Wise Sayings from Buddha

The teachings of Buddha ( meaning ‘one who is awake to the reality’) have left a profound effect on millions across the world. Even though Buddha’s teachings are over thousands of years old they are still pearls of wisdom that have been passed on from one generation to the other. He has inspired people to lead a meaningful life and soothe the aching souls giving them a new direction in life. Buddha’s timeless teachings hold true still today especially to everyone going through tough times and those looking to find meaning in life. Buddha’s simple sayings have a profound effect on many lives. In Buddha’s teachings, people from different cultures and upbringings, age, and nationality have found answers to some of the most fundamental questions about life and relationships. Here are some of his sayings that will help you go to another level.

Buddha says, “Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Happiness grows when you share it with people just like sorrows tend to diminish when you share them with the loved ones.

Buddha says, “If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.” When you help someone you yourself get much more in return. Not only is helpfulness a desirable quality but it also makes you truly a gem of a person.

Buddha says, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Everyone comes in this life with a predestined purpose and life plan. You are here on this earth to fulfill a task.

Buddha says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” One must always be ready to learn. You can learn from just about anyone the only thing you need is the will.

Buddha says, “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” The life we live is full of various ups and downs, the only way forward is to expect every aspect of it with open arms.

Buddha says, “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.” Everyone is born equal. Learn to embrace people for who they are , do not judge anyone for their material possessions.

Buddha says, “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Words have the power to make or break you so the next time you speak, speak wisely.

Buddha says, “Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.” Learn to embrace the fact that people will come and go with all the life’s complexities and chaos but you must strive with diligence.

Buddha says, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” When you get angry your emotions get the better of you and logic moves out of the window. So control your anger and use your rationale.

Buddha says, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts. But once mastered, no one can help you as much.” Your mind is your biggest treasure and worst enemy, it’s up to you what you want to make of it.

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Self-Respect and Happiness

Self-respect means having pride and confidence in yourself and behaving with grace, honor, and dignity. Self-respect forms the foundation of all the decisions you’ll ever make, how you treat yourself, and how you allow others to treat you. Self respect is the respect you have for yourself, while ego is your understanding of your own importance. An inflated ego may be borne from too much self-esteem, or when you realized just how important and special you are inspired by mental imbalances. People with a huge ego sometimes feel unequal to others because, deep inside, they feel worthless and undeserving of respect. But when you respect yourself and believe in yourself, the ego is still naturally always present, but does not play a huge part in your actions. The person with self-respect simply likes himself/herself, which is not contingent on success or failure. Self-esteem is knowing you can conduct yourself well in every situation, and having a good grasp of various things in life. Outwardly, you are successful, which contributes to your self-esteem. But it’s possible to experience and act with self-esteem while having very little self-respect. The problem with just relying on self-esteem, or being caught up in this evaluative framework, is the moment you have a bad day and doubt yourself, you fall prone to blame, guilt, regret, and stress.

Why Self-Respect Is Important

Self-respect exhibits toughness and moral nerve. You will display strong character with the willingness to accept responsibility for your own life, and you’ll fight for your values and beliefs, no matter what. This will make everyone else take note and admire your courage.

Self-respect makes you a better person and partner. If you respect yourself, you believe you’re a worthy individual. And when you feel worthy, you believe you are deserving of love and respect. And when you command respect from others around you, they’d start to appreciate you more and take you more seriously.

No more need for comparisons. When you love yourself you feel good, you value your attributes, your talents, your skills, and  your abilities. Which means that you never compare yourself to others, and you don’t feel jealous when others shine in their own way.

To respect something is to accept it. To respect yourself is to accept yourself. So it’s only until you truly love and respect yourself, accepting who and what you are, that you can start to believe you are worthy of another person’s love and respect. So, in the end it boils down to this: accept yourself, respect your efforts, and you will in the end respect yourself. And self-respect leads to self-discipline. Now that’s real power.

Life is a series of waves, of peaks and troughs, of ups and downs. No one is happy all the time. We tend to experience more lows than highs, and those lows can be much more intense than the highs are. It’s rare to be in a low point in your life and not know it, but it’s all too easy to be living well and to not fully appreciate it. The best way to improve your life is to have self-respect. To demand that others treat you the way you’d treat them – with compassion and respect. Unfortunately, while growing up, everyone repeatedly told you to respect others. And because of this, you may have became obsessed with pleasing everyone else, putting yourself last, as you were told self-importance was wrong. You might even start to confuse self-respect with over-confidence or having an inflated ego, but that’s not accurate. And new research indicates that self-respect is crucial for happiness. The only thing that really matters in life is being happy. Not just content, not just satisfied, but fulfilled and full of meaning. This is a hard goal to reach, and one that’s impossible to live up to all the time.

Here are some suggestions which will help you to increase your self-respect and improve your life :

Don’t allow yourself to be used. People will attempt to take advantage of you throughout your life. Realising when this is happening can be difficult. People are often sly and manipulative.

Know when to say no. Part of having self-respect is being able to turn people down when you don’t want to do something. Be in control of your life. Tell people ‘no’, and stick to your word.

Don’t feel pressured to make everyone like you. Not everyone you meet will like you, and that’s okay. It would be weird if they did. People are different, people like different things. Some people aren’t nice people. Life goes on. However, don’t use this as an excuse to be rude and nasty to people because “who cares what they think?”. Treating others the way you’d like to be treated is an important part of having self-respect.

Have integrity. Integrity is perhaps the most important and elusive of those traits vital to a sense of self-respect It means holding yourself accountable to your own moral code and principles, and sticking up for what is right – even when (especially when) it’s not beneficial to you personally to do so. The high road is a tough one to tread, but it’s infinitely rewarding.

Stand up for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be a pushover. In an ideal world, everyone would be nice to each other and we’d all get along. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like that. When it really comes down to it, you need to have your own back and be willing to get your hands dirty to defend yourself.

Know yourself, know your worth. Have confidence in your abilities. Everyone is good at something, even if you haven’t figured out what that something is yet.  Keep trying new things until you do. You have value and you matter. Remember that.

Do what makes you happy. If being happy is the most important thing in life, then doing whatever makes you happy is the best way to ensure you enjoy your life. As long as it’s not hurting anyone else, do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

Spend your time wisely. Don’t make the mistake of thinking money is the most important commodity in life. Time is. Spend it wisely, doing the things you love and with the people who matter most to you. Once the time is gone, you can’t get it back. Don’t be a person full of regret on their deathbed, thinking of all the things they should have done with the time they had. Your life is ending one second at a time.

Prioritise the important things in your life and balance them. We often try (and more often fail) to juggle a large number of different things Prioritise which ones really matter to you and to your self-growth and focus on these, learning to balance them so that you can healthily and realistically manage all the areas of your life.

Meditate, don’t medicate. One of the most important lessons to learn when it comes to having self-respect is how to deal with life’s problems in a healthy and constructive manner. It can be all too tempting at times to drown your sorrows at the bottom of a bottle. The best thing you can do to keep yourself focused and healthy mentally is to meditate often. It’s a skill – practice it. No one is perfect at it straight away, but stick with it and it will help you to become a better, happier person in the long run. Keep in mind that the idea isn’t to silence your thoughts, but to let them come before calmly and gently reminding yourself to try and focus on breathing and keeping a clear mind.

Determine which of your beliefs and values reflect your authentic self. Stick to them and you don’t need to change them for anyone. Under no circumstances should you change your values to suit someone else, as then you will let yourself down. Maya Angelou had aptly advised : “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

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Let Go of a Toxic Relationship

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it. ~Kevyn Aucoin

Toxic relationships surround your life like a thick cloud of smoke that, at times, appears impossible to escape from. Occasionally, you experience some semblance of joy– perhaps someone complimented you at work or you ran into an old friend, it really doesn’t take much– only to have your partner crush that glimmer of joy like a herd of wildebeest trampling a single, meager flower. This toxicity embeds itself deep within your skin and, over time, affects everything you do. However, despite knowing this, you still hesitate to let go. Maybe you don’t like the idea of being alone again. Maybe you’ve grown so attached to the small bit of light buried within the person and are afraid of the pain you’ll feel if you let go. Or maybe it’s neither of those things and you simply need to work up the courage to take that first step out on your own. Whatever the reason, some incredible things happen once you’ve let go of a toxic relationship. And you owe it to yourself to let go, because until you do, you’re as good as the walking dead.

So, get up, dust yourself off, and get ready. It’s time to get your life back.

You gain a new sense of optimism. Having finally escaped the clutches of negativity, everything will appear fresh and hopeful. You’ll remember what it was like to live free before the chains of toxicity weighed you down. No longer is someone there to dampen your spirits, tell you that you’re not good enough anytime you attempted to pursue a goal, or make you think that you’re nothing but a failure. Everything is possible and you’ve now gained a sense of energy, optimism, and a steely resolve. You’re encouraged to pursue that which they forced you to bury, to do that thing they always convinced you was a bad idea, and to live the life you always wanted.

You grow by leaps and bounds. You’re not the same person you once were– even before them. Your skin is thick, almost armor-like, and you feel as though you have the power to accomplish anything. That might be overconfidence speaking, but damn…you’ve never felt this strong. You’re smarter about who you give your heart to, better at judging people, and more patient about finding the right person. You value your freedom, your voice, and all those little things that make you unique and special.

Your sense of self-worth grows. Their entire purpose at times seemed to be to destroy your entire sense of self-worth, transplanting their venomous voice where your confidence and self-belief once rested. However, now that they’re gone, the veil has been lifted and you can see clearly– that it was all tricks and mirrors, a game of deception that has fallen away and uncovered something you thought had been lost. You’re not just free from poisonous verbal abuse, you’ve now rebounded and become stronger than you once were even before it all started. You still wrestle with the ghost of the demon, but you know it’s gone and have realized a new level of strength and self-worth through mustering the courage to let go and rid yourself of the toxic relationship for good.

You renew connections with family and friends (and make new connections). Something unfortunate happens in many toxic relationships– we distance ourselves from those we love. Whether this happens because of our embarrassment and exhaustion in justifying the person’s behavior or them forcefully taking you away from them, you lose valuable connections that would have been all that you’d have needed to show you that you were falling down a very deep, dark hole before it had gotten worse. However, now, you’re free to rekindle those bonds and strengthen your connections. But more than just that, you have a newfound level of appreciation for those you love and what they mean to you. Not because of what you get out of them but because of pure, unconditional love which you could have only realized by losing them and gaining them back once again.

It’s hard to let go of a toxic relationship, but amazing things await you on the other side of courage. So, take the first step of the rest of your life and don’t allow yourself to live another day as someone else’s slave again.

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Living Purposefully

How to respond from a place of clarity and strength, rather than continuing to react in anger and frustration? This is such an important question because the answer to this is something we all need to practice in our daily lives.

In almost every case, nothing is stopping you right now—nothing is holding you back but your own thoughts about yourself and “how life is.” Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, pause, and consciously decide if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the present moment.

You may not be responsible for everything that happened to you in the past, or everything that’s happening to you right now, but you need to be responsible for undoing the thinking patterns these circumstance create. It’s about thinking better so you can ultimately live better.

In order to gain conscious control of what’s really going on in your mind, you need to develop a keen awareness for this process. What helps is to hold still for a moment, take a ten deep breaths, focus exclusively on these breaths, and free your mind of the senseless chatter that’s going on inside your head. This makes room for a change of state, for something new to enter. Detached from the weight of stressful thoughts and reactions you grow capable of consciously redirecting your focus. It’s time to take it willingly away from something unchangeable that drags you down, and zero it in on something actionable that inspires you. Focus on the next logical, meaningful step. Remind yourself that there are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.

The key is to understand that no matter what happens, you can choose your response, which dictates pretty much everything that happens next. Truly, the greatest weapon you have against anxiety, negativity and stress is your ability to choose one present thought over another—to train your mind to make the best of what you’ve got in front of you, even when it’s far less than you expected.

Yes, you can change the way you think!  And once you do, you can master a new way to be.

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Winning Mindsets

Awareness is the foundation of transformation. With better daily awareness you can make better daily choices and with better daily choices you’ll experience better daily results in your lives. You can do this even if your fears born of insecurities tell you, you can’t. I know your greatness and genius to be true. These quick, actionable and valuable tactics will help you to move and break free of old patterns, stop being the victim and leap into high gear to get your giant goals accomplished.

  • Believe in yourself, your vision and gifts when no one else believes in your vision and gifts. Remember that until your vision becomes your obsession your mission will never grow into a movement. Self-confidence is the DNA of industry dominance. And global eminence.
  • Use the first 90 minutes of your workday only on value-creating activities versus checking email or surfing the net. Spend an hour a day without stimulation (no phone, no social, no people). Get to know, develop and love your self. Remember that life’s just too short to play small with your gifts. Commit to your best life today. Remember that to double your income, triple your investment in learning, coaching and self-education.
  • Take a nature walk every day. It’ll clear your mind, boost your fitness and feed your spirit. Human beings need to be in the wilderness regularly to stay at their best.
  • Write in a journal every morning. And record gratitude every night. Do a collage filled with images of your ideal life. Look at it once a day for focus and inspiration.
  • Release the energy vampires and dream destroyers from your life. They are sucking away your genius. Embrace your eccentricities. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them. Know that a problem only becomes a problem when you choose to see it as a problem.
  • Start doing projects that scare you and embracing the pursuits that terrify you. Where your fear lives is where your transformation lies. Remember that victims are frightened by change. And leaders grow inspired by it. Achieve 5 little goals each day. In 12 months this habit will produce 1850 little goals–which will amount to a massive elevation. Remember that ordinary people talk about their goals. Leaders get them done. With elegance, brilliance and finesse.
  • Make the choice to let go of your past. It’s dusty history. And polluting your future. It all happened for a reason to get you to here. Trust and know that hard work beats talent, every day of the week. Measure your success by your impact instead of your income.
  • Remember that every person you meet has a story to tell, a lesson to teach and a dream to do. Become the strongest person you know. Just battle proof and fortify your inner core so nothing can defeat you. Risk being rejected. All of the great ones do. All victory is an inside job, I think you’ll agree.
  • In a world with so much toxicity, be the kindest person you know. Smile. Forgive the unforgiven in your life. They did what they thought was right based on the level of their consciousness, at that stage of their personal journey. If they could have been more loving they would have been more loving. Be slow to criticize people and fast to affirm their gifts, talents and worth. Say “sorry” when you know you should say “sorry”. Say “please” and “thank you” a lot. Write handwritten thank you notes to your customers, teammates and family members.
  • Be a celebrator of other’s talents versus a critic. Haters never win. Stop gossiping , complaining and condemning . It drains your cognitive bandwidth and fills you with dangerous emotions. Stop being selfish. Contributing to the lives of others is a great move for more joyfulness and peacefulness in your days.
  • Be the rare-air performer who does the project no one else will do. Going to the fiery edges of your largest limits expands them. Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable at least once a week. Know that potential unexpressed turns to pain. So live your talent by applying it and polishing it through study and stretching it via doing difficult work. Know that rising into the rare-air of best in world isn’t easy. Anything extraordinary demands rigor, sacrifice and extreme courage. And yet, it’s worth it. Remember that quality is remembered long after price is forgotten and cheap costs more.
  • Remember that your nutrition affects your mood plus your production so eat like an elite athlete, really calibrate your eating plan. Drink more water and get more rest . Breathe deeply, constantly. Brain tattoo the fact that all work is a chance to change the world. And, your life matters to all of us. Become the fittest person you know. Multiply your vitality and you’ll increase your creativity, productivity and prosperity. Exponentially.
  • Stop watching TV and definitely delete the news from your days. Instead, invest your time and resources into your pro and personal growth. Because as you become better at your craft and more exceptional as a person, you become indispensable to your industry and society. Ritualize the habit of reading for 60 minutes every day. Victims have large televisions yet small libraries.
  • Don’t just parent your kids—develop them. Grow their perspective, fuel their curiosity and introduce them to what’s most inspirational in our world. Build a strong family foundation while you grow your ideal career.
  • Keep your promises. You trade in your credibility. And you diminish it each time you say you’ll do something and don’t do it. Know your values. And then have the guts to live them—no matter what the crowd thinks and how the herd lives.
  • Spend more time in art galleries. Art inspires, stimulates creativity and pushes boundaries. Travel often. It’s fantastic education. Become a purist. Read a book a week. Just a few books but great books.
  • Five true friends versus 5000 fake ones. A simpler, quieter life with more beauty. And bigger meaning. Remember that the quality of your friends will predict the size of your fortune. When I use the word “fortune” I mean everything from creative to economic to spiritual fortunes. If your parents are alive, go honor them. You’ll miss them tremendously when they’re gone.

Trust that in the end, everything will work out. And if it hasn’t all worked out, it’s not the end.

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Traits of a Strong Personality

Many people are intimidated by a strong personality . You’ll know whether you have a strong personality if people say things like, you’re too overbearing ; you’re too shameless; you’re too opinionated; you’re too intense; you’re too obsessed ;you’re too bossy; or anything worded in a similar way. People with “strong” personalities are always criticised for being too much of something. To the point where some people are irritated, annoyed, critical, jealous, or apprehensive towards you.

In a world that feeds on insecurity and fear, it’s become normal for people to be meek and hide among the herd – so it’s just natural to assume that these same people will feel triggered when they face someone who’s doing the opposite. And these rare gems who possess a genuine strength in personality are something we can all learn from. They radiate with the self-confidence we’re all bound to have, and they aren’t afraid to show their assets in an appropriate way.

The traits that make up for your strong personality and which cannot be shaken down by the insecurities of others, are as below:

You don’t let everyone into your life. Being aware of how inconsistent people can be today, you are very careful of who you let into your life. Your core philosophy of friendship is better to stay alone and true than be surrounded by fake people. That’s why you have a select number of people you can call friends, and you are happy with them. When it comes to friendship, quality means everything for you, while quantity is just a waste of time.

You don’t crave attention. You’re not the type of person who’ll do everything for a little attention. In fact, you fail to understand why people are so eager to be liked by others that they are ready to go to any lengths to gain their attention. However, your personality attracts people in such a way that most who go through all those struggles to get noticed simply envy you. It’s not you, though – it’s the people around you who want someone like you to be present in their lives.

You don’t need anybody’s approval. Sometimes people will do things that don’t sync with their personality just for the sake of receiving some approval. Others relentlessly try to reveal as much as they can about their lives to get that approval. Not you, though. You will do what you want to do and you won’t expect any kind of approval as long as you have yourself. Your strength in making decisions and following through comes from your motivation to achieve the goals you have set, not because others will like that.

You are repelled by ignorance, idiocy, and insensitivity. Your strong personality comes as a result of being thoughtful and well-informed. You don’t like to rush into irrational decisions because you always like to measure out the effect your actions will have on you and the world around you. However, this is not a quality many people can relate to, and you will be the first to notice. You simply can’t stand people who are ignorant in a world full of information and who choose to be insensitive and inconsiderate when they should be careful and rational.

You hate small talk. Small talk and all the dull and tedious expressions and words that keep on coming back – you simply hate it. Why talk about these irrelevant things when there are so many useful things to discuss? Not only do you find it a waste of time, but you simply don’t understand why people focus on staying where they are when the opportunities for growth are at every corner, in every conversation, and in every minute available.

You are a good listener. People keep on yammering about how they want to be heard and understood – but once they come across someone like you, who knows how to listen, the tables turn. You are well aware that the more you understand people, the more terrified they become. While there are those rare few who will truly appreciate your attention in the way you’re ready to give, most people like to complain about not being heard while begging that they never get to be heard.

You don’t put up with excuses. Not only do you never allow yourself to get by with excuses, but you utterly hate it when you see someone trying to place excuses where effort is due. You simply don’t have the time to listen to people whining about how they didn’t manage their time properly and place the blame on external factors. You know well that if you set your mind on it, there’s no obstacle big enough that can stop you, and you know that this doesn’t make you special in any way. Everybody is capable of achieving this – the question is, did they really want to?

You are fearless. While we all have our fears, and it’s not ‘fearless’ in the literal sense, you know how to manage your emotions and overcome your fears. You know that the odds are just odds, and they can never become bigger than you – and you are ready to march in and face whatever is trying to hold you back. This makes you fearless – your ability to cope with your fears and use them to your advantage. The sense of fear only increases our awareness and makes us more cautious, and you use these abilities to overcome any obstacle that is trying to prevent you from growing.

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Building Healthy Relationships

Nothing can bring more joy to life than beautifully fulfilling relationships. The depth of meaning, understanding and appreciation that these kinds of relationships bring is almost unfathomable. And, of course, as many people find out, nothing can bring so much pain as a broken relationship with someone dear to you. Yes, relationships make the world go round. However, the exciting thing is that we can do much to increase our chances of having terrific relationships—relationships that are fulfilling and exciting, rich with meaning, joy and love.

These are the basics that govern most human relationships and a list of some essentials that I believe make up the basics of healthy relationships:

Love. Now, this all depends on your definition of love. Most people think that love is a feeling but that point of view could be debatable. Actually, the concept of “like” is really about feelings. When you say you like someone, you are talking about how you feel. But when you say that you love someone, you are not necessarily talking about how you feel about them. Love is much deeper than a feeling. Love is a commitment we make to people to always treat that person right and honorably. For those we become especially close to, we will have feelings of love, but it is time for us to re-examine what we mean by love. We must expand our definition of what love means by including the commitment aspect of love. For healthy relationships, we must love everyone. We may not like them based on how we feel about them, but we should love them based on our definition of love above which in turn determines how we should act toward them and treat them right and honorably. This is the basis of all healthy relationships.

Serving Heart. Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want out of life.” The concept he is talking about is having a heart and life that is focused on serving other people. Life is best lived in service to others. This does not mean that we do not strive for the best for ourselves. It does mean that in all things we serve other people, including our family, co-workers and friends. We must learn to help those who deserve it, not just those who need it—life responds to deserve not need.

Honest Communication. In any good relationship, you will find open and honest communication. Communication is important because it is the vehicle that allows us to verbalize what is inside us and enables it to connect with another person. One person is feeling one thing, and through communication, another person can find that out and feel it too—amazing.  And this is a vital goal in good relationships—to communicate, to tell each other what we are thinking and what we are feeling. It enables us to make a connection. Sometimes we are speaking and other times we are listening. Either way, the central tenet is communication for the sake of building the relationship and making it stronger. And here’s what’s exciting: If we just communicate, we can get by. But if we communicate skillfully, we can work miracles!

Friendliness. Put simply, relationships just work better when we are friendly with others. Being friendly can cushion the bumpy ride we sometimes experience in our relationships. Cheerfulness goes a long way toward building lasting relationships. Nobody wants to be around a grump, do they? The fact is that the friendlier you are the more you are going to have people who want to pursue longer-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with you. So cheer up, put on a smile, say kind words to others, treat people with a great deal of friendliness and you will see your relationships improve.

Patience. People being people, we have an awful lot of time for practice in the area of patience. People are not perfect and will constantly fail us. And conversely, we will fail other people. So while we try to have more patience for others, we need their patience as well. Often relationships break down because people give up and lose patience in about all kinds of friendships, marriages, business relationships, etc. Recent research has shown that those marriages that go through major turmoil, and then make it through, are very strong after doing so. Patience wins. Those who give up on relationships too early, or because the other person isn’t perfect, often forget that their next friend, their next spouse or business partner will not be perfect either! So we would do well to cultivate this skill and learn to have more patience.

Loyalty. Loyalty is a commitment to another person. Sadly, loyalty is often a missing element in many relationships, today. We have forgotten what it means to be loyal. Our consumer mentality has affected this to some degree. People are no longer loyal to a product. And unfortunately, many companies are not loyal to their clients or patrons. Regrettably, this has spilled over into our relationships. It is one thing to switch brands of dishwashing detergent. It is another thing altogether to switch friends. Sometimes we just need to commit to being loyal and let the relationship move forward. We need a higher level of stick-to-it-iveness! This kind of loyalty takes our relationships to a much deeper level. What a powerful and secure feeling of knowing that you have a relationship with someone who is loyal to you and you to them—that neither of you is going anywhere even when things get tough. Wow, how powerful!

Common Purpose. One of the basics of healthy relationships is to have a common purpose. Oftentimes this is a component is initially overlooked but for a long-term long-lasting relationship, it is vital. Think about how many friends you have met through the years while working on a common purpose. Maybe it was someone you met while participating in sports, while working on a political campaign, attending church, at your office, or anything that brought you together to work on a common purpose. You had that strong common bond of purpose that brought you together and held you together. Working together, building together, failing and succeeding together—all while pursuing a common purpose—is what relationships are made of. Find people with whom you have common purposes and sow the seeds of great relationships, and then reap the long-lasting benefits.

Fun. All good relationships have some element of fun. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean loud, raucous fun, though that is appropriate for some relationships. But even in business relationships, there should be some fun. It should be fun to do business with those who you are going to have a long-term business relationship. Fun brings enjoyment to the relationship and that is important. Oftentimes this key element can be easily forgotten or neglected in our family and spousal relationships. The fun things we did initially in a new relationship after a while can be taken for granted or simply fall by the wayside and we stop creating the fun and joy. Remember to consciously craft fun situations and moments, for these are the glue that hold our memories together and make our lives sweet.

There are so many key ingredients to making and maintaining great, long-lasting relationships. Each of the components we discussed above brings unique dynamics and rewards to your relationships. Let’s begin to focus on improving our relationships in these areas and see what miracles occur!

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21 Rules of Life

Miyamoto Mushashi, known as Japan’s greatest ever swordsman, a Buddhist master, wrote these 21 rules two weeks before his death. Each rule teaches you to accept your circumstances in life, detach from outside forces you can’t control and be comfortable with who you are. These rules are powerful because the only way to cultivate acceptance is through continued practice in your actions and your attitude. The two things we actually have control over. And these rules give you the necessary guidelines to do just that. It might take months to rewire your brain, but it would be well worth it.

  1. Accept everything just the way it is. Acceptance is perhaps the most important attitude to overcome mental challenges in life. It’s a state of mind. There’s no destination or goal with acceptance. It’s simply the process of exercising the mind to be tolerant of anything life throws at us. Why is it powerful? Because instead of fighting against negative emotions like anxiety and stress, you’re actually accepting them the way they are. You’re not bitter, and you’re not creating more negativity out of your negativity. Through acceptance you pave the path for negative emotions like anxiety to become less powerful. You’re not fighting against them and making them worse. But to be clear: Acceptance is not the following: It’s not indifference or apathy. It does not involve giving up or not trying. It’s simply about accepting things without judging them. It is what it is. Whatever happens happens. It’s about being patient and allowing the natural flow of things to take place.
  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake. As humans, we are unhappiest when we become dissatisfied with what we have, and decide that we want more. When we seek pleasure for pleasure’s sake, we put ourselves in an endless loop of desiring that’s only temporarily satisfied when we experience that pleasure. But feelings don’t last forever. And before you know it, you’ll be back desiring again. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and enjoy pleasure when you experience it. It just means you won’t be constantly seeking pleasure for its own sake. You appreciate what you have in every moment, and sometimes that will be pleasurable emotions. But you also won’t be unhappy when you aren’t experiencing pleasure.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling. Same as above, feelings don’t last forever. Emotions are transient. You won’t be happy all the time, and wanting to be so will only make you unhappy.
  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. When you think of yourself too much, you amplify your ego and your insecurities. Happy people are the ones who focus on helping others. There’s a beautiful Chinese Proverb which describes this perfectly, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” In other words: Be humble, don’t take yourself too seriously and focus on helping others.
  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long. Buddhism says that desiring leads to suffering. Why? Because when you are desiring, you are dissatisfied with what you have right now. And when you get what you want, this leads you down an endless loop of desiring. If you can forget about the idea of wanting, you can learn to be comfortable and grateful for what you have right now, which is key to inner peace.
  6. Do not regret what you have done. Regret is a useless emotion, isn’t it? You can’t change what’s happened. Yes, you can learn from what happened, but that doesn’t involve experiencing regret. Sometimes we can’t help but regret things in life, but it’s important not to dwell on it. It’s useless to do so.
  7. Never be jealous. Another useless emotion. It also means you’re insecure with yourself, because you are envious of someone else. Instead, look inside yourself and be grateful for who you are and what you have.
  8. Never let yourself be saddened by separation. It sucks to separate from someone you want to be with. But getting sad over it won’t help you or them. Sometimes you just need to toughen up and appreciate what you have, not what you lose.
  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others. Again, complaining without action doesn’t help you achieve anything. It only serves to raise your toxic energy. And don’t let what other people do affect you as well. You’re not in control of what they do. But you are in control of how you react to what they do.
  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love. This one’s probably a controversial one for many. For me, too. I think we can all agree that you don’t want to be guided by lust. It’s similar to chasing emotions that don’t last forever and will only give you temporary fulfilment. Love, however, is a different story. I think that love is one of the most important emotions to be guided by. Your family is everything, whoever they are, and your life is much more fulfilled when you do whatever you can for them.
  11. In all things have no preferences. Similar to desiring, by having preferences, you’re not happy with what you have right now. You’re dissatisfied and unable to enjoy the present moment. So if you can, try not to prefer something over something else, especially if you can’t control it.
  12. Be indifferent to where you live. If you can change where you live, then by all means go ahead. And don’t stop looking for opportunities to do so. But besides doing that, it’s more fulfilling to appreciate where you are right now, rather than wishing it were different.
  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food. Interesting one. Focus on eating to be healthy and for nourishment. Desiring delicious food can lead to addiction and attachment. This goes for alcohol and drugs, too.
  14. Do not hold onto possessions you no longer need. It’s easy to get cluttered with junk that you don’t need. But if it’s not benefiting your life, get rid of it. More space and clear thinking is what’s needed. Not more stuff.
  15. Do not act following customary beliefs. Follow your own common sense. Do what makes sense to your own values, not what other people think. Decide for yourself. You know what’s right and wrong. You don’t need someone else to tell you.
  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful. A tribute to his swordsman time, but we can apply this for our lives, too. It’s better to be an expert in one thing, than okay at everything.
  17. Do not fear death. Extremely hard to do. But it’s something none of us will escape. We can either learn to accept that our own and our close one’s time will eventually come, or fight against it causing anxiety and sadness for the rest of our lives.
  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age. What good will they do you when you’re gone? Only collect what is useful. Don’t waste your time.
  19. Respect Buddha without counting on their help. Take responsibility for yourself. Don’t count on luck or god to pull you through. Tackle the endeavors you know are within your capabilities. Keep doing the right thing and everything else will fall into place.
  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor. Don’t do anything that you won’t be able to live with for the rest of your life. Your actions define you, not your beliefs.
  21. Never stray from the way. Stay humble, do the right thing and always keep learning and growing.

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Season’s Greeting

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Amazing Quotes from Unknown Authors

When it comes to a tidbit of knowledge, the author is more important than the message. People give weight to certain sayings and quotes simply based on who wrote them. But what about the unknown authors of the world? are their insights any less valuable? Some of the greatest quotes I have ever read came from sources that were either unknown or obscure. It’s not who said it, it is what was said that matters.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from unknown authors.

  • ‘Man sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future, that he does not enjoy the present moment. As a result, he does not live in the present or the future, he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never truly lived.’’
  • “Spend the day appreciating every little thing that comes your way, and you’ll end the day feeling deeply grateful for your life.”
  • “The true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back.”
  • “When you start doubting yourself, remember how far you have come. Remember everything that you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.”
  • “Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ’In five years, will this matter’?”
  • “I’m only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.”
  • “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
  • “Open-minded people do not impose their beliefs on others. They just accept all of life’s perspectives and realities, doing their own thing in peace without judging anyone.”
  • “You have to take the good with the bad, smile when you’re sad, love what you’ve got, and remember what you had. Always forgive but never forget, learn from your mistakes, but never regret. People change, things go wrong, just remember, life goes on.”
  • “You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.”
  • “Faith makes all things possible. Hope makes all things work. Love makes all things beautiful.”
  • “Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.”
  • “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
  • “Let’s choose to see what we have in common.”
  • “In seeking happiness for others, you will find it in yourself.”
  • “A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are for what you have.”

Readers! If you recognize any one or more of these quotes’ author(s), please make sure to point out who they are from.

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Fantasies Inhibit Happiness and Success

The older you grow, the quieter you become. Life humbles you gradually as you age. You realize how much nonsense you’ve wasted time on. What’s the biggest nonsense creator of them all? Your mind and the fantasies it likes to project into every facet of your life. You’ve likely fantasized your way into headaches and heartaches hundreds of times in the past and you aren’t alone either. We all stress ourselves out because of fantasies. We all procrastinate to the point of failure because of fantasies. We all get angry with others, with ourselves, and with the world at large because of fantasies. We all miss out on many of life’s most beautiful and peaceful moments because of fantasies. This might seem hard to believe at first, so let’s look at some common examples…

  • When we wake up and immediately start fantasizing and worrying about all the things we have to do, we aren’t really doing anything but adding stress to an otherwise pleasant morning.
  • When we fear the potential of failure, and we procrastinate in response to our fear, our fearful fantasies force us to miss great opportunities for success.
  • When someone upsets us, this is often because they aren’t behaving according to our fantasy of how they “should” behave. The frustration, then, stems not from their behavior but from how their behavior differs from our fantasy.
  • When we think about making a healthy change in our lives like getting in shape , we are initially inspired by the fantasy of how easy it will be, but that’s not reality. So when the reality of working hard to exercise and eat right surfaces doesn’t match up with our inspiring fantasy, we give up.
  • When we are having a conversation with someone, we are distracted with fantasies of how this person views us, or we are distracted by our propensity to fantasize about how to respond before they even finish talking, and thus we miss the opportunity to connect more deeply with them.
  • When we move through our days, our minds are stuck fantasizing about other times and places, and so we miss the pleasant surprises and simple pleasures surrounding us.
  • Of course, sometimes we get out of our own heads long enough to focus on the present and make the best of it, but it’s NOT often enough.

Just think about your life and how often you let fantasies get the best of you. How does it affect you? It certainly doesn’t lead to happiness and success. You start believing your own lies and your behavior naturally backs the lies up. You start procrastinating. You put your biggest goals on the back burner. You always feel guilty and regretful for not taking action. You give up when the first obstacle comes your way. You blame others. Your important relationships take a major hit. And the list goes on and on. And you know what the really scary part is? Most people don’t know they are digging themselves a hole by repetitively listening to their fantasies and the negative self-talk they produce.

To get yourself out of this mess, you need to literally rewire your brain and replace negative, distracted mindsets with positive, productive ones. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t think I have what it takes,” you must start saying, “I can figure this out!” And by doing so, you’ll stop saying, “I’m not ready yet,” and you’ll start taking action because the new mindset is something along the lines of “I am ready to learn and grow!”

Bottom line: If you’ve caught yourself stuck with similar fantasies and negative thought patterns, you need to take action ASAP. The longer you let these little demons linger around, the harder it is to get rid of them. And of course, if you’re struggling with any of this, know that you are not alone.

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Simple Ways to Raise Your Consciousness

George Gurdjieff was an influential early 20th-century mystic, philosopher, and spiritual teacher. He observed that most humans live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep. To combat this, Gurdjieff developed a method to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. These are his “commandments,” simple ways you can progress on your journey towards waking up:

  1. Ground your attention on yourself. Be conscious at every moment of what you are thinking, sensing, feeling, desiring, and doing.
  2. Always finish what you have begun.
  3. Whatever you are doing, do it as well as possible.
  4. Do not become attached to anything that can destroy you in the course of time.
  5. Develop your generosity – but secretly.
  6. Treat everyone as if he or she was a close relative.
  7. Organize what you have disorganized.
  8. Learn to receive and give thanks for every gift.
  9. Stop defining yourself.
  10. Do not lie or steal, for you lie to yourself and steal from yourself.
  11. Help your neighbor, but do not make him dependent.
  12. Do not encourage others to imitate you.
  13. Make work plans and accomplish them.
  14. Do not take up too much space.
  15. Make no useless movements or sounds.
  16. If you lack faith, pretend to have it.
  17. Do not allow yourself to be impressed by strong personalities.
  18. Do not regard anyone or anything as your possession.
  19. Share fairly.
  20. Do not seduce.
  21. Sleep and eat only as much as necessary.
  22. Do not speak of your personal problems.
  23. Do not express judgement or criticism when you are ignorant of most of the factors involved.
  24. Do not establish useless friendships.
  25. Do not follow fashions.
  26. Do not sell yourself.
  27. Respect contracts you have signed.
  28. Be on time.
  29. Never envy the luck or success of anyone.
  30. Say no more than necessary.
  31. Do not think of the profits your work will engender.
  32. Never threaten anyone.
  33. Keep your promises.
  34. In any discussion, put yourself in the other person’s place.
  35. Admit that someone else may be superior to you.
  36. Do not eliminate, but transmute.
  37. Conquer your fears, for each of them represents a camouflaged desire.
  38. Help others to help themselves.
  39. Conquer your aversions and come closer to those who inspire rejection in you.
  40. Do not react to what others say about you, whether praise or blame.
  41. Transform your pride into dignity.
  42. Transform your anger into creativity.
  43. Transform your greed into respect for beauty.
  44. Transform your envy into admiration for the values of the other.
  45. Transform your hate into charity.
  46. Neither praise nor insult yourself.
  47. Regard what does not belong to you as if it did belong to you.
  48. Do not complain.
  49. Develop your imagination.
  50. Never give orders to gain the satisfaction of being obeyed.
  51. Pay for services performed for you.
  52. Do not proselytize your work or ideas.
  53. Do not try to make others feel for you emotions such as pity, admiration, sympathy, or complicity.
  54. Do not try to distinguish yourself by your appearance.
  55. Never contradict; instead, be silent.
  56. Do not contract debts; acquire and pay immediately.
  57. If you offend someone, ask his or her pardon; if you have offended a person publicly, apologize publicly.
  58. When you realize you have said something that is mistaken, do not persist in error through pride; instead, immediately retract it.
  59. Never defend your old ideas simply because you are the one who expressed them.
  60. Do not keep useless objects.
  61. Do not adorn yourself with exotic ideas.
  62. Do not have your photograph taken with famous people.
  63. Justify yourself to no one, and keep your own counsel.
  64. Never define yourself by what you possess.
  65. Never speak of yourself without considering that you might change.
  66. Accept that nothing belongs to you.
  67. When someone asks your opinion about something or someone, speak only of his or her qualities.
  68. When you become ill, regard your illness as your teacher, not as something to be hated.
  69. Look directly, and do not hide yourself.
  70. Do not forget your dead, but accord them a limited place and do not allow them to invade your life.
  71. Wherever you live, always find a space that you devote to the sacred.
  72. When you perform a service, make your effort inconspicuous.
  73. If you decide to work to help others, do it with pleasure.
  74. If you are hesitating between doing and not doing, take the risk of doing.
  75. Do not try to be everything to your spouse; accept that there are things that you cannot give him or her but which others can.
  76. When someone is speaking to an interested audience, do not contradict that person and steal his or her audience.
  77. Live on money you have earned.
  78. Never brag about amorous adventures.
  79. Never glorify your weaknesses.
  80. Never visit someone only to pass the time.
  81. Obtain things in order to share them.
  82. If you are meditating and a devil appears, make the devil meditate too.

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Principles of Modern Learning

What are the principles of modern learning? Well, that depends on how you define ‘learning’ and what you’d consider ‘modern.’

Richard Olsen had put together this in a useful visual way in 2013–a chart that lays out three categories of a modern approach to learning–Modern, Self-Directed, and Social. These broad categories are then broken up into four principles per category. Each principle is then described by its Reality (its function) and Opportunity (the result of that function). Honestly, these two categories are a bit confusing–or at least the distinction between some of the entries are (the ability to participate and enables modern learners to participate, for example). Overall, though, defining ‘modern learning’ through inquiry, self-direction, and connectivity is at the core.

Let’s take a look at what it’s saying by exploring the first category, Modern Inquiry Learning. The 4 principles in of Modern Inquiry Learning, according to the graphic, are Compile, Contribute, Combine, and Change, with their respective Realities and Opportunities shown below.

Compile

  • Reality The ability to save and retrieve information in a variety of formats.
  • Opportunity Give modern learners virtually unlimited capacity to retrieve and store information.

Contribute

  • Reality The ability to participate in more complex projects.
  • Opportunity Enables learners to participate in more complex projects.

Combine

  • Reality The ability to reuse and build upon the work of others.
  • Opportunity Allows learners to move beyond individual and isolated projects.

Change

  • Reality The ability to quickly obtain feedback from multiple sources.
  • Opportunity Enables learners to continuously improve work.

While the graphic doesn’t really get at the core values of what makes each approach Inquiry, Self-Direction and Connectivity valuable and worthwhile and so misses a huge opportunity, the trifecta of the three does in fact represent prevailing movements in progressive education. Technology, for example, would be a part of each. It supports inquiry and self-direction while being both a cause and effect of connectivity.

How should you use this to guide your teaching? You could take the verbs shown here e.g., contribute and correlate and design projects or activities alongside your students. You could also present a document like these at staff or department meetings by slamming it down on the table and asking ‘Where’s the progress? ”

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Choices You Won’t Regret

Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret. We regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were too afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make, the big opportunity you procrastinated on, that friend you never called, those important words you left unspoken, etc. But it’s not too late to set things straight. We’re still here breathing.

Today, we have an opportunity to change tomorrow. Right now we can choose to erase regret from our later years. It’s time to make the best of each and every day. Here are some ideas to get you started – you can start doing now that you won’t regret a decade down the road:

Let go of those who are already gone. You’re going to mingle with a lot of people in your lifetime. You’re going to have first kisses you feel all the way down to your toes and think “Oh my gosh, I love him,” but really… you loved the kiss. You’re going to meet a friend you think you will know forever, but then something will change and you two will go your separate ways. You’re going to explore different parts of your life with different people who aren’t in it for the long haul, and that isn’t a bad thing. Life is a series of stories, and the way our stories intersect is remarkable. Sometimes people are in our lives for the whole story. Sometimes they are just a short chapter or two. It takes a brave person to know when that chapter is over, and then to turn the page. Be brave. Embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive in life sets you up for an even better “hello.”

Work a little less and spend a little more time smiling with people you love. You’ve heard the saying, “The best things in life are free.” Well spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying the antics of a pet, seeing your son smile, experiencing intimate and heart-felt moments with your significant other – these times are precious and priceless. Don’t get so caught up in the rat race, working 60+ hours a week, to the point where you are too stressed and exhausted to enjoy your closest relationships. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices to work on the right things, it is possible to live on less, and thus work fewer hours and enjoy more of what truly matters.

Practice relentless kindness. Kindness is always the best response to any situation. When you grow older and you look back on your life, you will inevitably forget a lot of the stuff that seemed so important when you were young. You probably won’t remember what your high school or college GPA was. You will look at your old classmates on Facebook (or some other online social network) and wonder why you ever had a crush on that girl/guy. And you will have the toughest time remembering why you let certain people from your past get the best of you. But you will never forget the people who were genuinely kind – those who helped when you were hurt, and who loved you even when you felt unlovable. Be that person to others as often as possible. And, as you know, what goes around comes around.

Pay more attention to the life you are actually living in each moment. Is there anything worse than getting somewhere and not realizing how you got there? Even worse is only realizing how great something is after it’s gone. Living in the present is a basic notion, but as with most simple things, we often find a way to complicate it. But there’s nothing complicated about learning to appreciate and notice life as it is happening. And trust me, you won’t remember the cool Instagram photo you saw on your feed anyway. You will, however, want to remember the conversations you had and the stories you lived through. So focus accordingly.

Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and live a life free of headaches and heartache. And believe it or not, I’m currently in the process of re-visiting and focusing my mind on these positive principles and keeping myself on the right track. And of course, if you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone.

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Living a Life of Gratitude

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.~ Eckhart Tolle

Try to humble yourself and hold a two minute gratitude session. Simply sit down or kneel, with no distractions, close your eyes, and think about what you are grateful for and who you are grateful for. You don’t have to do it every day, but let me tell you, on the days you do it, it will make you very happy.

Why should that be? Why should the simple act of thinking about who and what you are grateful for make such a big difference in your life?

Just a few reasons:

  • It reminds you of the positive things in your life. It makes you happy about the people in your life, whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind to you in some ways.
  • It turns bad things into good things. Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person.
  • It reminds you of what’s important. It’s hard to complain about the little things when you give thanks that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over your head.
  • It reminds you to thank others. The simple act of saying “thank you” to someone can make a big difference in that person’s life. Calling them, emailing them, stopping by to say thank you and just taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are grateful toward them is important to them. People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. It costs you nothing but makes someone else happy. And making someone else happy will also make you happy. Simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much (especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge difference.

What you should thank for in your gratitude sessions? Thank your loved ones, for all they do to you. Thank strangers who’ve shown you little acts of kindness. Thank God, for the life he’s given you. Thank people around the world for the things they’ve done to make the world better. Thank yourself, for things that you’ve done because it’s important to recognize your own accomplishments.

If you want to live a life of gratitude, here are some suggestions:

  • Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference.
  • Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it.
  • Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think about something nice that someone did for you. When you do, pick up the phone and call the person to say thanks. Let them know what they did that you’re grateful for, and why you appreciate it. Takes a minute or two. If it’s too early to call, make a note to call later. Even better is telling them in person, if you happen to see them or if they’re on your route. Almost as good is a thank you email — keep it short and sweet.
  • Give thanks for ‘negative’ things in your life. There are always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative.
  • Learn a gratitude prayer. There are many prayers that can remind you to be grateful. Find one you like, and print it out or make it your desktop wallpaper. Here is one , I like….

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire, If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something, For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times, During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations, They give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, It will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes, They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, It means you’ve made a difference.

Be thankful for the good things in your life, Life of fulfilment comes to those who are thankful for the setbacks.

Be thankful for your troubles, Gratitude will turn them into blessings.

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The Power of Failing

It is impossible to live without failing at something , unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case you have failed by default .~ J K Rowling

Amazon’s Fire Phone was a failure. It’s the kind of thing most managers hope people soon forget about. But Amazon embraced it. Jeff Bezos said in an interview not long after the phone was pulled: “If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now. I am not kidding. Some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip.”

Netflix just announced the cancellation of several expensive original shows. This is also the kind of thing most media CEOs get mad at and demand a strategy shift. Which is what Reed Hastings did. Except his demand was that more Netflix shows should fail: “Our hit ratio is way too high right now. I’m always pushing the content team. We have to take more risk. You have to try more crazy things, because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.”

Amazon and Netflix owe a lot of their success to their ability to fail well. It’s a unique trait. It’s just failing. And it’s not just accepting failure in order to learn something. Failing well is a special, difficult, thing. What sticks out is that many startups and venture investors embrace risk with both hands, while many public investors view their job as taming and avoiding risk. Both can learn from each other. Because either can be a disaster.

Anything competitive requires trying something new, and a lot of new things don’t work as planned. But risk has to be taken in manageable doses, avoiding catastrophic errors that could put you out of business. This sounds simple but it’s so rare and difficult to execute on. Risk is easiest in two speeds: All in, or none at all. It’s the balance between the two that lets you survive long enough to reap the rewards of things with big returns, since big returns come from things with low odds of success.

No one makes good decisions all the time. The most impressive people are packed full of horrendous ideas that they often act on. But those who stick out can absorb the damage of their bad ideas. They fail at lot, but they’re really good at it. They consciously take big enough risks to move the needle but not so big that they can’t live another day to fail at something else. Compounded over time this can add up to something extraordinary.

The Chris Rock show on TV is hilarious, flawless. The Chris Rock that performs dozens of small clubs each year is just pretty good. This is by design. No comedic genius is smart enough to know what jokes are sure to land well. Every big comedian tests their material in small clubs before using it in big venues. The stakes are lower in small clubs – you may disappoint 30 drunk people, but you won’t hurt your reputation with HBO. It’s manageable damage. Rock was once asked if he missed small clubs. He responded: “ When I start a tour, it’s not like I start out in arenas. Before this last tour, I performed in this place in New Brunswick called the Stress Factory. I did about 40 or 50 shows getting ready for the tour. “

One newspaper profiled these small-club sessions. It described Rock thumbing through pages of material, not all of them landing. “I’m going to have to cut some of these jokes,” he says in the middle.

Everyone needs their own Stress Factory Comedy Club – a strategy to try something you don’t know will work and absorb the damage of its failure in a manageable way.

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Happiness is a Choice

How do we heighten our happiness? There are many ways and one size does not fit all. Below are a few suggestions that I am hopeful will work to give you happiness.

Savor the joy of simple pleasures. The best things in life are free. They come in the form of simple pleasures and they appear right in front of you at various locations and arbitrary times. They are governed by Mother Nature and situational circumstance and captured by mindful awareness. It’s all about taking a moment to notice the orange and pink sunset reflecting off the pond water as you hold hands with someone you love. Noticing these moments and taking part in them regularly will bring unpredictable bursts of happiness into your life.

Look for happiness in the right places. When we’re young we look for happiness in drugs, sex, alcohol, parties, fast cars, extreme sports, etc. Then when we get a little older, we look for happiness in more “mature” ways – a stable partner, romantic getaways, walks along the beach, jazz music, a night at the bar with some friends. Do they work? Do these things make us happy? Sure they do. They raise our happiness temporarily. But people have a baseline of inner happiness. Certain events and possessions, like an unexpected windfall, might raise or lower our happiness momentarily, but soon we return to our inner baseline. The key is to gradually raise this baseline. Enjoy the moment, but don’t completely ignore long-term goals. What will you be proud to have accomplished, or disappointed that you didn’t do, five years from now?

Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis. Pay for a stranger’s coffee in line at Starbucks. Buy the office receptionist flowers just to say, “Thank you.” Help an elderly lady with her groceries. There’s nothing more rewarding than putting smiles on the faces around you.

Help others when you’re able. In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.

Share time with people you care about, and experience life together. The quality of our personal relationships correlates directly with our overall sense of worth and happiness. Sometimes in the midst of life’s chaos we forget to do the little things that remind us we’re part of something greater than ourselves. We need a certain amount of meaningful contact with other people to feel fully alive. There are few things more satisfying than recounting the greatest moments of your life with your family and closest friends who lived these moments alongside you. And remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.

Accept things when they are less than perfect. If you find yourself at a point of intense decision making where you’re caught in a spiral of over-analysis and you’re making no progress, take a deep breath, break the spiral, make an educated guess on the next logical step, and take it. Even if you get it wrong you’ve learned something, which is better than doing nothing. Your failures along the road to your goals are simply opportunities to learn and grow. Remember, the real world doesn’t reward perfectionists; it rewards people who get things done.

Invest a little time, energy and money into yourself every day. Happiness comes as a side-effect of learning new skills and challenging yourself. Read, listen, adapt and stretch to accommodate new ideas and new information. When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life. You are simply the product of what you know. The more time, energy and money you invest acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life.

And of course, if you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and live a life free of headaches and heartache. Be happy and remain happy. Remember , happiness is a choice, choose happiness everyday.

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Bad Habits That Hold You Back

A change in bad habits leads to a good change in life. Here are twenty bad habits many of us repeatedly struggle with:

  • Focusing on the negative. Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best thing to happen every time, it’s about accepting that whatever happens is good for this moment, and then making the best of it. So stay positive, and hold on to what’s truly important.  Let your worries go.  No matter how you look at it, some outcomes just don’t make sense right away.  Choosing to carry on with your goals through this uncertainty is what matters.
  • Expecting life to be easy. Nothing starts easy; everything begins at some level of difficulty. Even waking up in the morning sometimes requires notable effort. But one beautiful thing about life is the fact that the most difficult challenges are often the most rewarding and satisfying.
  • Overlooking your true path and purpose. What really matters in life is not what we buy, but what we build; not what we have, but what we share with the world; not our capability but our character; and not our success but our true significance. Live a life that makes you proud – one that matters and makes a difference.  Live a life filled with passion and love.
  • Chasing after those who don’t want to be caught. Do not chase people. Be you, do your own thing and work hard on your passions.  The right people who belong in your life will eventually come to you, and stay.
  • Not asking for help when you know you need it. No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, you can always turn back. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.
  • Letting one dark cloud cover the entire sky. Take a deep breath. It’s just a bad moment, or a bad day, not a bad life.  Everyone has troubles.  Everyone makes mistakes.  The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.
  • Holding on to things you need to let go of. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things in life that should not be. Sometimes letting go is what makes us stronger, happier and more successful in the long run.
  • Spending time with people who make you unhappy. People can be cruel, and sometimes they will be. People can hurt you and break your heart, and sometimes they will.  But only you can allow them to continuously hurt you.  Value yourself enough to choose to spend time with people who treat you the way you treat them.  Know your worth.  Know when you have had enough.  And move on from the people who keep chipping away at your happiness.
  • Not making time for those who matter most. When we take things for granted, these things eventually get taken away. Too often we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.  Too often we are too stubborn to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”  Too often it seems we hurt the ones closest to us by letting insignificant issues tear us apart.  Appreciate what you have, who loves you and who cares for you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you
  • Denying personal responsibility. You’re getting almost everything you’re getting right now based on the decisions you have made; and you will continue to receive the same things until you choose differently. You always have some element of control.  There are always other options.  The choices might not be easy, but they are available.  You will not get a different result until you exercise a choice that forces you to grow by habit, by action, and by change.
  • Letting everyone else make decisions for you. Never allow someone or something that adds very little to your life, control so much of it. You’ve got to stop caring about what everyone else wants for you, and start actually living for yourself.  Let go of the people and things that continuously hold you back and no longer serve you, because you only get one shot at life.
  • Giving up who you Remove yourself from any situation that requires you to give up any one of these three things: 1) Who you are.  2)  What you stand for.  3)  The goals you aspire to achieve. 
  • Quitting as soon as things get slightly difficult. An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward; and such is life. When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to eventually launch you forward in a positive direction.  So keep focusing, and keep aiming!
  • Doing too much and pushing too hard, without pausing. Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never find it, but because they never stop long enough to enjoy it. Sometimes we are so focused on what we want that we miss the things we need most.
  • Discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t. Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t. Start giving yourself credit for everything that you are.
  • Running from current problems and fears. Trust me, if everyone threw their problems in a pile for you to see, you would grab yours back. Tackle your problems and fears swiftly, don’t run away from them.  The best solution is to face them head on no matter how powerful they may seem.  Either you own your problems and fears, or they will ultimately own you.
  • Constantly mulling over past hardships. You’ll never see the great things ahead of you if you keep looking at the bad things behind you. To reach up for the new, you must let go of the old.  You are exactly where you need to be to reach your goals.  Everything you’ve been through was preparation for where you are right now and where you can be tomorrow.
  • Denying your mistakes. Remember that most honorable people of all are not those who never make mistakes, but those who admit to them when they do. And then go on to do their best to make the wrong things right.
  • Expecting your significant other to be perfect. Remember that you will never find a perfect partner to love you in the exact way you had envisioned, only a person who is willing to love you with all that they are. Someone who will accept you for who you can and cannot be.  And although they will never be perfect, finding a partner like this is even better.
  • Never allowing things to be good enough. We are human. We are not perfect.  We are alive.  We try things.  We make mistakes.  We stumble.  We fall.  We get hurt.  We rise again.  We try again.  We keep learning.  We keep growing.  And we are thankful for this priceless opportunity called life.

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We Are All Made to Fly

falcon-03Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, ” It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly– to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But instead of doing that, we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

So let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight ! Make it a great life!

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Timeless Pieces of Advice on Valentine’s Day

abcWhether you’ve been married 50 years, you’re just dating, or you’re single, there’s one day on the calendar set aside to think about love and romance, Valentine’s Day. The holiday has its origins in the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. More than 1,500 years ago, Pope Gelasius I abolished the festival and declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day, and people around the world have celebrated it ever since. In the United States alone, we send nearly 200 million Valentine’s Day cards and spend at least $100 per person to show our loved ones that we care. That’s a lot of flowers and chocolate!

This article aims at giving you some timeless pieces of advice to help and guide you and your loved one to remain in love and in the mood of romance, always.

  • Don’t stay with someone who antagonizes you or belittles you.
  • If you feel lonely, you’re better off being alone.
  • Know when to walk away.
  • You can gauge a person’s love for you by how they treat you when they are upset with you.
  • Love is a verb, not a noun.
  • When a light bulb goes out, you fix the light bulb. You don’t get a new house.
  • Don’t settle for someone who has zero regard for your feelings or wants just because you’ve been together a long time.
  • Just because you love each other does not mean that you’re good together long-term.
  • No relationship is perfect and there will be conflict. What matters is the desire to solve the problem.
  • Always fight the problem, not the other person. If you keep this in mind when arguing, you’ll be able to actually resolve the issue than be mad at each other.
  • Don’t look for a girl you want to treat like a princess, look for a girl you want to treat like a partner.
  • Don’t disparage your SO behind their back.
  • Confidence isn’t “I know she likes me”, confidence is “I’ll be okay whether she likes me or not.”
  • There are a number of people you can be compatible with. No one is perfect. You have to work at love.
  • You’re not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
  • Marry the one who gives you the same feeling you get when you see food coming at a restaurant.
  • The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.
  • Stop trying to find the right person and start trying to BE the right person.
  • The person who cares least in the relationship has the most control.
  • Don’t listen to other people’s comments. Make your own relationship rules.
  • It’s better to be happy than to be right.
  • Always be the first to genuinely apologize after a fight.
  • You can’t expect someone to love you when you can’t love yourself.
  • Just because you liked the friend-version of someone doesn’t mean you’ll like the relationship-version of them.
  • Before you move in with your partner, go on a road trip with them.
  • Don’t be afraid to open up and be vulnerable. Vulnerability can bring you closer together and strengthen the two of you.
  • When you and your SO are arguing, remember—it’s you and them versus the problem. Not you versus them.
  • Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
  • Don’t fall in love with someone’s potential.
  • It takes two happy individuals to make a happy relationship.
  • If the world didn’t give each other second chances, we would all be single.
  • Everyone is searching for the perfect person, but no one is trying to be the perfect person.
  • If you love the memories more than the relationship, it’s time to move on.
  • Just because a person is right or perfect for you, you may not be the right one for them.
  • If it’s broken, fix it. If you’ve lost count of how many times it’s broken, or the cost of repair far outweighs the initial outlay, throw it away and move on.
  • Out of all the things needed for a successful relationship, love barely makes the top 5. Honesty, loyalty, trust, and communication all have to be there.
  • Always hold hands when talking about the hard stuff. It helps to keep the negative emotions in check & shows you care.
  • Be the man or woman you would want your future or current child dating.
  • Love is about appreciation, not possession.
  • Don’t go to bed angry. Everything will be there and worse in the morning.
  • Always seduce your lover, even if you are in a committed relationship. Otherwise, another person will.
  • Talk to each other about problems, not friends and family.
  • Keep no secrets, tell no lies.
  • Sometimes you gotta wise up and let go. Yes, it hurts. But it’ll hurt more in the future.
  • Relationships aren’t hard. If it is hard, you are probably with the wrong person.
  • Love is not a feeling. Feelings fade, change, respond to situations and events. Love is a choice.
  • If it feels wrong at the beginning, it probably won’t get better.
  • If you’re keeping score you already lost.
  • Love is an action, not a feeling. It’s learned and developed skill, not an experience. Not that the romantic feeling doesn’t exist or isn’t a wonderful part of the relationship, but it doesn’t make it last.
  • The best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook.

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