Video: If by Rudyard Kipling

Winner01.stencil.facebook-photoI discovered this poem in one of my father’s poetry books when I was a young teen. I am not entirely sure we were taught this at school. But it has been a huge influence in my life. I simply would not be me without it, for sure.



If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

When I was a teen it irked me that it is written for a male-dominated world. But I did not hold a grudge against Kipling and just put it down to him living in a whole different world to the 20th century I grew up in where women could do and be all the things that men could and be. Well most.

Please pass on to anyone who’d benefit from it.

I got the text from PoemHunter.com. You can read more Rudyard Kipling poems there.

Are You Old and Illiterate?


By Nilooka Dissanayake

You could be old and illiterate and you might not even know it!

Just because you are not ancient in years and reading this article may not be sufficient proof to say that you are young or literate.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty”, declared Henry Ford.

Alvin Toffler complicated the issue by saying that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Now where does that leave you?

It leaves me feeling terribly young and overly literate. A precocious kid, in other words. I am one of the lucky ones. The best thing I ever learnt was learning how to learn. And the greatest challenge I face every day is trying to break mental barriers. Sure that sounds weird. But you should try it and you would forever be young that way despite your years.

Before getting anywhere, you might first have to debate with yourself to figure out the type of student you are.

Martin H. Fischer described the four great classes of students of life:

The dumb who stay dumb,
the dumb who become wise,
the wise who go dumb and
the wise who remain wise.

Actually, I would rather be the ‘dumb who become wise’ category anytime rather than in the ‘wise who remain wise’ because the latter seems, on the surface, rather a boring thing indeed. The dumb who become wise is bound to have a wonderful experience in learning. Then again, how many of us have a choice here?

“Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.”

How Do You Learn?

Once you figure this out the next question is: How does one learn to learn? You can’t go for tuition to learn how to learn. The only way is to learn while you go on with your life. Basically, there are three ways of gaining intelligence or learning about anything: thinking, through insight and of course, taking pointers from others who have gone the same road.


When I say ‘thinking’ I am really speaking of learning cycles. The most quoted learning cycle is Kolb’s Cycle which identifies the four phases of learning: Action, Experience, Reflection and Conceptualisation. Whatever we learn, we do so by re-visiting all that we have learned previously and re-thinking our ideas and plans for future learning. So the cycle never stops.

Insight = Sight from Inside You

Insight is another cup of tea altogether. Insight is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘capacity for understanding hidden truths.’ But, shall we say it is merely, sight from the inside or within us? Insight obviously is not for sale at supermarkets. If you want it you have to work at it. And according to Nihal Dissanayake, author of many Buddhist novels and founder of http://www.happicraft.com, a website on the craft of mobilizing mind power for happy living, insight comes to a neutral mind. That is, your mind needs to be neither too full of joys and happiness nor harnessing thoughts if you are to focus on gaining insight.

Learn from Others

The third way is to learn from others. We can read or listen and absorb what others have already learned through thinking, experiencing and insight. This is probably the short cut, if you really need short cuts to learning and are too lazy to think for your self or develop a mental state to gain insights.

For starters, take the words of Henry L. Doherty seriously and “get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”  Then, you might as well “sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing” (Thomas Huxley). Next stage is to go one step ahead and join Eartha Kitt who said “I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”  Go on. Earn your diploma!

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.
Be a student so long as you still have something to learn,
and this will mean all your life.
~  Henry L. Doherty

I decided to write about learning because, especially in the small or micro businesses, the entrepreneur’s attitudes and levels of knowledge, at some point, becomes a confining factor for the whole business.

As a Chinese Proverb tells you, “Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.” Isn’t it also true of business?

Business@Home series published in Sunday Times FT - February 2005

Neither anger feel nor sorrow…


Lines from Alexander Pushkin

Neither anger feel nor sorrow
At the mean tricks life can play.
Bear the anguish of today:
Joy shall surely dawn tomorrow.

It’s the future quickens hearts;
It’s the present is depressing:
All is fleeting, all departs,
And, when gone, receives our blessing.


Translated by Peter Tempest

We see the world as we are

via ValaArfshar

We see the world as we are.~@ValaAfshar 

And by extension, it affects all that we think, say and do. This is why we can say:

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.”― Abraham Maslow


Purpose… must make your life meaningful

BizTrainerSL Oprah

Your purpose doesn’t have to be something that makes you famous. It’s something that makes your life meaningful. ~Oprah Winfrey

Via @NVEDissanayake @MindcultureGuru #DiyunuwaYouTubeChannel


Do you judge a person by his questions or his answers? [with video]

ask-blackboard-356079Isn’t that an interesting idea? I got the idea from Voltaire who said to:

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

Really the whole questions thing came to me because of the book I happened to be reading: A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. It was all about questions and why questions are more important than answers.

This is the book trailer for Warren Berger’s book, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. 

You can learn more about the book at http://amorebeautifulquestion.com.

Did you know that questions are more important than answers?

They are. Questions allow for inquiry, they are like open doors. Inviting you to come in. To seek. To experiment. To be curious.

Answers are more like closed doors. They stop you from going out or coming in. And they are metaphorically closures. They put an end to inquiry.

Which would you prefer? A question or an answer? Which would be more exciting? Producing questions or answers?

Okay, that is enough questions from me.

Here are some quotations on questions and questioning

* * *

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.”
~Claude Lévi-Strauss 

* * *

“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naïve of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.”
~Milan Kundera in The Unbearable

* * *

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.”
~Leo Babauta

* * *

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful
or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”
~L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables

* * *

“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
~John Fowles in The Magus

* * *

“To ask the ‘right’ question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.”
~Jiddu Krishnamurti in The Flight of the Eagle

* * *

“An empowered life begins with serious personal questions about oneself.
Those answers bare the seeds of success.”
~Steve Maraboli in
Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

So what do you think? Share your thoughts with me.

Image by Pixabay via Pexels.