Saturday, July 07, 2007

How I Became a Positive Person

Everybody has a story to share. So, have I. If reading my story inspires just one person in this world, I think my purpose will be solved. I was not always a positive person. I suffered from a griping sense of discontent. I was unable to derive satisfaction from my relationships. Though I had a number of acquaintances, I had very few friends. I was unable to use my talents and skills optimally. A non-believer, I never used to pray and had no faith. Of course I was spiritually bankrupt. To top it all, I had suffered heavy losses in a business venture, and now I was financially bankrupt as well. I felt so depressed and gloomy that I could light up a room simply by leaving it. I had lost my self-image, confidence, and hope. In other words I was negativity personified.

Playing the blame game was my favorite pastime. I blamed my circumstances, my parents, my school, my wife, even my year old daughter (as if an infant could have caused my failure). Actually, I blamed everyone, other than myself, the person who was really to be blamed.

Thank God, I always loved reading. And it was through printed words that I saw light. I read a story about a small child who was disturbing his father who was trying to work. The father tears up a world map and gives to the child to put it together, thinking that it will keep him occupied for a long time. Now, there was a picture of a man behind the map. The child could put the man together in just a few minutes. But the map behind was right too. I realized that if I put the man I am right, my world will become right as well. And that my dear friend, was the turning point.

The first thing that I changed was my reading habit. Earlier I was reading a lot of fiction. I changed that to reading Positive Mental Attitude books. I started associating with Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Dr. Shad Hamstead, Dr. Steve Price and so many other positive people through their wonderful books. I read about dreams, faith, goals, positive attitude, relationships, and self- image. I was also listening to recording by powerful speakers. And I realized that everyone has problems and challenges in life. But it is the way we respond to it that all matters. It is either, we react to a situation (negatively) or respond (positively) to it and that makes the difference in the result we produce.

This very powerful association has already started changing something inside me. I had started seeing things in a different perspective. Now I knew that the situation I am in was bad, but not hopeless. A wonderful book “All things are possible through prayer,” by Charles L. Allen changed my life for ever. I learned how to pray, and I prayed for the first time in my life. And you know what; it was answered in just ten minutes. That was the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one that was filled with faith. I had begun appreciating this beautiful creation that we so often take for guaranteed. I could now feel the hand of God working in my life. Everything around me now inspired me. It is not that things had changed for me, but what had changed was the way I looked at them.

One more thing that I changed was that I started choosing my association more carefully. I started visiting inspirational seminars and made friends with positive people. I purposely started keeping away from people who could have negative effect in my life. I became selective with the programs I saw on television or the movies I saw. If I see negativity being glamorized in any of the programs, I would simply leave the room. I was protecting my mind from negatives.

It was as if my mind was getting reprogrammed. As my spiritual account filled up, my self-image improved. I started taking responsibility of my self. Now when I spoke the words that came out were positive. I was feeling happy. Not because the circumstances were happy one, but because I felt more in peace with myself. Since, now I was accepting myself more, I could accept people more naturally. Obviously, the relationships improved. Now, I liked people and people liked me. It was as if I was living in a brand new world.

As I kept on growing from inside, I saw the situations outside changing. Since I was taking responsibility of my actions and was moving in faith, I started doing better in my career. I won’t say that it was always a smooth journey ever since. There were a lot of things that did not went well, or the way I had them planed. But, with my new positive outlook and a faith that was stronger than steel, I could see opportunity in every setback. Today, I have got back much more than what I had lost earlier in material things as well as the things that money can not buy.

Today, I thank God for giving all the challenges in past. It was the extremely unbearable situation of being financially bankrupt that got me changing. Today, I know that if God gives me more challenges it will be to strengthen my shoulder to bear the burden of greater responsibilities and blessings.

Thank you God for blessing me and my family! God, please work in the life of this reader the way you worked in my life…..

Friday, July 06, 2007

Keys to Happiness

Most people honestly believe that they will be happy when they are able to get a job they want, but when they get it, they won’t be. They feel that they will be happy once they have a nice house- but they won’t be. Then they will be happy when they have put in everything neatly so that they can call the house their home – but they won’t be. Then a fancy car, an exotic vacation, etc. etc. but happiness seems to be eluding them. Is it really possible to have permanent happiness?

Search of happiness is one of the basic purposes of human life. However, it is also the source of greatest frustration. Many successful people who had been super-achiever feel the futility of their efforts that has gone in the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately many of them actually feel more depressed and unhappy even if they win the rat race of the material world. There are some others who seek happiness in drugs, alcohol, illicit relationships, gambling and immoral conduct. But it all ultimately destroys the person rather than giving what the person seeks for.

The main reason for this frustrating situation is that most people fail to differentiate between joy or pleasure and real happiness. All the material things in life can actually give joy and pleasure, and that is momentary. It lasts for a while and then extinguishes, like a lamp that gives light till the oil lasts. A new house, a fancy car or an exotic vacation will give joy for a while. But then as the novelty wears of, it will no longer be a source of pleasure. Bhagwat Gita points out that everything in this material world is temporary and that every human being is living in illusion. And this is the cause of all miseries.

Happiness therefore is not in material things, but in certain things that money can not buy. These are the keys or principles that can open door to happiness, irrespective of the situation or circumstances one is in. This is evident from the fact that many families with limited means seem more happy than those who are financially blessed. So, what are these secret keys of happiness?

Physical Health: You have surely heard that health is wealth. We experience everything through our body. It is our body through which we make the efforts that brings results. Therefore it is important to keep healthy physically to experience happiness. In today’s world that is full of rat race, people often neglect their health. Lack of physical exercise, unbalanced diet, pollution, stress, all takes toll on our health. To top it, we try to gratify ourselves by involving into drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc, in the process spoiling our physical well being. Of course there is no happiness in indulging in pleasures all night and then getting up sick in the morning. Therefore, a healthy body is the first key to happiness.

Keeping Healthy Mind: Like physical health, it is important to keep a healthy mind. I believe that it is more important, as healthy body often follows healthy mind. Happiness is more in the mind of an individual than anywhere else.

Mental health comprises of a high self-image, positive mental attitude and strong value systems. Like we eat and exercise to keep our body healthy we must also feed our mind on a regular basis with strong positive thoughts, otherwise the mental health may fall victim to the countless negativities that exist in the world. Reading good books, listening to powerful recording and associating with positive and progressive people are the best ways to keep a healthy mind.

Spiritual Well-being: Man is a spiritual being and happiness is a spiritual feeling. Many religions in the world advocates that the only way to eternal happiness and bliss is in service of God, the ultimate spiritual authority. This however, does not mean that we renounce the world and become a hermit. In fact, serving other people in this world is the best way to serve God. That is why we feel internal happiness when we do something for others without any selfish motive. Having faith, praying for others and helping others through our action are often enough for our spiritual well-being. On the contrary, harming others, seeking revenge, victimizing, using dishonest means lowers our worth of self and leads to spiritual bankruptcy, and robs us our peace of mind.

Hard Work: Man is engineered to produce abundance with his efforts. Laziness is one of the greatest reasons for sorrow in this world. People who believe in honest hard work are the one who are far happier than the one who tries to profit by dishonest and seemingly easy means. Hard work is required for good health: physical, mental and spiritual, as well as for maintaining good relationships, and material success. A person, who believes in hard work, has high self image and creates security that gives peace of mind that is essential for happiness.

Hope: Nothing is possible without hope. Hope is one thing that keeps the person going on even in worst situations. You can never be happy if you have no hope. ‘Hope’ is the belief that the thing will get better, than what they are now. A person who has lost hope will loose his health, spiritual connection and will take no action to improve his situation. Since everything that we do is with a hope for better tomorrow, hope remains an important key to happiness.

Since, success is not a destination but a journey and happiness is an important ingredient of success, we feel happy as we move on. Reaching a destination may give us joy, but it is the endeavor to reach and the belief that we can reach further is what gives us happiness. Happiness is in playing the game not in winning. So, make happiness a major goal in your life and test all your other goals against it to live a happy life.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Concept of Balanced Success

What is success? For different people success will mean different things. In this material world success is often equated with money one has and the kind of lifestyle one affords. Normally a person who lives in a big house or drives a fancy car or holds a good position in his office appears to be successful in the eyes of the world Success for most is achieving goals that gives them joy or pleasure. But unfortunately these achievements give short lived joy and this feeling of success is often a delusion. It is like a mirage after which the person runs and eventually forgets the very reason for which he is running.

In order to live a life of true success, it is vital that success is explained. Life has so many facets, and each of them is important to us. What will a person do with a lot of money, if he looses his peace of mind and health, gets away from his family and friend, feels in- secured, and ultimately unhappy? Of course, this can not be termed as success.

So again, what is success? Success is actually a balance of a number of factors in life that makes our life worth living. A person having a lot of wealth and creating more of it, but destroys his relationships and happiness in the process has only a unidirectional success. A person who is financially well off and enjoys good relationship, but still feels unhappy has bi-directional success, but lacks balanced success. In my opinion one can be said to have a balanced success if he/she has:

- Happiness
- Reasonable wealth, prosperity and security
- Meaningful relationships &
- Hope

Most people usually mistake things like achievements, entertainment, possessions for happiness. These things give joy but not happiness. Joy is momentary pleasure that we derive when our senses are gratified in this material world. Happiness is a permanent state of mind that is not dependent on the circumstances and situations. A person with lots of achievements, possessing all worldly possessions may still be unhappy, whereas a person who is struggling hard to make his ends meet may be happy.

Joy and pleasure are material, but happiness is spiritual. Happiness is a result of good health (physical, mental and spiritual) and having peace of mind. Good health is a result of discipline, faith, love, commitment, persistence and honesty. A healthy body and mind that is full of faith helps a person to do what is to be done, while running his life on values. This provides peace of mind and protects his spiritual wellbeing. On the contrary, a person who is not healthy physically can not enjoy life, and a person with unhealthy mind will sacrifice his values to acquire things that give him temporary joy and pleasure. Such a person will be spiritually bankrupt and have no peace of mind and therefore can never experience happiness.

Money is an important parameter of success. However, it does not mean that everyone needs to become a billionaire. But money is important for us to provide us with what we require. Reasonable wealth means having enough money that can take care of all our needs. Of course, needs will vary from individual to individual, and so will the meaning of reasonably wealthy. Some people say that money is the root of all evil. It is untrue. It is the greed for money that is the root of all evil. Money when accumulated immorally and for selfish interests destroys the person’s inner calm and in fact brings about insecurity Money when earned honestly can give peace of mind, comfort and a high level of security and be a source of immense joy. As a matter of fact prosperity can be a reward for the number of people you help to get what they want. And helping others is the finest source of happiness.

One of the most important aspects of balanced success is the relationship that one earns. Good relationships are the most important wealth that a person can accumulate in the life time. Relationships within the family and that with the friends are a constant source of joy and happiness as well as security. People most unfortunately in pursuit of material success, often neglect their relationships and in the end they find themselves lonely and unhappy. Such people in-spite of achieving so much remains unsuccessful in the end.

‘Hope’, I believe is the key to success. Hope that things will improve and become better is what makes a person go on in face of all challenges. If the hope is lost all is lost. We exercise and eat well with a hope of remaining physically healthy. We work hard with a hope to become prosperous. In fact you are reading this article with some hope. The word H.O.P.E. means Honest Optimism with Personal Efforts. When you are optimistic because of your honest faith and there fore makes personal efforts, it produces a result that helps you to become a success.