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Not making a choice is actually also a choice that you make.




Most of us sooner or later discover that we have two forces that course through our veins. We automatically vacillate between the “upper” and “lower” limits of this force on a moment to moment basis. The UPPER end of the pole of this system is called the “ACTION” zone and the “LOWEST” end of this pole is characterized as the “NON-ACTION” zone. The feelings generated by thoughts, events or for that matter everything and everyone we encounter decides the quality of the output we intend using to deal with the matter at hand. The mistake we make is that many of us think that we are at the mercy of this so-called automatic reaction patterns that endlessly flood our minds and hearts daily. We jump with joy and run like the wind when good feelings are generated by the thought or event that we are confronted with (ACTION) or shut down and retreat into a dark place in our minds (NON-ACTION). What many of us never knew or understood is that there is no need to remain a victim of our historical conditioning or past mistakes. All that is real and valid is our current moment. We can if we decide to take control act in an appropriate and powerful manner notwithstanding the threat and feelings of doubt that we might be confronted with. You are part of a universal force that caters for evolution on a moment to moment basis. Call this force God my friend if it will make you feel more comfortable. This force is fair and allows every living thing in the universe to evolve, grow and expand notwithstanding his or her history. You can make a fresh start on a moment to moment basis. You are allocated 86400 new moments in any given day where you can make a fresh start. There is no need to fear failure or hide in the “NON-ACTION” zone. The NON-ACTION zone is a place where you become stagnant and RESIST risking the possibility of getting hurt or disappointed. The choices you make decide the quality of the outcomes you experience daily. Very few of us understand that not making a choice is actually also a choice that you make. You choose NON-ACTION and RESISTANCE and give up control.


Spend some time today to probe why you have this reluctance to take action. What is the cause of the resistance deep inside you that is preventing you from being the best you that you can ever be? Now make a list of all the things you will do if you knew that you cannot fail. Make a list of everything that comes to mind. Think it and then ink it. I will continue this series tomorrow.




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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in WISDOM


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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in WISDOM


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Happy people have an advantage.


Happy people have an advantage over unhappy ones — they may be healthier and may live longer.


An extensive review of literature using seven types of evidence indicates that high subjective well-being (SWB), such as life satisfaction, optimism, and positive emotions, causes better health and longevity. The review, published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being (2011), examined 160 studies which showed compelling evidence that positive feelings predict health and longevity.


The findings of the review, based from seven types of evidence, are summarized below:

Longitudinal studies. These studies, which have large sample sizes and have followed participants for a decade or more, revealed that SWB was related to lower mortality rate in both healthy and diseased populations. Positive moods such as joy and happiness, life satisfaction, hopefulness, optimism, and a sense of humor were associated with reduced risk of mortality and predicted longevity.


Physiology and health. Moods and emotions are associated with biological markers such as blood pressure, cortisol, and inflammation. Studies found that pessimists have higher blood pressure levels. Anger and hostility were related not only to the development of cardiovascular disease, but also to disease progression and inflammation. Stress predicted lower levels of immune response; whereas, positive affect strengthened immunity. Positive affect was associated with greater social connectedness, perceived social support, and greater probability of performing healthy behaviors.


Experimental manipulations of emotions. In experimental studies, positive and negative moods are induced which are then measured. Research showed that participants exposed to positive mood induction had quicker cardiovascular recovery after a stressful task than subjects who were exposed to neutral and negative mood inductions. Studies also revealed that couples who were generally higher in hostility had slower wound healing than low hostile couples, as well as more tumor necrosis and a poorer immune response.


Animal studies. Animals are used in experimental research to obtain information about how certain positive and negative situations affect their health and longevity. Studies revealed that socially-stressed monkeys developed more extensive atherosclerosis than unstressed ones. Stress, threatening human behavior, and isolation suppressed the immune system of monkeys, chickens, and pigs. Pigs that learned a mastery task to obtain rewards, giving them some control over their environment, later showed quicker wound healing and carcass quality.


Quasi-experimental studies in natural settings. Studies in quasi-experimental studies suggest that events and disasters are associated with cardiovascular and immune changes. Disasters, bereavement, and observing exciting sports events can trigger cardiac deaths in vulnerable individuals. Further, people with work overload and worry showed higher cortisol response at awakening and on weekdays but not on weekends.


Interventions that influence SWB. Researchers found that transcendental meditation and progressive relaxation reduced blood pressure over a 3-month follow-up period, compared to a control group. People who wrote about intensely positive experiences had fewer health center visits for illness during the following 3 months, compared to people who wrote about a control topic. Patients who suffered from myocardial infarction, who received Type-A counseling (for Type A behavior) in addition to traditional cardiac counseling, were less likely to die within 5 years.


SW’s impact on quality of life and pain. Studies showed that positive emotions were related to lower pain and greater tolerance for pain. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis reported less pain with positive mood induction while women reported less pain to heat stimuli when looking at photos of their partner.


In sum, these converging studies form a compelling proof that SWB, such as happiness, causally influences health and longevity.

By Amy Chaves, Ph.D. / Source: Natural News




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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in WISDOM


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Mother Nature deposits her gifts on everyone regardless of their status, race or career



My mood was cold, dark, and directionless. My tortured mind was filled with thoughts of missed opportunities and broken promises.


The cutting wind on my unshaven face made my eyes water and drove the dark clouds of depression into my shattered soul.


The years slipped by like fleeting dreams. Moments of joy and victory came and vanished like the waves of the ocean bashed on the black rocks of sadness.


I looked up and noticed the sheets of rain that endlessly poured its gift of life and growth in all directions.


A thought darted into my tired defeated mind. I suddenly noticed how nature shares her abundance with everyone and everything.


Mother Nature is not selective when she sends gifts of rain and sunshine to feed, nourish and rejuvenate everything with a smattering of life at their core.


These gifts of life are given to the seeds that are still sleeping in the soil. The dark scorched earth will soon put on a new coat of colour and in turn pass on these gifts of life to the bees, birds and everything else that waited patiently on Mother Nature to return as she has done since the beginning of time.


I suddenly understood that it is mankind’s inability to give unconditionally that is responsible for the inequality that drips off this planet like black wax from a candle.


Our homes are filled to the brim with stuff, but we want more, better, faster and the latest. Something inside us drives us like a hungry pack of wolves forward in our quest to feed our greedy ego.


There is no time for compassion in our busy lives. Poverty stares at us on every corner, but we are so obsessed with our own little world that we never notice that cold and hungry child on the corner of the street or a mother that worked her hands to the bone to serve us where we sit in our artificial castles sipping our wine of success.


The clouds of gloominess gradually lifted from my bowed shoulders. I knew what Mother Nature came to teach me in this dark night of my soul. She came to teach me about compassion and gratitude. She showed me that I must learn to give unconditionally and abundantly if I want to make a contribution to life on this planet.


I noticed that the sun began to break through the clouds announcing that the rain moved on to go and do some more teaching down the road. A rainbow suddenly appeared on the horizon. I slowly got up, wiped the water from my face, pushed back my shoulders with new hope in my heart against the backdrop of the singing of the birds that were thanking Mother Nature in advance for the new gifts that she will bring the next time she pays us a visit. She will like before pour her gifts on the rich and the poor, on those that have in abundance and those that have virtually nothing. She deposits her gifts on everyone regardless of their status, race or career and knows that a time will come when mankind has evolved enough to grasp that we are one and an extension of her.



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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in WISDOM


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A champion knows that his winter season will pass like so many times before and make way for a brand new summer.



1. A child reared without clear boundaries has little chance of success. Limits are necessary to give purpose, direction and structure to life. The fool swims in a boundless sea of opportunity and finally drowns because of his failure to latch onto a specific purpose. He tries to own the sea while the wise man selects a single purpose (opportunity/goal) and then pursue it with all his heart. The wise man understands the power of commitment and focused thought and is well rewarded.

2. A defeated person becomes indifferent about his fate. He finally stops feeling ashamed or sorry. He stops resisting and fighting to reclaim his dignity. The wise is very aware that passive behaviour could make him act like a dog with a broken spirit. Our parks are filled with defeated individuals that tragically accepted their fate in life.

3. A desperate or worried person displays the tendency to cling to anything or anyone that displays even slight compassion. A true warrior understands that this behaviour will eventually exhaust the person that he clings to. A champion never makes panic decisions or choices. He lives in the moment and knows that his winter season will pass like so many times before and make way for a brand new summer.

4. A few moments of indiscretion could become a burden that you might haunt you for the rest of your life. The need for instant gratification is usually at the root of most of our less spectacular choices. Any choice that we make can be compared to the pull of a trigger on a gun. Once the bullet leaves the barrel it cannot be recalled.

5. A good friend is like a good investment. To make good longterm friends be a friend. Friends become a shield in troubled times. Friendship is not a one-sided deal. There are people that claim that they are your friends, but they are often just stranger exploiting you. Several of the friends you make during your lifetime will stick a knife in your back the first time your friendship is really tested.

6. A grievance poisons your mind and chains you to the past. It leaves you bitter and twisted. Everyday of your life you chose between grievances and freedom. You must make up your mind if you want “pain” or “joy” or the “old” or the “new”. When you choose to go for freedom then learning the art of letting go becomes a top priority. When you have mastered the art of letting go of your history you begin to predominantly live in the now.

7. A man that cannot find enough compassion in his heart to forgive is a fool. We all make mistakes, but the fool continues trying to convince everybody that he is flawless. When you master the art of forgiveness you enter a safe harbour and gain peace of mind.

8. A man that is mature, fair and respectable is worth more than precious jewellery. Everybody respects maturity and predictability. Wisdom only comes to those that are slow to anger and careful in their judgement.

9. A man that lacks self-esteem needs titles and certificates to justify his position in life. A man at peace with who he is does not need the constant blessing or praise of others. Never allow a person’s title or position to intimidate or dominate you. See yourself on equal footing with others. Do not allow a person to intimidate you with his pedigree or current superior vantage point.

10. A man with willpower always has the best chance of coming out on top. The main reason why people fail is not because they do not have the skills and know-how, but because they lack the willpower. A person without willpower and determination always ends up the slave of those that do.








“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival” – The Dalai Lama


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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in WISDOM


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We live in small boxes today surrounded by massive walls to keep intruders out that might dare to enter our comfort zones.



This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was when it was first published, because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated. Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated. Carnegie says you can make someone want to do what you want them to by seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view and “arousing in the other person an eager want.” You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offence or arousing resentment. For instance, “let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers,” and “talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.” Carnegie illustrates his points with anecdotes of historical figures, leaders of the business world, and everyday folks.


The first self-help book I ever read was “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. I just finished school and was looking for an inspirational book in a tiny, poorly stocked book store in Windhoek in Namibia. I came across Dale Carnegie’s book in the scant selection of books on a shelf right at the back of this dusty store. I unashamedly admit today that although this was the first “motivational” book that I ever owned when it still remains one of the top ten books I ever read when it came to practical advice regarding people skills. Many of you might have read the book or still have a copy on a shelf in your library. I would suggest that you read it again. It will refresh your memory on one of the most important principles when it comes to compassion. It will remind you that you can make more progress in all areas of your life if you develop a sincere interest in others. Dale indicates in this book that you can make more friends in two months by developing an awareness of the interests of others than you could achieve in two years using any other method.


We live in small boxes today surrounded by massive walls to keep intruders out that might dare to enter our comfort zones. We shout at each other over these walls and only on very rare occasions lower our draw bridge and venture out or invite anyone into our domain. Most of us go around with our defence shield up and remain on guard twenty four hours a day. The political climate that we live and work in might also have something to do with this unhealthy behaviour. We need to open up and become more vulnerable if we want to escape the deadly ruts that many of us fell in over the years. Some of us feel lonely and need friends, companionship and fun, but we often forgo on these desires because of our fears and warped self-interest. Everything revolves around us and our own dreams, desires and choices. We look at life, people and places through a self-interest one way mirrors. Our interests always come first and the interests of others never really feature at all. We have this “What is in it for me” attitudes that fail to address the needs of anyone else.


When last did you manage to get yourself out of the way long enough to listen and experience any human being, family member or friend with an open mind? Many of us developed a sick habit of judging everyone. We endlessly scan people for flaws or potential threats. We fail to listen to them when they talk. We listen to the first few words of their sentences and then jump to conclusions. We look at people through eyes that fail to see the pain or desperation in them. We listen to what people say and fail to read the subliminal call for help that they are possibly to proud or ashamed to express. Do we care enough to really hear what our partner or children are telling us? Are we alert enough to feel the emotions of the person that we are communicating with? I think we all of us might have some work to do when it comes to mastering the art of putting the interest of others first.


When last did you compliment anyone on anything? We as parents tend to only give attention to our children when they are sick or when they did something wrong. We as partners only become interested enough when our relationships begin to fall apart. We fail to notice the cracks and peeling paint in our relationships. We are so busy with our own agendas, self-interests and objectives that the pain and frustration experienced by our partner bounces off our egotistical shield. Can you see what major difference a shift in attention can make in your life? Can you accept that life is not only about you and your plans and goals? Can you understand that the formula for success is that your success if virtually guaranteed if you help enough other people to achieve their own goals and dreams?


So I suggest that you shut up the next time anyone talk to you and listen carefully what is said and what is not expressed verbally. God supplied you with two ears and one mouth. You must listen more and talk less. Put yourself in others’ shoes and ask yourself if you really know the story of the person that you are talking to. Stop jumping to conclusions and stop judging people on hearsay and second hand data. Stop forcing people to communicate to you through their history. Start each day with a new clean slate. We have so many prejudices and perceptions about everything that is cast in stone that it became impossible to see thing as they are in the moment. Set yourself free by putting the interest of others first for a while.




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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in WISDOM


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Researchers believe that talent is learned and earned through extended and intense practice of a skill



Pivot Points – Is 10,000 hours practice enough?


Being exceptional at something is often attributed to one’s genetics. Talent is passed down from parents, grandparents, it seems, whether that’s musical or artistic skill, being good with numbers or a dab-hand with a pipette. No doubt there are significant genetic factors involved, but there are almost certainly environmental factors in the mix too. Perhaps the two work synergistically so that expression of unique genes allows a talent to develop well if it is suitably nurtured.



However, some researchers believe that talent is learned and earned through extended and intense practice of a skill rather than being an innate expression of genes that would otherwise lie dormant. This notion is nowhere more succinctly encapsulated than in the 10,000 hours rule posited by psychologist Anders Ericsson of Florida State University, and made famous by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”.


In essence Ericsson’s theory suggests that sufficient practice in a particular skill can take anyone to the level of proficiency equivalent to that heard in the playing of a top concert pianist. Gladwell wholeheartedly encompasses this notion pointing out that great sportspeople, business leaders and performers all got their 10,000 hours practice in their particular art early in life. This helped them to excel precociously, allowing them to shine while their duller contemporaries were still grappling with the basics.


Gladwell cites the 10,000 hours The Beatles played in Hamburg, between 1960 and 1964. This opportunity gave them something few musicians had at the time leading to their ultimate greatness as musicians and song writers. He cites Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Gates is an examplar partly because he had access to a computer in 1968 at the age of 13 and spent 10,000 hours programming before the vast majority of his peers even knew what a computer was. There are 10,000-hour concert pianists, violin virtuosi, artists, and synthetic chemists too.



I’ve been writing professionally for more than two decades and playing guitar since age 12. Now, I’m not claiming to be concert level in either writing or guitar playing, but surely I’ve passed my 10,000 hours. My readers and listeners might suggest I still need another 10,000, and Ericsson might agree because the 10,000-hour rule is not what it seems.


“I might emphasize how deliberate practice is different from just doing or engaging in activities in the domain,” he told me. “I might disagree with some of Gladwell’s examples as they do not all of them illustrate sustained focus on deliberate practice.” He added that, “In music, people do not seem to win international competitions with less than 25,000 hours of solitary practice; most of that deliberate.” So, Erricson’s own rule is that thousands of hours of dedicated “practice”, and not simply everyday doing of an activity, is the important point.


10,000 hours is about 90 minutes practice every day for twenty years. Which might explain why the average piano-learning child doesn’t make it to concert level. Three hours a day gets you there within a decade, so start at age 10 and you’re done before you leave your teens. Unfortunately, passing the 10,000 hour point exactly is not going to be a skills tipping point. Learning and expertise are gradual processes, skills evolve with practice, talent grows. There will be a vast range of time periods over which each individual reaches their peak of proficiency, their concert level you might say, in whatever field.


Indeed, Ericsson confirmed that 10,000 hours isn’t necessarily enough for some skills. “I tend to emphasize that if there are some people who are gifted even they need to put in 10,000 hours in many domains, like music, which leads one to question what would happen if any motivated person embarked on that path,” he told me. Could anyone become highly talented simply through achieved thousands of hours of dedicated practice? This brings us full circle to the nature versus nurture argument…unfortunately.


Perhaps scientifically speaking, 10,000 hours is purely a metaphor for “lots of practice”. If you want to achieve “concert level” whether at the piano or at the laboratory bench, 10,000 hours is going to get you close to that goal. That’s a lot of practice whichever way you play.



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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in WISDOM


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