The Two Falcons

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The Two Falcons

 

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “Maybe I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

beautiful-falcon-flying-wallpaper-1502In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, ” It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly — to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But instead of doing that, we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

So let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight.

 

If you are feeling like the falcon and would like help in “cutting the branch”, we are here to help you! You can sign up for our “Dream Coaching” here:

http://www.thirumurdavidkiran.com/dream-coaching/

Alternatively, you can choose to attend one of our “Be the Hero” Events and learn how to take control of your life and make it a successful one.

http://www.thirumurdavidkiran.com/be-the-hero-of-your-own-story/

 

 

“Reflecting on 2016” part 4: My Goals for 2017

(Note: For the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. Thank you for joining my thoughts and meditations. This is the final instalment. Hope you enjoy it!)

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Today is the final instalment of my reflecting on the year gone by and the year to come. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the journey with me so far and I pray that it has been a blessing to your life in some way. The things I’ve shared have been deep lessons that are very personal to me and it has taken a bit of courage to share them, as I generally tend to be a private person. But, as someone told me years ago when I was first starting out in my blogging, people want to see the real you. Everyone can relate to real stories of struggles, joys, and triumphs. And so I hope my time with you has helped you to not only know me better, but that it has encouraged you in some way.

Today, I am going to be tackling the final point of this series: my goals for 2017. This should be a fun one! Once again, this is in no particular order. Here I go:

 

– I want to take time to go through life slowly. I want to enjoy each and every minute of every day. I don’t want to be rushing down the street so fast that I can’t admire the sunset. I don’t want to be focusing so much on what I am going to say that I miss the beauty of listening to the person who I am communicating with. I don’t want to be so eager to reach somewhere that I miss the journey along the way. I don’t want to eat too quickly that I don’t savor the scent and the taste of the dish. I don’t want a day to go by where I don’t go slow at some point and just enjoy the simple joys of being alive.

– I want to be more grateful for each and every thing in my life–good or bad. I want to be able to go through life with a smile on my face and a praise on my lips. Sure, life plain sucks at times but it is also beautiful. I want to celebrate that.

– I want to show more love and care to the people around me. I want each person that interact with to feel genuine interest and care from me. I want every interaction that I have to have meaning and to leave someone feeling better. This, of course, will only happen if I am going slow enough to value these interactions and if I am living a life of positivity and gratefulness. It all ties in together.

– I also want to focus on my health this year. It’s been something I’ve let slide over the past few years and I can’t afford to let it slide any further. This year, I am going to focus on making myself better.

– I also want to get one of my books published this year. It’s been a goal for a few years now, but this year I will do my utmost to make it a reality.

– My final goal for 2017 is to not be afraid to step out and challenge myself to claim opportunities when they arise. I will be writing more about this in the next few weeks–please do join me for that–but I want to begin by setting the premise for a year of stepping out. I have always been a cautious person (more about this in my next blog post). I’ve let countless opportunities go by me because I deliberated them for too long. This year, I want to have the courage to chase things that I’ve been afraid to chase before. I want to look back at the end of 2017 with satisfaction and not with regret. Regret comes from knowing that we could have done something but we didn’t, or could have done something differently. This year, I want to my best to avoid that by taking chances as they come. As Celine Dion once said, “What do you say to taking chances?” This year, I want my response to be: “Amen and bring it on!”

 

Happy New Year to you all!!!

 

“Reflecting on 2016” part 3: My Top Lessons Learned

(Note: For the next few days, I’ll be reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. You are welcome to join my thoughts and meditations. Have fun getting to know the “real me.”)

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Today I continue my reflecting on the year gone by. Today I want to talk about my lessons. Yesterday, I spoke about my disappointments. It was those disappointments that taught me the crucial lessons that I am going to share with you below. Often, we feel that it’s a bad thing to have disappointments now and then. But they are perfect springboards for lessons that can define our lives and help us on the road to success. So here are my lessons. Once again, these are in no particular order.

– I learned that sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned. Sometimes, despite our best intentions and our meticulous planning, there are things outside of our control that come in the way of our plans. That’s just the way that life is. Although it’s frustrating, it helps to accept that some things are not going to pan out the way you thought. That doesn’t mean that you give up on them or “let them go” because they were “not meant to be.” Rather, it just means finding another way to go at them again. But I don’t have to feel bad because plans changed and things fell through. These obstacles are a part of life. Time to figure out how to overcome them.

– I’ve also learned that I need to be more realistic with my time and my planning. I tend to give myself less time in a particular endeavour than is necessary. Some things just take time to work out and I have to be prepared for that. A quote that I read last year that has become kind of like a mantra for me is this: “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in 10 years.” Maybe I didn’t get through that project this year. That doesn’t mean that I won’t see the results down the line. Don’t give up on something just because it takes time to see the result.

– I’ve also learned that I need to savor life along the way. I’ve learnt that life goes by too fast. I met my one-year-old niece last year in January and she was crawling and cooing about. I met her again in October and she was running around and talking up a storm. Amazing how much she’d changed in a short period of time! It’s more noticeable with babies, but each of us go through similar changes each year. Think about it. Your family has changed in January 2016. The environment has changed. Society has changed. The world has changed. Your friends have changed. YOU have changed. Your job may have changed. The things you did for fun this year are probably not going to be repeated again. Question is, did you stop to savor those changes along the way? That was my question to myself this New Year’s Eve. Did I enjoy each moment of the vacation with my family, or was I busy checking my phone because of important work waiting for me at home? Did I stop to hang out with my brother when he wanted to watch a movie and chill or was I busy trying to complete a rough draft of a training module. Did I stop to listen to the parrots chattering in the mango tree outside my house or did I close the window because it disturbed my conference call? Our family vacation was the first one together after nine years. Who knows when we’ll meet next? My brother has now moved to Spain to pursue a career in sports. Who knows when we’ll get the chance to hang out again? The mango tree outside our house was struck by lightening and collapsed during a storm. Now there are no more chattering parrots. It’s about time I learn not to be too busy making a life that I have no time to live.

– I’ve also learned the power of gratitude and of being grateful for everything that life sends my way. I may not have a perfect life, but I am blessed! That is good enough for me.

– I’ve also learned that everything I’ve “learned” this year I have spoken about or written about before or coached someone into. That in itself is a lesson for me. Sometimes, we need to stop and see whether we are “practising what we preach” and “living our sermons.” Knowing something, agreeing with something, and even teaching something isn’t a substitute for LIVING something. As a man that I’ve admired all my life once told me “Before you can pour out, you have to pour in.” I’ve got to take my own medicine once in a while and learn to live the things that I promote. Then my words become more than book knowledge, because I am living it through my own experiences.

– I’ve also learned that it is never too late to start again. And that is my goal for 2017…which I am going to talk about tomorrow! See you there!

 

“Reflecting on 2016” part 2 = My Biggest Disappointments

“Reflecting on 2016” part 2: Biggest Disappointments:

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(Note: For the next few days, I’ll be reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. You are welcome to join my thoughts and meditations. Have fun getting to know the “real me.”)

I had a few reservations about posting this section, because I am not someone who likes to focus too much on the negative. I tend to look for the positive in each thing that I come across, so I was hesitant to post something that had a negative focus. But life has its ups and downs and the way that one generally learns from life is through the “downs.” So in order for me to clearly define and express my lessons for 2017, I need to outline the disappointments of 2016 that lead me to learn them. Once again, these are in no particular order.

– One big disappointment for me was that a few of my speaking tours failed to materialise. At the beginning of the year, I had engagements in South America and the UK. At the end of the year, both had failed to materialise. I had turned down other offers because I was focusing on those and ended up missing out. In other words, I had kept all my eggs in one basket and that basket fell off my bicycle.

– Another disappointment for me was that I didn’t complete the writing of my book. I was hoping to have it done in time for a Jan 2017 release, but I didn’t allocate enough time and focus to it as I needed. I underestimated the time needed and overestimated what I could accomplish in that time.

– Another disappointment for me was that I failed to give enough focus to my health through the year. I put a lot of effort into my projects and my seminars and my talks and my events, but I often let my health get crowded out of my schedule. While I was accumulating experience and success, I was also accumulating kilos and health issues. I now am ahead in my career life, but also behind on my health life and it’s already costing me. In the words of a teacher that I admire so much, “This I ought to have done while not leaving the other undone.”

– Another disappointment–and I think that this was my biggest disappointment of the year–was the fact that I went through it so fast. My mind tends to work in boxes. I can define my year by projects and events. I know in Jan this thing happens, in Feb these two things happen, in March is this event, etc. My problem last year was that I went from project to project, from event to event, from month to month. All my focus was consumed by the current project and when it was done, my focus was immediately taken up by the next one. While the work was important, I realised that during that time I forgot to live. I had forgotten to enjoy life. I had forgotten to take time with my family. I had forgotten to be present at each moment. I took a sort of pride in being busy, not realising what I was losing in my busyness.

That’s the summary of my disappointments in 2016. Join me soon to hear about my lessons that I learnt that I’m going to apply to 2017.

 

To Be an Olympian

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To Be an Olympian

By Thirumur David Kiran

 

Over the past few weeks, the Olympics has claimed the interest of the world as 11,000 athletes from 207 countries have dazzled one and all with their strength, skill, speed, endurance, mental toughness, and overall athleticism. World records have been broken, previously unattainable heights have been achieved, memories have been made, and moments have been experienced that have captured the imagination of the viewing audience and elevated their makers into instant stardom—some of them into immediate legend!

According to the statistic team of the BBC website, an estimated 3.5 billion people were engaged with the Olympics worldwide—through viewing on television or through commenting on mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I will happily admit that I was included in that figure.

I am a massive sports fan. True, I don’t play sports all that well at the moment, but I have an avid interest in viewing sports and learning about new sports. In another life I would probably be a sports anchor or journalist. But in my present life, sports are my way of relaxing and are a big hobby for me.

As such, the Olympic Games are a very happy time for the sport’s fan in me and I generally try to adapt my schedule to be able to keep up with the major events. This year, that meant waking up two hours earlier than usual in order to watch the final events of the day. That has resulted in about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, as my days are usually quite full.  This schedule has truly deepened my relationship with the dark beauty we call coffee, and I will confess before all that my love for it has grown in manifold ways over the past few weeks.

Aside from enjoying the close races, the nail-biting finishes, the grandstand flourishes of ability, and the incredible feats of strength, I have come to have a healthy admiration for the amount of athleticism that these sportsmen and sportswomen. And it isn’t just about their rippling muscles and their incredibly toned physique. It’s their ability to run for an hour and then dig in and sprint the last lap. It’s their ability to swim at top speed day after day (sometimes two or three times a day) and still come out on top. It’s their ability to jump, flip, somersault, and twist in ways that the athletes of yesteryear could only dream of. It’s their ability to fight through pain and exhaustion to produce results. It’s their ability to have the mental grit that pushes them across the line ahead of the rest of the field.

Once in four years, these athletes have their moment in the sun. Once in four years, these athletes command the attention of the nations as they push all boundaries in search of gold. Once in four years, these athletes have a chance to become legend.

Once in four years, the world stops and admires these athletes. Once in four years, the world applauds these men and women as heroes for their feats.

However, that is not the whole story.

What people fail to realize is that it takes years and years of trying, failing, pain, agony, exhaustion, sore muscles, blood, sweat, and tears in order to produce a performance that takes them to a medal finish. What is seen on display is but a fraction.

A 100 meter dash takes under 10 seconds to complete, but years to perfect.

A vault is over in a single motion, but takes ages to master and improve.

A swim dash can finish in under a minute, but takes uncountable hours to train for.

Indeed, an Olympic performance is but a fraction—the tip of the iceberg. It is a culmination of effort, a synopsis of a lifetime of training. And while we must applaud achievement, we must not forget the hard work it took to get them there.

Michael-Phelps3Michael Phelps (31), winner of 28 medals and holder of numerous records across five Olympics, trained for eight hours a day for five straight years during his teenage years without a single day off! His workouts were considered to be inhumane and his coach was dubbed “the mad scientist” but he continued them through his career, pushing his body beyond what most people would consider as the breaking point.

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Simone Biles (19), winner of 5 medals (four gold) at Rio and highly touted as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, grew up in a foster home and began training at age 7 as a way to escape. She trained for hours and hours for years. Even her coach told her not to train too hard, to which Simone responded, “I want to do this!”

 

mo-farah-double-double-athletics-rio-2016-olympics_3769224Mo Farah (33), winner of the 5,000m and 10,000m gold two Olympics in a row, grew up in the war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia before moving to London.           He originally had no interest in running (he wanted to play football) until his coach bribed him into it. After slacking off in the beginning, he made the decision that he wanted to be the best and then began training like no other distance runner. He went to Kenya to train with the great marathon runners, and then continued to train there over the years, even leaving his wife to go home alone after their honeymoon because he needed to get back to training. He eventually moved to the USA to continue training. He implemented crazy training techniques such as sprinting at high altitudes in order to increase lung capacity, underwater treadmills to build stamina, weight training to reduce bobbing arms, etc.

The Great Britain women’s hockey team won gold for the first time in their history at Rio.74400395-england-hockey-sport-large_trans++PjDZOdMgceQ0ik-fUDgEdn5kBUHVUPIOFeoJr9sPfNk The players in a later interview talked about the intensive training that they had undergone over the past few years. Not content with the usual training regime, the coach doubled their training exercises for the week. In addition, the coach wanted to improve their ability to think well when exhausted, so every Thursday he would have them work out till they were practically collapsing from exhaustion and then he’d make them do tests and quizzes to improve mental sharpness. It paid off, as after a gruelling final went past extra time and into penalties, they scored all of their penalties, while their opponents missed three.

These few stories are just a tiny percentage of the stories that are out there. I could have looked at any athlete from any country and found a similar story there. Indeed, just a bit of study will throw up many more examples of hard work, of training, of pushing, of fighting, of going beyond exhaustion and going beyond pain to produce their best.

Every four years, the world takes notice of crowning moments and achievements—moments and achievements that were a lifetime in the making. The incredible dash, the world record finish, the mind-blowing feat—these all are the culmination of years of hard effort.

Muhammad Ali put it best: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

Your success too will be the result of your hard work and effort. All those nights with less sleep, all those hours spent at your desk, all those letters that you send out, all those people that you meet, all those times when you are tired, all those times that you get rejected, all those moments you feel like a failure, all those moments that you want to quit—those are what make you a champion.

One day, the world will sit back and applaud your success. And you alone will know the hundreds of hours of suffering that brought that success about. Your success will be the culmination of your effort, the synopsis of a life of dedication.

May that motivation push you through the difficulties of today. Suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a Champion!

Heroes, Hooligans, and History-Makers

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Heroes, Hooligans, and History-Makers

~ By Thirumur David Kiran

 

It’s been a week since the passing away of one of the greatest men of the 20th Century.

Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) was a boxer—and a great one as well. Yet, he was so much more than that. He was an icon, a motivator, a fighter, a rebel, and even a saviour to some. He was more than just the poster boy for a golden generation of heavyweight fighters—he was the poster boy for revolution, for making a difference, for standing up for what one believes is right. He didn’t just talk about holding to one’s beliefs; he showed that resolution when he gave up his title, his career, and some of his prime boxing years for a cause that he deemed right. He was an inspiration, a motivation, and a man who changed the world.

Today is his funeral and in the past week, countless tributes, obituaries, and statements have been written in honor of the great man. Trillions of alphabets have been spun into billions of words across millions of documents posted on all forms of electronic media—each with the intention of appreciating the passing legend. I personally have read dozens of them over the past week, as Muhammad Ali was a man that I personally looked up to and admired.

One article in particular caught my eye. It was written by Mike Costello of the BBC and was titled: “The Kid Who Lost a Bike and Found a Calling.” [1]

If you know me, you will know that I am intrigued with back story. I think that we tend to look upon and admire the end results of the journey of success, yet fail to study the genesis of the success idea and the journey that was travelled in order to bring it about. We obsess over the outward manifestations of success without seeing all the work that went on behind it. As one of my favorite quotes state:

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character” – Alan T. Armstrong

I enjoy tracing that journey. Moreover, I am intrigued by what kick-started a successful career. I like to call them “genesis stories.” I always want to know how a success got started. I want to know what made a man what he is. I find—more often than not—that each story has a very interesting beginning. Muhammad Ali’s was no different.

Here is his genesis story: On a cold a windy evening in the downtown area of Louisville, Kentucky, a 12-year-old boy and his friends were scouring stalls inside the Home Exhibition Center. There was a big exhibition going on and they were hoping that they’d score some free popcorn or candy from a generous stall owner or two.

The year was 1954 and the streets weren’t always the safest on this part of town. When the boy emerged from the center, he found to his horror that his bike had been stolen. Anger and frustration came over him like a cloud and he began muttering curses and intended threats towards the unknown hooligan who had taken his prized possession. Oh, how he would hurt him when he found him!

A police officer happened to be walking by at the moment and overheard the boy muttering about how he was going to “whup” the thief who had taken his bicycle. The officer, Joe E. Martin, remarked to the lad, “Sonny, perhaps you’d better learn how to punch before you take on the thief.” He extended the invitation to young Cassius to come to the Columbia Training Center, where he was boxing instructor. The boy showed up the very next day. And the rest is history.

joeMartinToday, as Muhammad Ali’s body makes its final journey to its place of rest, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect not just on the man, the myth, and the legend, but to give credit to the man who made him what he was.

I cannot imagine a world that hadn’t been touched by Muhammad Ali. Our culture would not be the same without his contribution on it. Not only would fans have missed out on the breathtaking entertainment that he provided through his boxing skills and his theatric personality, but the world would have missed out on his standing up for the truth and his fight for the right. The world would be a lesser place had he not graced it.

This is why I feel it only fair to make this tribute not just to the great Ali, but to Joe Martin as well.

It was Joe Martin who directed him toward the passion that made him great. It was Joe Martin who first gave him the skills that he needed to become “the greatest.” It was Joe Martin who saw beyond the angry young boy in the streets of Louisville who was fixing for a fight and saw a man who could take his fight to the world and make it a better place.

Yes, the world would be a lesser place without Muhammad Ali. And we have Joe Martin to thank for that.

In my profession as a leadership speaker and motivator, I do a lot of teacher training. As schools get ready to kick off the new school year, it is my job to inspire and motivate the teachers and equip them with the tools that they need for the big job that they have ahead. The school year in India is kicking off next Monday, and so I have spent this week with a number of teachers in group settings.

One of the things that I try to help most teachers realize is how important their job is. If any of you are teachers or have been teachers before, you will know how easy it is to get burnt out on your job. Every day, you come face to face with 40 children who are all unique in character and mood swings. Every day, you have to try to convince them to learn. And it is a struggle. Some days, you don’t even want to do it.

I’ll never forget the joke that my father used to tell us about the boy lying in his bed, refusing to go to school. His mother came to the room to try to convince him, but he said: “Mom, I don’t want to go to school. Everybody hates me there. The students hate me, the teachers hate me, the cleaning staff hates me—even the canteen chef hates me! Please don’t make me go.” To which the mother replies, “Son, you have to go! You are the principal!”

As a teacher, sometimes it is easy to compare with those who have more glamorous jobs or are in roles where they receive more recognition and/or publicity. And we in society take on the same view. When we speak of heroes, teachers almost never come to mind. Politicians, actors, scientists, CEOs, founders of big organizations, sport stars—these are all the first names on our lips when the word hero pops into our head. I throw out this question every time to the teachers that I speak to and receive the same answers.

But then I present this reality to them: Every politician, actor, scientist, CEO, founder, and sport star, was—once upon a time—a child in a classroom. Before they became a success, there was a genesis story that made them that way. And more often than not, that genesis story started with a teacher or a mentor—someone who saw past who they were to what they could become.

They say that a teacher affects history; you can never tell where their influence stops. I wholeheartedly agree to that. I tell my teachers, “If you ever want to change the world, please stay right where you are!” There is no need to go out and try to make a difference—the difference is being made every day in their classroom. So what if they are not politicians, actors, scientists, CEOs, founders, or sport stars? The kids in their class will be all that one day and more!

I hold teachers in the highest regard. I save my choicest praise for the ones who help to groom little minds into the future of our planet. They are the ones who shape the destiny of our society and our world.

And so today as the world celebrates Muhammad Ali, I want to also celebrate Joe Martin—the man who gave the world Muhammad Ali. And I want to celebrate all of you wonderful teachers out there—the men and women who are giving us the hope of our future.

May you never see your job as insignificant. May you never see yourself as “just a teacher.” May you never see your job as anything less than it is: a platform to change the world from. You are making a difference. You are changing the world. You are making history. You are heroes! And we are forever grateful to you!

 

[1] http://www.bbc.com/sport/boxing/21533990

 

In Tribute to Mothers

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A little boy went up to his mother and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. This is what it said:

– For cutting the grass: $5.00
– For cleaning my room this week: $1.00
– For going to the store for you: $.50
– Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: $.25
– Taking out the garbage: $1.00
– For getting a good report card: $5.00
– For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00
Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there expectantly, and you could see the memories flashing through her mind. So she picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:
– For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me, no charge.
– For all the nights that I’ve sat up with you, doctored you and prayed for you, no charge.
– For all the trying times, and all the tears through the years, there’s no charge.
– For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead, no charge.
– For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose, there’s no charge, son.
– And when you add it all up, the full cost of real love is no charge.

When he finished reading what his mother had written, there were great big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight up at his mother and said, “Mom, I sure do love you.” And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: “ALREADY PAID.”

 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you! Thank you for being the best Mom ever!