Saturday, December 16, 2006
The gesture is supposed to indicate openness on the part of the speaker, I suppose, but if in fact you do ask a question, both the speaker and audience will give you drop-dead looks. And some fool -- some earnest idiot -- always asks. And the speaker always answers. By repeating most of what he has already said.
But if there is a little time left and there is a little silence in response to the invitation, I usually ask the most important question of all: "What is the meaning of life?"
You never know, somebody may have the answer, and I'd really hate to miss it because I was too socially inhibited to ask. But when I ask, it's usually taken as a kind of absurdist move -- people laugh and nod and gather up their stuff and the meeting is dismissed on that ridiculous note.
Once, and only once, I asked that question and got a serious answer. One that is with me still.
First, I must tell you where this happened, because the place has a power of its own. In Greece again.
Near the village of Gonia on a rocky bay of the island of Crete, sits a Greek Orthodox monastery. Alongside it, on land donated by the monastery, is an institute dedicated to human understanding and peace, and especially to rapprochement between Germans and Cretans. An improbable task, given the bitter residue of wartime.
This site is important, because it overlooks the small airstrip at Maleme where Nazi paratroopers invaded Crete and were attacked by peasants wielding kitchen knives and hay scythes. The retribution was terrible. The populations of whole villages were lined up and shot for assaulting Hitler's finest troops. High above the institute is a cemetery with a single cross marking the mass grave of Cretan partisans. And across the bay on yet another hill is the regimented burial ground of the Nazi paratroopers. The memorials are so placed that all might see and never forget. Hate was the only weapon the Cretans had at the end, and it was a weapon many vowed never to give up. Never ever.
Against this heavy curtain of history, in this place where the stone of hatred is hard and thick, the existence of an institute devoted to healing the wounds of war is a fragile paradox. How has it come to be here? The answer is a man. Alexander Papaderos.
A doctor of philosophy, teacher, politician, resident of Athens but a son of this soil. At war's end he came to believe that the Germans and the Cretans had much to give one another -- much to learn from one another. That they had an example to set. For if they could forgive each other and construct a creative relationship, then any people could.
To make a lovely story short, Papaderos succeeded. The institute became a reality -- a conference ground on the site of horror -- and it was in fact a source of productive interaction between the two countries. Books have been written on the dreams that were realized by what people gave to people in this place.
By the time I came to the institute for a summer session, Alexander Papaderos had become a living legend. One look at him and you saw his strength and intensity -- energy, physical power, courage, intelligence, passion, and vivacity radiated from this person. And to speak to him, to shake his hand, to be in a room with him when he spoke, was to experience his extraordinary electric humanity. Few men live up to their reputations when you get close. Alexander Papaderos was an exception.
At the last session on the last morning of a two-week seminar on Greek culture, led by intellectuals and experts in their fields who were recruited by Papaderos from across Greece, Papaderos rose from his chair at the back of the room and walked to the front, where he stood in the bright Greek sunlight of an open window and looked out. We followed his gaze across the bay to the iron cross marking the German cemetery.
He turned. And made the ritual gesture: "Are there any questions?"
Quiet quilted the room. These two weeks had generated enough questions for a lifetime, but for now there was only silence.
"No questions?" Papaderos swept the room with his eyes.
So. I asked.
"Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?"
The usual laughter followed, and people stirred to go.
Papaderos held up his hand and stilled the room and looked at me for a long time, asking with his eyes if I was serious and seeing from my eyes that I was.
"I will answer your question."
Taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into a leather billfold and brought out a very small round mirror, about the size of a quarter. And what he said went like this:
"When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.
"I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine -- in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find."
"I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child's game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light -- truth, understanding, knowledge -- is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it."
"I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world -- into the black places in the hearts of men -- and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life."
And then he took his small mirror and, holding it carefully, caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them onto my face and onto my hands folded on the desk.
Much of what I experienced in the way of information about Greek culture and history that summer is gone from memory. But in the wallet of my mind I carry a small round mirror still.
Are there any questions?
(from the book, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It, by Robert Fulghum, author of All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)
Monday, October 02, 2006
Who hit you with clubs, or rob you with guns
They won’t be the enemies who attack your character traits
Or try to belittle your abilities right in your face
No, the most dangerous people are small-minded friends
Whose negative talk crush your self-image and your desire to win
They do not threaten your life at the point of a gun
Rather they steal your dreams by saying that it just cannot be done
When pointing to others doing what you dream you can do
They say, “you can’t do it, it won’t happen for you”
It does not matter that their words are untrue
You listen anyway, thinking they know you better than you
So you are robbed of your dreams and your hopes to succeed
Robbed of the blessing that you could have received
Robbed of your faith that says that “You Can!”
Robbed by an ignorant, small-minded friend
So the most dangerous ones
Are not the ones with the clubs or the guns
But the ones who keep telling you that it cannot be done
For that which is stolen by a burglar can be gotten again
But who can replace your dream and your desire to win.
Monday, August 07, 2006
A little fellow follows me;
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he'll go the self-same way.
I cannot once escape his eyes,
whate'er he sees me do, he tries;
Like me, he says he's going to be
The little chap who follows me.
He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine;
The base in me he must not see,
The little chap who follows me.
I must remember as I go,
Through summer's sun and winter's snow
I'm building for the years to be,
That little chap who follows me.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the "strike." They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.
The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits.
Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened! The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again-all to no avail.
Finally, they decided to QUIT. They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. Some "junk" men are dumb, but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with "fault lines." His calculations showed that the vein would be found JUST THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING! That is exactly where it was found!
The "Junk" man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up. Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.
Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over, when he made the discovery that DESIRE can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.
Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he STOPPED three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, by the simple method of saying to himself, "I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say `no' when I ask them to buy insurance."
Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. He owes his "stickability" to the lesson he learned from his "quitability" in the gold mining business.
Before success comes in any man's life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of men do.
More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known, told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning.
It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than Unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
Friday, March 24, 2006
to yourself be true;
and where're your lot may be,
Paddle your own canoe.
Never, though the winds may rave,
falter nor look back,
but upon the darkest wave
leave a shining track.
Nobly dare the wildest storm,
Stem the hardest gale,
Brave of heart and strong of arm,
you will never fail.
When the world is cold and dark,
Keep an end in view,
And toward the beacon mark
Paddle your own canoe.
Every wave that bears you on
To the silent shore,
From its sunny source has gone
To return no more:
Then let not an hour's delay
Cheat you of your due;
But while it is called to-day,
Paddle your own canoe.
If your birth denied you wealth,
Lofty state, and power,
Honest fame and hardy health
Are a better dower;
But if theirs will not suffice,
Golden gain pursue,
And to win the glittering prize,
Paddle your own canoe.
Would you wrest the wreath of fame
from the hand of Fate?
Would you write a deathless name
with the good and great?
Would you bless your fellowmen?
Heart and soul imbue
with the holy task, and then
Paddle your own canoe.
Would you crush the tyrant Wrong,
in the world's fierce fight?
With a spirit brave and strong,
Battle for the Right;
and to break the chains that bind
The many to the few --
To enfranchise slavish mind,
Paddle your own canoe.
Nothing great is lightly won,
nothing won is lost --
Every good deed nobly done,
Will repay the cost;
Leave to Heaven, in humble trust,
all you will to do;
But if you succeed, you must always
Paddle your own canoe.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Think of that! He came down hoping he might be able to find something to do for which he was not paid. And he came on his own initiative without being told.Mr.Schwab thanked him politely for his thoughtfulness, but said he had no need for a stenographer at the moment. After carefully noting the young man's name, he sent the lad back to his work.
That night, when the private car was hitched to the night train for its return to New York City it carried the young stenographer. He had been assigned, at Mr.Schwab's request, for service in New York as one of the steel magnate's assistants. The lad's name was Williams. He remained in Mr.Schwab's services for several years, during which opportunity after opportunity for promotion came to him unsolicited.
It is peculiar how opportunities have a way of trailing the people who make it their business to go the extra mile, but they do very definitely. Finally an opportunity came to young Williams which he could not ignore. He was made president and a large stockholder in one of the largest drug concerns in the U.S - a job which yielded him a fortune greater than his needs.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
What costly business this neglect turned out to be!
Finally the lady came to a counter that was attended by a young clerk who bowed politely and asked if he might serve her.
“No,” she replied, ”I am just killing time, waiting for the rain to stop so I can go home.”
“Very well, Madam,” the young man smiled, “may I bring a chair for you?” and he brought it without waiting for her answer. After the rain slacked the young man took the old lady by her arm, escorted her to the street and bade her good-bye. As she left she asked him for his card.
Several months later the owner of the store received a letter, asking that this young man be sent to Scotland to take an order for the furnishings of a home. The owner of the store wrote back that he was sorry, but the young man did not work in the house furnishings department. However, he explained that he would be glad to send an “experienced man” to do the job.
Back came a reply, that no one would do except this particular young man. The letters were signed by Andrew Carnegie, and the “house” he wanted furnished was Skibo Castle in Scotland. The elderly lady was Mr. Carnegie’s mother. The young man was sent to Scotland. He received an order for several hundred thousand dollars worth of household furnishings, and with it a partnership in the store. He later became the owner of a half interest in the store.
Verily it pays to go the extra mile.
Monday, March 20, 2006
- What is going the extra mile? It means rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude.
- Every living creature below the intelligence of man is forced, by Nature’s handiwork, to apply this principle in order to survive. Man may choose to ignore this principle, but he cannot do so and at the same time enjoy the fruits of enduring success.
- Advantages of going the extra mile:
1. The habit brings the individual to the favorable attention of those who can and will provide opportunities for self-advancement.
2. It tends to make one indispensable, in many different human relationships, and it therefore enables him to command more than average compensation for personal services.
3. It leads to mental growth and to physical skill and perfection in many forms of endeavor, thereby adding to one’s earning capacity.
4. It protects one against the loss of employment when employment is scarce, and places him in a position to command the choicest of jobs.
5. It enables one to profit by the law of contrast, since the majority of people do not practice the habit.
6. It leads to the development of a positive, pleasing mental attitude, which is essential for enduring success.
7. It tends to develop a keen, alert imagination because it is a habit which inspires one continuously to seek new and better ways of rendering service.
8. It develops the important quality of personal initiative.
9. It develops self-reliance and courage.
10. It serves to build the confidence of others in one’s integrity.
11. It aids in the mastery of the destructive habit of procrastination.
12. It develops definiteness of purpose, insuring one against the common habit of aimlessness.
- Napolean Hill(Master key to riches)
Preparedness and opportunity always meet in the extra mile - some people call it luck!. Remember, there is a reason why Napolean hill put the word 'habit' in the heading. If we go the extra mile once, we will reap rewards for going the extra mile, but that is nothing compared to the reward that we will reap by making it a habit and doing it consistently. In the same book, Mr. Hill quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson "If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer." WOW! It is so true! . Remember this, there is no traffic in the extra mile. That is what is referred to as the 'law of contrast' above. I believe that there is a bank that has unlimited money in an account with your name and this bank is located in the extra mile and God is its owner (btw, in God's bank there are no ATM's, and there is only one branch!). So, Why wait? Lets go withdraw some of that money!
PS: In the next coming posts, I will quote you stories of people who went the extra mile and reaped harvest beyond imagination.
PPS: Your comments are my fuel!
Friday, March 17, 2006
- Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruit; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.
- Thought in the mind hath made us.
What we are by thought was wrought and built.
If a man's mind hath evil thought,
pain comes on him as comes the wheel the ox behind.
If one endure in purity of thought,
Joy follows him as his own shadow - sure.
- A noble and God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts.
- Man is always the master, even in his weakest and most abandoned state. But in his weakness and degradation he is foolish master who misgoverns his "household." When he begins to reflect upon his condition and search diligently for the law upon which his being is established, he then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence and fashioning his thoughts to fruitful issues.
- Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the divine perfection. By the abuse and wrong application of thought he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master.
What you read above are my notes from a book called 'As a Man Thinketh' by James Allen. When I read this book, I thought every line was worth underlining/taking notes from. Everything in this world starts with a thought. Thoughts are like seeds, they grow into results if they are properly culivated in the right environment. It is true for both good and bad thoughts. Everybody is prone to having both of them. The key for success is to have more good thoughts (that will blossom into action and bore results as the fruit) than bad thoughts. I found a great way to cultivate the habit of having good thoughts. In order for this to work, first off we need to understand that everybody has bad thoughts at somepoint of time or the other. Even the noblest of the noble, whom you might have a high regard for, have bad thoughts spring up once in a while and catch them off guard. Thats just the way it is. Understanding that it is not just you that have bad thoughts will help you easily overcome it. Second, we also need to understand that, though our brain is a highly powerful computer(which is an understatement) that is capable of doing 20,000 trillion calculations per second, we cannot have two thoughts at the same time. Which means that you cannot have good thoughts and bad thoughts at the same time. That is a boon! Because, when I have a bad thought about anything, I can easily force myself to stop thinking about bad things and start thinking about good things. This simple strategy can rock our world in a very positive way. One last thing, positive thoughts come from God, and we all know where the negative thoughts come from! so lets work hard on increasing the positive (thought) differential.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
- Be a front seater. Sitting up front builds confidence. Practice it. From now on make it a rule to sit as close to the front as you can. - Have you ever been to a meeting and seen people fill in from the back? It happens all the time at work. Have you also seen that all the people in leadership roles some how tend to fill in from the front? Well, isn't there a relation here folks? Try sitting up front from now on at any meetings you attend (not at movie theater ofcourse!;) ) and see what it does to your self-image. I don't like seeing through peoples heads. I kinda loose track of what is happening up front and start focussing on the hair styles of people, if I sit at the back. May be its just me..
- Practice making eye contact. You say nothing about yourself when you avoid making eye contact. Aim your eyes right at the other person’s eyes. It not only gives you confidence. It wins you confidence, too. - I have been guilty of this too. But I have made a habit to look at peoples eyes when I am talking to them or even listening to them. Now, there is a difference between making eye contact and scaring the heck out of people by staring at them. When you make eye contact, you potray confidence. Period. I have used the approach of making eye contact for a few seconds and then may be look a little above or below the eye for a few seconds. I do it back and forth and this makes it easy for me to do eye contact.
- Walk 25 percent faster. Throw your shoulders back, lift up your head, move ahead just a little faster and feel self-confidence grow. - I love the way I feel when I am walking faster. I love the feeling of the slight breeze which blows across my ears, when I am walking a little faster. Of course, you don't want to walk 25% faster when you are walking with somebody who walks a little slower(like an elderly, or a disabled person). That might endup making you looking arrogant than confident. So use judgement.
- Practice speaking up. - Speaking softly is good only when you are angry! Otherwise, we should speak a couple of decibels higher than normal. That shows you know what you are talking about!
- Smile big. A big smile gives you confidence. A big smile beats fear, rolls away worry, defeats despondency. Smile until your teeth show. A large-size smile is fully guaranteed to potray confidence. - I smile at people because it is free to do so. Smile is the only thing that you can give away and still have lots of left with you. It is very contagious. It is kind of hard to smile when you are having a bad day, but hey, people with confidence are different any way! Once has to be especially careful that the smile is not plastic or artificial. How do you know when your smile is natural and when it is aritficial? Well, when you smile and your heart smiles with you then it is natural otherwise it is artificial.
I got these simple steps from a book called "The magic of thinking big". It is one heck of a book if you are looking to grow you. These steps are very simple and yet very effective.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it's up to you!
Inside each one of us there is incredible potential, seeds of greatness. Each of us are an individual miracle, like snowflake. We are engineered to success and designed for accomplishment. Anything that is great, was just an idea of one man/woman in the begenning. If we look back at history, there are many individuals who started with a humble begenning and accomplished great things. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and many many others. These people have changed the course of history. Their actions have affected (and are still affecting) many millions of people. I recently read a book called "The greatest Miracle in the World" by Og Mandino. This is a great book which points out what and individual miracle we are. I also heard that 99% of all of our DNA are the same, and yet it is that 1% that causes each one of us to be different. There is not one person on earth that has the same DNA as you do (not in the history of this planet, which btw is billions of years..). We look all around us to see excellence/potential, and yet it is within each of us it lies. That is the greatest secret! One of the hardest things for me to do is remind myself everyday that I have what it takes. Its a battle especially because life is throwing lemons at you all the time. It is when we make lemonade out of these lemons, that life throws at us, we realize that we have what it takes to do what we are meant to do! So, get up, lets make some lemonade and then set the world on fire! Because, 'just one' person like you is what the world needs!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Wanting success isn't sufficient enough to get it.
You have to ask yourself, "What am I going to do to get the things I want?"
Your problem is how to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.
You cannot fail with a definite step-by-step plan, because each step carries you along to the next step, like a track.
All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.
You cannot get lost on a straight road.
Monday, March 06, 2006
For the sun and sky and air and light,
that stood out in the open plain,
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king.
The man who never had to toil,
Who never had to win his share,
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man,
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow in ease;
The stronger the wind, the tougher trees;
The more the storm, the more the strength;
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In tree or man, good timber grows.
Where thickest stands the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both,
And they hold converse with the stars,
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much strife,
This is the common law of life.
Nobody has "tip-toed through the tulips" to success. Success requires relentless and persistent effort, period. It takes a live fish to swim against the current, conversely, even a dead fish can float with the current! So, What is this "Law of life" thing? In very simple terms, we have to go through struggle to accomplish what we want, especially if it is something worthwile. Character is developed only in the valley's not the peak tops. When we face struggle in the eye and declare "dude!, you are not a big deal, I am going to kick your butt!" half the battle is won! I once heard somebody say "airplanes cannot fly without the resistance of the wind, ships cannot sail without the resistance of water", in the same way, there is no success without struggle! The hardest part for me is to remind myself about this "common law of life", since when I am going through a struggle it is not sweet..
Thursday, March 02, 2006
NO AUTHORITY IS HIGHER THAN REALITY
Truth isn't a matter of your personal viewpoint.
Learn to see things as they really are,
not as you imagine they are.
Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.
No matter what you believe, it never changes the facts.
If they are there, the facts always speak for themselves.
The truth does not change because it is, or is not,
believed by a majority of people.
If sixty million people say a foolish thing,
it's still a foolish thing.
The sky is no less blue because the blind man does not see it.
How many times have we heard that "perception is reality". Yes, perception is reality, but unfortunately, perceptions can be wrong. What is more unfortunate is sometimes, people take others perception as their reality.. That is so wrong! Like Max says "If sixty million people say a foolish thing,it's still a foolish thing." We cannot live our life based on others perceptions, we will have to figure out the truth and base our perception on truth. "No authority is higher than reality"- the reality that Max is talking about is "Truth" not perception. The daily grind of life and others inputs can skew our perception, but "truth" never changes. That is the exact reason why "Truth will set us free!".
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Thought it scarcely worth his while,
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks.” he cried,
“Who will start bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar, now two, only two?
Three dollars once, three dollars twice…
And going for three…” but no;
For the room far back a gray-haired man
Stepped forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin.
And tightening the loose strings,
He played them a melody, pure and sweet,
As pure as an angel sings.
The music stopped, and the auctioneer said
In a voice that was quiet and low:
“Now, then, what am I offered for the old violin?”
As he held it up with the bow…
“One thousand dollars, now who’ll make it two?
Two thousand, and who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice…
And going… and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried:
“We did not really understand
What changed it’s worth?” - swift came the reply:
“The touch of the master’s hand.”
And many a person with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with Sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the mindless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game, and they travel on…
They’re going once, they’re going twice,
They’re going… and almost gone.
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd,
Never will really understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that is brought,
By the touch of the Master’s Hand.
There is music in everyone. There is potential in everyone. But most people die with the music still in them. Nobody has encouraged them, nobody has mentored them. They are like the old violin, which when fine tuned and played by a master, plays a sweet melody. But unlike the violin, which cannot go in search of a master musician, we CAN go in search of a mentor who can get the music out of us, help us reach our potential. Napolean Hill calls it a "master mind alliance". I can't remember where I read this quote, "A man who has himself for counsel has a fool as his master". Folks, this is absolutely true. My life has been changed and continues to change because of right counsel. I feel so secure that I have somebody who has walked the way that I need to walk, and better yet, I have them for counsel. Everyone needs a masters touch. Do you have one?
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
"I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I posses, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise." - Charles Schwab
"People would think they had committed a crime if they let their families or employees go for six days without food; but they will let them go for six days, and six weeks, and sometimes sixty years without giving them a hearty appreciation that they crave almost as much as they crave food." - Dale Carengie
"I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." - Unknown
With routine grind of daily life, we tend to forget what is important. We take people who are important to us for granted, like our spouse, children, parents, friends etc.. what becomes familiar sometimes becomes invisible. But what a difference sincere appreciation can make! When we appreciate somebody not only do they feel good but we will feel good too! What a win-win!! I am getting better at this myself. Because, like anything, we need to make it a habit. One of the reasons why I like to appreciate people is because, it shows them what I value the most. For ex, when somebody is wearing clean and polished shoes, when you compliment them, it shows that, you like wearing clean and polished shoes! Dale Carnegie says that everybody we see every day has an imaginery sign hanging from their neck that says "make me feel important". A simple compliment will make them feel very important. Sincere appreciation will make them feel important. In turn a lot more people will start liking us for this simple virtue that Dale Carnegie calls "The big secret of dealing with people"... so why not start on giving honest and sincere appreciation, starting today?
Monday, February 27, 2006
When you've felt his hand lead you day by day
But your steps now take you another way, Start over.
When you've made your plans and they've gone awry
When you've tried your best and there's no more try
When you've failed yourself and you don't know why, Start over.
When you've told your friends what you plan to do
When you've trusted them and they didn't come through
And now you're all alone and it's up to you, Start over.
When you've failed your kids and they're grown and gone
When you've done your best but it's turned out wrong
And now your grandchildren have come along, Start over.
When you've prayed to God so you'll know his will
When you've prayed and prayed and you don't know still
When you want to stop cause you've had your fill, Start over.
When you think you're finished and want to quit
When you've bottomed out in life's deepest pit
When you've tried and tried to get out of it, Start over.
When the year has been long and successes few
When December comes and you're feeling blue
God gives a January just for you, Start over.
Starting over means "Victories Won"
Starting over means "A Race Well Run"
Starting over means "God's Will Done"
Don't just sit there.............. START OVER.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
"Don't complain about the snow on your neighbor's roof, when your own doorstep is unclean" - Confucius
"A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men" - Carlyle
"Criticisms are like homing pigeons, they always return home. " - Dale Carnegie
"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving." - Dale Carnegie
Have you ever seen somebody criticize themselves when something went wrong? Well the chances are you have not! Its simply because most people don't criticize themselves, not matter how wrong they are. I am sure we have seen people who are ready to pounce like a tiger and criticize anything at the first opportunity. As far as I know, criticism never works - even if the intention is noble. There is no such thing as constructive criticism. Why? In Dale Carnegies words, "humans are not creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. Creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity". When you criticize somebody, they invariably go in the defensive. They want to prove that they are right and justify themselves. Instead of condemning people, let's try to understand them. Let's try to figure out why they do what they do. Have you noticed people light up when you sincerely compliment them. You can use criticism to turn somebody off and compliments to uplift them. But there is a very thin line between complimenting somebody and trying to flatter them. Well, that's a completely different topic.
DON'T CRITICIZE, CONDEMN OR COMPLAIN. - Dale Carnegie
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
- “How long will you go on training all day in a gymnasium & living in a dream world?” - Arnold Schwarzenegger’s family’s pleas for him to get a “respectable job”, not understanding his desire to become Mr. Universe.
- “Liquidate the business right now & recoup whatever cash you can. If you don’t you'll end up penniless” – the attorney of cosmetic tycoon Mary Kay Ash week’s before she open her first store.
- “It’s a cut throat business and you have got no chance of success.” – Accountant for Estee Lauder, Founder of multi-billion dollar cosmetics empire.
- “The language on the floor is too rough and there is no ladies room.” – the response of officials of NYSE when Muriel Siebert wanted to buy a seat in 1967. she bought a seat on the exchange anyway and remained the only woman for 9 years.
- “You can’t play the piano, an God knows you can’t sing. You better learn how to weave chairs so you can support yourself.” – A comment by Ray Charles’s teacher.
- “You are foolish to try to sell sparkling water in the land of Coca-Cola drinkers.” – Advice given to Gustave Levin by several consulting firms when hearing about his plans to launch Perrier in the US.
- “No one will stand in front of a TV screen & play a game with no physical action, like pin-ball.” – Executives comments after viewing an early demonstration of Pong, the first video game by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.
- “No one will buy a tape player that doesn’t record.” – Opinions of market researchers at Sony when chairman Akio Morita first proposed the Walkman.
- “It’s a huge risk, and it will never fly.” – Aeronautical engineers evaluation of Bill Lear’s design for a Jet.
- “Personal computers are a hobbyist fad.” Prediction of IBM, Intel, HP, Atari & countless other electronic companies.
- “A global, 24 hour News network will never work.” Network executive’s response to Ted Turner’s plans for CNN.
- “There is no market for it. If there were, major airlines would already be offering it. You won’t be able to find reliable couriers.” – conclusion of advisers to Fred Smith, Founder of Federal Express.
Where would the world be if these people listened to the critics? I heard somewhere that there is not one statue erected for a critic. The easiest thing in God's green earth is to find a person who says "no". Peter Drucker , the management guru, says "there is no such thing as market research. How can you do market research on something that does not exist?". In the same way, you cannot tell somebody that it cannot be done, just because no one has done it. Countless dreams have been lost because of naysayers. Countless people live and fade away in mediocrity because they cannot standup for what is right. "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." If we light our souls on fire, and keep it lit with patience, we will prove that the critics are wrong, just like these 12 people. The critics will silence themselves and fade away..
Saturday, February 18, 2006
"You cannot go back have a brand new start, my friend,
But you can start now and have a brand new end"
No matter where we are today, no matter what circumstances we percieve to be under, we can draw a line right now and have a fresh begenning. We can use our past failures to influence future successes (John C Maxwell calls this 'failing forward'). But unfortunately many people use their past failures to anchor their future and go nowhere. The more I associate with successful people, the more I have come to realize that success is just a thought process. Destiny is just a decision away. So why not draw the line and make the decision to march forward and win our destiny?
Friday, February 17, 2006
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't,
Its almost certain that you won't.
Life's battles don't always go to the stronger woman or man.
But sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.
If we start anything with a 'can't-do' attitude, we loose the battle even before it starts. Henry Ford said "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." The only reason why there has been progress in this world is because someone thought they could. If not for people like that we might still be living in a world without electricity, automobiles, road systems, cellphones (can you imagine a world without cell phones!) etc.. I once read about how the story of Atlanta Olympic games. It was an idea of one man who thought it is possible to get the Olympic games to Atlanta against all odds! There are numerous stories like this where somebody was naive enough to believe that they can be successful when everything was going against them. If you look back closely in your life, I am sure, that there have been incidents that proves the "If you think you can, you will" concept. It might be little things like learning to ride a bicycle, or learning a different language, or going to a concert/ballgame without the tickets but with the faith that you will find somebody that might want to sell their tickets. I am sure you have heard about the story of a "little engine who thought he could" and kept saying "I think I can, I think I can" until he did it. I think there is something to learn from that little engine. Don't you?
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I got this quote from one of Napolean Hill's books. I would recommend you read this quote again. It is powerful!. When life hits us, we have the choice to become a victim or a victor. That is the difference between 'failing' vs 'failure'. As long as one is 'failing' with an intention to get up and run again, one is a victor. A vicitm is a 'failure' because he/she refuses to get up when life delivers a powerful 'K.O' punch. If the attitude is 'I am either up or getting up!', then victory is definite. Like the quote says "Life either rides or is ridden". My choice is to ride, how about you?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
· When that “I-Haven’t-Got-What-It-Takes” Feeling crops up on you, THINK BIG.
· When an Argument or Quarrel seems inevitable, THINK BIG.
· When you feel Defeated, THINK BIG.
· When romance starts to slip, THINK BIG.
· When you feel your progress on the job/business is slowing down, THINK BIG.
- David Schwartz
Why should we thing big? Well, if we have to think anyway, why not think big. I have fell into the trap of thinking small because I was "rational", "realistic" etc. Most of the time rationalism is the foundation of mediocrity. May be one would want rationalize the past (I don't think it would matter because, past is gone. There is nothing you could do about it.) But rationalizing the future can be a BIG MISTAKE. Most people trap themselves and their future in a cloud of rationalism. On the other hand, realistic thinking is necessary to be successful. How can one know if realistic thinking is good or not? Well, if the so called "realistic" thinking is limiting one's abilities then that is not the time to be realistic. Realistic thinking can be very helpful while setting goals. One needs to set realistic goals. Goals that might stretch your abilities and yet are achievable. When "life" hands us a platter of obstacles, when we are in the process of achieving goals, that is the time to THINK BIG. I have lost count of the number of times that I had to stop myself from thinking small (mediocre) and start thinking big. Just a couple of days ago, when I did not reach the goals that I had set for myself, I started to think that maybe I am not capable. I started to put myself and my abilities down. But fortunately, I was able to catch the downward spiral and climb out of it and start thinking big again. I am convinced beyond doubt that, on the long run, THINKING BIG will help me and the people around me.
PS: I would recommend a book called "THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG" by David Schwartz. I can promise that you won't regret reading and learning from it!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Came in the evening cold and gray
To a chasm vast and deep and wide
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dime;
That swollen stream held no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
‘Old man,’ said a fellow pilgrim near,
‘You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the eventide?’
The builder lifted his old gray head.
‘Good friend, in the path I have come’, he said,
‘There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This swollen stream which has naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.’”
-Will Allen Dromgoole – THE BRIDGE BUILDER
Dogs don't think about thier puppy's future! Of all the living things in earth, the only one that has the capability to think of a future generation and plan for it is the humans. But too often we squander this privelege away. All we can think about is 'me', 'mine' etc., People do what people see not what they are told to do. So setting the right example can be more than critical. It can start a ripple effect that might last generations to come. Every human being in this earth has the responsibility of setting that example. But, unfortunately, this responsibilty is a 'personal responsibility', no body can force anybody to take this on.. Doing the right things and setting a right example is not an easy task. It requires discipline. It requires that our priorities are in the right order. It requires that we do the right things rather than getting hung up on doing things right! Everyday in everyway, we have the choice to build a bridge for the 'fair haired youth' that might pass this same swollen river that we are passing now.. then why not start building them from right NOW?
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Often your tasks will be many and more than you think you can do,
Often the roads will be rugged and the hills insurmountable too,
But always remember the hills ahead are never as deep as they seem,
And with faith in your heart, start upward and climb till you reach your dream.
For nothing in life that is worthy is ever too hard to achieve,
If you have the faith to try it and if you have the faith to believe.
For faith is a force that is greater than knowledge or power or skill,
And many defeats turn to triumph if you trust in God's wisdom and will,
For faith is a mover of mountains and there is nothing that God cannot do,
So start out today with faith in your heart and climb till your dreams come true!
Our greatest glory is not in never failing,
but in raising every time we fail - Confucius
Many people dream of success.
To me, success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection.
In fact, success represents the 1 percent of your work that results from 99 percent that is called failure. - Soichiro Honda
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt
People who can't bear a moment of failure have doomed themselves to mediocrity, for they'll never be able to push themselves past a point that is uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Yet it is beyond that point where success dwells. - Cynthia Kersey
There is no such thing as impossible. Overnight, the impossible may not be possible. But over time the impossible certainly becomes possible. - Earl Graves.
Persistence is a great equalizer.... If we persist in the things we do, no matter how it looks like now, we will win. Success is inevitable when the action is fueled by persistence. People at the top of the mountain did not just fall there. They kept on climbing when the steep inclinations seemed endless! Everybody knows that success is just around the corner, but what we don't know is around which corner! So all we can do is keep trekking until we are around the corner where success lies hidden!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
But he with a chuckle replied, may be it couldn’t but he would be one, who wouldn’t say so till he tried,
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin on his face as If worried he hit it,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn’t be done and he did it.
Somebody scoffed “oh you’ll never do that, at least no one has ever done it”,
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat and the first thing we knew he had begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of his grin without any doubting to quit it,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn’t be done and he did it.
There are thousands that tell you it cannot be done, there are thousands that prophecy failure,
There are thousand to point out to you one by one that there are dangers that wait for a sailor,
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, just take off your coat and go to it,
Monday, February 06, 2006
It is the "advance man" of our true selves.
Its roots are inward but its fruit is outward.
It is our best friend or our worst enemy.
It is more honest and more consistent than our words.
It is an outward look based on past experiences.
It is a thing that draws people to us or repels them.
It is never content until it is expressed.
It is the librarian of our past.
It is the speaker of our present.
It is the prophet of our future.
- The Winning Attitude - John C Maxwell
Webster's dictionary defines attitude as 'a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state'. I think of it as one's reaction to circumstances. I heard this story about a guy who gets shot by some robbers and when the doctors, who are getting ready to operate on him, ask him if he is allergic to anything, he responds "yes sir, bullets!". Now, thats a great attitude. While this sounds good in a story, practicing it in real life takes a lot of work on oneself.
Attitude, whether good or bad, becomes second nature to a person when they repeatedly react in a certain way. But this can be changed. I believe the first step to achieve this is to associate with people who have good attitudes, because attitudes are contagious. Btw, John Maxwell say's, "there is only one thing more contagious than a good attitude – a bad attitude". So associations can be critical. Remember, most of the bad attitudes are a result of selfishness.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am;
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.
I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what other may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
People with not so good habits may have good conscience, but people with good habits definetly have good conscience.. One of the reasons why god gave humans a guilt feeling is so that we can get back on track when we do the wrong things. Its like the correction mechanism in the rockets. When they are off-course, the correction mechanism, puts it back on track. But for us humans, we have the freedom to either listen or not listen to this correction mechanism called 'guilt'. It just doesn't stop there though. We also have the capability to induce this 'guilt' on ourself when we don't have to. We have the capacity to choose to do the right things and ignore the wrong things from that little voice that tries to lead us astray. But when we listen to the right voice and do the right things, we invariably increase our self-esteem and thus can live a self-respecting 'no-regrets' life.
Friday, February 03, 2006
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do,
You might just as well turn them over to me.
And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be
Firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done,
And after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people, and, alas, of all
Failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a machine,
Plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin.
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me,
And I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you
Who am I? ......
....I am HABIT.
Habits can make you or break you! Habits are like 2 year olds. If you let them loose without supervision, they will eventually get you in trouble. The only way to lead a satisfied life is to cultivate good habits that will lead you to where you really want to end up in life. Oh, and the best way (if not the only way) to get rid of old (bad) habits is to replace them with new (good) habits!