For a while now I’ve been receiving daily inspirational emails from the Napoleon Hill Foundation. It’s been about a year now since I’ve subscribed to them and I am most thankful for the daily inspiration I receive every morning. There is also the Facebook Page that can be liked and followed so posted content appears in your feed. I first became greatly interested in Napoleon Hill in early 2013 and his teachings have been a great inspiration to me. I purchased audio books, electronic books as well as printed copies. Napoleon Hill is probably most famous for saying “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve“. Today’s inspiration is about “Nature yielding her most profound secrets to those who are determined to uncover them.” It goes as follows “The field of science is perhaps the best illustration of how success always seems to come to those who apply the principle of accurate thinking in a persistent, determined effort. America’s great inventor Thomas A. Edison is said to have failed 10,000 times in his attempt to develop a workable electric light bulb. He learned from each failure and refused to quit until he succeeded. Breakthroughs occur every day because a determined person continues to search for solutions to complex problems long after everyone else has given up and gone home. You may not invent the light bulb or the next supercomputer, but you can find creative solutions to old problems if you apply the proven principles of success consistently and persistently.” I am sure after reading this anyone can smile and think about some experience where this has proven to be true. I usually repost these daily inspirations to my My Facebook Page for my friends who do not subscribe to the site. I’ve even received messages from a few friends thanking me for the postings. While I subscribed to the site for daily inspiration for myself, sharing the daily quote and seeing how it inspires my friends have brought me more satisfaction than I ever expected. Thank you again Napoleon Hill.
Yesterday my two nieces, Charlize and Faith fell ill and were taken to the hospital. Charlize was given two shots and taken home, while Faith stayed in the hospital under observation. More than a year ago, while Faith stayed with me overnight, she fell ill and I rushed her to the hospital. That experience was a bit scary for me. Throughout the whole ordeal, Faith was so brave, not once did she cry. Blood was taken from her and medication was administered intravenously. It’s the first time I’ve seen a baby not even flinch while being stuck with a needle. Yesterday was the same thing. However, her older sister Charlise did not respond the same way when she received her shots. Sometimes we look at people and assume so much about them. We think they’re weak, insecure and unaware of so much around them and other times we think so highly of others. I’ve learned that people show you the side of them they want you to see. Sometimes what you see in others is a reflection of yourself, so it’s always interesting to have someone else judge me. I’ve also realised while interacting with different people, some of my qualities are magnified and the best in me is brought out, while sometimes the opposite can happen. I’ve learned so much from watching Faith over the past two years and I’ll continue to watch her grow. Her strength in character for a two year old is quite admirable and it’s something I’ll definitely remind her of as she gets older.
Last night during a conversation with a friend who works for the military here in Trinidad and Tobago, we started discussing the training he did as part of being employed by the military. He mentioned that one of the things said to him on the first day of training was that many of them would not make it to the end, not because they would be asked to leave but because they would give up and choose to leave. It reminded me of the time I started my MSc degree, the same thing was said to us during induction week and by the third month, you stopped seeing some faces. We all have our own source of motivation for doing the things we do and based on the task at hand, our motivation needs to be extremely strong. If the journey we embark upon seems difficult and we have easier alternatives that we considered before hand, it is likely that we’ll give up. A close relative of mine also joined the military in our country as she knew she would be in a much better position to care for her daughter. Her daughter’s well being was her motivation and so she stuck with the training until the end. While it may be easy to judge someone for giving up, I’m more interested in finding out “Why?” they couldn’t hold on any longer and “Why?” they chose an easier road.
Yesterday I purchased a box of Dr. Lucy’s gluten free ginger snaps from a local gourmet shop near my office. I absolutely love these cookies. I found them about 2 weeks ago and I’ve been eating them none stop. Due to my allergies, I’m quite restricted with food, so when I found cookies that were gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and reasonably low in sugar, I was exceedingly happy. I think my excitement got the best of me yesterday as I sat and ate the entire box of cookies within 2 hours. While consuming the last cookie, I felt ashamed of myself. How could I have not controlled my cravings better? The situation reminded me of someone having too much too soon or having too much at once. A very common example is one where someone has acquired a great deal of money either through inheritance or some kind of winnings. We hear so many stories of people spending the money within a short period on frivolous material items and expensive vacations and not really planning for the future. When someone has inherited wealth from a family trust fund or the passing of a loved one, this person has not really put in the work for the money earned. I will admit, I’ve wanted the quick success that I’ve seen many entrepreneurs have, earning millions of dollars from just one simple idea and sometimes I still want it. I’ve thought about all the things I’ll do with the money I would have earned and how I’ll impact society. When I pray to the God of my Heart and I express gratitude for the things in life I do have, I also express gratitude for the things in life I do not have. I understand that some things may not bring out the best in us if they’re given to us now or even in the future. Some people say that money brings out the worst in people but I truly think it shows us who we really are.
Yesterday evening, one of the students from my databases class asked me to complete a survey for him for a class assignment. The questions on the survey focused on homosexuality, race, gender, religion and discrimination. Now I’m very open when it comes to the sexual and religious preferences of others because I believe it’s about that person’s character. After completing the survey, I asked the student what was the reason for the survey. He said that on the University Campus, discrimination is worse than most people think it is or would like to believe it is. He also mentioned that there were several students in his class who were against his group choosing this topic for the assignment. I understand that many people will not share my view on homosexuality and religion but even though you do not agree with it, it is definitely not a valid reason to disrespect and ill-treat another human being. As most of our grandmothers would have said…“If you have nothing good to say, say nothing”. It’s amazing how people are treated because of their desire to live differently from the masses. I’m not saying that we need to agree, accept or encourage the actions of everyone but I think it’s important that we understand that we also make decisions that others would not agree with. I am very much interested in seeing the results from the survey conducted by the students as well as the project they submit for their Communications class. While everyone else is turning a blind eye to the issue, it’s admirable that they’re trying to raise awareness to help address the issue of discrimination on campus.
This weekend, I spent a bit of my Sunday outdoors…totally unplanned. I visited a beautiful river close to my home then I drove a bit further and did a bit of hiking to an old tower used a very long time ago by fire officials for observing the country for fires. The view from the tower was breathtaking but getting to the top wasn’t so easy, as I’m somewhat afraid of heights. As I approached the tower, I was not sure if I would have been able to pass the first flight of steps. I stood under the tower and looked up, asking myself…can I do this or should I simply walk back down. After coming so close, I knew I needed to make an attempt, so I held on to the sides and I began climbing the staircase. After climbing two flights of stairs, I decided to stop looking down. I kept my eyes on the step in front of me and I kept on moving. With one flight of stairs left to reach the top, I sat down. At this point, I was at least 150 meters above sea level and Martin asked if I wanted to stop and go back down, or just keeping going up. I just couldn’t turn back…I was literally 12 steps away from the top of the tower. While sitting there waiting to get to the top, I thought about how many of my goals I gave up on in life, how many I was so close to accomplishing yet I turned my back on them because I was too scared to push to the top or things got in the way, I even thought about my desire to live in London. Now it’s wise to assess our goals ever so often to make sure they still fit in with the overall plan for our life, so I’m not a firm believer in following through with every single goal set. I know it’s also important to realise when something is no longer for you. Looking at each step in front of me and focusing only on that until I get to the top also reminded me that focusing too much on the final outcome and not taking time to appreciate each step along the way can cause me to fall off track. After sitting and thinking for a bit, I got up and I made it to the top of the tower. This was a great accomplishment for me. From the top, I could see more than half of my country. I will be honest…I didn’t spend much time up there but for the brief moment I stayed, I felt a great sense of accomplishment for making it all the way to the top.
During a conversation with a friend this week, he mentioned that as we become more educated and improve our standard of living, our taste for things generally become more sophisticated. While that may be true for some, additional money may not have the same effect on everyone…example Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is ranked among the world’s richest men but lives a lifestyle that hasn’t changed much since before he made his billions. He is often referred to as the world’s greatest investor and despite this, he is legendarily frugal, residing in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for US$31,500. He is well known for his simple tastes, including McDonald’s hamburgers and cherry Coke, and his dislike for technology and luxury items. Despite being worth billions, he earns a salary of US$100,000 a year at Berkshire Hathaway and this salary has not changed in 25 years. He is a man of simple tastes and enjoys watching sports and eating junk food, which is easily supported with his salary. Now there aren’t many people like Warren Buffett walking around, so why is it that most of us live our lives as if we are worth so much more than him. How much should we really allow money to change us? It’s understandable that if you never owned a home or a car or are in serious debt, the influx of money can be used to take care of those needs…but to what point are we then considered materialistic and wasteful. There are many other frugal billionaires out there and this article from Business Insider takes a look at 15 frugal billionaires. Instead of spending lavishly on private jets, yachts, and mansions, they have saved up, lived modestly, and given away huge amounts of money to charity. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has been quoted as saying in the book Inside Apple: “I like to be reminded of where I came from, and putting myself in modest surroundings helps me do that. Money is not a motivator for me.”