Incredible India: P.S. (Top 10 Lessons Learned)

When I took off from the Singapore Changi airport bound for my Indian adventure, by a strange coincidence one of my favourite movies was on in the aircraft. This was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The idea of the movie is that travelling and adventure are great teachers.

So it was for me during the 24 days spent in the marvelous Southern India. In addition to diverse and splendid sceneries seen, and to fantastic people met on the way, I was constantly confronted with life-learning situations. Here is the list of my top 10 that India had taught me.

  1. Don’t plan too much.
  2. Let your goals be indicators on the way, not “must-achieve-by-all-means” destinations.
  3. Trust the Universe. Everything is OK in the end.
  4. Be open and friendly. Openness attracts beautiful people and situations.
  5. Be a ‘yesman’ (yeswoman). Be open for new experiences.
  6. Be here and now. Life is a wonderful gift.
  7. Be flexible.
  8. Be tolerant.
  9. Smile.
  10. Relax.

Wish everyone find his lessons in incredible India!

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Knowledge Dynamics

Knowledge is a key asset in the twenty-first century.

In the agrarian world the main value was attributed to the land. In the industrial world and still today – to the capital. In the emerging information society, development will be mostly driven by knowledge and intellect.

Knowledge here not only means an arithmetic sum of acquired theories from formal education. It also means a set of working skills, qualifications, personal attributes – anything that makes one competitive on the world market.

There is one issue here though.

We live in such a fast-changing world, that once you lean something new, i.e. acquire knowledge, it is already becoming outdated!

For example, I had to rewrite my PhD research proposal more than once in two years as life was constantly presenting new evidence, and new social developments were taking place that challenged my ideas. Today I understand that my research proposal is not entirely up-to-date, as political, social and economic landscapes have changed again!

So how to keep up with this “pace of the world”?

I am afraid – or should I say happy? – that there is no easy answer. Though it may sound simple:

Never. Ever. Stop. Learning.

From my experience (personal and by no means exclusive) this means:

1) Always staying up-to-date with the current trends in your field. RIDE THE WAVE or it will smash you.

2) Being open to conflicting opinions. FRESH PERSPECTIVE is a pre-requisite to keep your ideas and practices original.

3) Using every free moment to read. Less social media, MORE BOOKS.

And last but not least, we must keep in mind a well-known saying:

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Keiji Tomiyama on the Essence of Martial Arts

Sensei Keiji Tomiyama 7th Dan is a well-known and accomplished Karate master.

In one of his interviews in the Russian Dan Test TV program Sensei Tomiyama was asked about “the highest goal of martial arts”.

His answer is worth to be heard by every martial arts practitioner who strives not only for fighting well, but also for personal growth and self-development.

In japan there is a notion of budoku – the warrior’s virtue. This is the highest level we need to reach for – display virtue while training. A person who practices marital arts must be peaceful and create a peaceful aura around himself. Not showing aggression, not fighting for money or for some awards and prizes. Create peace inside yourself and around yourself – that is the highest purpose of martial arts practice.

By the way, this echoes with the Jigoro Kano’s idea about the highest level of judo – bringing positive contributions to the society.

And by no surprise it is also the concluding sentence of the taekwon-do oath:

I shall build a more peaceful world.

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Shoot For The Moon

In martial arts, in order to break an object you need to focus on a point beyond it.

This is pure physics.

For every action there is reaction and resistance. When applying your power and speed through and beyond a target, their vectors will be pulled back towards you. So eventually you end up breaking the object.

The same principle applies to human life in general.

If you want some result, you need to work a lot. And if you want a stunning result, you must work off your ass for it.

We must aim high in order to achieve something. Simply because there will be resistance on the way slowing us down.

And in order to achieve most we need to aim as high as possible.

Life Is A Painting

Life has many analogies. One of my favourite ones is life as a road.

I also like to think of life as a painting. I have never ever painted, but I like the idea.

We all come into this world with a paint-box made up by our genes and inner inclinations. Heredity and environment continue to influence us for the rest of our lives.

Yet it’s absolutely up to us how to use the tools we have, and which picture to paint. Besides, we can add some new paints to our boxes as we progress, or get rid of the ones we don’t need.

Our omnipotence is thus manifested in the freedom of choice and will versus fate and determinism.

There is always a degree of determinacy in our lives that is linked to our inherited qualities, our past actions and present wishes. It can be called determinism, destiny, fate, or in any other way.

At the same time, though, there is space for freedom as we are free to choose today how to live tomorrow.

Universe gives us stones, but we are not stones – we are builders.

Universe gives us rocks, but we are not rocks – we are sculptors.

Universe gives us paints, but we are not paints – we are artists.