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The Four Pillars of a New Year’s Resolution

As the New Year approaches and the planets realign, it has become a tradition for us to make a resolution and bring about a positive change in our lives. Very often, the same resolutions are recycled year after year. Some individuals strive to lose weight, exercise more, and maintain a healthier diet, while others intend to work less at the office, spend more time with the family, go on a vacation, or simply engage in more activities that they are passionate about.

It has also become a tradition for these resolutions to fail within the first few weeks, at least. Whenever someone shares his or her New Year’s resolution with Dino, he often laughs it off by responding with a sarcastic “Good Luck!”. This is because he knows that the resolution has not been developed through any concrete thought or planning. A resolution to bring about a positive change in life requires dedication and effective planning – failing to plan is planning to fail, and this is usually the case within the first few weeks of the New Year.

2012 is the year to re-invent ourselves and successfully achieve the resolutions that we have set. The following are four pillars that will build our foundation so that we can manifest the change that we desire.

1. A 30-Day Resolution – Replace the resolution for the year with a resolution for 30 days instead. The probability of following through a 30-day resolution is much higher than one for the year. We often get discouraged by the idea of maintaining a routine for the entire year and doubt our ability to be successful due to the overwhelming feeling. A solution for this is to break the resolution down into short intervals. For example, it may seem difficult if we intend to lose 12Kgs during the year, but it becomes much easier if we strive towards losing 1Kg per month instead.

2. Track the Progress –A majority of the resolutions are left incomplete because we do not see immediate results or monitor the progress. Tracking the progress also builds momentum and encourages us to continue further. Create a spreadsheet in MS Excel or use a notebook or white board to schedule and track the progress of the resolution. In addition it is also important to schedule time for unexpected circumstances and offer ourselves flexibility incase we choose to take a temporary break.

3. Delay the Gratification – Curb the urge to announce the resolution to everyone. We typically do this for one of two reasons. Either to inform our friends to monitor us incase we slide, or for the praise and applause for choosing to embark on a new challenge. A resolution requires sincere dedication, and an occasional word of encouragement from a friend will not suffice, this is why it is necessary to track a progress on a chart or notebook. On the other hand, if we share our resolutions with our friends to enjoy the praise, acknowledgement, and applause, our motivation to strive will eventually fizzle away, since the acknowledgment of the potentially successful resolution will gratify us instead of empowering us to follow through the entire plan. We must be silent about our resolutions in the beginning and allow the results to speak for themselves.

4. Cultivate Willpower – Willpower is like a muscle in the body and must be exercised in order to get stronger. As we follow the three pillars above and begin to see the results, we will be more motivated to stay on track. We will enjoy the inner strength that we receive and discover new ways to explore our capacities further. However, we must remind ourselves that even though willpower is like a muscle and will strengthen through effort and resistance, we must refrain from over practicing this self-restraint. It is most effective to set a maximum of three resolutions at a time in order to avoid willpower depletion.

Dino suggests that we celebrate and usher in the New Year with all its glory and not to deprive ourselves in order to follow the resolutions. It is advised to wait until the confetti settles, the alcohol in our blood has cleared, the carbohydrate levels in our bodies have normalized, and finished commenting on all the photos on Facebook before we begin to work on the resolution. There is no rush to get started as we are only competing with ourselves. It is imperative that we make a clear plan and then follow it with dedication and enthusiasm.

Dino wishes the readers of this blog a prosperous and healthy 2012.

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." – Zig Ziglar

Top 5 blog posts of 2011

As this year comes to a close, Dino would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers of this blog for the support, encouragement, and feedback. Dino is pleased that the insights presented in this blog inspire or empower the readers, while giving them the opportunity to question their own belief systems.

Dino will post more frequently on a wider range of subjects next year, but before we move on, here is a round up of the Top 5 most inspiring blog posts of 2011.

5. Be a Player - An empowering way to overcome the shallow mindset of others is to view life as a game. Read more…

4. Are you projecting a bitter attitude? - Each one of us is a like a diamond, and if we are agitated and irritated by every rub, which is disguised in the form of a problem, we cannot be polished, and will not evolve beyond the bitter state that we project. Read more…

3. It’s not easy to be me - Before making any decisions, we must ask ourselves, “who has made this decision for me? Is it a parent, sibling, friend, spouse, a habit, or my intuition? Read more…

2. Achieve Greatness through Humility - A great human being is one who may have achieved all the material success that he/she desired, while cultivating humility and empowering others. Read more…

1. Everybody Loves Samosas! – Dino teaches us how to make a different kind of Samosa. Watch Now!

Dino wishes all the readers of this blog a Prosperous and Healthy 2012.

Be a Player

As the situation of the world has become increasingly uncertain, economies are collapsing, jobs losses are on the rise, competition in business, as well personal development is getting fierce, and depression is a norm, It has become very tricky for us to stay focused due to such distractions. With all the negativity and instant changes, It is almost impossible to dedicate ourselves to a single task or goal. These situations discourage us from achieving our personal goals because of the fear of failure and the lack of time. The external circumstances are affecting our internal dialogue with ourselves, which in turn is making us less effective individuals. Dino has always believed in the phrase “shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars”, and has recently become immune to external factors that attempt to affect his life and drain his energy.

Dino often reminds himself of a story in which a few frogs decided to participate in a race where the goal was to reach the top of a tower. A large crowd gathered to cheer the contestants. The race was tough and the frogs were struggling, while the crowds were screaming "no way, they can't do it",' it's too hard" etc. One at a time, each frog fell off the tower, except for one that reached the top and won the race. At the end, when the frog was asked how he managed to win, it turned out that the frog was deaf.

We often come across discouraging people who tell us how difficult or impossible it is to achieve our goals and dreams. Never the less, we have heard, read about, and even know people who have achieved the impossible. Whether, it's applying to a prestigious university, passing an exam, pursuing a unique career, losing weight, or recovering from a chronic or terminal illness, such folks remind us that we cannot achieve our goals, because their limiting mindset defines it as unrealistic.

An empowering way to overcome this shallow mindset of others is to view life as a game. Every game has players and spectators – which one would we like to be? The purpose of a player is to direct his focus and energy so that he can hit a home run, score a goal or a touchdown. He is very often immune to the cheering or boo-ing from the spectators, even if these individuals are family members or friends. Some spectators pray that we succeed while others hope that we injure ourselves – this makes the game more entertaining for them. If we share our goals and dreams with a hundred people, we will receive a hundred different opinions. It is beneficial to consider these opinions as feedback and evaluate them objectively. Constructive feedback is the greatest way to improve and redirect our efforts if necessary. In addition, being neutral to the praise or criticism from others will save us from heart ache, ill feelings, or maybe even idolizing them. The same spectators that praise us today, will criticize us tomorrow, usually based on a comparison of how well they are progressing towards their goals.

Another way to stay focused is by monitoring the voice in our heads. Whether outside spectators exist or not, it is the voice inside our heads that is a constant critic. It is imperative to tame and silence this voice whenever it goes astray, because finally, our success or failure is dependent on the encouragement or limiting beliefs of this voice.

When we finally achieve our goals or fulfill our dreams, it may seem like a miracle. However, miracles simply bloom from the seeds of deep desire, constant effort in the right direction, and an unshakeable character. Miracles are possible, and no goals are unrealistic – if our minds can conceive it, we can achieve it.

“When everybody tells you that you are being idealistic or impractical, consider the possibility that everybody could be wrong about what is right for you.” – Gilbert Kaplan

Achieve Greatness through Humility

Last Wednesday, two hours before his thirty-second birthday, Dino began to review his life so far, and think of a resolution for the year. He tracked back to the key milestones in his life, such as the successes, failures, financial gains, wrong investments, career, relationships, etc. While simultaneously evaluating the outcome of these experiences, and using the insights in order to excel further. Since his birthday was the reason for a new resolution, he contemplated the subjects of aging and death as well. The key question was, “When I die, what would I like people to remember me for?”. Dino began to recall the memories of his relatives who had passed away. The lives of a few of these individuals were truly inspiring, while others were the complete opposite. This lead him to create a new definition of a successful life.

A majority of us define and acknowledge a successful life based on academic achievements – were we accepted at prestigious universities, careers – did we pursue careers at the top firms in the industry or run a successful business, relationships – have we settled down with a wealthy, attractive, and intelligent spouse, having raised our children to be the best in this competitive world, and most importantly, wealth accumulation. The definition of a successful life was similar among all the relatives that passed away and those who are still alive, except for one attribute – Greatness.

Without a doubt, certain individuals have lead a successful life based on the common definition, however, how many of them could be labeled as “Great”? Everyone struggles to achieve their goals, and persistently overcome challenges while using those experiences to climb the ladder of success and build a reputation for themselves. Unfortunately, very often, this success leads to pride , arrogance, and a sense of separation from others who do not fit into their definition of success. This is when such individuals lose any potential of attaining the title of “Greatness”.

According to Dino, a great human being is one who may have achieved all the material success that he/she desired, while cultivating humility and empowering others. As we gain experience in life, we are offered more responsibilities and opportunities, which grant us the power to make a difference in the lives of others. How we choose to use this power, is what truly defines our greatness. Unfortunately, some individuals with the right intentions are lacking the power to execute them, while others with the power are lacking the direction. It’s a pity to witness such misuse of power these days.

If we simply ask ourselves, what memories would we like to leave in the hearts and minds of humanity as we depart, we would be able to live a more truthful and purposeful life. We encounter the idea of death every moment, as we lose a family/friend, or indirectly by observing life around us, watching the news, or even passing by a butcher’s shop or the frozen section in the supermarket. We never wonder whether death will fall upon us, we know this simply as fact, but we don’t believe it. The ignorance within us often reminds us that death is a tragedy that happens to others, but not to us. When we finally become aware of this truth and the uncertainties in life, we will choose to embrace it and live with purpose and redefine our definition of a successful life.

Alexander the Great conquered many lands and accumulated much wealth. When death was close, he had three wishes that he ordered his generals to carry out. The first was that his coffin be carried to the grave only by his physicians, symbolizing that even the best medical team could not save him when his time was up. The second wish was that the path to the grave should be lined with all the gold and silver that he accumulated, symbolizing that all his wealth would remain on earth, and finally that his hands should be dangling out of the coffin. This was to symbolize that he came to this world empty handed and departed empty handed.

When we reach the end of our lives or while fighting a terminal illness, our successful careers, wealth, and superficial relationships lose its value. Understanding this truth early in our lives will save us time and effort, and will empower us to choose our goals wisely, because once we depart from the world, it is our memories, reputation, and the difference that we made in the lives of others that will remain, while we carry with us only the imprints of our experiences on our souls.

“In the school of the Spirit, man learns wisdom through humility, knowledge by forgetting, how to speak by silence, and how to live by dying.” - Johannes Tauler

Beep Beep! Are you always in a hurry?

Like the Road Runner, if you’re in a hurry and beeping everyone out of your way to get somewhere, it would be wise to bookmark this blog post for another time. If not, relax and enjoy the insights that Dino has to share today.

From the moment we wake up in the morning, our minds and bodies shift from first gear directly to fifth gear. We hit the shower, prepare breakfast, dress the kids for school, engage in a quick argument with the spouse, and then rush off to catch the public transportation to get to work on time. Once we arrive at the office, we’re bombarded with over fifty email messages – all marked as “high priority”. It takes a few minutes to decide whether to complete our pending work or immediately reply to an irate customer. Once we have finally decoded the customer’s concern, due to his terrible English grammar, it’s time to rush for the first meeting. The meeting lasts for three hours, and then it’s time for lunch. If we’re lucky, we get a chance to have lunch alone at the desk while completing a report or project. As the sun sets, we look forward to returning home. This clearly isn’t the end of the day. We may need to prepare dinner, attend a stress relaxation class at the gym, or socialize with our friends online/offline. As the clock strikes mid-night we rest our heads on the pillow. Unfortunately, even while we are asleep the activities of the day lurk in our dreams, and before we know it, we are stretching to reach the snooze button on the annoying alarm clock. Following this, another exciting day begins. This was Dino’s schedule, and most likely you share a similar or an even more demanding one. Many of us refer to our lives as a rat race – always busy, striving to gain as much as possible in the shortest amount of time, and then feeling drained or unsatisfied. Even if we were granted 50 hours in a day, with this lifestyle, it would be fairly easy to occupy every minute, while we continue to complain or brag that we don’t have enough time.

Without a doubt, this is unhealthy and will eventually burn us out. Our minds become cluttered with all the activities on hand, while trying to evaluate the previous action and figure out how and when to perform the next one. We lose track and are unable to concentrate on the task at hand. This mindset continues for years and eventually we become accustomed to behaving in this manner. Even when we try to relax, our minds are racing in a million directions at once. We lose the essence of the moment because we’re mentally dwelling either in the past or the future.

This does not mean that we should ignore the past and the lessons it offers to teach us, or avoid planning for the future, however, we must schedule a time for ‘evaluation’ and ‘planning’. Once in a while, it’s beneficial to slide over to the passenger ‘s seat and allow our intuition drive, while we view and admire the scenery. Whether we come across an ugly neighborhood or a beautiful town, on a bumpy or smooth road during a rainy or sunny day, following a detour or while having an accident. Witness and enjoy the journey – we will eventually arrive at the destination if it’s meant to be.

When we share our success stories or struggles with others, we always reflect on the journey, either with a smile or tears flowing down. The journey offers us the opportunity to unleash dormant talents within us, and reveal to the world, our courage, wisdom, and passion in life. We inspire those around us by the turbulence that we have encountered and overcome in order to arrive at our destination. We often hear the phrase “time flies”. Time doesn’t fly, we do. Time ticks at a constant rate, it is relative to each individual. We lose track of time when we are enjoying with our friends or working on a project with passion. However, a patient suffering from a terminal illness may experience time as a drag..

Let us make an effort to live every moment, in the moment. We very well know that the next one isn’t promised to us. As we focus on the current activity, un-clutter the mind, and avoid distractions, we invite creativity to flow within us. Dino has undertaken this challenge and will remind himself to return to the present whenever his mind drifts off, until living in the moment becomes a habit.

“Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day's work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.” - Sir William Osler

It’s not easy to be me

Very often when we observe kids playing in the park we tend to recall our childhood. It would be the little things in life that would make us happy. When we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, we would respond with passion and a sparkle in our eyes. Dino always wanted to be an astronaut or an air force pilot. Some kids want to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, actors, singers or teachers, while others just wanted to be really rich. As we recall these childhood memories, we reflect on our lives today, what did we hope for and where have we ended up? This does not mean that our lives are terrible, it’s simply not what we had hoped for. Our dream did not come true. As we grow up, we meet new people, learn new things, start travelling, and building our personalities. We may interact with more people that highlight our limitations than those that motivate us with the infinite options that are possible for us , and slowly we believe that our dream may be impossible.

As a result of this, we begin to follow others. We constantly remind ourselves that if we follow certain people we will be heading in the right direction. We join clubs in high school, play specific sports, hang out with the popular kids, follow them to the same colleges, choose the same major and even apply for the same jobs. We choose to get married and even change our religion, simply because someone else has done so. It doesn’t end here, even as we get close to death, we feel the need to follow and impress others. Finally, one day when we look back at our lives, we ask ourselves what is the purpose of our life .We begin to look back and regret some of our actions and relationships.

It is crucial that we begin to look within ourselves early in life. Each one of us is different and has a unique purpose. Unfortunately, this isn’t taught to students in schools and may not be taught at home either. Our teachers and parents are constantly encouraging us to be competitive. Just because Joe Shmoe is a math whiz and plans to become an engineer, it doesn’t mean that we must too. We may enjoy sports, art, dance, writing, etc. Over time, this belief is embedded within us, and we start looking at others for direction in our life and slowly but surely we succumb to peer pressure. We cannot blame our parents or teachers for planting such seeds within us, as they are suffering the consequences of the same belief system and don’t know any better.

It takes immense courage to break out of peer pressure and be ourselves. The result of this can be difficult to handle at first, but totally worth it in the long run. Superficial relationships will fade away, the pressure to compete with others will disappear, and we will find more fulfilling goals, hobbies, and relationships. Our intuition will be heightened and the uncomfortable desire to seek advice from others will vanish. At first we may be ridiculed by the individuals that are feeding off our weakness, but over time we will earn respect and trust by a majority of the crowd. Those who ridicule us are doing so purely out of jealously and their insecurities. Albert Einstein was accurate when he stated that great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. If we observe life carefully, we will notice that a majority of the people don’t care about us or our problems. A few may be worried, but that’s only if we are doing better than them, and only a handful of people are genuinely happy about our success or concerned when we are in trouble. A large percentage of the population on this planet are followers and evaluate their self worth based on what others think of them. This is the reason why they adopt a certain behavior or habit, so that they’re accepted by the group. It’s not always what we do, but what we don’t do that defines who we are.

We are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and must fit into the right place to complete the picture of life. Each piece of the jigsaw puzzle is unique and designed for only one spot. Dino believes that as children, we are a square piece, and need to chisel ourselves in the appropriate manner to fit into the puzzle of life in order to serve our purpose. When Michelangelo was asked how he created the sculpture of David out of a square block of stone, his response was that he simply chiseled away the pieces that were not “David”. Similarly, this is what we need to do to ourselves - chisel away all that is not “us”.

We can begin this process by being aware and watching the patterns of our thoughts and actions. Before making any decisions, we must ask ourselves, “who has made this decision for me? Is it a parent, sibling, friend, spouse, a habit, or my intuition?” If it is anything other than our intuition or a respected individual, then we need to reconsider the decision. We know, without doubt, which individuals would guide us in the right direction. In addition, as we begin to trust and follow our intuition, it will become easier to make decisions. This process can also help us discard those decision makers that no longer serve us, especially those that are based on habit. This will also improve our clarity of thought, as we will no longer be concerned about what other people will think of our actions. We waste a tremendous amount of energy worrying about what others will feel about us. We go out of our way to impress certain individuals, but fail to understand that these are the individuals that are feeding off us, and consider everything to be a competition for their attention and approval. This creates unnecessary stress and diverts us away from what is truly possible for us. The greatest gift we can give ourselves, is to simply be ourselves, and by all means this will result in a more fulfilling and purpose driven life.

“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.”
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Are you projecting a bitter attitude?

Have you ever wondered why some people are just plain rude, always frustrated, constantly complaining, and blaming everyone else for the problems in their life? Dino has noticed that this attitude is usually projected by the older crowd. Their presence and speech is extremely negative which makes us avoid them as much as possible. Even if we don’t personally know them, we can sense the bitterness. They may be shop owners, teachers, or a random person in line in front of you at the supermarket. You may have noticed that such folks often interact amongst themselves, which is acceptable, until we need to interact with them. It then becomes frustrating, and soon enough we get influenced by their behavior.

According to Dino’s insight, the early years of this group of people may have been quite challenging. They may have had to, and continue to struggle with family, health, finance, careers, or relationship issues. As this persist without any hope of a resolution, their attitude begins to turn bitter. There is a limit to how much pain a person can endure, no matter how much patience or persistence one has. It becomes even more difficult when they notice that their friends and family are progressing with less effort, while they continue to strive and burn themselves out without seeing any results.

Very often we condemn such behavior and avoid interaction with such people. However, trying to understand what has triggered this behavior in them can assist us in guiding them and transforming their attitude. We all struggle with challenges in our lives, even though some have a higher coping ability than others. These challenges are meant to help us become better, not bitter human beings. Dino believes that each one of us is a like a diamond, and if we are agitated and irritated by every rub, which is disguised in the form of a problem, we cannot be polished, and will not evolve beyond the bitter state that we reflect.

If we have become bitter human beings, one way to overcome this is by changing our perspective. It’s clearly evident that those who are responsible, trustworthy, and capable are the ones that are ‘offered’ more challenging roles. So, why don’t we consider ourselves blessed instead of doomed? This simple change in perspective will encourage us and continue to fuel our will-power to persevere under any condition. Problems will never cease to exist, but our bitter behavior can. Let us consider every struggle to be an opportunity to become better and humble human beings.
This simple technique works for Dino. Go ahead and try it.

“Heavy rains remind us of challenges in life Never ask for a lighter rain, Just pray for a better umbrella. That is the Attitude.“ – Author Unknown

Everybody Loves Samosas!

In the second Watch and Learn video, Dino teaches us how to make a different kind of Samosa. Check it out!

Diabetes Cured - Facebook Group

Dino is also the author of the Diabetes Cured blog, and is pleased to invite you to join the Facebook group.

Click on the link below to join the group and receive daily health tips, as well as discuss topics related to the prevention, management, and cure for diabetes.

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Instant Cure: For Clear Skin

Mix an equal amount of lime juice, honey and glycerin. Apply on face and leave it overnight. Wash next morning.

Instant Cure: Wrinkles

Apply papaya pulp on your face and wash it off after 20 minutes.

Instant Cure: Corns

Apply raw papaya juice two or three times a day.

Samosas with Dino (Trailer)

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