Friday, January 23, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai

I would like to wish everyone "Happy Chinese New Year". May the Year of the Ox brings prosperity, good health, peace and happiness to everyone. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Three Bulls

A young man wished to marry the farmer's beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to ask his permission.

The farmer looked at him and said, "Son, go stand out in that field. I'm going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls, you can marry my daughter."

The young man stood in the field awaiting the first bull. The barn door opened and out came the biggest, meanest looking bull he had ever seen. He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a better choice than this one, so he ran over to the side and let the bull pass through.

The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He had never seen anything so big and fierce in his life. It stood pawing the ground, it eyed him. Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a better choice than this one he thought. He ran to the fence and let the bull pass through.

The door opened a third time. A smile came across his face. This was the weakest bull he had ever seen. This one was his bull, he said to himself. As the bull came running by, he positioned himself just right and jumped at just the exact moment. He threw his hands to grab.....But alas.... The bull had no tail.

Many a times we let a good thing or opportunity passed, thinking that something better will come along. We often regret that we had not taken the chances when we had the opportunity. So, be ready when opportunity comes and grab it, for you might have to wait your entire life for the next one to come along.

"Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along"- Hugh Allen

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, "This is your house... my gift to you."

What a shock!

What a shame!

If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Rose

There's a story about a woman who did not keep a tidy house. One day someone gave her a beautiful rose which she brought home and put in a vase in her parlor. The rose, though, showed up the vase which was tarnished and dusty, so she polished the vase and set the rose and vase on the table.

But now something was wrong with the table. It looked terrible. It had to be cleaned as well. At last the woman stood back and admired the sparkling table, the polished vase, and the beautiful rose.

But to her dismay, the whole parlor now seemed dull and murky. Before she knew it, she found herself scrubbing the walls, washing the curtains, and opening the windows to let light and air into every dark corner.

The moral of the story is if you make one small change in your life, light up one small corner, in no time your whole life can take on a different look. If you're dissatisfied with your life at this point, give some serious consideration to that one area you could change.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Bus Driver and the Wrestler

One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus,and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops-a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.

At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" and sat down at the back.

Did I mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was. Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't happy about it.

The next day the same thing happened-Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the one after that, and so forth. This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.

Finally he could stand it no longer. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff. By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what's more, he felt really good about himself.

So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, "Big John doesn't pay!," the driver stood up, glared back at the passenger,and screamed, "And why not?"

With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, "Big John has a bus pass."

Moral of the story -
"Be sure there is a problem in the first place before working hard to solve one."

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Two Pots

A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

''I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.''

''Why?'' asked the bearer. ''What are you ashamed of?''

''I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts,'' the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, 'Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw (uniqueness), and so had planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, we would not have had these beautiful flowers''

Each of us has our own unique flaws, and it is these flaws which make as so unique and special.

"So much of our lives is given over to the consideration of our imperfections that there is no time to improve our imaginary virtues. The truth is we only perfect our vices, and man is a worse creature when he dies than he was when he was born." - Edward Dahlberg

Friday, January 9, 2009

Three Little Words

There are many things that we can do to perk up and strengthen our interpersonal relationships. Yet the most effective involves the saying of just three words. When spoken or conveyed, these statements have the power to forge new friendships, deepen old ones and restore relationships that have cooled. The following three-word phrases can enrich every relationship and make a lot of difference in one's life.

I'll Be There
If you have ever had to call a friend in the middle of the night, to take a sick child to hospital, or when your car has broken down some miles from home, you will know how good it feels to hear the phrase "I'll be there." Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we are truly present for other people, important things happen to them and us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. Being there is at the very core of civility.

I Miss You
Perhaps more marriages could be saved and strengthened if couples simply and sincerely said to each other "I miss you." This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted, needed, desired and loved. Consider how ecstatic you would feel, if you received an unexpected phone call from your spouse in the middle of your workday, just to say "I miss you".

I Respect You
Respect is another way of showing love. Respect conveys the feeling that another person is a true equal. If you talk to your children as if they were adults you will strengthen the bond and become close friends. This applies to all inter-personal relationships.

Maybe You're Right
This phrase is highly effective in diffusing an argument and restoring frayed emotions. The flip side to "Maybe you're right" is the humility of admitting, "Maybe I'm wrong". Let's face it. When you have a heated argument with someone, all you do is cement the other person's point of view. They, or you, will not change their/your stance and you run the risk of seriously damaging the relationship between you. Saying "Maybe you're right" can open the door to further explore the subject, in which you may then have the opportunity to get your view across in a more rational manner.

Please Forgive Me
Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults, foibles and failures. A man should never be ashamed to own up that he has been in the wrong, which is saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.

I Thank You
Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good, close friends are those who don't take daily courtesies for granted. They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often do not have the attitude of gratitude.

Count On Me
A friend is one who walks in, when others walk out. Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship; it is the emotional glue that bonds people. Those that are rich in their relationships tend to be steady and true friends. When troubles come, a good friend is there indicating you can "count on me."

Let Me Help
The best of friends see a need and try to fill it. When they spot a hurt they do what they can to heal it. Without being asked, they pitch in and help.

I Understand You
People become closer and enjoy each other more if they feel the other person accepts and understands them. Letting your spouse know in so many little ways that you understand her/him, is one of the most powerful tools for healing your relationship. This applies to any relationship.

I Love You
Perhaps the most important three words that you can say. Telling someone that you truly love them satisfies a person's deepest emotional needs; the need to belong, to feel appreciated and to be wanted. Your family, your friends and you, all need to hear those three little words, "I love you".

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Three Men and A Temple

About a 1000 years ago, a sage was drawn to a construction site. He watched from the edge of a clearing in the forest as the workmen bent over their individual tasks. Finally his curiosity drove him to one workman at the edge of the site, whom he asked "What are you doing, my good man?"

The workman looked up briefly and went back to his work "I'm working" he said curtly. Not satisfied with the answer, the sage approached a second workman to ask him the same question.

"You can see I'm breaking stones" he replied.

The sage was made of stern stuff and he wasn't leaving without an answer, so he walked over to a third workman with the question.

"I'm building a temple" replied this workman smilingly.

The incident opened the sage's eyes, because all three of them were breaking boulders into smaller stones, but in their minds they were not doing the same jobs. The third workman was working for a cause much larger than himself and it showed in his approach to work.

You can just do a day's work, or build a career, a team, an organization, or a nation. Grow the small pictures that others see, so your big picture gets progressively even bigger. You can choose your perspective and your role in life. Be the one who builds the temple. Not the one who breaks the stones. Choose to see the larger picture or choose to see the smaller picture.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Look At The Other Side

A father was reading a magazine and his little daughter would every now and then distracted him. To keep her busy, he tore one page on which was printed the map of the world. He tore it into pieces and asked her to go to her room and put them together to make the map again.

He was sure she would take the whole day to get it done. But the little one came back within minutes with a perfect map... When he asked how she could do it so quickly, she said, “Oh... Dad, there is a man’s face on the other side of the paper... I made the face perfect to get the map right." she ran outside to play leaving the father surprised.

There is always the other side to whatever you experience in this world. This story indirectly teaches a lesson. That is, whenever we come across a challenge or a puzzling situation, look at the other side... You will be surprised to see an easy way to tackle the problem.