Tag: Choice

Everyday leadership

This six minute video is about everyday leadership, the small things we do that affect other people’s life in positve ways. The story is about lollipop leadership, you’ll understand when you’ve seen the video. Small things matter!

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

Video: Everyday leadership

You can watch the video below or at Everyday leadership – Drew Dudley.

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Be like water

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
Bruce Lee

Which tiger are you feeding?

I got this quote in one of my Daily Forwards Step:

An old man said to his grandson, “Boy, I have two tigers caged within me. One is love and compassion. The other is fear and anger.”

The young boy asked, “Which one will win, grandfather?”

The old man replied, “The one I feed.”

Indian tale

I prefer to feed love and compassion, which tiger are YOU feeding?

Your teacup is full (Empty your cup)

The teacup story is around in different versions, here is one version:

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

Here is another version:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

Like this cup, Nan-in said, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?

I like the tea story a lot, it is a great reminder that in order to learn we have to be humble, to empty our mind and make room for the new.

Here are some quotes about learning, I love the one about beginner’s mind.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn – Alvin Toffler

When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before. – Henry David Thoreau

Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting something go every day. – Zen Proverb

This was originally posted in 2009 at another blog of mine.

I no longer have patience for certain things

I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.

Source: José Micard Teixeira – I NO LONGER

Although it’s possible that Meryl Streep agrees with the sentiment expressed in the passage reproduced above, it otherwise has naught to do with her.

The Four Agreements

Be impeccable with your word.

Speak with integrity.
Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don’t take anything personally.

Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t make assumptions.

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always do your best.

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

The Starfish Story

The Starfish Story is spread over the internet, Google shows 225,000 hits for that search term. My source is The Starfish Story where it says the story is adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977).

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

The lesson is even small deeds can make a big difference.

Catch the trade winds in your sails

Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a very interesting post titled The Nasty Four-Letter Word That Keeps You From Writing that hooked me because I am in a situation where I have a chance to really change what I do for a living. Brian writes:

based on my personal experience, there’s a nasty demon hiding behind the excuses we make. This four-letter word represents a condition we don’t like to admit to ourselves, much less utter in polite conversation.

Yep, it’s the “F” word.

Fear.

Fear affects us all more than we care to admit

Brian’s article is about fear in connection with writing but his post is valid in many areas of life. He mentions five different fears, the key ones (to me) are fear of failure and fear of risk.

Under fear of failure Brian writes:

Countless psychological studies have shown that the fear of failure is the number one barrier to personal success. We fear failure because we don’t separate tasks from ourselves, and therefore our self-esteem is at risk every time we attempt to do anything we really want to achieve.

If we try and fail then we can get up and try again. But if we do not even try then we lock ourselves in where we are now.

This is a quote worth remembering:
Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.

In the part about fear of risk Brian writes:

Is it really better to be safe than sorry? Sometimes, yes. But when it comes to your writing dreams and goals, being safe is a fate worse than death. Not only do your dreams die, but you get to live the rest of your life knowing it.

Remove the word ‘writing’ before dreams and this statement goes anywhere. Dreams are nice but until they turn into actions they remain dreams.

A while back I came across a quote that says a lot:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)

The feeling of safety makes us often hesitate and take the easy way out (stay in the harbor, no risk, no failure) and not take the exciting way (leave for the high sea, take risks). I think I shall go and check my sails…