Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Beyond the Odds

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.”

“You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss

It wouldn’t be just the assistant of Edison alone felt defeated, but thousands of like minded innovators and entrepreneurs who would have had similar feelings during their line of work. While working out their dreams and designs, many a time the negativism felt would have to be replaced with practical optimism for things to succeed. What would have been the outcome if they were still stuck in the crypts of negativity ? While the obvious was that they may have lost out on their invention; the reality is that they may lost out on their dream.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Every experience has something to teach each one of us. Being human, one is bound to make mistakes, feel low during the time of repeated setbacks, open criticism and rejection. Coming out of those dumps is what makes the difference for each one of us. Life is all about growth and finding new shores. Find the realistic optimistic side of each failures or setback. Use them as stones to rebuild the dream and finally one would achieve it over the course of time.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections, Work

Improvise and Lighten

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.” Oscar Wilde

As the late summer rains hit the early evening skies, the drive back from work got longer than usual, with the roads being slippery and visibility strained. Consequently the “train of late” followed. Late dinner, the bedtime of children delayed, house still in a mess and chores left undone. It takes all of one’s mental will to not scream but handle the situation to the best of their capacity. The entire mood can be made dark for not just one person but rest of the related people (here the family) when things go berserk. The anger of one person can be transferred to the rest, creating a negative ripple effect and impact the peace and happiness of the rest along the way. Or one can chose to make the best of the situation. Instead of putting the blame on anyone, it would be a thousand times better to find humour in the fiasco, ending the day on a better note and lighter mood.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese

Unknowingly (more than knowingly) one is making moments and memories by every minute. While at times, we may have the “good times” , others may be the “bad times”. Yet it is how one handles them that makes the difference year-round. Each negative thought or action that one has or does, influences the feelings, memory and actions of those around one especially children; if not immediately, then later over a period of time. When one masters the art of dealing the situation at hand, in a light or positive mood; then the emotions and memories transferred to the others would be positive, uplifting and an enriching experience for both the doer and the rest around them. All of us have it in us, to make the best of ourselves. Though it’s alright to rave and rant at the moment, buckle up and start doing their own best to make the situation better. Doing so, will not enrich our own treasure chest of memories but make memorable ones for later and for others.

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” Tony Robbins

A glorious recipe for the soul
Fold two hands together,
And express a dash of sorrow;
Marinate it overnight,
And work on it tomorrow.

Chop one grudge in tiny pieces
Add several cups of love,
Dredge with a large-sized smile,
Mix in ingredients from above.

Dissolve the hate within you,
By doing a good deed;
Cut in and help your friend,
If he or she should be in need.

Stir in laughter, love and thankfulness,
From the heart it has to come;
Toss with genuine kindness, then
share with folks who may need some.

The amount of people served,
Will all depend on you …
This recipe can feed an entire world,
If you really want it to!

Author Unknown

 

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World, Work

Share the Light

“We only have what we give.” Isabel Allende

During the floods that had hit my hometown a year ago, it was a difficult time. Some from the community had lost a sizable amount of crop, livestock and trade; others had their homes uprooted and some escaped by an inch. The aftermath saw everyone pitching in, with funds pouring in from different corners around the globe. No one was left alone to pick up the pieces and rebuild again. Everyone, from the community, volunteers and outsiders had pitched in to restore the neighbourhood.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” John Holmes

Connectedness is an essential part of our lives. Unless one learns to help those around him, self improvement wouldn’t be within their own reach. For a person to grow, the environment around him has to be whole. Take a child’s life for instance. His world is complete when he receives the love, care and joy. Then the happiness is spread around him, lighting up the lives around him. Yet when the little one is troubled by any tiny aspect, the whole mood shifts. How different will it be for the adult ?

For one person to prosper, he must be at peace with those around him. The welfare of one person depends not on him alone, but when he learns to help others. Life of one has and will always be measured not by material gains alone; but by the numerous lives it touches with positive vibes. Each one has a pair of hands, to help and be helped. Harmony rests not with self alone, but also with the world around one.

“In teaching others we teach ourselves.” Traditional proverb

Growing Good Corn
There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned 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 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.’
Source:James Bender (Author of How to Talk Well, published in 1994 by McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc.)

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Close the Lid

“No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.” Proverb

During the recent cleaning spree of the attic, I had chanced across the old job applications, which I had filed away for prospective future use. Leafing through them bought back memories of the initial struggle, the difficult hours, poor pay and the constant mental strain of the uncertainty of employment. However today, all these feelings don’t sting anymore. May be it’s because I have accepted that life does throw it’s disappointments at us, once in a while. Or may be it is because I had decided to make the best of the situation and closed the lid on the previous failures, after learning what they had to teach.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Seneca

All of us, have come across the feelings of regret, either personal, professional, physical or social. Yet the difference lies in how we react to them, learn form them or move on. The choice is ours to decide and act on. When one tends to foster the bad feelings and breed them, it isn’t the present that only takes a setback but the future too. Doing so would never help us to grow in life or reach the full potential. Let the past failures stay there. Instead carry forward the learning from those experiences and shape the future akin to the dream within.

“Starting over is an acceptance of a past we can’t change, an unrelenting conviction that the future can be different, and the stubborn wisdom to use the past to make the future what the past was not.” Craig D. Lounsbrough

Yesterday’s Door
I have shut the door on yesterday,
Its sorrows and mistakes.
I have locked within its gloomy walls
Past failures and mistakes.

And now I throw the key away,
And seek another room.
And furnish it with hope and smiles,
And every spring-time bloom.

No thought shall enter this abode
That has a taint of pain.
And envy, malice, and distrust
Shall never entrance gain.

I have shut the door on yesterday
And thrown the key away.
Tomorrow holds no fear for me,
Since I have found today.

Author Unknown

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” Oprah Winfrey

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Across the Road

“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea

While visiting the extended family as a part of the routine monthly road trip; travel sickness, traffic gridlocks and bad roads are major issues often encountered. Although one comes out of them to reach the farmstead, time is often lost. Consequently after two long journeys courtesy of road congestion, we had decided to leave a little early, around the wee morning hours. Although it was difficult packing up the family including toddler, pets and all for a two day stay; the task was accomplished with joint effort of both the adults. While the first journey was successful, the second was bad due to the unprecedented rains and really bad worn out roads. Consequently the route was adjusted to include the state highways. Though extra distance was covered, the journey was not hampered by bad roads or excessively heavy traffic. Change from the familiar and adaptability to the situation paved way for the smooth travel.

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” Georg C. Lichtenberg

There may be similar instances in our lives, wherein one has to take a different route to reach the final target. Even though the final target is an appreciated goal, deflecting from the routine, known or approved approach encounters a lot of courage and foresight to go ahead, in the face of open opposition and criticism. A lot of security is often laid at doing something in the known way. While the “known” helps one many a time, at times it is necessary to try a different technique to achieve the purpose.

“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” Bill Clinton

Through history and time, to try again and not give up has been the requisite for achievement of any goal, dream or target. Yet constantly trying to find a way out through the tiny spaces of the bricks doesn’t help us cross the path, unless one remodels the bricks to a more suitable form. Simply putting in extra hours isn’t the sole method to achieve more. Instead finding an alternative method, correct, true and just with adequate effort, perseverance and determination combined with intelligence and smart honest work helps us reach the dream. When the stakes are solely set on “harder than ever” instead of “trying better, different and with thought”; the former may kill the chance of a breakthrough.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

I’m sitting in a quiet room at the Millcroft Inn, a peaceful little place hidden back among the pine trees about an hour out of Toronto. It’s just past noon, late July, and I’m listening to the desperate sounds of a life-or-death struggle going on a few feet away. There is a small fly burning out the last of its short life’s energy in a futile attempt to fly through the glass of the windowpane. The whining wings tell the poignant story of the fly’s strategy – try harder. But it’s not working. The frenzied effort offers no hope for survival. Ironically, the struggle is part of the trap. It is impossible for the fly to try hard enough to succeed at breaking the glass. Nevertheless, this little insect has staked its life on reaching its goal through raw effort and determination. This fly is doomed. It will die there on the windowsill.
Across the room, ten steps away, the door is open. Ten seconds of flying time and this small creature could reach the outside world it seeks. With only a fraction of the effort now being wasted, it could be free of this self-imposed trap. The breakthrough possibility is there. It would be so easy.
Why doesn’t the fly try another approach, something dramatically different? How did it get so locked in on the idea that this particular route, and determined effort, offers the promise of success? What logic is there in continuing, until death, to seek a breakthrough with ‘more of the same’? No doubt this approach makes sense to the fly. Regrettably, it’s an idea that will kill.
Author: Price Pritchett

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Henry Ford

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Let Go and Fly

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” Lao Tzu

With the turn of the weather, rains settling down a little bit and the wind picking up speed; evenings are meant for long walks. Quite often one may spot the chirping of birds as they settle for the night or the distant view of the migratory birds as they gather speed for their next lap of their journey. Before settling for the night the local birds have to find a spot to sleep in; which should be well away from the rain, wind and safe. For this, they can be found flitting from one branch to another, finding high ground perches away from the two and four legged beings who may not just disrupt their sleep but harm them. To find a new place, they need to let go of their old perch. As morning hours come, these birds wake up the world from a different perch. Unless a little bird has the courage to leave the nest, neither it won’t be able to fly, explore the different branches nor see new sights from there.

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” C. JoyBell C.

Like the birds that find different perches depending on their situation, one needs to find the similar courage and foresight in life to let go of the emotional branches of life that one tends to cling to. From innate beliefs, vices, negative emotions, regrets, bad memories and the like are the slippery branches where one tends to fall from. Clinging to them can prove to be unsafe and dangerous in the long run. Add to it, the feel of privileges, possessions and false safety make us stick on to that one branch, which may be well high for some time but later has been slowly breaking down and gathering rot.

“It’s hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past. I’ve learned to let go and move more quickly into the next place.” Angelina Jolie

Knowing that the branches one clings to, stops them from fling high helps to change their respective positions and find new ground. In life, there will be times when one needs to fly, stay on safe ground or just watch the situation without a reaction. Like the birds, knowing to do what when and where, requires one to use their memories (not just cling on to them) and adapt to the situation by the right time and at the right moment.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” Steve Maraboli

To experience life and their various branches, use the time to let go of the clinging perch and find the courage to fly, to higher levels. While learning to experience the new vantage points, diving headlong into trouble or danger isn’t on the list. Let go but don’t be blind. As in every experience, be the like the bird, exploring new views but keeping their eyes open, exploring their surroundings with foresight, curiosity and care. Find the strength and soar high.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” Ann Landers

No one can drive a car with different pressures in the tyres or cover long distances with less fuel. Unless one stops to change the tyre, fill the tank; one can’t go ahead. Likewise no bird flies high looking behind. It moves forward looking below, above and straight ahead as it covers different angles through its flight. Instead of looking back, use the past experiences to fly, experience the present and shape the future.

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Of too Bad or Too Good

It was a beautiful morning and as a large family we were heading out for a weekend getaway few towns away. What was supposed to be a three hour journey became a five hour one; not primarily due to the frequent stops for breakfast or drive breaks but as a courtesy of flat tire, a broken jack and water logged areas on the way. Although the delay was significant, the dark clouds of anger were kept at bay and heavy dose of optimism were sprinkled by both sets of grandparents. Finally on reaching the cabin, contemplating on the events of the morning; endless blame could have been laid on the spouses or nature, unfortunate timing and other equivalent terminology of “bad luck”. Instead problems were tackled as they came along and the mood of the day remained lighthearted.

“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” Voltaire

Looking back on the day-to-day life, there will be countless situations wherein one may encounter negative emotions and minor setbacks, either in the daily routine or when starting off something new. At times, one tends to over-analyze each and every deemed “ill luck” instead of going ahead and taking life as it approaches. Giving unnecessary importance to the emotions of that moment, instead of reacting to them with practicality tends to turn the best moments and right opportunities to missed ones.

“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.” Ralph Marston

Although everything in life that happens has a purpose or meaning; getting trapped by the emotions of event results in far more negative effects than positive ones. Instead as Tao had said, one defines good or bad in relation to how one approaches it. All the unfortunate events have a silver lining, once we remove the black cover covering it. Instead of listening perpetually to the voices around oneself, use the inner voice and optimism to tackle each “unfortunate and lucky” moments that life has in store for each one of us. Each one of us have the sole responsibility of deciding whether to let the ill luck run its course in free fall or face the bad as they come and use it to tackle tomorrow and make the latter better than the yesterday.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl

One day while working out in the fields the farmer’s son fell and broke his leg. The villagers came to the farm and said, ‘My, that’s a great misfortune. Your son has broken his leg: now he can’t help you in the fields.’ The farmer said, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’
A day later, the government troops came to the village looking for young men to conscript into the army. They had to leave the boy behind because his leg was broken. Again, the villagers came to the farm and said, ‘My, that’s a great fortune.’ The farmer replied, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’
Then one day the farmer’s only horse jumped the fence and ran away. The villagers came to the farm and said, ‘What a great misfortune that your horse has run away.’ The farmer said, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’ Two or three days later, the horse came back with a dozen wild horses following behind him. The villagers came to him and said, ‘It’s a great fortune that your horse came back with twelve others.’
The farmer replied, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’
As the teaching of the Tao goes, “nothing is long or short, hot or cold, good or bad.”
– Lesson from The TAO TE CHING written by Lao Tzu

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” Chuck Palahniuk