THE SEED OF HONESTY

If you plant honesty, You will reap trust
If you plant goodness, You will reap friends
If you plant humility, You will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, You will reap victory
If you plant consideration, You will reap harmony
If you plant hard work, You will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, You will reap reconciliation
If you plant openness, You will reap intimacy
If you plant patience, You will reap improvements
If you plant faith, You will reap miracles

The Seed of Honesty

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by–still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow.

All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

If you plant honesty, You will reap trust
If you plant goodness, You will reap friends
If you plant humility, You will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, You will reap victory
If you plant consideration, You will reap harmony
If you plant hard work, You will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, You will reap reconciliation
If you plant openness, You will reap intimacy
If you plant patience, You will reap improvements
If you plant faith, You will reap miracles
But
If you plant dishonesty, You will reap distrust
If you plant selfishness, You will reap loneliness
If you plant pride, You will reap destruction
If you plant envy, You will reap trouble
If you plant laziness, You will reap stagnation
If you plant bitterness, You will reap isolation
If you plant greed, You will reap loss
If you plant gossip, You will reap enemies
If you plant worries, You will reap wrinkles
If you plant sin, You will reap guilt

So be careful what you plant now, It will determine what you will reap tomorrow,The seeds you now scatter, Will make life worse or better,your life or the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits,Or you will pay for the choices you plant today.

Be Bold and Ready to Take Risks

ever become too comfortable in your job – If you feel that you’re in an easy rut, strive to find and take on new challenges. Remember this basic truth: “The status quo is your enemy.”

– Take the risk or lose the chance –

In order for us to build a satisfying, successful career and move ahead in life, we must create promising opportunities for ourselves.

This however would requires developing impressive expertise and cultivating meaningful relationships and a huge continuous effort from us. And we must be bold and ready to take risks. 

So, lets set out to accomplish these steps:

  1. Develop a career plan – Adapt it as needed. Have an A plan, a B plan and a Z plan.  I have a plan, do you? And if my plan A doesn’t work, I still have plan B to plan Z.
  2. Never become too comfortable in your job – If you feel that you’re in an easy rut, strive to find and take on new challenges. Remember this basic truth: “The status quo is our enemy and complacency is never bliss.”
  3. When it comes to your work, think big – Don’t see your job as just a job. Elevate your thinking. Make your job your mission.
  4. Work with full intention – Make a conscious degree of focus one of your defining personal characteristics. Operate so that your opportunities bump up against your interests and skills.
  5. You’re not perfect – Don’t try to be flawless. Messing up occasionally is human and acceptable. But learning from your mistakes is one of the most effective paths to growing professionally.
  6. Build new skills in “sprints” – To master new skills, engage in intense, distraction-free work-study sessions or sprints. Schedule regular breaks for temporary decompression.
  7. Seek challenges – It’s the “hard stuff,” not the “easy stuff” that challenges you and enables you to build new capabilities and skills.  
  8. Seek constructive feedback – Honest, perceptive insights fuel our growth.
  9. Build the right habits – You are more likely to excel when you make your positive behaviors automatic or habitual. Solidify one good, new habit every month. Classic conditioning is a great tool for changing your habits. It calls for being consistent in practicing new behaviors. 
  10. Maintain a journal – Maintaining a journal gives you an opportunity to reflect daily on your life and to learn from your actions and behaviors. I used my blog as my journal, easy to update, and easy to access. And I also have a hard cover journal which I loved. Your preference is yours, but the essence is, you need one, you need a journal.
  11. Seek help from people you trust – You don’t have to do everything alone.  There’s a saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”
  12. Promote diversity – Diversity promotes cross-pollination of new ideas. It encourages original thinking and breeds creativity.
  13. Give your team members a chance to shine – As a leader, you don’t always have to shine, but you should make sure that the other members of your team shine. Build on their skills and ideas. Give team members credit for their accomplishments.
  14. Don’t let fear of failure paralyze you –  Always default to action.
  15. Make small bets, but make them – Be cautious when you begin new initiatives. Small bets make more sense than big one. The more bets you make, the better chance you have that one will hit. 
  16. You can’t avoid uncertainty – Uncertainty is a basic condition of life.  Regard uncertainty as a possibility, not a problem.
  17. Persist – To come out on top, persist regardless of obstacles.
  18. Be your own entrepreneur – Think of your career as a start-up and of yourself as the entrepreneur planning and managing this start-up.
  19. Become the “best-connected person” – When it comes to networking, strive to be the best-connected person, not the “most-connected person.” Possessing a fat address book with many names means nothing if the people listed aren’t real allies who will collaborate and help you when necessary.
  20. Learn to build new skills – The best possible skill is the ability to develop new skills.  
  21. Believe that you can  improve – If you don’t believe that you can move beyond your current abilities, you won’t. Avoid self-defeating, self-fulfilling doubts.
  22. Practice – You can’t master any skill without extensive practice. Leverage the “power of ritual” to manage your practice sessions. Practice at the same time each day so practicing becomes habitual.
  23. Rest – You can’t practice, learn or work if you don’t get enough rest. Sleep at least eight hours a night and nap for 20 to 30 minutes during the day.
  24. Do the jobs you delegate – Monsieur Pitard, the top chef of the Hotel Majestic in Paris,  cooked one dish a week himself instead of delegating it his staff. Do some of the work you assign to others to keep your skills fresh. 
  25. Always ask – You can learn a lot from other people and advance your career in the process. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to build your knowledge.   
  26. Build social contracts – Management expert Peter Block developed the concept of social contracting. That’s when you agree up front with your partners or collaborators on how you and they will work together. Get them to answer these questions: “What do you want?” “Where might you need help?” “When you had a really good working relationship in the past, what happened?” “When things go wrong – as they inevitably will – how shall we manage that?”

“Start any new project or endeavor by saying to yourself, ‘I may not get the hang of this right away. I’m going to make mistakes, and that’s okay’.”

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James Mattis Quotes

Here are some of the most legendary quotes from James Mattis, the four-star Marine general who just resigned as Trump’s Defense Secretary. He served in Trump’s cabinet for the first 2 years of his administration.

And I think, it’s rather scary quotes. Very frightening indeed.

On meeting new people

“Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

On collateral damage

“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”

On taking a life

“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some a**holes in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

Warning US enemies

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But i’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you fu** with me, I’ll kill you all.”

On foes opposing the US military

“We’ve backed off in good faith to try and give you a chance to straighten this problem out. But I am going to beg with you for a minute, I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”

On failure

“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

On the business of war

“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

On defeating Al Qaeda

“A country that armed Stalin to defeat Hitler can certainly work alongside enemies of Al-Qaeda to defeat Al-Qaeda.”

On using your head

“The most important 6 inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

On presentations

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

On leadership

“If you cannot create harmony – even vicious harmony – on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian / military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete.”

On fighting for democracy

“The the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”

On treachery

“Treachery has existed as long as there’s warfare, and there’s always been a few people that you couldn’t trust.”

On thinking things through

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage you brain before you engage your weapon.”

Well, most of his quotes are terrifying, but as a general that might just what he needed to be, to strike fear into his enemies.

Give up our Resistance to Change

Everyone, including you and me exist for a reason with something very special to offer.

Therefore, we need to discard our opposition to change in order to find our special path. We could and most of the time likely to fail and tumble, but life also offers us the ability to evolve. Arguably one of the beauty of life and being alive.

Everything we encounter and everything we’ve suffered helps us to understand ourselves better.

Being alive requires change and if we were to fight change, we won’t truly experience life.

In order for us to truly appreciate our being is by understanding ourselves better. 

And if we have been tendency to resist change, we need to strive to comprehend how we see these changes and why we try to avoid it. 

Always consider the benefits we will gain from embracing these changes, rather than thinking about potential bad outcomes. Besides, what’s the worse that can happen?

I think regrets are much worse than a hardy failed attempts.

Plus, most suffering comes from resisting change rather than from change itself.

Jack Ma’s Failure

Jack Ma, one of the modern world role model has an intimate relationship with failure which is the founder of Alibaba with reported net worth of $ 36.9 Billion USD.

  • Failed many key exams at school
  • Failed the college entrance exam two times.
  • Applied to Harvard University 10 times and was rejected.
  • Applied to 30 different jobs and was rejected.
  • Applied to be a policeman and was rejected.
  • And to KFC, and even then, he was rejected.

The Rising Strong Process

The Reckoning, The Rumble and The Revolution.  This is the motto which describes a three-step strategy for dealing with failures, setbacks or trauma, coping with blunders and ‘facing hurt’.

First, to recover from any of these events and to own an accurate narrative of what happened. we must start with ‘THE RECKONING’. This is where people must ‘reckon with their emotions’. We must embrace what they feel, not deny it. In time, we will come to understand that our emotions affect our own thoughts and behaviors. Hence the quotes, 

“Don’t promise when you’re happy, Don’t reply when you’re angry, and don’t decide when you’re sad.”

― ZiadK. Abdelnour, Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age ofWelfare Politics-

Second, to come back from disappointment, we must go with ‘THE RUMBLE’. This means we must rumble with our own narrative. Which means wrestling with the stories we’ve created about our struggle. We need to change our narration, this can be done by “Revisit, challenge and reality check’ the truth of the tales (narrative) which we tell ourselves. Only those whom rigorous, courageous self-examination, regardless how painful the experience is, can give us the healing insight into our very own desires and discover our true identity. 

Remember this, even the great Master Oogway sat alone in a cave for thirty years, asking one question, “Who am I? Who am I?” (In case, you’re wondering who’s master Oogway, go and watch the movie Kungfu Panda)

‘The Revolution’ happens when you transform your thoughts and beliefs.

To come back from hurtful situations and thrive once again, weave what we’ve learn from reckoning and rumbling into all our daily activities. If we’ve examine ourselves and our actions honestly and bravely, we will be empowered to respond to new challenges as a different and much stronger you.

Don’t fail fast — fail mindfully

This is a wonderful Ted Talk with lots of lesson to be learnt.

The Talk Transcript for just in case.

[This talk contains mature language Viewer discretion is advised]

If we traveled back to the year 800 BC, in Greece, we would see that merchants whose businesses failed were forced to sit in the marketplace with a basket over their heads. In premodern Italy, failed business owners, who had outstanding debts, were taken totally naked to the public square where they had to bang their butts against a special stone while a crowd jeered at them. In the 17th century in France, failed business owners were taken to the center of the market, where the beginning of their bankruptcy was publicly announced. And in order to avoid immediate imprisonment, they had to wear a green bonnet so that everyone knew they were a failure. Of course, these are extreme examples. But it is important to remember that when we excessively punish those who fail, we stifle innovation and business creation, the engines of economic growth in any country.

Time has passed, and today we don’t publicly humiliate failed entrepreneurs. And they don’t broadcast their failures on social media.In fact, I think that all of us can relate with the pain of failure. But we don’t share the details of those experiences. And I totally get it, my friends, I have also been there.

I had a business that failed and sharing that story was incredibly hard. In fact, it required seven years, a good dose of vulnerability and the company of my friends. This is my failure story.

When I was in college, studying business, I met a group of indigenous women. They lived in a poor rural community in the state of Puebla, in central Mexico. They made beautiful handmade products. And when I met them and I saw their work, I decided I wanted to help.

With some friends, I cofounded a social enterprise with the mission to help the women create an income stream and improve their quality of life. We did everything by the book, as we had learned in business school. We got investors, we spent a lot of time building the business and training the women. But soon we realized we were novices. The handmade products were not selling, and the financial plan we had made was totally unrealistic. In fact, we worked for years without a salary, hoping that a miracle would happen,that magically a great buyer would arrive and she would make the business profitable. But that miracle never happened.

In the end, we had to close the business, and that broke my heart. I started everything to create a positive impact on the life of the artisans. And I felt that I have done the opposite. I felt so guilty that I decided to hide this failure from my conversations and my resume for years. I didn’t know other failed entrepreneurs, and I thought I was the only loser in the world.

One night, seven years later, I was out with some friends and we were talking about the life of the entrepreneur. And of course, the issue of failure came out. I decided to confess to my friends the story of my failed business. And they shared similar stories. In that moment, a thought became really clear in my mind: all of my friends were failures.

Being more serious, that night I realized that A: I wasn’t the only loser in the world, and B: we all have hidden failures. Please tell me if that is not true. That night was like an exorcism for me. I realized that sharing your failures makes you stronger, not weaker. And being open to my vulnerability helped me connect with others in a deeper and more meaningful way and embrace life lessons I wouldn’t have learned previously. As a consequence of this experience of sharing stories of businesses that didn’t work, we decided to create a platform of events to help others share their failure stories. And we called it Fuckup Nights.

Years later, we also created a research center devoted to the story of failure and its implications on business, people and society and as we love cool names, we called it the Failure Institute. It has been surprising to see that when an entrepreneur stands on a stageand shares a story of failure, she can actually enjoy that experience. It doesn’t have to be a moment of shame and embarrassment, as it used to be in the past. It is an opportunity to share lessons learned and build empathy. We have also discovered that when the members of a team share their failures, magic happens. Bonds grow stronger and collaboration becomes easier.

Through our events and research projects, we have found some interesting facts. For instance, that men and women react in a different way after the failure of a business. The most common reaction among men is to start a new business within one year of failure, but in a different sector, while women decide to look for a job and postpone the creation of a new business. Our hypothesis is that this happens because women tend to suffer more from the impostor syndrome. We feel that we need something else to be a good entrepreneur. But I have seen that in many, many cases women have everything that’s needed. We just need to take the step.And in the case of men, it is more common to see that they feel they have enough knowledge and just need to put it in practice in another place with better luck.

Another interesting finding has been that there are regional differences on how entrepreneurs cope with failure. For instance, the most common reaction after the failure of a business in the American continent is to go back to school. While in Europe, the most common reaction is to look for a therapist.

We’re not sure which is a better reaction after the failure of a business, but this is something we will study in the future. Another interesting finding has been the profound impact that public policy has on failed entrepreneurs. For instance, in my country, in Mexico,the regulatory environment is so hard, that closing a business can take you a lot of time and a lot of money.

Let’s begin with the money. In the best possible scenario, meaning you don’t have problems with partners, providers, clients, employees, in the best possible scenario, officially closing a business will cost you 2,000 dollars. Which is a lot of money in Mexico.Someone who earns the minimum wage would have to work for 15 months to save this amount. Now, let’s talk about the time. As you may know, in most of the developing world, the average life expectancy of a business is two years. In Mexico, the process of officially closing a business takes two years. What happens when the average life expectancy of a business is so similar to the time it will take you to close it if it doesn’t work? Of course, this discourages business creation and promotes informal economy.

In fact, econometric research has proved that if the process of declaring bankruptcy takes less time and less money, more new firms will enter the market. For this reason, in 2017, we proposed a series of public policy recommendations for the procedure of officially closing businesses in Mexico. For a whole year, we worked with entrepreneurs from all over the country and with Congress. And the good news is that we managed to help change the law. Yay!

The idea is that when the new regulation comes into force, entrepreneurs will be able to close their businesses in an online procedurethat is faster and inexpensive.

On the night we invented Fuckup Nights, we never imagined that the movement would grow this big. We are in 80 countries now. In that moment, our only intention was to put the topic of failure on the table. To help our friends see that failure is something we must talk about. It is not a cause of humiliation, as it used to be in the past, or a cause of celebration, as some people say. In fact, I want to confess something. Every time I listen to Silicon Valley types or students bragging about failing fast and often like it’s no big deal, I cringe. Because I think that there is a dark side on the mantra “fail fast.”

Of course, failing fast is a great way to accelerate learning and avoid wasting time. But I fear that when we present rapid failure to entrepreneurs as their one and only option, we might be promoting laziness. We might be promoting that entrepreneurs give up too easily. I also fear that the culture of rapid failure could be minimizing the devastating consequences of the failure of a business. For instance, when my social enterprise died, the worst part was that I had to go back to the indigenous community and tell the women that the business had failed and it was my fault. For some people this could be seen like a great learning opportunity for me, but the truth is that the closure of this business represented much more than that. It meant that the women would stop receiving an incomethat they really needed.

For this reason, I want to propose something. I want to propose that just as we put aside the idea of publicly humiliating failed entrepreneurs, we must put aside the idea that failing fast is always the best. And I want to propose a new mantra: fail mindfully. We must remember that businesses are made of people, businesses are not entities that appear and disappear magically without consequences. When a firm dies, some people will lose their jobs. And others will lose their money. And in the case of social and green enterprises, the death of this business can have a negative impact on the ecosystems or communities they were trying to serve.

But what does it mean to fail mindfully? It means being aware of the impact, of the consequences of the failure of that business. Being aware of the lessons learned. And being aware of the responsibility to share those learnings with the world.

Thank you.