Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011-53 - Recipe For A Happy New Year

Take twelve whole months,
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy,
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or
thirty-one different parts,
but don't make up the whole batch at once.
Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.

Mix well into each day one part of faith,
one part of patience, one part of courage,
and one part of work.

Add to each day one part of hope,
faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer,
one part meditation, and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
and a cupful of good humour.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
garnish with a smile,
and serve with quietness, unselfishness,
and cheerfulness.

You're bound to have A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

~ Author Unknown


"The year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us."

~ Hal Borland


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011-52 - Giving?

This is a season of giving.

Christians around the world pause to celebrate the birth of Christ, and the spirit of giving which is so gracefully embodied in that first Christmas almost 2,000 years ago.

It is a simple truth, even self-evident, yet magnificently profound and powerful. For life consists of giving. We are, each of us, unique, with our own contributions to make. At the same time, we are part of a greater whole. Giving is what keeps us connected. The more we give of ourselves, the more we strengthen our own unique aliveness. The gifts we give become part of the world around us, where they grow in value with each life they touch.

Anything that we truly and sincerely give, we will never lose.

True giving means giving of one's self. The physical object, if there is one, is merely a token. The essence of the gift is in the giving, in the expression of sincere love and caring. When you give a part of yourself, it is not gone, it is bigger and better than ever.

Giving is the most self-serving thing you can do.

And therein lies the beauty of life.

~ Ralph Marston


"Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts."

~ Janice Maeditere


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011-49 - Take responsibility...

Who or what controls your life? The achievers in this world believe that whatever happens to them, they are responsible for it.

If you don’t believe that you are responsible for your own life, then you are under the control of circumstances. You are just an object in someone else’s world. That is not the way to success.

When you are in control of your life, you succeed at getting where you want to go. And being in control means taking responsibility. Whatever your circumstances are at this point in your life, you created them. Now this may sound cruel and cold, to say that you are to blame for all your troubles. However, it is the best first step toward improving your life. Sure, you can spend a lot of time trying to assign blame to others. What would that get you? Nothing!

You take control when you rise above the petty name-calling and blame-assigning. You take control when you take responsibility for where you are and where you are going.

You become what you think about the most. If you constantly think about your problems, trying to figure out who to blame for them, then that is what you’ll get more of -- problems. When you focus on your goals, and constantly think about where you want to go and how you are going to get there, then you will begin to move in that direction, almost as if by magic.

~ Ralph Marston

The price of greatness is responsibility.

~Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011-48 - Filling a sieve with water…

A Teacher had given a discourse on creative thinking. Afterwards his disciples approached him and asked him to set them a problem that required them to think creatively. The sage gave them a sieve and asked them to fill it with water at the sea, nearby. They were gone for a long time. Finally he went down to the beach to see what they were doing, and found them seated morosely around the sieve.
They scrambled to their feet when they saw him.
“You’ve set us an impossible task, sir,” said the oldest of the disciples. “It’s just not possible to fill a sieve with water.”
“Are you sure?” asked the Teacher, picking up the sieve.
He waded into the water and threw the sieve far out into the sea. It sank.
“There!” said the Teacher. “It’s full of water now.”
~ Author Unknown


“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.”

~ Katherine Mansfield


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011-47 - Just get started…

What is the best way to get something done? Just get started and do it! But getting started seems to be the hardest part.

Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult for most people. Once you’re out, though, you can generally make it through the day without having to crawl back under the covers. Momentum is a powerful force. That’s what makes it so hard to get up. The trick is to get momentum working on your side. And the best way to do that is. . . Just get started on what you need to do.

Once you get started, it will usually be much easier to continue. Your momentum helps to carry you through. So get started on whatever you need to do, even if it means just doing something minor. In fact, it helps to split your work into small, manageable sections. That way you don’t have the feeling of being overwhelmed. Set little goals -- “I’ll get the first two pages of the report written this morning.” And continue to attack your work, piece by piece.

It has been said many times that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Once you take that first step, you’ve done everything you need to do to get where you’re going. It’s just a matter of taking another step, and another and another, until you are where you want to be. That first step gives you the momentum, and the confidence, to complete your task.

~ Ralph Marston

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.

~ Tony Robbins

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011-46 - Never stop growing...

When you think you know it all, then you deny yourself the opportunity to learn anything new. When you decide that you’ve seen it all, you cut yourself off from new and enlightening experiences.
Every day is an opportunity to grow. Always take advantage of that opportunity, for it is a big part of what makes you alive.
No matter how much you’ve already accomplished, you can still receive great benefit from new challenges. No matter what your level of learning and experience, you can always raise that level even higher.
When you think you have all the answers, get busy and find some more questions. View each new discovery as a starting point, and not as a final destination.
The joy of life is in the journey. The fulfillment of life is in the growing.
Keep that growing going, and never let it stop.

~ Ralph Marston

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.”

~ Thales

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011-45 - Most challenging...

The more excuses you come up with to avoid doing it, the more important it is to get it done. After all, if it didn’t really matter, you wouldn’t bother with all the excuses.
Whatever you feel yourself resisting, is what you must find a way to do. Because when you can get past the resistance, what you’ll be able to create is great and fulfilling value.
It is much, much easier to give in to the excuses. But then all you’ll be left with is regret.
It is much more difficult to do those great and wonderful things you know you’re capable of doing. Yet from that difficulty comes the golden experience of the life you know you are meant to live.
Go ahead and feel the fear, feel the doubt, feel the frustration and discomfort and apprehension. Then, take all that energy and lovingly, joyfully, enthusiastically turn it around.
Step confidently forward in precisely the direction that is most challenging to you. Because in that same direction, you’ll also find what is most rewarding to you.
Choose to forego what is easy right now. And deliver yourself into the realm of what is truly great and fulfilling.

~ Ralph Marston
“The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011-44 - Do Not...

Do not undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Do not set your goals by what other people deem important.
Only you know what is best for you..

Do not let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past nor for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Do not give up when you still have something to give.
Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
It is a fragile thread that binds us to each other....

Do not be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Do not shut love out of your life by saying it is impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly.

Do not dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams is to be without hope; to be without hope is to be without purpose.

Do not run through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been, but also where you are going.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

~ Unknown
" Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality . Wake up and live!"
~ Bob Marley

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011-43 - The Life We Choose…

Here's the premise: We are all, right now, living the life we choose.
This choice, of course, is not a single, monumental choice. No one decides, for example, "I'm going to move to L.A., and in five years I will be a waiter in a so-so restaurant, planning to get my 8-by-10's done real soon so that I can find an agent and become a star," or "I'm going to marry a dreadful person and we'll live together in a loveless marriage, staying together only for the kids, who I don't much like, either."
No. The choices I'm talking about here are made daily, hourly, moment by moment.
Do we try something new, or stick to the tried-and-true? Do we take a risk, or eat what's already on our dish? Do we ponder a thrilling adventure, or contemplate what's on TV? Do we walk over and meet that interesting stranger, or do we play it safe? Do we indulge our heart, or cater to our fear?
The bottom-line question: Do we pursue what we want, or do we do what's comfortable?
For the most part, most people most often choose comfort - the familiar, the time-honoured, the well-worn but well-known. After a lifetime of choosing between comfort and risk, we are left with the life we currently have.
And it was all of our own choosing.

~ Peter McWilliams

"There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it's easy."
~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2011-42 - Do what you love...

Last year when speaking with Bill Gates at an All Things Digital conference, Jobs responded to a question about how entrepreneurs can hope to have the same success he has with Apple. His response was simple - you need to have a passion for what you do, "otherwise any rational person would give up".
"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition," he said in his famous commencement speech in 2005. "They somehow already know what you truly want to become."
Jobs was successful because he cared about his products. He was so hands-on that he finalised key details, including the exact weight of products, to the type of wood that was to be used in Apple's retail stores.
Only someone who cared about these products would go to such a high level of detail. But it is exactly this tendency to place such a high priority on seemingly unimportant bits and pieces that makes Jobs' dedication to innovation a lesson all entrepreneurs must take to heart.
~ Patrick Stafford


"Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer."
~ Rick Pitino


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2011-41 - Triumph over doubt...

Every action you take, is a triumph of your courage over your doubts. Go ahead and make the effort. Go ahead and see it through. Sure you have doubts. Everyone does. They must not be allowed to stop you.
Idleness gives strength to your doubts, and as doubts grow stronger they immobilize you even more. If you let them, your doubts will quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Yet as soon as you begin to take action, those doubts begin to lose their power. As soon as you start to make it happen, the doubts seem less and less real. Doubts may grow in your idleness to overwhelming proportions, but they have no power against your actions.
Take the first step and watch your doubts step back. Keep on going, and leave them far behind.
~ Ralph Marston


" A dream will always triumph over reality, once it is given the chance."
~ Stanislaw Lem


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011-38 - Make the first time count…

If you only put half the necessary effort into a task, you'll eventually need to do it again, and perhaps again.

Does that make any sense? Of course not. If you really want to save yourself time and effort, make every effort your very best effort. When something must be done, work on it with the objective of getting it right the first time.

You likely won't get it perfect. What's important is that you make your first effort count as much as possible. Don't depend on fixing it later. Do what's necessary to get it right the first time around. Then, instead of spending time fixing it, you can move on to something else.

You're spending your precious time and effort. Make it count. Rather than doing the very minimum, do the very most. Rather than marking time, rather than just getting through it, use your time to accomplish something of value. The extra effort and attention you put into getting it right the first time will be returned many times over.

~ Ralph Marston


"You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honourably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give."

~ Edward O. Wilson


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011-37 - It is hard…

To forget
To apologize
To save money
To be unselfish
To avoid mistakes
To keep out of a rut
To begin all over again
To make the best of all things
To keep your temper at all times
To think first and act afterwards
To maintain a high standard
To keep on keeping on
To shoulder blame
To be charitable
To admit error
To take advice
To forgive
But it pays!
~ based on Matthew 7:1-2

"No phenomenon can be isolated, but has repercussions through every aspect of our lives. We are learning that we are a fundamental part of nature's ecosystems."
~ Arthur Erickson

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011-36 - Icon Ambulance...

One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. As discreetly as possible, I checked the phone and noticed that my phone said "Caller ID unknown". I choose to ignore.
After services, as I was walking to my car with my family, I checked my cell phone messages. The message left was from Steve Jobs. "Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss" it said.
Before I even reached my car, I called Steve Jobs back. I was responsible for all mobile applications at Google, and in that role, had regular dealings with Steve. It was one of the perks of the job.
"Hey Steve - this is Vic", I said. "I'm sorry I didn't answer your call earlier. I was in religious services, and the caller ID said unknown, so I didn't pick up".
Steve laughed. He said, "Vic, unless the Caller ID said 'GOD', you should never pick up during services".
I laughed nervously. After all, while it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?
"So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I've already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow" said Steve.
"I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong and I'm going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?"
Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject "Icon Ambulance". The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon.
Since I was 11 years old and fell in love with an Apple II, I have dozens of stories to tell about Apple products. They have been a part of my life for decades. Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced.
But in the end, when I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning in January. It was a lesson I'll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday.
To one of the greatest leaders I've ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you Steve.

~ Vic Gundotra


"A man's accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail."

~ John Foster Dulles


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011-35 - Practice makes winners...

Small things, repeated over and over again, are vastly more powerful and influential than big things done just once.
Truly successful people realize that meaningful, lasting success does not, can not, come overnight. Great accomplishments are not one-time efforts, but rather the culmination of a long line of repeated efforts.
The gold-medal Olympic swimmer does not just show up at the competition and win the race. For years beforehand, she practices her start, her stroke, her turn, her breathing, fine-tuning each aspect to the nth degree. Often the race is won by mere hundredths of a second. Yet the effort needed to win that race is measured in years.
Success in any endeavour comes from consistent, determined, focused effort. The way to guarantee that you'll be at the right place at the right time, is to be at the right place ALL the time. Stay focused every day on the habits of success.

~ Ralph Marston

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

~ Aristotle


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011-34 - Make it count...

Today is special. When it is over, it will be gone forever. You only have one chance to make today a productive, important one.
Each moment is an golden opportunity for you. Each moment is a chance for you to learn, to grow, to create value, to produce wealth, to make a positive difference in your own life and the lives of other people.
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows. What you do today can change the world. Today is the key. If not today, then when?
What have you always wanted? What have you always dreamed of being, doing, or having? Today is your opportunity to go for it. Today is your day to take the first step, to take positive action, to take control of your life and your future.
Today is only here once. Use it while you have it. Make it count, make it special as only you can do.

~ Ralph Marston


"Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday."

~ Brian Tracy


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011-33 - Rescue at sea...

Years ago, in a small fishing village, a volunteer rescue team was formed to help in cases of emergency. One night the winds raged, the clouds burst and a gale force storm capsized a fishing boat at sea. Stranded and in trouble, the crew sent out an S.O.S. The captain of the rescue rowboat team sounded the alarm and the villagers assembled in the town square overlooking the bay. While the team fought their way through the wild waves, the villagers waited restlessly, holding lanterns to light the way back.
An hour later, the rescue boat reappeared and the cheering villagers ran to greet them. Falling exhausted on the sand, the volunteers reported that the rescue boat could not hold any more passengers and they had to leave one man behind. Even one more passenger would have capsized the rescue boat and all would have been lost.
Frantically, the captain called for another volunteer team to go after the lone survivor. Sixteen-year-old Hans stepped forward. His mother grabbed his arm, pleading, "Please don’t go. Your father died in a shipwreck 10 years ago and your older brother, Paul, has been lost at sea for three weeks. Hans, you are all I have left."
Hans replied, "Mother, I have to go. What if everyone said, 'I can't go, let someone else do it?' Mother, this time I have to do my duty. When the call for service comes, we all need to take our turn and do our part." Hans kissed his mother, joined the team and disappeared into the night.
Another hour passed, which seemed to Hans' mother like an eternity. Finally, the rescue boat darted through the fog with Hans standing up in the bow. Cupping his hands, the captain called, "Did you find the lost man?" Barely able to contain himself, Hans excitedly yelled back, "Yes, we found him. Tell my mother it’s my older brother, Paul!"

~ Author Unknown


"Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less."

~ Robert E. Lee quotes


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011-32 - Common Ground...

Every person has a unique perspective. And yet, the things we all have in common are far more numerous than our differences.
Behind every difference of opinion, behind every disagreement, behind each conflict there is common ground. And that common ground can be the starting point for resolving the conflict.
Finding common ground does not mean giving in or forcing the other person to accept your point of view. Instead, it means discovering the areas in which you already share a similar perspective.
It is well worth the effort to find things upon which everyone can agree. For that sets the stage for true understanding.
Often, every person seeks the same ultimate outcome, and the disagreement is about the details of how to get there. Even when you are unable to agree, it is always possible to understand.
Seek to focus on that understanding, and work to find common ground. It is from that point that everyone involved can begin to create real value for all.
~ Ralph Marston

"Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery."
~ Joanne Kathleen Rowling

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2011-31 - Find Success…

Mark Twain once said, "The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation." Successful people are on a permanent vacation. Not because they don’t work hard, but because they love what they do.
Bill Gates, in an interview on his book says that "I’ve got the greatest job in the world." And because he feels that way about his work, he has amassed a personal fortune of around $15 billion, and built one of the most influential and successful companies in the world today.
You just won’t find anyone who has achieved massive success by doing something that they hate. To achieve success, you must find something that you absolutely love to do. Something that you cannot not do. And do it well. Do it with passion, with excitement, with enthusiasm, with a healthy obsession.
Bill Gates could retire today and live a life of leisure and almost unimaginable luxury. He has amassed a fortune that would last for thousands of lifetimes. And yet he still works very hard. That says a lot about the values and attitude that got him where he is today.
If your goal is to get to the point where you never have to work again, perhaps you should examine the nature of your work. Hating what you do will probably not get you very far. Find a way to love your work and you’ll immediately have true success.
~ Ralph Marston


“The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make.”
~ Mark Twain


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2011-30 - Be here… now!

Let go of your thoughts about
what could be, or should be, or
Might have been.
Be here now, fully and lovingly.

Give your attention to the miracle
of what is. See the great
Value and beauty that is
right in front of you,
here and Now.

Let your thoughts arise
and then let them go. There's no
Need to wander away from
the wholeness of this moment.

Don't hurry ahead to whatever
is next. Be here now, and give
All the power of your awareness
to living the wonder and
Value of what is.

What you truly desire is not
out there somewhere, and is not
Waiting for someday to appear to you.
It is yours to Manifest and
enjoy in this moment.

There is great power and
ability in your presence.
Be here Now,
and live the treasure
that is already yours in this
Very moment.
~ Author Unknown

“If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven't done much today.”
~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2011-29 - Shooting the bird’s eye...

An ancient Indian sage was teaching his disciples the art of archery. He hung a wooden bird from a tree branch as the target and asked them to aim at the eye of the bird.
The first disciple was asked to describe what he saw. He said, "I see the sky, the trees, the branches, the leaves, the bird and its eye." The sage asked this disciple to wait.
Then he asked the second disciple to describe what he could see. The second disciple replied "I see the branches, the leaves, the bird and its eye." The sage asked this disciple too to wait.
He then asked the third disciple the same question who replied, "I only see the eye of the bird." The sage said, "Very good, then shoot." The arrow went straight and hit the eye of the bird.
Unless we focus, we cannot achieve our goal. It is hard to focus and concentrate, but it is a skill that can be learned.
~ Author Unknown

"This is an incredibly talented team. We have every element on this team. If we can come out with some fight and come out playing the way that we are capable of playing, then we will be virtually unstoppable. Now we just have to focus on that goal."
~ Gordon Eakin

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2011-28 - Why do children climb up slides?

If you’ve ever spent much time at a playground you’ve seen that small children love to slide down slides, and that they also love to climb up them. Playground slides are not designed to climb. They are steep and slippery, and have no hand holds. And that is precisely the attraction for little ones -- the challenge.
We’re all born with the desire to seek out and overcome challenges. For the better part of human history, it’s what has kept people alive. And it has led to a steadily continuing increase in our standard of living.
Challenges can teach, inspire and help us to grow. And overcoming challenge brings a sense of accomplishment and the confidence to face even greater challenges.
Sometimes, though, we get so caught up in security and comfort, that we’re reluctant to take on challenges. But such complacency is at best boring, and over time can erode the essence of life.
Challenges are a key part of childhood. Children learn to overcome obstacles on a daily basis to be able to walk, communicate, eat and socialize. In fact, you could say that challenge is the essence of youth. If you think of yourself as “old” then you’re probably not experiencing enough challenge. And if you want to always stay young, never stop seeking new challenges.
~ Ralph Marston
“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what make the instrument stretch - what make you go beyond the norm.”
~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011-27 - Don’t Quit!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but do not quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
~ Author Unknown


“Most people who succeed in the face of seemingly impossible conditions are people who simply don't know how to quit.”

~ Robert Schuller


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011-26 - If you don’t like the weather, then change it…

You can do whatever you want today.
You can walk out the door into a cold, dreary day that makes you want to go back to bed. Or you can step out into a crisp, invigorating day that puts a little extra bounce in your step. It doesn’t matter what the weather report says, what matters is you.
You can get stuck in a massive traffic jam, raise your blood pressure and act rudely toward strangers. Or, you can enjoy some time for quiet reflection and find yourself amused at the hustle and bustle around you.
You can go to a terrible job, that’s boring and unfulfilling, where you’re not appreciated, where you have to deal with difficult people. OR, you can go to a terrific job, where you have an opportunity to make a real difference, where you’re challenged to prove yourself, where you can have a positive influence on people. Both jobs are in the same building, at the same desk. The difference is all due to you.
It’s your day. It’s your life. It’s your choice.
~ Ralph Marston
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
~ Joanne Kathleen Rowling

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011-25 - You Are Special...

In all the world there is nobody like you. Since the beginning of time there has never been another person like you. Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair. Nobody owns your handwriting, your voice. You're Special.
Nobody can paint your brush strokes. Nobody has your taste for food or music or dance or art. Nobody in the universe sees things as you do. You're special.
In all time there has never been anyone who laughs in exactly your way. You're different from any other person who has ever lived in the history of the universe. You are the only one in the whole of creation who has your particular set of abilities. Nobody in the universe can reach the quality of the combination of your talents, your feelings. Through all eternity no one will ever walk, talk, think or do exactly like you. You're special.
You're rare and in all rarity there is enormous value and because of your great value the need for you to imitate anyone else is absolutely wrong. You're special, and it is no accident you are.
Please realise that you were made for a special purpose. You have a job to do that nobody else can do as well as you can. Out of the billions of applicants, only one qualified. Only one has the unique and right combination of what it takes and that one is You.
You're Special.
~ Author Unknown

"No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning."
~ Barbara De Angelis

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011-24 - No easy way to the top...

When you choose to drive, you have to accept traffic jams. When you choose to be health conscious, you have to forego being tongue conscious. With income will come income tax.
Anything you choose in life comes along with its own inherent positives and negatives. What folly it is to search for a rose bush without the thorns! When you choose one face of the coin, you have also chosen the other side of the coin. Don’t ask for a trouble-free, blessed life. Not even the mahatmas could embrace a trouble-free blessed life. There is no such life.
Bigger the ambition, greater will be the issues. When you want to walk, the issues are few. When you choose to run a marathon, obviously there are more issues to deal with. When you choose to merely exist, you face lesser issues. When you choose to live worthy of your potential, then you have to solve larger issues. By lifting one end of the stick, you have already picked up the other end. Only if you are willing to be chiselled, you will become the idol worthy of being worshipped. There is no easy way to the top, and those who made it to the top didn’t make it easy.
After all, there has to be a difference between a history reader and a history maker.
~ T T Rangarajan (Excerpt from Unposted Letter)

"Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in."
~ Bill Bradley

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011-23 - The soldiers and the trench...

The story goes that sometime, close to a battlefield over 200 years ago, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of exhausted battle-weary soldiers digging an obviously important defensive position. The section leader, making no effort to help, was shouting orders, threatening punishment if the work was not completed within the hour.
"Why are you are not helping?" asked the stranger on horseback.
"I am in charge. The men do as I tell them," said the section leader, adding, "Help them yourself if you feel strongly about it."
To the section leader's surprise the stranger dismounted and helped the men until the job was finished.
Before leaving the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the puzzled section leader.
"You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men - and I will provide a more permanent solution," said the stranger.
Up close, the section leader now recognized General Washington, and also the lesson he'd just been taught
~ Author Unknown

"Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it."
~ Marian Anderson

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011-22 - Attitude...

He was grinning as I came out of the airport and was holding a board, which had my name. He grinned even farther when he saw my scowl. "Rough flight?" he asked. "You bet," I said as I got into his car. I was there to address a group on the role of the press, but the journey had been anything but comfortable. I looked around at traffic jams and crowded roads and asked surly, "How's this place to live in?" He grinned farther and asked. "You want a story while I drive?" "Shoot!" I said and found his grin contagious.
"There lived an old man who owned a gas station," said my new friend as he drove, "every afternoon he sat in his rocking chair and greeted the motorists as they passed by. One day his granddaughter also sat next to him. A tall man who surely had to be a tourist began looking around as if he were checking out the area for a place to live and seeing the old man walked up to him and asked, "So what kind of town is this?"
"What kind of a town are you from?" asked the old man.
"Where I'm from," said the tourist, "everyone is very critical of each other. The neighbours all gossip about everyone. It's a real negative place and I'm sure glad I've left the place. It's not a cheerful place at all pardner!"
The old man in the rocking chair looked at the stranger and said, "You know, that's how this town is too!"
An hour later a family that was passing through stopped for gas. A mother jumped out with two small children and rushed to where the rest rooms were. The father who had been driving strolled over to the old man and his grand daughter and asked, "Is this town a pretty good place to live?"
"What about the town you are from? How is it?" asked the old man.
"Well," said the man as he watched his family return, "in the town where I come from, everyone is very close and always willing to lend their neighbour a helping hand. There's always a hello and a thank you everywhere you go. I really hate to leave the place, because I feel almost like we are leaving family!"
The old man in the rocking chair looked at the father and gave him a warm smile, "You know," he said, "that's a lot like this town!" and smiled at his wife and kids as they got back into the car and drove off waving.
"Hey granddad?" asked the puzzled granddaughter, "How come you told the first man it was a terrible place to live and the second it's a wonderful place?"
The old man looked lovingly at his granddaughter's wondering blue eyes and said, "No matter where you go, you take your attitude with you and that's what makes a new place wonderful or terrible!"
"So Tony ?" asked my new friend as he drove, "what were you saying?"
"Nothing!" I said and we both laughed out loud.
~ Author Unknown

"Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can't be done."
~ Bo Bennett

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011-21 - Positioning...

Heron stands in the blue estuary, Solitary, white, unmoving for hours. A fish! Quick avian darting; The prey is captured.
People always ask how to follow Tao. It is as easy and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when it must; it does not move when stillness is appropriate.
The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs, it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation. Then it goes back to its quiescence without disturbing itself or its surroundings. Unless it found the right position in the water's flow and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.
Actions in life can be reduced to two factors; positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us.
Almost anything is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and place. But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts.
When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to sieze it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.
~ Deng Ming-Dao

" Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunity. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them."
~ Orison Swett

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2011-20 - So much to do...

Do you have so much to do that is seems overwhelming? Then stop thinking about how much there is and start getting it done.
Feeling overwhelmed is merely a state of mind that you choose. And just as easily as you can choose it, you can choose to let it go.
A new day, a new month, a new year dawns and it can make you feel like time is quickly slipping away. But in fact, time comes to you just as quickly as it moves past.
And that means that each moment you get the opportunity to make a difference. Each moment, the best thing you can do is to make full and meaningful use of that moment.
That is how you get things done. Moment by moment, little by little, small tasks build into great accomplishments, and accomplishments build into a life with real fulfillment.
You don’t have to tackle everything all at once. Just do what you can, when you can, filling each moment with positive purpose and action.
And what once seemed overwhelming will quickly become a source of real and lasting fulfillment.
~ Ralph Marston

"You're never a loser until you quit trying."
~ Mike Ditka

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2011-19 - It’s how you say it...

What happens to us when we call ourselves names like "failure" or "dummy"? We feel we're no good and never will be. We want to stop trying because we think we'll flub up again.
But what if we begin to use different words to describe the same results? It won't change the results, but it will change us. And it will change the way we see our actions and ourselves.
Just by changing the words we use we can feel better about ourselves. Saying, "I've failed three times," means we'll try again and again and again until we succeed. It means we know God doesn't make any failures or dummies. It means God is always with us, loving us and helping us, even when trying seems difficult.
~ Hazelden Meditations, an excerpt from 'Today's Gift'

" Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, I have failed three times, and what happens when he says, I'm a failure."
~ S. I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011-18 - Success Depends On Using, Not Opposing...

The world is primarily constituted on the basis of harmony. Everything works in cooperation with something else. Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.
Put yourself in another's place. Only then will you know why they think and do certain things. Once you understand how quickly people will grant your requests when those requests appeal to their self interest, you can have practically anything you go after.
It's through cooperation not conflict, that you'll achieve your greatest success.
~ Max Steingart

" If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative."
~ Anonymous

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011-17 - Matter of choice...

Life is always a matter of choice. Whatever the circumstances may be, you can choose the level at which you live.
You can choose what to think about the various events that play out in front of your eyes. You can choose how to respond to the challenges and opportunities that come into your life.
When you choose to consistently and persistently follow a particular purpose, you will manifest that purpose in the world around you. When you choose to focus your thoughts and efforts on things of meaningful value, you will create more value.
In the next few hours, or in the next few moments, anything can happen. It may be what you planned or it may be a total surprise.
Yet whatever may happen, you can choose what to do about it. Though you are subject to many powerful forces and influences, you can choose the way you deal with them.
The life you live is a matter of choice. Choose wisely, and live richly.
~ Ralph Marston

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise."
~ Robert Fritz

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011-16 - Build a future...

The more you take action, the more good things you’ll have coming your way. You’ll come across more and better opportunities, learn more things, and become more skilled at getting the results you want.

Yes, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’ll regularly need to adjust your approach. But that’s no reason to avoid action.

In fact, that’s a good reason to get started as soon as possible. If you’re going to make mistakes, it’s better to get out there, get the mistakes over with, and learn from them.

Don’t sit around wondering and worrying about what might happen. Use your own actions and your own energy to determine what will happen.

Don’t sit around building a list of complaints and regrets. Instead, take real, focused action and build a positive, fulfilling future for yourself.

Figure out what you want to create, where you want to go, what you want to experience, and who you want to become. Then get yourself in action and keep moving in the direction you’ve chosen.

~ Ralph Marston


"When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened."

~ John M. Richardson, Jr.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011-14 - Your potential…

There is no limit to your potential. For there is no limit to what you can imagine, and whatever you can imagine, you can bring into your life.

Yes, there are very real hurdles to whatever you attempt. And in some way or another, you can get yourself over every one of them.

When you imagine limitations, they become real. Instead, focus your imagination on the positive possibilities, and focus your efforts on making them real.

Think of all the things, once considered to be impossible, that are now commonplace. Always remember that when there is a good enough reason, there is a way.

In every moment, you are making progress in one direction or another. Choose to use those moments, as they come, and focus your efforts to fulfill the great potential that is yours.

Feel the unique potential that is your life. Give your own special beauty to the world.

~ Ralph Marston


You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'
~ George Bernard Shaw


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011-13 - Common Ground…

Every person has a unique perspective. And yet, the things we all have in common are far more numerous than our differences. Behind every difference of opinion, behind every disagreement, behind each conflict there is common ground. And that common ground can be the starting point for resolving the conflict.
Finding common ground does not mean giving in or forcing the other person to accept your point of view. Instead, it means discovering the areas in which you already share a similar perspective. It is well worth the effort to find things upon which everyone can agree. For that sets the stage for true understanding. Often, every person seeks the same ultimate outcome, and the disagreement is about the details of how to get there. Even when you are unable to agree, it is always possible to understand.
Seek to focus on that understanding, and work to find common ground. It is from that point that everyone involved can begin to create real value for all.
~ Ralph Marston

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
~ Joanne Kathleen Rowling

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011-11 - The Acorn Planter...

In the 1930's a young traveller was exploring the French Alps. He came upon a vast stretch of barren land. It was desolate. It was forbidding. It was ugly. It was the kind of place you hurry away from.
Then, suddenly, the young traveller stopped dead in his tracks. In the middle of this vast wasteland was a bent-over old man. On his back was a sack of acorns. In his hand was a four-foot length of iron pipe.
The man was using the iron pope to punch holes in the ground. Then from the sack he would take an acorn and put it in the hole. Later the old man the traveller, "I've planted over 100,000 acorns. Perhaps only a tenth of them will grow." The old man's wife and son had died, and this was how he chose to spend his final years. "I want to do something useful," he said.
Twenty-five years later the now-not-as-young traveller returned to the same desolate area. What he saw amazed him. He could not believe his own eyes. The land was covered with a beautiful forest two miles wide and five miles long. Birds were singing, animals were playing, and wild flowers perfumed the air.
The traveller stood there recalling the desolation that once was; a beautiful oak forest stood there now - all because someone cared.
~ Brian Cavanaugh

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
~ Leo F Buscaglia

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011-10 - Strength… and Courage…

It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pains,
It takes courage to show them.

It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

~ Author Unknown

“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”
~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011-09 - The house of 1000 Mirrors…

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit.
When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.
In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."
~ Author Unknown

"All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the
people you meet."
~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011-08 - Expect The Best…

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the weather this particular morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her trek to the elementary school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning.
The child's mother, concerned that her daughter would be frightened and possibly harmed by the storm got into her car and drove along the route to her child's school.
As she did so, she saw her little daughter walking along happily but at each flash of lightning the child would stop, look up, and smile.
Stopping the car, the mother called to the child to get in with her. As they drove toward school, the girl continued to turn toward each lightning flash and smile.
The Mother asked, "What are you doing?"
The child answered, "Well, I must do this, God keeps taking pictures of me."
~ Author Unknown

"Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. And you can do it when things are tough."
~ Richard M. DeVos

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011-07 - Filling a Sieve With Water…

A Teacher had given a discourse on creative thinking.
Afterwards his disciples approached him and asked him to set them a problem that required them to think creatively. The sage gave them a sieve and asked them to fill it with water at the sea, nearby. They were gone for a long time. Finally he went down to the beach to see what they were doing, and found them seated morosely around the sieve.
They scrambled to their feet when they saw him.
"You’ve set us an impossible task, sir," said the oldest of the disciples. "It’s just not possible to fill a sieve with water."
"Are you sure?" asked the Teacher, picking up the sieve.
He waded into the water and threw the sieve far out into the sea. It sank.
"There!" said the Teacher. "It’s full of water now."
~ Author Unknown

"Sometimes it helps to step back and view the problem from a different angle."
~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011-06 - Bend, But Don't Break…

One of my fondest memories as a child is going by the river and sitting idly on the bank. There I would enjoy the peace and quiet, watch the water rush downstream, and listen to the chirps of birds and the rustling of leaves in the trees. I would also watch the bamboo trees bend under pressure from the wind and watch them return gracefully to their upright or original position after the wind had died down.
When I think about the bamboo tree's ability to bounce back or return to its original position, the word resilience comes to mind. When used in reference to a person this word means the ability to readily recover from shock, depression or any other situation that stretches the limits of a person's emotions.
Have you ever felt like you are about to snap? Have you ever felt like you are at your breaking point? Thankfully, you have survived the experience to live to talk about it.
During the experience you probably felt a mix of emotions that threatened your health. You felt emotionally drained, mentally exhausted and you most likely endured unpleasant physical symptoms.
Life is a mixture of good times and bad times, happy moments and unhappy moments. The next time you are experiencing one of those bad times or unhappy moments that take you close to your breaking point, bend but don't break. Try your best not to let the situation get the best of you.
A measure of hope will take you through the unpleasant ordeal. With hope for a better tomorrow or a better situation, things may not be as bad as they seem to be. The unpleasant ordeal may be easier to deal with if the end result is worth having.
If the going gets tough and you are at your breaking point, show resilience. Like the bamboo tree, bend, but don't break!
~ Author Unknown

"Nothing can sabotage winning, except for fear of losing. Success usually lies just beyond failure."
~ Mario Cortes

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011-05 - I'm still growing…

Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953 he scaled the highest mountain then known to man-29,000 feet straight up. He was knighted for his efforts.
He even made American Express card commercials because of it! However, until we read his book, High Adventure, we don't understand that Hillary had to grow into this success.
You see, in 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed. A few weeks later a group in England asked him to address its members.
Hillary walked on stage to a thunderous applause. The audience was recognizing an attempt at greatness, but Edmund Hillary saw himself as a failure. He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform.
He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, "Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I'll beat you the next time because you've grown all you are going to grow... but I'm still growing!"
~ Brian Cavanaugh (The Sower's Seeds)

"Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak."
~ Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011-04 - Hope…

As I ate breakfast one morning, I overheard two oncologists conversing. One complained bitterly, "You know, Bob, I just don't understand it. We used the same drugs, the same dosage, the same schedule and the same entry criteria. Yet I got a 22 percent response rate and you got a 74 percent. That's unheard of for metastatic cancer. How do you do it?"
His colleague replied, "We're both using Etoposide, Platinum, Oncovin and Hydroxyurea. You call yours EPOH. I tell my patients I'm giving them HOPE. As dismal as the statistics are, I emphasize that we have a chance."
~ William M. Buchholz, M.D. (Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul)

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."
~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011-03 - Learning to get back up…

Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother's womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.
The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.
When it doesn't get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they'd get it too, if the mother didn't teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.
The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin.
Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. He said, "I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished and they go to work.
"They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they're knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they've accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do."
~ Craig B. Larson (Adapted from "Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching" from Leadership Journal)

" I am thankful to all those who said NO to me… It’s because of them I did it myself."
~ Albert Einstein