Archive for December, 2012

2012 in review

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Multimedia

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted: December 28, 2012 in Quotes

Man is a mystery. It needs to be unraveled  and if you spend your whole life unraveling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.

– Fyodor Dostoevsky

Posted: December 21, 2012 in Quotes
Tags:

Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.

– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Posted: December 21, 2012 in Quotes

Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.

– Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Posted: December 19, 2012 in Quotes
Tags:

Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.

– Albert Einstein

The Businessman and the Fisherman

Posted: December 18, 2012 in Short Stories

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, that it only took a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish. The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The American scoffed. “I am a Wharton MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “Fifteen or twenty years.”

“But what then, señor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Parvathy Baul

Posted: December 18, 2012 in Multimedia
Tags:

An Article on Conflict Resolution

Posted: December 8, 2012 in Multimedia
Tags:

Welcome the disagreement: Remember the slogan, ‘When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.’ If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.

Distrust your first instinctive impression: Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.

Control your temper: Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.

Listen first: Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build barriers of misunderstanding.

Look for areas of agreement: When you have heard your opponent out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.

Be honest: Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.

Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully: And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: ‘We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.’

Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest: Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.

Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem: Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Could my opponents be right? Partly right?
  • Is their truth or merit to their position or argument?
  • Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration?
  • Will my reactions drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me?
  • Will my reaction elevate estimation good people have of me?
  • Will I win or lose?
  • What price will I have to pay if I win?
  • If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over?
  • Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?

This article was published in the booklet Bits and Pieces, which is published by The Economic Press in Fairfield, New Jersey.

The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun. – John D. Rockefeller

Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. – Professor William James of Harvard

Education is the ability to meet life’s situations. – Dr. John G. Hibben, former president of Princeton University

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. – Herbert Spencer

If you teach a man anything, he will never learn. – Bernard Shaw

  • Learning is an active process. We learn by doing… Apply these rules at every opportunity… Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

  • Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because of it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation. – Hans Selye

Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances. – Lincoln

  • When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody. – Benjamin Franklin

  • Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.
  • Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.
    • To know all is to forgive all.

God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days. – Dr. Johnson

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

The desire to be important. – Dr. Dewey

Everybody likes a compliment. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. – William James

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. – Charles Schwab

  • Appreciation is sincere – it comes from the heart out and it is unselfish.
    • Flattery is insincere – it comes from the teeth out and it is selfish.

I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

  • The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
    • Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?”
    • Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own. – Henry Ford

  • Customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.

People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their mind, need never worry about what the future has in store for them. – Owen D. Young

First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way. – Professor Overstreet

Self-expression is the dominant necessity of human nature. – William Winter

  • When we have a brilliant idea, instead making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves. They will then regard it as their own; they will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it.

Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring. – Alfred Adler

  • A tactic to show interest in other people: stage a debate and ask someone for his/her expertise.

We are interested in others when they are interested in us. – Publilius Syrus

2. Smile.

  • Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

Actions seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. – William James

  • Happiness does not depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.

There is nothing either good or bad. But thinking makes it so. – Shakespeare

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. – Abe Lincoln

Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the ruining tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual… Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis. – Elbert Hubbard

3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices. – Emerson

  • The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others.

4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention. – Jacky Woodford, Strangers in Love

There is no mystery about successful business intercourse… Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that. – Charles W. Elliot, former Harvard president

  • If you aspired to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering.

5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.

  • The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.

6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

  • The law is this: Always make the other person feel important.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. – John Dewey

  • Little courteous phrases that oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life:
    • I’m sorry to trouble you
    • Would you be so kind to … ?
    • Would you mind?

Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours. – Disraeli

Part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.

  • … the more I argued against it, the more my prospect argued in favor of it; and the more he argued, the more he sold himself on my competitor’s product.

Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love. – Buddha

  • A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.

Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite. – Lincoln

2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.  Never say “You’re wrong.”

  • … but you will not alter their opinion, for you have hurt their feelings.

Men must be taught as if you taught them not
And things unknown proposed as things forgot. – Alexander Pope

A third kind of thinking is stimulated when anyone questions our belief and opinions. We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told that we are wrong we resent the imputation and harden our hearts. We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem, which is threatened… The little word “my” is the most important one in all human affairs, and properly to reckon with it is the beginning of wisdom. It has the same force whether it is my dinner, my dog, and my house, or my faith, my country, and my God. We not only resent the imputation that our watch is wrong, or our car shabby, but that our conception of the canals of Mars, of the pronunciation of “Epictetus”, of the medicinal value of salicine, or the date of Sargon I, are subject to revision… Few of us take the pains to study the origin of our cherished convictions; indeed, we have a natural repugnance to so doing. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do. – James Harvey Robinson, The Mind in the Making

I have found it of enormous value when I can permit myself to understand the other person. The way in which I have worded this statement may seem strange to you… Very rarely do we permit ourselves to understand precisely what the meaning of the statement is to the other person. – Carl Rogers

3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

  • There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors.  It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
  • Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.

By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.

4. Begin in a friendly way.

If you come at me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, ‘Let us sit down and take counsel together, and if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,’ we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and that if we only have patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together. – Woodrow Wilson

  • If a man’s heart is rankling with discard and ill feeling toward you, you can’t win him to your way of thinking with all the logic in Christendom. Scolding parents and domineering bosses and husbands and nagging wives ought to realize that people don’t want to change their minds. They can’t be forced or driven to agree with you or me. But they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly, ever so gentle and ever so friendly.

It is an old and true maxim that “a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, says what you will, is the great high road to his reason. – Lincoln

5. Get the other person saying “Yes, Yes” immediately.

  • In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – and keep emphasizing – the things on which you agree.
  • The skillful speaker gets, at the outset, a number of “Yes” responses. This sets the psychological process of the listeners moving in the affirmative direction.

He who treads softly goes far. – Chinese proverb

6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

  • Almost every successful person likes to reminiscent about his early struggles.

7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

  • Example: I want you to do me a little favor. Here are some uncompleted sketches. Won’t you please tell me how we could finish them up in such a way that you could use them?
  • Example: They are not perfect. We know that, and we want to improve them. So we should be deeply obligated to you if you could find time to look them over and give us your ideas about how they can be made more serviceable to your profession.

The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them.  Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams.  So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them.  Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury. –  Laozi

8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

  • … by becoming interested in the cause, we are less likely to dislike the effect.

Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by what you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your idea. – Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg, Getting Through to People

9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

10. Appeal to the nobler motives.

  • If you are satisfied with the result you are now getting, why change? If you are not satisfied, why not experiment?
  • … people are honest and want to discharge their obligations.

11. Dramatize your ideas.

  • Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship.

12. Throw down a challenge.

All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory. – Motto of the King’s Guard in ancient Greece

  • Every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression… The desire to excel.

Part Four: Be a leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

  • A barber lathers a man before he shaves him…

2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

  • Change the word from “but” to “and.”

3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

  • “You might consider this,” or “Do you think that would work?” “What do you think of this?”
  • [Always giving people the opportunity to do things themselves and let them learn from their mistakes] A technique like this saves a person’s pride and gives him or her a feeling of importance. It encourages cooperation instead of rebellion.
  • Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

5. Let the other person save face.

I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes.  What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself.  Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.  – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.  Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellows the warm sunshine of praise. – Jess Lair

  • … when criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention.
  • Because he had singled out a specific accomplishment, rather than just making general flattering remarks, his praise became much more meaningful to the person to whom it was given.
    • Specific praise comes across as sincere.
    • Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it.  But nobody wants insincerity.  Nobody wants flattery.
    • Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.

7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

Assume a virtue, if you have it not. – Shakespeare

  • If you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.
    • It might be well to assume and state openly that other people have the virtue that you want them to develop.
    • Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
    • Example: I have respected the fact that you are always willing to listen and are big enough to change your mind when the facts warrant a change.

8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

  • Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Keep the following guideline in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:

  1. Be sincere.  do not promise anything that you cannot deliver.  Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
  2. Know exactly what it is that you want the other person do.
  3. Be empathetic.  Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
  4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  5. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
  6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit. (e.g. If it is done now, we won’t be faced with it later.)

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Quotes
Tags:

On this day of your life, Jacky, I believe God wants you to know… that home really is where the heart is. And if your heart is centered on God, you are ‘safe at home’ everywhere.

In this day and time of continuing change, many people find themselves moving a great deal, and constantly having to try to make yet one more place “like home.”

Yet home is a quality you bring to a place, not a quality that a place brings to you. Let yourself feel at home anywhere and people everywhere will welcome you always. And isn’t a place where you are always welcome…’home’?

So feel good where you are right now. That’s mastery.

– Neale Donald Walsch