Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I will be away from next week and will not be doing any new posting in my blog during this period.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Japanese and their Fish

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the water close to Japan has not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring the fish. If the return trip took more time, the fish were not fresh. To solve this problem, fish companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen fish. And they did not like the taste of frozen fish.

The frozen fish brought a lower price. So, fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, they were tired, dull, and lost their fresh-fish taste. The fishing industry faced an impending crisis!

But today, they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan. How did they manage? To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks but with a small shark.

The fish are challenged and hence are constantly on the move. The challenge they face keeps them alive and fresh!

Have you realized that some of us are also living in a pond but most of the time tired and dull? Basically in our lives, sharks are new challenges to keep us active. If you are steadily conquering challenges, you are happy. Your challenges keep you energized. Don't create success and revel in it in a state of inertia. You have the resources, skills and abilities to make a difference. Put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character" - Albert Einstein

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Touchstone

When the great library of Alexandria burned, the story goes, one book was saved. But it was not a valuable book; and so a poor man, who could read a little, bought it for a few coppers. The book wasn't very interesting, but between its pages there was something very interesting indeed.

It was a thin strip of vellum on which was written the secret of the "Touchstone" ! The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold. The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles that looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: The real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold. So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing pebbles.

He knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebble hundreds of times. So, when he felt one that was cold, he threw it into the sea. He spent a whole day doing this but none of them was the touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way. Pick up a pebble. Cold - throw it into the sea. Pick up another. Throw it into the sea.

The days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months. One day, however, about midafternoon, he picked up a pebble and it was warm. He threw it into the sea before he realized what he had done. He had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.

So it is with opportunity. Unless we are vigilant, it's easy to fail to recognize an opportunity when it is in hand and it's just as easy to throw it away.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Father and Daughter Story

Here is a short story with a beautiful message...

Little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter,
'Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river.'
The little girl said, 'No, Dad. You hold my hand.'
'What's the difference?' Asked the puzzled father.
'There's a big difference,' replied the little girl.

'If I hold your hand and something happens to me,
chances are that I may let your hand go.
But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens,
you will never let my hand go.'

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.

So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Farmer and His Neighbours

There was a farmer who grew superior quality and award-winning corn.

Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honour and prizes.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learnt something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours'.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.

"Why sir, “said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn.

If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours grow good corn."

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbours’ corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions!

Those who choose to be at harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches….


So please share the good practices, ideas, new learning with your family, friends, team members, neighbours….

“Success breeds Success"….

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Painter

Once upon a time there was a painter who had just completed his course under the disciple hood of a great painter. This young artist decided to assess his skills, so he decided to give his best strokes on the canvass. He took 3 days and painted beautiful scenery.

Suddenly an idea flashed in his mind and he put his creation at a busy street-crossing. And just down below a board which read-"Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake."

While he came back in the evening to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses) and some people had even written their comments on the painting.

Disheartened and broken completely he ran to his master's place and burst into tears. Sobbing and crying inconsolably he told his master about what happened and showed the pathetic state of his creation which was filled with marks everywhere. This young artist was breathing heavily and master heard him saying "I'm useless and if this is what I have learnt to paint I'm not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely.. I feel like dying "Master smiled and suggested "My Son, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learnt a flawless painting."

Young disciple couldn't believe it and said "I have lost faith in me and I don't think I am good enough... Don’t make false hopes...”"Do as I say without questioning it.. It WILL work." Master interrupted him. "Just paint exactly similar painting once again for me and give it to me. Young artist reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master. Master took that gracefully and smiled. "Come with me.” master said.

They reached the same street-square early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now master took out another board which read -"Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it."

Master and disciple walked back home.

They both visited the place same evening. Young painter was surprised to see that actually there was not a single correction done so far. Next day again they visited and found the painting remained untouched..

They kept the painting there for a month but no correction was made on it!

It is easier to criticize, but difficult to improve.

If you want to help people improve their behavior it is worth investing your effort in learning how to help people change their behaviors, attitudes and skills.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared; he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress.

It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don't forget the power in the struggle. Live life without fear, confront all obstacles and know that you can overcome them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Farmer and The Old Mule

The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up... shake it off and step up... shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him.

All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

While the story above does make us smile, it does have wisdom in it. How we handle adversity determines our success in life. One of my favorite quotes on adversity is, "Adversity is a fact of life. It can't be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it." When faced with adversity we can give up and adopt the poor me attitude. Or we can look at adversity as an opportunity to find other ways to do things. We can be determined, persistent and persevere. It all comes down to your choice - and it is a choice of attitude! While reflecting on this story consider the following quotes on adversity:

"Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records." - William A. Ward

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." - Napoleon Hill

"Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you. Most of all other people can't stop you. Only you can stop you." - Jeffrey Gitomer

"Adversity precedes growth." - Rosemarie Rossett

"Prosperity is a great teacher; Adversity is a greater." - Hazlitt

"Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity." - Lou Holtz

"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time." - Og Mandino

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Think About This...

Should you find it hard to get to sleep tonight;
Just remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in

Should you find yourself stuck in traffic; don't despair;
There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work;
Think of the man who has been out of work for the last three months.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad;
Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend;
Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for -15.00 to feed her family.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance;
Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror;
Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking "what is my purpose";
Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities;
Remember, things could be worse. You could be them!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two Glasses Of Wine

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the he sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

'Now', said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.' The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. 'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.'

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.

The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.'

Monday, November 24, 2008

Put The Glass Down

Professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see & asked the students,' How much do you think this glass weighs?' '50gms!'....'100gms!'.....'125gms' .....
the students answered. 'I really don't know unless I weigh it,' said the professor, 'but, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?' 'Nothing' the students said. 'Ok what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?' the professor asked. 'Your arm would begin to ache' said one of the students. 'You're right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?''Your arm could go numb, you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis & have to go to hospital for sure!' ventured another student and all the students laughed. 'Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?' asked the professor. 'No' 'Then what caused the arm ache & the muscle stress?' The students were puzzled. 'Put the glass down!' said one of the students.
'Exactly!' said the professor.'

Life's problems are something like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head & they seem OK. Think of them for a long time & they begin to ache. Hold it even longer & they Begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything. It's important to think of the challenges (problems) in your life, but EVEN MORE IMPORTANT to 'put them down' at the end of every day before you go to sleep. That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh and strong and can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way!'

So, as it becomes time for you to leave the office today, remember to 'PUT THE GLASS DOWN TODAY! '

Friday, November 21, 2008


Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you just ran out of words and you go... S i l e n t ???

Let me assist you in recalling...

.... the moment when you left your home for the first time and you look back at your parents who are worried that their son/daughter are leaving them yet happy that their child took the first step towards independence.

..... the moment when the girl/boy you like most.. smiled back at you! You don't say anything.. you just smile back..

..... the moment when you get better marks than you expected... those "numb" moments of ecstasy n surprise "is that true?"...

..... the moment when you are parting with your old friend(s) and the train has just started... and you are standing on the door of the wagon.. waving "bye-bye" with your heart beating fast...

... .. the moment after the HR manager has just called you and told you,"You are through! Congrats!"

..... the moment when you sit alone in your room after having told everyone that you cleared that exam you prepared for 6 months!!

You can go on remembering your "special" moments!

I had always wondered why I never said anything to myself at those moments.. as if it was "understood"... happiness, joy, pain.. all feelings just flowed ceaselessly in the 'years' that passed in those flash moments!

They say.. the best way to communicate is through "silence".
Love. Joy. Grief. Surprise. Anger. Hope. Expectations. Support.Non-cooperation...

Can you imagine the importance of a silent moment in a song??
When Bryan Adams stops for a while along with music, before he goes on in his husky voice....... Please forgive me. I can't stop loving you!

Ever had those moments when you thought you were tired enough that you reach for your bed after dinner.. but find yourself wide awake looking at the roof of your room silently...

But you sure are 'thinking'... those moments of self-talk are the most important in our lives. Those moments when we listen to our own hearts! Those promises... those decisions... those are the moments when we make our destinies!

Next time you go silent... listen carefully to what your heart is saying.. listen to its joy...listen to its pain.. listen to its fears.. listen to its desires..and Be in touch with your true self...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Look Around You

A very special teacher in high school many years ago had a husband who unexpectedly died suddenly of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students. As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there.

With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, "Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important. Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves... and none of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is God's way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day."

Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, "So I would like you all to make me a promise... from now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn't have to be something you see - it could be a scent - perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground. Please, look for these things, and cherish them.

For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the "stuff" of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make it important to notice them, for at any time ... it can all be taken away."

The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn't do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reserves Make Life Easy

A very good and practical article by Philip Humbert
The recent turmoil in our financial markets has reminded many of us that in times of trouble, "cash is king." Many years ago, one of my mentors, Thomas Leonard, tried to teach me this using the phrase that, "Reserves make everything easy."

Thomas' focus was that even the most difficult things in life are "easy" if we are prepared. I've known two people who have attempted to climb Mt Everest and both say even that extreme challenge is straight-forward and "easily tackled" with good preparation.

The famous football coach, Vince Lombardi, used to say that it wasn't the "will to win" that created championship teams--everyone wants to win!--it was "the will to prepare to win" that made all the difference.

I'm convinced that both Thomas Leonard and Vince Lombardi knew what they were talking about. Thomas preferred the term "reserves." I suspect partly that was because he liked being distinctive and "having reserves" resonates differently than copying the Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared." But both are sound advice.

Thomas talked about having "reserves" in every area of life. I still laugh when I think of him lecturing me on having extra boxes of tissue in the house and insisting I change the oil in my car before it was due. Obviously, he didn't care about tissue or oil changes. His point was that life gets very, very hard (stressful, chaotic, hurried) when we feel squeezed by circumstances. Never do anything at the last minute! Allow time. Schedule in advance. Maintain plenty of "reserve."

Life will inevitably throw problems our way. This week my wireless router quit and our network died. By connecting my computer directly to the modem I could continue working, but far more helpful was my long-standing relationship with our "computer guy." One phone call and on Thursday we were back in business. A problem? Sure. Annoying? Of course. But easily handled and life goes on. That's what Thomas wanted me to "get" about reserves.

Here are a few areas where I recommend you maintain extra reserves:

1. Personal finances. Whether it's $50 in your wallet or a family savings account for the emergencies that will eventually happen (car repairs, unscheduled travel), maintain some "extra." Many people use credit cards for these unplanned expenses, but I prefer knowing cash is on my side.

2. Daily Schedule. Most of us live hectic lives and the thought of "extra time" seems "impossible. " But it's not impossible. Schedule time for yourself. Schedule time to meditate, take a walk or a bath, read a book or write in your journal. If unplanned events demand extra time you have it, but most days you get a nice "treat" just for you!

3. Everyday Consumables. Reduce the "hassle factor" in life! From extra food in the cupboard to toilet paper in the closet or a stash of office supplies, make sure you never "have to" run an unscheduled errand. Plan ahead. Buy in bulk. You don't need a garage full of stuff, but interrupting your day to chase one or two items is incredibly expensive! Don't do it. Maintain reserves.

4. Personal Relationships. Relationships require maintenance. Put some "extra" into your friendships. Extra time. Extra thought. When appropriate send cards, notes, flowers, or have a cup of coffee, go for a walk, watch a movie, play tennis. Quality relationships don't just happen. They must be built. Maintain generous, loving reserves in your most important relationships.

We seem to be entering tough economic times. So prepare. Take care of yourself. The temptation is to run faster and work harder, but don't fall into that trap! In tough times you want to be sharp, alert and quick. Stay focused. Keep your edge. Maintain your reserves! It makes life easier and gives you the resources to seize opportunity when it comes your way.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Encouragement, Praises & Positive Words

A story from Carrie Wilkerson
(wife, mom, speaker & author)

LauraLee, our 11-month old, has been really focusing on her walking! She will be 1 in a few weeks and she decided about 6 weeks ago that walking looked like something she wanted to figure out! This is my 4th walker and so I've not been rushing her, but I have been intently watching the process.

She's wobbly. She falls a lot. She sometimes needs a hand to hold, sometimes just a pinkie or finger for confidence. She prefers to walk towards someone who is reaching out their arms for her. She's bumped and scraped from obstacles. When she hits her head (or any other body part) it doesn't seem to hurt as much as normal because she's so focused on her destination. But, most importantly, she keeps getting up and trying again.

Things I've noticed about those of us around her. We clap when she takes steps (even if it's just one or two). We reach out to help her up when she topples. We praise her and cheer for her (yes, even if she falls flat). We hold our arms out for her so she knows where she can fall safely. We tell everyone about her successes. We dwell on the steps, not the tumbles. And most importantly, we encourage her to get up and try again.

Not ONCE have I heard anyone say, "well, you've fallen - this walking stuff might not be for you. You should stick to crawling."

"I know someone that tried that and still can't walk, just save yourself the trouble."

"Wow, that sure is taking you a long time to figure out. Your sister walked a lot faster than you did."

"You know you're not supposed to walk yet. This is too early. Sit back down and let us carry you for awhile."

"Why would you want to bother with that when you're already so good at crawling?"
"Don't, Don't, Don't - you know you always fall when you do that!"

Interesting, isn't it?? There are SO MANY parallels in this lesson that I hardly know where to begin! Are you surrounding your family, friends, and business associates with encouragement, praise, and positive words? Are you telling them why they CAN succeed instead of why they cannot?

And just as important - are you surrounding YOURSELF with others that encourage YOU in that same way? LauraLee knows she is in a safe place, surrounded by people who love her and want her to be the best baby she can be! They want her to learn new things, to progress in her 'walk,' her journey. And in the meantime, will you choose someone today that might need your arms to reach out to? They might need a finger to hold (or just the end of your pinkie)? Is there someone that needs you clapping for them? Find them today. Help them in their walk.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Positive Attitude

Very old lady looked in the mirror one morning. She had three remaining strands of hair on her head, and being a positive soul, she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she braided her three hair, and she had a great day.

Some days later, looking in the mirror one morning, preparing for her day, she saw that she had only two strands of hair remaining. "Hmm, two strands of hair... I fancy a center parting today." She duly parted it, and as ever, she had a great day.

A week or so later, she saw that she had just one hair left on her head. "One hair huh...," she mused, "I know a pony-tail will be perfect." And again she had a great day.

The next morning she looked in the mirror. She was completely bald.

"Finally bald huh," she said to herself, "How wonderful! I won't have to waste time doing my hair any more...”

We may face different kinds of incidences in life. It’s our insight whether we perceive it positively or negatively.

Life is your own battlefield. Your life today is the result of your approach, mind sets and choices while your life tomorrow will be the outcome of the attitudes and choices you make today! So it’s important for you think and behave positively.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Salt, Pepper and the Spices of Life

You’re sitting at a table, having a meal with some friends. Bowls of soup are served to everyone at the table. Before tasting the soup, the person next to you reaches for the salt and pepper, and for the next 20 seconds vigorously shakes into the soup more salt and pepper than you would use in a month.

You have a pained look on your face. These thoughts immediately go through your mind: 'Why would you put salt and pepper in soup, or on any dish, BEFORE you taste it? How do you know how much to add?' You might also think, 'How can someone put so much salt and pepper in their food?'

Of course, the roles could be reversed. You might be the one who loves to put a lot of salt and pepper on your food and the person next to you eats the soup without adding salt or pepper. In that case, you think, 'How can she eat this bland
soup without putting any seasoning in it?'

When it comes to salt, pepper, onions, garlic, curry or just about any type of seasoning, we tend to see things only one way - OUR way. It's hard for us to understand how someone could enjoy food when it is not seasoned as we think is appropriate. We cringe when we see someone 'overdoing' or 'under-doing' the spices.

How we season our food is a matter of preference and personal taste. There is no right or wrong way to use seasonings. Furthermore, the way in which another applies salt and pepper does not affect us in any way. They're not putting the salt and pepper in YOUR soup. They are putting the spices in their own soup.

Our world is so diverse, and yet it is difficult for us to accept each other's preferences. Often, when we see people doing things we wouldn't do, our mind says:

"Why aren't they thinking as I think?"

"Why aren't they acting as I would act?"

Your mind would often have you believe that your way is superior. Your beliefs and habits are shaped by your genetics and your environment. Each person has different genetics and growing up in an environment that is different than yours. Why expect everyone to come to the same conclusion?

Our spiritual growth comes when we learn to accept that others have different preferences, and we honor those preferences. There is no universal religion that everyone will agree to practice. There is no universal political viewpoint that all will accept. There is no one way of raising children that all cultures will agree upon. Marriage customs will vary from culture to culture.

Getting people to agree on these issues is like trying to get everyone to use the same amount of salt and pepper on their food. It's not going to happen.

The diversity in this world is beautiful and we can open our hearts to it. Within our own country and in our relations with people in other countries, we need to continually remind ourselves that it's perfectly acceptable for people to have
preferences. If the other person is not harming us, why can't we just smile and get on with life?

The next time you're tempted to judge or criticize the way other people think or act, realize that in most cases, they're just using a different amount of salt or pepper than you would use. Allow them to have their preferences, and there is no need to even consider what YOU would do.

"You cannot always oblige but you can always speak obligingly"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Celebrate The Goodness

The head of a cloistered monastery became very frustrated with the bickering and conflict among the monks who were in his charge. He felt helpless in finding a solution to this ongoing problem. One day, he was brilliantly inspired with the right and perfect solution. Knowing that behaviors can change if there is a compelling reason to do so, he called all of the monks together.

He said, "I am so pleased to share this wonderfully exciting news with you today. I have learned that one among you is a divinely chosen and blessed being who is one of God's specially selected ministers. We are so fortunate to have this person among us. I know that each of you shares this excitement with me." With no further word, he turned and left the monks alone.

The monks sat for a moment and looked around at each other. The puzzlement and then the wonder in their eyes were evident as they looked to each other for some sign of the "blessed one." There was outer silence, but each monk experienced similar inner dialog. "I wonder who it is? Who among us seems most likely to be God's special being? I wonder if I have insulted the blessed one?..." On and on went the inner dialog.

The bickering among the monks seem to cease almost immediately as they did their best not to insult or antagonize the one who was held in special esteem by God. Since there was no indication of who the special monk was, all of the monks treated each other with respect, courtesy, and great fondness.

Weeks went by. The excitement and curiosity abated and the monks settled down into their usual routine. However, the habit of bickering had been replaced with the habit of respect, courtesy, and a willingness to explore solutions to their problems. There was peace in the monastery.

This wonderful story reflects what actually takes place every day in the workplace. What if we treated our co-workers as though they are "divinely special beings" with our motive not being one of fear, but simply wanting peace in the workplace more than we want anything else?

When we begin to look at others with compassionate eyes, speak words of kindness, and think of others with a desire to understand them, we will begin to change. And, interestingly enough so will they. What goes around, comes around.

"Just for this moment, this day, this week, I will look for the goodness in others, as I look for and celebrate the goodness in myself."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Window

A young couple moves into a new neighbourhood. The next morning, while they were eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean,” she said, “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbour would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look! She has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her.”

The husband said” “I got up early and cleaned our windows!”

And so it with life:

What we see when watching others, depend on the purity of the window through which we look. Before we give criticism, it might be a good idea to check our state of mind and ask ourselves, if we are ready to see the good rather than to be looking at something in the person we are about to judge.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Turtles

A turtle family decided to go on a picnic. The turtles, being naturally slow about things, took seven years to prepare for their outing. Finally the turtle family left home looking for a suitable place. During the second year of their journey they found a place ideal for them at last!

For about six months they cleaned the area, unpacked the picnic basket, and completed the arrangements. Then they discovered they had forgotten the salt. A picnic without salt would be a disaster, they all agreed. After a lengthy discussion, the youngest turtle was chosen to retrieve the salt from home. Although he was the fastest of the slow moving turtles, the little turtle whined, cried, and wobbled in his shell. He agreed to go on one condition: that no one would eat until he returned. The family consented and the little turtle left.

Three years passed and the little turtle had not returned. Five years...six years... then on the seventh year of his absence, the oldest turtle could no longer contain his hunger. He announced that he was going to eat and begun to unwrap a sandwich. At that point the little turtle suddenly popped out from behind a tree shouting, 'See! I knew you wouldn't wait. Now I am not going to go get the salt.'

Some of us waste our time waiting for people to live up to our expectations. We are so concerned about what others are doing that we don't do anything ourselves.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Frogs

A farmer came into town and asked the owner of a restaurant if he could use a million frog legs. The restaurant owner was shocked and asked the man where he could get so many frog legs! The farmer replied, 'There is a pond near my house that is full of frogs - millions of them. They all croak all night long and they are about to make me crazy!' So the restaurant owner and the farmer made an agreement that the farmer would deliver frogs to the restaurant, five hundred at a time for the next several weeks.

The first week, the farmer returned to the restaurant looking rather sheepish, with two scrawny little frogs. The restaurant owner said, 'Well... where are all the frogs?' The farmer said, 'I was mistaken. There were only these two frogs in the pond. But they sure were making a lot of noise!'

Next time you hear somebody criticizing or making fun of you, remember, it's probably just a couple of noisy frogs. Also remember that problems always seem bigger in the dark. Have you ever laid in your bed at night worrying about things which seem almost overwhelming like a million frogs croaking? Chances are pretty good that when the morning comes, and you take a closer look, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Pretty Lady

Once upon a time a big monk and a little monk were traveling together. They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river. There was a pretty lady who was stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn't cross the river. The big monk offered to carry her across the river on his back. The lady accepted. The little monk was shocked by the move of the big monk. 'How can big brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females?' thought the little monk. But he kept quiet. The big monk carried the lady across the river and the small monk followed unhappily. When they crossed the river, the big monk let the lady down and they parted ways with her.

All along the way for several miles, the little monk was very unhappy with the act of the big monk. He was making up all kinds of accusation about the big monk in his head. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the big monk had no inclination to explain his situation. Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the little monk could not stand it any further he burst out angrily at the big monk. 'How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty? All your teachings to me make you a big hypocrite”. The big monk looked surprised and said, 'I had put down the pretty lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?'

This very old Chinese Zen story reflects the thinking of many people today. We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and they make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt, sometimes they cause us to be bitter or jealous. But like the little monk, we are not willing to let them go away. We keep on carrying the baggage of the 'pretty lady' with us. We let them keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us bitter and cause us a lot of agony. Why? Simply because we are not willing to put down or let go of the baggage of the 'pretty lady'. We should let go of the pretty lady immediately after crossing the river that is after the unpleasant event is over. This will immediately remove all our agonies. There is no need to be further hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts Of The Day

1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.
4. You can’t please everyone. Don’t let criticism worry you.
5. Don’t let your neighbour set your standard. Be yourself.
6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
7. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.
8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
10.Don’t hold postmortems. Don’t spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don’t be one who never gets over things.
11.Do what you can for those less fortunate than you.
12.Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Many Apples are in One Apple Seed?

Clark and Mason were sitting in the break room talking about business strategies for their small company. Mason, ever the worrier, was expressing his frustrations over how "quick success" seemed to be eluding them. Mason said to Clark, "I can't see any evidence of our hard work. It seems like every thing that we have done has been to no avail."

Clark, a more seasoned businessperson, sat listening to his business partner, while peeling a big red apple. He understood Mason's frustration. Early in his business career, Clark had similar feelings and often gave up on his goals prematurely because he did not believe in himself. Fortunately, Clark gained understanding of the need for belief and patience.

Holding up the apple he was peeling, Clark said to Mason, "See this apple, Mason. When I cut it in half, we can count the number of seeds in it." Clark cut the apple in half and noted the number of seeds in the core of the apple. He held up one seed for Mason to see. "However," Clark continued, "we cannot count the number of apples in one seed." Mason looked at Clark as he momentarily struggled to understand how Clark's example related to his concerns.

Clark continued, "We cannot know how many “trees” will grow and bear fruit from our efforts thus far. Now is the time to assume that our seed will bear fruit, to see the orchard filled with trees loaded with apples, which have been fertilized with belief and confidence, and watered with enthusiasm. We must be careful not to allow the weeds of negativity and doubt strangle the new plants as they struggle to grow into fruit-bearing trees."

Often, it is very difficult for us to see beyond what is present, or absent, for a period of time after we have made a decision and taken action. The silence between the time that we launch our goal and when we begin to see the results of our efforts can be deafening. It is during this time that we may lose momentum and enthusiasm for our goals.

Also, our ability to see thousands of apples in one apple seed may separate the truly successful people from those who experience only a modicum of success.

“I will maintain a vision of what I want, need or desire, confident in my abilities to achieve success even when I cannot yet see the results of my effort”.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A carrot, an egg and a cup of coffee..

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first pt, she placed carrots, in the second pot, she placed eggs, and in the last pot, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see." Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity..boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Square Watermelon

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than their US counterparts and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is how I would assume the vast majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, "How can we provide one?" It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon.

The solution to the problem of round watermelons wasn't nearly as difficult to solve for those who didn't assume the problem was impossible to begin with and simply asked how it could be done. It turns out that all you need to do is place them into a square box when they are growing and the watermelon will take on the shape of the box.

This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the US meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.

What does this have do with anything besides square watermelons? There are a few lessons that can you can take away from this story which help you in all parts of your life. Here are a few of them:

Don't Assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things. This was one of the most difficult things for me to do because most of the assumptions I make, I don't even realize that I'm making them. They seem perfectly logical on the surface, so I have to constantly make an effort to question them.

Question habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you live your life. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them. I have changed a large number of habits that I have had after taking the time to question them and continue to do so. Some of them I have know idea where they came from while others I can trace to certain people or instances in my life. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.

Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your live will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them. I am not a creative person, but I've found that the more that you look at things from different perspectives, the more creative I have become. It's a learned art and builds upon itself.

Look for a better way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It's impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place. I try to ask if there is a better way of doing the things that I do and I constantly write down the things I wish I could do (but currently can't) since these are usually hints about steps I need to change. Get into the habit of asking yourself, "Is there a better way I could be doing this?" and you will find there often is.

Impossibilities often aren't : If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error. Many of the lessons above are what I used to create my online income. As I've said many times, it's not easy, but it's certainly not impossible. Even for those of us that are not A-List Bloggers, creating a full time online income is quite possible as I have shown.

Take away the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

Courtsey: Veda Srinivasan Suraj
Infosys Leadership Institute, Mysore

Monday, October 13, 2008

Emotional Well-Being..Basic Human Needs

If you are suffering from an emotional problem such as depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior or repetitive addictions, there is only one place you should start when looking for a solution. Your Basic Human Needs . . .

It seems obvious, but all too often, when it comes to psychology, common sense goes out the window, and the textbooks come off the bookshelf. Why not leave them there for just now, and ask yourself the following questions...
- If you had no petrol in your car, would you be wondering why it won't start?
- If your garden hadn't seen rain for 6 months, would you be racking your brains about why all the plants had died? Of course, not! But ask human beings to apply the same objective observation to their own lives and you are setting a much trickier task. Apparently, if you chuck a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will hop straight out again. But if you put him in cold water and slowly heat it up, he will sit there until well and truly poached. Problems due to missing 'basics' in peoples’ lives tend to develop over time, and so can be easily missed. Then, when the problem arises - be it anxiety, depression, addiction or some other nasty things - they can't for the life of them fathom out as to why! It's therefore a great idea to know what your own garden needs in order to grow well, so when you see something starting to wither, you can check your list and apply the necessary nutrients.

So here's the list. (The number may vary as per varying discernment and exposures)

1. The need to give and receive attention"
No Man Is An Island" - Without regular quality contact with other people, mental condition, emotional state and behavior can suffer quite drastically. This is often particularly obvious in elderly people who have become isolated. After days alone, their first contact may be their doctor, who sees them for 10 minutes. They are highly likely during this short period to appear 'strange' as their thwarted need for attention asserts itself in an outpouring of communication. If the doctor takes this as representative of the patient's general mental condition, they may prescribe drugs, where really a few hours of being listened to would suffice. You may also have noticed this in evening-class attendees who command the teacher's attention all the time, asking seemingly daft questions and not really listening to the answers!

2. Taking heed of the mind body connection
This is so important, and so often neglected. Without correct and regular nutrition, sleep and exercise, your psychological state can suffer considerably. It is often seen that young people, on leaving home and the structure that provides, succumb to one mental illness or another. Their mealtimes, sleep patterns and other regular habits become disrupted, with predictable consequences. It seems that people are increasingly treating themselves as machines!

3. The need for purpose, goals and meaning
"The devil will make work for idle hands to do." Perhaps the overriding element that sets human beings apart from other animals is the ability to identify, analyze and solve problems. This is what enabled us to develop to where we have. If this ability is under-used, the imagination can start to create problems of its own - perhaps in an attempt to give you something to do because it is not occupied doing anything else. Regardless, if a person is deprived of the outward focus and satisfaction created by achieving goals, mental illness is often close behind. The need for meaning is perhaps even more profound.

4. A sense of community and making a contribution
Tying in with the need for meaning, this basic need provides a context for a person. It gives them a reason for being, over and above their own personal needs, that has been shown to benefit the immune system, mental health and happiness. One obvious fulfiller of this need is religion, but can also be an idea shared with others, a club, charity or community work. In fact, anything that takes the focus off the self.

5. The need for challenge and creativity
Learning something new, expanding horizons, improving on existing skills all provide a sensation of progress and achievement. Without this, a person can feel worthless, or that there is no real reason for their being.

6. The need for intimacy
Tying in with the need for attention, it seems that people have a need to share their ideas, hopes and dreams with others close to them. For some, this can be as simple a talking to a loved pet, but for most of us, it requires that we have at least one individual with whom we can converse 'on the same level'.

7. The need to feel a sense of control
"All your eggs in one basket." The results of total loss of control over your surroundings, relationships or body are not hard to imagine, and have been well documented.From survivors of torture, to someone losing their job, those who are able to maintain a sense of control somewhere in their life fare the best. This is why having a variety of interests and activities is so important.

8. The need for a sense of status
It’s important to feel important. And we all know some people for whom this need is too important! However, if someone feels recognized for being a grandmother or parent or good son or daughter, this may be enough. Young people finding their feet can have improved self-esteem if they feel they have attained a position of trust and recognition.

9. The need for a sense of safety and security
We need to feel our environment is basically secure and reasonably predictable. Financial security, physical safety and health, and the fulfillment of other basic needs all contribute to the completion of this need. As with all of the following needs we can take it too far and become obsessive about it – you will see this sometimes if the need for creativity is not met.

Many Needs, One Life
It may seem that a life that meets all of these needs would be intolerably busy. But of course, one activity can meet many needs. Charity work for example, could be said to fulfill 1, 3, 4 and 5, and could contribute to 6 and 7. Walking with a friend as a pastime might go towards 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Generally, what this suggests, and what has been borne out by recent research, is that a more complex life is a healthier one. Then if one area of life fails or is taken away from you, your basic needs are maintained, at least in part, by those that survive.

So the message is...
If your progress through life has gone a bit awry for you or a friend, check if there is petrol in the car, and that the battery is charged before going to a mechanic to have the engine taken apart!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Riches, Mediocrity And Poverty Begin In The Mind

Good news or bad news? It depends on how you see things. You can be bitter after being cheated. Or you can choose to move on with your life....

Robert De Vincenzo, the great Argentine golfer, once won a tournament and, after receiving the check and smiling for the cameras, he went to the clubhouse and prepared to leave. Some time later, he walked alone to his car in the parking lot and was approached by a young woman.

She congratulated him on his victory and then told him that her child was seriously ill and near death. She did not know how she could pay the doctor’s bills and hospital expenses.

De Vincenzo was touched by her story, and he took out a pen and endorsed his winning check for payment to the woman. "Make some good days for the baby," he said as he pressed the check into her hand.

The next week he was having lunch in a country club when a Professional Golf Association official came to his table. "Some of the boys in the parking lot last week told me you met a young woman there after you won that tournament." De Vincenzo nodded. "Well," said the official, "I have news for you. She’s a phony. She has no sick baby. She’s not even married. She fleeced you, my friend."

"You mean there is no baby who is dying?" said De Vincenzo.

"That’s right," said the official.

"That’s the best good news I’ve heard all week." De Vincenzo said.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. When you consistently maintain a positive frame of mind, you'll become known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer. People avoid complainers. They seek out problem-solvers.

You can give in to the failure messages and be a bitter deadbeat of excuses. Or you can choose to be happy and positive and excited about life.

The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. Three letters that determine your life's direction.

Being positive or negative are habits of thoughts that have a very strong influence on life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

STOP Negative Thoughts

What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?"

Negative thinking can make all sorts of things incredibly difficult. It is like a leak in our confidence bucket - constantly drip-drip-dripping away our confidence and self esteem. However, once you begin thinking about what you're "thinking about", you've already taken the first step to controlling negative thoughts. Next time you catch yourself repeating the same negative thoughts over and over in your mind, use the STOP acronym:

1. S - Say the word STOP

Interrupt your internal destructive thoughts. Tell yourself firmly to "STOP" over thinking. Be strict, and don't let them intrude on your thoughts. It also might be helpful to visualize a box to place all your negative thoughts in, which you may open at a later date or time.

2. T - TAKE a break!

Take a deep breath. Then, take a break. Go for a walk or a hike, read a great book, listen to your favorite music. Do something to take your attention away from over thinking, and if possible, change the environment. Also try some relaxation exercises, they often focus on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

3. O - Focus on the OUTCOME!

Focus on the OUTCOME of your goals. Affirm why you are committed to your goals. The way we feel and what we experience in our body comes from what we focus our attention upon during a given moment. And at any moment, we are "deleting" most of what is going on around us. That is, to feel bad, we have to delete (not focus on, not think about) everything that's great in our life. And vice versa. For us to feel good, we have to delete the things we could feel bad about.

4. P - PRAISE yourself!

PRAISE and acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making. Remember, you're looking for progress, not perfection! Give yourself a reward every time you're successful with overcoming negative thoughts. And remember small changes make a big difference.

By recognizing that you do have negative thoughts you've taken the first step. Now, start playing Devil's Advocate and challenge yourself to find the positive. Turn your thoughts around and your moods will follow suit.

And remember, You Are What You Think!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When In Doubt, Risk It

A blind man had been waiting a while at a busy road for someone to offer to guide him across, when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

"Excuse me," said the taper, "I'm blind - would you mind guiding me across the road?"

The first blind man took the arm of the second blind man, and they both crossed the road.

Apparently this is a true story. The first blind man was the jazz pianist George Shearing. He commented on this incidence “What could I do? I took him across and it was the biggest thrill of my life."

There are times when we think we cannot do something and so do not stretch or take a risk. Being forced to stretch and take a risk can often help us to reduce our dependencies (on others, or our own personal safety mechanisms), and to discover new excitement and capabilities.

Action Plan-

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase - that's what wild geese are for.
Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Source Of The Problem

A man feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here's what you do," said the Doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and s o on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?"

No response.

So the husband moves to closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again he gets no response so, He walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

"James, for the FIFTH time I've said, CHICKEN!"

Moral of the story:

The problem may not be with the other one as we always think, it could be very much within us!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Needing Each Other

Have you had the desire to isolate yourself recently? As conflicts arise in the workplace and remain unresolved, we may become convinced that we could work better alone. At times, we may also become convinced that we do not need others in our lives. The following story demonstrates why the exact opposite is true.

A boy was extended an invitation to visit his uncle who was a lumberjack up in the Northwest... His uncle met him at the depot. As the two pursued their way to the lumber camp, the boy was impressed by the enormous size of the trees on every land. There was a gigantic tree, which he observed standing all alone on top of a small hill. The boy, full of awe, called out excitedly, "Uncle George, look at that big tree! It will make a lot of good lumber, won't it?"

Uncle George slowly shook his head, then replied, "No, son, that tree will not make a lot of good lumber. It might make a lot of lumber, but not a lot of good lumber. When a tree grows off by itself, too many branches grow on it. Those branches produce knots when the tree is cut into lumber. The best lumber comes when they grow together in groves. The trees also grow taller and straighter when they grow together." It is so with people. We become better individuals, more useful timber, when we grow together. (Author unknown)

It takes more than one tree to make a forest. When there is a storm, the surrounding trees share the punishing winds, rains, and snow, sometimes affording protection to the trees in the middle. Such is the case with the people with whom we work and live. Their presence can help us grow tall and strong as we grow personally and spiritually.

While there is beauty in the many branches that a solitary tree may spawn, the knotholes may weaken the fiber of the tree just as isolating ourselves from others may weaken us.

“I stand tall and strong, secure in the knowledge that the presence of other trees around me makes me even stronger.” - Mary Rau-Foster