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August 2005
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September 2005

Never Give Up

One day I decided to quit...
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality...
I wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me...
"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of
them.
I gave them light. I gave them water.
The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the
floor.
Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed.
But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more
vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the
bamboo. He said.
"In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would
not quit.
In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo see.
I would not quit." He said.
"Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.
Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant...But just 6
months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.
It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and
gave it what it needed to survive.
I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle."
He said to me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been
struggling, you have actually been growing roots"
"I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you."
"Don't compare yourself to others." He said. "The bamboo had a different
Purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful."
"Your time will come", God said to me. "You will rise high"
"How high should I rise" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise" He asked in return.
"As high as it can" I questioned.
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."
I left the forest and bring back this story.
I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you.
Never Give up.

Hospital Window

A great note for all to read. It will take just 37 seconds to read this and change your thinking.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

"Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."


Art of Thinking

This article is written by Mr. R. Sridhar who is a columnist in Times of India.

Fantastic article!

Does our body take in everything that comes its way? Take, for instance, food. When we consume food, does the body retain all that food? It doesn't, isn't it? It absorbs the vitamins and minerals (read, all the positiveness connected with that food) and discards the rest. Ditto for water. And air.


In all these cases, the body does the same: absorb what is useful, and discard the rest. The body would never be able to function if it were to retain all that it takes in. We know this, yet when it comes to thoughts, we never follow the same principle. When someone talks rudely to us, we tend to absorb the entire contents of the conversation: we don't absorb only the positive elements, do we?

As a result, we find people loaded with emotional baggage that they have been carrying in their systems for ages. They live in the past, harking back to those times when they had faced hurt and anguish. They may have forgiven, but they never forget.

As a result, thoughts, solidified emotions - emotional garbage you can call it -  gets stored in the solar plexus (near the navel). We put on weight, develop complications of the abdomen, start to get joint pain, develop a sluggish outlook towards life....basically live life wondering why the world's 'weight' is on our shoulders.

The best way to tackle this is to sit at night daily, evaluate the events of the day, consciously absorb only the positive elements in each of the day's events, and consciously discard the rest. You can do this by mentally saying "I absorb the positiveness from this event and discard the rest".

What this does is it builds a program in your subconscious, to follow this principle in every aspect of living. Follow this technique, and see the difference it makes to your life.

Thinking correctly is an art. Not many are able to do that. Do we really know how to think? Do we know what kind of impact each thought of ours has on our mind-body system? Do we know what acid is released in our body when we say - "God, I hate that man!" Do we know how successive, similar thought patterns form the basis of our lives?

We need to learn how to think. It is important because whatever we think continuously becomes our personal law over a period of time. Every time we think the same thought, we are giving energy to that thought. With this kind of repeated energization, our thinking patterns become fix and rigid. This is how we form our personal laws. Because of our unconscious thinking, often, we land up having negative personal laws and these laws govern us for lifetime in negative manner. "I'm poor", "I'm no good at this", "I'm fat", "I'm short", "I'm going to fail in exam / interview etc", "I'll not be able to achieve my goals", are typical negative thoughts. Once trapped in these kinds of negative thoughts, one can spend a lifetime floating in negative thinking. Not attending to the root cause of negative thinking can make you like a long-playing record that gets stuck on a particular note.


90/10 principle

Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change the way you manage your life.

This extract is written by Stephen R Covey, the management Guru.

What is the 90/10 Principle?
10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean?

We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? By your reaction. You cannot control a red light,but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.
You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just what happened. What happens next will be determined by how you react. You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and
criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs,you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and paying fine,you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye.

After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terribly. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home, When you arrive home, you find a small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?
A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?
The answer is D.

You had no control over what happened with the coffee.How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day. Here is what could have and should have happened. Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say,” Its ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time." Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After wearing a new shirt and with your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended differently. Why? Because of how you REACTED. You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle.
If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge (don't absorb). Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? (A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off!) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them? WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive? Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90/10 principle.

Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90/10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle. The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. There never seem to be a success in life. Bad days follow bad days. Terrible things seem to
be constantly happening. There is constant stress,lack of joy, and broken relationships. Worry consumes time.

Anger breaks friendships and life seems dreary and is not enjoyed to the fullest. Friends are lost. Life is a bore and often seems cruel. Does this describe you? If so, do not be discouraged. You can be different!

Understand and apply the 90/10 principle.


Great Quotes on Winning!

"A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration".

– Kurt Lewin, 1890-1947, German-born Psychologist

"Defeat doesn't finish a man--quit does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits".

– Richard M. Nixon, 1913-1994,
37th President of the United States


Forgive and Forget

Many authors and speakers talk about the power of forgiveness. Forgiving others for the wrongs they have done to us is an important step for living our best life. Some people do things, consciously or not, that lead to years of pain and turmoil in the lives of others. Forgiveness allows us to deal with a situation and move past it. Dwelling on past wrongs will only stop us from living in the present and preparing an abundant future for ourselves.

But what do you do when the person who has hurt you the most is someone you've nevër considered forgiving? What if that person is you?

Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. When you do make a mistake it is perfectly fine to acknowledge it. But, please, don't hold it against yourself for the rest of your life.

If the mistake you made has hurt someone in some way -- apologize. Really apologize. Acknowledge the other person's feelings, say you're sorry, ask for their forgiveness. Then forgive yourself.

If the mistake you made has hurt only you -- perhaps you hate your body, don't think you're good enough, etc. -- apologize to yourself. Really apologize. Acknowledge you've been too hard on yourself, say you're sorry, ask yourself for forgiveness. Then forgive yourself.

When you make mistakes, learn from them. Show your conviction to learning from your mistakes by not making the same one twice. Live consciously. Forgive yourself and do better the next time around.

Ask wisely, with love, for everything you want.

Action Step

In closing this week, I'd like to offer an exercise to complete in the week ahead:

Sometimes it's harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others who have wronged us. But it is just as important for inner peace and tranquility. Take out a journal or notebook and ask yourself these questïons:

-- Do I use my inner dialogue to beat myself up mentally and spiritually?
-- Do I not allow myself happiness because I believe, deep down inside, I don't deserve to be happy?
-- Am I holding myself back from relationships because I believe I'll just screw them up -- repeating patterns in the past?
-- Am I settling for a career, relationship, etc. because I believe I'm not worthy of anything better?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questïons it is time to make a change. Acknowledge what you have done to yourself in the past. Forgive yourself. Write down a declaration that from this day forward you will make a conscious effort to treat yourself (and others) with dignity and respect, and love yourself unconditionally.

You deserve the best. Start treating yourself well today!

-Mark Victor Hansen


Are you a driver or a passerby?


by Karthik Gurumurthy

There are moments in our life that will last forever. They don’t have to be huge or spectacular. They can be a simple meeting on a bus or a conversation at an office party. These moments tend to happen more often to those who choose to participate in life. Choose to be a driver rather then just a passenger.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes being the passenger is ok. The challenge for many people I meet while travelling are they’re simply taking up space. I was at the mall last night doing some shopping with Shobana and her friend Vidya. I went to the bathroom and had the opportunity to watch and listen to three young guys probably in their late teens or early twenties. Pants hanging down so low it looked as if they should be wearing some adult diapers! Hats on sideways and coats barely on their shoulders.

As I observed these three, as I listened to them I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry. The were swearing every second word, mumbling, shuffling along as if they had no power in their legs. It was a sad scene.

After they left, an older gentlemen in his late seventies looked over at me and said… “They’re going to miss out on the beauty of life, hmmm.” and winked and smiled at me and was gone.

That was a moment. One that I won’t forget. The beauty of life. That’s what it is all about. You don’t have to make millions of dollars and have lots of “things”. The beauty of life is all around us. Be a driver, choose some directions and have some great adventures.

Here is my question for you! How will you become the driver in your life? What choices could you make today to create some wonderful adventure, some brilliant moments?


Happiness: Essentials

by Brian Tracy

You may have a thousand different goals over the course of your lifetime, but they all will fall into one of four basic categories. Everything you do is an attempt to enhance the quality of your life in one or more of these areas.

The Key to Happiness
The first category is your desire for happy relationships. You want to love and be loved by others. You want to have a happy, harmonious home life. You want to get along well with the people around you, and you want to earn the respect of the people you respect. Your involvement in social and community affairs results from your desire to have happy interactions with others and to make a contribution to the society you live in.

Enjoy Your Work
The second category is your desire for interesting and challenging work. You want to make a good living, of course, but more than that, you want to really enjoy your occupation or profession. The very best times of your life are when you are completely absorbed in your work.
 

Become Financially Independent
The third category is your desire for financial independence. You want to be free from worries about money. You want to have enough money in the bank so that you can make decisions without counting your pennies. You want to achieve a certain financial state so that you can retire in comfort and never have to be concerned about whether or not you have enough money to support your lifestyle. Financial independence frees you from poverty and a need to depend upon others for your livelihood. If you save and invest regularly throughout your working life, you will eventually reach the point where you will never have to work again.

Enjoy Excellent Health
The fourth and final category is your desire for good health, to be free of pain and illness and to have a continuous flow of energy and feelings of well-being. In fact, your health is so ce ntral to your life that you take it for granted until something happens to disrupt it.

Peace of Mind Is The Key
Peace of mind is essential for every one of these. The greater your peace of mind, the more relaxed and positive you are, the less stress you suffer, the better is your overall health.

The more peace of mind you have, the better are your relationships, the more optimistic, friendly and confident you are with everyone in your life. When you feel good about yourself on the inside, you do your work better and take more pride in it. You are a better boss and coworker. And the greater your overall peace of mind, the more likely you are to earn a good living, save regularly for the future and ultimately achieve financial independence.

Control Your Attention
Life is very much a study of attention. Whatever you dwell upon and think about grows and expands in your life. T he more you pay attention to your relationships, the quality and quantity of your work, your finances and your health, the better they will become and the happier you will be.

Action Exercises
Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, take time on a regular basis to think about what would make you really happy in each of the four areas.

Second, set specific, measurable goals for improvement in your relationships, your health, your work and your finances and write them down.

Third, resolve to do something every day to increase the quality of some area of your life - and then keep your resolution.


Be a good listener

"Few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention," observes Jack Woodford. Most people fail to make a favorable impression on others because they do not listen attentively. Big men, who matter, prefer good listeners to good talkers. Everyone is dying to air his views, pour out his heart, talk about his problems, speaks about his accomplishments, share his sorrows and joys. Even the dumb or tongue-tied individual is eager to unburden himself. There is, therefore, a constant and pressing demand for sympathetic, sincere, keen, enthusiastic and intelligent audience. When people talk about themselves, their great need for importance is being satisfied. At the same time, it helps them to solve their problems, mitigate their distress and multiply their happiness.

"Many persons call for a doctor when all they went is an audience." Next to their names, all people want to hear is their own voices. When you want to create the right impact, when you want to influence and motivate them, you should encourage them to talk about themselves. Even the busiest individual who charges millions of $ for each second of his time, will readily spend hours together talking to you, when you get him start talking about himself. There is literally no exception to this rule. To be interesting, you have to be interested. Ask questions. Draw him out. Make him talk about himself. Pay rapt attention. Never be impatient. Do not start looking at your watch and then start shaking it and putting on to your ear to make sure it hs not stopped. Do not yawn. Do not interrupt. Do not tell him that you have heard it all before or that you know about them long before he learnt about.

You may be smart. You may be clever. You may know a lot more than the other chap. That is very good indeed and you must do everything possible to get into the lead and stay in the lead. But never tell anyone you are cleverer or smarter than him/her. If you are really smart, you will not try to appear smarter than him. If you are really smart,you will not try to appear smarter than the other fellow. You should not give the impression that you are a "know all" and the other party is nitwit. If you can help it, avoid talking about yourself and that about your strong points. But it is different in an informal conversation. If at all you are made to talk about yourself, be brief, modest and tactful. Do not go about dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's. If you speak highly of yourself, others will conclude that you are boasting and if you are speaking ill of yourself, they might believe it and spread it. Therefore, it is wiser not to talk about yourself.

There are few sentences or phrases which at once set the other person talking. They are truly magic phrases or magic words. Ask anyone-your friend, teacher, spouse, doctor, baker, boss, anybody-just what is his/her opinion on the subject that he specializes or claims superior knowledge. See how at once he/she feels elevated, how his/her eyes brighten, how he coughs importantly and proceeds to elucidate his opinion on the matter. "If you please,", "May I ask you a favor?" "Can you kindly spare me a second?", or other such magic phrases at once get you a favorable response from the other person. To keep the conversation going just ask "and then what did you do?" And first watch how he proceeds to explain how he/she proceeds to explain with renewed vigor, gusto and self-satisfaction.If you want to be regarded as a reputed and interesting conversationalist, if you want a royal and ready welcome from any and everyone, no matter at what time of day or night it might be, first remember to put this all important question: "And then what did you do?" or "And then what did you say?" or "And then what happened?"

Disraeli, the famous English statesman and favorite of mighty Queen Victoria, was beset with two serious handicaps when he wanted to get the recognition and acceptance from the British royal and high society. He was a nobody and his meteoric rise many extremely jealous. But very soon he was not only accepted but was in great demand. He became the most charming and sought-after person. His secret, which he himself wrote in his diary was "Don't talk too much. Never argue." Remember that you cannot learn when you are talking and your mouth is open. To hear and learn more, you must keep your ears and eyes open and not the mouth. The average individual wantes to talk and not to listen. Hence, a good listener is most welcome,anywhere, anytime. If you listen, you have the advantage. If you speak, others have the advantage. A fish dies by an open mouth and the frog attracts the snake, its mortal enemy because of its constant yelling. When the great Einstein was approached to provide the mathematical equation for success, he said: "If 'A' represents success in life, the formula is 'A' equal'X'plus'Y'plus'Z', 'X' being work and 'Y' being play." The impatient one could not wait, butted in and quipped, "And what does'Z' stand for, Mr. Einstein?" "Z", the great scientist replied, "is keeping your mouth shut." You must, therefore, listen your way to success and not try to talk your way to it. If you listen your way in, you do not have to talk your way out. We have two ears and one mouth. We must, therefore, use our ears twice as much as your mouth. The person you are talking to is one thousand times more interested in himself or herself than in you. That individual is bursting to talk about his hopes, wants, wishes, problems, achievements, family, friends, children, pets, possessions and what not. He/she has not time or inclination to listen what you have to say unless it concerns him/her or affects him/her in some way. He/she is certainly not interested whether you become a leader or stay as a follower. He/she is not bothered about your problems or what you want. His headache or tummy upset means more to him than Tsunami in the South-East asia. You must remember his cardinal, basic, all important and embracing fact, when you set out to motivate people and master the art of leadership.

Listen again to what Disraeli says:'Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours." Find out, therefore,his interests and lead him on to talk on those matters. Whenever you get the urge to talk, force yourself to listen. You can never impress people bragging about yourself. If, on the other hand, you listen with interest, enthusiasm and imagination, the other person will soon broadcast and televise your greatness. When you listen attentively and eagerly, it makes others like you immediately. It creates such a nice and favorable impression of yourself on them. Since they must talk and air their views and discoveries, they will everyone what a great and wonderful chap you are. They will become the strongest advocates to champion your cause. Therefore listen your way to leadership and success.


What are you focussing on?

One of my friends I was speaking with wanted to share his concern for the upbringing of his children in America. How was he to keep them away from drugs, alcohol and glamor? He was terrified with all the news and media. He said “My life is miserable whenever I think of my children in this permissiveness. What should be my approach to the bringing up of my children?”

Often I question the very genesis of such an enquiry. When we operate out of fear, we transmit the energy of fear to our children; in a subtle way, of course. If we were to operate out of trust, we would transmit trust to our children.

We have to realize that our actions are born from our thoughts. Our thoughts are the products of our values, and values come from our own belief system. If we believe life is miserable, we attract misery; if we believe life is beautiful, we attract happiness. This is called the ‘Law of Attraction’.

We get what we focus on; so focus on the fact that good things will happen to our children. This is one of the strong variables, which would impact our children.

But the parent asks lovingly, “Why do children detest advice?”

The question is, are they really against advice or the way we administer it? Every parent should be sensitive to this aspect.

Reflect on this story: A money-minded son after having his lunch wrote a note to his mother that she owed him $25 and he gave a detailed account- $ 5 for cleaning the house, $ 5 for washing the dishes, $ 15 for mowing the lawn. The mother was shocked on reading the note. She however decided to educate her son.

In turn she kept a note on the dining table, which read- “Oh! Son, you owe me nothing.” My account runs like this:

$ 0 for cooking your food

$ 0 for washing your clothes

$ 0 for ironing them

$ 0 for cleaning your bathroom

$ 0 for taking you to the doctor

$ 0 for the present on your birthday

$ 0 for taking you to the school and bringing you back

Finally, dear son, you owe me nothing; because I love you.

The son read this note and was deeply touched.

Children are not against advice; but they are very sensitive to the way it is administered. The heart of education is the education of the heart.

“How can I learn to advise in this manner?” asks the parent.

Reflect on this: Have you observed birds building nests? They build in such a way that when it rains, not a drop of water falls in the nest.

How did the mother bird learn the art of such an engineering feat? It is said that when the mother bird is pregnant, intuitively this knowledge arises. Love for the offspring brings out this latent wisdom to build the nest.

Let your love guide you and not fear.

Love will show you the way.

My friend nods in affirmation that love is the supreme power. He further asked, “How to deal with children’s boredom despite the variety in entertainment through media?”

Reflect on this story:

A boy complained to his grandmother, “No one likes me at school and life is bitter. My teachers reprimand me, friends are better than me in sports, some friends are better than me in studies and I feel bitter about life”.

“Shall I make a cake for you?,” asked the grandmother.

“Good, I badly need to sweeten my life,” said the boy.

After some time, she gave him flour. “This is not cake, it is so bitter,” screamed the boy. Then she gave him little baking powder.Again the boy screamed, “This is not cake, it is so bitter.” Then she gave him an egg. “This is not cake, it is not tasty,” screamed the boy.

Then the grandmother lovingly told the boy, “Individually each one of them is not tasty but when put together; it becomes a cake”.

“In the same way,” she said, “Individually your experiences are bitter; but join them together with commitment and transformation. Add the sugar of your being and make it a cake. Life is like cooking, you should just make it.”


What choices do you make?

The great benefit of heightened awareness is that we have more choice in how we live our lives. At any moment, we can purposefully choose a new experience for ourselves. We can choose to pay attention, breathe more deeply, laugh, rest, play, appreciate, do something different - the possibilities are endless.

Whenever you remember, TAKE YOURSELF OFF AUTO-PILOT and really examine your situation. Take charge and make a choice that will enrich your experience. At the end of the day, reflect on what happened and how you felt when you chose a new line of thought, feeling or action.

"We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us -- how we can take it, what we do with it -- and that is what really counts in the end."

-- Joseph Fort Newton

"When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you."

-- Tin Cup (the movie)


Judging and Comparing others

We are each unique, so comparing ourselves to others serves no purpose. Even comparing myself to how I was a while back is not usually helpful. Typically, comparison just brings the ego a false sense of either superiority or inferiority.

If we let go of comparison and choose instead to completely accept where we are, we can enjoy both peace and growth.

"Do not judge and you will never be mistaken."
-- Jean Jacques Rousseau


Accepting Respons(e)ability

"When you arrive at your future, will you blame your past?"
-- Robert Half

What holds you back from being and doing more? In your journal, list what you believe is holding you back.

Have you blamed people or factors outside of yourself?
It's important to understand that ALL problems are rooted inside us. Even the blocks that appear to be outside of us are only reflecting back an issue we have inside that we have not yet owned. Once we address our inner issue, the outer situation no longer troubles us.

The buck always stops with us. We step into our power when we accept responsibility for our lives.

"The most self-destructive thought that any person can have is thinking that he or she is not in total control of his or her life. That's when, ‘Why me?’ becomes a theme song."
-- Roger Dawson

"...look at that word blame. It's just a coincidence that the last two letters spell the word me. But that coincidence is worth thinking about. Other people or unfortunate circumstances may have caused you to feel pain, but only you control whether you allow that pain to go on. If you want those feelings to go away, you have to say: ‘It's up to me'."
-- Arthur Freeman


Why!!!

"As long as one keeps searching, the answers come."
-- Joan Baez

Why? Why? Why?

Asking ourselves 'why?' helps us delve deeply into our main motives -- why we do what we do. This process helps us go deeper into our reasoning, habits and unconscious beliefs. Once we become aware of our underlying motives, we can choose to change them, if we wish.

Regularly ask yourself, "Why am I ...?" Listen closely for the answer that surfaces in your mind, and write it down. Now look at your answer and ask why again. Continue with this process to reach the true source of your motivation.

"Men are more accountable for their motives, than for anything else ...."

-- Archibald Alexander


Through a wringer

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

     When I was a little boy we used to have an old fashioned wringer washing machine. This was an early type of washing machine in which you had to hand feed the freshly washed clothes through a pair of moving rolling pins to squeeze the extra water out before drying. I often wondered how those clothes felt going through them. This curiosity was painfully ended one day when I was helping my Mom feed the clothes into them and got my own fingers caught instead.  Needless to say, I was far more careful after that.

     Usually after we finished washing the clothes my Mom would hang them out on the clothes line to dry. I would hand her the wooden clothes pins as she hung them and help her fold the freshly dried clothes a few hours later. I can still remember how wonderful they smelled after warming in God?s sunshine all afternoon. I would hold them up to my face and delight in their warmth, cleanness, and Heavenly scent.

     I know that sometimes it can feel as if life is putting us all though a wringer washer. The troubles and stresses of life always seem to want to squeeze and flatten every bit of peace and happiness out of us. Sometimes our whole day feels like my fingers did that time when I was a careless young boy. It is up to us, however, to not let ourselves stay flattened like an old, wet pair of pants. It is up to us to pick ourselves up and warm our hearts and souls again in the sunshine of God?s love. It is up to us to choose the Heavenly scent of love and joy moment by moment to refresh our lives and to share with the world.

     I hope then that no matter how flattened you get by life at times you can still rise up to choose more joy and love. I hope that no matter how many times you are put through a wringer you can still come out stronger, better, and closer to God.


Be Happy

Don't Wait to Be Happy

Be Happy Now

We convince ourselves that life will be better
after we get married, have a baby, then another.
Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old
enough. We'll be more content when they are.

After that, we're frustrated that we have
teenagers to deal with.
We will certainly be happy when
they are out of " that stage ".

We tell ourselves that our life will
be complete when our spouse gets his
or her act together. When we get a nicer car,
when we are able to go on a nice vacation, or when we retire.

The truth is, there's no better time
to be happy than right now. If not now, when?
Your life will " always " be filled with challenges.
It's best to admit this to yourself and decide
to be happy anyway. Happiness is the way.

    

So, treasure " every " moment!
Treasure it more because you
shared it with someone special.
Special enough to spend
your time with...



Remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is like sugar,
Just a little can make you smile.


Only you

A person can make you feel high,
A person can make you feel low.
But only you can decide,
Which way you want to go.

A person can hurt you mentally,
A person can hurt you physically.
But only you can place,
A limit on your abilities.

A person can cause drama,
A person can cause a situation.
But only you can create,
Your own reputation.

A person can make you laugh,
A person can make you cry.
But only you can make,
Decisions for your life.

I guess what I'm trying to say,
That when you're living day to day.
Don't live by what people do,
But live by what you know is true.


Make a connection

Think back to your high school days for a moment. Who were your favorite teachers? Who were your favorite friends? If you were involved in sports, who were your favorite coaches?

The answer is the same for each question. Your best teachers, friends and coaches were the people with whom you had a connection. They connected with you, and you connected with them.

You know when someone connects with you, don't you? Words flow easily. You laugh readily. You leave the encounter feeling valued and understood. It's a bit tougher to determine whether you've connected with another person or a group of people, although body language is usually a good indicator. For example, if you're leading a strategy meeting and the members of your team are yawning, gazing out the window or looking at their watches, there's a good chance you're not connecting with them at all.

Good leaders get the best out of others because they know how to relate—both individually and collectively—to the people they are leading. For some, this comes naturally; for others, it's more of an acquired skill. Fortunately, the more you do it, the more comfortable you become doing it.

If you could use some improvement in this area, here is a simple formula to follow:

C — Consider others first.
O — Open yourself up to them.
N — Never violate their trust.
N — Never manipulate them.
E — Encourage them at every opportunity.
C — Constantly add value to their lives.
T — Treat them with respect.

Relationships built on this kind of connection can have a dramatic impact on the morale and performance of your team. Here's how baseball great Don Mattingly, who played first base for the New York Yankees in the 1980s and 1990s, explained how he learned this.

"Team sports are really difficult things," he said. "Sometimes your team wins because of you, and sometimes in spite of you and sometimes it's like you're not even there. That's the reality of a team game. Then at one point in my career, something wonderful began to happen to me. I don't know why and I don't even know how; but I came to understand what 'team' meant. It meant that although I didn't get a hit or make a great defensive play, I could impact the team in an incredible and consistent way.

"I learned that I could impact my team by caring first and foremost about the team's success and not my own," Mattingly continued. "I don't mean by rooting for us like a typical fan. Fans are fickle. I mean care, really care about the team, about 'us.' I became less selfish, less lazy, less sensitive to negative comments that were personally given to me. And when I gave up me, I became more to the other players. I became a captain, a leader, a better person; and I came to understand that life is a team game, and that you know what? I've found most people aren't team players. They don't realize that life is the only game in town. Someone should tell them. It has made all the difference in the world to me."

Mattingly's statement stuck with me long after I read it because it is so universally applicable. Whether you're playing baseball, providing a service or manufacturing widgets, you don't have to make a direct contribution to be a valuable team member. Home runs are an important part of the process, of course, but so are coming to the ballpark every day, caring for your teammates and helping other people succeed.

Of course, no matter how good you are at connecting with the people around you, conflict is inevitable, especially on a team. That's why knowing how to pick your battles is just as important as knowing how to get along with people. The following disciplines will help you gain a better perspective on when to fight and when to acquiesce.

1. Spend time with people who are different from you. This will help you to appreciate others and understand how they think and work, which will make you less likely to judge or battle them.

2. In matters of personal preference or taste, give in. Keep the main things the main things. If you don't save your energy for what really matters, you'll wear yourself out and wear out your welcome with others.

3. Don't take things too personally. Always remember, hurting people hurt people. That doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it can make it easier to deflect insensitive or rude comments.

4. Practice the 101 percent principle. Whenever possible, find the one percent you do agree on in a difficult situation and give it 100 percent of your effort.

5. Finally, be a servant leader. If your mindset is to serve rather than to be served, you will likely encounter less conflict.

"This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at www.MaximumImpact.com."


People skills

Successful leadership is about 90% people knowledge and 10% product knowledge.  Henry Ford once said, "You can take my factories, burn up my buildings, but give me my people and I'll build the business right back again."

You can have strong people skills and not be a good leader, but you cannot be a good leader without people skills.  In my thirty plus years of leadership, I've discovered that many people in leadership positions fail to ever gain a proper understanding of the people they lead.  As a result, neither they nor their people ever reach their potential.

But successful leaders are able to discern the needs of their people instinctively, then take action to meet them.  The following is a list of the most common needs of people and how to meet them effectively.  Though every item may not be true of the  people you lead, take the time to determine what items do describe them.  Then commit to take the proper action to put you and your people on the road to success.

1.  PEOPLE LIKE TO FEEL SPECIAL... COMPLIMENT THEM.

The highest compliment a person can receive is one given by his or her leader.  Mark Twain said, "One compliment can keep me going for a whole month."  Take the time to notice your people's work and don't hesitate to tell them when they've done a good job.  Make a habit of being generous and sincere with your compliments.

2.  PEOPLE LOOK FOR A BETTER TOMORROW... GIVE THEM HOPE.

Jean Kerr said, "Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have isn't permanent."  In other words, when your people are having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, remind them of the purpose of their work and help them envision what their work will accomplish.  With hope your people will work harder and longer to see a task through to completion.

3.  PEOPLE NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD... LISTEN TO THEM.

Every leader would be wise to heed the Cherokee saying: "Listen to the whispers and you won't have to hear the screams."  Don't judge what your people want to tell you before they've told you. Take time to understand their point of view and listen to their suggestions.  It's the best way to ensure that they've been listening to you and it opens the door to innovative ideas for improvement.

4.  PEOPLE LACK DIRECTION... NAVIGATE FOR THEM.

Don Herald said, "Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it."  Part of your job as a leader is to help your people figure out what they're most passionate about, then help them pursue it.  Sometimes that may involve a position change within your organization or even allowing a person to pursue another opportunity.  But when you understand that effectiveness comes as a result of surrounding yourself with people who love what they do, it's not difficult to let a person
go who doesn't enjoy their work.  Spend your best time developing and giving direction to those who are passionate about the work your organization is accomplishing.

Tom Peters said, "Techniques don't produce quality products or pick up the garbage on time; people do, people who care, people who are treated as creatively contributing adults."  Before you ask anything of your people, make sure you've taken the time to understand and meet their needs.  In doing so, you will give yourself a decided edge in maintaining their continued support.

"This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at www.MaximumImpact.com."


Self talk and maturity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

What passes over your lips each day?


Are your words typically negative, critical, gossiping, deceptive, illusory, justifying, blaming, manipulative and argumentative?

Are they more uplifting, inspirational, positive, questioning, beautiful, loving, universal, truthful, accepting and supportive?

The throat is our center of expression. Who we are sneaks out in our attitudes and in what we say.

Maturity is

  • Facing the truth honestly
  • looking beyond personal comfort and gratification, to the greater good.
  • dealing with change without falling apart.
  • working hard and completing a job, whether supervised or not.
  • keeping the stresses and worries of life from taking control.
  • doing the right thing regardless of what others say and do.
  • finding more joy in giving than receiving.
  • bearing an injustive without having to get even.
  • relating to others in a consistently positive and helpful manner.
  • being a person of your word.
  • demonstrating respect.
  • showing love in both word and deed.
  • learning to be content based upon internal attitudes rather than external circumstances.

Power of holding hands: R.H.Kushner

I was sitting on a beach one summer day, watching two children, a boy and a girl, playing in the sand. They were hard at work building an elaborate sandcastle by the water's edge, with gates and towers and moats and internal passages. Just when they had nearly finished their project, a big wave came along and knocked it down,reducing it to a heap of wet sand. I expected the children to burst into tears, devastated by what had happened to all their hard work. But they surprised me. Instead, they ran up the shore away from the water, laughing and holding hands, and sat down to build another castle.


I realized that they had taught me an important lesson. All the things in our lives, all the complicated structures we spent so much time and energy creating, are built on sand. Only our relationships to other people endure. Sooner or later, the wave will come along and knock down what we have worked so hard to build up. When that happens, only the person who has somebody's hand to hold will be able to laugh.


Learn to encourage

Each one of us is a wonderful being. Encourage the emergence of hidden talents of an individual and watch the depression disappear. Telling others constantly that they are dumb, useless or unintelligent only destroys the possibility of their improvement. But if we were generous in our praise, the chances are that we would make others realize their potential. Let the vocabulary of encouragement be, “You are a seed; you are a possibility; you have infinite capacity,” thus leading the other to a life of commitment. Encouragement involves a little loving effort. The result is a very big difference in the life of the other. An old man was busy picking up the fish that had been caught by someone and throwing them back into the sea. A young man said, “For the past two hours you have been throwing fish into the sea. But there are so many fish. Can you really make a difference to all of them?” The old man smiled, picked up yet another fish, threw it into the sea and said, “I have made a difference to this fish.” Encourage yourself and others always. Let this be your vision and your mission. Believe passionately in yourself and others alike. Life will become more meaningful.


Relieve The Pressure Cooker

"Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life."

-- Mary Manin Morrissey

Journaling is a great way to release and let go. To get things off your chest. Our minds are our own worst enemies. The same thoughts go round and round in the same old ways and keep us stuck.

If something bothers you, write about it. Get it out so you can see it from a different perspective. Let it out. Let it go.

Owning and healing your pressure cooker is an important step in claiming your power, building your esteem and making your stand.


The choices make your destiny

Immaturity is thinking that you have all the answers. Wisdom is knowing that you don't.

Weakness is wanting to control everything around you. Strength is gracefully accepting and valuing what is.

Insecurity is the constant, gnawing desire to have more and more. Confidence is knowing that you already are enough.

Failure is thinking that you can advance yourself by pushing others down. Success is understanding that the more you lift others up, the more you'll be lifted yourself.

Despair is committing yourself to shallow, superficial things that too soon will wither and die. Joy is filling your world and your life with the things that truly matter.

Every moment, you are fully capable of living with wisdom, strength, confidence, success and joy. It's not a matter of chance, but always a matter of choice. And you can make the choices now that will surely take you there.


Learn from your mistakes

I love reading John C. Maxwell's articles and I received this article from a friend of mine and would like to share it with you.  The following is the transcript of John Maxwell narrating about "learning from your mistakes".

I used to think that as I gained maturity and experience I would make fewer mistakes.  I thought, "I'm going to get better at this, because I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning."

I believed that there would come a day when I wouldn't make very many mistakes, because I'd get better.  What I learned was that as I gained maturity and experience, I would continue to make mistakes, but I would learn more quickly from them.

What I found out was that I didn't lower my "mistake quota" but I learned better from my mistakes, and it's because of maturity.Maturity helps us learn more quickly from our mistakes and here are the reasons why:

1. We become more self-confident.

As we become more self-confident, we're willing to admit things that we would not admit if we had lower self-image.

2. We realize that mistakes are not usually fatal.

It was a happy day for me when I realized that when I made a mistake, it was seldom fatal.  After you make a mistake and say, "Oh, I lived!  I'm okay.  I'm going to see another sunrise." Then all of a sudden you say, "They're not as big of a deal as I thought."

3. We find that we make the same mistakes unless we learn from them.

Unless I learn from a mistake, I usually keep doing it over and over again.  You see, the question is not how many mistakes have you made; the question is how many of the same mistakes have you made?  If I always do what I've always done, I'll always get what I've always gotten.

4. We understand that mistakes are unavoidable.

Look back at your early years.  Can you think of the times you tried to avoid mistakes?  You know what I'm saying?  "Well, I'll just be careful.  I won't make any mistakes here."  Well, after awhile you just plunge in because you know the mistakes are unavoidable.

5. We see others make mistakes.

Wasn't it wonderful when you saw all the people that you admired make mistakes?  You thought, "Oh, good night!  Look where they are, and they blew it!"

The following illustration says a lot about life and learning from our mistakes.  It comes out of a university commencement address many, many years ago by Brian Dyce, who at that time was the CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises.  He spoke about the relationship of work to one's other commitments.

"Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air.  You can name them--work, family, health, friends, and spirit--and you're keeping all of these in the air and you will soon understand that work is a rubber ball.  If you drop it, it'll bounce back; but the other four balls--family, health, friends, and spirit--are made of glass.  If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered.  They'll never be the same, and you must understand that and strive for the balance of your life.

"How?  Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.  It is because we are different that each of us is special.  Don't set your goals by what other people deem important.  Only you know what is best for you.  Don't take for granted the things that are closest to your heart.  Cling to them as you would your life; for without them, life is meaningless. Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.  By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.  Don't give up when you still have something to give.  Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.  Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect--it is this fragile thread that binds us to each other. Don't be afraid to encounter risk--it is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.  Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find--the quickest way to receive love is to give, and the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly, and the best way to keep love is to give it wings. Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been but also where you're going.  Don't forget that a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.  Don't be afraid to learn--knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.  Don't use time or words carelessly; neither can be retrieved.  Life is not a race but a journey to be savored each step of the way.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift.  That's why we call it the present."


Develop Self confidence

Some of you may be familiar with the story of Rapunzel. She was a great beauty. When she was young, a witch took her away from her parents and put her in a tall tower, deep in a dense forest. The tower did not have doors or stairs. Right on top, there was just one single window. Rapunzel eventually grew into a beauty, with skin like fresh blown roses and long hair like spun gold.

Rapunzel grew up knowing nothing about the outside world. The witch used to visit her through a window, climbing by grasping her long hair. But the witch did not reveal to her as to how beautiful she was. She was very possessive of her and did not ever want her to leave the tower. She thought if Rapunzel learnt of her true nature, or of the world outside she would escape from her and go away. There was nothing in the tower that could reflect anything; so the girl had never even seen her own face. All she knew was the witch.

The witch constantly told Rapunzel how ugly she was and demeaned her totally, from dawn to dusk. Rapunzel had no choice but to believe all this. She used to feel sad that God had created her ugly and cried bitterly, all day long.

One fine day, a prince happened to come to the forest to hunt. Having lost his way, he chanced by the tall tower, where he glimpsed the fair face of Rapunzel and fell in love with her, at the very first sight. He climbed to the top of the tower, just the same way that the witch used to, using the girl’s long hair. He told her how beautiful she was and that he loved her dearly.

For the first time in her life, Rapunzel realised how good-looking she was. Thereafter, they met often and their love grew deep and strong. The story ends, after many mishaps, with the prince releasing Rapunzel from the prison and marrying her. And as in all fairy tales, they lived happily ever after!

Now, you may wonder why I had to relate this fairy tale here! Before we go into the reason for the story, let us remind ourselves of the ideas on creativity that we shared earlier. A boy was studying in primary school. For some reason, he was unable to score good marks in English language. His family members as well the teachers at school told him repeatedly that he was no good in English. This was done again and again till he completed his college.

Now, is there any difference between this and what the witch used to tell Rapunzel? This is known as ‘Negative Belief.’ There is a witch in us, the ‘negative belief.’ There is a prince in us, and that’s our ‘creativity.’ Our mind, if it becomes repetitive, can be a prison in which the beautiful Rapunzel would be trapped. This way of constantly telling oneself is known as ‘Repetitive Thinking.’ Just as Rapunzel was imprisoned in a tall tower, this young man was imprisoned by his own repetitive thinking. To develop self confidence, and overcome negative belief you have to replace all negative beliefs by good creativity and positive thinking (by positive reinforcement).


Struggle and Victory

Hello winners,

How is everybody doing? September is here..Time is just flying. I felt this year 2005 just started..and Gosh...it is already September. Let us all make the resolution to make each day worthwhile. I was reading Swami Sukhabodhananda and wanted to share some nuggets with you.

The only thing consistent in life is change. Change is not death; change is a movement from birth to birth; from splendour to splendour; mystery to mystery. Managing change is an art of good leadership. To be successful in life, one has to have good leadership qualities. A good leader has a grand vision. The ordinary paradigm is “mine is good”, but the extraordinary paradigm is “whatever is good is mine”.

In esoteric teaching there is an important law called the ‘law of three’. The positive effort you put in is called the first force. As you put in positive force there is a negative force that would affect the positive force. This negative force is called the second force. If one continuously puts in positive effort, there would be a third force that would descend and transform the negative force into a positive force. This is called the law of three.

If you do not continue to exert a positive force, the negative force will take over. So the law of three urges us to be open to the negative force, but to continue applying the positive.

The following story drives the point.

A biology teacher asks her students to observe a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly. She tells them not to touch the cocoon during the process. The teacher leaves the classroom after giving the instructions.

The students, while observing the metamorphosis, see the butterfly struggling to come out of the cocoon. Out of compassion they assist the butterfly in coming out of the cocoon. In the process, the butterfly dies. The teacher comes back to the classroom and asks the students, “How did the butterfly die?”

They answered, “We do not know. We only tried to help the butterfly emerge from the cocoon.”

The teacher said, “You fools, the struggle of the butterfly emerging from its cocoon strengthens its wings. By forcing the butterfly to bypass this process, you have killed it.”

The moral of the story is that struggles are not as bad as we take them to be.

A good leader understands this law, and, he strives to be positive in the face of fiercely negative circumstances.

The second important factor that a leader should understand is the principle of the ladder. According to this principle, “Each one of us is on one or another rung of a ladder of spirituality. If one has to go up the ladder of spiritual growth, not only should one help others climb, but one should also not pull anyone down.”

The third quality of a good leader is in learning the art of managing people. While managing people, one has to keep their hopes alive. A good leader does not worry too much about his career but works on the careers of others.

To awaken people’s enthusiasm is the greatest skill that a leader can possess. When Andrew Carnegie was asked about the secrets of his success, he answered, “One should have the patience of a gold miner when working with people. To get a little gold you have to patiently remove a lot of dust.”