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A better person inspires better people, makes better families who build better societies, who make great countries, who influences a better world.
ONE SOURCE TO A BETTER YOU: http://despicablewonderfulyou.wordpress.com/
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.
Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one
might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen…
A “Solution Driven” life – to live a life of a problem solver
Every sales person who is selling you something today often tries to position their product or service as a “Solution”. It is either a solution to make your life easier, save time, save money, increase you bottom line savings, manage your job better and help you solve that particular problem. And all their products or services is designed to solve what they like to call as a `Problem“. It is a simple yet very persuasive and most popular business selling concept. The sales and marketing teams design their positioning statement or advertisements to highlight the problems you may face by not using their products and then showcase their solution to eliminate that problem for you. In order for you to buy into their offerings, they also try to build you problem bigger. They seek out your pinch points, develop the issue bigger by making you consider the consequences of not solving the problem, and then make solving that problem an imperative need that you must address.
If you apply this perspective to life, then everyone who can identify a particular problem and develop their own solution to that problem can be successful. We all face several “problems” in life all the time. We worry about the consequences of the problem and get stressed all the time. All we have to do is identify the problem dispassionately as though you are getting paid to find a solution, approach the idea objectively, develop the solution and then apply that solution to that particular problem all the time. This turns into a successful business model if you chose to sell this unique “solution” to everyone who has a similar problem.
Here is another perspective to the same matter. If you look at someone playing a video game objectively, you will soon realize that all they are doing is navigating their characters through a complex obstacle race to get to the next level. They develop strategies, lose their lives, start from the scratch again, learn from their past mistakes, and overcome their obstacles and get to the next level. And as they go higher in their game level the challenges gets more complex and difficult. However, the player relentlessly keeps the fight on until they finally finish that game at the final level. What’s even more interesting is that while they do this the players often dedicate their total attention, time and stay committed to finishing that game. They clock in several sleepless nights, skip food, and forget about all other commitments they may have. And finally all they get at the end of their game is just two simple things. 1) Bragging rights, and 2) The ultimate satisfaction of having accomplished a complex and challenging task. But these two things mean a lot to the player.
Now if you were to apply this perspective to real life again, then you can certainly develop intelligent strategies to navigate through the complex obstacle ridden life by solving each challenge and keep progressing until you accomplish your objective. All you need to do here is keep the same mind set you take to the video game, that is: it is your job to solve the problem by finding the solution to progress further. In doing this, once gain you may sacrifice several hours, skip a few meals, spend sleepless nights, and constantly keep thinking of all the ways you can overcome the challenges. But ultimately, you will develop your own solution to the problem, navigate through it successfully, regardless of the number of times you fail, and eventually progress from one stage in life to another and accomplish the task of solving several complex problems. Now all you do is hold on to the same idea, commitment and sprit for every problem in life and collect several bragging rights for several problems you have found solutions to. And above all, bask in the success of your progress through life.
The funny thing about problems in life is that it makes us often react in a less intelligent manner to it. By default we begin to fear and worry about the consequences of the problems. And we end up spending more time worrying about the consequences and the inconveniences of the problem that we may face rather than spending that time working towards developing a solution. Also we often carry a fear of failing to develop a solution or developing a solution that may fail. And due to such fears we end up doing nothing or procrastinating. Meanwhile the problem just sits there and doesn’t go away or snow balls into something much bigger. This is exactly where the sales person with the solution loves to be so that he or she can sell their developed solution to you. Now your need is greater and you will do anything to solve the problem.
But what if you were to own the problem and take on the responsibility to find a solution yourself? Why wait for someone to come by and tap your shoulder and sell you a solution? Not that people are going around tapping people’s shoulders and solving their problems all the time. When it comes to your life problems, you are on your own. You own this business. This is your own video game. It is your job to apply the right attitude and develop a solution to that particular problem. And if you have played video games, you sure know that you do have the skill set required to play develop the right strategies and solutions to overcome this problem too. All you got to do is take the same attitude to this task. Weather it is a job related problem, education problems, relationship problem, health problem, weight problem, financial problem or a parenting problem, you sure can learn, read, ask around, and educate yourself to the number of possible solutions there are. Then taken on the responsibility and put in your time and effort to developing a solution to your problem and solving it. You have your browsers on your phones, at home; you have friends, advisers, and many other sources to learn from. And there are other people who have developed solutions and selling them too. What truly matters is your attitude towards your problems. If you take the responsibility to find a solution, and view your life problems objectively you certainly can solve them.
No one has ever said that life is fair. It isn’t. It is tough to just get by. But many of us plow our way to success and happiness too. Every successful person has faced their share of set backs, problems and devised a way to over come them. The path to success is paved with several hurdles and challenges that we need to over come. You will certainly find a problem in every turn. But it is only a problem until you find a solution. Now regardless of the kinds of problems you may face, choose to become the video game player or the problem solving sales person, and begin to collect the bragging rights of being a problem solver and progress through all life levels with confidence. After all, solving your life problems if your job. No one is going to come by, hold your hand and walk you towards a solution. Developing your solutions to make yourself successful is your job. All one has to do is to first, get up, and start working towards a solution.
What’s your problem?
As per a recent report from the World Health Organization, life expectancy continues to grow globally with no signs of slowing down. It appears that the global life expectancy has increased from 64 years in 1990 to 74 years in 2011. And developed countries can comfortably add another 15 – 18 years to that number.
What does this mean to an average person in terms of their knowledge and keeping up with the rapidly changing world fueled with exponential growth in almost every aspect of our lives? Well, to understand the intensity of this major impact in our lives, we need to reflect upon the development and progress we have experienced in the past and the time line associated with this progress.
Just some 30 odd years ago in the early 1980’s the world was a much different place with ideas, systems and technologies that were being developed against skepticism, opposition and perhaps doubt as well. The world was at early stages of accepting Hip Hop into the main stream music, Sony Walkman was perhaps the coolest gadget to possess, IBM released their first personal computer, Apple Macintosh wasn’t released yet, the cold war was the major fear factor being hawked to the otherwise peaceful public going about making ends meet, and the former Soviet Union’s KGB were being portrayed in the movies as invasive and authoritative figures who intimidate to keep a very close eye on every individual or citizen and the USA was projected to be the exact opposite. The below pictures of Shanghai and Dubai speaks to how the major business hubs looked then compared to today.
Shanghai Then and Now
Dubai Then and Now
And if we were to look at the world just another 30 years ago in the 1950’s it seems to be struggling for less than half of the luxuries the world enjoyed in the 1980’s. Barely crawling out of the world war and depression with people looking for jobs and rapidly migrating to new cities in search of a living.
What truly is amazing is that it appears that the world had completely changed in just about 30 year cycle and morphed into something that is very different. And most of us expect to live past 60 years. That’s two cycles of total paradigm shifts that impacts the thinking, lifestyles, objectives, and to certain aspects the social values and political structures. In some aspects it appears that the knowledge being instilled in us is already outdated by the time we are in our 30’s depending on the time lines we choose to compare.
And in today’s world of exponential and rapid growth we are often found caught between the shifting processes where by the time we learn a particular system and become fluent with it, we are already required to begin to learn the new upgraded to updated version of the same. It appears the shift timeline is now diminished from 30 to perhaps 5 years. We are now forced to keep learning continuously and staying abreast of the latest and greatest in several aspects of our life or face the threat of being discarded as an old PC or the first generation iPhone. It is now imperative to be educated and updated to merely survive. Whether you want to keep your job, get a job, use a phone, watch television, or keep up with the inquisitive minds of our children or even travelling, you are required to learn and quickly adapt to the new and latest in each of these aspects in our lives.
Now, the process of learning and educating ourselves has also evolved. The internet and mobile browsers has taken the excuse of “ignorance” out of our lives. If we do not know something it is most likely because we haven’t taken the time to google and learn about it. And unfortunately we are often surrounded by those who have taken the time to learn this and take the liberty to quickly evaluate our lack of knowledge and thus judge our attitude towards change and learning. Those of us who haven’t managed to re-educate ourselves are faced with loosing arguments, stagnant careers, slow progress, and basic social securities and social status being threatened. The Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid seems to be much wider in the middle and amidst a major morphing process.
So for an individual in today’s world it is absolutely imperative to re-educate ourselves and learn the new and unknown. More than just learning we have to change our thinking and begin to accept change and new concepts, processes and values in several aspects of life. Today the world believes that if it isn’t broken, BREAK IT and rebuild it better and the way we like it. Today technology is not about making life easier. Technology is now influencing and changing social dynamics. A series of algorithms in Facebook alters social behavior patterns. If you want to know how much money a public company has made, all you have to do is look at their financial reports on line, and this report also tells you how much the top executives make in this given company. You can snoop around LinkedIn to see who is working where and what they do for living along with their career growth and progression. You get multiple reports on a particular political situation or revolt. The media reports one perspective, people on the growth update a different view on Facebook and others tweet the live events as they happen. The new generation are no longer interested in learning how to drive a car, instead before they learn to drive they are more interested in what technological features and energy efficient these vehicles are. Career choices are not made in terms of how much money they will make, but the new generation is more interested in what they represent and lifestyle choices.
Change is not an option. And educating ourselves and staying aware and current is absolutely essential. It doesn’t matter you like it or not. If you are feeling left behind, all you do is “Reboot”. Clear your existing cache of knowledge and upgrade yourself right now. Everything around has shifted. The new economic superpower in China, India is not a poor country, USA has the largest Debt, the richest nation in the world is a tiny Arabian Peninsula called Qatar, the most educated country in the world is Canada with 50% of the population with post-secondary education, and USA and Iran president spoke directly with each other for the 1st time in 30 years this week. Our opinions have to change and we need to be more accepting of changes and be better informed. You can do this now or wait to be educated by your child who has put the mobile browser to better use. And these young minds will be changing the world much more in the next 30 years. Also what they are learning now will be outdated by then.
But getting better educated isn’t of any use if you do not accept it and use the information to change and progress. You have to learn to let go of the old information you hold so dearly to make way for the new. Here is an example to consider. The world’s top cause of death is Ischemic heart disease. And the most common cause of ischemic heart disease is when the arteries responsible for blood flow to the heart become stiff, narrowed and sometimes blocked by the buildup of fatty deposits or plaques. The major cause of this has been linked to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat. All of which is due to lifestyle choices mostly prevalent in the developed and fairly educated nations of the world. What good is this piece of knowledge if we do not change for the better?
Upgrade, Reboot, Repeat! _ Its not a choice. Its the only option.
Many months ago I had watched Conan O Brian being interviewed by Piers Morgan on his show. Although known for his antics and humor I like Conan for his inspirational quotes and experiences that he shares with his viewers or an audience he is asked to address. His popular address to the class of 2000 at Harvard, his 2011 Dartmouth College commencement address, or just his personal experiences and challenges have all been an inspirational and wisdom filled lessons.
Similarly, reading up several successful peoples biographies have often been a major source of inspiration to me as it has been for several others who seek to learn for other peoples experiences and struggles. As we anxiously seek to read up and learn about peoples success and learn their secrets to their individual fame and fortune, we often end up turning the last few pages of the book with a profound sense of wisdom gained and with an understanding and awe of the person for having the courage and perseverance to overcome their share of adversities and at times impossible challenges to achieve their successes. At times we also learn how their adversities changed the course of their lives to success in the form of new opportunities.
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. ~Garth Brooks
From such knowledge we collectively learn one single and strong fact about life; that even the greatest of them all never had it easy or without problems. The road to any success for all of them have always been paved with several obstacles, hurt, pain, agony, delays, misfortune, mistakes, blunders, and countless lessons. But with them also came, wisdom, courage, perseverance, valuable experience and amazing successes. And from learning these facts, it invariably begs the question, how ignorant or arrogant are we if we expect our success without such adversities? What makes us so special for us to expect our lives to be easier and pave our path to success with bed of roses? Weather we expect success in our individual jobs, marriage, relationships, business, good health, sports, education, finances, parenting, or any chosen goals in life, it is almost certain that we will have to face and overcome our share of challenges.
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Facing our challenges is very similar to how a mere stone is turned into a precious diamond. From a dirty stone in mud a diamond goes through a strenuous process of cutting, bruiting, grinding, polishing, and further cutting until all its facets are carved out to dazzle everyone. Liked wise, our share of grinding, cutting, and hardships brings out our courage, wisdom, wit, will, perseverance and determination that enables us to dazzle others by our eventual success.
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
People who succeed in their lives often learn and reinvent themselves by bring about the changes that are necessary to help then achieve their ambitions and desires. They are quick to identify their faults, self improve, struggle, and get out of their comfort zone towards attaining their dreams. For they quickly learn that they will get the same results by doing the same things over and over again, and that they need to change their ways to behaviour to drive the changes they seek towards success. They do not fear committing mistakes, they do not avoid challenges or risks, they do not choose to escape from their troubles, but they stand and face them courageously, they develop solutions to their problems, they face their adversities by staring back into its eye. Greatness comes from standing up and doing the right thing regardless of the difficulties in life, they never sacrifice their morals, values, principles and righteousness. They instead draw strength from them, they differentiate themselves from others by upholding such characteristics, and they believe in their self and never give up. From the prophets (who are considered to be the chosen ones by the creator), to several kings, scientists, leaders, sportsmen and women, experts, celebrities or businessmen, inventors or politicians, each have to go their share of challenges to succeed. There is no easy path to success. It is almost imperative and essential to gain the wisdom and experience for everyone to not only succeeded, but to be able to handle their success and manage it with humility and greatness.
If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark
Alternatively those who choose to escape hardships, run away from their troubles, choose the easier options to avoid stress or risks, do not accept to make sacrifices, choose not to change for the better and take pleasure from their status quo as oppose to challenge it, often find themselves in the same place facing the same troubles time and over again. The same monotony, the familiar problems, the sweet self sympathy, and the embraced bitterness and negativity consume their lives. Every challenge remains a problem as opposed to being an opportunity to develop a solution. Every adversity is a reason to wallow in self sympathy and depression as opposed to face it and overcome them. The reasons to their problems become excuses and although they remain undeserving due to their lack of positive action, they become consumed by their growing false sense of self entitlement.
Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923
So, if you are tired of your troublesome life and the adversities you face, or have resolved to giving up on turning your life around and giving in to failure, then ask yourself what are you doing to overcome your share of adversities? None of us are any different from the other in our abilities and will to change. The difference is in our minds and choices. Everyman was just an ordinary person until they overcame their challenges to do something extraordinary and succeed. No great person or successful person has escaped life lessons and constant need to face their share of challenges and overcome them by learning new facts about life over and over again. We live only once and life is too short in today’s fast paced and rapidly changing world. Everything we do daily changes our course and destiny. Where do you choose to be? It is your choice and nothing can stop you from getting where you want to go in our life. When we learn to compare our troubles with those several others who face physical disabilites, health challenges, famine, war, loss of loved ones, etc, we will quickly find shame in voicing our adversities. Remember that to become a greater fighter or a tennis player, it is important to choose an opponent to practice who is better and stronger then yourself to become good. Hence learn to see your adversities as your challenging sparring partner.
The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. ~Norman Vincent Peale
Somewhere in this world today sits a senior executive in a company boardroom secretly disagreeing with the popular consensus of the people in the room because he or she sees something that is morally wrong and greedy objectives. Across their country perhaps sits a young graduate working on his or her secret aspiration to develop the next big software that could possibly change the world of mobile phones. Sitting at the desk in India, which was once popularly known to be a poor country, sits a billionaire working on how to take over an American corporation. Standing in a line up at the security check in USA, perhaps stands a father watching his young teen daughter being stripped of her basic dignity and being scanned through a machine and people watching her and thinks what can he do or say that could challenge the system and inspire them to develop a less invasive and more sensible process.
No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. ~William Faulkner
Similarly today there are those who choose to appease their immediate management and superiors and comply with programs and actions for personal benefits. There is a teen on his or bed thinking of ways to convince their parent to buy them the next greatest feature filled expensive mobile phone. And across the room sits their parent figuring out what can they sacrifice from their personal lifestyle to siphon out a few more hundreds to help pay their credit card bills that they never thought will be a problem one day. And there lays another young uncorrupted mind thinking about the biased information fed by someone who he or she thinks has the knowledge and wisdom and has managed to entice them to join a popular growing opinion that benefits the propagators more than the activists.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – even if I have said it – unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. ~Buddha
In this advanced and fast developing world of ours are people who are passive non conformists, those who challenge the popular opinions against harsh objections or possible persecutions and there are those who indulge in ritualistic and monotonous day to day living by conforming to popular norms and processes as dictated by those who they consider are authoritative figures, experts and intelligent people who know what they are talking about.
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. ~Bertrand Russell
If one thing statistics, recent and past history has proved to us is that the popular opinions, democratic decisions and expert advice have often been more wrong than right that has resulted are severe and damaging consequences. This is was not true the economists would have foreseen and avoided the crisis that grips the world of finance today, doctors would not have misdiagnosed several critical cases and get sued for their gross negligence, there wouldn’t be contradicting studies from researchers over drugs and food, America would not vote the president for two consecutive terms who drove them to economic crisis for personal and collective personal gains, and all corporations and their respective experts, authorities and top executives will not pay themselves millions of dollars and run their organizations to bankruptcy and get bailed out by the common mans money. These and several other such examples goes to prove that experts, authoritative figures, popular opinions, and majority decisions are not necessarily the right ones. If anything they have often proved to be grossly wrong and biased. Our dependency and reliance on such figures, people and decisions needs to be based on individual sensibilities, common understanding of morals, values and the responsibility to educate ourselves on unbiased and sound facts before we make our choices. Especially the decisions and choices we make that deeply impact our own personal well being and those who depend on us or seek our wisdom and advice that may influence theirs.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. –Albert Einstein, in a letter to a professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching position
Such individual sensibilities, the power to change their world and surroundings stems from ones personal beliefs, educated opinions and self confidence. Many great scientists, inventors, musicians, politicians, revolutionaries and contributors to society were able to bring the inventions, computers, systems, and many things that has made our lives better were able to do this only by going against the popular opinions, total dismissal, humiliation, objections and over bearing influence of powerful conformists of their times. Also many organizations and corporate are brought to their knees by those individuals who stand by sound morals and principles when the collective top executive decisions are biased and unethical. So are the popular uprising in countries against their once powerful and controlling regimes, and political figures.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
But the challenge for every individual is to develop the courage, self-confidence and the wisdom to seek and form balanced opinions based on sound values, morals and beliefs without prejudice. These qualities are needed by those who choose to progressive evolve themselves, their societies, their world and make positive contributions towards their own prosperity, happiness, achievements and growth. Alternatively one can choose to continue to be ignorant conformists, passive non conformists, and follow popular opinions against their own sensibilities and conscience. Great countries, communities, corporations, families and people are inspired by intelligent, educated and progressive thinking without prejudice. If one feels the need not to confirm to processes, decisions, and opinions, it has to be based on intelligence to truly make positive progressive progress and gains for self and to the world we live in. Weather they are political beliefs, religious or communal rituals, mundane processes, or authoritative decisions, each needs to be examined, thought, understood and practiced on intelligent, educated and balanced principles for positive and progressive living and growth. Allow your individuality to shine based on your sound moral beliefs and progressive attitude. Lead and make a new path for others to follow.
Individuality realized is the supreme attainment of the human soul, the master-master’s work of art. Individuality is sacred. –Frank Lloyd Wright
And a few more quotes:
Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. ~Robert Peel
And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will? When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the will of others? ~Galileo Galilei
Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy
Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model. ~Vincent Van Gogh
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. – Albert Einstein Quotes
The core problem in life is that too many of us are unquestioning followers rather than intelligent thinkers. If we didn’t depend upon others to learn from, borrow ideologies, ape other people’s beliefs and behaviours or even conform to their opinions, perhaps we will truly progress and be happier. Because when we begin to self learn and gather our own original opinions from life and experiences, our wisdom is truly first hand and reliable based on our own use of intellect and thinking. This is the only way we can bring about change and true progress.
This may be a bit difficult to the power brokers and those who barter knowledge for power, but for the free spirited and the eager minds, this is perhaps a revolution against age old wisdom, centuries old prejudice, senseless rituals, and confined wisdom. The trasition from being a conformist to a self learner and thinker will bring about greater changes in self and the world.
Please see this TED talk:
Amongst all the wonders we are blessed with, one of the most powerful things that we have got is the power of “free will” or Choice. Specifically the choices we can make in life on a day to day basis between good and bad and how we wish to be or become as evolving human beings. I must also say that I am aware that choices are at times limited to people based on the circumstances they live in, but I am talking about the choices that still many have in lives in an effort to have a better living and happier and meaningful lives regardless of their circumstances.
It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch
The ability to choose is an amazing powerful gift we posses that we truly do not realize or take advantage of in our lives. In order to truly understand it and use it to our advantage we need to understand the fundamental definition of Choice. It is 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 almost daily.
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. – George Eliot
Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There are many 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 daily. 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 that which is easy from hard and sadly learn that the hard ends up being the right thing to do. The righteous and the just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in your very power.
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)
If we examine history, great accomplishments and even the current popular inspiring stories of our times, we can clearly see that almost each and every single person had to make a very difficult choice against popular thinking, extreme criticism, severe opposition and unthinkable obstacles. Yet, each of these individuals made their choice that was right, stuck to it, persevered and accomplished great things. From a noble prince Siddhartha choosing to give up his royal luxuries life to find greater meaning in life and becoming Buddha, to Socrates’ struggle for independent thinking, to Gandhi standing up against the British Empire, to Martin Luther King’s fight for Civil Rights, to Nelson Mandela’s struggle to abolish Apartheid, the list continues to become an example of what great and right choices in life can achieve. Anne Frank, Mother Theresa, Beethoven, Vincent Van Gogh, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, to modern day successes against odds and popular opinion like, Steve Jobs, Barak Obama, Michael Jordan, Stephen Hawkins, Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong, Aung Sang Suu Kyi are all people who had the courage to choose and stand by what they believed to be right regardless of what the consequences would be. Even the most ordinary and common folk who may be lesser known do this on a daily basis. In our current day news the Pakistani Girl Malala who stood against the Taliban to encourage girls to go to school is just yet another example of everyday heroes who go great things be having the courage to take the decision and choose what is right in life.
Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker
We are always faced with such choices in our lives. We are always given these options and choices to choose from in almost every aspect of our life. But we need to have the wisdom, integrity, and the will to make the right choices for ourselves. The life we live is designed to challenge you to make the right choices in daily. And each of your day to day choices result in a continuous change and the resulting consequences that shape your life. One must always remember that one can change his or her life by simply making the right choices in life. It’s entirely up to you. You can get rid of old habits, change unwanted situations, make better lifestyle choices, choose a better diet, choose better food, better friends, better reactions to situations and problems, and give yourself the wisdom and courage to achieve great things in your life by making good, educated and right choices in life.
“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
In today’s world, many of us are also spoilt with choices. We do not know what is good for us and what is not. Young high school kids have trouble picking a profession, university or a carrier. Young graduates have trouble picking jobs, or company to work for, others have to choose their life partners, financial options, cars, life style, cell phones, televisions, computers, and even a simple cup of coffee is from a list of options and variations. There were times where I can walk into a Café and ask for a cup of coffee. I would get a cup of coffee, few cubes 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 for some even such wonderful choices are bigger problems than luxury or convenience in their lives. It is a choice they have to make and yet feel overwhelmed as though it is being forced upon them. The luxury of choices has now become a burden for some while others may struggle to follow the only option they may have got in their lives.
“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)
It takes a lot of work, courage, patience and thinking to make good and wise choices in life. Many of us are dealt with the same amount of choices and possibilities like the list of great achievers had. It is the choice we make that makes the difference in our lives. There is no excuse for making poor choices but great accomplishments can be made by making simple good choices daily in our lives. From our choices in reactions to situation, to how we express our love to others, to how much hard work we are willing to put for our own success and the words we chose to express ourselves, everything little choice we make daily shapes our life. We need to realize and truly understand the consequences of better choices and to indulge in creative thinking and strategic planning and development of ideas for the real world that will live in. Start making better, positive, progressive and wise choices today, and within a week you will see pointed positive differences in your life.
Our destiny hides among our free choices, disguised as the free-est of all.
Not so long ago I had a near death experience where my heart failed to produce its electrical pulses and a Pacemaker had to be put in to keep it going. Soon after the few fatal episodes of fainting due to the oxygen not being sent to my brains as my heart failed to beat, I found myself at the ER with a temporary pacemaker placed through one of the arteries through my neck.
In the next few days that followed I was going through a series of test before a permanent pacemaker was eventually going to be implanted. While I lie at the Cardiac ward awaiting the day to come and go soon, I was overwhelmed with thoughts and memories about my life, and the realization of how short life can be. Invariably I did question the creator and why I was chosen to be the 1 in a million to have this problem. I am rebuilding my life again and doing all the right things in life to build upon a new found courage and wisdom where I began to make serious efforts to become a better and positive person. I couldn’t get the “why me?” out of my mind regardless the fact that I fully well was aware that it could have been worse and this was nothing compared to the millions of kids and innocent people who are suffering with much more severe and fatal conditions for no fault of theirs.
The night before the surgery, I took a walk around my ward to relax a bit and ease the anxiety a little. While I was observing the people, the tirelessly serving and caring nurses and watching the pictures that were put up on the walls in the corridor, I was stopped by a couple of the posters that caught my attention that were hanging on the wall by an exit door.
One read this:
Watch you thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Needless to say this did have a profound effect on me and my way of thinking about life. Especially after experiencing firsthand how short life can be and things can happen so suddenly and turn your whole life around or end it.
We are often very careless of our own behaviour and the effect it has on the people we interact with. We about life as though we have all the time we can to say and do things without thinking of the effects and consequences that they make have on ourselves and others. As we proceed towards our final destiny we seldom stop to think about ourselves or analyze our actions, deeds and behaviours. We hurt others, become greedy, do and say things without paying any attention to its meanings and how it is perceived by others, do not care about others, and choose to live life as though we have nothing to do with others and this world and we can only care less about them. Yet we rely on others for their compassion, help, assistance, friendships, love, guidance, support, kindness, wisdom, courtesy etc. We expect the world to be fair to us, nature to be kind, resources to be endlessly flowing, weather to be mild, systems to be fair, politics to inconsequential on our individual lives, etc. One day comes along when we will have our kids and younger generations look up to us for our wisdom, guidance, support, assistance, kindness, compassion, empathy and help just as the world we share today does from us as well. And yet we seldom pay attention to our character. We continue to expect everything and at times demand all that we desire regardless of the fact we are worthy of them or have earned the right to have them.
But if we truly watch out thoughts, pay attention to our words, be mindful of our actions and carefully control our habits, we can certainly build ourselves a fine rewarding character that will pave our success and destiny. For when we are nothing more than just a tomb stone, the world we leave behind shall only remember and love us for our character, and the deeds we have left behind.
The next poster hanging on the opposite wall was a famous quote by William Penn:
I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn
Need I say anymore?
Do you have a leaders mind set or a follower’s attitude? Do you believe what you are told or shown or do you seek to educate yourself better with balanced and fact based information? Our lives in many ways take upon the designs that our mind allows it to form. The choices you make, your opinions, reactions to life events, and progress through your life is dependent on your mind set and the attitude you take towards your personal life and growth. The mindset and attitude we take towards each aspect of our life bears a serious consequence on the outcomes.
Many systems in life are about following. Law, religion, government, processes and work are mostly about following rather than leading. But the successful people in life and people who do greater things in life are those who take a leaders mind set to these aspects of life. These are the kind of people who bring about change in their personal lives and at times change other people life as well, they inspire, do something different and inspirational, and forever leave a mark that brings about better things in life and change things from old to new.
What is a leaders mind set? Well, a leaders mind is much different from that of a followers mind. A leaders mind consists of a few key behaviours in thinking and ideas. Namely:
Learn: They always try to learn and acquire more knowledge about things. And often they take it upon themselves to learn from various sources to form a balanced opinion as opposed to ask and blindly believe what they are told.
Question: They do not blindly follow things. They ask questions and seek to know why it is so? They have a greater need to understand things in life.
Reason: They thrive on what makes sense to them and adheres to some form of logic. It has to make reason to them. They cannot accept a thing that doesn’t make a good valid case and reason.
Thinkers: They prefer to think things out. They take the time to think things over before they choose a reaction. They tend to ponder a bit more and evaluate things clearly before they say or do anything.
Observant: They observe people and events very keenly. They do not jump to conclusions or from instantaneous opinions. They calmly observe, think, question and take a higher perspective of what they observe. It helps them see beyond the obvious and often see what others miss.
Reflecting: They like to draw from their experiences and learning’s. They try to reflect upon their pasts and other peoples experiences. The value and remember the right and wrong decisions of the past and project balanced view of eventualities in the future.
Balanced: They are balanced individuals. They tend to take a broader perspective and think of different possibilities and point of views before they take a stance. They do not like to make extreme judgements or favor any extreme point of views. They rather fall back on a balanced opinion.
Decision Making: They strive to take rational decisions rather than emotional ones. And they are firm on their decisions once they have put it through the above processes of thinking.
Courage & Confidence: The display a certain level of courage and confidence in executing their decisions once they are convinced that it is the right thing to do. They remain determined and willingly face and overcome the challenges that they may find in their path to success.
There are no great followers. There are only great leaders. The problems with religions and several such governing systems or theories are that there are too many blind followers and very little leadership mindset applied to them. For example in following a religion: people rather ask others and believe what they say about their own faith and follow them blindly as opposed to read themselves what their books preach, think about it and develop sensible balanced ideas to from better educated opinions. Similarly, many of us tend to form a sweeping opinion about other people’s cultures and values based on a single event or piece of news flashed in a media.
We are absolutely out of excuses for ignorance in today’s world. You can thank the internet, Google, or any search engine for that. Everything you say can be verified through a mobile browser instantaneously and you will be called out if your statements are not right. Yes, you can be a follower on twitter or like a zillion things on face book today. But when it comes to your opinions, values, statements, and behaviours, you cannot go far with an ignorant or a blind follower’s mindset.
Growth and progress in life is only achieved by learning, questioning, and understanding the facts. Success happens with a lot of hard work and the hard work goes into developing many of the above mentioned leadership characteristics. In the world of today, even the most sensible and valued ideas are questioned and challenged. Understanding the facts, reasons, and forming balanced rational opinions and choices based on well educated thinking is imperative for a successful and happier life. Whether it is understanding your companies strategies, government policies, your work, your relationships, choices in life, opinions about people or your culture, it is absolutely necessary to indulge in some good thinking and balanced and educated opinions and reactions.
A life of half baked choices, and semi educated opinions will often lead to very disappointing and bitter life and eventually lead to a several other problems and confusion. If people do not react to your uneducated opinions it doesn’t mean that they are agreeing with you. Often people choose not to react to such blind ideas of out social courtesy. The eventual loss is yours.
So, eliminate the ignorance in you. Give up on the blind follower’s mentality. Take the trouble and time to question, think, learn and form balanced opinions in life that will help you make educated choices towards your happiness and success. Put your ego aside and seek to learn. And most importantly, do not blindly accept what people tell you as facts. Remember that subject matter experts such as doctors, engineers, economists, MBA’s or priests also often go wrong in their decisions and make mistakes. They too have flawed and biased opinions. But if you adapt a few characteristics of the people who do greater things and succeed in life, you will lead better and fulfilling lives. In this process you will educate and inspires others to become better and seek knowledge as well. This way you too can contribute towards making a better world. But it begins with your attitude and mindset.
We all are shaped by our experiences in our lives. And the memories, good and bad have permanently altered our outlook towards our lives and future. We are nothing but a mind over matter that is a product of our experiences under specific circumstances in our lives. If our circumstances were any different our experiences would have been very different as well and would result in a different memory that will remain with us forever. Perhaps they lie dormant in our minds for long, but only until similar circumstance arises in our lives. I tend to draw some inspiration from the character Guido; Roberto Benigni played in the movie Life is Beautiful where in the second half of the movie he tries to create a totally different experience of a Nazi Camp for his son by telling him that they are participants in a game to collect points. In the end the son thinks he won the game while his father got killed in the process.
Experience is what causes a person to make new mistakes instead of old ones. ~Author Unknown
Our response to situations, and events in our lives are all shaped by our experiences. Your thought process, our mind set, attitude, aspirations, expectations, and social behaviour are all altered or shaped by our experiences. Many of our experiences are usually personal in nature and there are several experiences that are conceived. The personal experiences are usually deeper in nature that we hold on to for long because we have endured personally as opposed to the ones that are conceived by other people’s personal experiences or opinions which changes over time and based on our individual personal experiences on that subject. If you spend some time thinking about your experiences that have affected you and your opinions about certain things in life, you will soon realize how fragile your opinions could be as it would have been lot different only if the circumstances of your experience were different.
Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. ~Aldous Leonard Huxley
How you react to an experience and your choice of response leaves an almost permanent code of response to similar future experiences in your memory. You are more likely to response very similarly the next time you encounter a similar experience. Thus what you chose to do with your experiences plays a major factor in your development, understanding, response, opinions and future behaviours. We all carry several fond memories of your childhood that we often try to recreate for our youngsters or children. We often try to physically recreate the same atmosphere and circumstances hoping our children have the same experiences in their lives. We ape our parents’ behaviours at times in an effort to invoke similar response from our children, we tell the same old stories we grew up with to our children, or create similar environments such as taking them to a beach, playing in an open back yard etc. The core idea being that we hope our children to grow up with the same fond memories we did from our childhood.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. ~Mark Twain
When we realize how important a personal experience is to us and how it has influenced our lives in several ways, and how our choice of reaction to these experiences under specific circumstances has shaped our personality, it will dawn upon us the importance it is for us to create good experiences and circumstances for everyone who comes in contact with us in our lives. What we experience under specific circumstances shapes us and what circumstances and experiences we create influences every individual we come in contact in our lives. It is very similar to how we feel when we have met someone who makes us feel good or bad. And the other individuals’ response or reaction to the experience we bring to them affects us in return.
Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself. ~Thomas Jefferson
We all are made of our experiences that we encountered in a specific circumstance. If an individual behave in a particular way, it is because his or her experience thought him these responses and resulting characteristics were born. We are like them too and they are like is. We all are victims of our life experiences. But we each can change ourselves and others by changing the scars in memories by creating new and positive experiences and circumstances. We can influence opinions, understanding, memories, feelings, responses, love, hatred, prejudice, knowledge and lives by how we chose to behave and the experiences we create for ourselves and others. Thus by making every effort to create a positive interaction and experience every time you speak or contact others you create a better world of pleasant memories, experiences and happiness.
To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being ~ John Lubbock
So, the next time you visit family over holidays, go over to a friend home, advice someone who looks up to you, interact with colleagues at work, meet your grand parents, siblings, nephews or nieces, make effort to create a positive experience for them and try to leave them with pleasant memories of you and your words and wisdom. For they often have a profound impact in their lives like your experiences have impacted you. You can begin at home with your siblings, wife and children and enjoy a life of pleasant experiences and memories. Your personal experiences are created by how others treat you. Likewise their experiences with you are based on how you treat them. It is a chain of continuous actions and reactions. But to change this link from a negative to a positive one needs to come from you.