Thursday, September 19, 2013

Empowering lessons to recalibrate our thoughts

As the famous proverb goes, 'If life gives you lemons, make lemonade'. This blog post is related to the message conveyed in this saying by Dale Carnegie.

I have been reading few books (non-fiction) recently and came across some really good pieces of advice that I would like to share in this blog post. I am going to pull some excerpts from one of these books. There are some that I can completely relate with and for others it was purely the writer's writing style that captivated my interest. 

The three books I read are - The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, Lean In by the Facebook CEO - Sheryl Sandberg and The Best Advice I Ever Got - Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric. I am only going to jot down some pieces of text from the book - The Best Advice I Ever Got here in this post. This book is a compendium of short stories from some of the most successful, revered people. For us to realize that even today's best and brightest had hurdles to overcome, for them too, things did not always pan out as hoped and then what was it that brought them to their current position.

I usually do not enjoy reading or even laying my hands on the books that talk about inspirational/motivational kind of stuff (I find blog articles on these topics still alright). My mind is predisposed to put them in the same category as self-help books, telling me that something sad, wrong is going on in my life if I am feeling the need to read these books. I tend to feel exactly the opposite of how these books advocate (be confident, learn from your failures and so on). 

However, my reading experience with the above three books has been to my surprise pretty positive. In the book by Barack Obama, his talks about how he rose to being the President of United States given his background, the stories about his determination, persistence, the values that he believes in, both at professional and personal front - those were the things that kept me interested despite of the pages discussing political world (which I just skipped at times or even if read, then I do not remember).

The idea of going through this inspiring-suggestion-list below might probably sound preposterous and mundane since we know about all these things, but I think it is worth to come back to it time and again. Some times we have to keep listening to the same message over and over until we actually absorb it completely and implement it in our lives. Of course - taking any advice with a proverbial grain of salt. You might not concede with all of what is being said and suggested by other people. And that is perfectly okay! Just pick up what you makes sense to you.

Here are few of the take-away's that I gathered from the book:
    • "Life is not a recipe. Recipes are just descriptions of one person's take on one moment in time. They're not rules. People think they are. They look as if they are. They say, "Do this, not this. Add this, not that." But really are just suggestions that got written down. (The following statement is one of my favorites) As you cook up your own life, never let anyone else's recipe for success intimidate you or get in your way. Know your truth and live by it" - By Mario Batali, Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur 
    • During the challenging times of life, tell yourself - "I do not have the luxury of negative thought!'  - Christina Applegate, Emmy Award-Winning Actress
    • In his write-up titled 'Fail Better', Tavis Smiley (PBS Host and Author) mentions that, when people do not acknowledge the mistakes they have made along the way to success, they promulgate an artificial concept of success. The concept that success can come without ever failing, what he calls as 'success scars'. 
    • "Life is unfair" - We do get this feeling several times in life. There is one article in this book by Valerie Plame (Former United States CIA Operations Officer), where she mentions about one of her father's teachings. She quotes that as a child she got accustomed to hearing her father say that 'Life is unfair', whenever she used to complain about something. But the hidden message was - "Despite the obvious fault of unfairness in the universe, it can not be used as an excuse for not trying to be your best self. Use unfairness as a starting point to be sure that your actions are the best you can muster."
    • "When we accept the fact that things will happen in their own time it takes a lot of pressure off, freeing us to put in the necessary work and follow the path before us" - Alicia Keys, Grammy Award Winning Artist, Musician, Actress and Activist.
    • "You will never achieve a deeper understanding of your work, or learn the tough lessons, if you are liked and comfortable all the time" - Laura Linney, Award-Winning Actress
    • "Acts of bravery don't always take place on battlefields. They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul  by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world. You may still falter or fail, but you will always know that you pushed hard and aimed high." - On 'Don't be Afraid', by Anna Quindlen, Bestselling author and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist.
Let me know if you liked and were able to resonate with some of the messages in particular. 

Signing off with another tip - expressed through a picture (Downloaded from web)









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