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Beep Beep! Are you always in a hurry?

Like the Road Runner, if you’re in a hurry and beeping everyone out of your way to get somewhere, it would be wise to bookmark this blog post for another time. If not, relax and enjoy the insights that Dino has to share today.

From the moment we wake up in the morning, our minds and bodies shift from first gear directly to fifth gear. We hit the shower, prepare breakfast, dress the kids for school, engage in a quick argument with the spouse, and then rush off to catch the public transportation to get to work on time. Once we arrive at the office, we’re bombarded with over fifty email messages – all marked as “high priority”. It takes a few minutes to decide whether to complete our pending work or immediately reply to an irate customer. Once we have finally decoded the customer’s concern, due to his terrible English grammar, it’s time to rush for the first meeting. The meeting lasts for three hours, and then it’s time for lunch. If we’re lucky, we get a chance to have lunch alone at the desk while completing a report or project. As the sun sets, we look forward to returning home. This clearly isn’t the end of the day. We may need to prepare dinner, attend a stress relaxation class at the gym, or socialize with our friends online/offline. As the clock strikes mid-night we rest our heads on the pillow. Unfortunately, even while we are asleep the activities of the day lurk in our dreams, and before we know it, we are stretching to reach the snooze button on the annoying alarm clock. Following this, another exciting day begins. This was Dino’s schedule, and most likely you share a similar or an even more demanding one. Many of us refer to our lives as a rat race – always busy, striving to gain as much as possible in the shortest amount of time, and then feeling drained or unsatisfied. Even if we were granted 50 hours in a day, with this lifestyle, it would be fairly easy to occupy every minute, while we continue to complain or brag that we don’t have enough time.

Without a doubt, this is unhealthy and will eventually burn us out. Our minds become cluttered with all the activities on hand, while trying to evaluate the previous action and figure out how and when to perform the next one. We lose track and are unable to concentrate on the task at hand. This mindset continues for years and eventually we become accustomed to behaving in this manner. Even when we try to relax, our minds are racing in a million directions at once. We lose the essence of the moment because we’re mentally dwelling either in the past or the future.

This does not mean that we should ignore the past and the lessons it offers to teach us, or avoid planning for the future, however, we must schedule a time for ‘evaluation’ and ‘planning’. Once in a while, it’s beneficial to slide over to the passenger ‘s seat and allow our intuition drive, while we view and admire the scenery. Whether we come across an ugly neighborhood or a beautiful town, on a bumpy or smooth road during a rainy or sunny day, following a detour or while having an accident. Witness and enjoy the journey – we will eventually arrive at the destination if it’s meant to be.

When we share our success stories or struggles with others, we always reflect on the journey, either with a smile or tears flowing down. The journey offers us the opportunity to unleash dormant talents within us, and reveal to the world, our courage, wisdom, and passion in life. We inspire those around us by the turbulence that we have encountered and overcome in order to arrive at our destination. We often hear the phrase “time flies”. Time doesn’t fly, we do. Time ticks at a constant rate, it is relative to each individual. We lose track of time when we are enjoying with our friends or working on a project with passion. However, a patient suffering from a terminal illness may experience time as a drag..

Let us make an effort to live every moment, in the moment. We very well know that the next one isn’t promised to us. As we focus on the current activity, un-clutter the mind, and avoid distractions, we invite creativity to flow within us. Dino has undertaken this challenge and will remind himself to return to the present whenever his mind drifts off, until living in the moment becomes a habit.

“Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day's work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.” - Sir William Osler

It’s not easy to be me

Very often when we observe kids playing in the park we tend to recall our childhood. It would be the little things in life that would make us happy. When we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, we would respond with passion and a sparkle in our eyes. Dino always wanted to be an astronaut or an air force pilot. Some kids want to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, actors, singers or teachers, while others just wanted to be really rich. As we recall these childhood memories, we reflect on our lives today, what did we hope for and where have we ended up? This does not mean that our lives are terrible, it’s simply not what we had hoped for. Our dream did not come true. As we grow up, we meet new people, learn new things, start travelling, and building our personalities. We may interact with more people that highlight our limitations than those that motivate us with the infinite options that are possible for us , and slowly we believe that our dream may be impossible.

As a result of this, we begin to follow others. We constantly remind ourselves that if we follow certain people we will be heading in the right direction. We join clubs in high school, play specific sports, hang out with the popular kids, follow them to the same colleges, choose the same major and even apply for the same jobs. We choose to get married and even change our religion, simply because someone else has done so. It doesn’t end here, even as we get close to death, we feel the need to follow and impress others. Finally, one day when we look back at our lives, we ask ourselves what is the purpose of our life .We begin to look back and regret some of our actions and relationships.

It is crucial that we begin to look within ourselves early in life. Each one of us is different and has a unique purpose. Unfortunately, this isn’t taught to students in schools and may not be taught at home either. Our teachers and parents are constantly encouraging us to be competitive. Just because Joe Shmoe is a math whiz and plans to become an engineer, it doesn’t mean that we must too. We may enjoy sports, art, dance, writing, etc. Over time, this belief is embedded within us, and we start looking at others for direction in our life and slowly but surely we succumb to peer pressure. We cannot blame our parents or teachers for planting such seeds within us, as they are suffering the consequences of the same belief system and don’t know any better.

It takes immense courage to break out of peer pressure and be ourselves. The result of this can be difficult to handle at first, but totally worth it in the long run. Superficial relationships will fade away, the pressure to compete with others will disappear, and we will find more fulfilling goals, hobbies, and relationships. Our intuition will be heightened and the uncomfortable desire to seek advice from others will vanish. At first we may be ridiculed by the individuals that are feeding off our weakness, but over time we will earn respect and trust by a majority of the crowd. Those who ridicule us are doing so purely out of jealously and their insecurities. Albert Einstein was accurate when he stated that great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. If we observe life carefully, we will notice that a majority of the people don’t care about us or our problems. A few may be worried, but that’s only if we are doing better than them, and only a handful of people are genuinely happy about our success or concerned when we are in trouble. A large percentage of the population on this planet are followers and evaluate their self worth based on what others think of them. This is the reason why they adopt a certain behavior or habit, so that they’re accepted by the group. It’s not always what we do, but what we don’t do that defines who we are.

We are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and must fit into the right place to complete the picture of life. Each piece of the jigsaw puzzle is unique and designed for only one spot. Dino believes that as children, we are a square piece, and need to chisel ourselves in the appropriate manner to fit into the puzzle of life in order to serve our purpose. When Michelangelo was asked how he created the sculpture of David out of a square block of stone, his response was that he simply chiseled away the pieces that were not “David”. Similarly, this is what we need to do to ourselves - chisel away all that is not “us”.

We can begin this process by being aware and watching the patterns of our thoughts and actions. Before making any decisions, we must ask ourselves, “who has made this decision for me? Is it a parent, sibling, friend, spouse, a habit, or my intuition?” If it is anything other than our intuition or a respected individual, then we need to reconsider the decision. We know, without doubt, which individuals would guide us in the right direction. In addition, as we begin to trust and follow our intuition, it will become easier to make decisions. This process can also help us discard those decision makers that no longer serve us, especially those that are based on habit. This will also improve our clarity of thought, as we will no longer be concerned about what other people will think of our actions. We waste a tremendous amount of energy worrying about what others will feel about us. We go out of our way to impress certain individuals, but fail to understand that these are the individuals that are feeding off us, and consider everything to be a competition for their attention and approval. This creates unnecessary stress and diverts us away from what is truly possible for us. The greatest gift we can give ourselves, is to simply be ourselves, and by all means this will result in a more fulfilling and purpose driven life.

“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.”
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Are you projecting a bitter attitude?

Have you ever wondered why some people are just plain rude, always frustrated, constantly complaining, and blaming everyone else for the problems in their life? Dino has noticed that this attitude is usually projected by the older crowd. Their presence and speech is extremely negative which makes us avoid them as much as possible. Even if we don’t personally know them, we can sense the bitterness. They may be shop owners, teachers, or a random person in line in front of you at the supermarket. You may have noticed that such folks often interact amongst themselves, which is acceptable, until we need to interact with them. It then becomes frustrating, and soon enough we get influenced by their behavior.

According to Dino’s insight, the early years of this group of people may have been quite challenging. They may have had to, and continue to struggle with family, health, finance, careers, or relationship issues. As this persist without any hope of a resolution, their attitude begins to turn bitter. There is a limit to how much pain a person can endure, no matter how much patience or persistence one has. It becomes even more difficult when they notice that their friends and family are progressing with less effort, while they continue to strive and burn themselves out without seeing any results.

Very often we condemn such behavior and avoid interaction with such people. However, trying to understand what has triggered this behavior in them can assist us in guiding them and transforming their attitude. We all struggle with challenges in our lives, even though some have a higher coping ability than others. These challenges are meant to help us become better, not bitter human beings. Dino believes that each one of us is a like a diamond, and if we are agitated and irritated by every rub, which is disguised in the form of a problem, we cannot be polished, and will not evolve beyond the bitter state that we reflect.

If we have become bitter human beings, one way to overcome this is by changing our perspective. It’s clearly evident that those who are responsible, trustworthy, and capable are the ones that are ‘offered’ more challenging roles. So, why don’t we consider ourselves blessed instead of doomed? This simple change in perspective will encourage us and continue to fuel our will-power to persevere under any condition. Problems will never cease to exist, but our bitter behavior can. Let us consider every struggle to be an opportunity to become better and humble human beings.
This simple technique works for Dino. Go ahead and try it.

“Heavy rains remind us of challenges in life Never ask for a lighter rain, Just pray for a better umbrella. That is the Attitude.“ – Author Unknown

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