Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Focus: Graduation

Volume 2 No. 80 June 7, 2012

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Church of the Rock, Sedona, AZ
The Church of the Rock aka the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ.

Built on two pinnacled spur rocks approximately 250 feet high. the Church of the Rock juts out of a thousand foot red rock wall representing the solid Rock of Peter in the Bible.

The inspiration of building the chapel came to Marguerite Bruswig Staude in 1932 in New York City while observing the newly constructed Empire State Building. When viewed from a certain angle a cross seemed to impose itself through the very core of the structure. She wanted to build a structure that would glorify her Creator and in thanksgiving for all that her family had received. She traveled throughout Europe looking for the ideal location. She returned to the United States and while she and her husband Tony traveled through Sedona, she was struck by the beauty of the area and decided that this chapel should be built here.

It was to be a monument to faith. A spiritual fortress guarded only by God, and aimed at bringing back lost souls to God. The building of the Chapel was completed in April 1956.

The chapel is a testimony of great architectural achievement. It is a great place of meditation. The beauty of the scenery is awe-inspiring. (Photo by Dr. Jacob Mathew)

Table of Contents
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1. Editor's Note

2. Bible Readings for This Sunday

Second Sunday after Pentecost (June 10)

3. Sermons for This Sunday (June 10)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_2nd-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

4. Inspiration for Today: Truth of Failure

5. Featured: Godly Old People: The Cream of the Crop

It took me a while to get this figured out, but over the years, eventually I began to notice something quite remarkable the living God does in people's lives: the longer they serve Him, the more like Christ they become. The process does not end with death, but continues right on into the next life where what the Bible calls "glorification"--the process of becoming Christ-like--is fulfilled and completed. ...

6. Do One Thing at a Time - Commencement Address at Wheaton College

Do one thing at a time. Give each experience all your attention. Try to resist being distracted by other sights and sounds, other thoughts and tasks, and when it is, guide your mind back to what you're doing. ...

7. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish: Commencement Address at Stanford University

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

8. Nobody Can Take Away Your Personal Integrity: Commencement Address at Virginia Tech

Understand that whatever else may fail you, whatever bad luck or failure may befall you, your personal integrity is always in your own hands and can never be taken from you.

9. Pressing On

Just because you believe something and don't always live up to it doesn't mean you are a hypocrite. In fact, that doesn't mean you are a hypocrite at all. What it does mean is that you are a human being. No one measures up all the time to the very high standards of God. We all fall short of the glory of God—again and again. We are imperfect people serving a perfect God. ...

10. Caught in the Middle: The U.S. and Syrian Christians

One of the hardest questions is this: What will become of Syria's substantial Christian population? The U.S. never asked this question about Iraq's Christian population before it invaded that country and the result was catastrophic for people whose ancestors, in the words of an earlier broadcast, "worshipped Jesus Christ back when most of ours worshipped trees and practiced the occasional human sacrifice." ...

11. Parents: Character-Building Tips for Your Kids

There is something especially senseless in reading about small children committing sadistic crimes. 'The younger the child, the more impressionable they are. We wanted to help busy parents scrambling to make ends meet teach children empathy, compassion, environmental awareness and other values.'

12. Recipe: Spicy Almonds

13. Money Can't Buy Happiness

Freedom and personal autonomy are more important to people's well-being than money, according to a meta-analysis of data from 63 countries published by the American Psychological Association. ...

14. Humor: A Picture of a Call Centre Employee

15. About Malankara World

Editor's Note
May and June are the months of Graduation in North America. Graduation is a major milestone for our youth. Many of them will change their role from being a dependent under their parents to a wage earner supporting the family. Soon they will be looking at marriage and starting their own family. So, this is a major milestone for our families. This issue of Malankara World Journal is focused on the Family and Graduation. While taking a closer look at the youth, as exemplified by the graduations, we also take a look at the role of the older generation in our church in the focus article of the week.

The highlight of many graduations is the Commencement address. Many of them provide valuable, practical advice to the youth. After pouring over nearly 50 graduation addresses, we have selected 3 commencement addresses to feature in this issue of the Malankara World Journal.

I came across the following article that distills the best advices from the graduation speeches:

Practical Advice From Graduation Speeches

Find a mentor. Find a mentor and be a mentor. Give back. And when people tell you not to believe in your dreams, and they say "Why?", say "Why not?" - Billie Jean King

You need to be absolutely paranoid about the currency of your knowledge and ask yourself every day: am I really up to speed? Or am I stagnating intellectually, faking it or even worse, falling behind? Am I still learning? Or am I just doing the same stuff on a different day or as Otis Redding sings "Sitting on the dock of the bay... watching the tide roll away" - David L. Calhoun

Move to, or experience, a foreign country as early as you can in your career if you have not already. Go to China, to Southeast Asia, to North Africa, or to India. That is where the future is. - David L. Calhoun

Know yourself and to your own self be true. You may find some day three or four years from now that you simply don't like engineering, or teaching, or architecture, or government, or the company you started with. You have little in common with the people you work with, and relative to your peers, you find your interest waning. At that point you have to muster whatever self-confidence you have, and every bit of your courage, and make the decision to do something else with your life. It is always better sooner than later, to make that call. - David L. Calhoun

The way to be happy is to like yourself and the way to like yourself is to do only things that make you proud. - Mark S. Lewis

Think hard about who you marry. It's the most important decision you will ever make. Devote yourself to your kids. Nothing else is guaranteed to make you happy. The only thing I'd add is, create a posse of dead people. Create an entourage of heroes. Put their pictures on your wall, and keep them in your mind. - David Brooks

Just believe in yourself and you’ll do just fine. And, oh yes, don’t then forget to market yourself and your ideas. Use both sides of your brain. - Michael Uslan

Source: Graduationwisdom.com

My family had travelled to Phoenix, AZ last week to attend the graduation ceremony of our son, Capt. Dr. Jacob Mathew. We had an opportunity to spend a week there enjoying some sight seeing and a side-trip to Sedona, AZ. This week's cover photo of Chapel of the Rock was taken during that trip. I also spent an evening with Saju Skaria, his wife Shiny and their son. They were the perfect hosts. Saju, as many of you know, is a member of the Diocesan Council of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America and the Director of the Patriarchal Center Project. He is also one of the founding members of our church in Phoenix, AZ.

Next week's issue, God willing, will be dedicated to Fathers, as we celebrate the Father's Day on June 17.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday

Second Sunday after Pentecost (June 10)

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Sermons for This Sunday - June 10
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.

Sermons for the Second Sunday After Pentecost

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_2nd-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

More Sermons

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today: Truth of Failure
Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... ...
It does mean you haven't succeeded yet.

Failure doesn't mean you have accomplished nothing... ...
It does mean you have learned something.

Failure doesn't mean you have been a fool... ...
It does mean you had a lot of faith.

Failure doesn't mean you have been disgraced... ...
It does mean you were willing to try.

Failure doesn't mean you don't have it... ...
It does mean you have to do something in a different way.

Failure doesn't mean you are inferior... ...
It does mean you are not perfect.

Failure doesn't mean you've wasted your life... ...
It does mean you've a reason to start afresh.

Failure doesn't mean you should give up... ...
It does mean you should try harder.

Failure doesn't mean you'll never make it... ...
It does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn't mean God has abandoned you... ...
It does mean God has a better idea!

Featured: Godly Old People: The Cream of the Crop

by Dr. Joe McKeever

I love to suggest Psalm 92:12-15 to senior saints. I tell them it's easy to remember that psalm. After all, if you're 92, you're old!

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree;
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
they shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright,
He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

It took me a while to get this figured out, but over the years, eventually I began to notice something quite remarkable the living God does in people's lives: the longer they serve Him, the more like Christ they become.

It's enough to make us conclude that the process does not end with death, but continues right on into the next life where what the Bible calls "glorification"--the process of becoming Christ-like--is fulfilled and completed.

From this passage (a remarkable four verses, don't you think?), here is a four-fold description of God's people who have walked faithfully with Him through the years.

1. Fruitful.

"They will still bear fruit in old age."

Scripture recognizes two kinds of spiritual fruit: inner and outer. Inner fruit is character traits as we mature and grow within our minds and spirits, particularly in the manner of Galatians 5:22-23 ("the fruit of the Spirit"). Outer fruit is making a difference in the lives of other people, whether by leading them to Christ for salvation, teaching them, or feeding, clothing, assisting, encouraging (see Matthew 25:35-36).

Know any elder saints who are still growing in their Christlikeness and still making a difference in people's lives? If you do--and if you are in a good lively church, I'm betting you know several--tell them they are a fulfillment of Scripture and a demonstration of God's faithfulness.

And then, let that be a goal for yourself.

2. Youthful.

"They will be full of sap." Some translations make this to say "fresh." No problem there, but the Hebrew says "full of sap." I do love that concept. Sap is the life-giving fluids coursing upward through the trees enabling them to grow, blossom, sprout leaves, and bear fruit.

God is promising that the Godly oldster will be fully alive and active. Youthful.

Sin dries us up, and shrivels our souls. The Holy Spirit livens us up and makes us blossom.

Get around a few children--and stay out of their way--and watch them for a bit. You will soon see that "youthful" means to be loving, laughing, and adventuresome.

Children enjoy loving each other, they love to laugh and have fun, and they like trying new stuff. Now, what do we oldsters do as we get hardened and brittle with age and stop growing in Christ? Love only the ones we've known for years and reject the new people, quit laughing and become cranky, and resist anything newer than 25 years earlier.

To enter the Kingdom, we become as little children (Luke 18:17). Once we enter, God starts a process of making us eternally like little children.

Far as I can tell, you and I have two means of attaining youthfulness as we age: we can slather on the makeup, join the gym, and go in for tummy tucks and chin lifts and such, or we can do it God's way by letting Him handle the makeover.

One is fake, superficial, expensive, and temporary; the other is real, lasting, and precious. And it's free.

3. Beautiful.

"They will be full of sap and very green."

God enjoys making His people lovely. His concept of what is lovely, of course, differs considerably from the current trend at any given spot on earth, in any culture, at any moment. People want to make beauty a matter of skin smoothness, body proportions, and perfection of teeth, eyes, and hair. The God who made us knows those things are all temporary and, as the Word says, "perish with the using" (Colossians 2:22).

So the Father goes for a more lasting beauty. He calls it, "the hidden person of the heart, the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (I Peter 3:4).

At the end, I want to tell you about perhaps the most beautiful person God made--and I mean ever!--in the part of the world where I've lived and served.

4. Truthful.

"...to declare that the Lord is upright, He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

People make jokes about how old people can say anything you want and get by with it. They will simply put you down as an eccentric. There's some truth to that. But that's not what this is about.

Godly saints have a perspective on life--its brevity, its fragility, its possibilities--that youngsters do not have. Those who have served the Lord faithfully for generations (and that's what this is about), know the Lord with an intimacy and His Word with a certainty that gives them a strength and authority when they speak.

When they speak of life and what matters most, you listen. You know in your heart of hearts that they know, they have lived this life, they've been there and done that. If you are smart, you will pay attention.

The godly oldster will tell you the truth. They will be plain-spoken because they know the time is short and there is no sense in weighing the truth down with glittering words; they will be unashamed because peer pressure for them is a thing of the distant past; and their words will be unadorned because they know the danger of camouflaging living truth with too many soft, pretty ribbons and bows.

"Well, honey, if you ask me," the senior saint will sometime begin. Listen up, friend-- you are about to get something money cannot buy.

Do One Thing at a Time - Commencement Address at Wheaton College, 2000

by John Walsh

[Editor's Note: This is excerpted from the commencement speech delivered by John Walsh, author and art historian, at the Wheaton College, Norton, MA in 2000. I have picked this one for its practical value: "Do one thing at a time. Give each experience all your attention. Try to resist being distracted by other sights and sounds, other thoughts and tasks, and when it is, guide your mind back to what you're doing." Most commencement addresses deal in generalities; but new graduates need specific advice as they embark on the next stage in their lives. Mr. Walsh does that well, in my opinion.]

Here are eight things I wish I'd been told at my commencement.

1. Put the alarm clock in the bathroom. (And keep the door open,) This can be ignored by those of you whose irrepressible need to get going in the morning make it unnecessary. Others - I promise! - will find it the most important thing I have to say this afternoon.

2. Do one thing at a time. Give each experience all your attention. Try to resist being distracted by other sights and sounds, other thoughts and tasks, and when it is, guide your mind back to what you're doing.

Long before we taught "multi-tasking" to machines, I was brought up with some crude prototype Windows software in my head. I usually ran several programs at once, clicking back and forth, and always looking for a pull-down menu of new distractions. What's more, I thought that virtuosity would be a social advantage to me - the ability to impress people by doing a lot of things at once, none of them very well. And there were a lot of things: in high school I thought I'd be admired for switching effortlessly from Calypso lyrics to baseball statistics, to Latin, to brands of single malt whiskey. In graduate school I met my ideal in life when I studied the career of the Flemish painter Peter Paul Roberts, who was described by a Danish man who visited Rubens at work in his studio in the 1630s in Antwerp:

"While he was still painting, [Rubens] was having Tacitus read aloud to him, and was dictating a letter. When [we were] silent so we wouldn't disturb him, he began to talk to us, while continuing to paint, listening to the reading, and dictating his letter, answering our questions and thus displaying his astonishing powers."

A few geniuses can succeed this way; most of us can't and shouldn't try. I'm not warning against learning many things on many subjects, and virtuosity can indeed be useful. My warning is against distraction, whether you invite it or just let it happen, as I've done all my life. In baseball, high-percentage hitters know better: it's "focus" they talk about, and they prize it as much as strength. Psychologists describe skilled rock-climbers and tennis players and pianists as going beyond focus, to what they have called a "flow" experience, a sense of absorption with the rock or the ball or the music in which the "me versus it" disappears and there's a kind of oneness with the task that brings a joyful higher awareness, as well as successful performance. I've had these experiences, too little but not too late, and probably you have, too. They are a supreme kind of pleasure. You will have more of them if you do one thing at a time.

3. Spend more time listening. Lawyers have a saying about conferences between legal opponents: "The side doing the talking is losing," For the longest time I thought that the test of my value was what I had to say. When I wasn't talking, I did listen to others, but with half my mind figuring out what I'd say next. It's as though I had been listening to music and just registering the melody but not hearing the harmony, the instruments, the subtleties of phrasing. To really listen takes active attention. To have listened and absorbed the whole message, with all its connotations, its unspoken and maybe unintended shadings, makes it likelier that when you do speak, you will contribute more, and do so with fewer words.

Lest this sound like a lesson in tactics, let me say that it's not just other people to whom you might listen more attentively, Try it on yourself. Pay attention not just to your voice, but also to your unvoiced sensations, your pleasure, your anger, your unease, your unspoken but genuine sense of things. (Here I should admit that if I'd gotten this advice at my New England commencement I'd have written it off as pure California.) It took me years to learn to pay attention to my complex reactions to situations, which were often so different from the friendly, constructive attitudes I thought I should have, and pretended to have. I've learned that if I didn't attend honestly to my own state of mind, I couldn't pay honest attention to others. I couldn't give empathetic help to others, or get it, either. So spend more time listening to yourself as well as others.

4. Make yourself clear. This is risky. To say clearly what you think is to risk being more clearly wrong. To fudge what you think - to qualify it, complicate it, overload it - is usually a defensive move. It's a strategy for getting partial credit: you figure you may be wrong but at least you're clever, you're eloquent... and maybe not that far wrong.

I work in a field - art history - that is rich in adjectives, poor in provable statements, just right for somebody who hides from clarity behind vivid, entertaining language. The best antidote I ever heard prescribed to writers came from the art historian Howard Hibbard, who told us students what to do when we'd written a sentence: "Take your favorite word and strike it out." Hibbard meant that often we put the word there not for clarity but for vanity. Now that I've been spending most of my time as a manager, by the way, clarity has become a necessity, and my best friend. It saves my time and other people's. As to the risk of clarity I mentioned just now, that's mostly imaginary; after all, I do still have my job.

5. You educate yourself. From now on, you had better put yourself in charge of your own education, if you haven't already, You may have to buck the system. American graduate education is a lot more clearly structured and scheduled than its British and European models. The menu and the timetable are there in the catalogue: take your choice of degree programs, sign up, take the courses, pass the exams, write the thesis, and out you come - certified - a doctor, lawyer, art historian, computer scientist, philosopher. Along the way, most graduate programs confine you to the professional cultures you are preparing to enter. In medicine and law, don't expect to be taught much about the minds and spirits of the people you are preparing to serve. In the humanities and social sciences, everything will conspire to keep you close to the library and the computer, and away from the real subject of your study, whether it's Renaissance paintings, or the Balkans, or family farmers.

Here is an example. During, the past generation art history has been preoccupied with questions of art theory and the social and economic and political contexts of art, which can be answered from illustrations in books. This has made the field richer intellectually, but it's excused faculty members and graduate students from going to real works of art in the original and dealing with them, looking hard and long, trying to grasp their peculiar way of communicating, enjoying their pleasures, appreciating how they elude simple classification and undermine theories. Learning art history without looking at art in the original is like learning about Shakespeare and Ibsen by reading plays and never going to the theater. Our graduate schools produce a lot of half-baked bread in the interest of getting it on the shelf quicker. Don't let the weaknesses of the system become weaknesses of your own. Look critically at what you're asked to learn and how. If it's too little, and too confined to the campus, then swallow the need to stretch out the time you spend, take courses not on the prescribed menu, and travel. In the humanities, nothing substitutes for travel abroad, though it takes time, money and the courage to risk being thought un-serious by the faculty, by your family and maybe by yourself. Parents, listen. You may have to subsidize even more education than you imagined, and it won't all took like work. But it's in a good cause.

6. Learn to draw. Or to play the cello. Or to tap dance, Something impractical, even useless. Whatever it is, it ought to be hard for you, something you haven't really got time for, and that by professional standards you probably won't ever do well. I recommend drawing because when you get it right, maybe only once in a while, you will have such amazing waves of surprise and joy. And I promise that you'll have always be able to draw on a personal insight, a visceral empathy, with centuries of artists and their struggles to get it right.

7. Keep a journal. For a lot of people this is harder than tap dancing. Knowing you're going to write something every day sharpens your attention to everything that happens, With a journal, you have this companion you're going to point things out to, so you stockpile impressions and passing thoughts, or, if you have a fitful memory like mine, you jot down notes to yourself It's good to begin with modest expectations - a spiral notebook from the drugstore, not a leather-bound diary with little red ribbon. Limit the time you spend at it, but do it every day. When you fail, start again. And again. For the longest time, I didn't keep a journal, and as a result much of my pretty long and interesting life is lost to me. That's a waste, one that you needn't let happen to you.

8. You will be more like your parents than you imagine, or want to be. One morning at the age of 45, I looked in the mirror to shave and there was my father looking back at me. Around the same time my kids started noticing that I was sounding like my mother, and even now Jill helpfully points out that when conversation gets tedious or embarrassing, I tend to leave the room -just like my mother. Now I notice I've got Dad's speech mannerisms and his walk, and my closet has his smells. My parents are both dead now, and there are days when I feel that I'm not just like my parents, I am my parents. Something like this will happen to you, but it needn't creep up on you and surprise you. Many of your parents have made sacrifices to give you the chance to be different from them, including send you to Wheaton, and of course you may be even more different as time passes. At some point, though, you will discover your similarities, count on it. To sharpen the irony, the qualities in your parents that annoy you today are likely to be exactly the ones that, later on, your kids will point out in you. So, until then, try giving your parents a break and have a sense of humor about all their qualities.

Dear almost-graduates: this is more than enough advice. You need to reflect on your own feelings, your own desires. The world badly wants your brains and energy: give them freely, but try to stay conscious of what it is you're giving of yourself and why. Meanwhile, celebrate your success at Wheaton and bask in the pride we all feel for you this morning.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish: Commencement Address at Stanford University, 2005

by Steve Jobs

[Editor's Note: This is from the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, late CEO of Apple Computer at Stanford University on June 12, 2005. With his death, we have lost a truly visionary that transformed our generation. Job's message: 'You've got to find what you love.']

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Nobody Can Take Away Your Personal Integrity: Commencement Address at Virginia Tech, 2005

by David L. Calhoun, Businessman (executive positions with General Electric and Nielsen)

[Editor's Note: This is excerpted from the commencement address delivered at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA by David Calhoun, who held executive positions with General Electric and Nielsen. An engineer, manager, football player, and a successful businessman, Mr. Calhoun gives some very valuable advice to the graduating class. "Understand that whatever else may fail you, whatever bad luck or failure may befall you, your personal integrity is always in your own hands and can never be taken from you."]

This is a day that will live on in your memories for forty…fifty…sixty years or more…years that will go by at a speed you cannot yet imagine.

Besides feeling incredibly honored, your invitation did a great thing for me…it caused me to spend some "quiet time"…away from the daily business of winning and losing…thinking over the…thousands of careers I have observed over the years…and over my own career…and what some of the great people I have known…have taught me.

Over the next eight minutes or so I will offer a view, influenced heavily by my investment in GE's leadership development, of the personal characteristics you will need to cultivate…as you enter the real world tomorrow… in business… science… engineering… architecture… the military… whatever you now believe you want to do with your life.

I worked for a guy named Jack Welch for twenty years at GE. He was…and is…a great mentor as much as a great leader. If I had to isolate the subject he spoke most passionately to me about…over all those years…it is that SELF CONFIDENCE is the most important…the indispensable characteristic of success…the common characteristic shared by great leaders whose talents may have varied widely in most other respects.

Self-confidence…a quiet self-confidence…not cockiness…not conceit…not arrogance…is the key to winning…to excelling…no matter what you do in life.

Some of you may already have the beginnings of this confidence from academic…or athletic…or even social success…but in my experience…that will not be enough to get you through a career…and a life that will thrill you…rather than scare…or bore you.

Henry David Thoreau once said, 'the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation". I don't believe that most do…but I do believe that quietly desperate people are the ones who never quite found their self-confidence.

So, how do you get it? What is the secret to developing your own brand of self-confidence?

First, you must resolve to grow…intellectually…morally…technically…and professionally…every day through your entire work and family life.

When I walked out of this stadium a quarter century ago… the half life of knowledge…particularly scientific and engineering knowledge… was probably five or six years. What I hope you will remember today is that unless you walk away from here resolutely determined to stay at the very leading edge of your profession… you will be out of touch and headed for irrelevance in just two or three years… or maybe sooner.

You need to be absolutely paranoid about the currency of your knowledge… and ask yourself every day… am I really up to speed? Or am I stagnating intellectually… faking it… or even worse… falling behind? Am I still learning? Or am I just doing the same stuff on a different day… or… as Otis Redding sings… "Sitting on the dock of the bay… watching the tide roll away"

The lust for learning is age-independent

In my world, we have 55 and 60-year-old engineers in our jet engine business, who are as leading-edge as anyone I know. Their lust for learning defines their very being… at work and in their communities. They have perfected the habit of learning… and they practice it every working hour… despite the fact that many of them are… already… the world's leading experts in their respective fields.

In contrast, we occasionally find a 30 year-old tip-toeing around the place who has already forgotten how to learn… who may have actually listened to someone who told them that "today marks the end of learning and the time to begin doing". If you bring that mindset to companies like ours, your career will be short-lived. We compensate people for what we believe they will learn… for the discoveries that lie ahead… not for yesterday's news.

Great institutions have to do the same. Thanks to forward-looking leadership and learning, this wonderful school never stops growing… and because of that… it has helped you grow.

Starting tomorrow you must learn to grow on your own.

Another important way… to build your confidence… is to seek out the toughest jobs… the most daunting scientific… engineering… or management challenges. In my world, the world of business, we look for situations where intense global competition or technical innovation, threatens the very survival of a business. We ask our most talented people to take on these assignments. In these situations, your purpose is clearly before you when you wake up in the morning… and there is nothing like survival to engage the mind.

One of GE's greatest acquisitions has been a company called Amersham, led by man named Sir William Castell. A man approaching his sixties who now runs our enormous Healthcare business… and whose purpose in life… every waking hour… is to solve the Human Genome riddle and customizes therapy for each and every patient, Sir Bill has taught GE that while the great schools and companies can teach you process… it all means very little without purpose. Process without purpose is pretty much the definition of bureaucracy… rather than a formula for achievement and personal fulfillment.

Let me give you another example. September 11…2001…was Jeff Immelt's first real day on the job as the chairman and CEO of GE… and I had just taken over as CEO of the company's jet engine business.

Jeff and I were at an Aerospace Industry meeting in Seattle that awful day. We awoke early… Pacific time… to watch… in horror… as it unfolded on television. Both of us were afraid for our country… our way of life… and… finally… for our Company.

We were grounded for the next few days… stranded in Seattle… and unavoidably began to think through the implications of this event on our Company and its 350,000 associates. I got to observe this brand new 47 year-old CEO of the world's most respected company… steel himself for what lay ahead.

Jeff had… in his portfolio… our business… whose primary customer was the world's airline industry. GE owns and leases the largest fleet of airplanes in the world… a world that for all anyone knew, might not fly any more. Jeff also insured billions of dollars in property and buildings in the World Trade Center complex. NBC…yet another GE business… was operating 24/7 for weeks with no advertising… and hemorrhaging cash. With GE so intertwined in the global economy… and economy now a big question mark… virtually every business under Jeff lay under a cloud.

My view…and the consensus of my colleagues who know Jeff…is that he grew five years… in terms of stature… leadership skills…judgment… and…above all… self-confidence… in the year that followed the tragedy of 9/11. I know I learned more in one year than I had in the previous four. Difficult situations, bring real purpose and resolve in our decision-making.

Our confidence and belief in an ever more inter-dependent global economy sustained our commitment to invest and grow in these difficult markets.

While there is nothing that builds confidence more than winning against the odds… believe it or not… losing against great odds builds it as well. Most great companies… love people who take big swings… even if they have to walk back to the dugout on occasion and sit down. Seek out the businesses… the technical challenges… the government projects… that others are afraid to touch. The world will soon get to know you… and more important… you will get to know yourself.

Seek a real purpose. Seek to make a difference.

Now… on the subject of getting to know yourself. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses with cool objectivity. Even as your confidence grows you must suppress your ego… focus on your weaknesses and ways to overcome them. What are your sources of anxiety?

Years ago…still early in my career… I realized that I had no real experience with customers… a shortcoming that caused me great personal anxiety… particularly, in light of my boss's desire to promote me quickly into business leadership. So…against the advice of my boss…I took a job…and a demotion…to work in sales. Never made a better career move in my life. My confidence grew and my anxiety abated. You will have similar decisions to make.

At another period, I found myself envious of the courage and resourcefulness of GE executives who spent years in the developing world… in Southeast Asia… or in South America… with strange languages and business practices… and different time lines and ways of getting things done. So I uprooted my family… with their consent… and took a job in Asia… faced into the unknown… made more than a few mistakes… and am better for it… and so is my family.

Move to… or experience… a foreign country as early as you can in your career if you have not already. Go to China… to Southeast Asia… to North Africa… or to India. That is where the future is.

Know yourself… and to your own self be true. You may find some day three or four years from now that you simply don't like engineering… or teaching… or architecture… or government… or the company you started with. You have little in common with the people you work with, and relative to your peers, you find your interest waning.

At that point you have to muster whatever self-confidence you have… and every bit of your courage… and make the decision to do something else with your life.. It is always better sooner than later… to make that call.

Over the next few years, you will hear a lot about "work/life balance".

This issue… at its heart… comes down once again to self-confidence.

Five short years after graduating from Virginia Tech, I fell into a terrible rut… hanging around the office twelve and fourteen hours a day. It was a habit I developed after joining GE's Corporate Audit staff. I routinely found myself getting home well after the kids fell asleep.

Then I took a job working for a GE Vice Chairman named Larry Bossidy. I quickly noticed a few things about Larry… who retired recently as CEO of Honeywell. Larry came to work at a reasonable time… and left in time for dinner… even if there was the ever-present possibility that Jack Welch might try to track him down in the evening.

By the time I started working for him he had nine children. He actually knew their names… and he actually went to a fair number of their games and school functions. Yet, if you surveyed the GE Leadership team at any time during Larry's tenure, they would tell you that Larry got more done than anyone they had ever known. The title of Larry's book "Confronting Reality… Doing What Matters to Get Things Right" says a little something about his philosophy.

Larry has… and I hope I now have… the self-confidence to let achievements… rather than time spent in the office… define our value.

Nothing on earth can replace my oldest daughter's volleyball games, my next daughter's concerts, my son's hockey games, or coaching my youngest daughter's basketball team… nothing on earth!

My father would sacrifice almost any amount of time to save a dollar. I …on the other hand… would spend almost any amount of money to save a minute. I consider myself very fortunate to have learned this vital lesson early.

There is one…final… attribute of self-confidence I would like to mention before I leave you… the one attribute you must not fail to make your own… if you have not done so already.

You must achieve the confidence of knowing that you possess absolute… unbending… unimpeachable integrity. Everyone must know that… above all else… it is integrity that defines your character.

With the parade of disgraced… indicted… CEO's and CFO's… accountants… and men and women and families caught up in things they never would have initiated on their own… you have to wonder when it was… exactly what day it was… that these people… whose lives are now in ruins… came to work and decided to… or were asked… to do something that was probably wrong.

On what day… at what moment… does this begin? When does that first bad cell split?

There may come a day in your career when you are asked to approve… or go along with… or wink at… or ignore… something that… if you go along with it… will have a positive impact on some measure or metric that you, your institution, or your friends will be judged favorably for.

You may know that day… that you… and your colleagues… are near the edge. The lawyers or compliance people may say it's "OK"… or "it shouldn't be a problem"… or "that's the way they do business in China"… or Hungary… or in the insurance industry… or wherever. It is not the way of global business.

So understand that when you are conscious that you are near the edge… that line in the sand… that line in your soul… is moving closer to you… not further away. You must have the confidence… and the courage… to say, "No… we are not doing this".

Then you can go home, look your family in the eye, and sleep like a baby.

And there is nothing more important in any career than the ability to do that.

This concludes my offering to you on your big day: the simplest and best advice I could think of… advice that I will continue to follow as my own career continues:

==> Grow your self-confidence… and move quickly to repair it when it is damaged by the setbacks and failures and mistakes that lie ahead for us all.

==> Continue to grow intellectually… and listen to the little alarm inside you that sounds when stagnation or boredom… or becoming a know-it-all… begin to creep up on your.

==> Tackle the toughest jobs and challenges… and watch yourself do more… and learn more… than you ever dreamed possible.

==> Understand the difference between process and purpose… and never begin a day without being able to articulate that purpose… even if it's only to yourself.

==> Know yourself… particularly your weaknesses… and don't let a day pass without moving toward eliminating them.

==> And understand that whatever else may fail you… whatever bad luck or failure may befall you… your personal integrity is always in your own hands and can never be taken from you.

Congratulations to you all… and to the families that love you and have supported you during these important years.

With the self-confidence you have earned, it is time for you to go out and make them even prouder.

Thanks…and good luck.

Pressing On

by Greg Laurie

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. - (Philippians 3:13–14)

Some people say they don't want to go to church because the church is full of hypocrites. They will identify any Christian who falls short as a hypocrite. If you do or say anything that doesn't measure up to your faith as a follower of Jesus, then you are immediately branded that way.

But just because you believe something and don't always live up to it doesn't mean you are a hypocrite. In fact, that doesn't mean you are a hypocrite at all. What it does mean is that you are a human being. No one measures up all the time to the very high standards of God. We all fall short of the glory of God—again and again. We are imperfect people serving a perfect God.

Even the great apostle Paul admitted this struggle: "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it" (Romans 7:15–17).

That wasn't Paul's everyday experience, but it was a candid admission. Nor should it be used as a justification to say we always will be struggling in this manner and therefore shouldn't even try. Paul also wrote, "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me" (Philippians 3:12).

The further you go in the Christian life, the further you will realize you need to go. That is the mark of a genuine, growing Christian.

Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

Caught in the Middle: The U.S. and Syrian Christians

by Eric Metaxas

This past Memorial Day weekend, while Americans were traveling to cookouts, U.N. officials were travelling to Houla, a cluster of villages north of Homs, the epicenter of the Syrian uprising.

The massacre of 108 civilians was only the most recent atrocity in a 15-month-old conflict that has killed between 13,000 and 19,000 people, most of them civilians.

In an epic understatement, the New York Times declared that the massacre "raised questions about the viability" of a peace plan being promoted by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

It's tempting to mock the credulousness of those who, despite ample historical evidence to the contrary, still think that outsiders can impose their vision of a more just society on Syria. But that would be wrong if for no other reason than the "international community" seems intent on doing just that.

Instead, it's the time for asking hard questions of those who are arguing for a greater American involvement in Syria. I say "American" because the simple truth is that, in matters like these, if the U.S. avoids getting involved, the rest of the world is neither willing nor able to intervene effectively: They'll have to settle for harsh language.

One of the hardest questions is this: What will become of Syria's substantial Christian population? The U.S. never asked this question about Iraq's Christian population before it invaded that country and the result was catastrophic for people whose ancestors, in the words of an earlier broadcast, "worshipped Jesus Christ back when most of ours worshipped trees and practiced the occasional human sacrifice."

Syrian Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the population and who can trace their roots back to the first people to be called "Christians" (see Acts 15), know that story all too well.

Their concerns and misgivings were the subject of a recent article in the New York Review of Books. An Orthodox Christian in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, called the Assad regime "very bad," an opinion for which he was arrested.

At the same time, he pointed out that Syrian Christians are free to express their beliefs and practices under the current regime, a freedom he doubts the opposition would grant. As one woman put it, no one has called her a kafir — unbeliever — in more than 30 years. She's convinced that this would change if the opposition came to power.

Even if this weren't the case, the fact is that Christians, like their Iraqi brethren, would be caught in the middle if an all-out civil war broke out. And while Iraqi Christians could flee to Syria, where would Syrian Christians flee?

It's easy for Westerners to insist on some ideal arrangement. We don't face a possible choice between leaving our ancestral homes or covering ourselves when we go to the market.

What's happening in Syria is tragic and outrageous. But we've already made life worse for the ancient Christian community in Iraq. Another one, the Copts in Egypt, is feeling increasingly vulnerable after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

While what happened in Egypt was beyond our control, we do control whether or how we will intervene in Syria. And our leaders may determine that intervening to save innocent lives is the right thing to do. But this time, we cannot and must not forget to count Christians among the innocent lives worth saving.

Folks, we've got to care about our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. What are we in the church doing to help them? As Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

Source: Breakpoint Commentary

Parents: Character-Building Tips for Your Kids

by Debbie Burns & Patty Cockrell

A recent rash of news stories highlights the positive in society’s youngest members: "Child Saves Kids from Bus Crash;" "Child Saves His Brother from Possible Abduction;" "Child Saves Family from House Fire."

But all too often, the news involving children indicates a dangerous lack of morality: 7- and 8-year-olds stealing cars; a 9-year-old’s recent shooting of a school classmate; a 12-year-old charged with armed robbery. A particularly bad one nearly 20 years ago shocked sisters Debbie Burns and Patty Cockrell. Two 10-year-old truants abducted a toddler in England, tortured the little boy and beat him to death.

It prompted the women to begin work on Tukie Tales: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow (www.tukietales.com), a series of five children’s books designed to help parents teach young children important values.

"There is something especially senseless in reading about small children committing sadistic crimes," Burns says. "We wanted to be part of a ‘positive push’ in the right direction."

The younger the child, the more impressionable they are, she says. We wanted to help busy parents scrambling to make ends meet teach children empathy, compassion, environmental awareness and other values.

"I don’t think parents are bad," she says. "But with all the economic worries, the job losses and home foreclosures, many are focused on working and worrying. It’s hard to also be thinking, ‘What value will I teach my child today?’ "

Burns and Cockrell offer tips for parents to help positively shape children:

Promote a love for nature:

Are your kids outdoors much? Parents who are busying shuttling their sons and daughters from one building to another may overlook the benefits of the great outdoors. Wilderness, however, has a therapeutic effect on indoor dwellers. Spending time in nature also helps children learn about their place in the world and the value of all the life that shares space with us.

Show the value of teamwork:

Working together toward a common goal doesn’t always come naturally to children – or adults. Many youngsters learn teamwork through sports, which is good but almost always includes a competitive element. It’s important for children to experience the added benefits of creating, problem-solving and getting chores done as a team. Parents should look for opportunities to point out their children’s great teamwork.

Make sure they appreciate safety:

No good parent wants to unnecessarily frighten their children, but carelessness leads to bad habits, injuries and opportunities for others to do them harm. The best medicine for any problem is prevention. Remember: Don’t take for granted that your young child knows what’s safe and what’s not. Some years ago, someone taught you that stoves can burn your hand – even though you can’t remember who or when it was.

Build their confidence with at least one skill:

Remember what it’s like to be 4 years old? Very young children come into this world with no previous experience, which means their brains are hungry for know-how. Knowledge and skills to a child are like water for a thirsty man in the desert.

Kindness counts:

It is one thing to teach kids the old idiom that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar. But children should also know that people who make kindness a habit tend to be happier; there is an inherent joy in helping others.

"I understand parents are busy earning a living to support their children," Cockrell says. "But who you raise in the process makes all the difference to the future world."

[Editor's Note: Burns and Cockrell are sisters and best friends. They were determined to instill honest and wholesome values in their children after establishing their families. Deeply affected by the bad news of the world, they decided to promote a better experience for children. The "Tukie Tales" series is written with compassion and love for all of the world’s children in the hope of making a positive difference.]

Recipe: Spicy Almonds
Ingredients:

3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes or powder
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and sprinkle the 1/2 cup sugar over them. Saute until the almonds become golden brown and the sugar caramelizes.

Remove almonds from the pan and toss in a bowl with the salt, cumin, pepper flakes/powder, and the remaining sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight box or tin.

Yield: 2 Cups

Variations:

Walnuts, pecans, cooked chickpeas and pumpkin seeds can be treated in the same way, with excellent results.

More Recipes/ Cooking Tips at Malankara World Cafe

Money Can't Buy Happiness
Freedom and personal autonomy are more important to people's well-being than money, according to a meta-analysis of data from 63 countries published by the American Psychological Association (June 2011).

While a great deal of research has been devoted to the predictors of happiness and life satisfaction around the world, researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand wanted to know one thing: What is more important for well-being, providing people with money or providing them with choices and autonomy?

"Our findings provide new insights into well-being at the societal level," they wrote in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by APA. "Providing individuals with more autonomy appears to be important for reducing negative psychological symptoms, relatively independent of wealth."

Psychologists Ronald Fischer, PhD, and Diana Boer, PhD, looked at studies involving three different psychological tests – the General Health Questionnaire, which measures four symptoms of distress (somatic symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression); the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, which tests how respondents feel at a particular moment; and the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which tests for emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment. Altogether, they examined a sample of 420,599 people from 63 countries spanning nearly 40 years.

Fischer and Boer statistically combined the results of the different studies, noting that their analysis was somewhat unusual in that the key variables were collected from different sources and that no single study included the two variables they were considering, i.e., wealth and individualism. (Participants only answered questions regarding one of the dependent variables of general health, anxiety or burnout.)

"Across all three studies and four data sets, we observed a very consistent and robust finding that societal values of individualism were the best predictors of well-being," the authors wrote. "Furthermore, if wealth was a significant predictor alone, this effect disappeared when individualism was entered."

In short, they found, "Money leads to autonomy but it does not add to well-being or happiness."

Previous research has shown that higher income, greater individualism, human rights and social equality are all associated with higher well-being. The effect of money on happiness has been shown to plateau – that is, once people reach the point of being able to meet their basic needs, more money leads to marginal gains at best or even less well-being as people worry about "keeping up with the Joneses." These patterns were mostly confirmed in their findings.

Overall, more autonomy and freedom as indexed by societal level individualism are associated with more well-being, but the road to well-being is bumpy at times.

In more traditional and collectivistic societies, increases in individualism can be associated with anxiety and lower well-being.

In more individualistic European countries, in contrast, greater individualism leads to more well-being.

"These increases in well-being with higher individualism, however, leveled off toward the extreme ends of individualism, indicating that too much autonomy may not be beneficial … but the very strong overall pattern was that individualism is associated with better well-being overall," they wrote. This means that in some of the most individualistic societies (such as the United States), the greater independence from family and loved ones appears to go together with increased levels of stress and ill-being."

Source: Chet Day

Humor: A Picture of a Call Centre Employee
We've all talked to this guy...At Last....A Picture of Him .

Mujibar was trying to get a job in India ..

The Personnel Manager said,
'Mujibar, You have passed all the tests, except one. Unless you pass it , you cannot qualify for this job.'

Mujibar said, 'I am ready.'

The manager said,
'Make a sentence using the words Yellow, Pink, and Green .'

Mujibar thought for a few minutes and said,
'Mister manager, I am ready.'

The manager said, 'Go ahead.'

Mujibar said,
'The telephone goes green, green,
And I pink it up, and say,
Yellow, this is Mujibar.'

Mujibar now works at a call centre.

No doubt you have spoken to him.
I know I have.

About Malankara World
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