Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Altering the Echoes

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin

Working in an organization, one never realizes how much their actions and behaviour speaks out louder than the words they say. The former influence the opinion of others around oneself more than the latter. From a purely retrospective philosophical point, the behavior met to oneself is in parts an echo of how one behaves towards others. Although kindness should be echoed in thought, behaviour and actions at all times; one goes the extra mile to be kind to those who make them feel the same.

“All the people sent to us are our reflection. And they are sent so that we, looking at these people, correct our mistakes, and when we correct them, these people either change too or leave our lives.” Boris Pasternak

While the tendency to put the fault on the other side of the fence is high especially when pertaining to wrong behaviour; the “why it happened” part may have something to do with what was done by the receiver of the deed some time before. True that people make mistakes and change over; but the consequence of the previous actions still leave an after effect felt sooner or later. To man up and face them, reflects the “new and real character of the person involved”. As one learns to correct themselves from the situations that mirror their own faults; learning to forgive, forget and accept the echoes returned helps one move forward on in life, making new memories and leaving clear and better footprints behind.

“Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you.” Zig Ziglar

There is a story about a father and his young son who were walking through the mountains. Suddenly, the son fell, hurting his leg on a rock. He screamed, ‘AAhhhh!’ To his surprise, he heard a voice repeating, ‘AAhhhh!’ This made him even more curious. So, he yelled, ‘Who are you?’ Back came the same answer, ‘Who are you?’Feeling a bit perturbed by this response, he yelled out, ‘Coward!’ Back came the same reply, ‘Coward!’

He looked at his father and asked: ‘What’s going on?’ His father smiled and said: ‘Son, pay attention.’Looking across the valley, his father yelled to the mountain, ‘I admire you!’ The voice answered: ‘I admire you!’ Again the man cried out: ‘You are a champion!’ The voice replied, ‘You are a champion!’ The boy was amazed, but he was very confused. So, his father explained…

‘You are only hearing an echo, the sound of our voices bouncing back from the mountains. However, this really is how life works. It returns to you what you think, say and do! Our lives are a reflection of our thoughts and actions. If you want more love in your world, create more love in your heart. If you want to be treated with kindness, treat others with kindness. If you want more competence on your team, become more competent.
This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give to you, everything you give to it, only it will give you even more in return. Your life is not ever a coincidence. Each moment is a reflection of you!’ The son listened and grew in understanding, and through the following years, he witnessed the truth of these words in his life!
Author Unknown (


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

Of Own Niche

“Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.” Jaachynma N.E. Agu

Leafing through the high school year book and the annual school magazine, recollections of the younger days resurface to mind. From photographs with class teachers, medal winners of sports, academic and cultural snaps to the articles written by juniors, seniors and classmates bring out the nostalgia. Those days the aspirations were to be successful in life, have fun and do what we love to do.

“What we love to do in life”

Many a time, the daily grind forces us to be something that one doesn’t want to be, especially career wise. Whether it be an artist trapped in accounting, a writer trapped in the office network, a musician taking salesman post for a living; all these are required when one needs to earn their bread and butter. However, the gifted talents should never be wasted. Yet pursuing something that is completely out of one’s league is alarmingly dangerous not only to them, but to other colleagues. While attaining a basic education and graduation is important; let it not drive one to kill their own originality and become something that one never was. Each one is gifted with a special talent. While it may necessary to engage in the working network to earn the daily living; let those God-given talents never be wasted but worked on, no matter how small the progress be and let one’s work shine and speak for themselves.

“Every man has a specific skill, whether it is discovered or not, that more readily and naturally comes to him than it would to another, and his own should be sought and polished. He excels best in his niche – originality loses its authenticity in one’s efforts to obtain originality.” Criss Jami

Call him Johnnie Martin, a young Canadian boy. He was the son of a carpenter, and his mother worked as a housekeeper. They lived frugal lives, saving their money for the day when they could send their son to college. Johnnie had reached the second year in high school when the blow fell. A psychologist attached to the school called the young man, just reached sixteen, into his private office and this is what he said. ‘Johnnie, I’ve been studying your marks and I’ve gone over your various tests in motor and sensory impressions – your physical examination. I’ve made a very careful study of you and your achievements.’ ‘I’ve been trying hard,’ put in Johnnie. ‘That’s just the trouble.’ said the psychologist. ‘You have worked very hard indeed – but it has not helped. You just don’t seem able to get ahead in your studies. You’re just not cut out for it, and for you to remain in high school would, in my opinion, be a waste of time.’ The boy buried his face in his hands. ‘This will be hard on my mother and father,’ he said. ‘Their one idea is for me to be a college man.’ The psychologist laid his hand on the boy’s shoulder. ‘People have different kinds of talents, Johnnie,’ he said. ‘There are painters who were never able to learn the multiplication table, and engineers who can’t sing on key. But every one of us has something special – and you are no exception. Some day you will find what your special gift is and when you do, you will make your parents very proud of you.’ Johnnie never went back to school. Jobs were scarce in town, but he managed to keep busy mowing the lawns of the householders and puttering in their flower-beds. And then a curious thing happened. Before long his customers began to notice that Johnnie had what they called a ‘green thumb’. The plants he tended grew and blossomed, and the rose trees blossomed. He fell into the habit of making suggestions for re-arranging the tiny front-yard landscapes. He had an eye for colour and could make surprising combinations that pleased the eye.

One day while he was down town he happened to notice a stretch of unused land behind the city hall. Chance or fate or whatever you may like to call it brought one of the town’s alderman round the corner just at that moment. Impetuously the boy said, ‘I can make a garden out of this dump, if you’ll let me.’ ‘The town’s got no money for frills,’ said the alderman. ‘I don’t want any money for it,’ said the boy – ‘I just want to do it.’
The alderman, being a politician, was astounded to find anyone who did not want money, under any and all circumstances. He took Johnnie into an office, and when the young man came out he had the authority to clean up the public eyesore. That very afternoon he borrowed extra tools and seeds and soil. Someone gave him a few young trees to plant. When others heard of it they offered rose-bushes and even a hedge. Then the town’s leading manufacturer heard of it, and volunteered to supply some benches. Before long the dreary old dump had become a little park. There were grassy lawns and little curving walks and restful seats and little house for birds. All the towns people were talking about what a lovely improvement the young man had made. But it was also a kind of show window for Johnnie. People saw the result of his skill and knew him for a natural landscape gardener.

That was twenty five years ago. Today Johnnie is the head of a prosperous business in landscape gardening. His customers extend into neighbouring provinces. Johnnie still cannot speak French or translate Latin, trigonometry is unknown to him. But colour and light and lovely prospects are his bread and butter. His aging parents are proud of Johnnie, for he is not only a success – a man of affairs and a member of the best clubs in town – he has also made his part of the world a lovelier place to live in. Where ever he and his men go, they spread beauty before the eyes of people.
Source – Modern Parables by Fulton Oursler. First published in 1951

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

From Sand to Pearl

“Nobody is exempt from the trials of life, but everyone can always find something positive in everything even in the worst of times.” Roy T. Bennett

Imagine waking up on the busy week days with no electricity in the house. From breakfast to lunch to be made ready and ironing not possible; the day starts off with a feeling of incompleteness marked by irritation. While commuting, the long unexpected long traffic jams increases the probability of being late for the kid’s school as well as office, driving the sense of irritation stronger and higher. Other instances like waiting for the teller in the long queue, till the point when it is one’s turn, midday break is due; or when during major retail and wholesale shopping queues are merged when cash counter machines default; or when one is stuck in the elevator, getting late for a meeting and a power outage happens. There are many more instances that can fill a page, wherein one is forced to bitten by the irritation bug and is helpless to do anything about it.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?” Rumi

What one fails to realize many a time, is that although the situation may be beyond our control, the reaction to it is in our hands. Being human, the feel of irritation will happen; yet how to face it, use it, temper it down and master the situation to one’s benefit will go a long way in changing the entire scenario, either in the short or the long run. Like the fire that brightens the silver and gold; one can get better of the common day hindrances. Those situations that may initially seem like a blight on the day, can be worked out and later be used to refine oneself to become a better human.

“I’ve found that worry and irritation vanish into thin air the moment I open my mind to the many blessings i possess.” Dale Carnegie

The Oyster
There once was an oyster whose story I tell,
who found that some sand had got into his shell.

It was only a grain, but it gave him great pain,
for oysters have feelings although they’re so plain.

Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate
that brought him to such a deplorable state?

Did he curse at the government, cry for election,
and claim that the sea should have given him protection?

No – he said to himself as he lay on a shell,
since I cannot remove it I shall try to improve it.

Now the years have rolled around, as the years always do.
and he came to his ultimate destiny, a stew.

And the small grain of sand that had bothered him so,
was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow.

Now the tale has a moral, for isn’t it grand,
what an oyster can do with a morsel of sand?

What couldn’t we do if we’d only begin,
with some of the things that get under our skin?

Author Unknown

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Deep Within

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” Chinese Proverb

While stepping into primary school, the enjoyment of the preschooler or kinder-gardener child is at times, marred by the sudden fear of how will school be, will their pre-school friends be there and above all, will one survive. Similar emotions resurface on entering middle school and high school. During each step, there is a constant surge of excitement on attaining the next level, albeit marked by the shadows of fear. During the later high school years, choices, decisions and plans have to be made, on how one wants to shape out their individual lives. From then on, the daily grind involves a battle of fears and uncertainties in own potential as well as the world around one.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” Francis of Assisi

While attending the graduation of children of family friends, the emotions across many “graduated faces” all echoed the above sentiments. Looking back on own struggles, difference and growth in life largely involves believing in oneself. During the struggle for the better, emotions range from determination, intermittent fear and insecurity as well as hopes continuously flit in and out. The degree of how much one gives in to the “negative emotions” than the positive ones, all changes the outlook, the effort and ultimately the outcome.

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Oprah Winfrey

Each individual has the potential to be better than the other at something or the other. Talents are unique in manner, form, presentation and outcome. While others may view facets of these; the entire picture is viewed by the individual alone. That alone makes the big difference for it settles the restlessness in one’s mind, body and soul. The journey in life moves forward by keeping all the senses in motion. For happiness, peace and contentment to touch one’s life, learning to conquer their inner world made of fears, temporary obstacles, insecurities and the like, makes the “better parts of life” attainable and worth every effort to get them.

“The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change and the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward

There’s nothing you cannot do
There’s nothing to fear, you’re as good as the best.
As strong as the mightiest, too.
You can win in every battle or test.
For there’s no one just like you.

There’s only one you in the world today.
So nobody else, you see.
Can do your work in as fine a way.
You’re the only you there’ll be.

So face the world, and all life is yours.
To conquer and love and live.
And you’ll find the happiness that endures.
In just the measure you give.

There’s nothing too good for you to possess.
Nor heights where you cannot go.
Your power is more than belief or guess.
It is something you have to know.

There is nothing to fear, you can and you will.
For you are the invincible you.
Set your foot on the highest hill.
There’s nothing you cannot do.
Author Unknown

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

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

Missed Out

In one of the recent birthday celebrations, one of the party games was to ask the blindfolded person was asked to to guess what was wrapped in the paper by feeling out the package through tactile methods. While some got their guesses right, many went way off track; which was the fun of the game. Introspectively one plays a lot of the “blind guesses in life”.

“Blessings sometimes show up in unrecognizable disguises.” Janette Oke

One of the perils of engaging the human mind is that it thinks way off track than the reality. When in a conundrum, the human mind brings more things to imagination than the reality. Consequently a lot is lost in life as one is too busy wildly speculating, instead living in the present. On the other hand, when one waits for events to unfold and see what is at hand; the blessings enjoyed would be many.

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Unfortunately the human mind learns most through certain regrets in life. Then it may be too late to change things and get back on track. Each one of us have been given the gift of the present. Instead of guessing out whether we will receive what we have always asked for; continue to put in one’s best shot in life. Doing the latter, would result in better blessings or gifts, more that one may have dreamed of. Losing out on the blessings due to one’s pride, arrogance, blind expectations or insecurities can result in opportunities being missed, lost relationships and precious time wasted. Although by the time, hindsight, regrets and remedial measures may be taken, it may be too late to do them.

“Sometimes we don’t realize the blessings we have until we no longer have them. Appreciate all the blessings in your life, take none for granted.” Catherine Pulsifer

A young man was getting ready to graduate from university. For a long time he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom and knowing his father could well afford it, he told his Dad that was all he wanted. As his graduation day approached the young man began looking for signs that his father had bought the car. Finally on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son and he told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely leather bound Bible with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angry, he raised his voice to his father and said, ‘With all your money you give me a Bible?’ and then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in his own business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realised his father was very old and thought perhaps he should go to him as he had not spoken to him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him that his father had passed away and had willed all his possessions to his son so he needed to come home and take care of things. When he arrived at his father’s house sadness and regret filled his heart. He began sorting through his fathers papers and saw the still new Bible just as he had left it years ago.

With tears in his eyes he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse . . . Matthew – 7:11, ‘And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father which is in Heaven give to those who ask him?’As he read these words a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealers name and on the tag was the date of his graduation and the words paid in full.
How many times do we miss out on blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?
Author Unknown (


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

In Own Backyard

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

For any small scale establishment, to generate revenue to keep on going is a necessity. From outsourcing to hiring, giving better offers to the clients; various ways and means are explored to generate income with a margin of profit. At one of the recent monthly audits, on reviewing the performance, it was surprising to note a significant area of potential left untapped as (to phrase it) “no one had thought about it”. What immediately came to mind, is how it easier to hire and branch out than develop at the home front using the opportunities in one’s own backyard. Be it a group establishment or personal endeavors, one doesn’t have to go far to get a chance when one uses the available options, resources and potential at hand.

“Most people miss Opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison

We are all a bit like the protagonist in Conwell’s famous essay, “Acres of Diamonds”, based on parable of a rich but yet poor man who eventually loses out on life. Like the protagonist, it’s easy to explore for better opportunities on the other side of the wall; little realizing how much potential lies within one’s own territory. Exploring other possibilities may be needed in some cases, but at times one is losing out on time when failing to explore the first choices at hand. True that there is always something better than what is at hand; but frequently going only for the former, may result in loss of the latter. Options are always available and open around us; yet they appear only when one is determined and willing to think, foresee, identify the goal or purpose as well as work with the available resources than being always on the hunt based on blind avarice for more.

“You can journey to the ends of the earth in search of success, but if you’re lucky, you will discover happiness in your own backyard.” Russell Conwell

There was once a wealthy man named Ali Hafed who lived not far from the River Indus. “He was contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented.” One day a priest visited Ali Hafed and told him about diamonds. Ali Hafed heard all about diamonds, how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a poor man. He had not lost anything, but he was poor because he was discontented, and discontented because he feared he was poor. Ali Hafed sold his farm, left his family, and traveled to Palestine and then to Europe searching for diamonds. He did not find them. His health and his wealth failed him. Dejected, he cast himself into the sea. One day, the man who had purchased Ali Hafed’s farm found a curious sparkling stone in a stream that cut through his land. It was a diamond. Digging produced more diamonds — acres of diamonds, in fact. This, according to the parable, was the discovery of the famed diamonds of Golconda.
– Heart of the speech “Acres of Diamond”, later published as an essay by Russell H. Conwell (Source: Nine Pillars)

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Step Over, Move Ahead

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” Helen Keller

With the university applications for the new academic session closed for the present year, many have been forced to decide to apply for the available options or to forgo a year and attempt again for better courses either through scholarships, exams or interviews while doing a regular course or working part-time. For each applicant, witnessing the huge amount of unrest and mental stress warring with their inner dreams and ambitions; the struggle to break out of the chaos is evident and the sheer will required to do so is immense. Similar emotions are felt when trying for employment, change of careers or a higher grade position. Breaking out of the web of constant trials, stress, rejections and fear of the uncertainty needs courage, effort and will, to use what one perceives as road blocks into opportunities or learning sessions.

“Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress. It requires hard work and dedication, but over time, you can equip yourself to handle whatever life throws your way without adverse effects to your health. Training your brain to manage stress won’t just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.” Amy Morin

Problems are a part of life, or even vice -versa; life has it’s own problems stored at each turn or corner. At times, they may all pop up together; while at other times it’ll be one by one, most common though when we least foresee or expect them. When one learns to step over the rocks in the path or shake off the dirt and grime; continue ahead altering or following the route; the journey then taken may be more interesting, than simply sitting and staring at those very rocks. Like the river that goes on it;s course finding a way across the rocks, turning the rough corners smooth over time; such should be the attitude that one adopts towards the “rocks in their path”.

“When you reach for the stars, you are reaching for the farthest thing out there. When you reach deep into yourself, it is the same thing, but in the opposite direction. If you reach in both directions, you will have spanned the universe.” Vera Nazarian

One day the donkey of a farmer fell into a well. He brayed and screamed terribly, calling for help. The farmer ran up and threw up his hands: “How can you get him out of there?” Then he reasoned: “My donkey is old. He did not have much time left. I was still going to get a new young donkey. And the well, all the same, almost dried up. I was going to bury it for a long time and dig a new well in another place. So why not do it now? At the same time I’m burying a donkey so that there is no smell of decomposition ”. He invited all his neighbors to help him bury the well. All together they took up shovels and began to throw the earth into the well. The donkey immediately understood what was happening and began to publish a terrible squeal. And suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, he fell silent. After a few earth shots, the farmer decided to see what was down there. He was amazed at what he saw there. Every piece of earth that fell on his back was shook off and crushed with his feet. Very soon, to everyone’s amazement, the donkey appeared above – and jumped out of the well!

“Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” Arnold Palmer