Inspirational Quotations #559

The thing that is incredible is life itself. Why should we be here in this sun-illuminated universe? Why should there be green earth under our feet?
Edwin Markham

Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering — because you can’t take it in all at once.
Audrey Hepburn

The visionary disciplines himself to see the world always as if he had only just seen it for the first time.
Colin Wilson

Laboring toward distant aims set the mind in a higher key and puts us at our best.
Charles Henry Parkhurst

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
Charles William Eliot

If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.
George Marshall

Liberal education develops a sense of right, duty and honor; and more and more in the modern world, large business rests on rectitude and honor as well as on good judgment.
Charles William Eliot

You ought to be true for the sake of the folks who think you are true. You never should stoop to a deed that your folks think you would not do. If you are false to yourself, be the blemish but small, you have injured your folks; you have been false to them all.
Edgar Guest

You know that it is only through work that you can achieve anything, either in college or in the world
Charles William Eliot

Learn to Adapt More Flexibly to Developing Situations [Mental Models]

Learn to Adapt More Flexibly to Developing Situations

As humans, we are each a product of our habits. Much of our behavior is automated. This behavior—often reflexive and natural—is usually shaped by our mental models. These models or “behavioral scripts” that are ingrained in our minds influence how we process stimuli and act. As a result, our mental models influence not only our actions but also how we perceive and interpret various situations.

Mental models are very convenient: they simplify our comprehension of the world around us, streamline decision-making and help us get things done efficiently. At the same time, our reliance on these scripts comes at a cost: we tend to generalize into the future what has worked in the past. This dependence can compel us to overlook important information from the current environment. In addition, our biases often prevent us from considering factors that contradict these models. Mental models sometimes lead us to cling stubbornly to the “this is how I have always done it” mindset, which overlooks the realities of a new situation. We make mistakes when we rely on a model that doesn’t account for real-world situations.

Those mental models and behavioral scripts that we’ve grown so dependent on are the antithesis of adaptability: the characteristic of being adaptable, of being flexible under the influence of rapidly changing external conditions.

Idea for Impact: Learn to sharpen your ‘social antennae.’ Make every effort to read the circumstances and adapt more flexibly to a developing situation.

Parable: “Don’t Become Somebody”

Occasionally, it pays to feign ignorance, as exemplified by the following parable.

Once upon a time, there was a master and his pupil. The master was renowned for his esoteric teaching style. As part of a discussion regarding the self and ego development, the master advised, “Never become somebody.”

The master and pupil set out on a pilgrimage. After an exhausting trek, they stumbled upon a wilderness camp. There were no occupants or attendants around. The master and disciple assumed they could rest there. The master entered one of the cottages and immediately went to sleep. The pupil, emulating his teacher, stepped into an adjacent cottage and fell asleep.

After some time, a royal entourage returned to the camp fatigued from a hunting expedition. The monarch was furious when he glimpsed two strangers sleeping peacefully in his cottages. He dashed to the pupil, roused him and demanded, “Who are you? How dare you rest in my camp?” The pupil rose and noticed the king’s fuming countenance. Bowing respectfully, the pupil exclaimed, “I am a hermetic monk!” Incensed, the monarch ordered that the pupil be beaten up and thrown out.

Next the monarch approached the master, demanding his identity. The master quickly realized he had mistakenly helped himself to the royal cottage. Reading the monarch’s fury, the master did not answer. He feigned cluelessness, babbling, “Hmmmm.” The monarch was livid: “Can’t you understand? I want to know. Who are you?” Yet again, the master did not speak and babbled, “Hmmmm.” The monarch concluded, “He is clearly a dimwit. Take him out of here.”

Soon thereafter, the master and pupil reunited. The pupil was groaning in pain and lamented his stay in the royal camp. The master reiterated, “I told you, don’t become somebody. You ignored my advice, became somebody and suffered for it. You became a monk in that royal lodge and were punished. I did not become anybody and escaped unscathed.”

Recommended Reading

Inspirational Quotations #558

Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production, and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.
Adam Smith

One cannot expect to coast along and rise automatically to the top, no matter what friends you may have in the company. There may have been a time when, in large corporations, a person could rise simply because he had a stock interest or because he had friends in top management. That’s not true today. Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.
David Rockefeller

To sleep is an act of faith
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

There should be no inferiors and no superiors for true world friendship.
Carlos P. Romulo

Give wind and tide a chance to change.
Richard Evelyn Byrd

By going over your day in imagination before you begin it, you can begin acting successfully at any moment.
Dorothea Brande

I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think.
Anne Sullivan Macy

If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.
Abigail Adams

A complacent satisfaction with present knowledge is the chief bar to the pursuit of knowledge.
B. H. Liddell Hart

If it is your time, love will track you down like a cruise missile.
Lynda Barry

Man Retired at 30 and is Ridiculously Happy

Financial Independence “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
Bob Dylan, American Musician

Early in my professional life, I pursued an ambition to attain wealth—not because I sought after luxury, but because I wanted to realize a financial foothold that could help me become financially independent and invest in a meaningful life. I’ve been “retired” for two years now, work very hard on my true pursuits, and live life on my own terms. I might fancy a change in the future; for now, I am living the dreams and I couldn’t be happier.

Money is a False God

Most people spend the better part of their adult lives chasing the almighty dollar in an ostensible pursuit of success and happiness. Wealth, characteristically manifested in the acquisition of things, becomes so defining of their success that it becomes their primary measure of accomplishment. Later in life, they wake up to the distressing fact that everything they’ve earned isn’t bringing them the wonderful life it was supposed to.

Pursuit of riches becomes such a trap because many people easily appraise life in terms that are defined by others.

Enjoy a Life of True Wealth

I admire anyone who is self-disciplined and is willing to live their life on their own terms. Last year, The Washington Post carried an interesting interview with a man who had retired at the age of 30, not caused by extreme wealth but by living with less. Mister Money Mustache realized early that the pursuit of material things could lead to a persistent sense of emptiness. Rather than being unfulfilled, his family’s live-with-less way of life has made them “ridiculously happy.” Here is an excerpt of the interview.

Mister Money Mustache Q: You describe the typical middle-class life as an “exploding volcano of wastefulness.” Seems like lots of personal finance folks obsess about lattes. Are you just talking about the lattes here?

A: The latte is just the foamy figurehead of an entire spectrum of sloppy “I deserve it” luxury spending that consumes most of our gross domestic product these days. Among my favorite targets: commuting to an office job in an F-150 pickup truck, anything involving a drive-through, paying $100 per month for the privilege of wasting four hours a night watching cable TV and the whole yoga industry. There are better, and free, ways to meet these needs, but everyone always chooses the expensive ones and then complains that life is hard these days.

Inspirational Quotations #557

Infatuation is when you think he’s as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners. Love is when you realize that he’s as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford – but you’ll take him anyway.
Judith Viorst

Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weakness.
Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, marquise du Deffand

It often happens that I wake at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.
Pope John XXIII

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
Philip K. Dick

The prosperous man is never sure that he is loved for himself.
F. L. Lucas

The best way to secure future happiness is to be as happy as is rightfully possible today.
Charles William Eliot

A rich man, of cultivated tastes, with every right to gratify them, knowing enough of sorrow to humble his heart toward God, and soften it toward his neighbor — gifted with not only the power but will to do good, and having lived long enough to reap the fruits of an honorable youth in a calm old age — such a man, in spite of his riches, is not unlikely to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Dinah Craik

With Needs, Without Wants

Contentment is worth more than riches. Having few desires and feeling satisfied with what you have is vital for happiness.

Be Happy with What You Have

In a This I Believe essay, Marianne Bachleder of San Francisco reminisces about consumerism and about being conscious of how much she already has:

We forget to be happy with what we have and in our forgetfulness we spread the infection of discontent. It’s a mistake easily made in a world where everyone is expected to pursue every want—the newest gadget, the latest update.

I may want shiny things, but I don’t need them. What I do desperately need is the peace of mind found in moments of contentment and gratitude. I need to identify each of my wildcat urges to purchase or possess as either “want” or “need.” My needs are basic, predictable, manageable. My wants are chaotic changelings, disturbers of the peace that can never be satisfied.

I will tend my needs, I will whittle my wants, and I will say often, “I’m happy with what I have.”

Thrift to Wealth

'The Little Book of Main Street Money' by Jonathan Clements (ISBN 0470473231) Jonathan Clements, personal finance columnist at Wall Street Journal and author of ‘The Little Book of Main Street Money’ and the forthcoming ‘Money Guide 2015′, spoke of thrift and the wealthy in an interview with Vanguard:

Over the years, I have met thousands of everyday Americans who have amassed seven-figure portfolios—and the one attribute shared by almost all of them is that they’re extremely frugal. When I was at Citi, I used to joke to the bankers that they would know a couple was wealthy if they pulled up to the branch in a second-hand Civic, wore clothes from J.C. Penney, and asked to have their parking ticket validated.

Shop at Amazon & Support a Noble Cause

Gyaana Prawas : Science/field trip for tribal kids in South India / Aapatsahaaya Foundation Dear readers, during this holiday season, if you succumb to the urge for the latest and the greatest or if you are shopping for gifts for friends and family, please consider shopping at Amazon.com using this link or clicking on a recommended book on the right sidebar of this website.

With no additional cost to you, 100% of the referral fees earned by this blog from the international Amazon Associates program support the education of underprivileged kids in South India. Our philanthropy partner is Aapatsahaaya Foundation, Bangalore. In 2013, your purchases funded part of a science/field trip for tribal kids.

Inspirational Quotations #556

Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.
Frank Zappa

Dignity is like a perfume; those who use it are scarcely conscious of it
Christina of Sweden

When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.
Sacha Guitry

Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.
Louise Hay

Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one agrees on just what it is.
Diane Ackerman

Endurance is frequently a form of indecision.
Elizabeth Bibesco

It is not truth, justice, liberty, that men seek; they seek only themselves. — And oh, that they knew how to seek themselves aright!
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi

Enthusiasm is a vital element toward the individual success of every man or woman.
Conrad Hilton

The best perfection of a religious man is to do common things in a perfect manner.
Bonaventure

Focus on your potential instead of your limitations.
Alan Loy McGinnis

We can be negative and cynical or we can be charged and hot wored to find a way through it, over it, around it under it.
Laura Schlessinger

Time turns the old days to derision, our loves into corpses or wives; and marriage and death and division make barren our lives.
Algernon Charles Swinburne

In charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill-will to any human being, and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow-men, not knowing what they do.
John Quincy Adams

Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow.
Don Herold

Looking for Important Skills to Develop?

Looking for Important Skills to Develop

Whether you need to take on a new challenge, prepare yourself to become promotable, or enhance your performance at work, undertaking learning and development can help. You must continually be on the lookout for new talents to add to the vast fund of knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years and add to the reservoir of experiences from which to draw.

Some skills are critical to your success throughout your career and life. Chris Anderson recently suggested a set of vital topics that must be taught in school. Anderson is the founder and curator of the Ideas-Worth-Spreading TED conferences.

TED’s Chris Anderson propunds a “Syllabus of the Future”

  • How to nurture your curiosity.
  • How to Google intelligently and skeptically.
  • How to manage your money.
  • How to manage your time.
  • How to present your ideas.
  • How to make a compelling online video.
  • The secret life of a girl.
  • The secret life of a boy.
  • How to build a healthy relationship.
  • How to listen.
  • How to calm an argument.
  • Who do you want to be?
  • How to train your brain to be what you want to be.
  • 100 role models for the career you hadn’t thought of.
  • How to think like a scientist.
  • Why history matters.
  • Books that changed the world.
  • Why personal discipline is key to future success.
  • How your reflective self can manage your instinctual self.
  • How to defend the rights of people you care about.
  • 10 hours with a kid on the other side of the world.
  • The keys to a healthy diet.
  • Why exercise matters.
  • How generosity creates happiness.
  • How immersion in nature eases stress.
  • What are the questions no one knows the answer to?

Use his “Syllabus of the Future” list to evaluate your needs in development and educate yourself in a few selected topics. Design a development plan involving regular discussions, reading articles and books, watching instructional videos, attending courses offered by a professional association, and observing and apprenticing with a mentor proficient in the skill you seek.

Inspirational Quotations #555

First health, then wealth, then pleasure, and do not owe anything to anybody.
Catherine II of Russia

Your best teacher is your last mistake.
Ralph Nader

Vigilance in watching opportunity; tact and daring in seizing upon opportunity; force and persistence in crowding opportunity to its utmost of possible achievement — these are the martial virtues which must command success.
Austin Phelps

A man doesn’t begin to attain wisdom until he recognizes he is no longer indispensable.
Richard Evelyn Byrd

After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.
Aristotle Onassis

I have been true to the principles of nonviolence, developing a stronger and stronger aversion to the ideologies of both the far right and the far left and a deeper sense of rage and sorrow over the suffering they continue to produce all over the world.
Joan Baez

Success is the satisfaction of feeling that one is realizing one’s ideal.
Anna Pavlova

You begin by always expecting good things to happen.
Tom Hopkins

Nothing else can quite substitute for a few wellchosen, welltimed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
Sam Walton

All business proceeds on beliefs, or judgments of probabilities, and not on certainties.
Charles William Eliot

Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the stiff-necked adversary of thought.
Martin Heidegger

My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects.
Robert Maynard Hutchins

Gandhi on the Doctrine of Ahimsa + Non-Violence in Buddhism

Non-Violence in Buddhism

“Thou shalt not kill.” This command forbids committing murder—specifically slaying a fellow human. The seventh of the Torah’s Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) allows for the execution of animals.

Non-Violence in Buddhism This specific tenet can be interpreted as comparatively lenient, even indulgent, compared to the mainstream Hinduism and the derivative Jain and Buddhist philosophies. Within these contexts, non-violence is a fundamental building block of ethics. Naturally, this idea of refraining from cruelty proscribes murder, but it also surpasses that guideline. In fact, practicing pacifism deters all varieties of violence against any sentient being, be it a human or an animal. Under the rule of non-violence, these creatures are protected from aggression, hostility, cruelty, sadism, and savagery—all unacceptable forms of conduct.

In accordance with the concept of anatta (the idea of there being no self,) Buddhism teaches us that, should we cling to the illusion of possessing autonomous ‘selves,’ we will fail to fully comprehend non-violence. Upon removal of the sense of the individual self, inflicting damage on another in turn damages the perpetrator. Should you inflict violence upon another, you too will suffer its effects.

Gandhi on the Doctrine of Ahimsa

Violence is the utmost form of asserting oneself over another. An alternative to aggression is Ahimsa or non-violence. This peaceful method was recognized as an entirely credible ethical code when Gandhi adopted it. He took up non-violence in his struggle against injustice and oppression, first as a peace leader in South Africa and then as the leader of India’s independence movement. Gandhi’s own definition of Ahimsa is as follows:

'Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on His Life and Work' Edited by S. Radhakrishnan (ISBN 1553940261) Literally speaking, Ahimsa means “non-killing.” But to me it has a world of meaning, and takes me into realms much higher, infinitely higher. It really means that you may not offend anybody; you may not harbor an uncharitable thought, even in connection with one who may consider himself to be your enemy. To one who follows this doctrine there is no room for an enemy. But there may be people who consider themselves to be his enemies. So it is held that we may not harbor an evil thought even in connection with such persons. If we return blow for blow we depart from the doctrine of Ahimsa. But I go farther. If we resent a friend’s action, or the so-called enemy’s action, we still fall short of this doctrine. But when I say we should not resent, I do not say that we should acquiesce: by the word “resenting” I mean wishing that some harm should be done to the enemy; or that he should be put out of the way, not even by any action of ours, but by the action of somebody else, or, say, by divine agency. If we harbor even this thought we depart from this doctrine of Non-Violence.

Source: ‘Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on His Life and Work’ edited by S. Radhakrishnan