Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Vanishing Muse

By muse I mean the rare thought train that inspires you to write. Lately I'd been gifted with many ideas to write but I kept postponing putting them down. I thought I had so many ideas I needed only to choose one of them-and write. Surprisingly, when I sat down to write, I was left with a blank mind. No topic to write about. Nada.

Perhaps the muse had deserted me for the lack of attention I showed, it must have affronted her.
However, Joel Saltzman came to the rescue. I had been reading his If you can talk, you can write! and it inspired me pretty well. In fact, I had not wanted to reveal any information about this book: it is a treasure. Losing the advantage by making it public didn't seem a good idea. But now I realize whatever you share comes back to you multiplied many times over, so just out of selfishness, here it is:

If you are a professional writer or intend to make a living out of writing, you can't afford to miss this book. Written in a disarmingly frank style, this book has tons of inspiration for the disheartened writer. Those who find it too audacious to attempt creative writing will also find it impossible to not write after reading it.

Have a look at some of my favorites from Saltzman's book:
If you gave a typewriter to a chimpanzee and let him type long enough, in time, he'd produce the complete works of Shakespeare (the intention of course, is to emphasize the point that skill in a task develops naturally when we repeat it long enough).

Another one on the same theme, (its a Hollywood legend):
If you want to be a famous writer, keep at it for ten years. By that time everyone else will have quit and they'll have to hire you.
Grab your copy!:
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Addictions : Why and How

People who don't take charge of their own lives, expose themselves to various risks: a major risk is posed by addictions. I came across the following videos on two of the main addictions: porn and drugs. It is not pretty, sad actually -but that makes it all the more a reason for including here: it is what some people go through:



Pornography-Addiction-In-America

Source: PornographyAddiction.com

Also see this tragic video about Heroine addiction from National Geographic.
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Little Hands Can Make a Difference

The song is in Hindi, but the message seems universal: Be the change you want see.


How often have you wished we would all join hands to tackle the world's problems instead of fighting one another?__________________________________________________________________________________
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is Majority All That Matters ?

We have all heard it, though no one dares to write about it in public. It's our secret desire to convert everybody else to our own lifestyle, thought, philosophy, and religion. Everybody wants to be the majority. It probably arises from the fear of being overwhelmed as a minority. Propaganda goes on at all levels- religion, politics, philosophies, sexual orientation, lifestyles,...We are constantly subjected to evangelism, and do it on our own. Everybody is trying to win others over to their own way.

The minority tries persuasive methods, and the majority uses forcible coercion- to convert others. Now we see less of open force in the more civilized societies, because the world immediately gets to know of any excesses. Perhaps, the media is also being suppressed-we never get to know some news.

Lets look at the futility of attempts at religious conversion using some historical examples, and what might really work, using a story at the end.

Religious fanatics have long believed that if all of the population were converted to their own religion, all problems would vanish. The 'enemy'-the people of the other religion must disappear-either by conversion or by elimination. Lets conveniently forget that this contradicts the very foundation of all major religions-GOD or the SUPREME POWER is everywhere, and therefore, in the 'people of other religions' also.

The most recent examples of religious states (theocracies) that failed are Nepal (Hindu), Pakistan (Muslim), and Libya(Muslim). One can say the Colonial Empires (British, Spanish, Portuguese,...)  also failed because they could not adhere to the principles of their guiding religion (Christianity)-their colonies would not have struggled for independence if all were well. One can go back through history to revisit the gory details!

If one religion was sufficient for the entire mankind, there would not have developed numerous sects within that religion (take any religion). Differences of opinion arose among followers because each individual is inherently different.

The "gaining majority" solution is doomed to fail, sooner or later, wherever it is tried-whether religion or politics. Eventually, differences arise due to ego or selfish interests of the leaders and the followers. All 'isms' are thrown to the wind then.

Religion does not guarantee the experience of the Truth that it professes. One needs spiritual practice for that. And that starts when we start seeing the essential unity of human beings. It is not possible for love and hate to dwell in the same heart together. Only one can survive.

The solution?
Perhaps the following story indicates a way out: It's the lament of an old man on his death bed:
In my youth, I tried to change the world. By middle age, I realized it was futile, and started trying to correct my family instead. I couldn't change my family either-they only resented it. Now I don't have much time left- Oh how I wish I'd tried to change myself all this time!
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Monday, January 09, 2012

Communication Challenge: How to Empower Children Against Abuse

One of the challenges of professional communicators like instructional designers and technical writers is, adapting their message to the level of the audience, the readers. It is even more daunting when the message is sensitive and complex and the audience consists of little children. Borderlines are blurred and still we need to get the message across clearly.

I found the following instructional ad addressed this challenge in an innovative way. It uses the method of "minimum words", with simple, yet powerful pictures.

Source :http://www.childsexualabuseinindia.blogspot.com/2011/11/secrets-about-touching-need-to-be-told.html
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Sunday, January 08, 2012

God And Negative Thoughts

However great the successes people achieve, there are times when they are mired down in negative thoughts. It can be because of domestic issues or personal relationships. It can be very trivial issues that hit a raw spot at a vulnerable moment.

What about the ones who are not successful ? They wallow in negativity- day in and day out-blaming parents, neighbors, colleagues, their children, the Government, and of course, God.

I have had my own share of this negative patch, which was very intense in the beginning. Now, I am getting better, thanks to repetitive positive self-talks, fairly regular Meditation, Yoga, and keeping myself busy.

In the nadir of our negative patch, we are at war with the world, with God, and with ourselves. The train of negative thoughts increases in speed. We may seek some relief by external diversions-cinema, food, alcohol, sex, drugs. When it goes too far, and if we never try to look within ourselves for the reason, it can hit the deepest trough-suicide.

Where does God come in all this? Why doesn't He (or She) lift a finger to rescue us hapless beings from our misery? Why does he allow mass massacres in Cambodia, wars all over the world, genocides in Bosnia, tsunamis in Asia, torture, starvation deaths in Eritrea and Somalia?

I haven't yet received an authentic response from God for this question, but I've concluded that God has nothing to do with this: it is all about ourselves.

Yes, taking the responsibility squarely on our own shoulders is the best option. I alone am responsible for whatever I am now. Buddha said: We are what we think. What we are now is what we have thought. What we will be is what we are thinking NOW.
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The Truth About Dale Carnegie

Like most self help fans, I too had been an ardent follower of Dale Carnegie. His "Stop worrying, start living", " How to win friends and influence people", and other works were the primary inspiration in personal development for me.

So, it came as a rude shock when a friend told me that Dale Carnegie had committed suicide. A shock that left a wound in my teenage faith.

Those were the days prior to the Internet and I never got to verify the truth. Today, I finally found it on Wikipedia: Dale Carnegie died of Hodgkin's disease, complicated with uremia, on November 1, 1955.

Still curious as to the origin of the rumor, I found the answer on Yahoo Answers (please see link below):

Another author by the name of Irving Tressler wrote “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” as a satirical parody of Dale's classic " How to win friends and influence people". Tressler later committed suicide. Sadly, it was attributed to Dale Carnegie also, probably by a mischief maker, him being more famous.

Justice prevails, doesn't it?


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Sources: 
http://mrontemp.blogspot.com/2008/07/strange-case-of-irving-dart-tressler.html

Is the fear of failure sabotaging your attempts at personal transformation? Find out: How to overcome the fear of failure
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