We have access to almost unlimited information. However, there is still a dearth of wisdom. The progression from raw data to wisdom (raw data -information – knowledge – understanding – insight – wisdom) can be a long climb.

One of the biggest challenges you will face on your journey to wisdom is the battle to overcome the focus on self. Being selfless leads to wisdom. Some will argue that most success comes from self-drive so how is it that we are knocking self. Self-drive is fine if the goal is larger than self. If everything is about self then the more you get, the less it will seem.

Here are some ways to overcome this problem:

1. Be objective-

Your selfishness will be saying something like ”I should be getting more recognition” when, objectively, you are being treated appropriately. Realize that this is happening, catch yourself, and refocus on the task at hand. Focus on the present moment by experiencing the positive effect of the people, places, sights, and sounds around you.

2. Refrain from judgment and relinquish control – Remember you can only control yourself – give up controlling other people, circumstances, etc. The more in control of other people you think you are, the less in control you actually are!

3. Practice self-awareness – As you become more aware of your thoughts you’ll be surprised how many are too focused on you. Keep a journal to develop self-awareness. When we become sufficiently aware, the light of that awareness starts to starve the selfishness.

4. Focus on the big picture – Be driven by the importance of outcomes rather than the importance of self.

5. Start listening – Go beyond words to grasp people’s feelings. Ask people who are close to you what they think about your listening skills especially your spouse or partner. You may get a rude awakening!

6. Celebrate diversity – Value the differences in others and see their strengths. Celebrate the success of others as if it were your own.

7. Participate in life – Absorb knowledge from every encounter, every experience, every person, every defeat, every setback, and every opportunity.

8. Treat work like meditation – Work so deeply that the division between the doer and the doing disappears and work becomes sacred.

9. Embrace humility – Humility is born when you realize that you are simply the medium for the universal abundance to flow through. You understand that when you do commendable work, it is the divine working through you.

10. Practice gratitude – when you count your blessings, your blessings multiply.

Every act counts

While driving in Los Angeles with my family, we saw what seemed to be a dead bird lying on the road. At first, I drove past it and ignored it altogether. Then, something compelled me to drive around the block and return to the bird.  I got out and proceeded to place the bird on the side of the curb. To my utter surprise, the bird began to tremble and stir, and as we drove away, it flew into the air.  By the looks of it, although it had been lying, injured, on the main road, all it needed was a little support to get back on its wings.  Had I left the bird where it was, another motorist may have, inadvertently, crushed it.  For me, the moral of this story was how little effort it took to save a life, but how big an example it set for my children, who were in the car.

Small acts of kindness and compassion do indeed make a difference, even if the difference may not always be anything big.

With the spate of pandemic news coming from across the world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel despair. But we all can make a difference daily with our actions, however small.

Giving in small ways, whether at home, at work or in your community can build positive momentum towards a big difference!

The Moment!

Being in the moment, the now implies being alert and responsive to every moment. However, this approach might seem difficult for some, for it would mean relinquishing control of the future and exposing themselves to uncertainty. On the other hand, living according to a regimented plan could curb your natural spontaneity and creativity.

How do we decide when to be spontaneous or when to stick with our plans?

The Sufi knows that life is evolving every moment. So the real question is not about choosing between being spontaneous or following a plan, but identifying whether your action in that moment stems from your center or outside of it, from spontaneity or impulsiveness.

Spontaneity means acting naturally and effortlessly. Spontaneous energy is rooted in your very center of being.

For example, your four-year-old playfully splashes water on you and is looking forward to your response with an air of innocent amusement. One option is to reprimand and lecture him on good behavior and then get back to cleaning up the mess. The other option sees the bigger picture, i.e., looks beyond his act to understand his desire to engage with you. When a spontaneous person responds to the moment, he or she is accepting complete responsibility for that moment and is open to the interesting possibilities of life. Spontaneous action generally leaves you feeling joyful, liberated, and full of gratitude for life.

But when our behavior does not arise from within us or is superficial, it becomes a reaction rather than a response.

For example, during a fight, you get caught up in the heat of the moment and say many things, which you regret later. Driving rashly, speaking rudely or indulging in repetitive mindless tasks are examples of impulsive behaviors.

Impulsiveness is rooted in the ego (the false outer image of the self), driven by our baser instincts, and accompanied by guilt, regrets, or misery. 

When you are in the now, your memories don’t pull you back, and your future expectations no longer confine you to a limited set of possibilities.

Aspire for more!

You can own the whole world, but you can only eat one meal at a time. It does not mean one should not aspire for more. Being ambitious and aspiring for more is good if it is driven by creating a positive difference in the lives of others! The foundation for making a positive impact is being authentic.

Here are some ways to be authentic:

1) Accept and realize that imperfection is perfection – shortcomings are part of who you are which makes you powerful because you resonate with others (as they are also imperfect)

2) Like yourself including your positives and negatives to gain confidence in expressing yourself because you know you have something to offer

3) Live a life of integrity because that allows you to feel good about who you are and you attract like-minded people in your life.

4) Be careful about who you judge, because you know not what they are going through.

5) To be authentic you need to admit to mistakes and apologize as required rather than being defensive.

6) Be comfortable with being different. Your unique selling proposition comes from being different and unique, not conforming or being like everyone else.

7) Speak up about what you mean. Don’t worry about what others think. Say it nicely, but speak your truth.

8) When you are true to yourself, then you are also true to others. What is inside manifests outside.

9) Be vulnerable, get out of your comfort zone and ask for help if need be.

10) Remember the time is always right to do the right things

11)Have a burning desire to make a positive impact on one and all!

20 years from now!

Prophets, saints and holy people all had their share of sorrows. Why would people so close to divinity go through this?
Also, many great successful business people and sports stars also went through many ups and downs before achieving success.

Knowing how to find sense and meaning in challenges, problems and even tragedy is important to survive and eventually thrive. Begin learning by going back in your life and recalling how you reacted to your own past challenges, problems or tragedies, and how some of your friends, family or colleagues reacted to theirs. You will notice positive and negative responses. Learn from them— noticing which ones were helpful, and which ones caused sadness or stress.

If you reflect on how the problem or tragedy is going to impact you 10, 20 or 50 years from now you will see the problem in a different light.

Assume full responsibility for your life – You are the captain of your ship. And while you cannot change circumstances, you have the power to choose your response to them. Taking responsibility also implies that you finally accept how your own attitude is feeding your sadness. Reclaim your life and your right to create your happiness. 

Every single moment is precious and a gift of life. The air we breathe, the sunrise and sunset we witness, the children we love!

If you have lost a loved one or one of your family members or friends is going through the virus you must be questioning why you have to go through this. My prayers and best wishes go out to you to find the strength to overcome your challenge and sorrow.

The more you give, the more you have!

In today’s uncertain times, many shy away from giving. They complain about the lack of certainty about the future. Stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction are widespread. The conventional solution is to focus on the self. Is that working? Not really! There exists a lack of fulfillment, unhappiness, relationship challenges, and negative energy. So what is the solution? Giving!

The more you give to your family; you will enjoy better relationships at home. The more you give to your colleagues, the better camaraderie you will have at work. Yes, true we are practicing physical and social distancing. However, you can give by making calls, sending a prayer, sharing positive messages or sending positive energy.

The more time you invest in others, the less time you need getting things done. In addition, when you give, you tap into your creativity, innovation, and potential. Also, when you are gentle and give to others, you are also gentle with yourself. Thus the more you give, the more you have!

If you cannot give money, you can give love, hope, laughter, skills, wisdom, ideas, attention, and a listening ear. As Kahlil Gibran beautifully says, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” The benefits of giving range from security, empowerment, and better relationships to good health, longer life, happiness.

The best time to give is today despite all the worries around us! Today is a new day, a fresh beginning! Practicing a daily dose of giving to self and others rejuvenates you! Here are seven tips:

* Give gratitude every day.
* Shine your light and inspire others to shine their light.
* Be a loving human being and family member. Sometimes we forget the people closest to us.
* Give people the benefit of doubt – remember everyone is fighting a battle. Also, give every situation the best possible interpretation.
* Be a little bit better every day in every way.
* Marry your audacious goals with living in the moment! The direction is important, however, it is the execution in the moment that creates the results.
* Enjoy the ride – remember the destiny is in the journey!

Giving is a grace. It comes to people who are blessed. Givers are people who are kindled spiritually and understand the power of giving.

When you take the approach of gratitude for being given the opportunity to serve others, your service takes a new dimension which includes:

⁃       Living your purpose
⁃       Your focus shifts to making an impact not on getting credit
⁃       Focus on the recipient, not you
⁃       You practice “With malice towards none and charity for all”

With the virus situation, a lot of people who are underprivileged, in poverty and marginalized need the most help. Those of us who are fortunate can be helpful in giving of time, knowledge, wisdom and resources.

In serving humanity and good causes, the return on investment (ROI) is priceless. Volunteers do not get paid because their work is priceless!

The Vaccine Within!

We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge challenge for the world to overcome! While our best and brightest health professionals work hard to lead us to a more permanent remedy, we all need to do our part to stay positive and productive.

So, as you remain committed to taking precautionary methods like staying indoors, social/physical distancing, and regularly washing your hands with soap and water, try not to lose focus on your mental wellbeing. It is totally understandable if, at this time, you are feeling helpless against the pandemic; however, rest assured that you have full control over creating a ‘vaccine within’ that can be potent and effective!

How? By tapping into your power within! You are far more powerful than you can imagine.

The seven components of your power include:

1. Power of the Moment

This moment is the only moment that counts; the past and future in the current moment is just baggage. This moment is powerful and real and will never come back again. So, what will you do in this moment that is the most important in your life? If you live every moment this way, then you will master the vaccine within.

2. Power of you as a Miracle

You are Nature’s Greatest Miracle. No one is like you, no one was like you and no one will ever be like you! You were born with a purpose; this purpose is not complete – that is why you are alive. When will you find and complete your purpose? If not now, then when? If not you, then who? If not here, then where? What are you waiting for?

3. Power of Habits

Your habits allow you to tap into your power. How would you describe your daily habits? Are you proud of them? What is stopping you from creating new powerful habits? You do not have infinite time left and you only have so many breaths before you die and you do not know when they stop – the coronavirus is a reminder of that!

4. Power of being an Inverse Paranoid

Are you paranoid right now? Does being paranoid help you? Why not become an inverse paranoid? What you seek is seeking you! Think of what you want all the time and your dominant thoughts will attract your outcome.

5. Power of Giving

There is no other more potent or powerful force than giving. What is beautiful about giving is that no one is deprived of giving. Even a 90-year-old blind woman who has nothing can give a prayer, forgiveness, and love! When you give, you feel powerful, complete and valuable!

6. Power of Goals

If you don’t have a burning desire, make it your burning desire to find your burning desire! What would you like to say to your Creator on your death bed? What would you like your family, community, friends, and people you worked with to say about you on your death bed? That is where your goals can begin and then, you can align everything you do to this end. This approach creates congruence, purpose, and integration!

7. Power of a Spark

If you felt a small spark reading this short blog, do not let a day pass by without fueling your spark. I had a spark 22 years ago and I never let a day pass without fueling my spark. By doing so, I found my calling, a priceless gift, and my life has never been the same. It is never too late to find that gift!

Yes, there is a virus plaguing the world today that we are all working together to control. However, as individuals, we can control the power and potency of our vaccine inside. In a world of uncertainty and a pandemic virus, focus on becoming the master of ‘the vaccine inside’!”