7 pieces of advice for a more productive, happier life

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This is a summary of a summary of self-help book summaries over the past few decades.

1. The big picture: Find the “why” that drives you.

2. Mastery: To succeed, practice your craft and learn from others.

3. Innovate: Embrace failure and keep on trying.

4. Focus: Be effective, not efficient, and declutter.

5. Positivity: Live in the present and banish negative thoughts.

6. Cooperation: Think win-win and make a good first impression.

7. Human needs: Accept your inherent irrationality and learn to fight it.

Okay, that is all. But you really need to read the article: What The Greatest Self-Help Books Of The Last Decades Can Teach You In 7 Minutes.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Neither anger feel nor sorrow…

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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.

1825

Translated by Peter Tempest

How much stays unseen… A Poem By Ludmilla Shchipakhina

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Image by NilookaD; Pickingflowers

 

How much stays unseen when some eye on us gazes–

A sub-text may run under clear-sounding phrases

And sighs of delight or expressions of sorrow

May differ in meaning from poses they borrow.

We lie on the grass, watch the sunlight which spreads,

But what are the thoughts that go round in our heads?

We meet. Stroll along in the garden’s deep shade,

But what is our purpose? What plans have we made?

Our time throbs and shakes with the problems of ages,

But man and his soul are a book of sealed pages!

At sight we are simple. No need for much guessing,

But what are our feelings? Extatic? Depressing?

We lunch in cheap restaurants without star rating

But maybe a triumph we are celebrating!

And perhaps it’s not transport that gives us a ride,

But invisible wings, which don’t show from outside.

 

Translated by Eva Strauss

From: Soviet Literature, 1979; ISSN-0202-1870

 

 

 

Your Mindset Can Shape Your Future – A Great Link Plus a Growth Mindset Poem

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I’ve been posting multiple links about mindsets in my Facebook page after reading Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success which teaches how each of us can learn to fulfill our potential. Here’s a great summary of it.

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Also, here’s a poem I  came across in an old copy of Soviet Literature (1979).

Elegy

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by Alexander Pushkin

The long-spent madness of once joyous days

Is dull and heavy like a drunken daze.

But, just like wine, the grief of days gone by

Grows ever stronger as years swiftly fly.

My fate is sad. Hard work and woe’s grim lore

Is all the future holds for me in store.

And yet, dear friends, I do not pray for death,

To think and suffer life must give me breath.

And I believe, mid worries, grief and pain,

Sweet spells of bliss will come my way again:

I’ll feast my ears on harmony supreme,

Let over fantasy tears freely stream,

And it may be, my sunset’s gloomy isle

Love shall light up with short-lived farewell smile.

1830

Translated by Diana Russell

Don’t you think it reflects a growth mindset? And that is something which always bestows hope.

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Here are four more lines from books within easy reach…

When all is said, perhaps their happiest legacy is the ‘Baila’ dance and song; pleasant to think it was the creation of Portuguese slavery.
~Norah Roberts in Galle As Quiet As Asleep

By a process called reverberation, a memory corresponds to the strengthening of connections from an increase of brain activity in a given sector of the brain–the more activity, the stronger the memory.
~Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan

As one of my learned friends is fond of commenting – sitting in the top floor of the ivory tower, the sea always looks calm – it is only when you are battling the waves in a dinghy when you realize the actual situation.
~Vivek Sood in The 5 Star Business Network

The beli fruit (Aegle marmellos; vilvam T; bael E) is a rare example of the same medicinal agent serving diametrically opposite ends under different conditions.
~C.G. Uragoda in Traditions of Sri Lanka: A Selection with a Scientific Background

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When I was studying for CIMA, my best friend at the time and I had a silly game. We’d pick a random sentence of a book and try to use it all the time. The best one we came up with was:

I am positively amazed by your persistence of this absurd notion.

I have no idea what book it came from, but I used it all the time and it was cool. This gave me the idea to pull out random books from my bookshelf and do the same, this time by myself. I guess RandomLines is a natural progression from BookChapters and FIRST LINES in both Mindculture’s Blog and at BusinessTrainerSriLanka blog.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are the first results in the series:

Snoopy is the one character in the strip allowed to kiss, and he kisses the way a child does: sincerely, and to disarm.
~David Michaelis in Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography

One way to bring this about is to organize congressional watchdog groups (CWDs) to monitor each of the 435 districts across the country—to lobby all members of Congress on behalf of their constituents, on behalf of an agenda supported by a majority of Americans.
~Ralph Nader in The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future

Whenever the LTTE was on the back foot, they would try to make a comeback with a devastating attack elsewhere.
~C.A. Chandraprema in Gota’s War: The Crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka

When foreigners first came to China in large numbers in the 1970s, many were impressed by the ‘moral cleanliness of the society: a discarded sock would follow its owner a thousand miles from Peking to Guangzhou, cleaned and folded and placed in his hotel room.
~Jung Chang in Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Are you upto a challenge today?

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“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.”  
~Margaret Thatcher

So very true. Nothing better to make me focus than a line from the Iron Lady herself!

I like randomness. It is always more interesting than routine. So today, I decided to check out quotations on ‘challenge’. The above really stuck me as relevant for my daily life. And indeed for everyone’s daily life.

When I was editing the Athwela Business Journal, the Sinhala business magazine, we used the serialize the Sinhala translations by Daya Rohana Atukorala, of great personal development classics, by the likes of Dale Carnegie, Paul Parker and others. Each month a few pages from a chapter.

And I know personally, however dismal the day may have been, reading those few pages were immensely uplifting, not just to me but to all my staff who took the time to read it… It would just take a few minutes, but there was definite value added to our lives, and instant mood improvements. [You can read some First Chapters of Sinhala books by Daya Rohana Atukorala on SriLankaBookChapters blog.

This is why I like quotations so much. I know they make a real difference to the prepared mind. And hopefully, can pull in a few not-so-prepared minds as well.

Here are some other interesting quotes I found on challenge:

“Rejection is a challenge.”  
~Veronica Purcell

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“A trap is only a trap if you don’t know about it.
If you know about it, it’s a challenge.”
~China Miéville in King Rat

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“Life keeps throwing me curve balls and I don’t even own a bat.
At least my dodging skills are improving.”
~Jayleigh Cape
***
“It has never been my goal to impress anyone but myself. 
That has proven challenging enough.”  
~Richelle E. Goodrich in Smile Anyway
 
***
“That is the challenge Companion.
To take what has happened to you and learn from it.
Nothing is quite so destructive as pity, especially self-pity.
No event in life is so terrible that one cannot rise above it.”   
~Robin Hobb in Ship of Destiny    
***
“When faced with two equally tough choices,
most people choose the third choice: to not choose.
”   
~Jarod Kintz in This Book Title is Invisible

***

“These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.”  
~Abigail Adams

***

“Spending time with people without ambition is a self-destruction.”  
~Amen Muffler

 

Wow, that last one smacks a trace of Buddhism in it. I’ll get back to mindculture’s Buddhism roots some time. If you like this, check out my oldest posts.

In the meanwhile all of the above are from the goodreads pages tagged challenge.

Wishing you great challenges and strength to conquer them!

Nilooka

FIRST LINES: Nature’s Way – Native Wisdom for Living in Balance with the Earth

Read first lines from Nature’s Way – Native Wisdom for Living in Balance with the Earth

By Ed McGaa, Eagle Man

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ONE

WISDOM THROUGH OBSERVATION

Lesson of Eagle

Eagle is the symbol of observation. The Sioux consider it to be the creature tat best syumbolizes immense wisdom. It learns from all that it sees. It is the eyes f the all-seeing Wakan Tanka,the Great Spirit, the mysterious unknown entity that created all things. When the Sioux see an eagle flying, they are reminded of Wakan Taka’s observation of their actions—both what they do and don’t do, both good deeds and bad. Those actions are stamped into the memory of time and within your memory and mine, and within the memory of others whom we have helped or harmed. The memories of all those others have “observed” us.

MEMORY IS OUR SPIRIT

The Sioux believe that lies, deceit, greed, and harm to innocent others will never be erased, and neither will good deeds of generosity and caring. Dominant Society, on the other hand, leans toward the “forgiveness” theory which claims that bad deeds can be purged. Daily life seems to bear out the Sioux perspective: victims do not readily forget horrible atrocities committed against them simply because the perpetrator has somehow been “forgiven”. With greater consciousness of the long-term consequences of human decisions, the Sioux avoid a host of problems. We do not harvest natural resources beyond reasonable need or without replacing them. We do not enter into commitments (such as parenthood) without a clear intention to make good on them. We treat others with dignity and compassion, recognizing that any enemy can become our ally over time. Realizing that we will be answerable for all our harmful acts—at least in the Beyond World, where all have memories—we strive always to be tolerant and considerate.

THE CONSISTENCY AND PURPOSEFULNESS OF NATURE

Nature, with its seasonal parade of events, demonstrates to us that it is both repetitive and consistent. When we go out into Nature and take a walk, when we observe and enjoy the world around us, we know that we can trust and depend on Nature’s actions. We know that although occasionally the Earth will shake, we will not fall off it. Within the boundaries of where they have risen before, the rivers will continue to flow. And only if we live near one of the few active volcanoes will we have to worry about the mountains posing any threat to us; they will continue to collect the life-giving rains and send them down to us. Nature’s beauty is a gift we can enjoy: we might feed a squirrel or just look at one, we might observe a flock of geese or a flight of ducks; we might sit on a park bench or drive a thousand miles  to Yellowstone Park or the Black Hills of South Dakota; we might do a mask and snorkel and put our head under water and look at reef fish , marveling at life in another natural medium. Ahhh! What spellbinding, amazing observation: a joyous, colorful reef!

© 2004 by Ed McGaa

HarperCollins

ISBN 0-06-075048-0

You can read the Introduction and selected chapters of Nature’s Way on Amazon.com.

NOTE: I would like to mention that I bought this book in 2007 at The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, after spending practically the whole day there. I wanted to carry back home part of the wisdom and sustainable worldview of Native Americans, and this book seemed a good symbol of that as any I could find in the museum shop.

The first lines may not do it justice. Not only is it a great book to read from the beginning to the end, but it is also a great one to just turn to any page and read; there is so much goodness in there. So do enjoy.

And don’t forget to browse the museum collections if you visit the website~ Your Editor 

FIRST LINES: 360 Degrees of Success

Read the first lines from 360 Degrees of Success
Money.Relationships.Energy.Time: The 4 Essential Ingredients to Create Personal and Professional Success in Your Life
By Ana Weber

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Part I: MONEY—MASTER OR SERVANT?
Starting With The Three P’s

 I learned at a very young age that money could not be a source of stress. Instead, money had to become my friend, or I simply would not survive. So I chose to make friends with money. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

I found out that attitude was everything, and when I changed my attitude toward money, doors opened to me that I never could have imagined as a small girl working alongside my mom in the kiosk in Romania, or as a student living with other poor children and orphans in a Kibbutz Mossad.

Happiness is very closely related to your relationship with money. And it is important, when establishing a positive friendship with money, to realize that money as a stand-alone commodity cannot make you happy. The real power is in your relationship with money.

© 2014 Ana Weber | Morgan James Publishing
ISBN 978-1-61448-910-8

You can read selected chapters from 360 Degrees of Success on Amazon.