So, let us reflect what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that. The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities—warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful—happier.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Let us live happily, without hate amongst those who hate. Let us dwell unhating amidst hateful men. Let us live happily, in good health amongst those who are sick. Let us dwell in good health amidst ailing men. Let us live happily, without yearning for sensual pleasures amongst those who yearn for them. Let us dwell without yearning amidst those who yearn. Let us live happily, we who have no impediments. We shall subsist on joy even as the radiant gods.
Each day, do two things that you do not like doing. This may be the preparation of a report you have been putting off or shining your shoes. It does not matter how small the task, just do it! Soon these chores will not seem so bad, your personal power will increase and your productivity will soar. Try it because this is an age-old technique for building strength of character.
True happiness comes from only one thing: achievement of goals, whether they are personal, professional or otherwise. You are happiest when you feel you are growing. When you feel that you are contributing and advancing in the direction of your dreams, you will notice that you have boundless energy and vitality. Time spent on activities which offer little reward aside from a fleeting feeling of relaxation (television watching is the best example), is time lost forever. Relaxation is essential but chose the most effective means of renewal and spend your time in productive pursuits that will slowly move you along the path of accomplishment. Happiness comes from doing – not sleeping.
Napoleon III of France had a special ability to remember the names of all those he met. His secret was to say “so sorry, I missed your name” after being introduced to a new person. This would cause the name to be repeated and reinforced within his memory. If the name was difficult, he would ask for the proper spelling.
The sages of China have held a basic life philosophy for thousands of years: develop an indomitable spirit along with courtesy and integrity. The repetition of these three traits will make you an exceptionally powerful individual respected by all. Exert your effort and personal influence to attain these qualities.
A valuable technique for defeating negative and self-limiting thoughts that can hamper you from attaining peak performance is the mental interrupt device. When a negative thought enters your consciousness, first you must become aware of it and have a strong desire to remove it for good. To do this, interrupt the negative train of thought by doing something to break and banish the self-limiting pattern. When the bad thought enters, you may pinch yourself and say, “I am strong and weak thoughts are gone”, or you may shout out loud or do anything that will divert your attention and remove the negative focus. By practising this technique, you will see a marked decrease in the negative thoughts that most people have, paving the way to the mindset of a true winner.
Taking time from your busy work and family schedule to focus on personal growth activities is essential and is never to be considered a waste. Taking one hour from your hectic morning to watch kids playing in a nearby park or to take a brisk walk might seem like a poor use of time to some. But by making more time for life’s simple pleasures and bringing more balance into your day, you will make the remaining hours far more productive and effective. You cannot do good unless you feel good. When you are serene, relaxed and enthusiastic you are also more productive, creative and dynamic. This is something that has been proved time and time again and yet we consistently get caught up in the apparent immediacy of our routine and fail to see the forest for the trees.
Read more, learn more, laugh more and love more.
Pick five relationships that you desire to improve over the next six months. Write out the names of these people and under each name detail why you want to improve the relationship, how you plan to do so and in what time frame. This is simply another facet of goal setting – the practice which will always yield excellent results in any of life’s fields. Be committed to being a better parent, friend and citizen. Be creative in the steps you take to show your appreciation and respect for your loved ones. Sending notes is fine but consider unique and thoughtful measures ranging from a romantic picnic in the country with your partner to an early morning fishing trip with an old friend.
Bless this new relationship with happiness, bringing us together in honesty and truth, giving each other the space to grow, to change, let kindness guide our actions and the words we speak, bring us closer together, with shared ideals and values. May our hearts grow more loving with each new day. Bless this new relationship with purpose, may our shared love be a goodness in the world, bringing us opportunities to touch the lives of others, spreading the happiness that is in our hearts, we come together with passion, love and joyous spirits. Bless this new relationship with the power to last, flourish, grow strong and change.
Light a candle beside you when you are reading in the evening. It is most relaxing and creates a wonderful, soothing atmosphere. Make your home an oasis from the frenzied world outside. Fill it with great music, great books and great friends.
To enhance your concentration and powers of focus, count your steps when you walk. This is a particularly strong technique. Take six steps while taking a long inhale, hold your breath for another six steps, and then exhale for six steps. If six steps is too long for the breaths, do whatever you feel comfortable with. You will feel very alert, refreshed, internally quiet and centered after this exercise. So many people allow their minds to be filled with mental chatter. All peak performers appreciate the power of a quiet, clear mind which will concentrate steadily on all important tasks.
Learn to meditate effectively. The mind is naturally a very noisy machine which wants to move from one subject to another like an unchained monkey. One must learn to restrain and discipline it if one is to achieve anything of substance and to be peaceful. Meditation for twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening will certainly provide you with exceptional results if regularly practiced for six months. Learned sages of the East have been advancing the many benefits of meditation for over 5000 years.
Learn to be still. The average person doesn’t spend even 30 minutes a month in total silence and tranquility. Develop the skill of sitting quietly, enjoying the powerful silence for at least ten minutes a day. Simply think about what is important to you in your life. Reflect on your mission. Silence indeed is golden. As the Zen master once said, it is the space between the bars that holds the cage.
Enhance your will-power; it is likely one of the best training programs you can invest in. Here are some ideas to strengthen your will and become a stronger person:
a. Do not let your mind float like a piece of paper in the wind. Work hard to keep it focused at all times. When doing a task, think of nothing else. When walking to work, count the steps that it takes to get all the way to the office. This is not easy but your mind will soon understand that you hold its reins and not vice versa. Your mind must eventually become as stil l as a candle flame in a corner where there is no draft.
b. Your will is like a muscle. You must first exercise it and then push before it gets stronger. This necessarily involves short term pain but be assured that the improvements will come and will touch your character in a most positive way. When you are hungry, wait another hour before your meal. When you are labouring over a difficult task and your mind is prompting you to pick up the latest magazine for a break or to get up and go talk to a friend, curb the impulse. Soon you will be able to sit for hours in a precisely concentrated state. Sir Issac Newton, one of the greatest classical physicists the world has produced, once said: “if I have done the public any service, it is due to patient thought.” Newton had a remarkable ability to sit quietly and think without interruption for very long periods of time. If he can develop this so can you.
c. You can also build your will-power by restraint in your conduct with others. Speak less (use the 60/40 Rule = listen 60% of the time and speak a mere 40%, if that). This will not only make you more popular but you will learn much wisdom as everyone we meet, every day has something to teach us. Also restrain the urge to gossip or to condemn someone who you feel has made a mistake. Stop complaining and develop a cheerful, vital and strong personality. You will greatly influence others.
d. When a negative thought comes to your mind, immediately replace it with one that is positive. Positive always dominates over the negative and your mind has to be conditioned to think only the best thoughts. Negative thinking is a conditioned process whereby the negative patterns are established over and over. Rid yourself of any limitations and become a powerful positive thinker.
Make an effort to be humorous throughout the day. Not only is it beneficial from a physical viewpoint but it diffuses tension in difficult circumstances and creates an excellent atmosphere wherever you are. It was recently reported that members of the Tauripan tribe of South America have a ritual where they awake in the middle of the night to tell each other jokes. Even tribesmen in the deepest sleep wake to enjoy the laugh and then return to their state of slumber in seconds.
Become a highly disciplined time manager. There are roughly 168 hours in a week. This surely allows plenty of time for achievement of the many goals we desire to accomplish. Be ruthless with your time. Set aside a few minutes each morning to plan your day. Plan around your priorities and focus on not only those tasks which are immediate but not important (i.e., many telephone calls) but especially on those which are important but not urgent, for these allow for the greatest personal and professional development. Important but not immediate activities are those which produce long-term, sustainable benefits and include exercise, strategic planning, the development of relationships and professional education. Never let the things which matter most be placed in the backseat as compared to those that matter least.
Associate only with positive, focused people who you can learn from and who will not drain your valuable energy with complaining and uninspiring attitudes. By developing relationships with those committed to constant improvement and the pursuit of the best that life has to offer, you will have plenty of company on your path to the top of whatever mountain you seek to climb.
Stephen Hawking, one of the great modern physicists of the world, is reported to have said that we are on a minor planet of a very average star located within the outer limits of one of a hundred thousand million galaxies. Are your problems really significant in light of this? You walk this Earth for but a short time. Why not become devoted to having only a wonderful experience. Why not dedicate yourself to leaving a powerful legacy to the world? Sit down now and write out a list of all that you have in your life. Start first with your health or your family – the things we often take for granted. Put down the country we live in and the food we eat. Do not stop until you have written down fifty items. Once every few days, go through this list – you will be uplifted and recognize the richness of your existence.
You must have a mission statement in life. This is simply a set of guiding principles which clearly state where you are going and where you want to be at the end of your life. A mission statement embodies your values. It is your personal lighthouse keeping you steadily on the course of your dreams. Over a period of one month, set a few hours aside to write down five or ten principles which will govern your life and which will keep you focused at all times. Examples might be to consistently serve others, to be a considerate citizen, to become highly wealthy or to serve as a powerful leader. Whatever the mission statement of your life, refine it and review it regularly. Then when something adverse happens or someone tries to pull you off course, you quickly and precisely return to your chosen path with the full knowledge that you are moving in the direction that you have selected.
May all beings be filled with joy and peace. May all beings everywhere, The strong and the weak, The great and the small, The mean and the powerful, The short and the long, the subtle and the gross: May all beings everywhere, Seen and unseen, Dwelling far off or nearby, Being or waiting to become: May all be filled with lasting joy. Let no one deceive another, Let no one anywhere despise another, Let no one out of anger or resentment Wish suffering on anyone at all. Just as a mother with her own life Protects her child, her only child, from harm, So within yourself let grow A boundless love for all creatures. Let your love flow outward through the universe, To its height, its depth, its broad extent, A limitless love, without hatred or enmity. Then as you stand or walk, Sit or lie down, As long as you are awake, Strive for this with a one-pointed mind; Your life will bring heaven to earth. Namu Amida Buddha.