Posted in Wisdom

Learn to Be Silent

 

colors-of-silence

William Wordsworth sagely observed, “When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying works, sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign is solitude.” When was the last time you made the time to be silent and still? When was the last time you carved out a chunk of time to enjoy the power of solitude to restore, refocus and revitalize your mind, body and spirit?

All of the great wisdom traditions of the world have arrived at the same conclusion: to reconnect with who you really are as a person and to come to know the glory that rests within you, you must find the time to be silent on a regular basis. Sure, you are busy. But as Thoreau said: “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are you so busy about?”

The importance of silence makes me think about the story of an old lighthouse keeper. The man had only a limited amount of oil to keep his beacon lit so that passing ships could avoid the rocky shores. One night, a man who lived close by needed to borrow some of this precious commodity to light his home, so the lighthouse keeper gave him some of his own. Another night, a traveler begged for some oil to light his lamp so he could keep on travelling. The lighthouse keeper also complied with this request and gave him the amount he needed. The next night, the lighthouse keeper was awakened by a mother banging on his door. She prayed for some oil so that she could illuminate her home and feed her family. Again he agreed. Soon all his oil was gone and his beacon went out. Many ships ran aground and many lives were lost because the lighthouse keeper forgot to focus on his priority. He neglected his primary duty and paid a high price. Experiencing solitude, for even a few minutes a day, will keep you centered on your highest life priorities and help you avoid the neglect that pervades the lives of so many of us.

And saying that you don’t have enough time to be silent on a regular basis is a lot like saying you are too busy driving to stop for gas – eventually it will catch up with you.

The above article has been taken from the Book “Who will Cry When You Die” by Robin Sharma.

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Posted in Wisdom

Learn to Say No Gracefully

“You have to decide what your highest prioritites are and have the courage – pleasantly , smilingly, nonapologetically –  to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside”.    –  Stephen Covey

 

noIt is easy to say yes to every request on your time when the priorities of your life are unclear. When your days are not guided by a rich and inspiring vision for your future, a clear image of an end result that will help you act more intentionally, it is not hard for the agendas of those around you to dictate your actions. As I wrote in

Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, “if your priorities don’t get scheduled into your planner, other people’s priorities will get put into your planner.” The solution is to be clear about your life’s highest objectives and then to learn to say no with grace.

The Chinese sage Chuang – tzu told the story of a man who forged swords for a maharaja. Even at the age of ninety, his work was carried out with exceptional precision and ability. No matter how rushed he was, he never made even the slightest slip. One day, the maharaja asked the old man, “Is this a natural talent or is there some special technique that you use to create your remarkable results?” “It is concentration on the essentials,” replied the sword – crafter. “I took to forging swords when I was twenty – one years old. I did not care about anything else. If it was not a sword, I did not look at it or pay any attention to it. Forging swords became my passion and my purpose. I took all the energy that I did not give in other directions and put it in the direction of my art. This is the secret to my mastery.”

The most effective people concentrate on their “areas of excellence,” that is, on the thing they do best and on those high – impact activities that will advance their life – work. In being so consumed by the important things, they find it easy to say no to their less – than – worthy distractions that clamor for their attention. Michael Jordan, the best basketball player in the game’s history, did not negotiate his contracts, design his uniforms and prepare his travel schedules. He focused his time and energies on what he did best: playing basketball, and delegated everything else to his handlers. Jazz great Louis Armstrong did not spend his time selling tickets to his shows and setting up chairs for the audience. He concentrated on his point of brilliance: playing the trumpet. Learning to say no to the non – essentials will give you more time to devote to the things that have the power to truly improve the way you live and help you leave the legacy you know in your heart you are destined to leave.

 

The above article has been taken from the Book “Who will Cry When You Die” by Robin Sharma.