Courage & Kindness

Yesterday evening we (entire family) went to watch Cinderella. It’s a movie made 50 years ago. Yet we found it fresh and captivating. An oft repeated children fairy tale enthralled everyone, the little children as well as the senior citizens. Cinderella’s inherent kindness with courage to withstand adversity brought for her fortunes.cendrella
Kindness indeed is a virtue which however small in action never goes waste. It enhances self-esteem, but more importantly, kindness brings happiness. In our morning walkers’ club, often the subject of how to improve the morals in the society is discussed. Though India is known for its tolerance & kindness, yet today it is felt that citizens show scant respect for others.
kindness
Everyone complains about the conduct of our people. Undoubtedly with the uncanny behavior no one has anything to gain but a lot to lose.
Courage is another aspect of personality which helps you to have a positive attitude. Someone wrote, ‘life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. How true! A person who lacks courage can hardly live life. They just exist, like other living beings. Life comprises a series of events. Some are to our liking. Others are not so good and certain others very disturbing. The Bhagvad Gita teaches us that all such events good or bad have to be borne by each individual. If you have courage, you may face these without fear. But if you lack courage there could be some horrifying experiences even though the events remain the same.
courage
One may belong to any religion, they usually pray before any dire encounter. Prayer has a certain power. In fact courage is not the absence of fear. Human beings when faced with an unexpected untoward situation are bound to face fear. When you decide to embark upon a challenging situation, you are fully aware of the danger involved. You may be struck with fear but you still go ahead. It only means that you have conquered that fear. Courage is not absence of fear. Courage is nothing but conquering the fear.
steve-jobs-perseverance
Great success can be achieved by someone who adds perseverance to courage and kindness. When you do that even the most difficult tasks can be completed with ease. In fact lives of all great men clearly illustrate that they had courage, were aware always kind, and they all persevered.
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Enemies of Happiness

In my last posting I had mention that as a 1st step we must identify enemies of our Happiness. These are broadly speaking of two types.

  1. Enemies of happiness residing within ourselves.
  2. Enemies outside. These could be people; this could be a tasks which you don’t like or environment.

In today’s posting I like to tell you about enemies of Happiness which are within are our own selves. I have listed eight. There could be more. Based on these 8 you can prepare your own list. Because Happiness is of prime importance to all of us, we must apply our mind deeply to correct the situation. Following is the list of enemies of Happiness residing in our own Body and Soul.
 

  1. Anger                                 5. Attachment
  2. Fear                                    6. Hesitation  
  3. Jealousy                          7. Procrastination
  4. Indecision                      8. Greed

 
Today I will talk about 1st four i.e. Anger, Fear, Jealousy and Indecision.
anger1  fear1
jealousy  hesitation2
My personal experience and those of my students who have shared with me reaffirm that these four enemies are big Happiness Spoilers in our lives. In order to have appropriate benefit of our discussion, I suggest that you may mentally go through the pages of the book of your life. Then identify which were the moments when these four villains have spoiled your happy moments.
I received a mail from one of my readers to shorten my blog. I ‘ll talk to you further on this tomorrow.
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Happiness is not expensive.

Today when there is so much information available on all human emotions and the reasons there of no one has any right or business to be unhappy. Actually there was never a reason for people to be unhappy. Abraham Lincoln said in the early 19th century that ‘most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’ However at that time there was no internet, literature was scanty and hardly available. Today, with the internet all the information and the images that one may require to collect about happiness, are easily available.
Vikram a student of 6th standard volunteered to collect the relevant information and the images on ‘how to be happy’. I reproduce the material collected by Vikram in about half an hour. When I went through it, I found that anyone who would spend some time to read the knowledge collected by Vikram and see the pictures again collected by him should be never unhappy.
He informed me that he collected the pictures from Google images. Further he collected the entire written material from Wikipedia. Please spend some time to look at the pictures and also a few minutes on reading the text which he collected from Wikipedia.
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A smiling Rebecca L. Felton
Research has produced many different views on causes of happiness, and on factors that correlate with happiness, but no validated method has been found to substantially improve long-term happiness in a meaningful way for most people.
Sonja Lyubomirsky concludes in her book The How of Happiness that 50 percent of a given human’s happiness level is genetically determined (based on twin studies), 10 percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40 percent of happiness is subject to self-control.
The results of the 75 year Grant study of Harvard undergraduates show a high correlation of loving relationship, especially with parents, with later life wellbeing
Psychologist Martin Seligman asserts that happiness is not solely derived from external, momentary pleasures, and provides the acronym PERMA to summarize Positive Psychology’s correlational findings: humans seem happiest when they have

  1. Pleasure (tasty food, warm baths, etc.),
  2. Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity),
  3. Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness),
  4. Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and
  5. Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals
  1. Abraham Harold Maslow, an American professor of psychology, founded humanistic psychology in the 1930s. A visual aid he created to explain his theory, which he called the hierarchy of needs, is a pyramid depicting the levels of human needs, psychological, and physical. When a human being ascends the steps of the pyramid, he reaches self-actualization. Beyond the routine of needs fulfillment, Maslow envisioned moments of extraordinary experience, known as peak experiences, profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, during which a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient, and yet a part of the world. This is similar to the flow concept of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.
  2. Self-determination theory relates intrinsic motivation to three needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness

HEALTH

  1. Richard Davidson‘s 2012 bestseller The Emotional Life of Your Brain argues that positive emotion and happiness benefit your long-term health. From a study conducted in 2005 by Andrew Steptow and Michael Marmot, findings have found that happiness is clearly related to biological markers that play an important role in health.
  2. At University College London, Steptow and Marmot collected health and well-being data from 116 men and 100 women. All 216 participants were middle-aged, British civil servants between the ages of 45 and 59. The researchers aimed to analyze whether there was any association between well-being and three biological markers: heart rate, cortisol levels, and plasma fibrinogen levels. Interestingly, the participants who rated themselves the least happy had cortisol levels that were 48% higher than those who rated themselves as the most happy. The least happy subjects also had a large plasma fibrinogen response to two stress-inducing tasks: the Stroop test, and tracing a star seen in a mirror image.
  3. In Happy People Live Longer, Frey reports that happy people live 14% longer, increasing longevity 7.5 to 10 years.
  4. Steptow and Marmot furthered their studies by using their participants three years later to repeat the physiological measurements. They found that participants who scored high in positive emotion continued to have lower levels of cortisol and fibrinogen, as well as a lower heart rate.

Despite a large body of positive psychological research into the relationship between happiness and productivity, happiness at work has traditionally been seen as a potential by-product of positive outcomes at work, rather than a pathway to success in business. However a growing number of scholars, including Boehm and Lyubomirsky, argue that it should be viewed as one of the major sources of positive outcomes in the workplace.
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The Science of Living

Life has many facets: habits, aspirations, goals, significance etc. It is rare that there has been an artist who was also a good householder and a progressive human being. When I say a good householder, I mean one who facilitates the family in all respects. He not only provides for them materially but also emotionally. This is so, typically for a family man. But when we talk of an individual who doesn’t have a family they too will have to find out their goals, what they want to do in life by controlling or changing their habits. In these circumstances it is difficult to imagine an artist who is totally devoted to his/her passion for art putting similar stress on all the other aspects of life, as said above.
Therefore I think we must understand and practice the ‘Science of living’.
The first facet of this science, according to me, would be ‘Self Awareness’. An individual needs to be conscious of his own body, state of mind including thoughts, actions, ideas, feeling and interaction with others. Besides, self awareness has to be a continuous process. It’s only then that you can mould your thoughts, actions and relationship with others. Without doubt, this requires a constant review – a study that is scientific in nature. It teaches you how to go about finding solutions to the problems.
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Once you are self aware, you must set your priorities. It is not only fixing the priorities but also scheduling them according to their relative importance. We must remember that when we schedule a task and provide a time slot, it is not necessary that time allocated will always be found to be sufficient. Time management is another important aspect to be reviewed from time to time. The discipline that you require for constant follow up requires a scientific approach. It should have nothing to do with the moods of the person. When a particular task is not finished as per schedule you need to provide the next slot and abide by it. This protocol alone can bring about the desired results.
Priority
Once we are self aware, and we know what to do and we have also fixed our priorities, it is necessary to develop a keen sense of focus. To my mind doing only one thing at a time is the best approach. As far as possible there should be no interruption. Equally important is your total mind and soul into what you are doing. One has to start living in the present, moment to moment. Deliberate effort may be required for some time but then it becomes your habit and you start navigating you life as if you are flying an airplane.
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Lastly, I would say that your speech is very important. Because we have to interact with colleagues, family members and the society at large, we must choose our words and use them effectively. Any wrong choice or casual approach towards this very important aspect of human personality can be disastrous. Speech must always be clear; words should be chosen with discretion and spoken effectively. Speech helps to maintain and improve our relations in any environment.
Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention
To conclude I would like to say that a successful life in modern times requires us to know and practice the ‘Science of living’.
Thanks for reading.