Thursday, October 30, 2008

i-TFTD #167

i-TFTD #167

#167-1. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

-Hugh Macleod

#167-2. Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren't. But you can't tell the difference when you have no real information. Fear can create even more imaginary obstacles than ignorance can. That's why the smallest step away from speculation and into reality can be an amazing relief.

-Barbara Sher

#167-3. Only in growth, reform and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh


The first one cautions us to beware of cynicism and mindless conformity ("sheep mentality"). Why are cynicism and conformity so popular - we all do it sometimes, isn't it? They give us a sense of security.

The third one gives the secret of achieving a sense of security -- dynamism.

The first two sentences of the second quote above are worth pondering. Try this thought experiment: How many of the obstacles (to success, happiness whatever) I perceive today could be imaginary?

Friday, October 24, 2008

i-TFTD #166: Festival of Lights Special

Wishing you and your near ones a happy festival season.

#166-1. There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or to be the mirror that reflects it.

-Edith Wharton

#166-2. A smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the head and the heating system of the heart.


#166-3. Evil is like a shadow - it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.

-Shakti Gawain

#166-4. I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.

-Og Mandino

#166-5. If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person

If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house

If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation

If there is order in the nation, there will be Peace in the World.

-Chinese Proverb


Teachers and authors are like mirrors who can help the light of wisdom illuminate places that it cannot otherwise reach.

Smiling makes you and those around you feel brighter. It can also cause shadows of unsolved problems disappear.

Periods of darkness have their own value, they make us act, they also increase our appreciation and gratitude when light is restored.

Inner peace of individuals is a pre-requisite for a peaceful external environment.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

i-TFTD #165: Sometimes Newspapers Have Good Stuff

i-TFTD #165: Sometimes Newspapers Have Good Stuff

Some interesting snippets from contemporary events.

#165-1. (The Chandrayaan-1 mission) will also be a precursor to India's manned mission to space And it's just the right thing for the younger generation — it will get them out of a certain mundaneness. If the youth needed something exciting, this is it.

-U R Rao, Former chairman, ISRO in The Economic Times 22-Oct-2008

(Full interview at

#165-2. Can it really be a coincidence that within weeks of the Large Hadron Collider being switched on for the first time a financial black hole has appeared in the universe?

-Barclay Price (Letter to the editor published in The Economist dated 16-Oct-2008)

#165-3. Some mortgage broker in Los Angeles gives subprime "liar loans" to people who have no credit ratings so they can buy homes in Southern California. Those flimsy mortgages get globalized through the global banking system and, when they go sour, they eventually prompt banks to stop lending, fearful that every other bank's assets are toxic, too. The credit crunch hits Iceland, which went on its own binge. Meanwhile, the police department of Northumbria, England, had invested some of its extra cash in Iceland, and, now that those accounts are frozen, it may have to reduce street patrols this weekend.

-Thomas Friedman in The New York Times 18-Oct-2008

(Full article at


I found it interesting that the space scientist has chosen to highlight the impact on youth in terms of excitement. Bright young people always look for getting out of mundaneness so the onus of guiding them to achieve that clearly falls on the experienced folk who either succeeded or failed in achieving that in their youth.

Funny remarks apart, there are no easy answers to the dilemma of letting scientific research venturing into risky territory (such as cloning) and peoples fear about damaging consequences. Even if laws do not permit certain experiments, what prevents a rogue scientist to pursue a purely scientific, morals-free action?

Tom Friedman has a way of describing trends that helps make sense of disparate items of news. His article starts with, Who knew that Iceland was just a hedge fund with glaciers? And goes on to say, We’re all connected and nobody is in charge. The award-winning journalist and author has written a few bestseller books. I enjoyed From Beirut to Lebanon and The World is Flat though some might find his American-style, breathless bombardment irritating.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

i-TFTD #164

#164-1. Blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make yours burn any brighter.



#164-2. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.


#164-3. All of us have desires

Some small and some tall

We may not have it all together but

Together we can have it all




Too many people miss opportunities to improve their situation doing things that they can, wasting time instead in spoiling others’ prospects. Lighting someone else’s candle actually makes ours burn brighter.


At least once every decade we see examples of highly educated and economically well-placed people forgetting basic human values in their quest for more money, fame or power.


The antidote to this cannot come from regulation. It has to originate from moral and spiritual sources. That calls for a more inclusive, holistic perspective.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

i-TFTD #163: The Cure for Procrastination

i-TFTD #163: The Cure for Procrastination

The Cure for Procrastination

by Earl Nightingale

Have you ever noticed that the longer you look at something you should be doing, the more difficult it seems to appear? That the longer you put off something you should do, the more difficult it is to get started?

A good deal of frustration and unhappiness could be avoided if people would just do what they know they should do.

The great newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane once wrote, "Don't exaggerate your own importance, your own size, or your own miseries. You are an ant in a human anthill. Be a working ant not a ridiculous insect pitying yourself." Strong language, maybe, but there's a lot of sense in it.

Sometimes it must seem to everyone that things have piled up so high that there's just no way of digging out. But there is. Pick the thing that's most important to do, and simply begin doing it. Just by digging in, you'll feel better, and you'll find that it's not nearly as bad as you thought it would be. Keep at it, and before long, that pile of things to do that seemed so overwhelming is behind you finished.

What overwhelms us is not the work itself. It's thinking how hard it's going to be. It's seeing it get larger every day. It's putting if off and hoping that somehow, through some miracle, it will disappear.

The Chinese have a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. And that step accomplishes two things. First, it automatically shortens the distance we still have to travel, and, second, and just as important, it makes us feel better, more hopeful it strengthens our faith.

If you'll think back, you'll remember that you've always been happiest, most contented, after having finished a difficult project or faced up to a responsibility you were worried about. It's never as bad as you think it's going to be, and the joy that will come with its accomplishment makes it more than worthwhile.

Work never killed anyone. It's worry that does the damage. And the worry would disappear if we'd just settle down and do the work.


I have not met anyone who claims to have never procrastinated. It could be something on the personal front, too busily engaged in work. The antidote is simple and known to us intuitively but we need periodic reminders such as the one above. Here's my resolution for today: I will finish one item from my list of long-pending To Dos before the end of this week. Not too ambitious but a start.

Monday, October 6, 2008

i-TFTD #162

i-TFTD #162

#162-1. When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.

-Napoleon Hill

#162-2. Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

-Helen Keller

#162-3. When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat.

-Henry Miller


When we work to achieve worthy purposes, that is, aims that our conscience clearly tells us are in line with fundamental values (or universal principles or laws as Stephen Covey and Deepak Chopra like to call them), then we are able to discover hidden strengths within ourselves.

At such times friends may support us but we are completely independent of that. We would proceed even if friends oppose us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

i-TFTD #161: Mountains of Inspiration

i-TFTD #161: Mountains of Inspiration

This bonus edition of i-TFTD is inspired by my two-week vacation a couple of years ago, amongst the snow-clad mountains of Himachal Pradesh in North India:

#161-1. It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

-Edmund Hillary

(Another variation is:)


#161-2. You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself.

-James Whittaker

#161-3. Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.


#161-4. In a flat country a hillock thinks itself a mountain.

-Turkish Proverb

#161-5. You cannot see the mountain near.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

#161-6. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?

-Kahlil Gibran


All these have little to do with mountains and everything to do with ourselves, our perspectives.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

i-TFTD #160

#160-1. Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.
-Glenda Cloud

#160-2. Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don't have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.
-Amelia Earhart (first woman to fly across the Atlantic)

#160-3. Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
-Malcolm Forbes

This could be correlated with i-TFTD #129: Purposeful Growth. For intentional growth we should busy ourselves working on our future state with respect to our current state, without wasting time comparing with others whose current state could be different from ours.

Also, the study of successful persons in any field shows that they made the best of the cards life dealt them with, without moaning about what cards were missing. This could be correlated with the Strengths Approach we talked about in i-TFTD #79: 3 Tips to Be a Prime Mover, i-TFTD #99: Listen to the Whisper, i-TFTD #115: Only One Move, i-TFTD #20: Motivation + Talent = Strength and i-TFTD #10: Abolish SWOT Analysis.