10 inspiring quotes about travel

  1. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
  2. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
  3. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
  5. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
  6. “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  7. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
  8. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
  9. “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes
  10. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Which one did you like best? And would you like to share any other inspiring quotes?

[Photo of sunset at the Monkey Temple in Bali, during a 12-hour holiday. Some more amazing photos here.]

The best tips on productivity, motivation and dealing with depression

I recently had the privilege of connecting and interacting with one of the happiest and most successful people I’ve ever known. He started as a salesman and built one of the biggest direct sales companies in the region. I always admired how he found time for leisure and everything else that he enjoyed doing, even during the busiest times of his business. He retired early and rich, while the company runs on the systems he had built. In the following note, he shared with me his thoughts on motivation, productivity and dealing with depression:

Books: Two books that helped me greatly are:

  1. How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne
  2. The Happiness Purpose by Edward De Bono

And my favorite now for ageless wisdom is The Portable Thoreau edited Carl Bode.

Work Habits: 

  • Keep a ‘time diary’ for 10-30 days. Log everything you do from wake-up to sleep – every phone call, every meeting, every cup of coffee. Review and you will find there is much wasted and unproductive time, which could be spent constructively on work or quality leisure. Make the adjustments.
  • Do jobs IMMEDIATELY and FINISH them.

By doing these two things I accomplished the same in one third of the time than most people! Now I am stress-free and have lots of leisure. Continue reading

Trick your brain into happiness

It’s not often that I get a forwarded email with good content. This came from a friend yesterday, without the name of the author or the source. And I am copying it as is, because I believe this is true. I have been practicing and preaching this concept for many years. Try it…

Did you know that you can actually “trick” your brain into thinking you’re happy? Dr. David Lykken, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at theUniversity of Minnesota says, “Emotions are a combination of internal feelings and physical responses that provide feedback to your brain.” In effect, you can consciously initiate or provide the mental and physical conditions that your brain will naturally translate into feelings and emotions — you basically have the power to influence your mood. Try it for yourself.

Smile even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll think it’s silly but studies have shown that people who force themselves to smile eventually develop a more positive attitude towards challenges and setbacks. Smile the moment you wake up. Smile as you put yourself to sleep. Smile at everyone you meet.

Laugh at the pettiest things. Get some air into those lungs! More oxygen, more energy, brighter day! Ten minutes of laughter a day –- that’s all you need to ensure a life of contentment. You’ll be surprised that in Asia, some companies have employed a daily “laughter break”. Employees have to walk to a park, form a circle, and force themselves to laugh non-stop for 15 minutes. Company executives swear that this relaxation break has caused worker enthusiasm and productivity to soar!

Stand tall and walk fast. Remember your teacher in second grade? She tapped you with a ruler, screaming, “No slouching! Chin up! Walk tall!” You had no idea that she wasn’t just insisting on good posture, she was also making sure you developed a bright and confident outlook in life!

Stretch – better yet, exercise! Don’t “think” about your workout, just do it! If you pause, to think about the sweat, the pain, the monotony and the time, you’ll find one excuse or other not to do it. So, don’t rationalize. Just get up and do it. You know that at the end of the workout, you’ll feel good you did it. And if you’re not exactly the workout kind, try dancing!

Think only positive thoughts, speak only positive words. Every time you start to think or say something negative, stop. Change your sentences into the positive. Pessimists complain about their problems; optimists think of solutions. Advise, rather than criticize. Encourage, inspire, motivate –- yourself and others. Pick up a lesson, rather than blame. And always count your blessings.

These are just a few of the many ways you can jumpstart an overall feeling of happiness and contentment. Remember that your emotions are dictated by your perception of the world around you. And your reactions are a product of choice — you can “choose” to be happy, angry or sad. As Ecrivain Lesage wrote in “Histoire de Gil Blas” in 1735, “I am happy and content because I think I am.”

[Photo from the window seat while flying from Dubai to Colombo]

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We love you, Zain!

Our dear friend Zain Naqi passed away this month, at the age of 22. We all remember him as an extra-ordinary young man who was very loving, friendly and always full of life. Zain used to spread cheer and laughter wherever he went. He was always ahead of the others in studies, sports and any other activities that he participated in. Zain always made his parents proud. Everyone dies, but not everyone lives. Zain lived every day of his life, which was rather short.

I have put together some photos and a video of Zain, though his smiling face will always live in our hearts. These were taken during 2002-2006 in Hong Kong. If you were fortunate to have known Zain, please leave your thoughts and prayers as comments.

“You can shed tears that he is gone, or you can smile because he has lived. You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left. Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him, or you can be full of the love you shared. You can remember him only that he is gone, or you can cherish his memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.” (By David Harkins – British poet and painter)

35 Steps to an Enhanced Life

We all want more happiness, better health, increased productivity and improved relationships. We want to be able to motivate ourselves to do the things we know we should do to enhance our lives. I try to help myself and others to achieve all that through this blog.

Here’s a collection of posts from the last couple of years that I consider to be the best, considering the popularity and comments from the readers. Most articles are short, and take only a few minutes to read. Please let me know through your comments if this collection could form a useful ebook…






Please take a few minutes to tell me about your most favorite articles, through comments below. Thanks.

[Photo of Kuk Po hike near Tai Po in Hong Kong, taken last week]


Lately, I have been wondering about the contradictions in our thoughts and actions:

  • We want to be slim but we eat too much
  • We want to be smart but we miss the class, or don’t read the books
  • We want happy relationships but we sabotage them with our actions
  • We have dreams but we don’t set goals
  • We want to achieve our goals but we don’t plan
  • We plan but don’t take the action
  • We worry about retirement but we don’t save
  • We want to finish the project but we don’t stay focused
  • We want to wake up early but we don’t go to bed early

The list goes on. Are human beings lazy, indisciplined, indecisive and stupid by nature? Do our genes not have the willpower to fight temptations, to persevere, to do the right thing?

What do you think?

4 Tips for Instant Happiness!

The happy cobbler“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy

Feeling sad, depressed or unhappy? Does life look gloomy, and the world seems dreary? Try one of the following tested and proven tips to achieve an instant shift in your emotions and feelings:

1. Be grateful for the things you usually take for granted…

  • Being alive and healthy
  • For the basic stuff: food, water, clothes, shelter, electricity…
  • Your skills: reading, writing, thinking, driving, writing, and other
  • People in your life: family, friends, people you love, people who love you, those who had a positive influence in your life

2. Make someone happy…

  • Compliment people: for their appearance, intelligence, skills…
  • Appreciate others: for what they do for you, for their helpfulness… your family, co-workers and others; say ‘thank you’
  • Listen without interrupting, without offering advice, without judging Continue reading