Archives for November 2016

10 Success lessons from Paulo Coelho – “The Alchemist” for entrepreneurs

by Biplap Gosh

1. Rejection doesn’t matter

Paulo believed in himself. He believed that he was a good poet and that his poems were not suitable for small magazines. So he sent his poems to the ‘Escritores e Livros,’ a reputable literary column in a newspaper called Correio da Manha. But the newspaper humiliated him.

Like any normal person, he took it personally, but managed to regain his confidence and write his own version of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If…”. In the case of Paulo, his self-belief won and this is because of a certain obsession of his.

2. Always take action

“There is only one way to learn. It’s through action.”

You can study, read, and listen until you turn blue in the face, but the full experience is when you take action, and let the rubber meet the road. Once you’re done aiming, pull the trigger.

3. Be obsessed with your dream

Paulo was obsessed with the idea of becoming a famous writer. Yet, it was funny that the obsession only bore fruit in his later years. This is because he was always changing his art: from poetry to acting, directing, writing about the occult, and lyric writing.

Although he gained success in some of his ventures, he kept reminding himself that he wanted to be a famous writer. That obsession made him what he is today.

4. Good things come to those who persevere

In The Alchemist, Coelho’s most popular novel, a young Spanish shepherd named Santiago has a prophetic dream that treasure awaits him in some distant land. After consulting with a gypsy who tells him the treasure lies under the Pyramids of Giza and Egypt, he embarks upon a long and arduous journey across Africa. The obstacles he encounters in the desert—he struggles to secure food and shelter, crosses paths with armies, and even falls in love—make him second-guess his dubious quest.

But for every hurdle discouraging him, there’s a signpost reminding him to keep his faith alive. Early in his journey an old king tells Santiago: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

5. If you have a weakness, learn to compensate for it with your strength

Paulo was weak physically. According to his biography he was “very thin, frail and short.” He had a nickname – Pele – which means ‘skin. It was given only to those who were always being bullied by their classmates.

Considering his physical weakness, it was hard for Paulo to gain the respect of his peers. Yet he found out that despite his weakness, he managed to gain their respect.By knowing things no one else knew and reading stories none of his peers had read was one way of gaining respect.

6. Your past doesn’t make the future

Paulo failed in his studies, almost killed a boy because of his driving, was forced to stay in a psychiatry clinic because of his escalating problems, took drugs, was kidnapped by a secret organization and embraced Satanism.

The problem with most of us is we focus on things we can’t change. It is true that our past can influence our future, but we don’t want to let that influence spread too much and work of its own accord.

7. Listen to your heart

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” —The Alchemist

8. Your success has a ripple-effect

“That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

Growth, change, and evolution are weaved into the fabric of reality. Becoming a better version of yourself creates a ripple effect that benefits everything around you: your lifestyle, your family, your friends, your community.

9. Don’t be afraid to be different

“You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that, in my view, is a serious illness. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?” —Veronika Decides to Die

10. You don’t have to work in a corporate job

It’s not safe anyway, despite what they tell you. There’s much more fun and money to be had if you can handle a little uncertainty (warning — most people would choose misery over uncertainty, but you don’t have to be one of them). Doing work that you truly love is the best gift you will ever give yourself.

20 SEC READING: Measuring love


‘I’ve always wanted to know if I was capable of loving my wife as much as you love yours,’ said the journalist Keichiro to my publisher Satoshi Gungi over supper one night.
 
‘There is nothing else but love,’ came the reply. ‘It is love that keeps the world turning and the stars in their spheres.’
 
‘I know. But how can I know if my love is big enough?’
 
‘Ask yourself if you give yourself fully or if you flee from your emotions, but do not ask yourself if your love is big enough, because love is neither big nor small, it is simply love.
‘You cannot measure a feeling the way you measure a road.
‘If you do that, you will start comparing your love with what others tell you of theirs or with your own expectations of love.
‘That way, you will always be listening to some story, rather than pushing your emotions to their limits.’
 
 

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

10 sec reading: don’t forget the evil men

The following prayer was found amongst the personal belongings of a Jew who died in a concentration camp:
 
Lord, when you come in Your glory, do not remember only the men of good, but remember too the men of evil.
 
And on the Day of Judgement, do not remember only the acts of cruelty, inhumanity and violence that they carried out,
but remember too the fruits that they produced in us because of what they did to us.
Remember the patience, courage, brotherly love, humility, generosity of spirit and faithfulness
that our executioners awoke in our souls.
 
And then, Lord, may those fruits be used to save the souls of those men of evil.

10 SEC READING Escaping from threats

We often think that the ideal attitude is to give our life for a dream, but there is nothing more mistaken than this.
In order to make a dream come true, we need to conserve our life, and so we have to know how to avoid whatever is threatening us.
The more we premeditate on our steps, the more we stand to be wrong, because we are not taking others into consideration, or life’s teachings, or passion and calm.
The more we feel we are in control, the farther we are from controlling anything at all. A threat gives no warning, and a quick reaction cannot be programmed like a walk on Sunday afternoon.

So if you want to be in harmony with your love or with your fight, learn to react fast.
Using polite observation, do not let your supposed experience of life turn you into a machine, but rather use this experience always to listen to “the voice of the heart.”
Even if you disagree with what this voice is saying, respect it and follow its advice, for it knows the best moment to act and the right moment to avoid action.

This also holds true for both love and war.

in “The Treatise of Tahlan”, an ancient treatise for samurais

 
 

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

Conscious x emotional

Conscious faith is freedom.
Instinctive faith is slavery.
Mechanical faith is madness.
Conscious hope is strength.
Emotional hope is cowardice.
Mechanical hope is sickness.
Conscious love arouses love.
Emotional love arouses the unexpected.
Mechanical love arouses hate.”

Try walking meditation

(taken from Easy and Relaxing meditation)

Walking meditation is alternate form of meditation which involves observing the movement of the feet and becoming aware of your body’s connection to the earth.
The space doesn’t need to be very large, but you should be able to walk at least seven paces in a straight line before needing to turn around. Remove your shoes, if possible.

Holding your head up with your gaze directed straight ahead, and your hands clasped together in front of you. Take a slow, deliberate step with your right foot. Forget about any sensations or feelings in the foot and try to concentrate on the movement itself. After taking the first step, stop for a moment before taking the next. Only one foot should be moving at any given time.

When you reach the end of your walking path,pivot on the right foot and turn around. Continue walking in the opposite direction, using the same slow, deliberate movements as before.

While practicing walking meditation, try to focus on the movement of the feet and nothing else, in the same way that you focus on the rising and falling of your breath during breathing meditation. Try to clear your mind and become aware of the connection between your foot and the earth below

NOT DIFFICULT, RIGHT???

Three precise blows

“How can I know the best way to act in life?” the disciple asked the master.

The master asked him to build a table.

The disciple drove in the nails with three precise blows. One nail, however, struck a hard spot and the disciple needed to deliver one more blow – which drove in the nail too deep all the way into the wood.

“Your hand was used to three blows of the hammer,” said the master. “You had so much trust in what you did that you lost your attention and skill.”

“When action becomes a mere habit it loses its meaning and may end up causing harm, so never let routine be in command of your movements.”

A Thousandth Opinion (by Albert Lim Kok Hoo)

published in Khaleej Times on Nov 11, 2009

I know a man who has seen a thousand doctors. Let us call him Thomas. He is 80 years old but even so, a thousand is a huge number. In a year, he would have seen 12 new doctors on the average. A thousand different doctors means perhaps 20,000 consultations. Sometimes Thomas sees three different doctors in one afternoon.

Some of Thomas’s friends are doctors. Some of his doctors become his friends. His doctors range from the junior to the senior, from those in government hospitals to those in private practice, from generalists to specialists. Men, women, foreigners, graduates from local universities; he has seen them all. Sometimes he sees them just to measure his blood pressure.

Sometimes it is for a more serious matter like an unexplained chest pain. He has spent about $230,000 in his lifetime on doctor visits, blood tests, medications, X-rays, scans and Ҭminor surgeries.

He has no regrets. Others may splurge on flashy cars or the services of a sommelier, but for Thomas it is doctors, doctors and more doctors. Sadly, Thomas was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and was referred to me. I wonder how many more oncologists he has seen or will be seeing.

Thomas came across as a well adjusted gentleman. He did not exhibit any verbal or physical tic. He spoke well. He gave his medical history clearly and answered most of my questions willingly and appropriately. Having gained his trust, I decided to explore his need to see so many doctors. He was forthright about it. He is afraid to die.

So many of us, with or without cancer, are not willing to admit to our fear of death. We couch our fear like this: “Doctor, I am not afraid to die but I fear the process of dying.” Others of a more poetic bent will say, “Oh, death, where is thy sting?” It is a badge of honor we proudly wear on our sleeves.

Thomas was afraid of death, and he was not afraid to admit it. That’s courage. He was going to do his best to postpone it. Of course, seeing a thousand doctors does not help. It may even be harmful. Conflicting opinions lead to confusion and anxiety. Excessive and unnecessary X-rays and CT scans increase the chance of radiation-“¨induced cancer.

Apart from his fear of death, Thomas also disclosed a distrust of doctors. He was seeking as many opinions as possible before deciding on treatment. He had his doubts. Now you know why I gave Thomas his moniker.

Is Thomas suffering from hypochondriasis? The condition is characterised by fears that minor bodily symptoms may indicate a serious illness. The hypochondriac constantly examines himself; self-diagnosis becomes a preoccupation. He expresses doubt and disbelief in the doctor’s diagnosis. Thomas has some traits of a hypochondriac but that is too easy a label to stick on him. Thomas had a CT scan of his chest two years ago that disclosed a shadow in his lung. He was treated for pneumonia. The possibility of cancer was excluded when most of the shadow disappeared with a course of antibiotics. The doctors should have gone the extra mile to exclude cancer with a PET/CT scan and a biopsy.

Some may diagnose Thomas with thanatophobia “” an undue obsession with death (especially one’s own) to the extent that it becomes psychologically crippling. Again, this would be too convenient a label. Thomas is a successful entrepreneur and is socially adept.

I really don’t know. We tend to medicalise every little symptom and discomfort. From an infant’s excessive crying to teenage angst to a wage earner’s blues. There is a pill for everything: insomnia, erectile dysfunction and the sadness of bereavement. Perhaps Thomas has the time and money to see many doctors and he feels good doing this. It is therapeutic for him, if you can forgive my use of the word. It may be no different from some others I know who spend as much as Thomas does on audiovisual systems or eating unmentionable parts of endangered animals.

I shall help Thomas fight his cancer. I will dissuade him from unnecessary blood tests and scans. I will not judge him. Most of all, I will not medicalize his fear of death. It is about being human. There is no pill for it.


Albert Lim Kok Hooi is an oncologist based in Kuala Lumpur

The presence of a master

A disciple asked Firoz:

“The mere presence of a master causes all sorts of curious people to gather round, to discover something beneficial. Can’t this be a hindrance and negative? Can’t this divert the master from his path, or cause him to suffer because he could not teach that which he wished?”

Firoz, the Sufi master, replied:

“The sight of an avocado tree laden with fruit whets the appetite of all those who pass by. If someone wishes to satisfy his hunger beyond his needs, he will eat more avocados than necessary, and will be sick. However, this causes no indigestion to the man who owns the avocado tree.

It is the same with our Search. The path must be open to all; but it is for God to set the limits of each individual.”

I can’t wait for the day when life finally makes sense

(by Rania Naim)

I can’t wait for the day when life finally makes sense, when we find the silver lining in every tragedy, when we learn the lesson from each mistake and when we understand why our hearts needed to get broken a few times to let love in.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand why we met the right people at the wrong time or the wrong people at the right time and why our lives didn’t align to bring us together.

I wonder if it’s because they’re the wrong ones for us or because we still have a lot of growing up to do and we’re meant to be with someone who understand who we’re becoming not who we were.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand the lesson behind every struggle. Why we struggled to be successful, why we struggled to find love, why we struggled to reach our dreams and why we lost people who meant the world to us. I wonder if we needed these lessons to learn how to appreciate life and feel the pain of others or we just needed to learn that there is no living without suffering.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand why we had to hate ourselves to love ourselves, why we had to destroy ourselves to build ourselves up again and why we had to start over just before we got to the finish line. I wonder who saved us or who inspired us to save ourselves.

Why learn to meditate

(taking from How to medidate)

Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.

The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, but if they go badly, it immediately becomes unhappy. For example, if we get what we want, such as a new possession or a new partner, we become excited and cling to them tightly. However, since we cannot have everything we want, and since we will inevitably be separated from the friends and possessions we currently enjoy, this mental stickiness, or attachment, serves only to cause us pain. On the other hand, if we do not get what we want, or if we lose something that we like, we become despondent or irritated. For example, if we are forced to work with a colleague whom we dislike, we will probably become irritated and feel aggrieved, with the result that we will be unable to work with him or her efficiently and our time at work will become stressful and unrewarding.

By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind

Such fluctuations of mood arise because we are too closely involved in the external situation. We are like a child making a sandcastle who is excited when it is first made, but who becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.

If we train in meditation systematically, eventually we will be able to eradicate from our mind the delusions that are the causes of all our problems and suffering. In this way, we will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as “liberation” or “nirvana”. Then, day and night in life after life, we will experience only peace and happiness.

The hero’s journey


Below you find an interesting summary the journey each and everyone of us must undertake if we want to live a live that justifies our existence. We are all heros and heroines, so let’s face our Personal Legend!
The steps of the hero were codified by Joseph Campbell

Departure

1. The Call to Adventure
The call to adventure is the point in a person’s life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not.
2. Refusal of the Call
Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his or her current circumstances.
3. Supernatural Aid
Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his or her guide and magical helper appears, or becomes known.
4. The Crossing of the First Threshold
This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.
5. The Belly of the Whale
The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. It is sometimes described as the person’s lowest point, but it is actually the point when the person is between or transitioning between worlds and selves. The separation has been made, or is being made, or being fully recognized between the old world and old self and the potential for a new world/self. The experiences that will shape the new world and self will begin shortly, or may be beginning with this experience which is often symbolized by something dark, unknown and frightening. By entering this stage, the person shows their willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to die to him or herself.

# Inititation

1. The Road of Trials
The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.
2. The Meeting with the Goddess
The meeting with the goddess represents the point in the adventure when the person experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. It is also known as the “hieros gamos”, or sacred marriage, the union of opposites, and may take place entirely within the person. In other words, the person begins to see him or herself in a non-dualistic way. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely. Although Campbell symbolizes this step as a meeting with a goddess, unconditional love and /or self unification does not have to be represented by a woman.

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