Category: General

Is poverty a virtue?

Is poverty a virtue?

Poverty is the opposite of abundance. Abundance is a virtue. However, poverty is not a virtue, was never a virtue and will never be a virtue. Why? This is because a virtue is something that is beneficial to one self as well as to others. A virtue also stands the test of time. In other words, a virtue is valid in the past, in the present and also in the future.

Poverty is neither beneficial to oneself nor is it beneficial to others. Poverty causes hardship to one self. It leads to hunger, sickness, sense of injustice, anger and even violence. It also leads to a host of other negative repercussions and social problems, such as theft, violence and even war. So, it is also not beneficial to others and to society as a whole.

The other thing to note is that poverty is a state of mind, not physical appearance. Those who understand spirituality knows that there is a huge difference between contentment and poverty.

Contentment is a state of mind where there is little desire for things or to possess things. Contentment is being happy or satisfied with what you already have. Whatever there is, it is enough. There is no fear of lack.

Poverty, on the other hand, is a state of mind where there is a sense of lack, of not enough, of inadequacy. Poverty is a manifestation of fear and is associated with a sense of insecurity.

Outwardly, both contentment and poverty may be seen as having few things and possessions, but contentment is happy with little while poverty is unhappy with the same.

Those who do not understand that poverty is a state of mind mistook poverty as a virtue simply because they compare the few things that ascetics and monks possess and the few things that poor people have, and then draw the wrong conclusion that poverty is good. They compare only the physical but not the mental state.

From here, we can now be clear that poverty is not a virtue, but contentment is. So, strive to be happy with what you have and to let go of the fear of lack or inadequacy. Strive to understand the source of your deepest fears and learn to overcome them. When you overcome your fears, you simultaneously overcome poverty in your mind.

Abundance comes about when the mind is free from the fear of lack.

Why these three questions can solve any problem

Why these three questions can solve any problem

This article by Sydney Finklestein, published on bbc.com, is essential for anyone who is confronted with a problem and seeking a solution.

I’m a big fan of simplicity, whether it’s about strategy and innovation or personal productivity. In a complex world, there’s no use making things more difficult than they need to be.

It’s just so easy to complicate things — even I am guilty. But in reality, there are three questions I’ve used in consulting with executives that have much wider applicability to all sorts of problems people encounter in business and in life.

At the risk of severe hyperbole, I believe these three questions can help solve any problem. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.  Think of any problem you are dealing with right now — a difficult colleague, changes to your business wrought by the digital revolution, or even, say, the struggle to get into better physical shape —and honestly ask yourself these three questions:

Are you really willing to change what you’ve been doing?

Nothing gets done until you say “YES” to this question. Otherwise, it’s all just talk.

Think about it. Companies that struggle to adapt to changing business conditions are held back almost entirely by their own unwillingness to change. It’s not that companies cannot change, it’s that they’re unwilling to do so. Taxi companies the world over have been unwilling to provide better service at a lower price to customers, and so Uber and others have emerged to take their business away.

How about your own life? That colleague who is congenitally uncooperative? He’ll keep doing it until he has a reason not to. Are you prepared to take him on? If he works for you, are you prepared to reassign him, or fire him if necessary? It might take a lot of work, but if you’re not willing to do it, then stop complaining.

The company trapped in an analogue world when everything is now digital? Consider Facebook: the social giant was willing to shift from desktop application to mobile, and is now generating as much as 80% of its revenue from mobile. There are lots of reasons companies don’t change in the face of massive challenge, but I’d put their unwillingness to do so at the top of the list.

By this point, you should be able to connect the dots on the third example: improving your physical health. And deep down I bet most of us know it, too. Despite all the excuses we come up with — too busy, we don’t really have a problem, I’ll get to it later — the reason we choose not to go to the gym or select a healthier diet is because we don’t really want to.

All of us — individuals and companies alike — could be well on our way to better personal and corporate health if we were willing to recognise that things could be better and have the guts to do something about it. There is no replacement for the courage to say yes.

Can you think of a better strategy or idea than the status quo?

Even if you are willing to change, you’ve got to come up with a solution to your problem. In some cases, it’s quite easy. Becoming healthier by improving your diet and doing more exercise is not exactly a secret or a revolutionary solution.

Other times, however, it is more difficult. Companies can bring in armies of consultants to help them come up with new solutions to what’s ailing them, but the old-fashioned idea of expecting you and your own staff to have ideas isn’t all that unreasonable either.

Take Blockbuster and Netflix as one example. The writing was on the wall for some time on how digital streaming was going to become a better solution for more people than heading to your local DVD store. And a more profitable solution for companies able to deliver that service. Blockbuster did have choices — buy Netflix when they were still quite small and run them as an independent entity, create their own “Netflix” business, retrench into a small niche player doing what you’ve always done for the tiny market that might still prefer to browse the shelves, or selling out to another company better — or dumber — than they were. Blockbuster made an attempt, too late, to create its own version of Netflix, but ultimately collapsed under the weight of change.

The point is, when you are open-minded, curious, and creative, you’ll have options.

Can you execute on your chosen solution?

This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. No matter how great your strategic idea, if you can’t execute on it you’re doomed. This is how it should be, of course, but that doesn’t make it easier. Blockbuster did create a small unit designed to replicate Netflix, but it died a quick death in a corporate culture that only knew one business model.

Dealing with that difficult colleague requires courage and a plan of action, but then you have to actually have the difficult conversation. Or you have to convince others to move the troublemaker to another place where he might add more value and do less damage. Or you have to initiate an often-long process of documenting grounds for dismissal. All of it is hard work.

Even going to the gym and eating better doesn’t happen by itself. Maybe you need a personal trainer to keep you motivated (and raise the embarrassment factor if you quit or the financial strain if you have to pay for a missed training session). If you don’t have the personal discipline to stay away from those wonderful French fries, there’s an entire industry that has sprung up to help you execute on your eat-healthy strategy: diet clubs, diet programs, diet apps galore.

I don’t want to underestimate the difficulty of answering, with actions, these questions. Every step of the way is challenging, from having the courage to change, to creatively developing a new way of doing things, to actually making it happen. But these three questions will always be at the heart of any solution. Getting to a much better place as an individual, or for a company, really is possible. It need not be so confusing and overwhelming.

When you really think about it, you’ve got everything you need to solve your problem.

Sydney Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management and Director of the Leadership Center at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. His new book is Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent (Portfolio/Penguin, 2016).

Dress your mind up for success

Dress your mind up for success

dressmind4success

We are all aware of the need to dress up for success. There are even grooming courses being offered to teach you how to dress successfully. However, not many people are aware of the importance of dressing up their mind for success. This is, in fact, the main cause of failure in life for many.

Your success in life is highly dependent on what is inside your mind. Thus, one of the best thing you can do for yourself is to set your mind up for success every morning when you wake up.

How do you do that?

Well, start by clearing your mind of all negativity. Drop whatever fear, anxiety or frustrations you may have. Reset your mind to a clear and calm state. Doing this first thing in the morning is often easier since your mind is normally quite relaxed when you have just woken up. Then make a decision to stay focused on positive thoughts and emotions. Drop negative thoughts and emotions whenever they arise. Decide to be happy and to be grateful for what you already have.

Training your mind repeatedly every morning in this way can lead to a new positive mental habit, a new mindset that sets you up for success everyday.

Secrets to a Happy Life

Secrets to a Happy Life

By George E. Vaillant
This article appears in the Greater Good Science Center
This essay is adapted from Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study

At 19 years old, Godfrey Minot Camille was a tall redheaded boy with a charming manner who planned to enter medicine or the ministry. In 1938, Camille enrolled in a study that would follow him for the rest of his life, along with 267 other Harvard College sophomores deemed by recruiters as likely to lead “successful” lives.

Only gradually did the study’s staff discover that the allegedly “normal” Godfrey was an intractable and unhappy hypochondriac. On the 10th anniversary of his joining the study, each man was given an A through E rating anticipating future personality stability. When it was Godfrey’s turn, he was assigned an “E.”

But if Godfrey Camille was a disaster as a young man, by the time he was an old one he had become a star. His occupational success; measurable enjoyment of work, love, and play; his health; the depth and breadth of his social supports; the quality of his marriage and relationship to his children—all that and more combined to make him one of the most successful of the surviving men of the study. What made the difference? How did this sorry lad develop such an abundant capacity for flourishing?

These are the kinds of questions that can only be answered by a study that follows participants over the course of a lifetime, and the study in which Camille participated—known as the Grant Study, because it was originally funded by entrepreneur and philanthropist William T. Grant—is now the longest longitudinal study of biosocial human development ever undertaken, and is still on-going. Through reviews of Camille’s and his Harvard peers’ medical records, coupled with periodic interviews and questionnaires exploring their careers, relationships, and mental well-being, the study’s goal was to identify the key factors to a happy and healthy life.

I arrived at the Grant Study in 1966. I became its director in 1972, a position I held until 2004. The single most personally rewarding facet of my involvement with the Grant Study has been the chance to interview these men over four decades. I’ve found that no single interview, no single questionnaire is ever adequate to reveal the complete man, but the mosaic of interviews produced over many years can be most revealing.

This was certainly the case with Camille, whose life illuminates two of the most important lessons from the 75-year, 20-million-dollar Grant Study. One is that happiness is love. Virgil, of course, needed only three words to say the same thing, and he said it a very long time ago—Omnia vincit amor, or “love conquers all”—but unfortunately he had no data to back them up. The other lesson is people really can change. As we see in the example of this man’s life, they really can grow.

Up from a bleak childhood

Camille’s parents were upper class, but they were also socially isolated and pathologically suspicious. A child psychiatrist who reviewed Camille’s record 30 years later thought his childhood one of the bleakest in the Study.

Unloved and not yet grown into a sense of autonomy, Camille as a student adopted the unconscious survival strategy of frequent reports to the college infirmary. No evidence of tangible illness was found at most of his visits, and in his junior year a usually sympathetic college physician dismissed him with the disgusted comment, “This boy is turning into a regular psychoneurotic.” Camille’s constant complaining was an immature coping style. It didn’t connect with other people, and it kept them from connecting with him; they didn’t see his real underlying suffering and just got angry at his apparent manipulations.

After graduation from medical school, the newly minted Dr. Camille attempted suicide. The Study consensus at the time of his 10-year personality assessment was that he was “not fitted for the practice of medicine,” and, unloved as he was, he found taking care of other people’s needs overwhelming. But several sessions with a psychiatrist gave him a different view of himself. He wrote to the Study, “My hypochondriasis has been mainly dissipated. It was an apology, a self-inflicted punishment for aggressive impulses.”

Then, at age 35, he had a life-changing experience. He was hospitalized for 14 months in a veterans’ hospital with pulmonary tuberculosis. Ten years later he recalled his first thought on being admitted: “It’s neat; I can go to bed for a year, do what I want, and get away with it.”

“I was glad to be sick,” he confessed. His illness, a real one, finally ended up giving him the emotional security that his childhood—along with his hypochondriacal symptoms and subsequent careful neutrality—never had. Camille felt his time in the hospital almost like a religious rebirth. “Someone with a capital ‘S’ cared about me,” he wrote. “Nothing has been so tough since that year in the sack.”

Released from the hospital, Dr. Camille became an independent physician, married, and grew into a responsible father and clinic leader. His coping style changed as the decades passed. His transitional reliance on displacement (the unconscious avoidance of emotional intensity) was replaced by the still more empathic involuntary coping mechanisms of altruism and generativity (a wish to nurture others’ development). He was now functioning as a giving adult. Whereas at 30 he had hated his dependent patients, by 40 his adolescent fantasy of caring for others had become a reality. In vivid contrast with his post-graduation panic, he now reported that what he liked most about medicine was that “I had problems and went to others, and now I enjoy people coming to me.”

When I was 55 and Camille was almost 70, I asked him what he had learned from his children. “You know what I learned from my children?” he blurted out, tears in his eyes. “I learned love!” Many years later, having seized a serendipitous opportunity to interview his daughter, I believed him. I have interviewed many Grant Study children, but this woman’s love for her father remains the most stunning that I have encountered among them.

At age 75, Camille took the opportunity to describe in greater detail how love had healed him:

Before there were dysfunctional families, I came from one. My professional life hasn’t been disappointing—far from it—but the truly gratifying unfolding has been into the person I’ve slowly become: comfortable, joyful, connected, and effective. Since it wasn’t widely available then, I hadn’t read that children’s classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, which tells how connectedness is something we must let happen to us, and then we become solid and whole.

As that tale recounts tenderly, only love can make us real. Denied this in boyhood for reasons I now understand, it took me years to tap substitute sources. What seems marvelous is how many there are and how restorative they prove. What durable and pliable creatures we are, and what a storehouse of goodwill lurks in the social fabric. . . I never dreamed my later years would be so stimulating and rewarding.

That convalescent year, transformative though it was, was not the end of Camille’s story. Once he grasped what had happened, he seized the ball and ran with it, straight into a developmental explosion that went on for 30 years. A professional awakening and a spiritual one; a wife and two children of his own; two psychoanalyses, a return to the church of his early years—all these allowed him to build for himself the loving surround that he had so missed as a child, and to give to others out of its riches.

At 82, Godfrey Minot Camille had a fatal heart attack while mountain climbing in the Alps, which he dearly loved. His church was packed for the memorial service. “There was a deep and holy authenticity about the man,” said the Bishop in his eulogy. His son said, “He lived a very simple life, but it was very rich in relationships.” Yet prior to age 30, Camille’s life had been essentially barren of relationship. Folks change. But they stay the same, too. Camille had spent his years before the hospital looking for love, too. It just took him a while to learn how to do it well.

How to flourish

In 2009, I delved into the Grant Study data to establish a Decathlon of Flourishing—a set of ten accomplishments that covered many different facets of success. Two of the items in the Decathlon had to do with economic success, four with mental and physical health, and four with social supports and relationships. Then I set out to see how these accomplishments correlated, or didn’t, with three gifts of nature and nurture—physical constitution, social and economic advantage, and a loving childhood.

The results were as clear-cut as they were startling.

We found that measures of family socioeconomic status had no significant correlation at all with later success in any of these areas. Alcoholism and depression in family histories proved irrelevant to flourishing at 80, as did longevity. The sociability and extraversion that were so highly valued in the initial process of selecting the men did not correlate with later flourishing either.

In contrast with the weak and scattershot correlations among the biological and socioeconomic variables, a loving childhood—and other factors like empathic capacity and warm relationships as a young adult—predicted later success in all ten categories of the Decathlon. What’s more, success in relationships was very highly correlated with both economic success and strong mental and physical health, the other two broad areas of the Decathlon.

In short, it was a history of warm intimate relationships—and the ability to foster them in maturity—that predicted flourishing in all aspects of these men’s lives.

We found, for instance, that there was no significant difference between the maximum earned incomes of the men with IQs of 110–115 and the incomes of the men with IQs of 150-plus. On the other hand, men with warm mothers took home $87,000 more than those men whose mothers were uncaring. The men who had good sibling relationships when young were making an average of $51,000 more a year than the men who had poor relationships with their siblings. The 58 men with the best scores for warm relationships made an average of $243,000 a year; in contrast, the 31 men with the worst scores for relationships earned an average maximum salary of $102,000 a year.

So when it comes to late-life success—even when success is measured strictly in financial terms—the Grant Study finds that nurture trumps nature. And by far the most important influence on a flourishing life is love. Not early love exclusively, and not necessarily romantic love. But love early in life facilitates not only love later on, but also the other trappings of success, such as high income and prestige. It also encourages the development of coping styles that facilitate intimacy, as opposed to the ones that discourage it. The majority of the men who flourished found love before 30, and the data suggests that was why they flourished.

We can’t choose our childhoods, but the story of Godfrey Minot Camille reveals that bleak ones do not doom us. If you follow lives long enough, people adapt and they change, and so do the factors that affect healthy adjustment. Our journeys through this world are filled with discontinuities. Nobody in the Study was doomed at the outset, but nobody had it made, either. Inheriting the genes for alcoholism can turn the most otherwise blessed golden boy into a skid row bum. Conversely, an encounter with a very dangerous disease liberated the pitiful young Dr. Camille from a life of loneliness and dependency. Who could have foreseen, when he was 29 and the Study staff ranked him in the bottom three percent of the cohort in personality stability, that he would die a happy, giving, and beloved man?

Only those who understand that happiness is only the cart; love is the horse. And perhaps those who recognize that our so-called defense mechanisms, our involuntary ways of coping with life, are very important indeed. Before age 30, Camille depended on narcissistic hypochondriasis to cope with his life and his feelings; after 50 he used empathic altruism and a pragmatic stoicism about taking what comes. The two pillars of happiness revealed by the 75-year-old Grant Study—and exemplified by Dr. Godfrey Minot Camille—are love and a mature coping style that does not push love away.

Above all, the Study reveals how men like Dr. Camille adapted themselves to life and adapted their lives to themselves—a process of maturation that unfolds over time. Indeed, I have always regarded the Grant Study as an instrument that permitted the study of time, much as the telescope uncovered the mysteries of the galaxies and the microscope enabled the study of microbes.

For researchers, prolonged follow-up can be a rock upon which fine theories founder, but it also can be a means of discovering robust and enduring truth. At the outset of the Study in 1939, it was thought that men with masculine body types—broad shoulders and a slender waist—would succeed the most in life. That turned out to be one of many theories demolished by the Study as it has followed the lives of these men. To benefit from the lessons both of the Grant Study and of life requires persistence and humility, for maturation makes liars of us all.

4 Things Young Self-Made Millionaires have in common

4 Things Young Self-Made Millionaires have in common

Most people work their entire careers without becoming millionaires, but some achieve that kind of wealth before turning 30.

As it turns out, there are a few key characteristics that set certain people up to earn big early on, according to Peter Voogd, founder of the Game Changers Academy, who made his first million before turning 26.

“You don’t make a million by accident,” he says in a recent LinkedIn post. “If it’s not a goal you sure as hell won’t hit it.”

Here are four vital traits that young, successful millionaires share, as observed firsthand by Voogd:

1. They have a sense of urgency.

Young millionaires become successful so early in life because they constantly work toward success instead of waiting for opportunities to come to them. “Now matters more than any other time, and the ‘someday isle’ mentality is killing so many dreams,” Voogd says. Millionaires make monetary success a top priority from day one, instead of pushing it to the back burner as something they’d like to achieve someday.

2. They find a strong mentor.

Millionaires don’t reach that status alone, and even self-made millionaires find smart, wise mentors to guide them as they build their careers. “Success rises and falls on who you associate with, so make sure you stay aware of your surroundings,” Voogd says. Learning from those who came before you is key to making the right business decisions, and a good mentor will challenge you and help you focus on bigger thinking, Voogd adds.

3. They focus on leverage.

Time is money, and while the traditional method of trading your time for a proportional payment will earn you a decent salary, it won’t make you a millionaire. “At some point you have to focus on scaling and leverage,” Voogd says. “Investment properties, membership sites, building a brand, partnerships, affiliate marketing, different types of programs, etc.” Young millionaires maximize their time to make sure they’re always earning as much as possible.

4. They don’t care what other people think.

“People who care what others think of them will always be limited to others’ opinions,” Voogd says. Young millionaires don’t waste time trying to please people who don’t believe in them or win over those that don’t support them. Instead, they focus on their own vision and learn to believe in themselves. To become truly successful, “you must give up the need to be liked by everybody,” Voogd warns.

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/4-things-young-self-made-220000385.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

The Different Levels of Knowing

The Different Levels of Knowing

There are several different levels of knowing.

1. Not knowing

2. Knowing through faith

3. Knowing through witnessing

4. Knowing through experience

This is best explained with an illustration.

Supposing there is a magical fruit that when eaten gives one the greatest pleasurable sensation one can ever experience. And suppose that this knowledge is known only to a limited few. Thus the majority of people do not know about it (Not Knowing).

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The Quantum Cookbook

The Quantum Cookbook

 

You’re tried Manifesting.

You’re doing everything recommended in The Secret. You’ve experimented with Cosmic Ordering. You’ve learned about Quantum Physics and the Law of Attraction.

But you’re STILL not getting great results, right?

Bradley Thompson knows why.

He’s manifested a dream lifestyle over the past twenty years – and he knows the TWO MISSING STEPS that “The Secret” doesn’t tell you.

He’ll prove to you that manifesting works brilliantly — BUT ONLY when you follow his six step system.

Not only that, he’ll hand over $150 if it DOESN’T work for you.

I urge you to learn more.

Visit The Quantum Cookbook – TODAY!

 

How a 7 year old gets what he wants… and how you can too

How a 7 year old gets what he wants… and how you can too

Kids are the absolute masters at getting what they want and my 7-year-old son is no exception. Although he’s never read a word of Wallace D. Wattles’ writings (he is however very familiar with the basics of Wallace D. Wattles’ philosophy), over the last seven years he’s reduced how to get what he wants to a science.

Here’s his “scientific” formula for getting what he wants:

1. He clearly recognizes the “source” of his supply.

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