Quotes From Today Matter

From John Maxwell’s Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success (Maxwell, John C.).

  • We exaggerate yesterday, overestimate tomorrow and ultimately, underestimate today.
  • The way you live your life today is preparing you for your tomorrow.
  • “You don’t win an Olympic gold medal with a few weeks of intensive training,” says (Seth) Godin. “There’s no such thing as an overnight opera sensation. Great law firms or design companies don’t spring up overnight…every great company, every great brand, and every great career has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.” There is no magic solution to success. — P.4
  • As basketball legend John Wooden says, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” — P.6
  • Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is often painful. But we need to recognize that there are really two kinds of pain when it comes to our daily conduct. There’s the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. Most people avoid the pain of self-discipline because it’s the easy thing to do. What they may not realize is that the pain of self-discipline is momentary but the pay-off is long lasting. — P.26
  • Someone once defined hard work as the accumulation of the easy things you didn’t do when you should have. — P.27
  • You may have a million reasons not to get started now. But deep down, none of them can be as compelling as your desire to change, grow, and succeed. In a month or a year or five years from now, you may have only one regret — that you didn’t start now. Today matters. The way you spend today really can change your life. — P.31
  • Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. — John Wooden, P.37
  • Chinese author and philosopher Lin Yutang said, “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leavings things undone. The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of non essentials.” — P.67
  • Because I wanted to improve myself and pick up skills I didn’t learn in college, in 1971 I began working on a business degree. While reading for one of the courses, I came across a paragraph written about Italian economist Vilifredo Pareto. It contained information about prioritizing called the Pareto Principle. It said that by focusing your attention on the top 20 percent of all of your priorities, you would get an 80 percent return on your effort. That was my eureka moment! That’s when I made this decision: I will prioritize my life and give focus and energy to those things that give the highest return. — P.69
  • British prime minister William Gladstone said, “He is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he is wider still who from among the things he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best.” — P.73
  • I’m continually reading books on leadership and communication. Every month I try to read one excellent book in its entirety and skim a second one that may not have as much content. — P.128
  • I think a lot of the time we take relationships for granted. Because of that, we don’t always give them the attention they deserve or require. But good relationships require a lot of effort. To keep me on track in my relationships requires a lot of effort. To keep me on track in my relationships so that I’m investing in them as I must to make them successful, I practice this discipline: Every day I make the conscious effort to deposit goodwill into my relationships with others. — P.229
  • Pulitzer prize-winning composer Gian Menotti said, “Hell begins on that day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts we wasted, of all that we might have done that we did not do.” — P.281

 

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Pearls of Wisdom – Norman Vincent Peale

“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.”

Norman Vincent Peale is the author of the famous book The Power of Positive Thinking. That book and other works from Peale went on to sell tens of millions of copies. During the depression he, JC Penney and Thomas Watson – of IBM fame – spent time on philanthropy. Peale also had his own radio show for over half a decade.

Here are some of my favorite tips from Peale.

  1. Focus on today.
    • Don’t take tomorrow to bed with you.
  2. Don’t walk around with the world on your shoulders.
    • Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  3. You may be surprised if you just step up and face your obstacles.
    • Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.
    • The “how” thinker gets problems solved effectively because he wastes no time with futile “ifs” but goes right to work on the creative “how.”
  4. Understand to overcome.
    • Understanding can overcome any situation, however mysterious or insurmountable it may appear to be.
  5. Expect to get what you expect.
    • Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.
    • Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture… Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.
    • Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will.
  6. Find the upsides of the problem.
    • Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.
    • Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong.
  7. Check your phraseology.
    • Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful.
    • Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory.
  8. Don’t go too fast.
    • To go fast, row slowly.
  9. Develop the most useful habits of thinking.
    • Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.
    • Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.
  10. Learn not only from your mistakes.
    • We’ve all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it’s more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.
    • Check what you did right and don’t get lost in basking on your glory. It will make it easier to repeat whatever you did that created the success.

It’s More Expensive to Be Poor Than to Be Rich

Terry Pratchett had a really perfect explanation for one of the many reasons why it’s more expensive to be poor than to be rich:

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of ok for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

Quoted from here: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/72745-the-reason-that-the-rich-were-so-rich-vimes-reasoned

By this model, one reason the rich are so rich is because they manage to spend less money… and not just on boots.

For those not familiar, and getting not too spoiler for context, Vimes gets to know the daughter of the oldest, wealthiest family in the city and has lots of occasion to observe the habits of the rich. He goes on to observe how wealthy households never throw anything away – they buy top quality and use it forever/pack it for the next generation.

The bad financial choices (buying the $10 pair of boots every year when the $50 pair will last a decade) are not truly choices, good or bad. They’re the only option.

 

My Favorite lines from Books

This post in inspired by the thread on Quora. An irresistible page-turner is a wonderful thing, but there are books which pack sentences so prevailing that you stop reading, lower the book and simply live in the words for a moment. Here are my personal favorites:

  1. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” ~ 1984 by George Orwell
  2. “It’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.”  ~ Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  3. “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” ~ The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  4. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” ~ The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  5. “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” ~ Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  6. “The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.” ~ In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul
  7. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” ~ The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  8. “Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.” ~ Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  9. “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” ~ The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  10. “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  11. “My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” ~ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  12. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” ~ Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  13. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” ~ The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  14. “One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” ~ The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  15. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” ~ Lord of the Rings: A fellowship of the ring by J.R.R Tolkien
  16. “Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” ~ Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  17. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  18. “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” ~ Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  19. “Each of us had something to learn from the others and something to teach in return.” ~ Confessions (Penguin Classics) by Augustine
  20. “For you, a thousand times over.” ~ The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  21. “If you lived honestly, your life would heal itself.” ~ Emotional Resilience by David Viscott
  22. “The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.” ~ The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey by Muhammad Ali and Hana Yasmeen Ali
  23. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” ~ Animal Farm by George Orwell

Too Much News

The rise of 24×7 news media has ensured that news gets to people faster. One doesn’t have to wait for the morning newspaper or the evening news to know what has happened.

Also the rise of digital media brings with itself other sets of problems.I read the following quote and immediately wanted to write it down:

 

Alain de Botton writes in The News—A User’s Manual: “The modern world is teaching us that there are dynamics far more insidious and cynical still than censorship in draining people of political will; these involve confusing, boring and distracting the majority away from politics by presenting events in such disorganized, fractured and intermittent way that a majority of the audience is unable to hold on to the thread of the most important issues for any length of time.”

The-News-by-Allain-de-Botton

The proliferation of the media and the rise of the social media has essentially ensured that the audience keeps getting bored and needs more and more new issues to agitate or at least feel agitated about.

The point, as Botton writes, is that “news organizations broadcast a flow of random-sounding bulletins, in great numbers but with little explanation of context, within an agenda” that keeps changing, and “without giving any sense of the ongoing relevance of an issue that had seemed pressing only a short while before.” This is interspersed with constant antics of film stars.

And this, as Botton writes, “would be quite enough to undermine most people’s capacity to grasp political reality – as well as any resolve they might have summoned to alter it.”

This is something that we should worry about.

PS: Some more quotes from The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton

 

Life Tip in a Simple Paragraph

I came across a small 350+ words paragraph and couldn’t stop myself from sharing it. Its written by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. and surprisingly, I had never come across these words before.

Supposedly, this contains every life tip out there. OK That might be an exaggeration, but its really worth it. Read it once – Twice – Thrice – or better still, Print it. Its that amazing!

PS: I am breaking this paragraph to increase readability.

Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the callers.
Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.
Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
Don’t major in minor things.
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no politely and quickly.
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
Don’t waste time grieving over past mistakes. Learn from them and move on.
Every person needs to have their moment in the sun, when they raise their arms in victory, knowing that on this day, at his hour, they were at their very best.
Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death bed, ‘Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office’.
Give people a second chance, but not a third.
Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health and love.
Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life and death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
Never cut what can be untied.
Never overestimate your power to change others. Never underestimate your power to change yourself.
Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years. Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do.
Seek opportunity, not security. A boat in harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out.
Spend less time worrying who’s right, more time deciding what’s right.
Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get.
The importance of winning is not what we get from it, but what we become because of it.
When facing a difficult task, act as though it’s impossible to fail.

Jackson has written a few volumes of interestingly named book Life’s Little Instruction Book, and as after reading this one paragraph I couldn’t stop myself from sharing it here.

Quotes on Thankfulness and Gratitude

piglet_gratitude_winnie_the_pooh

I wanted to share with you 10 quotes that really help put into perspective the power and importance of being thankful:

  1. “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” — Frank A. Clark
  2. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  3. “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero
  4. “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
  5. “None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” — Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
  6. “Gratitude always comes into play; research shows that people are happier if they are grateful for the positive things in their lives, rather than worrying about what might be missing.” — Dan Buettner
  7. “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” — Dalai Lama
  8. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson
  9. “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” — W. Clement Stone
  10. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that you can practice in your everyday life.