Keeping Our Minds Supple Questioning Everything


Being open-minded means that we are willing to question everything, including those things we take for granted.

A lot of people feel threatened if they feel they are being asked to question their cherished beliefs or their perception of reality. Yet questioning is what keeps our minds supple and strong. Simply settling on one way of seeing things and refusing to be open to other possibilities makes the mind rigid and generally creates a restrictive and uncomfortable atmosphere. We all know someone who refuses to budge on one or more issues, and we may have our own sacred cows that could use a little prodding. Being open-minded means that we are willing to question everything, including those things we take for granted.

A willingness to question everything, even things we are sure we are right about, can shake us out of complacency and reinvigorate our minds, opening us up to understanding people and perspectives that were alien to us before. This alone is good reason to remain inquisitive, no matter how much experience we have or how old we get. In the Zen tradition, this willingness to question is known as beginner’s mind, and it has a way of generating possibilities we couldn’t have seen from the point of view of knowing something with certainty. The willingness to question everything doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t believe in anything at all, and it doesn’t mean we have to question every single thing in the world every minute of the day. It just means that we are humble enough to acknowledge how little we actually know about the mysterious universe we call home.

Nearly every revolutionary change in the history of human progress came about because someone questioned some time-honored belief or tradition and in doing so revealed a new truth, a new way of doing things, or a new standard for ethical and moral behavior. Just so, a commitment to staying open and inquisitive in our own individual lives can lead us to new personal revolutions and truths, truths that we will hopefully, for the sake of our growth, remain open to questioning.


What life should Mean to you?


During my recent visit to Dubai I fortunately happened to attend a two day seminar conducted by the name “How to live your life as a Leader” based on Dale Carnegie’s books and lectures. I wasn’t even 1% interested attending this seminar and happened to attend it just to kill time. But this particular class that I went through made a lot of changes in my life

It mainly dealt with 8 major topics namely honest appreciation, Criticism, Greeting and response with a smile, being interested in other people and being a good listener, self encouragement and encouraging others, talking in terms of the other person’s interest, making the other person happy about the things you suggest and taking up challenges

Let me start off with a question by asking how many of us bother to appreciate our fellow beings when we see them doing something nice? I am sure that not even 40 % of us do that. Appreciation is a form of verbal reward. The best way to initially tame an animal would be by appreciating and rewarding it. We have even studied about this in subjects like Human Resource Management, Business Communication, Entrepreneurship Development, Organizational Behavior and Management Concepts about the theories of animal response and learning skills at a faster rate when it is rewarded. Man is a social animal and this particular theory even applies to any mankind. I remember when I was small my mother use to tell me that she would get me a present if I keep my room clean. From the moment someone tells you that you are going to be given a present your mind would wander around thinking about what the present would be and automatically you would be made to satisfy the condition for which you would be rewarded.

The second topic is criticism. I would like to bring up two quotes. The first one is from the Holy Bible and the other by a wise man. The quote from the Holy Bible says “Judge not, that ye be not judged” and the second one “any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do, but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving, a great man shows his greatness”. While dealing with people let us remember that we are just not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity. Rather than criticizing someone, let us first analyze about how many faults we do have, which can be criticized by others. A few people enjoy criticizing other people in front of a group. They may go for group discussions and seminars just for this purpose; they show the character of a lion ready to pounce. When you criticize someone you automatically hurt the feelings of the other person. Thus let us first think mature and sensible before criticizing someone because you may have things to be criticized 10 times more than the person whom you are criticizing.

The third is to smile. When you come to the college everyday or may be any place and you find someone smiling at you or wishing you would make your day a pleasant one. Just imagine meeting a person who frowns every morning when you come to college. Your entire day would be spoiled just because of that one frowning face. An approach towards any matter with a smile show how positive and confident you are. It takes only 26 muscles on you face to smile and 36 to frown

Being interested in other people and being a good listener. “it is an individual who has the greatest difficulties in life, provides the greatest injury to others. It if from such individuals that all human failures spring – Alfred Adler, a famous Viennese psychologist tells this on his book, what life should mean to you”. Most of the people who we meet on the everyday basis are only interested in themselves and in other words nobody cares about others but themselves. This in a way can be called as selfishness. Since people are selfish to an extent, if you show genuine interest in those people, mostly everyone and be a good listener, they would be your friend automatically and show interest in your matters.

People at times become invalid in order to win sympathy, attention and get a feeling of importance. History itself has proved several examples namely George Washington who wanted himself to be called “His Mightiness”. Catherine the great refused to open those letters which did not address to her as “Her Imperial Majesty”. So in the past present and the future people would be looking just for self importance and we should understand this fact. Everyone likes people who listens understands and puts the other people’s point of view seem like theirs

Self encouragement and encouraging others is another important thing to be done. According to me encouragement increases the willpower of a person, whether it is self encouragement or encouraging others. Self encouragement brings in self confidence and from within he feels that he is capable of doing things at the best of his ability. But by encouraging others they gain confidence in doing a job as well as it develops a bond of trust and friendship from within to the person who is encouraging. When someone tells you that he is not capable of doing something, you could say that it is possible and you have faith in him with a smile, this brings in a big deal of change in the attitude towards the task for the other person from within.

Talking in terms of the other person’s interest and making the other person happy about the things you suggest is the best way to get things done in a group. By justifying, what you have said is the best alternative. It would be the best if you could be a good listener at this point and club the suggestions of every individual and put it across by clubbing everyone’s opinion in a positive manner. By doing this every individual gets satisfied that his/ her point is through in the application and we could come up with a better alternative

Finally taking up challenges, this would be the most important step that an effective leader. A fellow classmate of mine in school was blamed for scoring less mark in exams. His parents were continuously called for meetings. While I observed him, I found that he was studying much harder than any student in his class. He himself and his parents told that he was studying just like every other student. One day his class teacher called his mother and she was so heartless to tell that her son was a waist in every way right in front of everyone. She also told that he would never achieve anything in life. This broke the poor mother’s and child’s heart. Every teacher told that the boy responded well in class but nothing was reflected in the paper. From then onwards he started studying hard, taking those words of the teacher as a challenge. He scored distinction in 10th and 12th grades and got into one of the best colleges in the country. Soon after the 10th boards he was taken for a medical examination and found that he had a neurological disorder that caused his learning disabilities. After his diagnosis, the result was told to the teacher who blamed him. She felt so ashamed about what she told about the poor little child and was so proud of his achievements. The next time when he went with his report card to show the teacher, her eyes watered and told him that he was the best student that she ever had. What the teacher did the next time was a form of understanding and admitting her own mistake which made a great deal of difference in the child’s life.

So let me conclude by saying that, time is slipping away, and people remember you for the good that you have done. Try to be honest, appreciate, try not to criticize, smile, be interested in others, take up challenges and responsibilities. People who think that they would show off their talents at a later stage would remain the same way forever, but God favors the people who are ready to take up challenges and give it a try. God would always favor the needy and hurt ones. You may think that the person sitting next to you is good for nothing. The reason for him being like that may have several issues behind. So never underestimate someone because in a long run he may be a much more successful person in life than you


life-purposeEach incident mentioned in this article is truly inspired from the events in my life.

I had been thinking of writing this article since a while, but unfortunately it did not happen.
Being a writer was one of my dreams ever since childhood. But mostly I will be lazy to type in. I would either get busy or get involved in more interesting things. But the pleasure of spending time doing copious things would only stay for a very short instant. We would do it then and forget it in a day or a week at the most. But when such instances are put into a journal, it becomes an enduring memory, which you could refer to at any point of time in your life. I use write my diary without fail since I was 15. I even use to keep those very special souvenirs that I got on those particular pages in my diary. And to be very honest I still have them. Some people may find this act to be immature. I believe that there is a kid and a grown up within us. But most of us fear to let out the kid in us. We are always conscious about what others might think of us. In short we live a life to impress other and lose all the fun that we would have had if we dared to break the rules.  Sometimes there may have been humiliating incidents in your past or situations that made you sad mad or happy. Incidents that may have made you depressed.

By mentioning the words “Being Depressed”, I mean being depressed to an extent that you would feel that you just want to vanish from the face of the earth forever. At those times books were y only friends. They inspired me move past my bad thoughts. By reading my own diaries the stories that I had written, I do recollect the best moments in my life over and over again. And you would think about how much more is yet to come during our journey. They inspire you to move forward, even if you are going through the hardest times of your lives. By experiencing it, you would have learnt lessons after lesson which can neither be taught by books nor by lectures. Both the good and bad incidents are just chapters of your life. The bad experiences can be considered as a teacher who taught you lessons that you should never forget. By experiencing it we should learn not to repeat those mistakes. If we repeat them, we become fools who gained nothing out of an important lecture.

I would say that writers are great people. They have expressed their thoughts, feeling and imaginations to the whole world. Those thoughts, feelings and imaginations are immortal as they exist even after the death of the author. If you ask me, I would say that people who write true and honest biographies are great people. They have shown courage to speak out about their good and bad times to the entire world without fear. By doing this, it would also help the people who would come across the same situation. It would help people to know in advance about what may happen as a result of their act. It would help people to compare their way of thinking and to estimate whether their decision was wise.

Reading Michelle J Fox’s “lucky man”, or Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” or may be even Rhonda Bryan’s “The Secret” would inspire you to have a positive attitude towards life. But for most of them, it is just for a short while. The impact of reading a new book and coming to its climax stays within us for some time. As my mother always says “you become the characters in the books that you read”. In a way it is true. After reading a book, you would feel that, you just finished living a life. All the characters in the book revolve around you and you would have even imagined a face for the character that you might have read. Each character becomes related to you. The after effect of the climax retains within you for a while and then when you start reading a new book, you become a character in that book. Eventually as time passes by you would lose the impact that was created by the older book. I would say that, a man explores a new world by reading.

I pity those who read silly romantic stories which could give you no good that simply creating a fantasy world within their minds. They live in that world thinking that people respond in a similar way in real life. To those people I would say that, they are wasting their lives simply not knowing or may be ignoring the wonderful, even more interesting reality that is waiting for their exploration.
But in some cases providing silly romantic stories is the only way to inspire the weak people to start reading and later make …….. books.

I really admire people who read classics, travel journals and business related books, especially my beautiful mother. The best thing that I like about her is when she is in a competition mood. Both my mom and my brother (book lovers who collect book marks) set a time to start reading a book. Mom always used to win cos she use to flip a few pages in between so that she stays ahead.

But the true readers are the people who have gained something in their lives and when they die they could be sure that they have seen most of the world through your insight based on real facts. I know people who have read just a few classics. They go to book fairs and bring home books worth a million that are left unread. By doing this it shows that they are mere people who want to show the public that they are legendary classic book lovers and art movie inspirers. If asked to choose between a book of Sidney Sheldon and Tolstoy like the War and peace, they would definitely choose the simple one.