Category Archives: Self Help

Becoming a better you

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Joel Osteen’s book by the above name has some important lessons that interested me.

1. Keep pressing forward: I take it as the arrow of time, or in Jesus’s words, let the dead bury their own dead.

Zig Zigler said:

The past is important insofar as it has brought you to where you are; but it is not nearly as important as how you see your future.

Don’t be buried in the past, what we do right now decides the future.

2. Be positive:

Accusatory voices have been nagging you. Sometimes guilt overburdens people and they keep repenting again and again endlessly. Joel asks to cut off the nagging words and to apologize only once. And then you are growing, the past is past. Forget it.

In my words, I would say that Joel has done remarkably well by pointing out the power of self narration. Most people have long narrational and experiencing states of mind during the wakefulness. The narrative is usually about the past mistakes or things gone wrong or how miserable they are and so on and so forth. They become so obsessed with a continuous narrative in the background of everything they do, so much so that they fail to smell the roses as they pass by. The even appear clumsy in much of what they do.

Switching off this useless narrative and turning on a new type of narrative is an extremely powerful tool. The new narrative is about the future, what you want to be, what you believe you are, etc.

In real world, we have to see something to believe it, but in the spiritual world, the opposite is true, which is, to believe first and then you will see it.

3. Better relationships

Be good to family, people.

Be free with your compliments and be quick to vocalize them. People perform better under praises rather than criticism.

4. Form better habits.

There is a whole new book on how to cultivate good habits and how to get rid of bad habits.

Bloomberg has reviewed Charles Duhigg’s book ‘The Power of Habbit’. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-15/book-review-the-power-of-habit-by-charles-duhigg#p1

Develop a habit of happiness.

5. and 6. I will leave these points. Maybe I will write later.

7. Be passionate about life.

Always have goals. Accomplish and checkmark current goals and as soon as you are done, plan your new goals. I think this is a very good piece of advice. Life is a continuous motion in the forward direction, we must have goals.

I am planning to live a long, healthy, prosperous life.

Move from believing to expecting.

Zig Zigler:

Plan, prepare and expect to win.

Your job is to enjoy

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The other day I noticed a statement in the world of facebook: “your job is to like us.”

Isn’t it amazing to have a job that only asks to like or dislike things?

The advice for a successful life is to accept the past, enjoy the present and have a passion for the future. I agree.

That boils down to enjoying the present moment. However, it is the hardest thing to do.

I remember a Toastmasters speech a couple of years back where the speaker passionately advocated setting a personal goal of increasing the fun in everyday activities by 10%. The idea is good, but how is that possible? There is no practical step in this statement to find a way to enjoy or to increase the pre-existing enjoyment, let alone measure it in percentages.

Children are spontaneous and find enjoyment in every moment. But as people grow older, they sadly alienate themselves from fun and attend to only serious stuff. Now their job is only to fret an fume and manipulate and take revenge and so on. They are so consumed by these thoughts that genuine opportunities to enjoy elude them.

Opportunities to enjoy do not require great investments of time or money. They are everywhere. Figure out what makes you happy, or what used to make you happy as a child. Live the hell out of your life in the current moment by doing some of those very activities to begin with. It might sound silly, but why is that not possible?

If a music and dance party made you happy, why not do that again? If jumping up and down on bed made you happy, why not buy a trampoline and do it and laugh your guts out? If listening to music made you happy, why not do that right away? There are countless ways we can find happiness. It is only a matter of choice to realize that the most important job right now is the job of enjoying the moment, not anything else.

The Eye of the Bird – Focus

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I searched for my favorite childhood superhero story about Arjuna of Mahabhrata (ancient Indian text) taking aim at a bird in a cage, and lo! I found this post. It was wonderfully well-written with a beautiful illustration. So I am reblogging it.

Looking back, I think had understood the message wrongly. I now even think a lot of my attention difficulties arose as a result of my admiration of it.

There is an interesting video that gives a counterpoint: The Gorilla Experiment. This experiment is being quoted now a lot to illustrate how we do not ‘actually see’ all that we see with our eyes. Anyone can try this experiment and verify that he is also a victim of this human limitation.

I have always thought that attention the target and disregarding all else is supreme. This may be true in the case of single-minded obsessions, which are actually rare in real life. The Gorilla Experiment demonstrates that when we bring any one feature of our observation into focus, we lose attention of a lot of other glaring things. This was lauded in the story I have referred here. But in reality a balanced attention would be preferable.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

YOGA with Indra

The Eye of the bird

Once, Guru Dronacharya took all his disciples to the forest to test their skills of archery. Amongst them were the hundred and five princes of the reigning Moon Dynasty – five sons of Pandu or the Pandavas and hundred Kauravas, the sons of Dhritarastrya. Penetrating the depths of the forest the revered teacher led his students to the tallest tree. Assembling his disciples he called up Yudhishthira the Pandava, the eldest of all the princes to step forward.

Addressing the prince, Dronacharya pointed up to the highest branch of the tree.

“On the highest branch of this tree there sits a bird. Can you see it?” he asked.
“Yes, Master” Yudhishthira replied.
“Take up your bow and arrow and try to shoot down that bird through the eye.” The venerable one instructed his disciple.

On his Master’s command, Yudhishthira picked up his bow and arrow…

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New Speakers

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I had a chance to mentor eight students of the University of Manitoba drawn from Turkey, South Korea, China, Brazil, Pakistan on public speaking over a six-session program called ‘Speech Craft’ under the auspices of Assiniboine #419 Toastmasters club. This blog is like a general evaluation with the objective of connecting with all of them and being able to help out further.

It was fun to interact with them all.  They had diverse skills in meditation, long-distance running, video games, horror movies, visual art and Feng Shui and liked to talk about them all.

How would a South Korean youngster accept a drink from an older man? He would accept with both hands and drink it standing sideways and partially covering the glass with one palm.

What did the word meditation mean to Fernando? He would ‘create the day’ in his mind while still in bed before getting up.

Haiku, a Chinese girl narrated her difficulties in communication. At Tim Horton’s she ran into a host who said ‘pardon-me’ again and again, until she actually said ‘a little bit’ much to her delight.

The girl from Turkey, Deniz, had a Valentine’s day telephone call from her mom, and she wondered if it is a good idea to change the idea of Valentines day to just a family day.

The Pakistani boy, Norman, missed the mango-eating festivals, kite flying and night caps of Lahore and adored cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan as his super hero.

What Julia, one of the mentors like me, found out was that Deniz had no clue what John Lennon’s people song was. The coordinator, Yvonne joked, ” She is too young,” to which Julia responded with another song suggestion, namely, “girls want to have fun”, which again failed to evoke a response of familiarity. Julia’s unfamiliarity with the Middle Eastern theocratic societies even surpassed Deniz’s ignorance of the songs as she remarked: “too old?”

Now let me conclude with my general points of growth with some wisdom of hindsight.  I remember as a new Toastmaster, I found Rob’s frank remarks that he faced difficulties with my accent, pronunciation and speed of talking rather bittersweet. Now looking back, I would commend him for mentioning that, so I was able to start working on those points. I am being a Rob here: try as I might, I was unable to understand much of what the speakers said.  All of them would do well to practice voice training and learn to speak clearly.

None of them betrayed any sense of stage fright and everyone had excellent stage presence, both commendable achievements.  Kudos to each participant for that. Let me wish everyone all success.

I would hope to hear from the participants and other mentors. Other readers are welcome to share their observations or their similar experiences too.