Day #680:Dealing with Shifting Priorities

Most of us have very busy jobs, We have weeks when we have everything planned out and suddenly something comes up and we have to give up our plan and deal with this thing that just came up.

The difference between success and failure is hard to see on a week-to-week timeline. Consistency and meeting your goals overall is what will determine your success. But day-to-day, we all have to make decisions to change course or not finish something.

The real thing that matters is the why behind your change.

Did you change course because you got new information or made a deliberate choice to shake up your priorities?

Or did you procrastinate and just run out of time? Did you do something just because someone asked you to, and not because it was the highest priority?

Successful changes in course happen all the time. But here’s the thing: they have to be deliberate. Passive choices or taking the path of least resistance almost never works out successfully.

You have to choose to change for a reason (usually one that involves making a bigger impact or doing a better job). If you are passive or just change course because someone brought something new and shiny (or only seemingly urgent) to you, then your change of course isn’t adding any value.

Day #679:“Don’t aim at success”- Viktor Frankyl

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Day #678:The path of nature

But the day will come when Fate knocks on our door. It might be the gentle tapping of the Angel of Good Fortune or the unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat of the Unwanted Visitor.
They both say: ‘Change now!’ Not next week, not next month, not next year.
The angels say: ‘Now!’

We always listen to the Unwanted Visitor. And we change everything because he scares us: we change village, habits, shoes, food, behaviour.
We can’t convince the Unwanted Visitor to allow us to stay as we are. There is no discussion.

We also listen to the Angel of Good Fortune, but we ask him:
‘Where will this lead?’ ‘To a new life,’ comes the answer.

And we feel proud of ourselves. And we are praised because we refuse to change, continuing, instead, in the direction Fate has chosen for us.
Because the correct path is the path of nature, which is constantly changing, like the dunes in the desert.


Day #677:Gandhi on the Benefit of Shyness

I am currently reading  Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of My Experiments With Truth

There are a lot of remarkable things you read about Gandhi’s life that makes you appreciate why he is considered one of the greatest leaders of the past century. A few things have struck me about his character particularly how he dealt with people,his spirituality and searching for meaning, his fame, power and influence.

One of the interesting topics he discussed is on how his shy countenance which many people would consider a disadvantage for a leader of his repute turns out to be a huge advantage. Today we are beset with the image of the extrovert, charismatic leader inspiring people with great speeches. Gandhi’s story confirms to us, the core quality of a leader is rarely his outward disposition but the inner battles he wins day in day out.

Referring to his shy nature, Gandhi writes:

“It was only in South Africa that I got over this shyness, though I never completely overcame it. It was impossible for me to speak impromptu. I hesitated whenever I had to face strange audiences and avoided making a speech whenever I could. Even today I do not think I could or would even be inclined to keep a meeting of friends engaged in idle talk.

I must say that, beyond occasionally exposing me to laughter, my constitutional shyness has been no disadvantage whatever. In fact I can see that, on the contrary, it has been all to my advantage. My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure. Its greatest benefit has been that it has taught me the economy of words. I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. And I can now give myself the certificate that a thoughtless word hardly ever escapes my tongue or pen. I do not recollect ever having had to regret anything in my speech or writing. I have thus been spared many a mishap and waste of time. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man, and silence is necessary in order to surmount it. A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word. We find so many people impatient to talk. There is no chairman of a meeting who is not pestered with notes for permission to speak. And whenever the permission is given the speaker generally exceeds the time-limit, asks for more time, and keeps on talking without permission. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth.”

Day #676: Life According to George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but each also includes a vein of comedy that makes their stark themes more palatable. In these works Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). The former for his contributions to literature and the latter for his work on the film “Pygmalion” (adaptation of his play of the same name). Shaw wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize outright, as he had no desire for public honours, but he accepted it at his wife’s behest. She considered it a tribute to Ireland. He did reject the monetary award, requesting it be used to finance translation of Swedish books to English.

Below are 10 of his most memorable quotes.

1.“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

2.“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

3.“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

4.“You see things; you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?”

5.“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

6.“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

7.“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”

8.“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”

9.“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

10. “A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”


Day #675:”I’m not the kind of person who…”

We box ourselves in long before the outside world ever gets a chance.

“I’m not the kind of person who watches movies like that.”

“I’m not the kind of person who proposes new ideas.”

“I’m not the kind of person who reads books for fun.”

“I’m not the kind of person who apologizes.”

“I’m not the kind of person who say ‘I love you’ first’

“I’m not the kind of person who sets big goals’

“I’m not the kind of person who gets a promotion.”

“I’m not the kind of person who says ‘follow me’.”

I’m not the kind of person who… is up to you.

Taken from Seth God’s blog with little editing.