the prophets and not the prophets themselves advocate segregation of humanity by religions, hate people who do not support your religious rituals, norms and beliefs, be violent, burn, kill and be arrogant and feel superior. I wonder if we are truly this blinded by the rituals of the religions to see the message of the creator. When we all read the same message in different books, why do we fail to see the similarities? People have become more religious lately but less spiritual. They choose to show their faith and religion by the display of their clothes and words rather with their conduct and character. I find it very funny to see people looking up towards the sky when seeking help from God when God is considered to be omnipresent? God in all faiths asks to help humanity. If this is so, is it necessary to help and feed the poor and serve humanity under the condition of changing their religion? Does charity have to be billed as Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or any other denominational charities? Can’t we be just simple human beings and help our fellow kind regardless of their cast, creed, color or faith?

Many of us thrive on our relationships in our lives. These relationships feed our need for love, compassion, comfort, and a sense of belonging. The importance and influence of these relationships plays a vital part in the formation of our characters, behaviors and lifestyle choices. Yet there are those who are extremely callous with such relationships. Many cheat in love when they expect loyalty and honesty in it. Some have less value for the ones who make major sacrifices for their love over people who flatter their false egos. People begin to realize the worth of people only after they lose them from their lives. We are often too late to say sorry and speak words of love. We often remember the hurt someone has caused us and forget the good they have done and the happiness they gave us. People increasingly are becoming into more pseudo personalities in this world when it’s hard enough to be your true self. And for momentary happiness or satisfaction that usually doesn’t last for more than a few hours we choose to sacrifice our futures. Instant gratification has become the norm and thus once again we create yet another industry to feed our vain behaviors. We carry more applications on our phones than we can care to use, we live in bigger houses with fewer people, buy more than our affordability, talk but don’t listen, and then blame everything around us but ourselves. People hold on to a much higher sense of self entitlement. They no longer are humble and many feel they deserve much more and all others in their lives need to keep honoring their inflated self-worth by complying with their ever-rising demands. They never take the time to reflect on their true worth or think if they will do the same if someone else made such demands of them.

Sensible humans, Insensible beings !


Life realized


 

Please enjoy the audio feed above

 

Better the looks lesser the morals,

Higher the earning, lower than humility

Bigger the ego, larger the arrogance,

Sweeter the smile, ruthless the intent,

Louder the rituals, lesser the pious,

Higher the climb, steeper the fall,

Faster the want, shallower the need,

Able the person, lazier the deeds,

Easier getting love, lesser its value,

More caring the people, greater their loss,

Hungrier the knowledge, insatiable the need,

Materialistic the character, shameless the person,

Harsher the critics better the individual,

Softer the fall, lesser the learning,

Prouder the person, lesser the development,

Weaker the courage, lesser the growth,

Poorer the choices, bitter the life,

Bitter the being, worse the life,

Better the choices, larger the life,

Arrogant the person, stubborn their faults,

Larger the ego, pettier the person,

Bigger the lie, greater the shame,

Humble the being, lesser their guilt,

Courageous the individual, greater the inspiration,

Open the mind, sweeter the learning,

 

Whatever the hardships, have the will to fight!

You let the will die; you kill your spirit,

You let the spirit die; you kill your soul,

And you take down the whole world, your loved ones and all their spirits down with you. Just as when you loose someone dear to you and the hurt it gives you, you do the same to others when you hurt yourself.

 

Never! Never! Never say die! There is always a solution; there are always ways to find help, Approach each problem in life as an unsolved solution that you have been given the opportunity to solve. Find your way and set it ablaze for others to follow.

 

The greatest things one can do in life is to practice self realization. The only other thing that beats that is putting in all your effort into making the change once you have realized!

 


Progressive people, regressive religions


 

 Please enjoy the audio feed above

 

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is. ~ Albert Camus 

 

An interesting fact prevails in all of these various religions that were established at different times based on different messages from different Prophet’s in different cultures. The surprising fact lies in the “similarities” in these “religious” systems. The message and the moral basic core principles are identical. When one investigates further, we can see that there are many similar rituals practiced by the followers of all these various faith systems including monotheistic and polytheistic ones. For example, the similarity of two faiths and belief systems which is widely considered to be opposing in fundamental concept, Islam and Hinduism have quite a few similar rituals: one being monotheistic and against idol worshiping, while the other a polytheistic, with an idol for each of their gods and their respective attributes. They both have holy water, both have the practice of circling around their place of worship (Muslims around Kaaba, and Hindus around their temple), both cut their hair after pilgrimage, both fast, both offer sacrifices, both bow to their Gods. Further, they have the same beliefs in good and bad, love, peace, and respect. Yet it is believed by their respective followers as an opposing religion surprisingly.

 

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.  ~George Bernard Shaw

As people evolved and developed into more intelligent beings, so did their ability to comprehend, learn, communicate and better understand life. In our current advanced age and time we still have trouble communicating and understanding our own language, nuances, behavior and most importantly controlling the integrity of a message, which only proves that this communication skill is still in a state of evolution and will continue to be for a few hundred years. Thus, many people who try to learn the doctrines and writings of this man-made religion happen to question aspects of it which doesn’t appear to be logical or make sense. Many such doctrines are questioned on a few selective messages therein which clearly doesn’t appear to be part of those with divinity. Particularly, messages that defy or contradict equal respect for both genders, tolerance and respect for all religions, serving humanity regardless of race, color or creed, be forgiving, how to be modest, and rights of all human beings to be equal. Such differences between what the Prophet’s preached which is considered to be divine and what the religion proclaims has caused many to explore these religious beliefs further. The result of such questions which are often considered as blasphemy in nature by the stubborn and illogical religious heads of these religions has provided very few logical answers that are convincing. Clearly, man has evolved much further than expected by those who formed these religions a few thousand years ago. It is quite disappointing to still watch a small portion of the more educated and advanced people of today often blindly follow a specific fundamental set of religious beliefs and practices that often defies any logic, divinity or are in line with the original messages by their own Prophets. Although we witness each generation evolving into more intelligent begins than the last, many of us still trust and follow the wisdom of people who lived several generations past. This is where people began to shift their faith from God of mankind to religion. Perhaps in a way a shift from humanity to community.

 

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. ~ Mohandas Gandhi
 
 
However, no matter the religion or the respective deity or symbol, all of them preach very similar aspects of life, morals and values and often indulge in similar practices and rituals. What makes them different are the rules, laws of conduct, social norms, symbols of identity, attire, social behavior and systems of control that were developed by people who soon took control of the followers of the prophets under the banner of religion. This need and desire to control and exercise power over the respective communities or followers, gave birth to the evils that human beings fester till date. Ego, pride, arrogance, and vainglory are some of the key characteristics of these appointed spiritual or religious leaders of these faith systems today. Surprisingly, these are the same characteristics of Satan under which he refused to obey God and bow to his creation – man. Under these very influences these leaders often abuse their power and try to manipulate their people to achieve their personal goals and egoistic aspirations. They often are very wise and recruit people who are accustomed to obeying commands blindly due to fear of persecution from the powerful. But the true shock is when educated people armed with some basic rational thinking also choose to blindly follow such leaders and actively participate or support in their egocentric and political aspirations under the pretext of religion. 

 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama
 
 
History has proved time and over again, that each of these religions or faith systems had begun with peaceful intentions. Each of these religions were spread with humble intentions but each had a handful of leaders who used violent force unfortunately due to their individual choice, limited wisdom, ego, and the lack of any other system available to them but religion as a viable political system to manage people and install familiar culture that is easier to manage. Each of these “religions” went through a phase of power struggle soon after their inception and the demise of their  Prophet. In the immediate years to follow, each had their share of religious leaders trying to use and manipulate the then political leaders and kings to their advantage, each have good followers and bad ones, all of these religions had leaders who were good and bad as well, every religion has their share of positive social and scientific contribution by people from their faiths. Some had great builders and ambitious plans to expand their cultural richness, some were conquerors of different strategic lands and some tried to spread their culture, beliefs and religious practices by force. But regardless of the religions or practices, all have the same fundamentals of good values and morals and each have their own set of social rules and norms that drive and influence behaviours based on moral living, love, tolerance, peace, justice and faith in the creator.

 

A just laicism allows religious freedom. The state does not impose religion but rather gives space to religions with a responsibility toward civil society, and therefore it allows these religions to be factors in building up society. ~ Joseph Ratzinger
 
I oppose religion based charities. I believe if a religion preaches to serve humanity, then the charity work should be without the need to convert their faiths. Not in this age and time. The people of faith, especially who are seen or hold the position as leaders or experts should not speak words of hate, anger, rage and incite such concepts in people. If anything, these are the people who should be preaching tolerance, love, peace and instill hope, faith, and inspire morality. But all that we see is many such people doing exactly the opposite and tragically people following them like cattle. People of good faith should rather strive to inspire others by their character, demeanor, deeds, love, respect for others as opposed to their attire, communal strength, and rituals.  And above all, should evolve with time. The need for progressive evolution has become more essential now more than ever. Past mistakes of others and poor past leaderships should be left in the past and we need to see ourselves as the new builders of society.

 

That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.  ~ Albert Einstein
 
If we can primarily be human beings and begin to behave like one that could alone ignite a flame of enlightenment. Do not choose to be blinded by your faith systems, and live in the assumption that your faith is the only path to heaven. If this is true, the creator would not have sent several prophets. Followers of the wrong faiths could be wiped off this planet if the creator chooses, followers of other faiths will not be prosperous and happy, followers of other faiths will not have their prayers answered and people who follow wrong faith systems will not be able to procreate and give birth to pure innocent souls. Thank the creator for life, for making us human, giving us the ability to think, creating us and this world with all its endless resources, our ability to learn and appreciate, love, be loved, procreate, help others, and appreciate his or her divine powers being exercised on us and creation every day. Do not be blinded and instead choose to thank for a man-made religion, rituals, age-old beliefs and fables, or mundane stories of proof less miracles. Learn, read, explore and understand. Do not blindly follow like a cattle, and have the sensibility to differentiate between the man who speaks the true words of the creator or God in good faith about love, peace, serving his creation – humanity, tolerance, forgiveness, enlightenment and spirituality from the man who speaks of hate, violence, intolerance, rage, ego, pride and anger in the name of religion. If we can learn to love and live peacefully for ourselves and the others it could start a new beginning. If we refuse injustice towards one and all regardless of their cast, creed or color we can bring change. If we can lead by example of character rather than a display of costumes and rituals we can influence another. If we can be charitable to all humans regardless of their religion, color or culture we will bring peace. With such a balanced approach and the will to coexists by mutual respect and understanding and by removing ego and pride from the equation, mankind can and will eventually develop a much more peaceful and resourceful living. They can leave behind a life of love, and peace for their loved ones to enjoy, thrive in and sustain for the other following generations to come. But we must remember to eliminate the dreaded characteristic of the evil: “ego and pride” especially associated to our faiths and our belief systems as it has no place in there. We need to realize that if we feel the need to keep our faiths, then we need to keep the faith in God of mankind as opposed to the man-made religion, religious leaders, religious systems, rituals and beliefs. Learn and seek yourself for the truth and answers using your logic and intelligence and you shall find it. It is in your heart where God resides and in your conscience where truth resides.
 
 
I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. ~ Khalil Gibran


Wisdom beyond your Thumb


 

Please enjoy the audio feed above which compliments the post below

 

Alright! I admit! I love to stay up late and finish that God damn game. I can’t be a nube and have my nephews beat me at it. Yes, it makes me dizzy, tired, and my finger s and thumb hurt. I am no longer the coolest person with the hottest game that I have killed and moved on. Now I got to keep up with these nephews and it bugs me to see these uber nubes call me a nube and beat me at this game. They forget that I got them hooked into these in the first place when they barely got out of their diapers. Now they teach me! There used to be a time when I would be thrilled to kick Ken’s butt with my limited animated self on the Street with a combo of punches and kicks. But these imps now have the option to select from FPS games to RPG’s to RTS. What? Did I loose you? Sorry Nube! I meant First Person Shooter games to Role Playing Games to Real Time Strategy games. Now try to figure out what “munchkin” is. And in the process you may also learn what a “twink” is too. Before you realize, you will end up being a “halfing” in a MMORPG. Go figure!

Ha! The age of what I call “Thumb wisdom” these kids got the whole world of wisdom under their very thumbs in the form of their mobile browser enabled phones. I can no longer tell them anything and let it pass without being cross checked and verified by them instantaneously.  You have no choice but to pay for a $100 monthly plan to keep in touch with your own kids in today’s world. But in reality you are paying for their texting and instant wisdom verification. Wait a minute! Have you texted them to get out of the basement and come up for supper yet?

But I love these kids. They say these gamers are the future super surgeons of our world. The hand and eye coordination and the super fast thinking will enable these highly evolved creatures to perform complex surgeries of the future. The level of complex strategies they have to work with to play a simple game is baffling to say the least. Thus do not be upset with these earthlings if you see them highly irritated first thing in the morning before they head off to school. They have probably stayed up late fighting with the player called “benturmum” for killing “them” (that is their character in the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing game) repeatedly for other players amusement. They are still in character from the game this morning. It will probably be until 10:00 am at school when they return to reality today. They have a few other school mates who witnessed their humiliation last night on-line too. It is a complex world they live in. Give them the space. Theirs is not a ritualistic, mundane and monotonous living like yours.

But here is the true reason I love and admire such kids. They are each amazing spirits and characters if you meet them in the virtual online world. They are the unique breed of people who will forget to eat, live, study, or do any chores, to accomplish a single-minded goal to get to the next level in that game. Their single and most important current goal is to compete fiercely and to win that battle with those virtual characters and put them to shame. And they have to do it with the utmost of focus, strategies and a combination of complex skill sets, while they collect their bonus points, ammunition, life’s, strength and energy. Their frustrations are turmoil’s are beyond your imagination. They will “die” several times before they learn to surpass that stage in the game, and them fail again and loose all their strength, life and energy and have to begin that stage or God forbid the whole game from the beginning. But they shall persevere and never give up. They will stay up all night if they have to, but will win and move ahead. Next morning after boasting their accomplishments amongst their friends and gaining respect and adulations, they shall return to the battle. There is no giving up in them. No matter what the “other” real life pressures are. They will hold their courage intact, and shall fight, persevere, get stringer and continue the battle until they win and end this game. There is no stress, rest, or failure in this world of theirs. They are winners! They are the uber class of beings and they accomplish what you or I cannot fathom. They are our future!

But alas! they take this attitude, will, perseverance, courage, and determination to their real lives. Perhaps they never fear failure in real life. They fail repeatedly in life, but get back into the game regardless. They fight every obstacle until they over come them, fight every individual who hinders their progress, and continue their journey towards their one goal. If only they would choose to maintain the determination, will, attitude and choose to pick their bonus points in the form of wisdom, lessons and knowledge along the way. And if they maintain these key wonderful behaviors and characteristics until they accomplish each goal until they move on the next, they will perhaps live a life of amazing wonders. Each of their accomplishments shall be a great story of success. And their lives an inspiration for everyone they touch in their lives. There shall be nothing that would stop them from accomplishing all their dreams and the wishes in their lives. Absolutely nothing!

Similarly if only we are able to adapt the same attitude, patience, composure, will and wisdom that we use in our respective games, or work in our personal lives, perhaps we each shall live a life of greater accomplishments and happiness. It is not the game that decideds the result. It is the attitude of the player towards the game and/or life!

I leave you with some select quotes on wisdom:

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
Michael Jordan

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

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Confucius

When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
John F. Kennedy

Winners never quit and quitters never win.
Vince Lombardi


Doing good for being good


 

Please enjoy the audio feed

My Dad had a small plaque on his desk forever until he passed away. It said simple words that he preached as well and instilled it deep into my mind which had eventually become a core formation of my character and happiness in my later life helping me through some of the darkest hours of my life.

It said;” Blessed is he, who expects nothing” in return for his good deeds and had a monotone picture of geese flying in their standard “V” formation across a cloudy sky.

He explained the plaque and the picture in great detail once. He explained to me that the geese are migrating birds that fly for thousands of miles south especially in fall and winter. Further, they fly in a V shape because in such a formation it helps the birds gain a great span and distance with little effort. The upward thrust produced by the bird in the front helps the following birds to glide into the air waves created with very little physical effort. However, the leading bird takes the brunt for leading the flock. Soon the leading bird is taken over by one of the following birds as a gesture of good will to give it some rest, and thus they keep doing so until the journey is complete.

Also, fall is a season where many of us venture out for hunting these very birds.  And when one of these birds is shot, or hurt, two birds immediately break from the formation and follow it down to protect it or give it comfort and company until it dies.

Similarly, they all glide down to the same lake to find food, share and eat from the same pool or pond and migrate to the same place, and work towards the same goal and fly towards the same direction all the time.

But what is surprising is also, is that they do all this in a team spirit helping each other with absolutely no expectations from the other what so ever. Each respects the other, helps the other, and breaks away from the formations to help the other and get back into other formations in their never ending cycle of life without any expectations of each other.

Likewise, if we, a highly developed species and a superior race amongst Gods creation who can communicate, interact, emote, feel, and are physically advanced, adapted the same selfless nature and worked towards the same goal and helped each other expecting nothing in return, our individual lives may be much happier, purposeful and gratifying.

The idea is a basic one where you help one and other and work in the same direction for mutual benefit. But the principle is to respect each other, help each other, give the space to each other, protect each other, and benefit from each other while doing so. But the wisdom is to do it because we are created in the image of God by himself to serve his own creation. Serve mankind, Gods creation, and in doing so, do it selflessly with honest and selfless intentions expecting nothing in return.

Therein, one can easily find happiness and fulfillment in life. For he who does good and expects nothing shall never be disappointed, but only rewarded for his deeds in a time and place and method of the creators choosing.

 “Blessed is he who expects nothing in return for his good deeds.”

Next time you see these birds fly across the sky, take a minute to watch them all flock together as a team in the same direction in the same old V formation and appreciate them for being wiser and nicer than many of us


A mountain called LIFE


 Please enjoy the audio feed above which compliments the post below

 

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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!

 

Please enjoy the audio feed above which compliments the post below

 

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


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