Nepal Tour 2017 = Make a Difference Announcement

As you may know, I am going to be spending two weeks in April doing seminars and workshops in Kathmandu, Nepal. This will be my second speaking tour there, after November 2016.

Today, I wanted to announce one of my programs that I’ll be conducting there in Kathmandu. Titled “Make a Difference,” this two-day exclusive workshop will change your life and set you on the path towards becoming a leader and an achiever who stands out from the crowd, achieves their dreams, and leaves a legacy for others to follow.

This seminar includes brand new content that has never been used before, as well as some surprises that have been created exclusively for this learner group.

I’m excited for it and I know it’s going to be a wonderful time!

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Happiness Challenge

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Yesterday was the “International Day of Happiness” across the world.

From the time I was a kid, I’ve always believed that the best way to find happiness was to make someone else happy. And so I challenged myself to make someone else happy and see how that went. Here are a couple of the things that I did yesterday to spread happiness:

#1 = I paid for an old lady’s shopping as I was leaving the grocery store. I had some bonus in my shopping card and figured that she’d use it more. The look on her face when the cashier told her that her bill was already paid was priceless.

#2 = I sent a short email of appreciation to someone who I hand’t talked to in a while, but who I admired for what they were doing. They wrote me back after a couple of hours saying that they were having a rough day but my note made it a better one for them.

#3 = I spent an hour playing cards with my grandmother in the evening. She was thankful for the time and we both had fun together.

As you can see, I didn’t really do much, but what I did made three people’s days better. And in return, my day was made happier as well.

Random acts of kindness don’t need to take long, be expensive, or require a lot of prep. All it takes is a couple of minutes to make someone’s life happier. Trust me, your life will be happier in return!

You’ll Never Guess What Tom Brady Just Did!

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Congratulations to the New England Patriots on winning the 51st Super Bowl. What makes the win so astonishing is the fact that they were down 28-3 in the third quarter of the game and came back to win it 28-34! It was a legendary game that will go down through the ages as a true example of the fact that it’s ALWAYS too early to quit.

Take a cue from Tom Brady and his boys for your personal success. Not matter what the score, no matter what the outlook,  it ain’t ever over till it’s over. You’ve just got to dig in and keep fighting–and you just might make history!

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!

Of Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscars, Overalls, and Shovels

Of DiCaprio, Oscars, Overalls, and Shovels

How Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar Win Shows Us the Path for Success in Our Own Lives.

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Today, something great happened.

Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar.

At last!

In a career that has spanned over 25 years thus far, he has produced innumerable performances that have awed both critics and fans alike. He has played a wide range of characters such as a drug addict, a penniless romantic, a merciless king and his incarcerated brother, a gang lord, a con artist, a playboy millionaire, a troubled millionaire, a diamond smuggler, an undercover cop, a CIA spy, a dream planter, a delusional psyche patient, a racist slave owner, etc. His versatility is truly amazing. He continually sets the bar higher and each movie that he acts in gets better. Just when you think you have seen his best role till date, he surprises you with his next movie.

And yet, he had never won an Oscar.

Despite being nominated for his first Oscar at the age of 19 for his movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and following that up with five more Oscar nominations, that elusive trophy (what some would consider the “holy grail” of the acting world) kept passing him by. Award show after award show came and went and with each one the same picture was seen: The glowing and excited face of the latest Oscar winner while Leo stood in the back with a smile on his face—the same smile that adorns the faces of a bridesmaid whose one true love has married her best friend instead.

So stunning were his performances and so equally stunning his award snub that it soon became the stuff of comedy. Millions of memes flooded the internet over the years humouring his misfortune. A common joke was that one day a movie would be made of his life and how he never won an Oscar, and that the actor playing him would win the Oscar for his performance. Even a computer game on his chase for an Oscar was recently made.

Leo, it seemed, was destined to always come up short. Always the bridesmaid; never the bride.

And yet, today, everything changed. On the 28th of February 2016, Leonardo’s name was finally called out and, to his unspeakable joy, he was handed that coveted award. Leo had done it. He was finally an Oscar winner.

But he almost didn’t make the movie that won him the award.

“The Revenant”, the film of the year, the cinematic masterpiece that drew accolades from all corners of society and turned even the harshest of critics into adoring fans, the gold dust film that swept award shows around the country and got 12 Oscar nominations (eventually winning three), the groundbreaking movie that people will be talking about for years—almost didn’t get made!

To put it honestly, “The Revenant” was a movie that no one wanted to make.

The development of the film began all the way back in 2001, with Akiva Goldsman as the producer [1], Park Chan-wook as the director, and Samuel L Jackson as the main actor. [2] Park then quit the project and the development was stalled until 2010 when John Hillcoat came on board to direct the film and Christian Bale was chosen to play the main role. True to the bad luck of the film thus far, Hillcoat left the project in October 2010. [3] The project was left rudderless until Alejandro G. Iñárritu signed on to direct in August 2011. [4] It was then that he began to pursue Sean Penn and Leonardo DiCaprio to play the main roles. [5]

Excitement followed the bringing of Iñárritu on board and things began to happen. Rewrites were made and sequences were fleshed out. Leonardo Di Caprio had signed on to play the protagonist and Sean Penn had signed on to play the other main role. After 10 years, the project finally seemed to be coming together.

Then the film was put on hold in March 2012, as New Regency hired Iñárritu to direct another film, which he accepted. [6] Although that project never saw the light, it had pushed “The Revenant” to the back of Iñárritu’s mind and when he announced his next film in December 2012, “Birdman”—not “The Revenant”—was the word on his lips. [7] Finally, with “Birdman” complete, Iñárritu turned his attention to “The Revenant” once more.

However, financing soon became an issue and their big time financers Worldview Entertainment pulled out in July 2014 due to the departure of their CEO.

Disillusioned, Iñárritu threatened to quit. At this time, actors Leo and Sean Penn were also getting disillusioned with the film. Penn quit the project. Leo almost did as well. Back in 2011 when he sensed the turbulence around the project, he was advised to sign a “pay-or-play” contracts which stated that he would get paid whether or not the movie got made. After Sean Penn’s departure, Leo too wanted to leave the film and focus on his other upcoming projects, but was convinced to stay as he would get paid regardless.

In the end, it was the “pay-or-play” contracts that convinced the producers to finally go ahead and make the movie as they were going to have to lose money anyways. And so they brought Annapurna Pictures on board and began filming in October of 2014. Tom Hardy soon joined in as well. [8]

And the rest is history.

Today, Leonardo Di Caprio stands on the coveted stage of the Dolby Theater, finally cradling the illusive golden statuette that symbolizes his ultimate achievement as an actor—for a film that he almost didn’t do.

I believe there is a profound lesson to be learned here. And that lesson is this: sometimes the things that we like to do the least may reward us in the ways that we desire most.

I’ll say that again. Sometimes, the things that we like to do the least may reward us in the ways that we desire most.

So take a look at your life. What successes are you looking for that seem to be eluding you? What area of your life do you seem to be eternally striving for glory in without success? Maybe it’s time to do something that you don’t exactly want to do in order to get the success that you are after?

We all have things that we avoid in our life’s road that would bring us success if we pursued them. But we don’t pursue them because they often come labelled as “Hard Work” or dressed in the disguise of difficulty. I know I have turned down my fair share of opportunities that have come across my path because I didn’t like the way that they presented themselves. And by that, I mean that I didn’t like the fact that they looked like a lot of work.

One of my favourite quotes of all time was said by the great inventor Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by many because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

What opportunity in your life is knocking on your door wearing overalls and handing you a shovel? Maybe it’s time to roll up your sleeves and join in on the construction crew. Who knows, maybe in the end you’ll find that the house of success that you built—and possibly against your will—might just the be the place that you come to call home.

 

Links:

[1] http://www.ign.com/articles/2001/08/09/akiva-goldsman-mauled-by-grizzly

[2] http://www.slashfilm.com/tom-hardy-leonardo-dicaprio-alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-revenant/

[3] http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/18531

[4] http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/babel-director-alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-attached-wbs-revenant-exclusive-30191/

[5] http://deadline.com/2011/11/leonardo-dicaprio-sean-penn-wanted-men-for-new-regencys-the-revenant-191364/

[6] http://variety.com/2012/film/news/new-regency-backing-inarritu-pic-1118051246/

[7] http://deadline.com/2012/12/a-departure-for-alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-hell-next-direct-a-comedy-384673/

[8] http://variety.com/2014/film/news/leonardo-dicaprios-survival-drama-the-revenant-attracts-megan-ellisons-annapurna-1201261423/

 

Make a Wish 2015 = The Story of 1000 Elderly People who were Gifted a Merry Christmas!

Happy Weekend, Everyone! As you know, I was blessed to spend most of November and December participating in the “Make a Wish” project for 1000 elderly people across eight cities in southern India. Here is the video of the completed project. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for all those of you who helped to make it possible!

* “Make a Wish” is a project that Family Services, Hyderabad  has been conducting for the Elderly around south India for the past five years. In brief, we ask the Elderly residents of the Home for the Aged to write what they wanted most for Christmas. We then get each of the Elderly their desired gifts and present it to them at a special Christmas party at their Home. Over the past five years, we’ve conducted the “Make a Wish” project in seven Elderly homes around India. This means that almost 2000 gifts have been distributed to the Elderly across the South of India!  See more about it here: