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The Ego Cannot Proceed Without Restraints

The Ego Cannot Proceed Without Restraints

Frustrations May Indeed Be Acts of Genuine Love

Frustrations May Indeed Be Acts of Genuine Love The greatest of all arts is the art of love. We seek the well-being of those who are the objects of our affection. But how can we achieve this? Showering gifts on a child and allowing him to have his way at all times will not serve his well-being. It may even corrupt him and make him a mean and contemptible creature. On the other hand, thwarting him unduly may destroy his sense of security and cripple him emotionally for the rest of his life.

We need affection and the things it provides. However, affection is not a green light permitting the ego to proceed without restraints. It expresses itself in giving, but also in denying, in caressing but also in rebuking. The instinctive self-seeking of the child will grow into the irrational compulsions of the adult unless as a child he learns that his will was meant to have reason as its master. By reason, I mean that which teaches a man to walk through life with humility.

He who has never been frustrated will become an insufferable brat whatever his age. Occasional frustrations are good for the soul. We cannot live in a civilized society and give vent to all the impulses that exist in our natures. Some of them must be vetoed; some of them must be frustrated; and some must be vetoed and frustrated at particular moments. Thus parents who frustrate their children’s whims are not necessarily violating their love for them. In the right proportion, such frustrations may indeed be acts of genuine love.

What you will not find, all the same, is the one thing you are looking for your own happiness, peace of mind, and educated nature.

Politeness Should Be Reciprocally Valued

Politeness Should Be Reciprocally Valued We ourselves also have moments when our mental attitude to life is like this-moments when our profound humanity is awakened and manifests itself. A body weighed nicely before it is put into the fire, and then weighed again, will be found to be increased in weight very reasonably. Thus the old man, even against the vehemence of this regretful commotion of his life, and all the rest, will live happy: and be ought to value that happiness the more because he will owe it to his own discernment. So that any lady or gentleman of sense and liberalness, may, thus assisted, become self-governing physicians, and often save not only their own, but the life of a friend or of a fellow creature, when manifestly at the point of death—and when given over by even the best physicians. British author, editor, and social entrepreneur Dougald Hine once wrote,

A harnessing of desire such that to be a good economic citizen became to work hard today for a deferred reward and in that you lose the festive culture where a surplus is an excuse for an animal experience of a feast rather than a surplus being something that is rationally reinvested. … Victorian morality … is the playing out …. of the relationship between time and desire which is inaugurated by a economic culture which is orientated around deferred gratification. And then at a certain point of time in the developed countries to be a good economic citizen begins to shift from being a good producer to being a good consumer, so what you have is that you spend on your credit card today and worry about how you are going to pay for it tomorrow …. an abstract contortion between desire and time

Nobody learns anything if politeness is not reciprocally valued. Many arts have been tried to make saltwater fresh and potable; the welfare of which would be, that in long voyages, when a ship’s company wanted fresh water, they might make use of seawater as a very easy interchange, by freshening it according to art. Sometimes being modest about our ability to genuinely operate oeuvre every facet of our life is good; it means we can focus instead on reacting vigorously to life’s stochasticity. Therefore, humanity is awakened to serious rumination. The greatest object lesson in life is to know that even fools are right on sometimes. We tend to equate ourselves with others and to wonder if we have enough to proffer in a relationship. However, were the knowledge of religious belief merely wondering, though’ the conjecture must be allowed to be noble, yet less could be said of its importance. Much of this work is conducted without much cognizance of its particular failings, difficulties, and critiques.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Glimpses of History #10: Babylon

City of Babylon is the capital of Babylonia

Notwithstanding its lack of native stone or wood, Mesopotamia gave rise to noteworthy empires from crowded cities such as Babylon, Ur, Jericho, Samara and later Nineveh. Many of these empires are remembered as tyrannical (though of course records such as the Bible are history written by the vanquished).

Babylon was an important city-state of ancient Mesopotamia. Its remains can be found just south of Baghdad in present-day Iraq. Founded as a relatively small town around the beginning of the third millennium BCE, Babylon has been at the center of the rise and fall of a number of important dynasties and empires, including the Amorite, Hittite, Kassite, and Assyrian.

The City of Babylon is the capital of Babylonia and one of the most famous cities of antiquity. The ruins of the ancient city lie about 60 miles south of Baghdad, near the Hilla Canal of the Euphrates.

Ishtar Gate, Eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon Founded by Sumu-abum in 1894 BCE, Babylon rose to imperial status under Hammurabi (1792–1750 BCE). Many features of later cities developed here: written law, schools, taxes, shops and traffic: wheels, initially used for pottery, were now so common on carts that roads were purpose-built. The Babylonian number system, based on divisions of 60, is still at the center of our systems of geometry and timekeeping. Babylon ruled Mesopotamia for over a century, and later (after conquest by the Hittites, and Assyrian rule) was growing under Nebuchadnezzar II (634-562 BCE), when it attacked Egypt and sacked Jerusalem, Tyre and Nineveh. The reassembled city and Hanging Gardens persisted for centuries.

The earliest mention of Babylon comes from the time of the Dynasty of Akkad (2360—2180 BCE). The city of Babylon was well known to Greek and Roman historians. The Greek historian Herodotus, who may have visited the city in the fifth century BCE (or based his account on the reports of observers), wrote that “it surpasses in splendor any city of the known world.” Classical authors also credited Babylon with one of the ancient wonders of the world: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Babylonian Captivity is the detention of the Israelites in Babylon, lasting from their deportation by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc until their release by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE. It is taken as a type of grieving exile.

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19 Inspiring Quotes by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar

19 Inspiring Quotes by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga, an ancient discipline, has become popular worldwide. The selling of yoga and debate over its origins have led to discuss as to whether yoga should be branded at all. Some yoga instructors have gone so far as to patent their variations of yoga; others in the yoga community declare it is a religious and/or spiritual practice and as such should not be declared as intellectual property.

Yogacharya (Yoga Expert Guru) B.K.S. Iyengar was born in India to a family of thirteen children, ten of whom lived. His brother-in-law Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, introduced Iyengar to yoga through the yoga school he ran. Iyengar was not successful in the beginning, and it was only in 1952 when Iyengar met Yehudi Menuhin that he became internationally known.

Menuhin was suffering from sleeplessness and Iyengar showed him an asana which caused him to fall asleep, and wake up so rested that he spent several hours with the yoga teacher and later came to believe that yoga assisted his violin-playing. Iyengar paid frequent visits to the west where his system of yoga was adopted by schools and centers. Iyengar yoga is known for its use of such props as straps, chairs, or blocks in empowering students to accomplish the traditional asanas, or body postures. One of Iyengar’s earliest books, Light on Yoga (1966), is a clarification for Westerners of Patanjali’s thought.

Iyengar is specifically linked with the idea of yoga as a spiritual activity, and a discipline that he explained as “the quest of the soul for the spark of divinity within us.” In every movement, students should be psychologically aware, as yoga is more than a system of aerobic or flexibility exercises.

Iyengar yoga teachers are among the most meticulously trained in the field of yoga. A teacher must finish two full years of training and supervision to be certified at the introductory level. The New York Iyengar organization requires teacher candidates to be experienced in practicing Iyengar yoga up to Level III and to uphold a home practice.

  • 'Light on Yoga: The Classic Guide to Yoga' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 8172235011) “The union of nature and soul removes the veil of ignorance that covers our intelligence.”
  • “Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.”
  • “Yoga is a means and an end.”
  • “When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake.”
  • “By drawing our senses of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind.”
  • “Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”
  • “My body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.”
  • “Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”
  • “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
  • “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.”
  • “As animals, we walk the earth. As bearers of divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle.”
  • “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
  • 'B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 1465415831) “Words cannot convey the value of yoga—it has to be experienced.”
  • “The supreme adventure in a man’s life is his journey back to his Creator.”
  • “Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”
  • “The art of teaching is tolerance. Humbleness is the art of learning.”
  • “Be inspired but not proud.”
  • “Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”
  • “It is while practicing yoga asanas that you learn the art of adjustment.”
  • “Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target.”
  • “When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God.”
  • “Life means to be living. Problems will always be there. When they arise navigate through them with yoga—don’t take a break.”
  • “True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness.”
  • “Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”
  • “Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.”
  • 'Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 0007145160) “When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist.”
  • “Focus on keeping your spine straight. It is the job of the spine to keep the brain alert.”
  • “How can you know God if you don’t know your big toe?”
  • “Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you.”
  • “Breath is the king of mind.”
  • “Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.”
  • “Your body is the child of the soul. You must nourish and train that child.”
  • “There is no difference in souls, only the ideas about ourselves that we wear.”
  • “It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.”
  • “Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.”
  • “The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.”
  • “Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”
  • 'Iyengar Yoga: Classic Yoga Postures For Mind, Body And Spirit' by Judy Smith (ISBN 0754830764) “One’s spiritual realization lies in none other than how one walks among and interacts with one’s fellow beings.”
  • “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”
  • “Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”
  • “Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.”
  • “You exist without the feeling of existence.”
  • “Confidence, clarity and compassion are essential qualities of a teacher.”
  • “You must purge yourself before finding faults in others.”
  • “Do not aim low, you will miss the mark. Aim high and you will be on a threshold of bliss.”
  • “You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul.”
  • “Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
  • “Yoga is the golden key that unlocks the door to peace, tranquility and joy.”
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Posted in Faith and Religion Health and Fitness

The Affluent Must also Struggle

The Affluent Must also Struggle

Affluence is Often Dangerous

Affluence is Often Dangerous Gardeners will tell you that too much watering harms the lawn. If you watered too copiously, your plants would be content to get their nourishment from the earth’s surface. They would not bother to grow roots deep enough to draw their supply from below. Further, down, there is not only water but also precious mineral food of all kinds. The shallow living plants miss these, and grow into weaklings. The deeper the root, the sturdier the plant.

I have often reflected on this peculiarity of plants. Does it not correspond with human life? Affluence is often dangerous to its possessors. Only those who grapple arduously with life’s problems develop these qualities or character—endurance, patience, the capacity to suffer privation. They are the sturdy plants in the world’s garden. They have sucked up from its depths the nourishment, which will help them face the rigors of life, fearlessly. Those who lack the incentive for striving, who find their needs supplied by a ready abundance, grow into weaklings.

People who have to struggle for their livelihood are spared this risk, since the normal course of their existence is sufficient to send their roots deeply into the soil of life and to give them the necessary toughening. Those who are affluent must also struggle. Theirs should be the greater privilege and the greater struggle—the struggle for ideals—for intellectual and moral growth, for the amelioration of the evils, which beset their fellow men.

The roots must go deeper if the plant is to grow sturdier.

Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Even Violence

Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Violence The miserableness of human life is made up of declamatory masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year the demise of a child; years later, a bankruptcy in trade; after another retentive or shorter interval, a daughter may have married sadly; in all but the singularly inauspicious, the constitutional parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man’s life are easily counted and clearly remembered. Once you observe it is there, you do not hold on to it. The happiness of your life depends upon the timber of your thoughts, thus guard consequently, and take care, that you entertain no notions inapplicable to virtue and sensible nature.

There is something about the literary life that repels me, all this despairing building of castles on cobwebs, the long-drawn disharmonious struggle to make something imperative, which we all know, will be gone incessantly in a few years, the miasma of failure which is to me almost as nauseating as the cheap floridness of popular success. Recall that most poor weather conditions go hand-in-hand with a higher woods noise level. American Psychologist Lorne Ladner writes in his The Lost Art of Compassion,

Over the centuries, many violent deeds have been done in the name of religion. …. From a psychological perspective, it seems clear that it occurs when religion exists as a set of doctrines, ideas, rituals, and experiences divorced from any deep and expansive sense of empathy or compassion. Without empathy, people’s religious ideas become yet another means of seeing others as ‘different’ and of distancing oneself psychologically from them. Feeling disconnected in this way, people devaluate others, leading to intolerance and the tendency to inflict their view on others. When this happens, even the most beautiful and inspiring religious doctrines become like poison, serving as causes for prejudice, anger, oppression and even violence.

In addition, if perhaps such reduction were possible, what do we learn? We learn that there were possibly certain exceptional reasons or opportunities for the intensification of certain aboriginal (later adult) tendencies. While a lot of time is spent pursuing happiness, the grounds is compelling that if you plunge toward this unicorn straightaway, you will miss it by miles, and thus will not receive its illustrious forgivingness. In the end, you might find traces of the contentment and clarification they realized. The refinement of the imaginativeness leads to the development of the ideal out of which your future will egress.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Glimpses of History #9: Mesopotamia

Mesopotamian Civilization in the Tigris and Euphrates Valley

As the term is now used, Mesopotamia describes the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates spreading from the Kurdish foothills in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise in the Taurus and Zagros mountains (modern-day Turkey and Iraq’s Mosul region), flowing southeast to meet near Basra. The area between their near-parallel stretches was reliably fertile amid the surrounding desert, and gives rise to the Greek name ‘Mesopotamia’. 10,000-year-old pottery from the region traces the southward movement of settled farms as the climate altered. The Neolithic discovery of mutant grasses with distended seeds that were easier to separate from their plants soon led to deliberate cultivation. Emmer wheat, rye, barley and flax were selectively bred (though whether farmers realized this is debatable) and planted in oxen-ploughed fields. The advent of bronze made ploughing and harvesting less labor-intensive.

The need to predict and, to some extent, control water and crops tended towards priests, dynastic kings and permanent farms specializing in single crops. Similar processes occurred in the Indus valley of India and the Yellow River in China (where the staple cereal was early rice). As rice reached Mesopotamia and India, while bronze reached China, it is tempting to assume some exchanges took place, but the pattern of development may be coincidence. Mesoamerica followed a similar pattern, also apparently independently. Townships became more durable and fortified: Susa, in Iran, and Ur, near the confluence of the rivers, were cities by c.4400 BCE. Their bounty had to be recorded and protected, requiring both clerks and armies.

Mesopotamia

The most notable achievement of the Akkad Dynasty (2360—2180 B.C.) was the creation of the first world empire, and for this reason the Sargonids lived on in legend, not only in Sumerian and Akkadian, but also in Hurrian, Hittite, and Elamite.

The earliest tallies were recorded as impressions in soft clay, from which the earliest known alphabets and arithmetic developed around 3100 BCE—written ‘bustrophedon’ alternated left-to-right and right-to-left, as a plough does in a field. Pictographic notes, running top-to -bottom, predate these. The written form of the Sumerian language, transcribed as if spoken, begins c.2600 BCE; edicts and chronicles are accompanied by myths such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. The script takes decades to learn, suggesting that it was limited to a specialized cadre (including women, to begin with). Many other specialists, notably architecture, carving, brewing and metallurgy, can also be identified. One tantalizing detail: a female tavern-keeper, Kug-Bau, is listed as king of Sumer after 2500 BCE, and later recognized with various mother-goddesses.

Ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq), one of the world’s longest (almost three thousand years old) and influential civilizations, remains the most concentrated archaeological site on Earth, a fact that incited outcry from researchers at the outset of the 1991 bombing of the Persian Gulf known as Operation Desert Storm. Throughout the history of Mesopotamia, its people interacted vigorously with their neighbors, warring, trading, migrating, and sharing ideas.

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Being on The Leading Edge: How to Create Strategies That Change Quickly

Being on The Leading Edge: How to Create Strategies That Change Quickly Even under the best of conditions, life and business seldom work as planned. For leaders, the capability to predict has become a pipe dream. For businesses to stay ahead of the pack, strategies must change quickly. The top-down decision-making system no longer works. Today, the best companies seek the knowledge of employees to generate strategies that meet six goals:

  1. Stay responsive to customers. No one knows better than front-line employees what customers need and anticipate. Those who work most closely with buyers should lead the decision-making in product development because these employees do not have to deduce to reach a decision-their close proximity to customers gives them both empirical and anecdotal knowledge that managers cannot have. Managers must expand their focus to the needs of external customers by helping create boundary-less organizations that permit information about and from customers to flow quickly to everybody. Managers must kill policies and practices that prevent a focus on the customer and include customer orientation and service in performance reviews, promotion criteria, and incentive compensation plans. Managers must have the external customer in mind at all times.
  2. 'Strategic Management Awareness and Change' by Frank Martin (ISBN 1473726336) Hire and develop the right people. Too many executives fail to recognize their primary mission: to make a direct contribution to corporate profits. The key is to hire the “right” employees based on desired skills and competencies and guide them through the right jobs. Human Resource managers can help determine where, when and how to integrate employee skills, training and competencies to achieve corporate objectives. The HR manager must engage in a consultative role with the leadership team, and become a partner in strategic planning. Every HR practice, principle, program, or process must directly support the business objectives and strategies. Work hard to bring into line people, programs, and practices with business strategies.
  3. Retain valuable employees. The number of employees working at any company now ebbs and flows. In place of a fixed workforce, companies hire up or scale down depending on production requirements. In theory, that makes sense. In practice, however, it often clashes with the realities of the new labor pool. Today’s young workers rank empowerment high on their list of expectations. For managers, the challenge is to create a workforce that thrives in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The best and the brightest employees must be retained at all cost. The best companies go to any length to protect their “intellectual capital.” To retain the best workers, companies are creating more dialogue to find ways to give them a strong sense of purpose, control, and ownership.
  4. Reduce management burnout. As cutbacks persist, many companies are transferring more work to a smaller management team. What results, of course, is premature burnout. Many managers, in whom the company has authorized a lot of training, suddenly are bailing out. Empowering all employees is a way to reduce pressure on managers. Teams also make it possible for managers to more broaden their knowledge, and to delegate more efficiently.
  5. Achieve greater flexibility. If workers see their role as merely to carry out a plan handed down from on high, they aren’t likely to adapt strategies to new circumstances. But, if they see themselves as having the power to shape the strategies, they are more likely to act flexibly and responsively. Today, our best companies find ideas and move them up to managers who then judge and prioritize ideas and facilitate their implementation. These decision-makers have the right to make the final call. Without these key managers, employee empowerment stands little chance of prospering. When empowerment is done appropriately, a company will retain good employees, reduce burnout, respond more quickly to customers, and be malleable enough to flow with marketplace changes
  6. 'Strategic Leadership for a Change' by Kenneth McFayden (ISBN 156699392X) Listen to build profits and morale. Managers need to hear employees’ suggestions because employees are closer to customers and processes. Most fast growth companies implore employee recommendations. Their success rests on a steady flow of ideas, and most employees want to provide suggestions: They want to express their ideas and beliefs. For a suggestion program to work, however, employees must be encouraged to submit ideas and rewarded for exceptional ideas. Management must act on ideas to create a supportive culture.

Leading companies track employee ideas. They measure suggestions per employee, percentage accepted, average turnaround time to handle suggestions, and percentage of eligible employees who participate. They proactively ask for ideas, and they respond to all suggestions quickly-within days, not months. They make sure employees know company priorities so their suggestions reflect these concerns. They create a strong sense of teamwork by bouncing ideas around while working toward the same goal. In companies with a strong team culture, ideas not only tend to come more often, but are better developed.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Glimpses of History #8: Bronze Age and Iron Age

Bronze Age and Iron Age

While many Neolithic cultures continued to use stone tools, they also developed copper and ultimately bronze metallurgy, leading early scholars to coin the term “Chalcolithic” (copper-stone) to distinguish them from earlier Neolithic and Paleolithic cultures.

The earliest manufactured alloy, bronze is made with copper and tin ores (and consequently required trade with remote ore-producing regions). Gold and copper had formerly been smelted, mainly for decorative purposes, but bronze tools and weapons outlived and outperformed stone. From circa 3500 CE, their use spread from Mesopotamia, with separate cultures amending recipes and techniques. The later discovery of similar techniques in the Americas seems unconnected.

Bronze age is the epoch between the human cultural development between the Neolithic period and the discovery of iron-working techniques (the Iron Age). In Mesopotamia, bronze tools were used from c.3200 BCE and the Bronze Age lasted until c.1100 BCE. In Britain, bronze was used after 2000 BCE and iron technology did not become prevalent until c.500 BCE.

Ireland had rich sources of copper ores, specifically in the southwest, which were recognizable by these early prospectors, and which resulted in the development of a significant copper- and later, bronze-working industry. In Britain and Ireland the beginning of the Bronze Age is marked by the appearance of metalworking, new burial practices, and an growth in trade and exchange.

Bronze Age and Iron Age Tools and swords that outlived their owners made inheritance and theft possible, and as cities developed, so did professional armies. Fields could be ploughed and harrowed, and older clay and wax technologies were put to use in metal casting. Early experiments with iron ore produced a brittle, corroding metal, but around 610 BCE, climate changes triggered mass migrations that made local iron ore mining in Europe easier than importing tin. Elsewhere, notably in Japan and southern Africa, bronze and iron arrived more or less concurrently.

From about 700 BCE a steady change from a mainly bronze-working economy to one based on the use of iron as the preferred metal took place. These changes were intense and irreversible, affecting all aspects of society. Ultimately, iron replaced bronze as the preferred metal for the production of tools and weapons, and bronze was restricted mostly to objects of a more decorative nature.

The working of iron was introduced, probably from Asia Minor (modern day Turkey,) into southeastern Europe around 1000 BCE, and into central Europe by the 8th—7th centuries BCE. The European Iron Age has conventionally been divided into two phases, named after type-sites at Hallstatt in Austria and La Tene in Switzerland. In areas conquered by the Romans the ‘Iron Age’ is succeeded by the ‘Roman’ period. Contemporary cultures outside the empire are designated as being of the ‘Roman Iron Age’. From about 400 CE these periods are succeeded by the migration period.

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Consequences of the Blessings of Failure

Consequences of the Blessings of Failure

Triumphant Living

Triumphant Living To be healthy, wealthy, and wise is a wish frequently cherished by people. Nevertheless, did you ever consider that many who are blessed with these advantages often fail in making the most of their lives? In many instances, moreover, their failures are the direct consequences of their blessings.

Nothing is more dangerous to successful living than complacency, and people blessed with special advantages often become over-confident. They do not see the need for striving, because life’s goals appear to them already won. Nevertheless, happiness does not Him in cherishing goals already won. It is rather in the struggle to realize them, in pitting one’s strength against circumstances in order to forge something significant in ourselves, or in the world, that life takes on for us its vitality and interest.

There are deficiencies in all of us, and if the so-called “blessed” will only look deeper into themselves and their world, they will find the imperfections against which to turn their energies. In this combat, they will find the secret of triumphant living.

Tedium is Not a Product

Tedium is Not a Product It might be managed by instituting short allowance account in the following manner. Tedium is not a product, is relatively rather an early stage in life and art. You have to go by, past, or through boredom, as through a filter, before the clear product emerges. The essentials of the holy life do not comprise in the profits of gain, honor, and good name; nor even in the profits of observing moral rules; nor even in the profits of knowledge and insight, but the sure heart’s release, friends—that, friends, is the significance, that is the essence, that is the goal of living the holy life. Therefore, though light and heavy bodies meet an electrical resistance great or little, as their surfaces are large or small, yet the power that heavy bodies have of overcoming this resistance, is much greater than that of the light. The growth of imagination, insight, perceptual experience, and judiciousness. In the same way, without these teachings, people may know they are unrealized, but they do not know the cause of their sadness or the appropriate treatment. Talking about network effects in his best selling From Zero to One, venture capitalist Peter Thiel wrote,

Network effects can be powerful, but you’ll never reap them unless your product is valuable to its very first users when the network is necessarily small….Paradoxically, then, network effects businesses must start with especially small markets. Facebook started with just Harvard students—Mark Zuckerberg’s first product was designed to get all his classmates signed up, not to attract all people of Earth. This is why successful network businesses rarely get started by MBA-types: the initial markets are so small that they often don’t even appear to be business opportunities at all.

Elite students climb confidently until they reach a level of competition sufficiently intense to beat their dreams out of them. Higher education is the place where people who had big plans in high school get stuck in fierce rivalries with equally smart peers over conventional careers like management consulting and investment banking. For the privilege of being turned into conformists, students (or their families) pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in skyrocketing tuition that continues to outpace inflation. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

These questions are fundamental to meditative psychology. They concern an inner flourishing—sometimes willed, sometimes not—that occurs in the depth of our being. Whether it is present or absent can determine our mental attitude toward life.

No one knows how such a project could possibly be financed or even how long it would take—to say nothing of having to spend such a dismaying sum of money cleaning up the baneful relics of past wars when it could have been far better spent on educational activity, health care, housing, and food. By this appliance, the whole column of the bones acts straightaway against the load, and an immense weight is thus sustained. Nonetheless, not all life need be measured by a single rise and fall. True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Endeavor to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island. To find one real friend in a lifespan is good fortune; to keep him is a boon.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Glimpses of History #7: Neolithic Expansion and Indo-European Migration

Neolithic expansion and Indo-European Migration

At the end of the last ice age, humanity entered a epoch of increasing technological sophistication. For reasons that are still debated, many of the large mammals hunted by humans became extinct, driving the development of new food sources: breadmaking considerably predates this period, but people in Mesopotamia now began cultivating wild cereal and pulses. Dogs had been domesticated over thousands of years; nomadic shepherding became possible through domestication of goats, sheep, horses, camels and, above all, cows.

In the Neolithic period farm animals were first domesticated and agriculture was introduced: it began in the Near East by the 8th millennium BC and spread to northern Europe by the 4th millennium BC. Neolithic societies in NW Europe left such monuments as causewayed camps, henges, long barrows, and chambered tombs

By 5000 BCE, livestock herding was sufficiently established to allow a widespread abandonment of hunter-gathering in favor of settled lifestyles. Pottery was increasingly useful, and permanent buildings, constructed from mudbrick, appeared. These technologies spread out of the Middle East through the Old World (the Americas developed agriculture independently, with only the llama available for domestication). With the arrival of bronze, stone was used less for tools and more for buildings.

The majority of the peoples of Europe and a substantial portion of the present and ancient peoples of western Asia speak closely related languages that all belong to the Indo-European language family. European colonial expansions and the spread of Euro-American culture have been so successful that nearly half the population of the planet now speaks an Indo-European language. Yet the place where this language family originated and the course of its earliest migrations have been topics of heated and inconclusive debate for more than two centuries.

The problem of Indo-European origins and migrations has been a major challenge to prehistorians, and the failure to develop a single fully convincing model is a salutary caution to anyone interested in tracing the path of migrations in the archaeological record. If increased doubt is the result of the type of intense discussion that tracing the roots of the Indo-Europeans has occasioned, then this does not bode well for many other hypothesized migrations that have seen far less scrutiny.

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Reflect on Why You Lead

Reflect on Why You Lead - Personal Leadership Journey

My Personal Leadership Journey

For the past 30 years, I have worked in business, primarily in energy, but here I share a few aspects of my personal leadership journey over the past six years and how that journey has changed my outlook on life.

You are leaders with your own roles and responsibilities. Your journey will be unique; however, I believe that we share many concerns in common. At times leadership can feel overwhelming. There are so many practical issues-how to communicate, coach, and develop strategy. But there are other, more fundamental questions-like “why lead?” or “why continue leading?” or “Am I doing the right thing?” or “How do I find meaning, purpose, and joy in my leadership?” These are the questions we all have to answer for ourselves.

'The Leadership Journey' by Gary Burnison (ISBN 1119234859) Leadership can be very rewarding-personally, professionally, and financially-but it can also be very challenging. Nothing is ever quite right. There are many setbacks and sacrifices. We often get caught up in the struggle without reflecting on the greater meaning of our journey.

Even after becoming a successful entrepreneur, I wrestled with “why?” questions. In fact, they seemed even more pressing. When you don’t have to work anymore, you can get very honest with yourself. The questions are still there-no matter how far along the leadership path you go. But the further you go, the better the answers have to get. Beyond words that sound right, the answers have to be deeply meaningful to sustain you.

I set many business goals, and am proud of what I helped to create. I experienced much satisfaction from our achievements. But “more of the same” didn’t seem like enough. I was seeking more important insights. Our lives and businesses are very complex. But I came to feel that the real answers should be simple. Truth, I believe, is simple, and the messages of great leaders are simple and clear.

Four Leadership Lessons

One catalyst in this process was my attendance at the Global Institute of Leadership Development conference five years ago. Warren Bennis was a cohost, and I was impressed with his wonderful example of leadership and inspired by his ideas. The theme that had the greatest impact on me was “find your leadership voice and passion.” His message spoke to me. I asked myself, “Have I really done that?” It seemed to require using more parts of myself. The more aligned we are with our unique abilities and talents, the better everything seems to work. And fully expressing ourselves suggests values and beliefs-even spiritual qualities.

At that time, another story line developed that became the source of many new insights that helped change my life and my leadership. It started with plans for the new Millennium in 1999.1 initially had a fun idea to charter a yacht in the Caribbean, but it became something much more meaningful. My family planned to contribute to the building of a 150-bed hospital in southern India. Over the last six years, this has led to involvement in building a school, a seva hall to feed the poor, and a spiritual park to nourish peoples’ souls-among other projects. Despite all the project activity, visiting this area of India is very rejuvenating for me. In fact, a one-week trip around the world to India is more restful for me than a week in Hawaii.

Through my experience in India, I learned four leadership lessons:

Lesson 1 in Purposeful Leadership: Joy

'The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership' by Gary Burnison (ISBN 0071787127) As the locals, as well as people from around the world, came to help us with our projects in India, they worked long and hard, but with joy and passion. Now, I’m familiar with “24/7” work from the investment banking world; however, these people also seemed to find meaning and joy. Their mode of operating seemed to be not only a more enlightened way to live, and pointed to a more effective form of leadership.

Happiness is good, but it’s fleeting. It may be the feeling you get from buying a new car, or house, or getting a new job or promotion. The feeling lasts for awhile, and then passes. You then need a new acquisition or achievement. It’s externally bound.

Joy is deeper, fuller, more sustaining. It’s a feeling you would have about your children, something special you did for someone, or something you received. It’s a feeling you can always revisit with joy. It’s internally connected.

How do you move from happiness to joy, and how can you create more joy in your life regularly? Joy isn’t something you can buy (a thing), or something you can do for yourself. You can’t create joy for yourself directly-it is only through others. You can’t operate in that joyful realm in a sustained way until you get outside yourself, because it’s not about you. Churchill said, “You make a living by what you earn, but you make a life by what you give.” Serving others is what great leaders do.

In his book The Spirit of Leadership, Bob Sptizer describes four levels of happiness: physical gratification, ego gratification, service to others, and service to others in pursuit of a greater cause. The last two are in the realm of joy, as they take you from selfish to selfless, from conditional to unconditional.

Lesson 2 in Purposeful Leadership: Enough

Early in my career, I set some ambitious goals for myself, including financial ones. People suggested that once I achieved these goals, I would keep moving the goal posts. I didn’t believe them then, but they were right. What I achieved went far beyond my expectations, but I still found myself reframing my goals.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except for one aspect. It wasn’t making me any happier; in fact, it started to take a toll on my life-stress, pressure, obligations. When is enough, enough? There is no absolute point. Deciding is difficult. We are naturally attracted to more. Most people think if they reach their next destination or goal, they will finally have enough. But once they arrive, they inevitably discover another level of desire.

“More of the same” will not help us attain what we ultimately seek. In fact, “more” implies we’re incomplete. We think that we’ll finally arrive when we achieve the next goal. Of course, the horizon moves out. After a certain level, it’s a choice. “That’s it – I have enough right now.” When you reach that point, something remarkable happens because it’s no longer just about you. It’s a transformational awareness. It moves you from your own self-interest to otherinterest, from conditional to unconditional, and from happiness to joy.

So what about work? What about those goals that are so motivating? They are still there, but they take on more importance-because now they’re for a greater purpose.

I continue as Co-Chairman at ARC Financial Corporation, but I contribute all the growth in value to others. It’s turned my work into something with more purpose-and it’s more sustaining. How you share your talents and gifts will be unique. But I can attest that when you start operating on this basis, more incredible things happen to you and for you than ever could have happened when your own needs were paramount. That’s the paradox of opening yourself to joy.

Lesson 3 in Purposeful Leadership: Wealth

This is an interesting topic for someone like me who has devoted much of his career to finance, investment, and wealth. I could talk all day about maximizing shareholder value or about making investments in energy markets. Instead I want to talk about wealth in a different way and offer a new perspective.

Wealth is generally thought of as assets, and if you were truly wealthy then you would think that your financial wealth would provide “enough.” But if you ask many people with wealth, you find that they generally have both a need and a plan for more.

In India, we see a lot of poverty and hardship, but we also see a lot of joy. What we all need to realize is that real wealth is in the heart, and it is experienced when you have peace and joy-that is when you finally have “enough.”

As I struggled to integrate my future business life with my philanthropy, I asked Linkage founder Phil Harkins to work with me-on the condition that he come to India. He was skeptical, but he joined our family there in 2004. We talked about the challenges facing leaders. One morning, he said he had been up all night writing the outline for a book. “We need to explore some key insights here that could be important to leaders,” he said. “But there’s one condition-you need to help me write it.”

A major part of the book involved interviewing 25 successful leaders to understand how they answered those questions. What qualities, intentions and aspirations did they have that made them so successful? To what extent did those insights from India about wealth and joy play out? That brings me to my fourth lesson.

Lesson 4 in Purposeful Leadership: Unconditional Leadership

What draws us to leadership will not sustain us. For us to grow and evolve so must our leadership. If we are aligned with our purpose and what we find meaningful, then our leadership is more successful and sustainable.

Each leader in our study found meaning and created more impact through an orientation towards serving others. Here are two representative quotes: “Personal reasons will only take you so far” and “In building a company, ultimately you are serving others.” Another said “Leadership will challenge you in ways you couldn’t imagine.”

'Unlocking Potential' by Michael Simpson (ISBN 1477824006) Warren Bennis describes the process of becoming a leader as much the same as the process of becoming an integrated human being. Leaders evolve through both failures and successes to their mature style. What is that style in its ultimate form? One important aspect if that style is moving from leading for oneself, to leading with others, to leading for others. This last stage, unconditional leadership, is the soul of leadership.

When I visited an orphanage with over 100 children in India last year with my family, the experience evoked many emotions and much anxiety. These children have so little. When we arrived, the kids came out to greet us, and our anxiety disappeared as we were swept up in the experience of being with them. We brought ice cream and cookies, but the kids wouldn’t eat any until we had some of their treat for us first. They performed songs and dances, and they embraced us. Even though they had so little, they still had joy and laughter and shared it with us. My children saw abundance in a whole new way-a way that did not relate to the material world but to the heart. Despite their hardships, we felt that abundance and love, which is more meaningful and joyful.

Reflect on Why You Lead

You can make a difference. If you want to change the world, first you have to change yourself. If you change – yourself, if you change your heart, it will change the world.

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