Monday, April 29, 2013

Do You Have A Learning Mind Set?

Learning by Doing
Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)
by Rajiv Kumar Luv

We live in times when breath-taking technological changes and dramatic business paradigm shifts are occurring all around us.

If you are out of touch with things for a week, you begin to feel outdated.

In this super-charged climate, only the fittest survive and if you are not constantly aware of the changing environment around you - and able to adapt and change as necessary you will find yourself slowly dropping out of the race.

If we don't spend time sharpening the saw, then we will no longer be able to do our job. So the rapid changes in technology and business practices, makes it imperative that the information and skills needed to succeed in this changing environment be constantly honed.

Learnability is a very important soft skill that we need to consistently work on.

Being a trainer for over 22 years now, I would like to share some thoughts on the subject of learning. Let me begin by making a strong statement. "If a person/employee/participant does not yearn to learn then no methodology can teach him anything, he will find something wrong with everything."

Classroom sessions - boring, Outbound Training - stupidity, absolute waste of time, Peer-to-peer learning - I may be replaced, eLearning - no time.

My Guru and mentor, Dr. N.H. Atthreya, must be about 92 years old now, is still a very eager, enthusiastic learner. I also know a number of people who are in their mid-forties and proudly say that they have learnt everything they needed to learn. A good learner can learn from anything.

One day, as I was with Dr Atthreya, sitting and discussing the session that just got over, a boy came to give us glasses of tea, I noticed that Dr. Atthreya asked this boy a few questions and then made a note of those points on his pad, he had learnt from a tea-boy!

I have also come across participants who insist that they would only learn from faculties who are either from abroad or from the IIT's and IIM's.

There was a story that Dr. Atthreya would narrate quite often that I would like to share.

It seems once Dr. Atthreya was invited for dinner by a certain family, when it was dinner time everyone assembled at the dining table, the host, his wife and their children, but one of the sons was missing for the dinner and the family waited, they could see the son going from one room to another as if looking for something, but he would not join for dinner and the family didn't start eating.

Dr. Atthreya was curious, so he asked the host, what was happening, why was the son not joining for dinner? The host explained, "We have a family rule, that whenever we assemble for dinner, we first say our prayers and then each member has to share one new thing they have learnt during the day."

The son who was not joining for dinner was frantically looking for a learning to share at the dinner table! What a way to program the mind to be a lifelong learner.

If a person/employee wants to learn they will find a way, but if they don't then they will find an excuse why the training/trainer is not good. No Organization can make a person hungry for learning; it has to come from within the person.

Whenever I am doing an in-house program I have a very simple test to identify the eager learners, they arrive in the class before the session starts, and the ones not so eager have to be repeatedly called by the HR coordinator, still they would take 30-45 minutes to join the class.

It could be possible, that these people have genuine reasons, but the behaviour does speak about their motivation and commitment levels towards learning. Sometimes, it also happens that they have been informed about the training just the night before ... that is an issue which calls for another article!

When I look back on my own learning I think I have been very fortunate. I need to tell you my story. I had a school friend, our friendship started when we were in the 5th standard, as we got closer, we would visit each other's house to play.

His house was a very unique house, you could not see the walls of the room at all because of the bookshelves, his father had a great collection, there were books on every imaginable subject. I never saw more creative use of books other than reading. I need to mention that my friend's family was not doing well financially.

When I could not find something to sit on, my friend would stack a few encyclopaedias and make a stool for me, I also saw him take a few books and use it as a pillow when he would lie down, and once he threw a book at a cockroach to kill it!

So whenever I went to his house, no matter what I touched, a book came into my hand and I would open and read it. I and my friend were reading Reader's Digest in the 5th Standard and our favourite pass time was to discuss those articles and critique them.

Let me admit here, before meeting my friend, I would only pick up a book which started with the sentence, "Once upon a time.." My friend played a very important role in creating a love for reading in me, thereby making me a learner for life.

So whenever you get an opportunity to learn, whether it is a classroom, outbound, peer-to-peer, shared, just-in-time, on the job or eLearning go into it with the mind-set and attitude of learning.

Always keep these two questions in mind, what can I learn from this? How can I use it in my personal and professional life? No matter how bad the training or trainer is, if your attitude is right, you can still takeaway some valuable learning.

Hi, This is Rajiv Kumar Luv. My passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of people so that they achieve their personal as well as professional best. I am absolutely committed to excellence in human resource development.

You can learn more about me and the work I do by visiting: I have been helping Organizations improve their people, performance and profits for the past 25 years. Visit my website at the above link to know how I can help you or your Organization.

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Knowing Is Knowing, Doing Is Doing

"As you go through life, you’ll see there...
(Photo credit: deeplifequotes)
by Rajiv Kumar Luv

This incident happened when I must have been about 15 years of age.

Every day I would go to the house of my best friend and spend some time with him and his family, I was so attached to his family that if I missed going to his house for a day, I would feel something is amiss, and so would his family.

One day, I noticed an ambassador car parked outside his building, it looked like a well-maintained second hand car.

And when I entered my friend's house, I found the whole family was excited about something and when I asked my friend for the reason, he pulled my hand and took me to the balcony and then pointing his finger to the car said, "We bought that car!"

Now, it was my turn to get excited too, I said, "What are we waiting for, let's go for a long drive."
My friend said, "That's the problem, none of us knows how to drive." And I said, "That's no problem, I know how to drive."

So my friend handed over the car keys to me and off we both went running down to the car. I opened the door, got into the driver's seat, my friend sat next to me. I put the key in the ignition and started it with great confidence, my friend, very happy that I knew how to drive.

I had my right foot on the accelerator, and the left foot on the clutch, I engaged the gear and before I could realize what happened, the car shot like a bullet and went and banged with good force on the opposite building wall! The front portion of the car was completely smashed.

My friend sat there, absolutely stunned. Then said, "My father is going to kill me."

When I was back in my friend's house, I could not have any eye contact with the family members, though none of them said anything, their body language was saying loud and clear, "You stupid fellow, if you didn't know how to drive, why did you do it? Look, what you have done to our car on the very first day it arrived."

Some days later, when things had cooled off, when my friend was back to normal, he asked me, how in the hell did I get the idea that I could drive. I told him, whenever I travelled by bus I would always stand next to the driver and observed his actions, and it looked so easy.

My friend then showered some choicest words on me, which can't be mentioned over here. But that day I learnt a lesson, knowing is knowing and doing is doing! If you know and if you can't and don't do, it is as good as not knowing. And if knowing was doing, then we don't need to get married at all!

Two words, "I know" we use them so loosely and so easily. But the world is not interested in what you know. A company doesn't pay a person based on what he /she knows, but on what he/she can do with what they know!

We may know a hundred thousand things, but we may not do them, just knowing has no meaning.

Let us consider this, don't we all know that it is good to be punctual, to have a positive attitude, to acquire new knowledge and new skills, to work in a team, to plan, to share, to respect, to listen, to trust, to be honest with self and others, to express oneself, to strive for excellence, to eat healthy, to exercise, to meditate, to pray, to apologize, to be polite, to keep promises, to honour expectations.

I am sure most people would agree that they know all that I just mentioned, but the important thing is what they do, because that's what produces results.

I have more respect for a person who just knows 10 things and does all 10 things, and little respect for someone who knows a thousand things and just does 10 things.

It has been my experience that when participants come to a training program with the mind-set of "I know" then their takeaway from the learning experience is nil. But if participants come to a program with the mind-set "I don't know" then their takeaway would be maximum.

When a person says, "I know" what they mean is their cup (of knowledge) is already full, there is no scope to fill anything more and if we still try to fill, it will spill.

Let me leave you with a final thought to reflect on. How many things do you claim that you know, ask yourself, "Do I know this, because I heard of it from someone, read it in a book, or saw it on the TV / internet?" And then ask yourself this very important question, "Can I do, Do I do what I claim to know?"

I would also suggest you make a list of things you know, then go through it, tick of the ones that you can actually do well. The rest, either go and learn how to do them or have the guts to say, "I don't know."

The other day I met a person whose son recently got a pilot's licence and was flying a Boeing 737 as a co-pilot. Now this guy, gave me full details of how to fly a 737 Boeing, I was impressed. It was only some time later that I learnt that he was terrified to even driving a car!

I smiled to myself; here was another person who just knows how to fly an aeroplane. If he were the pilot, I would never sit in that aeroplane!

Hi, This is Rajiv Kumar Luv. My passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of people so that they achieve their personal as well as professional best. I am absolutely committed to excellence in human resource development.

You can learn more about me and the work I do by visiting: I have been helping Organizations improve their people, performance and profits for the past 25 years. Visit my website at the above link to know how I can help you or your Organization.

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The Ten Commandments of Leadership

Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments (glen edelson)
by , Property Update:

About Michael Yardney: Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. 

He has been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured on radio as well as in major newspapers and magazines throughout Australia. Visit

I picked up these ten commandments from Chris Widener’s website.

Whether you are a business owner, entrepreneur or investor, they are a great reminder of what we should do:
  1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered (including me). Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the littlest people with the littlest ideas. Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9. People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the best you have anyway.
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Great Mentoring Organisation: Summer Search


Hi readers,

Here's a great resource and site to give you some idea of the power of mentoring and coaching!

Summer Search is dedicated to helping low-income youth build the confidence, character and skills needed to complete college and achieve their full potential: What we do >>


Summer Search voted one of the 'Best Nonprofits to Work For in 2013' by The NonProfit Times. Read the press release >

Summer Search hires a new Chief Development Officer. Read the press release >

Got Grit? Summer Search's Philadelphia Exec. Director talks up the importance of character development for low-income students w/Angela Duckworth, a leading expert on the topic. here or tune in to NPR affiliate, WHYY (90.9 FM), on Monday 2/18 at 12pm EST for the live re-broadcast.

Visit our press room for more news >>

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who Controls Your Life: Are You The Architect?

I can't live my life walking on eggshells
I can't live my life walking on eggshells (Daniele Nicolucci photography)
by Sandy Tashi Hounsell

Letting Go

At first glance the thought of letting go of fearful thinking can seem quite scary, even frightening for many who are used to being unconsciously controlled by these types of thoughts.

After all, this is what many of us unknowingly have built are identity on.

And to allow the walls to crumble and rebuild a stronger foundation based on self-belief and self love can be a daunting prospect.

Thoughts of, "Who am I then?" "What's going to happen to me if I let go", "Whose going to take care of me?" will and do spring to mind when we contemplate change of this nature that goes to the very core of our being.

It's like taking the inner structure of the house, which is holding the internal and outer walls in place, and seeing all the walls collapsing, leaving you feeling somewhat exposed and vulnerable.

But what if you changed those thoughts and instead see a golden opportunity being presented from which you can commence building the house of your dreams, and where you get to be the architect, the painter, the plumber, even the electrician.

You 'wire in' new thoughts that build brand new neural pathways that easily flow throughout your whole body, and where the electrical current sparks up optimism, excitement and wonder in what you are creating for yourself.

If we choose to think and act in a creative, positive way, looking for the optimum outcome that we desire, we will get that outcome. We are presented with many opportunities throughout each day to choose and create thoughts and behaviors that serve our highest good.

And it is in those moments that we can choose to be the master of our reality or we can be a slave to our ego and feed it by encouraging more negative thinking.

If we want happiness, joy and peaceful living, we must learn to think that way. Whatever comes to us in life comes from our thinking and the way we act. Whether we like it or not, we are the creators of our life and our thinking, our responses to life's situations engineers the results that we inevitably experience.

You can change those thoughts. It is up to you. Decide on what you want to change and just do it!

Write Down Your Thoughts

Look at your constant thoughts. Write them down. Think about their effect on you, your life and on others. Then close your eyes, go within the rose into your heart and ask for your loving soul, your truest nature to replace each word that is not formed from love, from your truth.

Let the words flow. Let them come even if at first the journey of your new words feels a little shaky. Practice allowing the inner words to flow up into your conscious mind and put them down on paper. This way you anchor them into your physical realm of living so their roots are even stronger.

Just like in the house, where new thoughts have been 'wired' in, the house lights go on and you literally light up in the joy of being YOU.

Sandy Hounsell founder of Soulawaken is on a mission to clear the toxic dustbin that is holding people back from stepping forward into the vibrant, healthy joyful lives they deserve.

Join her no cost monthly 'Soul Connections' webinars:

Get your free eBook: "My Top Tips For Living without Fear or Limitations and meditation "Opening To Love": Over 100 tips and insights valued at $97

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Put In and Get Out

EY 2012 Get involved event
EY 2012 Get involved event (Photo credit: EU Social)
by Weldon Smith

Much too often I have heard people say that they don't want to be involved with something because they get nothing out of it.

They get nothing out of school or church or family time together or their jobs or a meeting, so they think they should be excused.

It's natural for us to not want to spend our time on something that we don't enjoy, and it's very natural for some people to have nothing to do with something that is not all about them.

But a leader and a winner are not natural. They have risen way above natural.

In the first place, no one who is past the juvenile years should be so juvenile as to think that they can do only what they want to do. In fact, most people in the juvenile years should be at peace with that. If no one ever did anything except what they wanted to do, almost nothing would get done.

In the second place, it is a true principle that we get the most out of something that we put the most into.

Too often, someone who doesn't get anything out of worthwhile things is just plain lazy, and won't put the effort into making the experience of worth to themselves, and often more importantly, to others.

I'm perfectly aware that a person can put just about all he is and has into a job or a marriage relationship or a meeting, and they're still utter wastes of time. I've been there.

A winner and a leader spends less time complaining about it and more time getting busy to change it or to change the circumstances such that worthless things don't occupy much of his or her life.

Here's a thought: How much do we get out of ourselves? How much have we put into ourselves? Just think about it. That's all I ask.

I love to think of an example that I have heard from many people. I don't know who came up with it in the first place, or I would mention their name here. If a glass is full of water, can you put more in? The answer is, of course, yes, if you pour some out first.

The only way you can become more and receive more is to give some of you away to others. If a glass sits full of water - or even half full or a quarter full - the water will become nasty in short order. But if water is poured out of the glass often enough and more water added, the water will stay fresh.

If we complain and cry about having to do things we think we get nothing out of, we are like the glass of nasty water, but I don't think we ever got full. We might be like just a splash of pond scum in the bottom.

It is a true principle that if you don't put something in, you get nothing out. We have to put some sort of fuel into a machine or a person or a relationship in order to get work or energy or emotion out. Where nothing is put in and nothing comes of it, that thing is stagnant, and is therefore of little value.

If we try to figure out how to make what we have to do of worth to us - if we're creative and take initiative to make sure we get something out of it, and to make sure that other people get something good out of it, we are like the full glass of fresh, cold, clear, delicious water. We are always relevant.

And wherever a relevant person is, and whatever a relevant person is doing, that place and activity are relevant. Want to have a good job? Want to have a good marriage? Want to have good and trustworthy friends? Want to have a fulfilling life? Be relevant.

Here is truth. In the physical world, we can put no more water in a glass than will fit in the glass. We can pour a lot out and fill it back up, but only what will fit will fit. Beyond the physical world, which is where a leader and a winner spend a lot of time, our glasses can grow.

When we pour ourselves and our influences out to help others, to make what we and other people are doing worthwhile, our glasses grow. We have more to enjoy and more to do good with.

A winner and a leader get a great deal of their enjoyment in life from figuring out how to help what is going on in themselves, in their families, in their communities, in their jobs, in their companies, in church, or whatever they may be involved with be something that they and as many other people as possible get something out of.

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The Power of Transparent Communication

Meg Whitman speaks at the Tech Museum in San J...
Meg Whitman. Photo by Max Morse (Wikipedia)
by Meg Whitman, CEO at Hewlett-Packard, LinkedIn:

In my first post, I outlined a number of leadership principles that are critical to a successful corporate turnaround.

As part of my goal to share regular updates and insights into HP’s turnaround, one area I wanted to focus on in particular is the importance of open and transparent communication.

Poor communication not only hurts collaboration and execution within a company, but it invariably expresses itself externally - from sales to customer service to an organization’s relationship with their partners.

Improving how we communicate and work together across the business has been one of my priorities since joining HP. The following are a few of the changes we’ve worked to drive across our organization and that are relevant to any company operating today. 

Start small

When I arrived at HP, I found a company divided into silos. These divisions cut across geography and business groups, but were particularly prevalent between management and employees.

Nothing symbolized this disconnect more than our executive offices and what I called the “commando fence” - a large fence outfitted in barbed wire surrounding our executive parking lot.

The walled offices and military-style fence represented just how far HP had departed from the culture of the company’s founders.

One of the first things I did was tear down the fence and move all of our executives into cubicles. We now walk in the same door as the rest of our employees. This was symbolic of the kind of culture that we wanted to build. And in organizations as large as ours, symbolism actually matters.

What you communicate by your actions - the things that are visible to 320,000 people - makes a real difference. 

Communicate the problem, but focus on solutions

While we are making progress in our plan to turn HP around, it’s undeniable that HP is emerging from a challenging series of years.

Since joining HP, we’ve made it a point to address this head-on with our customers, employees, investors and partners. This includes diagnosing the problems, but, more importantly, laying out clear plans for how we are going to improve.

A recent example was this year’s HP Global Partner Conference. With more than 100,000 channel partners worldwide, our channel is critical to HP’s success.

To reaffirm our commitment to our partners after a period of uncertainty, we were candid and acknowledged the challenges our partners had faced. But what we focused on, and what our partners really wanted to hear, was outlining concrete plans to ensure our mutual success in the future. 

Empower your people

You can improve your company’s infrastructure and roll out multiple plans from headquarters, but you won’t make progress unless you win the hearts and minds of your people. It’s critical that people connect to the plan and are empowered to drive change out in the field.

At HP, we’ve focused on better engaging and empowering our employees around the world. For instance, this past February, and for the first time, we invested in bringing together all of our vice presidents and country managing directors (all 1,100 of them) in person.

We focused on their roles as leaders, our strategy and key company-wide initiatives. We created an environment where we could discuss tough issues and work together to find solutions to fix them.

Not shying away from tough problems, and increasing levels of communication at all levels of the business, is critical to ensuring that we can drive our strategy and operate as one, unified company. 

Transparency in consistency

For any company to be successful today, it must ensure that all of the organization’s stakeholders - from employees, to customers, to investors - have a clear line of sight into the company’s strategy and performance, good or bad.

To that end, we’re taking a more proactive approach to communicating externally than HP has done in the past. This includes a new online platform that we recently rolled out to serve as the home for updates on HP’s turnaround, HP Next.

We’re already using this site to communicate important updates to our business, like the future direction of our board.

All of the changes above can help strengthen a company’s culture and relationships with its stakeholders, but my advice to other senior leaders is that improving communication ultimately comes down to whether employees at all levels are engaged and delivering on their commitments.

I try to reinforce this with my team every day. I tell them to walk around and visit their people. Stop the emails and start talking to your teams. Just letting people know that you’re conscious of the challenges, aware of the issues and actively dealing with them matters.

At the end of the day, improving communication is a continuous process that depends on individual action - new corporate initiatives and tools will only get you so far.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who Is Your Greatest Mentor and Why?

follow my leader
Follow my leader (Leonard John Matthews)
by Gail Worthington-Eyre

Not all people have the luxury of a happy and supported work life

Not all people are blessed with a happy and supportive home life, not all people have the luxury of a happy and supported work life.

So what is it that we as individuals can do to ground ourselves when one or more of the important life consuming aspects of daily living are not perfect?

About 10 years ago, I was lunching with a colleague in New York while on a business trip and during our conversation he said something that shocked me and caused me to wonder, why I did not see what he saw in me.

His comment was, "You are amazing, you have had a meteoric rise to business success, you have done it on your own and yet you really don't see what it is that you have achieved. Who mentored you to give you such confidence and wisdom?"

Well it is fair to say I was certainly shocked, it was completely unexpected because you see he was right, I did not see what he saw.

I was so busy doing what I did, I never took the time to think about where I had come from, what I had achieved or where I was headed in my career. We parted company the next day and both returned to our home states.

Value the life that has led you to where you are today

In the days that followed I could not stop thinking about what had been said to me. I was flattered of course, but strangely uneasy with his statement. Uneasy because, he was right.

I had not stopped to think about my path or why I was where I was in my life either personally or professionally. I valued success but I did not at that time, value the life that had led me to that current time.

A few days later I decided to take some time to think in more depth about what he said and to try to discover a little more about me. In order to go back over time and look at my life I found the easiest thing to do was to write a professional and a personal resume.

Two documents, I recalled my past in detail and listed all of the highs and lows that had moulded me professionally and personally over the years.

I started with the professional life and went back to my school days and year by year added everything I could think of. Every job, every role and its responsibilities, I then added all the things I did for the first time in each of my positions and defined what the successes were.

I looked at what was not necessarily successful and what did I gain from the experience. I questioned myself, have I used the lesson learned in my previous roles or decision-making since and has it turned it into a strength for me or do I continue to make the same mistakes.

I looked at who has influenced me in each of my roles and was that influence positive or negative. What did I learn from the positive and what did I learn from the negative influences in my life.

I repeated the analysis for my personal life which was much less complicated but worthwhile nonetheless.

So here is what I learned

WOW! - I have done so much, learned so much, achieved so much. I had never thought about my life in such detail before and I certainly had never valued my professional history or valued it to the depth that I should have.

I learned who my greatest mentor was and who my most disappointing boss was and why I put them in these categories.

It was a powerful exercise and one that I now do every year. I just keep adding to my list of professional and personal accomplishments and am constantly surprised at how much I learn and continue to develop every year.

I learned who I am today and who I want to be moving forward, what are my aspirations and my boundaries. I learned that our future success is in our past, you just need to find it, value it and bring it with you.

So I ask you: Who Is Your Greatest Mentor and Why?

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Searching For Meaning

The Meaning of Life
The Meaning of Life (Jari Schroderus)
by Gail Billing

The truth is that there probably isn't any mapped out meaning to life, the meaning is what we give it.

The idea of being part of some grand design, or even of somehow being forgotten and missing your place in this grand design is not really not the most useful way to think.

I wonder if we confuse the need for meaning with a need to feel important?

Expecting others to fill the need of ours for being important and finding meaning that way can be a futile exercise.

The lack of a consistent inner core of self-compassion, self-esteem and understanding of ourselves and others, often contributes to the feeling of meaninglessness in life. We feel that if we are not important and admired we are meaningless.

Envy can be a part of this too. We see famous people or our peers having the things we want and then judge ourselves and our lives as lacking in some way, which is a waste of energy that could be put to better things.

It might help to understand that life even for them is not always joyful and is sometimes mundane and even stressful. Money and fame are not good indicators of happiness and meaning in life.

It's probably more help to see that we don't really need a big meaning other than the fact that there is a need to do something - care for families or go to work or follow our passions.

We need to understand that some of the things we are required to do will not be endlessly joyful and satisfying and learn take pleasure and meaning in the moment and the task.

We have to do what's important to us in the moment and explore growth and change, stagnation will never enhance your life's meaning. Take up opportunities as they arise, but don't be attached to any great outcome. It will be or it won't.

Once we learn to let go of the feelings of lack or discontent, it leaves the way open for finding meaning and joy in our daily lives, living in the moment and having gratitude for what we have, not worrying about what we don't have.

We can then reach out and enrich our lives in the ways that are meaningful to us, whether its volunteering or following our passions, and enjoying our families and friends.

We can come to see that nothing has a meaning except the meaning we give it, there is probably no grand plan and there is no goal or lifestyle more valid than another.

If we stop thinking we have to be important people and have a purpose in the grand design of the universe, we will stop feeling meaningless and be free to just enjoy our lives and find purpose in what we do.

Blessings - click Here to find more ways to be happy:

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The Most Stressful Places to Live

Martinsburg, West Virginia (USA) Historic District
Martinsburg, West Virginia Historic District (Wikipedia)
by , The Atlantic:

41 percent of U.S. adults "feel stressed a lot of the day." Stats in some states are much worse than others.

West Virginia: Wild, wonderful - and worrisome. That's according to a new survey out today. Really though, this is interesting and sad.

Gallup surveyed 353,564 people across the U.S. over the course of 2012.

Gallup is a tireless polling behemoth. They asked, "Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?"

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.57.05 AM.pngHere are the states where people most frequently said yes, and the percentage that did:

West Virginia, Kentucky, and Utah have been among the top five for each of the last five years. What's going on?

The survey took place well before the stressful story last week in which West Virginian eighth-grade student Jared Marcum "sparked a dispute" with a Logan Middle School teacher "that ended with Jared suspended, arrested and facing two charges, obstruction and disturbing the education process."

The school stood by the story without mention of the shirt, saying Marcum was kicked out because he was "obstructing the education process." This is America, though, and people should be allowed to wear whatever they want when they obstruct the education process.
But again, that was last week, so Marcum's story is at most symptomatic of West Virginia's 2012 unease.
The state is also constantly among the states with the highest rates of obesity (currently 31.1 percent) which is also not necessarily related. It's a beautiful state, though, with a lot of trees, which we know make us healthier and more satisfied.
Still, people in West Virginia are about 50 percent more likely to be stressed than people in Hawaii, which has been the least-stressed state for each of the last five years. This year's bottom five:

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.56.53 AM.png

The same survey looked at people's level of "enjoyment." On average across 2012, "84.9 percent of Americans reported feeling enjoyment 'yesterday.'"
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

“Run, Don't Walk” - “Don't Run, Walk": Flip-Flopping Advice on Exercise May Not Be As Contradictory As It Seems

Brisk Walk Break
Brisk Walk Break (ianhun2009)
If you're a runner, you might have noticed this surprising headline from the April 5 edition of the Guardian: "Brisk walk healthier than running - scientists."

Or maybe you saw this one, which ran in Health magazine the very same day: "Want to lose weight? Then run, don't walk: Study."

Dueling research from rival academic camps? Not exactly.

Both articles described the work of a herpetologist-turned-statistician at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory named Paul T. Williams, who, this month, achieved a feat that's exceedingly rare in mainstream science: He used exactly the same dataset to publish two opposing findings.

One of Williams' papers, from the April issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that habitual runners gain less weight than habitual walkers, when the amount of energy they put into their exercise routines is the same.

The other, published in April in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, used a similar analysis to show that running is no better than walking when it comes to the prevention of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

So there you have it, and there you don't. Running is better for your health, or perhaps it isn't. Despite the flip-flop headlines, the findings are not as contradictory as they seem. 

Losing weight is not the same thing as getting fit - your metabolic health has more to with triglycerides and hypertension than it does with your size in chinos - so there's no fundamental reason why Williams' walkers couldn't gain more weight than the runners while their risk for cardiovascular disease remained the same. 

The 47,000 people involved in Williams' study were drawn in large part from middle-aged subscribers to exercise magazines who agreed to fill out his surveys, and most of them were slender at the outset. 

They started with an average BMI in the “normal” range, between 21 and 25 (overall, middle-aged, U.S. adults have an average BMI of more than 28). Since the health risks associated with being fat don't kick in until you're very large, they wouldn't necessarily apply to Williams' subjects.

But the deeper story here has more to do with Williams' second finding, that neither form of exercise was any better than the other at promoting cardiovascular health.

When Williams set up his gigantic database of avid runners and walkers in the early 1990s, he hoped to help resolve an old debate in exercise science: If you match up workouts according to the amount of energy that they require, are all forms of physical activity created equal? Would a tough and sweaty workout be any better for your health than an easygoing one that lasted twice as long?

Researchers began to ask these questions in the early 1980s, in response to worries over the health effects of jogging. In two decades, the number of self-identified runners in the nation had grown from 100,000 to 30 million, but as the fitness craze expanded, so did concerns about its downsides.

Doctors started talking about the natural "endorphin high," and worried that a person might become addicted to certain forms of physical activity.

The incidence of shin splints seemed to be increasing, too, along with heel spurs, stress fractures, and inflammations of the knee. Could all this compulsive running be doing more harm than good?

Those fears were realized in the summer of 1984, when the 52-year-old best-selling author and running guru Jim Fixx collapsed dead in his jogging shorts, having had a massive heart attack just 100 yards down the road from his motel.

At around the same time, the president of the Rockport shoe company paid a cardiologist named James Rippe to investigate the benefits of walking. Might a less intense form of exercise do the body good?

Rippe, who would later write Heart Disease for Dummies and found the Rippe Lifestyle Institute in Orlando, Fla., released some promising data. If you take a swift, half-hour stroll at least three times per week, he said, that should be enough to improve your cardiovascular fitness by 15 percent.

Now the sporting goods industry had a bit of science to support a new and (allegedly) safer form of exercise.

By this point, enthusiasm for running was already in sharp decline - the number of joggers in the United States would fall by almost 40 percent between 1979 and 1985 - and Rockport led the charge to invent the leisure-time pursuit of "power walking."

In the fall of 1984, just a few months after Jim Fixx's death cast a shadow over recreational running, Rockport started selling the ProWalker athletic shoe, the first product in its class.

The trend for walking reached its stride in 1986, with nearly 20 million participants and the inaugural issue of Walking magazine (tagline: "Stop Talking, Start Walking"). This was big business, too: More than 40 companies followed Rockport's lead and released versions of the walking shoe.

"If you look at the fitness boom as ripples on a pond, then jogging was the first ring, aerobics the second, and we think walking is the third," said the advertising director for Nike to the Los Angeles Times in 1987.

But mainstream researchers in the field of exercise were a little slower to buy in. Government standards for physical activity, based on advice from the American College of Sports Medicine, still favored more vigorous activities such as running.

It prescribed at least half an hour of heavy exercise at least three times per week. "I wrote the guidelines, and I still hold to them," said Michael Pollock, a prominent exercise physiologist, in the middle of the walking hype. The debate in academia would last for almost a decade.

Finally, in the mid-1990s, government agencies softened up in deference to the power walkers. Now Americans were advised to do at least half an hour of something less intense than running - a brisk 4- or 5-mph promenade, for example - but they were advised to do this lighter work more often.

In other words, their total dose of exercise would be the same, but they would be taking it in a less concentrated form.

The present version of the guidelines makes this logic more explicit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention equalizes workouts of varying intensities according to a standard exchange rate of 2-to-1: Every two minutes we spend hoofing around in Rockport ProWalkers equates to a single minute spent on the jogging trail.

That means people can mix and match their workouts until they approximate a recommended weekly total: Either 75 minutes' worth of sweaty, vigorous workouts, or a double helping (150 minutes) of something moderate - or any custom combination of the two.

Williams calls this the "exchangeability premise," that any form of exercise can be subbed in for any other, and that their effects on health will be identical once corrected for the amount of energy that goes into them.

Obesity experts often talk about the same idea, using the phrase "calories-in/calories-out." Either way, they're subscribing to a model of personal health where quantity trumps quality.

It doesn't really matter what we choose to eat - fats or carbs or proteins - or which machines we end up using at the gym. All that counts is the total energy we absorb from food, minus the total energy we expend in action.

Several of Williams' recent findings support this notion.

Most recently, he found that running and walking have about the same effect on risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as long as they're matched up for total energy expenditure (that is to say, someone who walks for two hours a day will see the same benefit as a matched control who runs for half that time).

In two other papers from the past few months, he showed that running and walking produce equivalent reductions in the risk of osteoarthritis, hip replacement, and cataracts.

An Australian research group has just released a study confirming this idea. For that paper, published March 28, the scientists followed about 11,000 middle-aged women over a 12-year stretch and compared both their total exercise and types of exercise to signs of hypertension and depression.

They found that, in general, women who never bothered with vigorous activity were at no greater risk than the others, even when they were matched for total levels of exertion.

Yet Williams' papers and the Australian one suffer from a common flaw: With this type of research, it's impossible to know what hidden factors might be biasing the data.

In Williams' group, for example, the runners could have been eating less overall, or they could have been more inclined to exaggerate their workouts. The sorts of long-term, case-controlled studies that could prove the exchangeability premise once and for all would be almost impossible to carry out.

So it's possible that running and walking aren't quite the same, after all. The calories-in/calories-out model does have some notable detractors.

The endocrinologist Robert Lustig and journalist Gary Taubes have made a case for saying that food quality does matter, and some calories are worse than others. Could the same critique be applied to exercise? Might some forms of exercise be like eating fruits and vegetables, while others are like eating meat and dairy?

Williams notes that runners do seem to get some extra benefit from their exercise.

In short-term studies, he says, they show improvement at making up for bouts of overeating (if they get a big meal at one sitting, they'll eat less at the next). They also experience a heightened metabolism that extends beyond the period of working out.

But runners have another, more important edge: They get more done in less time. A vigorous workout is quicker to finish, so it fits more easily into a busy schedule. That may be why the runners in Williams' cohort ended up getting more exercise, over all.

With that in mind, I asked Williams - a runner himself - if he'd recommend the more vigorous activity. He declined to answer. "I'm not really an exercise advocate," he said. "I don't really care if people exercise or not. But I do care about good science."
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The Path to Success: The Power of Discovering Why You Exist and What You Really Should Be Doing

Robert T. Kiyosaki
Robert T. Kiyosaki
by Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad:

I had a classmate from the Merchant Marine Academy who, like me, knew he didn't want to spend his life at sea.

Rather than take a job with a ship after graduation, he went to law school. After three years, he graduated and took a job as a lawyer with a firm in private practice.

He was miserable. Though he was very successful in his profession, he was very unhappy with his work. Although he hated being a lawyer, he felt he had no other option than to keep at it because he had a family, kids, a mortgage, and bills to pay.

When I met him years later at a class reunion in New York, his bitterness was apparent in the way he talked. "All I do is sweep up behind rich guys like you. They pay me nothing. I hate what I do and who I work for."

"Why don't you do something else?" I asked. "I can't afford to stop working," he said. "My first child is entering college."

Unfortunately, this man died of a heart attack before his daughter graduated. He had made a lot of money via his professional training, but he was emotionally angry, spiritually dead, and soon his body followed.

Are you crushed?

In my new book, Why "A" Students Work for "C" Students, I talk about how every child has a genius in them - the one thing that lights up their life, motivates them, feeds their dreams, and challenges them.

Unfortunately, school often does not recognize the genius in our children. And even more, school may even crush a child's genius.

This is because our educational system prescribes to one way of doing things. Our kids are told to go to school and get a good job.

The problem, of course, is that they don't know what they really want to do and are called to do yet when they hear this, so our kids chase down paths that are prescribed for them, like doctor, lawyer, teacher, and more - jobs in the E or S quadrant of the CASHFLOW quadrant.

As they grow older, they are trapped in the rat race. Because they go to college and take on debt, they have to get a high paying job. Soon they buy a house, and because of that debt, they must keep working.

Then other expenses like kids, health care, and more paint them into a corner. Before you know it, the dreams of youth are gone, replaced with what for some is a miserable reality of work that is not soul-giving.

The school system does not help us discover our genius. And in the process of chasing other peoples' dreams for our lives, we often lose our genius.

When that happens, we are crushed ... and we become like my lawyer friend who made a lot of money but was miserable and died young from the stress of his work and responsibilities.

We must find our own path

In my book, The CASHFLOW Quadrant, I talked about the importance of finding our own path. It's not easy.

We can often get lost in the process, and it's not always simple to find our way back. But finding our path - releasing our inner genius, and the genius of our children - is essential to a happy life.

How about you? How is your path going? Do you find yourself making these types of statements?

- "I love what I do, but I wish I could make more money."
- "I can't wait for the weekend."
- "I want to do my own thing."
- "Is it quitting time yet?"

If so, it may be time to find a new path. To discover your life's purpose, why you were given this gift called life, and what the gift is that you should give back to the world.

If you feel you are not on the right path, I encourage you to search your heart and find your path in life. If you are a parent, I also encourage you to spend as much time, resources, energy, and talent to help your child discover his or her path and genius.

Part of your path is to help your child discover his or her own. And this is something they will not discover in the school system. They need you to help them.

As the Vietnamese monk, Thich Naht Hahn, says, "The path is the goal." Today, recommit yourself to discovering your own path and helping your children do the same. It will be one of the best investments you've ever made.

To help you on your journey of discovery join our free, financial education community here.
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Personalised Nutrition Unravels Why You Are What You Eat

Nutrition (Susan von Struensee)
by Charlotte Martin, University of Newcastle

The father of western medicine Hippocrates famously said: “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, arguing disease was not a punishment from the gods, but the consequence of a poor diet.

Today, we know that lifestyle and environment interact with diet to affect our health.

And we are increasingly recognising particular nutrients at key phases in our lives are not only essential to metabolism, but are also required in defined amounts if we are to reduce the risk of early and late-life diseases.

This approach, called personalised nutrition, results from genome sequencing and has provided a new perspective on nutritional advice by helping us understand the unique nutritional requirements of each individual.

My area of research is called nutritional genetics, a component of the “omics” field known as nutrigenomics. Simply, this area analyses genetic variations found in human DNA called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Almost all (99.9%) of human DNA is the same and SNPs represent the remaining 0.01%.

These single nucleotide polymorphisms are the most common type of genetic variation and account for approximately ten million in the human genome. Some of these variations have no effect while others are known to be very important for health status and disease risk.

Scientists working in the area of nutritional genetics look at how these genetic variations affect the body’s interaction with nutrients. The underlying basis of this is what we typically call a “gene-nutrient interaction”.

The variations can affect gene function, altering the way nutrients are metabolised. This can have a detrimental effect on the body, influencing human phenotype - the observable, physical characteristic of a person.

Changes to phenotype may be related to human behaviour, physiological characteristics or vulnerability to disease.

One example of gene-nutrient interaction can be found in cases of vitamin deficiencies. A vitamin deficiency can be caused by either insufficient intake, or by the body’s ability to metabolise it because of a genetic variation - via the action of an SNP.

Nutritional requirements vary between individuals and at different stages of life. Certain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are important during early growth and development, throughout childhood and into adolescence.

Later in life, adequate nutrition is required to reduce the risk of chronic degenerative disorders. This means many clinical phenotypes (such as diseases) at either end of your life could originate from inadequate vitamin intake or variation in their dependant genes.

Nutrigenomic research ultimately aims to unravel the interactions between nutrients and genes, to provide a more thorough understanding of their impact on human health. It holds the potential to provide better nutritional advice not only to the public, but to medical practitioners, nutritionists and dietitians.

The idea behind personalised nutrition is that individuals vary in their nutrient metabolism and response to diet.

So, the same diet followed by one person may result in good health and quality of life, but may cause ill health in another. This difference is likely due to genetic variations, which means we can design interventions to overcome genetic disease risk.

Nutrigenomics aims to untangle the interactions between nutrients and genes that impact human health by acting as risk factors for major diseases. This includes cancers and cardiovascular diseases, which have now reached epidemic proportions.

This makes it an absorbing field of research that may one day reveal the true influence of genes and nutrition on human well-being.

Charlotte Martin does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why We Regress to 5 Year-Olds Under Stress

stressed and worried
Stressed and worried (Wikipedia)
by Casey L. Truffo

Here's an easy question: The last - or most memorable - time you said something hurtful you came to regret, were you basically feeling calm or were you feeling stressed out?

So often, when we lash out at a spouse, partner or family member, stress is a factor.

It may well start with a legitimate grievance, but add into the mix a bad day, a bad headache or other underlying stressors, and suddenly mature adults can regress to five-year-old-tantrums and all.

We all know children act out when they're tired, hungry or mad that someone is hogging a favorite toy. But many also experience stress far more serious than missing naptime.

It could be parents divorcing, a serious illness in the family, bullying at school, or any number of circumstances that threaten a child's sense of security and feelings of lovability.

When it comes to adults, here's where stress can get really sneaky: it can take us back to those times when we felt stressed as a child, and we may regress to childlike responses. When your boss is critical of your work, it might remind you of a parent who never seemed to fully accept you.

When your own child has trouble at school, it might remind you of similar situations you experienced. It can add up to make you feel vulnerable, lose perspective and regress to a more childlike state.

One result could be that when you go home and find your spouse forgot to pick up the milk at the store, you don't think, "Oh, well. We can do without for one day."

Instead, you might actually feel that the household is falling apart while suspecting him or her of not caring enough to do what you asked - and lash out as a result.

Of course, your frustration has next to nothing to do with a jug of milk, but in the moment neither you nor your partner realizes that, so a very minor complaint can spiral into a full-blown fight. If it happens repeatedly, it can cause real damage to a relationship.

The healthy response - one worth practicing - is to identify stress as the monster-in-hiding that it is, and when either person in a relationship seems to be overreacting to minor problems or otherwise regressing to five-year-old behavior, both need to back off.

If you are the one feeling stressed out, take time to calm down, think about the current sources of stress in your life, put them in perspective and identify actions you can take to mitigate them.

Did your boss really reject your proposal, or just offer some constructive criticism? Is a teacher really out to get your kid, or is she simply stricter than last year's? This will help bring you back to the present and stop the five-year-old tantrum in its tracks.

It can also help to talk with a trained therapist who can help you work through stress you experienced as a child and make you more aware the next time it rears its ugly ahead. This way, you can react more calmly to future adult stressors that are, unfortunately, inevitable.

Understanding, coping with and mitigating stress are among the most important steps you can take to feel better, enjoy your relationships more and improve your overall health and mood. Then you can keep tantrums where they belong - in the nursery.

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Letting Go of People Pleasing

Description unavailable
(Photo credit: dno1967b)
by Victoria Ayres

I heard something powerful recently by author, Eckhart Tolle that said something along the lines of: "Not everybody is going to like you, nor do you need them to like you."

I forget exactly how he worded it, but I had a light bulb moment with that.

I had heard that first part before, but never really considered the idea of the second part, that I didn't need anyone to like me.

It's okay to just relax and be myself without anyone else's approval.

I have been a big time people pleaser for the majority of my adult life.

I would morph what I said and how I acted according to who I was with, and would usually agree with people, so that they'd like me.

I realized not too long ago just how much I was doing this, and just how exhausting it was. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be super nice and have people like me that I began to notice just how fake I was.

I so wanted other people's approval, and yet so many times this inauthenticity would end up pushing them away anyway. I would prefer to be alone rather than with others because then I wouldn't have to be concerned about putting on this big, exhausting show for people and having them like me.

Your situation may be to a greater or lesser degree than mine, but I do feel like people pleasing runs pretty rampant with people.

What really has helped me to work through this is to first of all just have the awareness of this people pleasing tendency. By shining the light of awareness on anything, it starts the healing process.

I began to observe myself in action and noticed just how uptight I would get with others with the exception of a select few who are closest to me.

I then began to practice being truly present when I was with another person, and would practice giving them my full attention rather than focusing on what I was going to say next or how awkward I felt.

This gave them the space to just be and I could relax into the moment with them. If I found my mind beginning to steer away from the present, I would just bring it back. Taking conscious breaths helps, too, with just staying centered in the moment.

Letting go of people pleasing means accepting yourself. We don't think that who we naturally are is good enough, so we put on a show. When there is a desire to have everyone else's approval, it is because we're not accepting ourselves.

When you feel pure love inside for your own being and everyone else's, you realize that everyone is perfect just as they are.

I also came to the conclusion that I would just practice being where I am at with people without pretending like I'm so perfect. If they liked it great, and if they didn't then that's fine, too.

What I was doing before certainly didn't do me a whole lot of good, so why not just practice being where I am at with people, and see what that does for me. So far, no one has run away screaming, and in fact, my relationships are so much more authentic.

It has helped me to feel more relaxed when I'm around others to just practice being. It's really all about being in acceptance of one's self: all of it, every last, so-called apparent flaw.

When I embrace those things, it's funny how what doesn't serve me just naturally falls away and my inner beauty is allowed to shine through.

Victoria Ayres is a Certified Life Coach and writer. Her services are available via phone, Skype, and in-person. Visit or email her at for more information. Follow her on Facebook at and Twitter at #VictoriaAyres11.

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Asking Empowering Questions Triggers Personal Growth and Development

English: Emphasising choice in decision making...
Emphasising choice in decision making as a tool for achievement and empowerment (Wikipedia)
by Margaret Edith Boucher

Your Brain Functions by Asking Questions

Your brain is continually active, weighing up everything it sees and experiences in order to come up with what is important and needs attention, and what it can "delete".

If you are not consciously focusing on anything, your brain will slip over into automatic mode and simply absorb and assess life from what it is receiving through hearing and seeing.

It will be picking up a lot of random and useless things. You could be limiting not only your resources, but your personal growth by allowing this.

The Questions You Ask Reveal Where Your Focus Is.

You can quickly discover what you are focusing on by becoming aware of the questions you are asking. Change your focus on purpose, and you will automatically come up with a different set of questions and answers.

Use this ability to choose empowering instead of dis-empowering questions. You have to do it on purpose.

Limiting Questions Keep You Where You Are

One of the most limiting questions you can ask when life is not running smoothly, is, "Why me?" or something similar. This sets a whole train of questions and answers from the memories stored in your brain.

You will find that all the negative things and situations you have ever experienced in the past will come to mind. Your brain will always look for answers to the specific questions you ask. Your brain tries to legitimize your questions with the stored data available.

The result will be that you will come up with answers such as, "I don't deserve any better", "I always fail at this/get into trouble", "I haven't got what it takes". These questions provide answers from the PAST.

You can do nothing about your past, so nothing is changed, or will change, except you might fall into depression.

Empowering Questions Prompt Responsibility, Initiative and Growth

Empowering questions take the data of the present, consider your past experiences, but look to the FUTURE for new answers.

You will come up with positive things you can take out of any situation and you will also come up with ideas about how to use bad circumstances or seeming disadvantages for your growth and advantage.

Ask things like, "What can I learn from this?" "How can I use this to make me a better person?" "How can this help me?" "What can I do to change this?" Your brain will provide you with many answers and possibilities every time.


Your brain is the best tool for growth you have. Take charge of your thinking. You need to become very conscious of the questions your brain is asking, they reveal what you are focusing on.

If the questions are dis-empowering, change the questions consciously and you will start getting empowering answers. Your growth and personal development are directly related to the questions you are asking. Take responsibility for your own thoughts and turn your life around.

Personal growth and development are very important to me. I am a member of a company who help people to grow personally in every area of their lives. Any success or prosperity begins in the mind.

It is your own mind that comes up with resourceful and empowering answers which in turn enable you to reach your potential. When your mind is empowered, you will find everything else follows.

That is why we focus a lot on development of the mind. Visit if you would like to learn more.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Balance: Knowing When To Speak And When Not To Speak

English: National Equality March participant s...
Sometimes actions speak louder than words (Wikipedia)
by Stanley F Bronstein

A Quote From Lao Tsu's - Tao Te Ching

Those who know don't speak. Those who speak don't know.

Close your mouth, dull your senses, smooth what's sharp, untie all tangles, shut out all glare, wipe away all dust.
This is your real Self.

Be on Heaven's Way without desires or dislikes, benefit or harm, honor or disgrace. This is being Heaven's highest, for one under Heaven.

I'd like to provide a few definitions before analyzing the quote.

Knowing is to perceive or understand clearly and with certainty. To be cognizant or aware of. Speaking is to communicate vocally or in written or printed words. Your senses are any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli.

Real represents things that are true, not merely ostensible or apparent. Being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary. Highest is the point beyond which further advancement is impossible.

What Does This Quote Mean?

To me, the quote reflects the predominant characteristic I've seen so far in my readings / reviews of the Chinese Classics.

It once again talks about BALANCE. The interesting thing is that it does NOT talk about balance itself. It simply talks about the highs and the lows and then suggests that neither is the best way to proceed. In other words, it talks about BALANCE.

Balance is a state of equilibrium. It is a mental steadiness or emotional stability. Personally, based upon my life experiences, I think one of the characteristics of living a balanced life is NOT necessarily to live in the middle.

This is where I potentially disagree with all of the Chinese Classics. I believe that sometimes, it is important that we live on the edges.

Sometimes we have to be hard; sometimes we have to be soft.
Sometimes we have to be loud; sometimes we have to be quiet.
Sometimes we need to be angry; sometimes we need to understanding.

I'm suggesting that we can't always live our lives IN THE MIDDLE. Sometimes we need to be high and sometimes we need to be low.

But, we need to be aware of what we are doing - our choices need to be ones that were consciously made.

In other words, if you want to be hard, do so because you decided (consciously) that was the best thing for you to do. If you want to be soft, do so because you decided (again consciously) that was the best thing for you to do.

The same thing applies to speaking in given situations. Sometimes we need to speak and sometimes we need to refrain from speaking. Sometimes we need to listen and sometimes we need to refrain from listening.

In other words, we need to be balanced.

Stanley Bronstein is the author of 7 books, 6 of which are in the area of personal development. His latest project, was the creation of the intensive course SuperChangeYourLife

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