Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Gershwin was a struggling young composer working for 35 dollars a week in Tin Pan Alley when he met famous composer Berlin. Berlin was impressed by Gershwin’s ability and offered a job of his musical secretary with 100 dollars a week. At the same time he advised the young man “But don’t take the job. If you do you may develop into a second rate Berlin. But if you insist on being yourself, someday you’ll become a first rate Gershwin”. Gershwin acted on the advice and he became a great composer of his generation.
The advice “insist on being yourself” is a great advice. It is not necessary or desirable to try to mould yourself into a copy of some successful individual. You can use the knowledge gathered from the lives of successful people and the similar success qualities to help you grow. But always retain your own individuality.
You are absolutely unique in the world. Never before since the beginning of time, has there ever been anyone exactly like you. And never again throughout all the ages to come will there ever be anybody exactly like you again. No one who has ever lived or is to come has had your combination of abilities, talents, appearance, friends, acquaintances, burdens, sorrows and opportunities.
Enjoy that uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You were not meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal some parts of you that are unlike what you see in anyone else. You were meant to be different. Nowhere ever in human history will the same things be going on in anyone's mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now. If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.
You are unique. Even though you share many things in common with other people, you are essentially one of a kind. No one else has been given exactly the same makeup as God has given you. Your face, your fingerprints, your voice, and your genetic makeup are matched by no one else’s. Likewise, God has handcrafted you with your personality, your unique set of talents and motivations, and your special “bent” in life.
And you have a unique purpose in this world. Not only has God made you, He has designed you for His special reasons. He has crafted you to carry out a unique purpose and mission in life. So find the purpose by finding your uniqueness. Most of our troubles result from our inability to understand and accept our uniqueness. Learning to understand one’s self is a never ending process. But you can achieve greatness only in that process. So be patient and treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Television is a form of media that has great ability to influence and brainwash the viewing public. For many of us, television has replaced life and reality. The image in the TV has become more vivid and real than our everyday existence. It claims the center of our attention. For the first time in human history, most of the stories about people, life, and values are told not by parents, schools, churches, or others in the community who have something to tell, but by a group of distant conglomerates that have something to sell.
When we watch TV, we are in the alpha level. Much to the gratification of the advertisers, it is a highly programmable state of awareness. For too many of us, television has become a companion who is always there, doesn't argue, and is full of entertainment — the problem is, we are not in the habit of arguing with it either. Remember we don't distinguish between the real and the unreal — we simply act in accordance with the images present in our consciousness.
The biggest problem with the TV is that it doesn't require much of our brain. Unlike reading, or listening our mind doesn't need to imagine anything. Sight and sounds are done for us. Our brain need only go into "download mode." It is dangerous because we automatically download into our subconscious whatever is put before us on the TV – especially when we consider what gets broadcasted.
Eric Peper, an expert in biofeedback tells us that, “The horror of television is that the information goes in, but we don't react to it. It goes right into our memory pool and perhaps we react to it later but we don't know what we're reacting to. When you watch television you are training yourself not to react and so later on, you're doing things without knowing why you're doing them or where they came from.”
Today parents spend less time with their children, which is an important responsibility that no one or nothing can replace. As ex American President Clinton aptly said, “television… may be the third parent, but it can’t be the first or the second”. The media has more access to children than ever before, and it can develop certain bad habits, patterns and subconscious actions if the individual is too weak to fight its affect. Therefore, parents must spend more time with their children, otherwise, the old values will slowly slip away and new ones, established by television, will take their place for good.
In his historic "television is a vast wasteland" speech, Newton N. Minow said:
"[Television is] a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endless commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you'll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few."
If commercials are the appetizer and dessert of each TV time slot, violence and sex are its main course that the sponsor's message sticks to your ribs. "To the advertiser, violence and sex equal excitement equals ratings.
According to a study conducted in United States of America, an hour of prime-time television includes about five violent acts. An hour of children's Saturday morning programming includes twenty to twenty-six violent acts. The average American child will witness 12,000 violent acts on television each year, amounting to about 200,000 violent acts by the time he turns eighteen years old... In a University of Illinois study, people who had watched the most violent TV between birth and age eight committed the most serious crimes by age thirty.
The study says that an appalling number of juvenile crimes — torture, kidnapping, rapes, and murders — have been traced to events portrayed on televisions.... A boy's television habits at age eight are more likely to be a predictor of his aggressiveness at age eighteen or nineteen than his family's socio-economic status, his relationship with his parents, his IQ, or any other single factor in his environment.'
We cannot ignore the study conducted in America because the influence of TV is almost the same everywhere if we let it influence our lives.
If we don't want to be homogenized, the best thing to do is turn off the TV set or think about it rationally for our own self-protection so our deeper levels of consciousness don't absorb it all non-critically in the name of reality. If our creativity is not buried under the sludge we will have better ways of spending our time than in front of televison. Remember our creativity comes from deeper levels. We have to give it space to surface. And we don't want to energize all the junk we watch by carrying it around in our real imaginations.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Do you know the difference between action and activities? Though they may seem to be same thing, they are not same. You should know the difference between these two to become successful in your life. The difference is beautifully explained by Al Secunda in his famous book “15 second principle”. Read and ask yourself often "What am I involved with right now: an action or an activity?” The question may save your life from being wasted.
Actions vs. Activities
Anyone pursuing excellence and well-being must learn to differentiate between two important words: actions and activities. While both connote movement and may appear to be similar, more often than not they are diametrically opposed to each other. Actions set us free, whereas activities have the ability to enslave us. Actions help us regain control of our lives, while activities perpetuate procrastination. Actions assist us in achieving our full potential, but activities lure us down unfulfilling and addictive paths. Actions, therefore, are endeavors that are related to fulfilling our needs, goals, and contentment.
To help you understand the differences between these two words, imagine that a rat is placed in a cage that contains a treadmill and lots of toys. In the middle of the cage is a red lever that, when pressed, will open the door and set him free. If the goal of the rat is freedom, no matter how fast he runs on the treadmill or how involved he becomes with his toys, he will never gain freedom. There is only one way out of jail for this rat: going directly to the red lever and pressing it. In this example, pressing the lever is the freeing action; busying himself with the treadmill and toys is the imprisoning and distracting activity.
The human condition is very similar to the rat's situation. Quite often, we will seek out activities that are not essential in helping us reach our destinations. Let's look at two examples:
If April arrives and you have not touched your tax returns, calling your accountant and setting up an emergency meeting is an action , whereas cleaning out a closet and washing your car are activities.
If you desperately want to begin a dream project (writing a novel, starting a report, getting an article published, doing a home aerobics program, creating an oil painting), taking a step toward that project is an action, while going to the movies is an activity.
Why We Avoid Taking Actions
Unfortunately, when we human beings are left to our own devices, we are much more likely to direct our attention toward seductive activities rather than toward challenging actions. This is because activities are safer to approach and engage in. They tend to contain less emotional and psychological charge, which makes them less confronting.
Because activities do not address our dreams, personal identities, or mastery, they tend to be easier to think about, begin, and complete. Actions, on the other hand, deal with more important core issues and can be more frightening. In addition, activities are about staying busy or kicking back rather than about facing our full potential, fears, and responsibilities. They are more about avoidance and unfulfilling patterns, less about risk, fulfillment, and the unknown. As a result, the feelings and emotional rewards we reap from completing activities are limiting. With low stakes come low payoffs. Perhaps Mick Jagger
was thinking about activities when he sang, "I can't get no satisfaction." What's vital to understand is that a thousand activities cannot give you the relief and self-satisfaction of one powerful action. The following double-negative saying holds a lot of wisdom: "You can never get enough of what you don't really want."
One way to distinguish between an action and an activity is to observe how you feel afterward. When you feel energized and empowered after completing a task, chances are it was an action. Here are some examples:
If you finally go back to the gym after stopping for two months and you feel like you have taken back control of your life, it was an action.
If you take a full day to clean out your entire garage and you feel free and in control of your life, it was an action.
On the other hand:
If you call a friend to discuss last night's party rather than phoning a potential new customer, and afterward you feel as though you squandered 15 minutes of your life, it was an activity.
If you watch a movie on television rather than paying bills and starting an overdue report, and you feel overwhelmed the next morning, watching television was an activity.
It's important to note that the same task might be an action one day and an activity the next. A bachelor who finally vacuums his carpet after six months is performing an action. If he continues to vacuum every day for the next month, this behavior has become a compulsive activity. A young workaholic who finally takes a vacation is performing an action. If this same executive quits her job and vacations for the next five years, she could be living out one huge activity.
By the same token, the same task can be an action for one person and an activity for another. If a relentless "party animal" shows up at one more party, this is an activity. If a shy recluse shows up at the same party, this is an action.
Bear in mind there is nothing wrong with pursuing activities as long as they are done with awareness and in moderation. We all need vacations, breaks, and escapes. What's dangerous is when we engage in a constant diet of activities and think they are actions.
The skill is in differentiating between them. At any given moment, you should be able to answer the question, "What am I involved with right now: an action or an activity?" This heightened awareness can help you to select a healthier balance between them.
- Al Secunda in “15 second principle”