Thursday, April 26, 2007

Be good, live well.

I have just finished reading a book called “Everyday Greatness” that is packed with wisdom from the pages of Reader’s Digest and filled with inspiring, moving and timeless stories of lives lived to the fullest, often through adversity and challenge. It has an insightful commentary by Stephen Covey, (he of the 7-habits).

I am overflowing with this sense of goodness. From every pore of my body, there now oozes this feeling of benevolence towards my fellow human beings. I am convinced that I can take on the world and scale heights never imagined before by man or beast. That’s what Reader’s Digest does to a person.

I would urge all of you to abandon the decadent lives that you have chosen to lead and strive to clarify what you stand for and what purposes you choose to pursue. In other words, you must want to make a difference. Contribute. As Abraham Lincoln put it seven scores and five years ago, "a man who does not make a difference is indifferent".

Next, realize that it is in giving of ourselves, to others, that we find our greatest sense of being. And the best way to do this is by using the principle of charity. As Ralph Waldo Emerson described it in his inimitable manner, “A man who doesn’t practice charity is being completely uncharitable.”

And, don’t think, charity involves huge donations. The best acts of charity are those that occur in small, one-to-one ways, when you take time out of your busy schedule to focus your attention on a solitary individual, if only for a moment. As Mother Teresa preached to her congregation, “He who bestows attention on others alone will have attention bestowed on himself. He who doesn’t will be cursed with tension”.

And, be courageous. Courage can help you overcome everything. even the curses of Mother Teresa. As Norman Vincent Peale mentioned in his autobiography that he wrote posthumously, “A man without courage is like curd rice without mango pickle. And how meaningless life can be without mango pickle?"

Taking charge of your life requires discipline. Yes, tons of it. Discipline demands the mental stamina to overcome empty passions and faulty habits. It requires a relentless focus. Remember the story of Dale Carnegie? Once he realized the importance of discipline, there was no stopping him. “A woman with discipline is” he said, restoring gender equality to this blog post, “is like Popeye after a meal of spinach”, ending up with a mix-up of the genders.

In all these principles, integrity is the common denominator. People with integrity can be trusted. They are committed. A shining example was Martin Luther King, Jr, who in that memorable speech of his just before his birth, said, “I would much rather trust an honest man than a dishonest woman”.

Mahatma Gandhi said that one of the greatest challenges of our times was to stay united, in the face of adversity. So, stick together, in difficult times. Remember the words of Winston Churchill after the Battle of Britain, “Never has so much been owed by so many united people to a few people who thankfully broke away from the losing group and decimated the enemy”

Finally, don’t complicate life. Keep it uncluttered and simple. As Cdr Gopinath of Air Deccan is never tired of saying, “Simplifly”.


Usha said...

And as I say, "capital, excellent, singlarly remarkable!"

Anonymous said...

An 'inspired' post if there ever was one. And curd rice minus mango pickle is unthinkable....

Raj said...

Usha, dipali, as John F Kennedy once said, "Thank you".

Usha said...

Raj: He said it only once? I definitely rememebr it was more than that!

Raj said...

Usha, JFK said "Thank you' only once. Other time he said 'Thanks".