by Charly Mann
One's progress in life is perhaps best measured by the level of tranquility one attains. Tranquility is an inner calmness coupled with the absence of anxiety or agitation. The more tranquil you are, the more successful you will be as person, and the greater influence for good you can have on others. As you become more serene you will also become aware that there is much more to life than material comforts and physical pleasure.
People who have a tendency for calmness are 50% less likely to develop dementia than people who are high strung or prone to stress. This is because the ability to handle the rigors of life without significant anxiety protects the area of the brain called the hippocampus where dementia originates.
There are many paths for developing inner peace, but they all start with having good character. Good character rests on little more than being ethical and having a clear conscience. Selfishness is the main enemy of good character. The more we want for ourselves the less time we have for the solitude and reflection we need to scrutinize our thoughts and motivations.
Becoming more laid back is another great way to enhance your peace of mind. Too often we focus on things that are not important, or which we cannot do anything about. For example, most of us spend far too much time trying to second-guess the motives of people involved in our lives. One should also refrain from trying to interfere with how someone else lives their life. Other people do not always conform to our standards, but it is not our job to reform them. Once a person becomes an adult, the only time to offer advice is when it is requested. No two human beings are the same, and each has a unique way of living their life. Anyway, I happen to believe that God is far more capable than me at correcting someone else's behavior.
If you want to attain tranquility you need to be adaptable. Much of life is challenging and unfamiliar. Being congenial to whatever life has in store will enable you to harmoniously adapt and endure the obstacles along the way. At the same time, it is important that you avoid taking on more tasks and responsibilities than you are capable of doing well. Know your limitations.
Cultivating patience instills not only peace of mind, but a focus on achieving the kinds of goals in life that are most worthwhile and provide our greatest sense of fulfillment. Things like being a great parent, learning a foreign language, or becoming an expert on a subject, take years or decades to master.
Finally, I find there are two things in my own life that always make me content. The first is spending quality time with a close friend, and the second is reading a good book.
Smiling is infectious,
You catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner,
And someone saw my grin,
When he smiled I realized,
I'd passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile,
Then realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
Could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
Don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick,
And get the world infected.
photo by Kathryn Mann
by Charly Mann
Humans need to directly connect to one another. Human connection is the sustenance of a satisfying and healthy life. Moreover, in both one's personal and business life, it's not just what you know, but who you know that is important. Unfortunately, many of us are no longer connecting well to other humans.
Social interaction with others gives our lives meaning by filling the emotional void of being alone. Loneliness is a brutal feeling that humans abhor. We want to express emotion and this cannot be done in a vacuum. Having one or more good friends gives us not only a connection to our past, present, and future, but it is the key to sanity in an insane world. We know instinctively there is safety in numbers, so we want to be part of a group of people that will help us when we need it. A big problem, however, is that most of us live in large metropolitan areas where no one stays in the same city or neighborhood for very long. We know that in order to make friends we need to be kind and helpful to others so they will do the same in return. Unfortunately, we feel it is not often worth the effort, since the relationships we are making are so temporary.
Our desire to connect to other people is the noblest aspect of humans. It is through other people that we can contribute to something other than ourselves. The moment we see another person, the parietal cortex part of brain begins analyzing how to react. We usually want to respond in a positive way that will produce a friendly reaction, but many of us have developed something called social behavior disability, which makes it difficult to feel comfortable looking at another person. We try to compensate for our lack of friends, community and social skills by becoming connected to television shows, sports teams, and celebrities. Unfortunately, this is not reality, and these people neither know us, nor are our friends. We also try to find connection on the Internet, but this is not the real world either. Human interaction requires that our senses be engaged, and this means we need to be able to hear, see, and touch the person we are connecting with. Often the person we think we are connecting with on the Internet is far different in age, sex, and interests than they claim. Human interaction also requires a spontaneity that cannot be duplicated in a virtual environment.
We need a lot more human connection and a lot less technology. While modern technology seems to make our lives more effiecient, in truth things like the computer, cable TV, DVDs, and cellphones so permeate our days that we have less time than ever. Anxiety, not tranquility, is the result of all our new convenient gadgets. Text messages and e-mails are not the same as talking, and surfing the web is not reading. Our lives have become fragmented as we are overloaded with distracting messages on our mobile computers and always-attached-to-us cell phones. We are always multitasking and trying do more, and rarely have time for engaging in a meaninful conversation.
Life is lonely without close relationships. Isolation is the root cause of depression. The more isolated we are, the less we enjoy our lives. Only through close human interaction does loneliness recede, yet reaching out seems virtually impossible in our modern world. Those of us who are lucky enough to have friends and good social skills need to reach out to those who do not. If we don't do this, no one else will.
To make friends as well as useful social and business connections, one must have, or develop, good social skills. These skills involve listening and speaking well, and also learning to really care about other people. People who connect the best are also good at give and take. Close human connections are fundamental to our success, our happiness, and our quality of life.
by Charly Mann
When one is young time often seems to move very slowly. It is not until we are older or really enjoying something that time really flies. One day we are young, the next we are gray haired and thinking about retirement. I remember my father telling me years after he retired at 67 that it seemed like yesterday that he started his job. A major lesson of life is to be aware of the great value of time, and understand that using it wisely and appreciating as much of it as possible, is the essence of a good life.
I would rather have one small rose
From the garden of a friend
Than to have the choicest flowers
When my stay on Earth must end.
I would rather have one pleasant word
In kindness said to me
Than flattery when my heart is still
And my life on Earth has ceased to be.
I would rather have a loving smile
From one friend I knew was true
Than tears shed round my casket
When this world I've bid Adieu.
Take twelve whole months.
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy.
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
Now cut each month into 28, 30 or 31 parts,
but don't make up the whole batch at once.
Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients:
Mix well into each day one part of faith,
one part of patience, one part of courage,
and one part of work.
Add to each day one part of hope,
faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer, one part meditation,
and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
and a cupful of good humor.
Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
garnish with a smile,
and serve with quietness, unselfishness,
by Charly Mann
The thing that truly makes people the happiest is having a close relationship. Surprisingly, rarely does being attractive or successful make people happy. The second highest factor for personal happiness is having a great marriage, which is also a close relationship. The third highest factor in insuring happiness is a strong religious faith, and that means having a close relationship with God. Obviously, life is great if one can have even one relationship that is supportive and intimate. The happiest people are those who are married to their best friend. On the other hand, studies have shown that the unhappiest people are not the poorest or those living alone, but those in unhappy marriages.
Life is indeed not a bowl of cherries, and there are many nasty bumps in the road, but there are some great tricks for getting over them. The best thing to do whenever you experience something unpleasant is instead of thinking about it, talking about it. Research has concluded that just talking about something that is bothering you, to yourself or someone else, reduces one’s anxiety by at least 50%. Another method that works well to reduce unhappy thoughts is to do something that is both fun and active.
by Charly Mann
Living with other human beings is difficult and can often lead to disagreements. Such misunderstandings can often lead to fights and arguments. You can help ensure your disagreements do not end in a fight if you say things like "I understand," "I'll try that," "I really see and respect what you are saying," "That's true," or "I agree" during your discussion of the problem. If, on the other hand, your conversation ends with something like, "Let's agree to disagree," "I don't want to talk about this anymore," or "Okay, I give up, we'll do it your way," then your discussion has ended in an argument.
Some people try acting hurt and refuse to talk until they get what they want to avoid fights. They often succeed in preventing an argument as the other person out of frustration eventually gives into their demands. However, studies have shown these people are usually eventually abandoned, or are victims of physical abuse incited by this technique.
by Charly Mann
Curiosity is the most important human charateristic for intellectual growth and solving the problems in the world. Unfortunately, the majority of people stop being curious by the time they become adults. Children are always asking questions and are excited about discovering new things. They are naturally eager to learn more about their world and play with other children regardless of their race or religion.
Grace McConahy, age 6, in the Garden of Curious Delights. (Van Wert, Ohio, June 1891)
As adults it is important to nurture our curiosity. Curiosity is our primary tool for becoming more intelligent, creative and improving our problem-solving ability. Curious brains are active brains and active brains become smart brains. People with high levels of curiosity excel not only as students, but also in their careers. The more a person wants to learn and understand, the more he achieves.
Do not allow your mind to become passive. Always ask questions and challenge your mind to understand things you lack knowledge of. Exercise your brain by continually trying to find solutions to difficult problems. By developing your curiosity you will open your mind to new information that relates to what you are interested in. As you learn more, your ideas will become more original and your insights more profound.
In a world full of hate and mistrust between races, religions, and cultures, curious people are our best hope for bringing peace on earth. Curious people have an especially heightened sensitivity and awareness of others, and are well equipped to find common ground among people with different behaviors and attitudes.
Curious people also lead the happiest and most fulfilling lives, and are rarely bored or depressed. They attract the best and most interesting people as friends. They also experience much more of life, because they are always enjoying new ideas and activities.
To be curious, you must always have an open mind. You need to be able to change your mind as you relentlessly try to understand things better. You should make learning your primary pursuit. Read a wide variety of books and publications. Always be wary of accepting the views of your community and friends, and the spin or conventional wisdom of the media. You should question their motivations and their depth of knowledge on a subject, and get in the habit of finding balance on all issues, before forming your own opinion.
Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know everything,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference
By Charly Mann
If I were given one wish, it would be to be to learn how to create communities where no one would ever be lonely. Loneliness is a pervasive state that inhabits the souls of most people on this planet. We all need physical touching, and emotional and conversational contact with someone we care about. Most of all we need someone we relate to, who is fascinating to be with, and who we can share the mundane and significant events of our lives with, and with whom we never get bored. Without this we fall into the very sad state of loneliness, which is the leading cause of depression, anger, and addiction.
Loneliness is the result of having little contact with others. Often this is caused by the loss or abandonment of people we care about. But just as often it is our own solitary nature that isolates us from people. For those who are alone because of loss, we need to reach out and touch their lives so they are no longer separate from the world. For those who build walls around themselves, it is time to begin constructing bridges to others.
by Charly Mann
If you really want to feel great about yourself all you have to do is accept full responsibility for your life. It is true we do not get to choose our parents, and we are largely dependent on others for our care and joy throughout childhood and adolescence, but as adults we are totally responsible for our lives. Our problems are now our own, and we can no longer blame our parents or anyone else for them. It is often hard to accept responsibility, but nothing else helps us more in our personal growth.
We should stop blaming others for our problems, especially big business and the government. The world and other human beings do not owe us anything. It is our job to make a living, save, pay our debts, and make sure our children get a good education and behave well.
Today we blame banks, Wall Street, and President Bush and the Republicans for the recession we are all experiencing. On the other hand, we gave them little credit when the stock market and the value of our homes were rising more than 20% a year during most of this decade. In reality, the sky is not falling, and we are not entering an economic depression like the 1930’s. During that decade, our unemployment rate was more than 25%, compared to just over 6% today. Thousands of banks closed, wiping out the savings of millions of Americans. Today banks are insured, and no one with less than a quarter of a million dollars in one account will lose a penny.
Our current financial crisis was primarily caused by many individual Americans acting irresponsibly. They chose to buy a home they knew they might not be able to afford, and did so with little or no down payment. They gambled that their incomes would rise and/or the value of their home would go up. These are people with no real investment in their homes, and now that their values have significantly decreased, they go into foreclosure and lose their homes. Because they invested little or nothing in their homes they are losing very little, and will now simply rent or buy a much less expensive home.
by Charly Mann
Unlike what we might surmise from living in the modern world, happiness is not derived from having things, but from not having them. The easiest way to simplify your life is to eliminate the unnecessary. This will unburden you from most wants and distractions. You will become wise and happy when you are able to say you have enough. The easiest road to contentment is eliminating material desires. It is the wonderful things you have that money can’t buy that really make you wealthy. When you spend money on something you don’t need you are in fact stealing money from yourself. Seek elegance rather than luxury and refinement instead of ostentatiousness. There is nothing more sophisticated than simplicity. Most people go into debt buying things they do not really need to impress people they really do not like.
To simplify your life eliminate endeavors and get rid of things that prevent you from doing what you really love. Single-task all your activities. It is far less stressful and more productive. Have routines to keep your life simple and organized. Fill your day with simple pleasures focusing on quality over quantity and expense. Keep your house neat and organized. Clutter is distracting and stressful. Reduce the time you are connected to the television and the computer. It is too easy to have our free time dominated by a video screen of some kind. And finally spend less time shopping for things you do not really need. People have made shopping an escape and leisure activity. In truth it is a hollow pursuit and an expensive habit.
by Charly Mann
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.
The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don't have to gain, develop, or attain them. We're like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don't need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are -- as soon as we quit pretending we're small or unholy.
Whenever you think of it, ask that you be surrounded by all the Goodness and Light you can imagine. “Good” is such an obvious thing, it’s difficult to define. We all know what we consider the best, the highest, the greatest, the goodest. You can think of “Good” as in “The Good Earth,” or “Good” as “God” with an extra “o!” added.
Light is a concept that seems to permeate almost every religious belief and spiritual practice. The Light of Nature to the Light of the Holy Spirit; the Light of the Sun to the Light of the Son. Whenever you call upon this Goodness and Light, it’s a good idea to ask that it do its work for your highest good and the highest good of all concerned. In this way, our own personal preferences of the moment are not competing with whatever higher good may be planned for us.
Breathe deeply of Goodness and Light. Let it fill every cell of your body. Breathe it into any areas (mental, emotional or physical) in need of healing. Asking for Goodness and Light to surround, fill, protect and heal you, for your highest good and the highest good of all concerned, need not take long-a few seconds at most (as long as it took you to read this sentence).
Love is knowing all about someone, and wanting to be with them more than any other person. Love is trusting a person enough to tell them everything about yourself. Being in love is a glimpse of what one will perpetually enjoy in heaven. The truth is if you are in love, you will need little else in life, and if you are not, it is hard to make life worth living.
by Charly Mann
We live in very trying and difficult times. But circumstances like these reveal who we really are. The more tranquil a person is in difficult situations, the more influence and power they will have for good. A calm mind is an indication of self-control and wisdom. A recent study has even shown that people who maintain their balance in adverse situations will probably live three years longer than most of us.
The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. "Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character, which we call serenity, is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold — yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life — a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!
by Charly Mann
In these times of economic turmoil, it is good to remember that there is something you possess that is more valuable than money; time. After all, lost money can be replaced, but lost time is gone forever. Time is also an asset that, if invested wisely, can get you almost anything you want.
Timing really is everything. You don’t have time to do everything, so how you set your priorities will determine how well you use time. Master your time and do not allow yourself to be scattered. Organize your life so it is well balanced. Only then will you achieve inner harmony. Savor your time by making the best choice of how to use it and then living fully in each moment.
Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time.
How you spend your time is much more important than how you spend your money.
There are two signs that you have attained enlightenment. The first is that you stop worrying and become light-hearted and full of joy. The second is that you have more and more meaningful coincidences in your life. These are called synchronicities. You will soon realize that these synchronicities are providing you with experiences and information that transforms who you are.
by Charly Mann
We have become a culture of blame. The news is filled with politicians blaming their opponents for causing the problems we encounter. Personal relationships and civility are breaking down at an alarming rate as we blame our family, spouse, friends and community for our problems. It is never our fault, but is always someone else’s. However one rarely hears people pointing out how their success and happiness are caused by someone else.
I think blame should be banned. We should instead focus on taking responsibility and look at blame as just a weak excuse for not wanting to change or fix a problem. The truth is you are never going to grow as a human until you accept that no one but yourself is responsible for fixing your problems. We spend far more time and energy finding excuses for our predicaments than fixing them.
Why do we blame other people for our troubles? Sometimes it is true that another person is responsible for what has harmed you. However, more often than not you actually share the blame and just find the other person an easy target for venting your frustration. Relationships, family and community should focus on nurturing and supporting, even if someone has not been perfect. After all, love and understanding are basic tenants of our major religions and much of our culture. Accusations of blame only make a problem worse. Find a solution and make positive change to mend a relationship that is worth saving. It is hard work, and requires honest and often painful communication, but in the end you can save a friendship and grow as a person. If you have a relationship problem, just say, “we have a problem and I want to help fix it. I hope together we can find a solution that will make our lives better.”
Blame is fixing responsibility in the past, while finding solutions is putting responsibility in the present and future. Think what a waste of your time blame is. You keep living in frustration and unhappiness, and at best you may get someone else to feel guilty about causing your problem. Blame is a disease that you can cure by taking control of your life and responsibility for your future.
"One important purpose of life is to do more good than harm during your time on earth. Every action you take has consequences. Many of our noblest philosophies and religions have caused the deaths and suffering of millions of people. Our own good intentions can also do more damage than good. Only if we are responsible, honorable, and compassionate can we do things that matter for others, and leave the world a better place than if we had not lived."
by Charly Mann
Just living is not enough. Decide what things are important to you and pursue them passionately. Without passion life is boring. Be serenely and joyously aware of the world around you. Continue to ask questions throughout your life, even if you cannot find all the answers. Friendship, conversation, and work should be among your greatest joys. Having children and raising a family is usually the most fulfilling and meaningful thing one can do with their life. If you want to change the world, the first place you should start is by seeing if you can change yourself. Then enjoy the world as you improve it. Feel the sunshine and always do the best you can. Our time in this world is very short. Do things in it that you will remember fondly in the next.
by Charly Mann
Nobody wants to be lonely, yet 25% of Americans say they don’t even have a friend or family member to talk to about important issues. That is twice as many as there were 20 years ago. Today, almost 31 million Americans live alone, a 40 percent increase since 1980. In just the last 20 years the average American has 1/3 fewer people they feel close to. And those people are less likely to be friends, as the percentage of Americans who confide only in family members has increased from 57 percent to 80 percent since 1985.
This all coincides with the collapse of our sense of community. Everyone wants a place to call home that we feel a strong bond to, where we can have a circle of friends who will celebrate our joys and comfort our pain. We are social creatures who need people around us that we trust and care for in order to be emotionally healthy. But today we are not tied to our community; 1 in 6 Americans, more than 42 million of us, move every year. This means on average, you and the five families living nearest you will all move away within six years. The average American now moves more than eleven times in their lifetime.
We instinctively want to reach out and connect to people who share our interests and values, yet it is hard to make the effort to even meet our neighbors when we know most of them will soon move away. We instead become more socially isolated by watching more television, playing video games, and especially surfing the Internet. There are 1.5 billion people using the Internet on a regular basis. Where once we used our home encyclopedia, the library, local bookstore, or friend or family member to gain knowledge, we now do all of this by typing a few words on a video screen. We can send instant messages, use chat rooms, email, and join MySpace and Facebook, but what we need is a physical relationship where we are in someone’s company. We will never meet our emotional human needs through electronic communication.
For people to make real friends and cure our epidemic of loneliness we need to create stable communities. A community needs a soul and continuity to be a nurturing. A stable community gives us a since of history and belonging, as well as standards and mentors we can hold on to for most of our lives.
By Charly Mann
You can get almost anything you want if you teach your mind to always have an enthusiastic attitude. Winston Churchill said “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm is nothing more than a combination of keen interest and joyful excitement.
You can easily become an enthusiastic person. It is as simple as learning to act enthusiastic. Start by training yourself to brim with energy. Much of this energy comes from remembering to relax and have fun with whatever you are doing. Make a sincere effort to create positive energy by giving compliments to your friends and colleagues throughout the day. Also, try spending fifteen minutes every day being enthusiastic about something you really don't like doing. You will be surprised how much better you feel when you approach it with enthusiasm. By adding enthusiasm to your life, I guarantee you will enjoy almost everything you do.
Enthusiasm means not giving in to stress. You can actually change a bad situation by relaxing and reacting to it with enthusiasm. A smile is always the face of enthusiasm. You will discover that enthusiasm is contagious, and once you introduce it into your personality it is hard to destroy.
By Charly Mann
Our world and lives seem to be more affected by betrayal than love. Almost every relationship ends or is diminished because of betrayal. War, hate, and violence are usually precipitated by a betrayal of trust. Everyone has experienced the pain of betrayal.
Betrayal can be a long-term deception, as when someone is secretive and does not reveal the whole truth, or it can seem sudden and out of the blue, as when someone you totally trusted and thought cared about your well being does something so evil that you are blindsided. There is nothing so painful as betrayal by someone you love.
Is betrayal a governing principle of life? Is it simply a manipulative tool devised by man to acquire and get more from those who are weaker and more vulnerable? Might and betrayal are the pillars for creating great nations, winning wars, and acquiring great fortunes. We live in a world where many believe that “what is best for me trumps morality”.
Betrayal is a truly selfish action because it shows no concern for the other person’s feelings. Its sole purpose is to increase one's own happiness. One rationalizes betrayal internally through a conviction that one’s own well being is more important than someone else’s.
People who are prone to betray others have little regard for morality and live their lives very close to the edge. They rarely keep a job or a friend for very long. They make a habit of blaming others for most of the problems in their life. If they are caught in a deception, they blame someone else for their action or, more typically, revert to denial. They are incapable of admitting their faults not only to others, but also to themselves. They always end up being very unhappy people.
"Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn."
Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax; I'd limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had it to do over again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over again, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances; I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.
The authorship of this piece is uncertain. Some attribute it to a monk. Some to Ray Lucht, leader of the Commission on Aging in Iowa. Other possible authors include Robert Hastings, Don Herold, Nadine Stair, & Jenny Joseph. It has been translated into at least six languages, the Spanish version is by Jorge Luis Borges.
by Charly Mann
People want to be happy and connected to other human beings. Many think money and things are the key component to making this happen. The truth is we derive our greatest satisfaction from how we live our lives. The people who are the happiest consistently say that what gives them the most satisfaction are the things they enjoy doing, or their relationships with people. This includes being a good parent, enjoying what they do for a living, socializing, learning, spending time with a spouse, lover, or best friend, having a spiritual connection, reading, a leisure activity, or expressing themselves creatively. Surprisingly, material comfort is not a key ingredient to having a good life.
There is always something to be thankful about. Spend time writing down all the wonderful things in your life each day. This includes your friends, family, pets, favorite things you own, your health, music and/or entertainment you are enjoying, and the weather.
Don’t allow yourself to think much about your setbacks, or what you don’t have, but focus on accepting what you have, which is almost always better than many less fortunate people. Problems can be solved and difficult times will build your character, if you handle them with strength and not self-pity.
by Charly Mann
Anger damages relationships and ends opportunities. No other trait does more damage to oneself. Anger tells other people you are weak, irrational, and unbalanced. Anger can be eliminated from your personality the following techniques.
Tips for Preventing Anger from Getting Inside of You:
1. Develop of strong mental picture of yourself losing your temper and imagine the respect you lose from others, especially the person who has upset you.
2. Spend time each day meditating and reflecting in a peaceful setting like a warm bath, your backyard, or a quiet place in your house, where you can visualize yourself reacting in a calm manner to situations that tend to provoke an angry response.
3. Make a list of the first five incidents that come to your mind which made you angry in the past. You will probably discover that you can remember the outburst more clearly than what made you angry. You will also see that most, if not all, these incidents were triggered by trifling events.
4. Become focused on maintaining discipline in the way you act and react to other people. Calm and clear speech that is aimed at expressing yourself clearly will greatly reduce the chances of someone saying or doing something that might annoy you. Attentive listening and emotional self-control when someone else is talking to you almost always results in a dispute being resolved without anger. Keep in mind that any impulsive response you make to someone you are having difficulty communicating with is likely to exacerbate any conflict. Reacting in a calm and soothing tone makes it almost impossible for you produce an angry reaction.
5. Try humor to defuse what is upsetting you. This forces you to make fun of a negative situation. This technique works very well in situations that are not truly serious. Just be careful not to respond with sarcasm, which is just a subtle form of anger.
6. You should think of anger as an intruder in your body like a deadly cancer that should be immediately removed.
7. Don’t blame others for the difficulties you encounter in life. Either take responsibility for them yourself, or accept that bad things which are nobody’s fault can happen.
8. Accept that anger is probably a sign that you are stressed out and emotionally uptight. This means you need to slow down the pace of your life by relaxing and lowering your expectations. Just spending a minute several times a day taking slow, deep breathes will make you feel more relaxed.
9. Remember that anger conveys the message that you think things should go your way. That is “I am totally right and you are totally wrong.” This is a trait of a bully, not someone who is compassionate.
10. Take full responsibility for your emotional responses. Make sure you ingrain that there is never an excuse for getting angry in yourself.
11. If you feel a hint of anger emerging in your mind, immediately defuse it by mentally and/or physically taking a break from what is making you uncomfortable. During this time soothe your nerves and focus on a calm response to the situation.
12. Finally, accept that you will encounter real cruelty and injustice in your life, but you can deal with it effectively using calmness and logic.
by Charly Mann
Today children in the United States have very little free time to play with other children. Recess has been eliminated in most schools, and outside of the classroom parents have their children busy in organized activities supervised by adults. If a child has any time alone, he or she is most likely watching television or playing a video game.
The problem with this, according to Hara Estroff Marano in her book, A Nation of Wimps, is that playing with other children away from adults is where a child can best develop social, cognitive, and decision making abilities.
Parents' primary hobby today seems to be micromanaging their children. With the help of the cell phone, children now often talk to their parents four or more times a day when they are away from home. Marano believes many children are becoming overly dependent on their parents, and are rarely in situations where they have to manage their own time or think for themselves.
The ability to plan is a crucial part of our brain’s ability to regulate our feelings, thoughts, and learn problem-solving skills. Children who are raised to be independent and have time to themselves, as well as unsupervised time with other children, are the least likely to develop depression. Depression rates are increasing fastest among the youngest of our population. A recent study found that 15% of American college students suffer from depression. Harvard psychologist Jerome Kagan says children who are closely managed and monitored by their parents are the most likely to be shy and bullied by their peers.
By the time these children get to college, they have been deprived of a normal childhood and lack the ability to comfortably interact with members of the opposite sex. Having never experienced childhood, they make up for this in college by hanging around in the kinds of groups that young children once did. When they interact with the opposite sex, they rely on binge or heavy drinking, because this interaction requires no social skills and it medicates their anxiety.
We now see an alarming number of young adults who have difficulty establishing themselves in the world because they are socially incompetent. Even when they begin their career they cluster into groups with the objective of fitting in and being accepted as they try to have an adolescence. They also have great difficulty forming close and intimate relationships, since they never had a time during which they could learn to comfortably be themselves.
"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is a Meadowlark. It is a songbird that is loved for its melodic singing. Meadowlarks make their nests much like a house, by shaping out an existing depression in the ground, then covering the floor with grass and making a waterproof roof that is made of woven grass and other plants. It takes twelve days for their eggs to hatch, and the female produces two sets of offspring each year. The male protects the nest by chasing away animals that venture too close.
It is how you think that determines how you feel. Negative thoughts will indeed make you depressed, anxious, and angry. Learn to think in a positive manner. Mistakes can be looked at as lessons. Setbacks can give you strength and make you determined. Most of all most negative thought is illogical and distorted, and does not put facts in a rational perspective. Things are not black and white, and we too often take the bad part of a situation and make it more significant than it really is.
by Charly Mann
The ability to focus and pay attention are vital to our ability to grow, learn, and truly enjoy life. Today, we live in a world full of so many distractions that it has become very difficult to ever be fully aware of anything for very long. We are connected wherever we go, with our cell phones, Blackberries, and iPods. At home, we have hundreds of television channels, and our television is almost always on. There are also video games, DVDs, and the ever present Internet and e-mails competing for our attention. We have learned to cope with our technological innovations by becoming adept multi-tasking creatures, often doing two or more things simultaneously. We rarely have time to pay full attention when talking to a child or spouse with all the competing distractions that surround us. We have 24-hour virtual worlds of every description including Facebook and MySpace. Our social life is filled with instant text messages from friends wanting to know what we are doing that moment, and our communication with friends is usually superficial.
Maggie Jackson in her new book, Distracted, says the average white-collar worker has to change what they are doing an average of every three minutes due to some interruption like an instant message, phone call, or a colleague coming by with a question, urgent task, or just to chat. She says experts believe "interruptions take up to 2.1 hours of an average worker's day, and cost the US economy $588 billion a year." The less a worker is able to stay focused, the more stressed he becomes. Jackson says we have become a culture that has information overload from all our sources of facts, yet our comprehension is based on skimming and not deep understanding. Thus we lack depth not only in our knowledge, but also in our relationships.
The antidote to our life of distractions and interruptions is to focus on giving full attention to what we are doing as often as possible. Studies have shown that one’s ability to focus and pay attention is twice as important as IQ in doing well at tasks or on tests.
We get stressed out for many reasons, but there are some simple methodologies for reducing your anxieties in life.
1. Try to eliminate anger you have toward others by learning how to forgive and compromise. Nobody is perfect and even if you are sure you are right it might be better just to overlook a grievance or find common ground with the person you are having a problem with.
2. Focus on the positive side of anything that is bothering you. Have you learned a lesson you will not repeat? Has the experience given you better insight into the world? Put things into perspective - how bad will you really feel about what is causing you stress at this moment a day, week, or year from now?
3. Set aside time to relax and decompress every day. Time spent walking in a beautiful setting, a long hot bath, or just listening to soft music in a dark room will greatly reduce your stress.
4. Give up caffeine - it is common in many of our drinks and foods, and is a leading cause of our stress and anxiousness. Chamomile tea – at least twice a day - hot or chilled - is a wonderful natural stress reliever.
5. Simplify your life. Much of our stress comes from trying to do too much. By doing less you will enjoy your life more.
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
The great breakthrough in one's life comes when you realize that you can learn anything you need to learn to accomplish any goal you set for yourself. This means there are no limits on what you can be.
In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
We're not meant to fit in. We're meant to stand out.
If you love life, life will love you back.
Life isn't about finding yourself; it's about creating yourself.
Making a living is not the same as making a life.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think of you.
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod, my shadow does that much better.
If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.
Judge yourself by your actions and not your intentions.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.
Call it Nature, Fate, or Fortune; all are names of God.
Remember to work hard. Look to the future with enthusiasm and hope. Accept responsibility, not only asking for your own rights, but also accepting responsibility for yourself, for other people, for nature and for future generations.
Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it�s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.
Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
Ethical existence is the highest manifestation of spirituality.
My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to commune with the spirit of the universe, to be intoxicated with the fumes, call it, of that divine nectar, to bear my head through atmospheres and over heights unknown to my feet, is perennial and constant.
One-half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that's the important half, for without discipline you wouldn't know what to do with luck.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.
Adults are obsolete children.
You will never be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.
True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.
Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances.
Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
We can't measure out goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, or by what we resist, and who we exclude; but we should measure our goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
Evil (ignorance) is like a shadow. It has no real substance of its own. It is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.
The difference between adults and children is that adults don't ask questions.
No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.
Why is there something rather than nothing? We do not know. We will never know. Why? To what purpose? We do not know whether there is a purpose. But if it is true that nothing is born of nothing, the very existence of something - the world, the universe - would seem to imply that there has always been something: that being is eternal, uncreated, perhaps creator, and this is what some people call God.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
The shortest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
A life, if well lived, is long enough.
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of humankind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.
When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no "I'll start tomorrow." Tomorrow is disease.
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.
Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make.
The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they're still alive.
Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Overcome your fears and you can reach your potential.
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.
Only Ideas have long and lasting consequences, and ideas come mainly from books not television, movies, or video games.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
It's not how much money you make that's important - it's how much money you keep and how long you keep it.
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
The only way to change your life is to change your mind.
No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway to the human spirit.
To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
I have six great friends that taught me all I knew; their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.
Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.
If you cannot accept fear of failure, you will never be successful.
The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
A certain degree of physical harmony and comfort is necessary, but above a certain level it becomes a hindrance instead of a help.
Nothing is as weak as a relationship that has not been tested under fire.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.
Money can contribute significantly to happiness if spent wisely.
Money often costs too much.
Passion is the genesis of genius.
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who treat you spitefully. When a man hits you on the cheek, offer him the other cheek too; when a man takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Give to everyone who asks you; when a man takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Again, if you do good only to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do as much. And if you lend only where you expect to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to each other to be repaid in full. But you must love your enemies and do good; and lend without expecting any return; and you will have a rich reward: you will be sons of the Most High, because he himself is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.
If a problem cannot be solved, then you need to find the best way to manage it.
The greatest wealth is health.
Modesty forbids what the law does not.
Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.
You may think that you are the product of events that are largely beyond your control, but you do control the moment. The present is the time you take control of what your future will be.
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
Self-pity is our worst enemy.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely.
Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.
An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.
Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.
An intellectual is a person who is always seeking knowledge and has the ability to change his mind when he learns new information.
Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss.
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.