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The Parable Of The Spoons (A Beautiful Story)
A holy man was having a conversation
with the Lord one day and said, "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven
and Hell are like. "The Lord led the holy man to two doors.
opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of
the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a
large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth
The people sitting around the table were thin and
sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with
very long handles and each found it
possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle
longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their
mouths.. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and
suffering. The Lord said, "You have seen Hell."
They went to the
next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first
one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which
made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same
long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and
plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, "I don't understand."
is simple" said the Lord, "it requires but one skill. You see, they
have learned to feed each other. While the greedy think only of
Yahoo! Answers - Get better answers from someone who knows. Try
I believe every person has within themselves inexhaustible reserves
of potential they have never even come close to realizing.
I believe each person has far more intelligence than they have ever
I believe each person is more creative than he or she has ever
I believe the greatest achievements of your life lie ahead of you.
I believe the happiest moments of your life are yet to come.
I believe the greatest successes you will ever attain are still
waiting for you on the road ahead.
And, I believe through learning and application of what you learn,
you can solve any problem, overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal
that you can set for yourself.
Applaud the tiniest of successes.
Share your own experiences.
Talk often about their goals.
Support them during difficult times.
Send letters and notes of encouragement.
Buy little gifts as rewards.
Keep track of their record.
© by Cyndi Haynes
From "The Book Of Change"
It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong;
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the one that shines through tears.
It is easy enough to be prudent
When nothing tempts you to stray,
When without or within no voice of sin
Is luring your soul away;
But it's only a negative virtue
Until it is tried by fire,
And the life that is worth the honor of earth
Is the one that resists desire.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of
humor. Here are some logged maintenance complaints by QANTAS pilots
and the corrective action recorded by mechanics. And by the way,
Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.
(P stands for the problem the pilots entered in the log, and S
stands for the corrective action taken by the mechanics.)
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto land very rough.
S: Auto land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on backorder.
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're there for!
P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windscreen.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing. (note: this was for a piston-engine
airplane; the pilot meant the engine was not running smoothly)
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed radar with words.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
From Philip Humbert's newsletter
The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a
process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating
yourself anew. Seek, therefore not to find out who you are, seek to
determine who you want to be.
- Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations With God
I thought you would enjoy this recent article from the Wall Street Journal.
A Beloved Professor Delivers The Lecture of a Lifetime
September 20, 2007;
Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues.
He motioned to them to sit down. "Make me earn it," he said.
They had come to see him give what was billed as his "last lecture." This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?
It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O'Connor recently titled her lecture "Get Over Yourself." At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled "Desire," spoke about sex and technology.
At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.
He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living. If anyone expected him to be morose, he said, "I'm sorry to disappoint you." He then dropped to the floor and did one-handed pushups.
Randy Pausch and his three children, ages 5, 2 and 1.
Clicking through photos of himself as a boy, he talked about his childhood dreams: to win giant stuffed animals at carnivals, to walk in zero gravity, to design Disney rides, to write a World Book entry. By adulthood, he had achieved each goal. As proof, he had students carry out all the huge stuffed animals he'd won in his life, which he gave to audience members. After all, he doesn't need them anymore.
He paid tribute to his techie background. "I've experienced a deathbed conversion," he said, smiling. "I just bought a Macintosh." Flashing his rejection letters on the screen, he talked about setbacks in his career, repeating: "Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things." He encouraged us to be patient with others. "Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you." After showing photos of his childhood bedroom, decorated with mathematical notations he'd drawn on the walls, he said: "If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it."
While displaying photos of his bosses and students over the years, he said that helping others fulfill their dreams is even more fun than achieving your own. He talked of requiring his students to create videogames without sex and violence. "You'd be surprised how many 19-year-old boys run out of ideas when you take those possibilities away," he said, but they all rose to the challenge.
He also saluted his parents, who let him make his childhood bedroom his domain, even if his wall etchings hurt the home's resale value. He knew his mom was proud of him when he got his Ph.D, he said, despite how she'd introduce him: "This is my son. He's a doctor, but not the kind who helps people."
He then spoke about his legacy. Considered one of the nation's foremost teachers of videogame and virtual-reality technology, he helped develop "Alice," a Carnegie Mellon software project that allows people to easily create 3-D animations. It had one million downloads in the past year, and usage is expected to soar.
"Like Moses, I get to see the Promised Land, but I don't get to step foot in it," Dr. Pausch said. "That's OK. I will live on in Alice."
Many people have given last speeches without realizing it. The day before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke prophetically: "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place." He talked of how he had seen the Promised Land, even though "I may not get there with you."
Dr. Pausch's lecture, in the same way, became a call to his colleagues and students to go on without him and do great things. But he was also addressing those closer to his heart.
Near the end of his talk, he had a cake brought out for his wife, whose birthday was the day before. As she cried and they embraced on stage, the audience sang "Happy Birthday," many wiping away their own tears.
Dr. Pausch's speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they're older. His last words in his last lecture were simple: "This was for my kids." Then those of us in the audience rose for one last standing ovation.
Write to Jeffrey Zaslow at
What were you put on earth to do? That's a mind-blowing question,
because most people don't know the answer. Lots of folks get up, go
to work, come home, eat dinner, sit in front of the television and go
to sleep. That´s their day. That is not anyone's purpose in life.
That's not a life at all.
Don't get me wrong! I'm not throwing blame or fault. In most cases,
they probably don't know any better. This was how their parents lived
each day; this was how they grew up. Maybe they think this is it;
this is all life has to offer.
Well, I'm here to sound the wake-up call.
There's a great scene in the movie "The Matrix" between Morpheus, a
mentor, and Neo, his student. Neo has just woken up and discovered
that what he thought was reality was just a world 'that had been
pulled over his eyes to shield him from the truth.' Morpheus wants
Neo to let go of what he used to think of as "reality," his mundane,
day-to-day existence, where his true purpose was neither recognized
nor realized. I want you to create a new world, a new reality, where
you recognize that you have a purpose for being on this planet, and
realize that your purpose is waiting for you to figure it out.
If you don't know your purpose, then your first purpose is to get a
When you look at the lives of the most successful people who ever
lived, you can see that they had a definite purpose and they knew it.
Some examples are:
Christ; His purpose was spiritual, and stated in
John 10:10, which reads: "...I am come that you might have life, and
that you might have it more abundantly."
Walt Disney's purpose: "To make people happy."
Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller's purpose: "Humanity's comprehensive
welfare on spaceship earth."
Henry Ford's purpose: "To mass produce, mass distribute and have cars
Andrew Carnegie's purpose: "To manufacture and market steel."
Mother Teresa's purpose: "To care for and comfort the poor, sick and
needy all over the world."
I don't want you to confuse a purpose with a goal. Goals are great! I
teach goal setting, and believe it is crucial to achieving any kind
of success. But goals alone, left by themselves, can be
indiscriminate and undirected. We can have hundreds of goals (and I
hope you do), but we may only have one purpose that we work for our
entire life. That purpose should be the underlying core that gives
our goals direction and meaning.
Discovering your purpose will put your life into crystal-clear
perspective. You won't see the world you once knew. You will see
another world, one in which you are a necessary and intricate spoke
in the wheel.
The saddest places on earth are graveyards. Not because people are
buried there, but because dreams, talents and purposes that never
came to fruition are buried there. Graveyards are filled with books
that were never written, songs that were never sung, words that were
never spoken, things that were never done.
You have talents and gifts that no one else can offer. There are
things you can do that no one else is capable of doing quite the way
YOU can do them. Don't rob this earth of your purpose by taking it to
the grave with you. You see, we all have a purpose, a reason for
living, breathing and existing. We all have unique talents and gifts
that were created and given to us to be shared. Our task is to
understand this and figure out what our purpose is. We owe it to the
Universe AND to ourselves!
"You will become as small as your controlling desire, or as great as
your dominant aspiration."
Mark Victor Hansen
A generation ago there were a thousand men to every opportunity...
while today there are a thousand opportunities to every man.
- Henry Ford
The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking
- Will Rogers
A customer not served is a customer not deserved.
- Ron Kaufman
Beauty in a good woman is like fire at a distance or a sharp
sword; the one does not burn, or the other wound, those who
come not too close.
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good
- Mark Twain
I just watched a beautiful and powerful presentation that really touched me and I wanted to share it with you. I'm sure you'll enjoy the breathtaking images and the inspiring message.
You can check it out here: http://www.simpletruths.com/a.aspx?mo=stsr&t=2&af=346
Enjoy your day,
S. N. Jain
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't
- mark Twain
Reflect upon your blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on
your past misfortunes, of which all men have some
- Charles Dickens
Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large
fire is enhanced by it - likewise a weak faith is weakened by
predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened
- Viktor E. Frankl
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
- Winston Churchill
We cannot choose how we enter this world, but we can decide how we
are going to leave it.
At Christmas time, men and women everywhere gather in their churches
to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But
the story I like best to recall was not a huge miracle -- not
It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old.
Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its
pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped
there and built it beautifully. Now, the good days had passed from
the section of town where it stood. But the pastor and his young wife
believed in their run-down church. They felt that with hard work and
lots of faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.
But, late in December, a severe storm whipped through the river
valley, and the worst blow fell on the church -- a huge chunk of rain-
soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar.
Sorrowfully the pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they
couldn't hide the ragged hole.
The pastor looked at it and had to remind himself quickly, "Thy will
be done!" But his wife wept, "Christmas is only two days away!"
That afternoon the dispirited couple attended the auction held for
the benefit of a youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook
out of its folds a gloriously beautiful, very ornately sewn, gold and
ivory lace tablecloth.
It was a magnificent item, nearly 15 feet long. But it, too, dated
from a long vanished era. Who, today, had any use for such a thing?
There were a few halfhearted bids. Then the pastor was seized with
what he thought was a great idea.
He bid it in for $6.50.
He carried the glorious gold and ivory lace cloth back to the church
and very carefully put it up on the wall behind the altar. It
completely hid the hole! And the extraordinary beauty of its
shimmering handwork cast a fine, holiday glow over the chancel. It
was a great triumph. Happily he went back to preparing his Christmas
Just before noon on the day of Christmas Eve, as the pastor was
opening the church, he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the
bus stop. "The bus won't be here for 40 minutes!" he called, and
invited her into the church to get warm.
She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be
interviewed for a job as governess to the children of one of the
wealthy families in town but she had been turned down. A Jewish war
refugee, her English was imperfect.
The woman sat down in a pew and chafed her hands and rested. After a
while she dropped her head and prayed. She looked up and saw the
great gold and ivory cloth. She rose suddenly and walked up the steps
of the chancel.
She looked at the beautiful tablecloth with remembering eyes.
The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage, but
she didn't seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth and
lovingly rubbed it between her fingers, tears welled in her kind
eyes. But they were happy tears of recognition.
"It is mine!" she said. "It is my banquet cloth!" She lifted up a
corner and showed the surprised pastor that there were initials
monogrammed on it. "My husband had the cloth made especially for me
in Brussels! There could not be another like it."
For the next few minutes the woman and the pastor talked excitedly
together. She explained that she was Viennese; that being Jews, she
and her husband wanted to flee from the Nazis. They were advised to
go separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They
planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship
their household goods across the border. She never saw him again.
Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.
"I have always felt that it was my fault -- to leave without him,"
she said. "Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment!"
The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the beautiful
cloth with her. But she refused saying, "no, no, the cloth has found
it's way to you. You need it. It has a purpose here. I want you to
have it. I am happy knowing you have it."
She gazed lovingly up at the magnificent gold and ivory lace cloth,
then quietly went away.
As the church began to fill on Christmas Eve, it was clear that the
magnificent cloth was going to be a great success. It had been
skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight.
The glorious gold and ivory lace cloth actually glowed in the
candlelight! It cast lovely fine designs on the walls and ceiling of
the church. Everyone looked around in wonderment, and a tranquil
ambiance was cast over all.
After the service, the pastor stood at the doorway. Many people told
him that the church looked more beautiful than ever before.
From the generous donations that were given, a few days later the
pastor had the local jeweler who was also the clock-and-watch
repairman come to repair the church chimes.
The repairman's gentle middle-aged face drew into a look of great
astonishment! As if in a trance he walked right up to the beautiful
cloth and looked intently!
"It is strange," he said in his soft accent. "Many years ago my wife -
God rest her -- and I owned such a cloth. My wife put it on the
table" -- and here he gave a big smiled -- "for holidays and when the
Rabbi came to dinner."
The pastor suddenly became very excited. He told the jeweler about
the woman who had been in church to get warm, saw the cloth, and
recognized it to be hers! The startled jeweler clutched the pastor's
arm. "Can it be?" he said through desperate tears.
Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed the
women for the governess position, got her address, then they both
drove to the city.
The jeweler knocked on the heavy, weathered, door. As it opened,
there stood his beloved wife. The many years of separation were
immediately washed away by their blissfully tears, as they held each
other in loving embraces, never to be parted again. True love seems
to find a way.
To all who hear this story, the joyful purpose of the storm was to
have knocked a hole in the wall of the church.
So Dear Ones, the next time something knocks a hole in your dreams,
your goals - Just remember to have enough faith, enough belief in
those dreams and goals, to lovingly and creatively hang your own
brilliant lace cloth over the temporary mar. Then watch the miracles
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This story was originally written by Howard C. Schade for the
December 1954 issue of Reader's Digest.
A very happy and successful new year to everyone!
We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing
up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year,
to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our
lives... not looking for flaws,but for potential.
- Ellen Goodman
Beware of dissipating your powers;strive constantly to concentrate
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
What good does it do to continually point out peoples' faults? Do
they improve as a result? No. Well then, from now on try to
concentrate instead on the immortal, eternal, divine Principle
that also lives within them, and work to develop sacred feelings
for this divine Principle. You will help them, and you will do
some good work on yourself as well. But when you focus on
others' failings, you do yourself harm. You feed yourself
rubbish, and you also prevent others from evolving. Don't be
surprised if you feel lonely as a result. By criticizing others
and emphasizing their weaknesses and shortcomings, you only
create a gulf between them and yourself.
Through your soul and your spirit, learn to relate to all the
souls and spirits on earth. When the best in you meets the best
in others, believe me, you will never again feel lonely.
- Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.
- Charles M. Shulz
The measure of a man is what he does with his power.
Do not measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what
you should have accomplished with your ability.
- John Wooden
Look at life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror.
- Byrd Baggett
Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a
– Samuel Johnson
There is a free e-booklet at TheLuckFactor.com on improving your luck.
Simple but effective steps!Enjoy reading!
(It is a large file and needs a fast internet connection.)
A telescope will magnify a star a thousand times,
but a good press agent can do even better.
- Fred Allen
The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie
about your age!
"He who overcomes others has force;
he who overcomes himself is strong."
- Lao Tzu
"There are two great medicines: diet and self-control."
— Oscar Maximilian Bircher-Benner
"The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal,
the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our
subconscious, will direct us along the path to its
- Earl Nightingale
11 Powerful Ways to Expand Your Life This Year in 2008
By Jim Cathcart CSP, CPAE
1. Define your future.
Describe the life you'd like to live. The future you see defines the
person you'll need to be. Identify the traits and qualities you'd
like to acquire. Think bigger than yourself. An acorn that only
thinks as an acorn will never become a mighty oak. Stretch yourself.
You are undoubtedly capable of more than you ever dreamed is possible
2. Become the person who would achieve your goals.
As you develop the skills, knowledge, relationships and demeanor of
the 'future you,' your goals will be the natural byproduct of your
growth. Spend an extra hour each day in the study of your chosen
3. Give more than you must.
Nothing advances until somebody does more than they are paid to do.
Always deliver more value than others expect. Don't require others to
acknowledge your generosity. Give with 'class.'
4. Make time for what you love.
If you don't live fully, you deny the world your potential
contributions. Your 'play' sometimes contributes as much as
your 'work.' What you love reveals the value you bring to the world.
5. Refine your Inner Circle.
We define ourselves through our key relationships. Explore the mix
and depth of those with whom you spend most of your time. Release
those who limit you and connect with those who can help you live more
6. Resolve your unfinished business.
Either deal with it or discard it. Say your apologies, face your
fears, pay your debts, express your gratitude and get on with living.
Don't let yesterday drain value from today and tomorrow. Break out of
the limited world of your past and start to grow.
7. Rethink existing habits and routines.
Describe your typical day and then reconsider every aspect of it.
Change or expand the places you go, people you see, things you do,
and the time you devote to each. Try new things. Learn a new
language, go someplace different, do some things you'd typically pass
by. Find out what your possibilities really are.
8. Lighten up.
Stop stressing over things that only matter to you emotionally. When
life isn't fair to you, get over it quickly. Take your misfortunes
as 'course corrections' rather than 'catastrophes.' Let go so you can
9. Tighten up.
Sloppiness in life allows more variables to creep in and spoil your
plans. Stay on target, increase your self-discipline, master the art
of self-motivation. Sometimes details matter a lot.
10. Profile yourself.
Keep a journal of your goals, concerns, fears, and dreams. Review it
at least once a year. Look for patterns that reveal your core values,
natural velocity, natural intelligence and recurring situations.
Realize how life ebbs and flows for you. Notice the natural cycles of
life. Know yourself.
11. Invest in yourself.
Set aside a portion of each year's income to acquire new tools and
teachers to increase your potential. Refine your systems, get expert
coaching, attend special conferences, cultivate a study group,
appoint a board of advisors. You are your only true asset. Send part
of today ahead to the person you'll be in the future.
Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE, is an award-winning speaker, author, and
Toastmasters International 2001 Golden Gavel Award Winner.
One day all the employees reached the office and saw a big advice on
the door on which was written:
Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this
company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room
that has been prepared in the gym.
In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their
colleagues, but after a while they started getting curious to know
who was that man who hindered the growth of his colleagues and the
company itself. The excitement in the gym was such that security
agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more
people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up.
Everyone thought: 'Who is this guy who was hindering my progress?
Well, at least he died!'.
One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when
they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless. They stood
near the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched
the deepest part of their soul.
There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it
could see himself.
There was also a sign next to the mirror that said:
'There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your
growth: it is YOU. You are the only person who can revolutionize your
life. You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your
realization and your success. You are the only person who can help
Your life does not change when your friends change, when your parents
change, when your boss changes, when your company changes. Your life
changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs,
when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.
The most important relationship you can have is the one you have with
Examine yourself, watch yourself.
Don't be afraid of difficulties, impossibilities and losses: be a
winner, build yourself and your reality. It's the way you face Life
that makes the difference.
The most practical, beautiful, workable philosophy won't work- if you
- Zig Ziglar
Make it a bad moment, not a bad day.
- Katherine Mylius
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak;
courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
- Winston Churchill
Hugging has no unpleasant side effects and is all natural.
There are no batteries to replace,
it's inflation-proof and non-fattening
with no monthly payments.
It's non-taxable, non-polluting,
and is, of course, fully refundable.
- Author Unknown
The best doctors are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.
- Jonathan Swift
In order to jump forward,
you first have to take a step back.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times,
always with the same person.
- Mignon McLaughlin
Thomas Aquinas once said, "No one can live without joy." But many
people try. And the reason is often simply because they don't know how
to be happy! They are so intent on the three P's - power, prosperity
and prestige - that they miss out on joy.
Try to imagine this picture. It is a photograph taken by Henri
Cartier-Bresson, who pioneered modern photography as an art form
during the early decades of the 20th Century. He became known for his
photographs of apparent contradictions: pictures that left mysteries
One of his famous photographs was shot in a poor section of Spain in
the 1930s. The picture depicts a run-down alley surrounded by decaying
walls, strewn with rubble randomly stacked in thick piles lying on the
street, and riddled with bullet holes dotting gray walls. The setting
alone evokes feelings of sadness and despair.
But then...the contradiction. Within the grim alley children are
playing. They wear dirty and tattered clothes, as one might expect in
such a setting, but like playing children everywhere, they laugh with
carefree joy. In the foreground, a tiny boy on crutches hobbles away
from two other boys, his face lit up with a broad grin. One boy is
laughing so hard he has to hold his side. Others lean on the cracked
walls, beaming with delight.
It is easy to spot the contrast - and the point. Joy amidst the rubble
of life. Laughter amongst life's ruins.
We cannot avoid pain, however hard we try. But we can avoid joy. We
cannot escape hardship and trouble, but we can miss out on
much of life's peace and laughter.
If you feel as if you could use more joy, try this:
* Spend time daily doing something you enjoy.
* Do those things that bring inner peace.
* Learn to laugh heartily and frequently.
* Cultivate an attitude of hope.
* Fill each day with as much love as it can possibly hold.
You'll still have plenty of problems, but through it all, you'll find
all you joy you will ever need.
By Steve Goodier
In India we have a story about a man who was the perfect model of
respectability, who always did what the letter of the law demanded.
When he died, he was taken before the cosmic auditor. The auditor
looked at the man's record. There was not a single entry on the debit
page. The auditor was impressed. Then he turned to the credit page
and stared in astonishment. This page, too, was completely blank. He
didn't know what to do. The man had never helped anybody; never hurt
anybody; never offended anybody; never loved anybody. He couldn't be
sent to heaven, but he couldn't be sent to hell, either.
So the cosmic keeper of the books took him to the god of creation,
and said, "You made this guy. What shall I do with him?"
The Creator looked at the statute books and couldn't find a precedent
to cover the case. And since this is a Hindu story, he said, "Take
him to Krishna."
Krishna said, "The buck stops here." He examined the record very
carefully and there, almost illegible, was an ancient credit
entry: "Gave two cents to a beggar at the age of six." "There," Sri
Krishna said, "return his two cents and send him back to earth to try
again." Until we have learned to give freely of ourselves, we have
not learned how to live.
Eknath Easwaran's Thought for the Day on 5th March 2008
The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can
do him absolutely no good.
- Ann Landers
If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away
from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
- Benjamin Franklin
Whatever your past has been, you have a spotless future.
- Melanie Gustafson
It is not falling into the water, but lying in it, that drowns.
Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
- George Bernard Shaw
They've figured it out in India
Stuck in Mumbai traffic last week, you couldn't help but notice it:
billboards across the city boldly proclaiming that "Infrastructure
will change India." And not just billboards. In conversations with
some clients there, many of them were talking excitedly about their
own commitment to creating infrastructure as a critical component to
You need infrastructure too.
It's not just cities and countries that need infrastructure. You do
Even if you're deeply committed to doing Great Work, you can only get
so far on sheer grit and determination. Without structures to
support you, Great Work is not sustainable and will leave you not
only exhausted, but also less successful than you want to be.
Here's why. Infrastructure gives you two things:
==> Increased efficiency
Infrastructure allows you to do the necessary Good Work faster and
more efficiently. That's important, because Good Work can fill every
waking moment unless you have the discipline to manage it.
Infrastructure frees up time and space for you to focus on your
==> Increased capacity
Great Work is always a stretch, will always take you to the edge of
what's possible. Infrastructure expands and increases your capacity,
so that your definition of success can be more ambitious.
Action: Three ways to build infrastructure
Here are three different approaches to infrastructure.
To make them real for you, think about one of the projects you're
working on, a project that is (or has the capacity to be) Great Work.
0. What does success look like?
==> Before you start building, you need to know where you're going.
==> Think not just "completed". But bold, ambitious success.
1. Who else matters in this?
==> You can't do Great Work alone. Infrastructure = having the right
people to provide support (logistical, emotional, intellectual).
==> What new connections do you need to make?
==> Where have you been "over investing" in the relationship?
2. What's too personal?
==> We can default to a position of "I need to do this personally" -
sometimes just from habit or for the sake of being busy.
==> If you had to automate (or partially automate) this process, what
would you do?
==> What can be delegated to someone else?
3. What process is way too slow?
==> Einstein said "things should be as simple as possible, but no
==> Typically, we have a gift for over-complicating things - and
slowing them down.
==> Where's the friction? Put your focus on the two or three places
that are creating jams.
==> If you had to cut the timing for this process in half, what would
Don't take my word for it
Smart folks thinking out loud about building infrastructure.
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost.
That is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
-Henry David Thoreau, philosopher
"When one puts up a building one makes an elaborate scaffold to get
everything into its proper place. But when one takes the scaffold
down, the building must stand by itself with no trace of the means by
which it was erected. That is how a musician should work."
-Andres Segovia, musician
"The most solid stone in the structure is the lowest one in the
- Kahlil Gibran, author
This article is from the newsletter of:
Michael Bungay Stanier
Every single blade of grass,
And every flake of snow--
Is just a wee bit different ...
There's no two alike, you know.
From something small, like grains of sand,
To each gigantic star
All were made with THIS in mind:
To be just what they are!
How foolish then, to imitate--
How useless to pretend!
Since each of us comes from a MIND
Whose ideas never end.
There'll only be just ONE of ME
To show what I can do--
And you should likewise feel very proud,
There's only ONE of YOU.
That is where it all starts
With you, a wonderful
unlimited human being.
James T. Moore
My college roommate and I decided to decorate our dormitory bedroom.
We thought that colored lights would be perfect. But having none, we
painted all of our light bulbs red. When we switched the lights back
on, the room shone with a dark and eerie blood-red glow.
I learned a couple of things about painted light bulbs that semester.
I learned, first, that one can't study by eerie, red lighting. Not
that studying was the highest priority for college freshmen, but the
dark red bulbs were more of a distraction than an aid.
And very quickly I learned something else. Paint burns. Smoke from our
lamps and lighting fixtures sent us outside gasping for breath.
Tinted bulbs may be nice to look at, but they don't cast much light.
We string colored lights as decoration. They are designed to call
attention to themselves, but never to light a room. We might say,
"Aren't they pretty?" Or we may say, "I see flashing colored lights
behind my car!" But we do not use them to illumine an area.
Clear lights, on the other hand, show off all that is nearby. We may
aim a directional light at a wall and exclaim, "What a lovely
painting!" Or we might switch on the lights in our home and comment,
"What a dirty bedroom." Clear lights illumine the world around them.
I wonder if people are like lights, too. Some seem to be colored
lights and draw attention to themselves. Others, the clear lights,
seem to shine on people in their midst.
We may say of one, "Isn't she smart? She always astounds me with her
brilliance." And of another we might say, "I always feel better when
he is around. He seems to know me. And he believes in me."
It is as if one shines so brilliantly that the room is filled with a
colorful, dazzling glow. But the other shines on those nearby, clearly
illuminating their goodness and virtues.
If I am to be a light in this world, I think I'll lose the paint.
Clear lights are best.
-- Steve Goodier
( This article is from Steve Goodier's newsletter)
The fragrance always remains on the ahnd that gives the rose.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
- Mother Teresa
We come nearest to the graet when we are great in humility.
- Rabindranath Tagore
Kindness is loving people more than they deserve.
Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after
swift but synthetic happiness.
- Abdul Kalam
If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient
- Issac Newton
The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.
- Leo Tolstoy
We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want
to live by each other's happiness, not by each others misery.
- Charlie Chaplin
Do yourself what you want others to do.
- Ramakrishna Paramhansa
Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible
- Dalai Lama
A great man is different from an emeinent one in that he is ready to
be the servant of the society.
- B R Ambedkar
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of
- Indira Gandhi
When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
- Ethopian proverb
There is little difference in people,
but that little difference makes a big difference.
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
- W. Clement Stone
Time is too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice;
But for those who love
Time is eternity.
You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday
all the time.
- Charles F. Kettering
When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future.
When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.
For many people an excuse is better than an achievement
because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you
having to prove yourself again in the future whereas an
excuse can last a lifetime.
- Eric Hoffer
If a task is once begun
Never leave it till it's done.
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well or not at all.
A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going
- Arnold Glasgow