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God. Life. Spirituality.

Posts Tagged ‘Service

Bill Gates vs. Mother Teresa

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Bill Gates and Mother Teresa

Two days ago, I was in China, speaking to a bunch of influential business leaders. One of them posed a challenge: “You speak about Vinoba Bhave, the spiritual heir of Gandhi, and how he walked 80K kilometers across India and inspired people to donate 5 million acres to their neighbors. Yes, it might’ve been an unprecedented feat in the history of mankind, but really, how many people remember Vinoba today? Instead, think of how many people remember Steve Jobs and the legacy he left behind.” From a short-term impact point of view, it’s a thoughtful dilemma.

In fact, Forbes magazine did a piece which reflected similarly, asking the question: “Who has changed the world more: Bill Gates or Mother Teresa?” And they concluded Bill Gates. My response to this industrialist, though, was a true story that happened a few weeks ago at a school near Pune. I asked the same question to them: who do you want to be when you grow up — Bill Gates or Mother Teresa? Usually about 60-80% of them will vote for Bill Gates, but here, a majority of them said Mother Teresa. So I probed further. Why? As people started raising their hands, a shy young girl — maybe 11 years old — raised her hand, hesitated, and then put it down. Seeing that, I encouraged her to speak, and her response completely floored me.

“Sir, Bill Gates used the power of money to change the world, and Mother Teresa used the power of love to change the world. And I think love is more powerful than money.”

End of story. It was simple, clear, elegant and spot-on that it required no further responses from the class.**

The end of that story is the beginning of an audacious possibility. In keeping with the theme of our gathering, my Impossible Dream, and one that I’m sure we all share, is a world where we elevate this spirit of love from the mere emotional ranks of Bollywood to the infinitely stronger spiritual ranks of our hearts. As humanity, we have understood intellectual quotient (IQ), and even emotional quotient (EQ) but what the world needs now is CQ – Compassion Quotient. It is an intelligence of the heart. More than a decade ago, neuroscientists discovered that, physically speaking, there are actually neurons not just in our brain but also in our heart. As Kabir and many sages tell us so clearly: Open your heart and it can contain the whole universe!

Our greatest hope for awakening our collective compassion quotient comes from – children! Children like that 11 year old who just intuitively knew that if you are moved by love, you can move mountains. In conversations with Dr. Maria Montessori, Gandhi said it very clearly, “In the early part of my life, I discovered that if I was to realize Truth, I must obey, even at the cost of my life, the law of love. And having been blessed with children, I discovered that the law of love could be best learned through little children.”

The thing about this law of love is that it has a half-life that is far, far greater than the law of stuff. Its impact lasts for many generations. Inspiration from our gadgets devolves into mere information, sometimes within a matter of minutes. But when that same inspiration is delivered to us through someone who walks that talk, it activates the information in a context of vibrational aliveness. It resonates deep within our consciousness. And this is why, in the long term, the law of stuff stands no chance against the law of love. Work that is moved by love, no matter how small and humble, has an unending after-life.

A few years ago, my wife and I went on a walking pilgrimage. We started at the Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat and walked south; we ate whatever food was offered and slept wherever place was offered. It was an experiment that radically changed our lives. Along the way one thing we repeatedly encountered were the ripples of the law of love, particularly from Gandhi and Vinoba who had often walked those same paths. During a visit to a small village in the area, Gandhi realized it was 6PM – which was his prayer time. He was taking a walk on the farm, with some elders, but he immediately sat down right there for prayer. A bit thrown off, the elders gathered a couple folks who happened to be nearby.

Govardhan Patel was one of them. He was in fifth grade at the time, his mom had passed away when he was 2, and his father had polio; he wasn’t all that interested in Gandhi. As serendipity would have it, though, he sat there in silence during Gandhi’s prayer. And something shifted. He sat in on Gandhi’s evening talk, and that very same day he decided to dedicate his whole life to service. When we met him he was a ripe 82-years-young and was still going strong, having transformed not only his village but dozens of others.

There are many stories like his, for instance that of Nagardas Shrimali. At a train station, while Gandhi is just passing by, amidst the throngs of people, he yells out: “Bapu, what should I do with my life?” Bapu says, “You go and teach your values to other children like you.” Shrimali was 16 at the time, from that day forth to his last breath, Nagardas – who was “untouchable” — dedicated his life to educating children.

Authentic inspiration has a long after-life, indeed.  And my friends, we need to rekindle this law of love within us, and within our greatest hope — our children, the next generation.

I want to end with a true story.

Many years ago, my dear friend Jacob Needleman was teaching a class at San Francisco State University, and he asked a question to his class of thirty students. “How can we be good?” One student raised his hand and said, “I learned goodness from my 5-year-old son.” He goes on to explain: “My son and I were enjoying Christmas in Mexico, as he was excitedly playing with the toys he had received just the night before. A kid from the neighboring slum comes by, and I told my son to give him one of his toys. After some pleas and tears, he finally agrees and picks up a toy. His least favorite toy!” In a vintage Mufasa-Simba moment from Lion King, the father looks his 5-year-old in the eyes and says, “No, son, not that toy. Give him your favorite toy.”

At this point, the son instinctively protests, but then looking at his father’s stern-yet-compassionate look, he begrudgingly goes to the door to give away his favorite toy. Naturally, the father figured he will have to console his son when he returns; lo and behold, much to his surprise, the son returns back with a hop in his step. With an innocence befitting to a 5-year-old, he looks his Father in the eyes and says, “Dad, that was amazing. Can I do it again?”

This is the law of love, and may we all keep doing it again and again and again.

~ Nipun Mehta

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Written by MattAndJojang

January 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Does Money Buy Happiness?

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Photo: Flickr/RoBeRtO!!!

A key assumption in consumer societies has been the idea that “money buys happiness.” Historically, there is a good reason for this assumption—until the last few generations, a majority of people have lived close to subsistence, so an increase in income brought genuine increases in material well-being (e.g., food, shelter, health care) and this has produced more happiness. However, in a number of developed nations, levels of material well-being have moved beyond subsistence to unprecedented abundance. Developed nations have had several generations of unparalleled material prosperity, and a clear understanding is emerging: More money does bring more happiness when we are living on a very low income. However, as a global average, when per capita income reaches the range of $13,000 per year, additional income adds relatively little to our happiness, while other factors such as personal freedom, meaningful work, and social tolerance add much more. Often, a doubling or tripling of income in developed nations has not led to an increase in perceived well-being.

In his book The High Price of Materialism, Tim Kasser assembles considerable research showing “the more materialistic values are at the center of our lives, the more our quality of life is diminished.” He found that people who placed a relatively high importance on consumer goals such as financial success and material acquisition “reported lower levels of happiness and self-actualization and higher levels of depression, anxiety, narcissism, antisocial behavior, and physical problems such as headaches.”

The bottom line is that there is a weak connection between income and happiness once a basic level of economic well-being is reached—roughly $13,000 per year per person. To illustrate this point, the World Values Survey of 2007 revealed that people in Vietnam, with a per capita income of less than $5,000, are just as happy as people in France, with its per capita income of about $22,000. The cattle-herding Masai of Kenya and the Inuit of northern Greenland expressed levels of happiness equal to that of American multimillionaires.

Once a person or family reaches a moderate level of income, here are the factors that research has shown contribute most to happiness:

  • GOOD HEALTH  Physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • PERSONAL GROWTH  Opportunities for learning, both inner and outer, and giving creative expression to one’s true gifts.
  • STRONG SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS  Close personal relationships with family, friends, and community in the context of a tolerant and democratic society that values freedom.
  • SERVICE TO OTHERS  Feeling that our lives contribute to the well-being of others.
  • CONNECTION WITH NATURE  Communion with the wildness of nature brings perspective, freshness, and gratitude into our lives.

When we look over this list, it is clear that happiness does not have to cost a lot of money. A tolerant society does not cost a lot in material terms, but the rewards to the social atmosphere in civility, congeniality, and happiness are enormous. Feelings of communion with nature and the cosmos come free with being alive. The quality of relationships with family and community grow from the quality of the time and attention we give to them. Personal growth requires nothing more than paying attention to the experience of moving through life. Feelings of gratitude for life are free.

Happiness is a nonmaterial gift that can spread like a contagion among family, friends, and neighbors—rippling out to touch people who do not even know one another. This is the striking conclusion of a study of more than forty-seven hundred people over a twenty-year period. The study found that one person’s happiness can affect another’s for as much as a year. Researchers also found that, while unhappiness can spread from person to person like an infection, that emotion appears to be far weaker, and does not spread as far or as powerfully, as happiness. The study also explored the importance of friends and social networks as a source of happiness as compared with the importance of money. The study’s coauthor states, “Our work shows that whether a friend’s friend is happy has more influence than a $5,000 raise.” In the face of economic difficulties, his message is “You still have your friends and family, and these are the people to rely on to be happy.” Happiness is a social network phenomenon and can reach up to three degrees of separation (the friend of a friend of a friend), which means that your happiness can involve persons you have not even met.

Happiness is largely a networked social phenomenon once a sustaining level of material well-being is reached. If we worried less about material appearances and thought more about soulful connections with others, we could put our life-energy into creating robust, healthy, and rewarding relationships. The more we learn about the “science of happiness,” the more we see that focusing on material acquisition and status is not serving us well and that it would be enormously helpful to redefine progress.

~ Duane Elgin

Written by MattAndJojang

August 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Distant Drums

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Fermin with a Zambian child

We are reposting this inspiring blog entry  written by our good friend, Fermin ” Tarcs” Taruc who suddenly passed away today. We will miss you, Fermin. Rest in peace…

The author, Fermin “Tarcs” Taruc, is Jojang’s friend since the 1980′s. Recently, Fermin made a radical decision in his life. He took a sabbatical leave from his lucrative job at Gurango Software as its Chief Executive Officer, to spend six months in Zambia, Africa. We regularly read his blog because we enjoy reading his blog entries. His latest entry, Distant Drums, is very inspiring and we would like to share it with you…

As of today, I have 16 days left in Zambia. My remaining time will be spent completing a few projects and saying goodbye to the friends I have made.

The experience has been everything that I expected. It has been difficult and challenging. Oftentimes, I felt isolated and lonely. Conversely, it has also been everything I did not expect. I made a lot of new friends that I would not have been able to meet elsewhere. I learned new things, most especially about what I can do without. I look at my end-of-placement review document and, on paper at least, it seems I have done a lot in the past five and a half months. At the same time, I feel like I have not done much at all.

In the bus this morning on the way to the big city for a final workshop, I realized that It may take some time before I could process my entire experience and understand how exactly it has changed me. Maybe someday, after having made another one of my strange life choices, that is when I will suddenly realize – ah, this is what I learned in Africa, this is how Africa has transformed me.

For now, I have my curios and my experiences to remind me of the time I have spent here. When I am alone, I take out and admire the African souvenirs . I imagine how I would put them up back home or how to explain their provenance to my friends. But, a thing is a thing. I quickly get bored with this activity.

I spend more time running through my memories. I hold each one in my consciousness, considering their value against the bright light of hindsight Which ones are most precious to me? Which ones do I want to take home with me?

I could remember:

  • the wretchedness of a diarrhea attack in a place with limited toilet facilities (dear God, the wretchedness).
  • the 2 kilometer walk to get to the nearest hospital and the stench of sweat and sickness while waiting in line for my malaria test results (negative, but I was scared)
  • the appetizing mixture of mud and manure on which I could just not avoid stepping during rainy days
  • the frustrations from a work environment with limited resources and a different ethic
  • the feeling of helpless anger and the lost of my sense of complacent security after having my things stolen
  • the homesickness that was never more acute as during the cold nights when I would be shivering under a thick blanket, listening to the sound of scurrying rats in the ceiling, wishing I were home – warm, clean, stomach full – instead.

I could remember grievances, inconveniences, hardships, annoyances, irritants.

I could. But I don’t think I would want to. Even now, the details of these memories are starting to get fuzzy. How many times did I get diarrhea? Was it in November or December that I had malaria-like symptoms? What exactly were the things that were stolen from me?

I brush these memories aside. I survived. That is what matters. I have suffered thru shit, theft, stomach problems and homesickness before. They are not unique to my African experience.

Fortunately, there are many more memories from which to choose. These are the ones that will always seem like they only happened an hour ago. No matter what the future holds for me, these are the ones that will make me want to come back to this time and place.

I will remember

  • the many nights when I drifted off to sleep listening to the sound of distant drums, imagining people dancing around a bonfire, wondering what it was they might be celebrating.
  • that hot day, sitting under the shade of a tree when a hungry boy fell asleep in my arms – his rhythmic breathing against my chest, his little fingers clutched tightly around mine
  • that first day in Church when, after being introduced as a new member of the parish, a grandfatherly man came up to me, held my hands and said “You are home. We are your family here”
  • that late afternoon when, on the way home from work, I chanced upon a group of women standing at the back of a slowly moving truck. They were softly singing . The words were foreign but the melody was so evocative of sadness and longing. I was struck still in the middle of the street, suddenly remembering everything that I too have lost and miss as I watched them disappear into the dusk
  • the thrill of riding in a car moving carefully along a deserted road late at night, careful not to hit any elephant that may cross our way, thinking to myself, “Only in Africa”
  • the awe inspired by the gentle gaze of a fawn or the perfect beauty of a zebra ambling casually in front of me.
  • the joy in the faces of the children who would run up to greet me every single day that I have been in Kalomo. “Muzungu, muzungu”, they would shout, racing against each other in their ragged clothes, to be the first to touch me.
  • the simple, inspired meals cooked in small, cramped kitchens and shared happily with friends, all the more special because the occasions were so rare.
  • telling a group of Zambians that my hero is the ordinary Filipino in times of crisis; saying how proud I am of my countrymen who, regardless of the odds and the difficulties, still manage to laugh and to share; realizing as I was speaking how much it meant to me to be able to say this.

I will remember faces and names and smiles, each special, each distinct and separate from the other. I will remember every life story that was shared with me,.

I will remember magnificent, MAGNIFICENT, sunsets, and thundering waterfalls.

I will remember a rare rainbow seen in the faint glow of the moonlight; colorful trees that seemed to reach up to the sky; verdant landscapes dotted with settlements of mud-huts;

I will remember. Perhaps, while remembering, I might even hear the sound of distant drums again.

I have come full circle. This is Africa. This is my Africa.

Fermin “Tarcs” Taruc


Note: You may read the other entries of Tarc’s blog at: mid-life-angst.blogspot.com

Written by MattAndJojang Edit

March 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Blog

Written by MattAndJojang

February 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Distant Drums

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The author, Tarcs Taruc, is Jojang’s friend since the 1980’s. Recently, Tarcs made a radical decision in his life. He took a sabbatical leave from his lucrative job at Gurango Software as its Chief Executive Officer, to spend six months in Zambia, Africa. We regularly read his blog because we enjoy reading his blog entries. His latest entry, Distant Drums, is very inspiring and we would like to share it with you…

A little less than a year after this blog entry was posted, Tarcs suddenly passed away on February 28, 2011 . He was 48 years old. We will miss you, Tarcs. Rest in peace…

As of today, I have 16 days left in Zambia. My remaining time will be spent completing a few projects and saying goodbye to the friends I have made.

The experience has been everything that I expected. It has been difficult and challenging. Oftentimes, I felt isolated and lonely. Conversely, it has also been everything I did not expect. I made a lot of new friends that I would not have been able to meet elsewhere. I learned new things, most especially about what I can do without. I look at my end-of-placement review document and, on paper at least, it seems I have done a lot in the past five and a half months. At the same time, I feel like I have not done much at all.

In the bus this morning on the way to the big city for a final workshop, I realized that It may take some time before I could process my entire experience and understand how exactly it has changed me. Maybe someday, after having made another one of my strange life choices, that is when I will suddenly realize – ah, this is what I learned in Africa, this is how Africa has transformed me.

For now, I have my curios and my experiences to remind me of the time I have spent here. When I am alone, I take out and admire the African souvenirs . I imagine how I would put them up back home or how to explain their provenance to my friends. But, a thing is a thing. I quickly get bored with this activity.

I spend more time running through my memories. I hold each one in my consciousness, considering their value against the bright light of hindsight Which ones are most precious to me? Which ones do I want to take home with me?

I could remember:

  • the wretchedness of a diarrhea attack in a place with limited toilet facilities (dear God, the wretchedness).

  • the 2 kilometer walk to get to the nearest hospital and the stench of sweat and sickness while waiting in line for my malaria test results (negative, but I was scared)

  • the appetizing mixture of mud and manure on which I could just not avoid stepping during rainy days

  • the frustrations from a work environment with limited resources and a different ethic

  • the feeling of helpless anger and the lost of my sense of complacent security after having my things stolen

  • the homesickness that was never more acute as during the cold nights when I would be shivering under a thick blanket, listening to the sound of scurrying rats in the ceiling, wishing I were home – warm, clean, stomach full – instead.

I could remember grievances, inconveniences, hardships, annoyances, irritants.

I could. But I don’t think I would want to. Even now, the details of these memories are starting to get fuzzy. How many times did I get diarrhea? Was it in November or December that I had malaria-like symptoms? What exactly were the things that were stolen from me?

I brush these memories aside. I survived. That is what matters. I have suffered thru shit, theft, stomach problems and homesickness before. They are not unique to my African experience.

Fortunately, there are many more memories from which to choose. These are the ones that will always seem like they only happened an hour ago. No matter what the future holds for me, these are the ones that will make me want to come back to this time and place.

I will remember

  • the many nights when I drifted off to sleep listening to the sound of distant drums, imagining people dancing around a bonfire, wondering what it was they might be celebrating.

  • that hot day, sitting under the shade of a tree when a hungry boy fell asleep in my arms – his rhythmic breathing against my chest, his little fingers clutched tightly around mine

  • that first day in Church when, after being introduced as a new member of the parish, a grandfatherly man came up to me, held my hands and said “You are home. We are your family here”

  • that late afternoon when, on the way home from work, I chanced upon a group of women standing at the back of a slowly moving truck. They were softly singing . The words were foreign but the melody was so evocative of sadness and longing. I was struck still in the middle of the street, suddenly remembering everything that I too have lost and miss as I watched them disappear into the dusk

  • the thrill of riding in a car moving carefully along a deserted road late at night, careful not to hit any elephant that may cross our way, thinking to myself, “Only in Africa”

  • the awe inspired by the gentle gaze of a fawn or the perfect beauty of a zebra ambling casually in front of me.

  • the joy in the faces of the children who would run up to greet me every single day that I have been in Kalomo. “Muzungu, muzungu”, they would shout, racing against each other in their ragged clothes, to be the first to touch me.

  • the simple, inspired meals cooked in small, cramped kitchens and shared happily with friends, all the more special because the occasions were so rare.

  • telling a group of Zambians that my hero is the ordinary Filipino in times of crisis; saying how proud I am of my countrymen who, regardless of the odds and the difficulties, still manage to laugh and to share; realizing as I was speaking how much it meant to me to be able to say this.

I will remember faces and names and smiles, each special, each distinct and separate from the other. I will remember every life story that was shared with me,.

I will remember magnificent, MAGNIFICENT, sunsets, and thundering waterfalls.

I will remember a rare rainbow seen in the faint glow of the moonlight; colorful trees that seemed to reach up to the sky; verdant landscapes dotted with settlements of mud-huts;

I will remember. Perhaps, while remembering, I might even hear the sound of distant drums again.

I have come full circle. This is Africa. This is my Africa.

Tarcs Taruc


Note: You may read the other entries of Tarc’s blog at: mid-life-angst.blogspot.com

Written by MattAndJojang

March 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Pushcart Educator Named CNN Hero Of The Year

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Efren Peñaflorida, who started a “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed Peñaflorida’s selection at the conclusion of the third-annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday night.

The gala event, taped before an audience of 3,000 at the Kodak Theatre, premieres on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the global networks of CNN.

The broadcast, which honors the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009, features performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Carrie Underwood, R&B crooner Maxwell and British pop sensation Leona Lewis.

Peñaflorida, who will receive $100,000 to continue his work with the Dynamic Teen Company, was selected after seven weeks of online voting at CNN.com. More than 2.75 million votes were cast.

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry,” Peñaflorida said upon accepting the honor. “Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

“So to each and every person inside this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers … you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream, and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.”

The top 10 CNN Heroes, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel from an initial pool of more than 9,000 viewer nominations, were each honored with a documentary tribute and introduced by a celebrity presenter. Each of the top 10 Heroes receives $25,000.

“With the recognition they receive on our stage,” said Cooper, who hosted the tribute, “they’ll be able to help thousands and thousands of people. Through their efforts, lives will be changed and lives will be saved.”

Underwood performed an original orchestral arrangement of “Change” from her best-selling album, “Play On.”

Maxwell sang “Help Somebody” from his first album in eight years, ‘BLACKsummers’night.’

Lewis, a three-time Grammy nominee, performed “Happy,” from her second album, “Echo.”

All three performances echoed the spirit of the CNN Heroes campaign, which salutes everyday people whose extraordinary accomplishments are making a difference in their communities and beyond.

Presenters included Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Randy Jackson, Greg Kinnear, George Lopez and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

“This record number of nominations is further evidence of the momentum CNN Heroes has built in just a few short years,” said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.

“Viewers have been engaged by these stories of inspiration and accomplishment beyond our expectations. It is truly an honor to be able to introduce the CNN Heroes to our global audience every year.”

Again this year, producer/director Joel Gallen served as executive producer of “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.” Among his credits, Gallen produced telethon events supporting victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, winning an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for “America: A Tribute to Heroes.”

The Kodak Theatre is best known as the first permanent home of the Academy Awards.

Source: CNN.com

Written by MattAndJojang

November 25, 2009 at 10:16 am

A Lesson From Michael Jackson

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michael jackson_1

Yesterday was a very somber day with the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Based on the enormous amount of coverage of his death, I believe it will be one of those moments of “Where were you?” I can already hear people asking, “Where were you when they pronounced Michael Jackson had died?”

No death is exciting, but I believe all deaths do tend to make people reflect on life. Whether you liked him or hated him, Michael inspired the music careers of those who you may claim to enjoy. More importantly, Michael found a way to make his dream come true.

On Twitter, a good friend of mine posed this question “Would the world be mourning if Michael Jackson had gotten a “real job?” He then followed it by saying go “courageously after your dreams.” My friend, Willie, was exactly right. When you have a dream, go for it. About three weeks ago, I tweeted, randomly, that Michael Jackson picked a niche and got rich-the glove, the high water pants, the jacket, and the slick dance moves. Those who worked with Michael commented yesterday expressing sorrow, but also sharing how meticulous he was about his work. He believed in his dream and he pushed himself to give his fans what they wanted. This would explain why when you see videos of him, you see so many of the fans crying and pouring their hearts out profusely.

What dream do you have inside of you that you are willing to show the same detailed dedication to it like Michael did?

Even more, Michael did something that amazed me. He was charitable in his own right. He created songs and made videos about social issues that were and still are plaguing many communities. He went where others did not, would not, and could not go. In the end, he helped bring an enormous amount of attention and awareness to these issues. As he said in the lyrics of his song Man in the Mirror, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change!”

Friends, live your dreams! The world is waiting for what you have to offer. Just like Michael touched the lives of others through his dream, you too can do the same. Your very own dream is meant to bless the lives of others, bring encouragement to others, and/or provide inspiration to others.

Live your dreams!

Rest In Peace Michael Joseph Jackson.

Laymon A. Hicks

Written by MattAndJojang

June 27, 2009 at 3:14 pm

11 Ways To Make This Your Best Year Yet

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Happy New YearToday is a wonderful time to take stock and reflect on the year gone by, the triumphs you achieved, the time you shared with family and friends, the good choices you made in business. But in order to grow and develop both personally and professionally, you also have to look back at and acknowledge the things that challenged you, the things that did not go so well.

There is nothing wrong with setbacks, in fact, I believe that if we don’t have obstacles to overcome along the way we won’t learn and grow. Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, once said, “If you want to increase your rate of success, you better be prepared to increase your rate of failure.”

We all have hopes and dreams for the future. Today the slate is wiped clean for all of us as we start afresh. Why not take a few moments to think about your dreams and goals for the year that starts today? In what areas do you want to grow? What is truly important to you? What challenges do you want to take on? Most of us don’t realise what we can accomplish when we unleash the hidden talents that we possess.

To help you make this year your best ever, take a few moments to ponder these 11 suggestions:

1. Challenge yourself

Have a clear vision and focus of what you want to achieve and set a time frame. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be at all times. Visualise what you want to accomplish. See it in your mind. Write down your goals, have a plan of action, and never doubt you will be successful.

2. Find the love factor

Surround yourself with loving, supportive people. Stay away from the dream stealers, the people who would bring you down. Cherish the special people in your life and let them know you cherish them.

3. Dedicate quality time

Life is so precious; make the most of each and every day. Rise early, spend some quality time by yourself as well as with those you care about. Go for a walk, workout, read a book. Value not only the time you spend with your loved ones, but also the time you spend by yourself.

4. Stretch your comfort zone

Do at least one thing a day, which makes you feel uncomfortable. Push yourself; you will be amazed how far you can go. Remember: on the other side of fear is freedom. To remain stagnant is not to grow. To reach your full potential, you must rise above the fray and soar like an eagle.

5. Be passionate

Show passion in everything you do. Let it show in your body language, in your smile, in your voice. Let your eyes sparkle. Let the world see and hear your enthusiasm and let it feel your passion.

6. Serve others

Be a role model and mentor for people. Volunteer in your community and help others achieve their goals. Your world will be enriched and a better place for sharing your talents and giving freely of your time. Leave a lasting legacy.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Let go of the little things you can’t control. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Recognise that perfection isn’t always the only option. Don’t let life’s imperfections bother you. Lighten up and see the funny side of things when they go wrong, the learning in them. Be tolerant, smile…don’t waste your energies on the small stuff, you have much bigger fish to fry.

8. Live with integrity

Always be true to yourself. Take pride in whatever you do. Be proud of who you are and what you represent. Accept others with all their flaws. Show compassion and goodwill to your fellow human beings. Be dignified. Lead a life of purpose and be proud of your values.

9. Show gratitude

Show gratitude and say thank-you to the people who have helped you along the way. Send a handwritten letter to someone who has touched you. Call up a friend or loved one and tell them how much they mean to you. Compliment a colleague or business associate on a job well done. Show people you appreciate and care about them. Acts of kindness cost nothing but mean everything.

10. Celebrate success

Be proud of your achievements. Take time to recognise yourself and others for even the small successes. But also be humble and dignified, sensitive to people who are not as fortunate as you.

11. Exude a positive attitude

I cannot express enough the importance of having a positive attitude and believing in yourself. Yes, you can be well intentioned, you can be determined, but without a positive attitude about yourself and about life, you will not succeed. Dreams will die, goals will fade, and gloom and darkness will replace clear blue skies and sunshine in your mind and heart.

Remember people will sometimes forget what you say to them or do for them, but they will never forget how you made them feel in their hearts. Make yourself a commitment for this year not only to have the best year ever, but to help others that you care about accomplish this goal as well.

Charles Marcus

Written by MattAndJojang

January 9, 2009 at 8:22 am