Monday, April 30, 2007

i-TFTD #8

#8-1. Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.
-Cicely Tyson

#8-2. We are always getting ready to live, but never living.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

#8-3. Learn to use things and love people
Not love things and use people!

#8-4. Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
-Eric Hoffer

We know challenges, a.k.a. problems, are opportunities to stretch our capabilities and hopefully grow, but we somehow tend to avoid them. Difficult situations bring out the best in us, and even when we seemingly fail, we learn about our limitations. And this can prove very useful in future.

Emerson's quote reminds us to not overindulge in the eager learner mode of operation. We have to learn to enjoy this journey even as we anxiously equip ourselves for the future.

The third quote is easy enough to nod knowingly. Do we do it?

I have often wondered about being strong but nice or courteous but luckily for me I have met many accomplished people who do not overtly project their position or power or strength. And it makes them greater. Inner strength, true expertise, genuine capability shines through without any effort to advertise it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

i-TFTD #7: Don't Quit

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.


Don't quit when the tide is lowest,
For it's just about to turn;
Don't quit over doubts and questions,
For there's something you may learn.
Don't quit when the night is darkest,
For it's just a while 'til dawn;
Don't quit when you've run the farthest,
For the race is almost won.
Don't quit when the hill is steepest,
For your goal is almost nigh;
Don't quit, for you're not a failure

-Jill Wolf

I am sure you have faced this situation before: you are hesitant about trying something, you analyze, you consult, perhaps someone gives you a pep talk and finally when you actually start, you find it is easier and more enjoyable than you thought. The satisfaction on completing it is immense. Somehow we need to train ourselves to remember these experiences and therefore eagerly try out more and more difficult-looking tasks.

Monday, April 23, 2007

i-TFTD #6

#6-1. There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
-Attributed variously to Robert Stevenson and Edward Wallis Hoch

#6-2. The self is not something readymade, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.
-John Dewey

#6-3. Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.
-Elmer G. Letterman

#6-4. Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

-Abraham Lincoln

Our character, our true inner self, shines through in subtle ways. You might be shy, you might try to pretend to be something you are not, but I have found that accomplished people are able to see through this easily. Once we taste success we should cultivate humility so as to avoid passing easy judgement on others and focus instead on building our own character as seen in our actions.

Monday, April 9, 2007

i-TFTD #5

1. Temper takes you to trouble, Pride keeps you there.
-Swami Chinmayananda

2. Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right'. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

-Napoleon Hill

3. Imagine that you are funded by the Universe, because you are.
-Burt Goldman

Chinmayananda's aphorisms are pithy. Here he points out that sometimes we not only make a mistake but follow it up with a bigger mistake of not correcting. This is what I like to call "stuckness thinking" either due to ego or false pride. The solution is to pause, shake ourselves figuratively and move on.

Hill is an old proponent of positive thinking who wrote famous books such as Think And Grow Rich. The above statement is crisply brought out by the enduring tagline of Nike: Just Do It.

The third quote is a bit abstract but profound. Could be interpreted at multiple levels.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

i-TFTD #4

From J. Krishnamurthi's writings:
We only talk of freedom from something -- freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, freedom from this or that. Is there a freedom which is not from anything but freedom per se, in itself? Or is true freedom non-existence of thought?

From a blurb in an AIM matchbox:
A logical thinking mind is a nice contrast to the real world.

RG's Observation:
Learning can happen anywhere, any time, from any source.

I have found this about any of J Krishnamurthi's books: I can never read beyond two pages! Remember that I normally devour books even on the most abstract subjects at one go. It is not that his writing is boring or difficult to read. It just makes you think! And within the first few paragraphs, one's mind starts pondering over what he says. Very few people can get you so deep so quickly using simple words.

Whoever thought of putting interesting quotes on a 50 paise (about ten cents) match box? If you think logically about it, it is perfectly logical for the real world to offer a contrast to pure logic.

Anyone who doubts the possibility of learning from unexpected sources is advised to take a cab (regular taxi or a three-wheeler autorickshaw) in Bombay and chat up with the driver. From economics to philosophy to tips on savings and investment, you can gather brilliant nuggets. Probably true of most big cities like New York, London and Tokyo.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee?

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee?

A daughter complained to her mother about her life, the things that were hard on her and her desire to give it all up. 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 flame to boil. She added carrots to one, eggs in the second, and in the last she dropped in some ground coffee beans. She let them boil for about twenty minutes. She then fished the carrots and eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter she asked "Darling, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee." she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She noted they were soft. Then she broke an egg. The daughter observed the egg had been boiled well. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

She asked in a humble voice, "What does it mean mother?" Her mother explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but had reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But when dropped in the boiling water, it softened and became tender. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But when boiled for a while, its core hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. When added to the boiling water, they changed the nature of the water.

"Which one of these are you"? she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you react"?

How about you dear reader?

Are you the carrot that appears hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart? Were you a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a divorce, or a layoff have you hardened and become stiff? Your shell looks the same, but are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and heart?

Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean adapts to the changes wrought by the hot water. Even when the water is very hot, it improves the taste.

If you are like the bean then, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things around you, better.