Monday, December 24, 2007

i-TFTD #77

i-TFTD #77

#77-1. There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind has achieved the second.

-Logan Pearsall Smith

#77-2. The Creator has not given you a longing to do that which you have no ability to do.
-Orison Swett Marden

#77-3. If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions.

-Chinese Proverb

The last one requires us to take responsibility for what we are. Whatever condition we are in, is the result of all the choices we have made. It also reminds us that all our choices, actions, words today are what will create the state of our future.

The second inspires us to believe that no dream is given to us without the power to realize it (I think Richard Bach has said this eloquently).

The first quote is an observation that we are constantly revising our list of wants and rarely dwelling on the moment. Think. And enjoy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

i-TFTD #76: Fantastic Reminder on Attitude vs Skills

i-TFTD #76: Fantastic Reminder on Attitude vs Skills

Staying Positive In A Negative World
by Tracy Brinkmann

Harvard and Stanford Universities have reported that 85% the reason a person gets a job and gets ahead in that job is due to attitude; and only 15% is because of technical or specific skills.

Interesting, isn't it? You spent how much money on your education? And you spent how much money on building your positive attitude? Ouch. That hurts.

Now here's an interesting thought. With the "right" attitude, you can and will develop the necessary skills. So where's your emphasis? Skill building? Attitude building? Unfortunately, "Neither" is the real answer for many people.

Perhaps if more people knew how simple it is to develop and maintain a positive attitude they would invest more time doing so. So here we go. Five steps to staying positive in a negative world:

1. Understand that failure is an event, it is not a person. Yesterday ended last night; today is a brand new day, and it's yours. You were born to win, but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare to win, and then you can expect to win.

2. Become a lifetime student. Learn just one new word every day and in five years you will be able to talk with just about anybody about anything. When your vocabulary improves, your I.Q. goes up 100% of the time, according to Georgetown Medical School.

3. Read something informational or inspirational every day. Reading for 20 minutes at just 240 words per minute will enable you to read 20 200-page books each year. That's 18 more than the average person reads! What an enormous competitive advantage... if you'll just read for 20 minutes a day.

4. Enroll in the "Transit University". The University of Southern California reveals that you can acquire the equivalent of two years of a college education in three years just by listening to motivational and educational cassettes on the way to your job and again on the way home. What could be easier?

5. Start the day and end the day with positive input into your mind. Inspirational messages cause the brain to flood with dopamine and norepinephrine, the energizing neurotransmitters; with endorphins, the endurance neurotransmitters; and with serotonin, the feel-good-about-yourself neurotransmitter. Begin and end the day by reading or doing something positive!

Remember: Success is a process, not an event. Invest the time in your attitude and it will pay off in your skills as well as your career.

All readers of this blog are quite aware of the benefits of positive thinking hence the title that this is a reminder. I have read many articles on this theme but this seemed very specific and hard-hitting. Read, practise, enjoy and share.

Monday, December 17, 2007

i-TFTD #75: Hospital Scenery

Hospital Scenery

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed the model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band -- he could see it in this mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.

One could correlate this to i-TFTD #30: Bless You My Friends as the next step of action arising out of an "attitude of gratitude".

Friday, December 14, 2007

i-TFTD #74: Moment Management

i-TFTD #74: Moment Management

Moment Management
Can you plan for the critical moments in your life the "breakthrough idea" or the incredible life-long memory? You can if you learn to manage your "moments" as well as your time.

by Dan Strutzel

The modern philosopher and historian Richard Sennett has written about the necessity for human beings to create "narratives" out of their lives. In other words, in order to give meaning to our existence, we must feel that the culmination of our days on earth string together seemingly chaotic events to form a story a very personal story that only we can tell. A story that is complex, yet genuine. But, most of all, a story with structure with a clear plot, filled with layers of meaning that, like a great classic novel, reveal new and hidden meanings with every reading. I’m one of those people who absolutely loves to encourage family, friends, and even acquaintances to tell their stories. True to form, some tell a story of heroic adventure, others tell a tragedy, and still others, a "work in progress."

Yet, one of the patterns I notice, again and again, is the tendency for people to focus on several key "moments" as turning points in the plot of their lives. They tell of the child that finally made the baseball team after years of struggle to "fit in." They tell of the deal that they closed, or the deal that fell through. They tell of the moment that they first realized their partner moved from being a boyfriend or girlfriend, into that exceptional "true love" that comes only once in a lifetime. They tell of the day they heard they had cancer, the day that their first-born emerged from the womb, and the day they buried their mother right next to their father. They speak of relatively "simple" things like cuddling with the kids on the deck as they watch the stars, sipping hot cocoa with their spouse on the top of Pikes Peak, or the first time they walked into their new office after the "big promotion." Such moments are precious, and without them our stories would be incomplete. They form the essence of who we are and will continue to shape who we will become.

In our fast-paced world, there is probably no skill that receives more lip service than time management. Indeed, it is a critical skill to success, without which very few people achieve any substantial goal. Yet, too often, I fear that we have become so focused on the time-management essentials being efficient, opportunity costs, delegation, prioritization, day planners, and Palm Pilots that we end up managing the moments right out of our lives. This is the "nuanced" area of time management that few experts consider. We can plan an agenda for a brainstorming session and keep a close eye on the clock, but we can’t "plan" for a breakthrough idea. We can "budget in" an evening to take our child to a ball game, but we can’t "budget in" the moment in which our child will ask that question about life one that we have never even considered. We can clear out all the e-mails in our "in-box" and respond to them efficiently, but we must be careful not to clear out the e-mail with the huge business opportunity, sandwiched conveniently between two pieces of spam.

Time management tactics are needed for most of us to improve our effectiveness but this article points us to not forget to enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

i-TFTD #73: A Commitment to Laughter

i-TFTD #73: A Commitment to Laughter

A Commitment to Laughter
The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken seriously.
by Earl Nightingale

One of the enriching blessings of growing older all the time is that it has a way of improving one's sense of humor or at least it should. The person without a good sense of humor is a person to avoid as though he were a known carrier of the plague.

Horace Walpole once said, "I have never yet seen or heard anything serious that was not ridiculous." And Samuel Butler said, "The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken seriously." It has been said that seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. Oscar Wilde said, "It is a curious fact that the worst work is always done with the best intentions, and that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves very seriously."

We can be serious about situations. When a youngster is ill or hurt, or someone insults your spouse, you can get very serious about the situation in a hurry. But that's not taking ourselves seriously. That's different.

I have found it a good rule of thumb to be slightly suspicious of anyone who takes himself too seriously. There's usually something fishy there someplace. I think this is why we love children so much: Life is a game to them. They will do their best at whatever work is given them, but they never seem to lose their ebullient sense of humor; there is always a sparkle of humor in their eyes. When a child lacks this, he is usually in need of help.

Dictators are famous for their lack of humor. The mark of a cruel person is that he doesn't seem to be able to see anything funny in the world. And, a sense of humor was what was so great about Mark Twain. No matter how serious the subject, he could find the humor in it and bring it out. All the great comedians have this ability to see what's funny in the so-called serious situation. They can poke fun at themselves.

People who are emotionally healthy, with a sense of proportion, are cheerful people. They tend to look upon the bright side of things and see a lot of humor in their daily lives. They're not Pollyannas they know what's going on and that a lot of it's not at all funny but they don't permit the dark side of things to dominate their lives. To my mind, when a person lacks a sense of humor, there's something pretty seriously wrong with him.

There are times for all of us when all the laughter seems to be gone, but we should not permit these periods to last too long. When we've lost our sense of humor, there isn't very much left. We become ridiculous.

Of all the good advice messages I have been sharing, this is the only one I can claim to try practising... seriously.

Friday, December 7, 2007

i-TFTD #72

i-TFTD #72

#72-1. In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

-Eric Hoffer

#72-2. Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.

-A. Lou Vickery

#72-3. A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

I was struck by the distinction drawn between a learner and the learned. Taking the quotation literally one can say, "As soon as I feel I know I am doomed." The third one I saw in a board outside the Our Lady of Good Counsel church at Sion, Mumbai. It is a favourite because my observation is that too many are too serious all the time.