Thursday, April 30, 2009

Learning, Sharing, Innovation, Collaboration and The AmateurProfessional: Charles Leadbeater's TED Talk

A friend recently asked me why and how I am especially passionate about my work (web/graphic design and creative writing). Another one complimented me on my profound Facebook and Twitter updates, and made an informed guess that I must be a dude who reads a lot. Which is true.


Earlier today, I was watching Charles Leadbeater's TED talk. Quite interesting and edifying  I must say, even though it was filmed four years ago. More importantly, this talk gave me the perfect content to wind up April's posts on Peter's Walkabout. Be edified:

Watch the talk, read reviews and comments and download the video on the TED web site.

In the above talk, Charles Leadbeater underscores a truth that many corporations and organizations are yet to embrace: the passionate and innovative amateur professional... accepting that you don't need a big organization to be organized.

The same message was delivered more recently by Jacek Utko in his TED Talk about good design. Jacek said,
you can live in a small poor country, you can work for a small company, in a boring branch, you can have no budgets, no people, but still you can put your work to the highest possible level. And everybody can do it. You just need inspiration, vision and determination. And you need to remember that to be good, is not enough.

Let us learn, share and realize that all one needs to put their work to the highest possible level is inspiration, vision and determination.

And the fact that everybody can do it. If only they can engage their talents, practise doing what they love and love their work.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Screw It. Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business by Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson
Besides Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs, Richard Branson is one of those individuals I hold in very high regard. The Virgin Group Chairman is a maverick, a legend and a genius. His avant-garde way of doing things is world-renown, and it has won him as much respect as it has put him in personal danger.

Watching Richard Branson at TED, you realize he is one of those people who had humble beginnings, but rose to prominence through hard work, determination and discipline. His self belief has propelled him in life, in business and in those dare-devil stunts he keeps pulling.

sir-richard-branson-screw-it-lets-do-it



Richard Branson has a penchant for unconventional things. He is a natural round peg in a square hole. For instance, his book titles viz: 'Losing My Virginity', 'Business Stripped Bare' and 'Screw It. Let's Do It' further enhance his boldness in daring to think and be different.

Screw It. Let's Do It.
This is an easy to read book that simply offers lessons in life and in business.  It has received favorable reviews at Amazon and elsewhere. Following is a sample review:

It's quick, it's easy, it's not preachy, it's positive. It's packed full of good advice and examples from Richard Branson's own life. He calls them his "lessons in life". He also says, "A journey of a thousand miles starts with that first step" -- and he's right.
Reading this book, by the friendly genius that the media has dubbed a maverick in paradise, could be that first step to a positive and fulfilling life and perhaps a wealthy one. He says he can't tell people how to get rich fast and he doesn't have any secrets to success; all he has is "truths" and examples that worked for him and could work for you.
Making money isn't his first goal -- having fun and doing good are. But he says if you have fun, then the money will come -- and explains why he says it. Every chapter is filled with his philosophy, spelled out in a simple and direct way. Chapter headings like "Just Do It!" "Be Bold"; "Have Fun!"; "Challenge Yourself"; "Value Family and Friends" are useful guides for everyone to follow.
It's a great little book to read at odd moments. I read it all the way through in less than an hour, and instantly felt driven and motivated to get cracking with that project I've been putting off.
Everyone should read this book and every teenager should be given a copy. It could be resonsible for turning things around and producing a society of motivated go-getters.

Read another comprehensive review at the Financial Inspiration Cafe.

Book Highlights
Following are the chapter titles and key highlights in the book:

1. Just Do It

  • Believe it can be done

  • Have Goals

  • Live life to the full

  • Never Give Up

  • Prepare Well

  • Have Faith in Yourself

  • Help Each other


2. Have Fun

  • Have fun, work hard and money will come

  • Don't waste time - grab your chances

  • Have a positive outlook on life

  • When it's not fun, move on


3. Be Bold

  • Calculate the risks and take them

  • Believe in yourself

  • Chase your dreams and goals

  • Have no regrets

  • Be bold

  • Keep your word


4. Challenge yourself

  • Aim high

  • Try new things

  • Always try

  • Challenge yourself


5. Stand on your own feet

  • Rely on yourself

  • Chase your dreams, but live in the real world

  • Work Together


6. Live the Moment

  • Love life and live it to the full

  • Enjoy the moment

  • Reflect on your life

  • Make every second count

  • Don't have Regrets


7. Value Family and Friends

  • Put the family and the team first

  • Be loyal

  • Face problems head on

  • Money is for making things happen

  • Pick the right people and reward talent


8. Have Respect

  • Be polite and Respectful

  • Do the Right thing

  • Keep your good name

  • Be fair in all your dealings


9. Do some good

  • Change the world, even if in a small way

  • Make a difference and help others

  • Do no harm

  • Always think of what you can do to help


Bottom Line
This book is highly recommended. I have started reading it, and like both the content therein and its presentation.

In the epilogue, Richard Branson sums up by saying the following:
I have always lived my life by thriving on chances and adventure. The motive that drives me has always been to set myself challenges and try to achieve them. Every lesson I have learned has been as a direct result of these tests.

In closing, the book simply reverts to its title - the fact that it all boils down to doing.
All the things in this book are my lessons and my goals in life, the things I believe in. But they are not unique to me. Everyone needs to keep learning. Everyone needs goals. Each and every one of my lessons can be applied to all of us. Whatever we want to be, whatever we want to do, we can do it. Go ahead. Take that first step - just do it.

That's it people. Richard Branson has said it all, and said it really well.

Let us learn, share and actually get to do the needful. Screw It. Let's Do It!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talent: Practice Doing What You Love, and Loving Your Work

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do."

- Steve Jobs (addressing Stanford University students in 2005)


talent-practice-makes-perfect



For a long time, there has been raging debate on the roles of both talent and practice in success. The ScienCentral Archive has a lengthy article that seeks to answer the question: Is talent something you're born with or can practice really make you perfect? You can read the entire article on Talent vs Practice here. Consider the following excerpt:
"Experts on expertise - who've studied the minds of experts in fields from sports to medicine - have the answer... that anyone with the right kind of practice will be able to dramatically improve their performance and it looks like they would be able to become experts with sufficient practice. "

In an article on expert performance and deliberate practice, K. Anders Ericsson underscores the notion that a high level of improvement can be achieved by deliberate practice. Experts are therefore able to find areas for improvement and focus their time and effort practising and improving those areas. That is what sets them apart form ordinary average persons. He writes,
“A lot of people like to do things that they’re already good at, but what deliberate practice says is that you need to find those things that you are weak at, since there’s room for improvement. That’s the activity you should focus on...”

As we seek to make ourselves better, brighter, faster, stronger, happier, healthier and smarter; we need to realize that the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is that little 'extra'. We can rise above our apparent limitations by practising.

One of the adverts I find inspiring focuses on 'the source of talent'. Following is the video and entire copy of the Wesbank TV ad.

WESBANK (The Source of Talent) TV ad


A recent study asked,
"Where does talent come from?"
Is it programmed at birth into a select few
Or is it something,
that can be drawn from you inch by inch?
Does it show itself a little more
Every time you challenge yourself?
What the study found was,
"Practice makes perfect"

Let us purpose to make the most of our talents. For those who find themselves in jobs that seemingly suck, learn how to love your work. That is the only way to doing great work.
We should always remember what Steve Jobs told students at Stanford University...
"...The only way to do great work is to love what you do."

Let us learn, share and become better at doing what we love.

Overcoming Fear and Rediscovering our Inner Potential

"Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is one of the greatest hindrances to achievement and progress. The fact that you fear somebody, some consequencies or situations prevents you from taking action. Fear results in missed opportunities and untold regret. Fear is a great demotivator. Fear heralds failure.

screw-fear



Great ideas do not amount to anything if they are not acted upon. The main reason people take no action on their thoughts and ideas is fear. Fear clouds our judgment. Fear diminishes capacity. Fear can make you feel lonely and miserable.

A very surprising thing about fear is that many are overwhelmed by a crippling fear of the unknown. In this case, a person is afraid of things they have not yet experienced. They are afraid of what might just happen - whether they do something or they don't. Days, weeks, even months pass by before doing anything with their lives.

In her book 'A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"', Marianne Williamson wrote some wonderful words on our deepest fear. These words have changed the lives of thousands, if not millions.

Be edified:
OUR DEEPEST FEAR

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

From now on, take a step of faith to overcome your fear. Stop staring at the steps. Instead, step up the stairs. Purpose to live without fear.

Let us learn, share and overcome fear.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Still in Repair? ...Are you Ready? ...Or are you Getting There?

I have always loved music by John Mayer, since my college days.
The other day, I decided to increase my John Mayer music collection, and added over 50 tracks to the dozen songs I already had.

And boy, some of the tracks are simply mind-blowing.

in-repair-from-john-mayer-continuum-album



A clear favorite is 'In Repair', from John Mayer's third album 'Continuum', which won two of the three Grammy awards it was nominated for in 2007.
This is what John Mayer had to say about the Continuum album, "With any trilogy, the third in the series blows it open." And if you listen to the music, you will agree to that.

Following are the lyrics to 'In Repair' by John Mayer.


IN REPAIR



Too many shadows in my room
Too many hours in this midnight
Too many corners in my mind
So much to do to set my heart right

Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
I am in repair
I am in repair

Stood on the corner for a while
To wait for the wind to blow down on me
Hoping it takes with it my old ways
And brings some brand new luck upon me

Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
I am in repair
I am in repair

And now I’m walking in the park
And all of the birds, they dance below me
Maybe when things turn green again
It will be good to say you know me

Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
Oh yeah, I’m never really ready, yeah
Oh yeah, I’m never really ready, yeah
I’m in repair
I’m not together but I’m getting there (x6)


The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to John Mayer. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.



So, are you still in repair, or are you ready?
But then again, you may not be together yet, but let's hope you are getting there.

P.S: This post was initially posted on February 27 as a Facebook Note. Read other readers' thoughts and comments here.

Let us learn, share and continue rocking!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Giving the Best We Have - 'Life's Mirror' by Madeline Bridges

UPDATE: Thanks Catressa for the correction on crediting the right Madeline Bridges.

Over a decade ago, I stumbled upon the first stanza of the following poem by Madeline Bridges, né Mary Ainge De Vere. She was an American poet who was born in 1844 and died in 1920.
Here are some of her poems.



That alone changed my life. It has been a principal source of motivation as I continually seek to do good in my life. To do unto others what I'd like them do unto me. To live and let live.


Following is the entire poem. Be edified:
LIFE'S MIRROR

There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
There are souls that are pure and true,
Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.

Give love, and love to your life will flow,
A strength in your utmost need,
Have faith, and a score of hearts will show
Their faith in your word and deed.

Give truth, and your gift will be paid in kind;
And honor will honor meet;
And a smile that is sweet will surely find
A smile that is just as sweet.

Give pity and sorrow to those who mourn,
You will gather in flowers again
The scattered seeds from your thoughts outborne
Though the sowing seemed but vain.

For life is the mirror of king and slave,
'Tis just what we are and do;
Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.

- Madeline Bridges

The above poem says it all. Honestly, there's nothing to add to Madeline's words.

Let us learn, share and purpose to always give the best.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

William Kamkwamba: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time


So let us be up and doing
With a heart for any fate
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every once in a while, life presents us with people or situations that remind us just how much we take things for granted. Last year, I downloaded a TED talk about William Kamkwamba, a (then) 19 year old boy from Malawi who had taken it upon himself to create a windmill from locally available materials.

William Kamkwamba



Being a renewable energy enthusiast, I was taken aback by the unrelenting effort, determination and hope exhibited by William's actions. And this clearly reminded me of what John 'Jigsaw' Cramer had said in SAW III, that "Despite having all the advantages, many of us still choose not to advance."

From William Kamkwamba's profile at TED,
When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called "Using Energy" (by Mary Atwater) and modifying them to fit his needs. The windmill he built powers four lights and two radios in his family home.

Watch the following presentation by William Kamkwamba and Chris Anderson at the TED Global Conference in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007.



You can watch this TED Talk, read reviews and download the video free at the TED web site.

The first windmill William built was 5m tall. The current one is 12m. See the photos below:

William Kamkwamba's earlier windmill



William Kamkwamba's current windmill



William Kamkwamba did it. He believed in himself, started with whatever little he had, where he was. Regardless of his age, the odds stacked against him and the fact that he had no one to help him realize his goal of providing energy for his family. Read more on William's blog - his background, his project and what he is currently doing.

Right now, you may be in a position to simply realize your dreams by just making a few steps here and there. You have all the advantages - the information, the time, the support, the finances - and yet, you still choose not to advance.

So, what is your excuse for not making the initiative?

P.S: This post is closely related to this post at Green Kenya - William Kamkwamba: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Let us learn, share and purpose to create currents of hope and positive change both in our lives and those of others. William Kamkwamba did it. US President Barack Obama did it. They believed, began and eventually became.

So can you. The time is now. Go out and harness the power that is all around you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Essence of Giving Power to good Designers who are Inspired, Visionary and Determined

I have just watched Jacek Utko's TED talk, where he sought to answer the question: "Can Design save the newspaper?"




[caption id="attachment_224" align="aligncenter" width="254" caption="Jacek Utko"]Jacek Utko[/caption]

Jacek Utko is a polish designer who suggests that it's time for a fresh, top-to-bottom rethink of the newspaper. In his work, he's proved that good design can help readers reconnect with newspapers.
Despite being a little-known newspaper designer, his redesigns not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. In the following TED talk, Jacek says in no uncertain terms:
"you can live in a small poor country, you can work for a small company, in a boring branch, you can have no budgets, no people, but still you can put your work to the highest possible level. And everybody can do it. You just need inspiration, vision and determination. And you need to remember that to be good, is not enough."



You can watch this talk, read reviews and download the video on the TED web site.

On the day the Daily Metro (a publication of Nation Media Group), gets retired, the following insights from Jacek Utko's web site are worth thinking about:

The Daily Metro Newspaper, published by Nation Media Group



7 Steps to (Design) Success

  1. Strategy and goal
    What do you want to achieve? Increase sales? Attract new readers? Change image?

  2. Newspaper content
    Is the change of content necessary? Is the paper structure clear? What are the reader's needs?

  3. Design
    Is design coherent with strategy and content?

  4. Focus Groups
    Will readers accept it?

  5. Organization and planning
    How to improve workflow and planning?

  6. Marketing
    How to self-promote our content?

  7. Implementation
    Presentation and training, style book, supervision



This post will be especially  helpful to those in the creative, publishing and marketing services industry. In a broader perspective however, the above design insights and TED talk are useful to anyone who is in the business of adding value.

That undoubtedly includes everyone, with no exceptions whatsoever.

Let us learn, share and purpose to add value both in our lives and those of others.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Importance of Optimism and a Positive Attitude in Life - Larry Brilliant's TED Talk

"A bond was created
Doctors, health workers and volunteers from 30 different countries
of every race, religion, color, culture, and nation
worked together and fought alongside each other
fought against a common enemy
not against each other.
How can that not make you feel optimistic for the future?"

Doctor Larry Brilliant, Head of Google.org


Larry Brilliant, Head of Google.org gave this compelling talk about how smallpox was eradicated from the planet. He also presented his case for optimism in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.



This talk was recorded in January 2007 at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford, in the United Kingdom. Be edified and inspired:



You can watch this talk, read reviews and download it at the TED web site.

All in all, the following underscores the importance of optimism and having a positive outlook in life.

This is from Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis:
“People who hold pervasive positive illusions about themselves, their abilities and their future prospects are mentally healthier, happier and better liked.”

Yeah, it's actually possible to be positive and optimistic in life.

Let us learn, share and continually seek to work towards a positive outcome in life's situations.

The Rain is Gone. The Sun is Bright. Can You See Clearly Now?

Life sometimes presents challenges and situations that blur our focus. Sometimes, these situations slow us down.

The good thing however, is that these setbacks never last, only tough, forward looking, hopeful and positive people do. These are the people who eventually get to see the bigger picture. Their reward is a crystal clear view in life. Thanks to their attitude and supplication.

bright-sunny-day




The following song is an all-time classic, that I first listened to in an NBA playoffs TV promo way back in 1997.

Be edified:
I Can See Clearly Now
by Jimmy Cliff

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day

Oh yes, I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day

Look all around, there's nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, there's nothing but blue skies

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Here's the rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day
Real, real, real, real bright, bright sunshinin' day
Yeah, hey, it's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day

The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to Jimmy Cliff. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.

Let us learn, share and purpose to see the brighter side of things. Only then can we have a clear view of the bigger picture.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Optimist: One Man's Search for the Brighter Side of Life by Laurence Shorter

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best,
night and day, to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting."

- E. E. Cummings

Last week, I started reading The Optimist by Laurence Shorter.

The Optimist by Laurence Shorter



This is the story of a man who has decided to seek the brighter side of life. That is definitely a hard thing to do, in a world that is largely paranoid, is obsessed with negative happenings, all manner of premonitions and has an affinity for evil and wrong doing.

I particularly like the following from the book's Preface:
"Up until now the bad news had left me unscathed. I was an optimist, and I was proud of my ability to ignore events and carry on as if everything were fine. That was the privilege of optimism. Deep down, if you’re an optimist, you know that everything is going to be OK.
You don’t know why – you just know. It’s like your little secret."

This is how The Optimist has been introduced in many places:
Laurence Shorter is feeling anxious. Every time he turns on the radio or opens a newspaper he finds another reason to be tearful.
It's time to make a change. Can Desmond Tutu bring a smile to Laurence's face? Will he ride out the tide of pessimism with California's famous Surfing Rabbi? Or will it fall to the ultimate icon of optimism, Bill Clinton, to show Laurence the brighter side of life?

At Amazon, the following are presented as the most favorable and most helpful reviews, respectively:
"Over time, in general, things turn out for the best - that's the historical lesson anyway. And I think that a lot of us experience that in our own lives too: We end up with the right person, or we end up happily alone for the right reasons. We find the occupation that interests us, or are glad that we quit our job. We realise that we are happier now than we used to."

"The real strength of this book is in the many short interviews and meetings Shorter has with famous and non-famous people around the world. The different views on what constitutes optimism and what makes people tick is fascinating. Some of the views are genuinely thought provoking and inspiring."

You can read more reviews of The Optimist at Amazon here.

I personally find it an interesting read. I bet you'll find it worth your while.

Download a FREE copy of The Optimist by Laurence Shorter (PDF 847KB).

Let us learn, share and purpose to live on the brighter and positive side of life.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Inspiring Adverts: Nokia '4th Screen' and Wesbank 'Source of Talent' Commercials

"Words are things
And a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew upon a thought,
Produces that which makes thousands
Perhaps millions, think."

- LORD BYRON

Creative, Insightful and Inspiring Advertising Campaigns



The Essence of copy writing in advertising

All adverts are crafted so as to attract the attention of the audience, long enough to facilitate the communication of a message that is memorable, and can elicit a desired action by the audience. The action in most cases is the purchase of a product or service, or making enquiries on the same.

In some cases however, all that is desired by the advertiser is that you remember the advert, and associate it with some feeling, preferably a gut feeling. That is how brands are built, FYI.

Thought provoking advertisements

Some commercials however go the extra mile and deliver messages that in and by themselves, are insightful. Whether or not you get interested in the advertised product or service.

Nokia N Series: The 4th Screen

The following Nokia commercial for the Nokia N Series, does just that. It tells a story that we can all relate to - the evolution f communication devices. Have a look at it:



Wesbank: The Source of Talent

This Wesbank advert underscores the need for practising. Practice makes perfect. Check it out:



And here's the entire copy of the above advert:
A recent study asked, "Where does talent come from?"
Is it programmed at birth into a select few,
Or is it something that can be drawn from you, inch by inch?
Does it show itself a little more,
Everytime you challenge yourself?
What the study found was...
Practice makes perfect.

Let us learn, share and communicate more effectively.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Optimism: How cooperation (eventually) trumps conflict - Robert Wright's TED Talk

Robert Wright gave the following talk during the TED Global Conference in Monterey, California in 2006.

In what he kept referring to as an "upbeat talk", Robert Wright explains "non-zero-sumness"—the network of linked fortunes and cooperation that has guided our evolution to this point—and how we can use it to help save humanity today.



Watch this talk at the TED website or download the video (MP4 format, 66MB).

Let us learn, share and keep effecting positive change together.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's true. We live in a Beautiful Place

Reminisce

Sometimes, it really feels good when you look back at the good old days. When there was love in our hearts. Before our hearts became dark and evil.

That beautiful place.....




[caption id="attachment_177" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="A Beautiful Place"]A Beautiful Place[/caption]

Consider the following by Good Charlotte:
A Beautiful Place

By Good Charlotte

Mother can we start over?
I wanna be the boy I was back then
Before the world came, made me colder
I wanna feel the way I did back then
With love in my heart.

We live in a beautiful place
Let love take away all this pain
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh
We wasted so many days
Our hearts are as dark as the rain
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh

Father, can we start over?
Take me to the places that we lived
Before the days came, made us older
I wanna feel the way I did back then
Before my heart grew cold.

We live in a beautiful place
Let love take away all this pain
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh
We wasted so many days
Our hearts are as dark as the rain
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh, ah oh

Our hearts are as dark as the rain, ah oh
Our hearts are as dark as the rain, ah oh
It's a beautiful place if we make it
It's a beautiful place to be wasted, don’t you know?

We live in a beautiful place,
Let love take away all this pain,
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh
We live in a beautiful place,
Let love take away all this pain,
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh, ah oh
We wasted so many days
Our hearts are as dark as the rain
We live in a beautiful place, ah oh, ah oh

The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to Good Charlotte. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.

Let us learn, share and continue acknowledging and appreciating the best in our world.

Yeah, we live in a beautiful place.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Paulo Coelho's 'The Zahir': A Novel of Love, Longing and Obsession

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is the man who wrote such books as The Alchemist, The Way of the Bow and Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren. Other books are The Pilgrimage and Eleven Minutes.

Coelho's books all tend to feature some sort of spiritual quest, written in accessibly pared-down language which leads the reader inexorably towards a thumping great moral climax.
The Zahir by Paulo Coelho



The Zahir has been described as a novel of Love, Longing and Obsession.

Synopsis

The Zahir centers on the narrator's search for his missing wife, Esther, a journalist who fled Iraq in the runup to the present war, only to disappear from Paris; the narrator, a writer, is freed from suspicion when his lover, Marie, comes forward with a (true) alibi. He seeks out Mikhail, the man who may be Esther's most recent lover and with whom she was last seen, who has abandoned his native Kazakhstan for a kind of speaking tour on love. Mikhail introduces the narrator to a global underground "tribe" of spiritual seekers who resist, somewhat vaguely, conventional ways of living. . . [read more Amazon reviews]

Zahir

Zahir, in Arabic means visibility, present, incapable of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else.

A Book Worth Reading

I find this book very applicable in many of life's situations. Earlier today, an axtract from this book was the basis of an interesting note on Facebook, titled From who you WERE to who you ARE: Letting Go, Cleaning the House and Moving on.


Following is the extract:
...there are always some stories that are 'interrupted,' and they are the stories that remain nearest to the surface and so still occupy the present; only when we close that story or chapter can we begin the next one...

That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose.
People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

Don't expect to get anything back, don't expect recognition for your efforts, don't expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life.

Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.

Recommendation

If you can, take time and read Paulo Coelho's The Zahir. It is my hope that you find this book worth your while.

Get your copy The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession (P.S.) by Paulo Coelho.

Let us learn, share and continue to affect others positively.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Optical and Word Illusions: The Bigger Picture

Once again, we get a chance to have fun with pictures and words.

Enjoy:




[caption id="attachment_156" align="aligncenter" width="419" caption="Dead or Alive"]Dead or Alive[/caption]





[caption id="attachment_157" align="aligncenter" width="418" caption="Peace or War"]Peace and War[/caption]





[caption id="attachment_160" align="aligncenter" width="406" caption="Threat Pretext"]Threat Pretext[/caption]





[caption id="attachment_161" align="aligncenter" width="379" caption="Tyranny or Freedom"]Tyranny and Freedom[/caption]


Look again and see the bigger picture...



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