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Archive for June, 2008

We are changing the world faster
than we can change ourselves,
and we are applying to the present
the habits of the past
Winston Churchill

The grand irony is that in learning something new, we have both accepted, and beaten, the challenge of the future. To learn something new, we have likely invested in an old, possibly outmoded, strategy. Each success under our belt, becomes a weight anchoring us to a particular way of doing things, even learning things. Each past achievement, a burden against future progress.

Play a game of chess against an opponent, and with each win based upon a favourite strategy, we become more vulnerable to a change in tactics. Winning in a proven way, is an obstacle to progress.

Our strength lies, not in past success, but in our ability to unshackle ourselves from both losing -and- winning strategies. The first is easy, the second rare. It requires flexibility, a keen sense of judgment and courage.

Flexibility – because a willingness to change, is a prerequisite of change.

Judgment – because knowing when to change, is an art, not a science.

Courage – because we could be wrong, and must accept risk in order to achieve success.

Nothing remains the same, not even the steps towards success.

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Unhappiness is best defined as
the difference between our talents
and our expectations.
Edward de Bono

We suffer from too many options, enticements and temptations. The possibilities before us, make us richer than the Kings of yore. But that nagging desire for even a fraction of what we see, but cannot own, makes us feel as poor as paupers.

The definition of happiness for most, is to own all of the horizion
For others, it is to revel in the sand beneath their feet and the sun above their head.

Defining happiness for yourself is worthwhile. It starts quite often, as a definition of possessions and therefore of wealth. “I’d be happy if I had…”

Sometimes the most desired possession is… Time. A commodity in equal supply for all, both Kings and Paupers, and beyond price if you require a single second more. We make do with what we have – it’s all there is.

Keep following your definition of happiness for a while, and it all boils down to simple things. Pick anything you think would make you happy if you owned it, and keep asking why that would make you happy. Seek out the root reasons. It’s always personal, there’s no Guru on the mountain to help you in this journey, so you’re on your own… again.

Happiness is found in what we are within, not in what we are without.

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It better befits a man
to laugh at life,
than to lament over it.
Seneca

Lamentation and grief soon come easy in a world offering ample opportunity for practice. They can, if we let them, become the pre-packaged response to a world that doesn’t seem to care.

The worst tragedies of today, become the rarely told stories of tomorrow… if they are remembered at all. The individual tears, once so painful, are lost in the flood of repetition. Only laughter, defiance and survival in the face of the worst, become the tales we find worth telling.

Once we shed those mandatory tears to cover a tragic loss, there’s a strength acquired by the very act of putting them aside and stepping back onto the path of life. The weight of a grief no longer there, is too heavy to carry for a lifetime.

Truth is, neither tears nor laughter can change what is… except that laughter lifts us higher up, and grief drags us further down.

Every setback, resets the game. Our opponent is blind fate and chance. Our strengths are tenacity and determination. Cut the cards, dry the tears… the game’s afoot.

The really irony is, if we weren’t here, there’d be no need for grief.

Tears are our proof of existence. Our tears are the evidence of their passing. We cry… therefore we are.

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Laughter is the shortest distance
between two people.
Victor Borge

Laughter is more intimately contagious than a yawn. A child’s bright laughter in a crowd ignites of a ripple of response. Turned heads, smiles and nods of acknowledgement from strangers to parents.

In a street where wordless unconnected strangers brush closer than lovers embrace. We find ourselves laughing together, when a street corner magician pulls grins from an empty face.

Sitting at a play or a show, we’re alone in the dark, until we’re joined in the laughter of those around us. Even if only for a short time, we’ve become part of a joyous, though invisible, community.

In laughter we see a reflection of what’s inside each other. If we laugh at the same thing then perhaps, just perhaps, we’re not alone. There’s someone else like us. At least like us enough, to see the same humour in something outside of ourselves.

Nothing is more effective at intestinal butterfly dispersal, than a roar of laughter from the audience. If they’re laughing they’re listening. If they’re listening then they’re learning.

Want to measure how close a relationship? How strong a team? How healthy a culture? Count the laughs.

Birds of a feather, laugh together

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He who has never hoped
can never despair.
George Bernard Shaw

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has never had the need of it, is to utter sounds devoid of meaning. Hope is an enigma, beyond understanding, until experienced.

To speak frankly of hope, to one currently clinging to it for life and sustenance, is to commit an act of profanity and sacrilege. Hope is our final defense against despair. If it is to be taken down, let the one who raised it, be the one to lower it.

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has passed through its grip, is to share compassion beyond the power of mere words. Hope is a thin thread we hold in common. At the darkest hour, it raises us up, until either it breaks, or by chance, we achieve our heart’s desire and require it no longer.

To speak frankly of hope, is to admit that when reason and rationality tell us there is no hope, that is when hope is strongest, and needed most. Hope doesn’t guarantee success, it merely gives us time for fate to run its course.

Hope marks time while fate catches up.

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