What’s a 3-day monk?

I learnt a new phrase today: Being a 3-day monk. It’s a direct translation of a Japanese term, “Mikka Bouzu” (me-kah boh-zu). A 3-day monk is a person who starts a new project with a lot of commitment and passion, only to give it up soon and move on to something else. It could be a new diet plan, exercise routine, language course, music lesson, quitting a bad habit, starting a good habit… anything that takes time and consistency to be effective.

We are all guilty of being a 3-day monk for one thing or the other. Why do we quit so easily? Why is it so difficult to pursue anything with consistency? What would it take to be a 30-day or 300-day monk?

 

[Photo of a Shaolin Monk demonstrating his superior balancing skills learnt over years of practice]

PS. My first book, Dhinchak Life, was written over a period of two years – one piece per week.

Inspiring quotes about Change

“If there’s no difference between your tomorrow and today, you are as good as dead.” (Imam Ali AS)

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr)

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” (Maria Robinson)

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Growth mean change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.”

“When you are finished changing, you are finished.” (Benjamin Franklin)

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and the willingness to change. At such a moment, there’s no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready.” (Paolo Coelho)

“Life is too short to try and change others.” (yours truly)

[Photo of Danxia Peaks in ShaoGuan, China – taken yesterday]

What Does it Take to Achieve Your Goals?

I have wondered about these questions for many years: Why most people can’t fulfill their dreams? Why most goals are not achieved? Why most plans don’t work out? Why so much action doesn’t produce the desired results?

Working with thousands of salespeople and sales managers for over 20 years, I have learnt that there are only four reasons. Whether it’s about your career, health, money, relationships or any other goals that you fall short of, it is because:

  1. You don’t really want it. Whatever ‘it’ is that you are after. Are you having sleepless nights thinking and planning for it? What if you don’t get it? Will you settle without it? Do you have a specific time frame in mind? These questions can help you determine if you really want something badly enough. Otherwise, it’s not even a goal – just one of those wishes which may or may not be fulfilled. And you will be OK either way.
  2. You don’t believe it’s possible. It’s an inner voice that tells you, you can’t do it. ‘I can never lose so much weight.’ ‘I don’t think I am made for this.’ ‘It’s just not worth it.’ You believe you don’t have what it takes – the talent, opportunity, looks or whatever. 
  3. You don’t know how. You don’t have the knowledge or the skills required to achieve the goal, and worse still, you don’t know that. Like the salesperson who doesn’t put in the time and effort to learn the product or the skills. Or like someone who spends an hour working out every day without knowing the basics of fitness or nutrition.
  4. You aren’t willing to pay the price. In other words, you don’t take any action towards your goal. You are lazy; you procrastinate. As someone said, ‘If you are only interested, you will do what’s convenient. If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes!’

Do you know of any other reasons? Knowing what’s holding you back is a big first step towards achievement of your goals – unless you are #4.

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What’s the Perfect Time?

What’s the perfect time…

  • to start exercising?
  • to start eating healthy?
  • to start learning a new thing?
  • to start reading?
  • to get organized?
  • to help someone in need?
  • to stop procrastination?
  • to say ‘i love you’?
  • to say ‘thank you’?
  • to quit smoking?
  • to quit drinking?
  • to follow your dream?
  • to take a vacation, to travel?
  • to volunteer for a cause?

So many people spend their lives waiting for the perfect time to do what needs to be done now. What are you procrastinating?

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5 Motivational Quotes!

Everyone needs motivation. Here’s a collection of five very motivational quotes to keep you going for the week:

  1. “The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart, this you will build your life by, and this you will become.” (James Allen – As a Man Thinketh)
  2. “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” (Helen Keller)
  3. “I do not have superior intelligence or faultless looks. I do not captivate a room or run a mile under six minutes. I only succeeded because I was still working after everyone else went to sleep.” (Greg Evans)
  4. “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. If people can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.” (Will Smith in the movie: Pursuit of Happyness)
  5. “The greatest achievement was at first, and for a time, nothing but a dream.” (Napoleon Hill)

Which one did you like best? Please also share your favorite motivational quotes through comments.

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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…

Happiness:

Health:

Productivity:

Relationships:

Motivation:

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]

Contradictions

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?

Be The Best You Can!

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now.” (African-American proverb)

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” (Leonardo da Vinci)

“Make the most of yourself, for that’s all there is of you.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Doing the best at this moment, puts you in the best place for the next moment.” (Oprah Winfrey)

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5 More Reasons to be Grateful!

0910 Buddha

Did you know?

  • 923 million people in the world are hungry!
  • 16,000 children die every day due to hunger – that’s one every five seconds!
  • 880 million people live without adequate supply of water!
  • 1.4 billion people live below the poverty line (USD1 per day)!
  • 200 million people are unemployed. And at least 20 million more were estimated to become unemployed in 2009!

If we are not one of the above, we have at least five more reasons to be grateful. We can choose to take all the good things for granted; we can continue to complain about the imperfections in our lives and other people; we can focus on all the things that we don’t have. And we are sure to be unhappy, miserable and stressed. Or… we can choose to be happy; we can start acknowledging and being grateful for all the goodness in life, and everything that we do have.

What are you grateful for, today, right now?

[Photo of Big Buddha in Hong Kong]

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A Better Runner

0906 runnerThe single most important piece of advice I’ve ever gotten on running came from my high school sports/fitness instructor. By running I don’t mean sprints, I’m referring to slightly longer distance runs – anything that takes you over half an hour. This is what he told me:

“Run the first part with your legs, the middle with your mind, and the final with your heart”.

So next time you go on a challenging run, split it into three parts. For the first part just use your legs, focus on the physical movement, the muscles, the blood flow, your feet hitting the floor. For the second part shift the hard work to the mind; affirmations, positive thoughts, visualizing the outcome, self talk. For the final part, run from the bottom of your heart. Pure, unadulterated passion and belief. Completely detaching yourself from the physical movement and complete ignorance of any pain or tiredness you may be feeling, with the awareness that the pain is only temporary and that there is not a force in the world that’s going to stand in your way of completing the run.

Before you know it you’ll be running distances you never thought you were ever capable of. The three part method. Works like a charm.