Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Become a Better Leader

Great quotes inspire us to change, to grow, and to become our best selves. I researched thousands of quotes from successful leaders for my last book, to capture one for each chapter, covering 11 simple concepts to become a better leader. My recent LinkedIn post explaining the 11 concepts became the 2nd most read article in LinkedIn history (at 1.3 million views!) So, I'm sharing my favorite quotes here- those which inspired me enough that I published them in the book, along with the runners up. Here are my 25 favorite likeable leadership quotes. I hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired me:


1) "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway

2) "The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them." - Ralph Nichols


3) "Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today." -Robert McKee

4) "If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story." —Barbara Greene


5) "I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I've become. If I had, I'd have done it a lot earlier." -Oprah Winfrey

6) "Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet - thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing - consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust." -Lance Secretan


7) "As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth." -John Whittier

8) "There is no persuasiveness more effectual than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life." -Joseph Berber Lightfoot

Team Playing

9) "Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds." -SEAL Team Saying

10) "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller


11) "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." -Charles Swindoll

12) '"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." - Bill Gates


13) "When you're finished changing, you're finished." -Ben Franklin

14) "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." –Charles Darwin


15) "The only way to do great work is to love the work you do." -Steve Jobs

16) "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." -Albert Einstein

Surprise and Delight

17) "A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless." -Charles de Gaulle

18) “Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” - Boris Pasternak


19) "Less isn't more; just enough is more." -Milton Glaser

20) “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo daVinci


21) "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." -Gilbert K Chesterton

22) "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." -Friedrich Nietzsche


23) “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter F. Drucker

24) "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." —John Quincy Adams

25) "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." —John F. Kennedy


Those are my favorite leadership quotes. Now it's your turn. Which of these quotes speak most to you? What are your favorite leadership quotes? And which qualities make you a likeable leader? Let me know in the comments below- and here's to all of us becoming better leaders!


*This post was adapted from a post featured on the Likeable Media blog and blog, and a section of Likeable Business.

Dave Kerpen is the leader of two companies, as CEO of Likeable Localand Chairman of Likeable Media. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of two books, Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business.


Quotes and Random Pics

He/she is a wise person who knows what NOT to say.
- Anon.




Photo: It's a growing problem -- owls on guitars. I've had three in the past month alone. Suggestions anyone?

Photo: Pachyderm piano lesson ...

Photo: Buon compleanno, grandi ricordi ..

Photo: Ha!

Photo: Chortle.


Photo: New capsule - 
c. 1936: Steel guitar and amplifier

c. 1936: Steel guitar and amplifier

Photo: The Beatles waiting to cross Abbey Road ...
The Beatles waiting to cross Abbey Road ...


Maintain Mindful Awareness off the Meditation Cushion

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach

If you're afraid to let someone else see your weakness, take heart: Nobody's perfect. Besides, your attempts to hide your flaws don't work as well as you think they do.
Julie Morgenstern, O Magazine, April 2004

Every clarification breeds new questions. 
- Arthur Bloch

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the 
man who cannot read them."
- Mark Twain 

Be not slow to visit the sick.
- Ecclesiastes

Saturday, July 20, 2013

TEDxSunsetPark - Diana Winston - The Practice of Mindfulness

Published on Jul 4, 2012

Former Buddhist nun Diana Winston is the director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA Mindful Awareness Center, and the author of several books on mindfulness and meditation. 

With more than 20 years in the study and practice of mindfulness, Diana explains how routinely taking the time to be in the moment can have a profound impact on our everyday lives and relationships.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

Category - Education
License - Standard YouTube License


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Alan Wallace: Toward the First Revolution in the Mind Sciences

Alan Wallace is a favorite speaker of mine because his enthusiasm is catchy - he simplifies difficult information and leaves you wanting to learn more... for instance, his enthusiasm for William James, who he calls the first psychologist/philosopher to study the mind scientifically...

Alan Wallace

Dynamic  lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind.

Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford.

With his unique background, Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world. 


Born in Pasadena, California in 1950, Alan Wallace was raised and educated in the United States, Scotland, and Switzerland. In 1968, he enrolled in the University of California at San Diego, where for two years he prepared for a career in ecology, with a secondary interest in philosophy and religion. However, during his third year of undergraduate studies at the University of Göttingen in West Germany, his interests shifted more towards philosophy and religion; and he began to study Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan language.

In 1971, he discontinued his formal Western education to go to Dharamsala, India, where he studied Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, and language for four years. During his first year in Dharamsala, he lived in the home of the Dr. Yeshi Dhonden, personal physician of H. H. the Dalai Lama. Throughout his stay in Dharamsala, he frequently served as interpreter for Dr. Dhonden, and under his guidance he completed a translation of a classic Tibetan medical text. In 1973, he began training in the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, in which all instruction, study, and debate were conducted in Tibetan.

In 1975, at the request of the Dalai Lama, he joined the eminent Tibetan Buddhist scholar Geshe Rabten, in Switzerland, first at the Tibet Institute in Rikon, and later at the Center for Higher Tibetan Studies in Mt. Pèlerin. Over the next four years, he continued his own studies and monastic training, translated Tibetan texts, interpreted for Geshe Rabten and many other Tibetan Lamas, including the Dalai Lama, and taught Buddhist philosophy and meditation in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, and England.

At the end of 1979, he left Switzerland to begin a four-year series of contemplative retreats, first in India, under the guidance of the Dalai Lama, and later in Sri Lanka and the United States.

In 1984, after a thirteen-year absence from Western academia, he enrolled at Amherst College to complete his undergraduate education. There he studied physics, Sanskrit, and the philosophical foundations of modern physics, and in 1987 he graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa. His honors thesis was subsequently published in two volumes: Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind (Snow Lion: 1996) and Transcendent Wisdom: A Commentary on the Ninth Chapter of Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life(Snow Lion, 1988).

Following his sojourn at Amherst, he spent nine months in contemplative retreat in the high desert of California. Then in 1988, he joined the Tibetan contemplative Gen Lamrimpa to assist in leading a one-year group contemplative retreat near Castle Rock, Washington, during which ways were explored for refining and stabilizing the attention.

In the autumn of 1989, he entered the graduate program in religious studies at Stanford University, where he pursued research in the interface between Buddhism and Western science and philosophy. These studies are closely related to his role as an interpreter and organizer for the "Mind and Life" conferences with the Dalai Lama and Western scientists beginning in 1987 and continuing to the present. In 1992, sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute, which he helped to found, he traveled widely in Tibet, conducting a preliminary survey of living Buddhist contemplatives. In 1995, he completed his doctoral dissertation on attentional training in Tibetan Buddhism and its relation to modern psychological and philosophical theories of attention and consciousness. A modified version of his dissertation has been published under the title The Bridge of Quiescence: Experiencing Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (Open Court Press, 1998).

During the period 1992-1997, he served as the principal interpreter for the Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche, a senior Lama of the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism. During this time, he translated five classic Tibetan treatises on contemplative methods for exploring the nature of consciousness. From 1995-1997, he was a Visiting Scholar in the departments of religious studies and psychology at Stanford University. During this time, he and his wife, Dr. Vesna A. Wallace, produced a new translation from the Sanskrit and Tibetan of the classic text A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life (Snow Lion, 1997), and he also conducted research for his primary academic work thus far, The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness.

From 1997-2001, Alan Wallace taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he held classes on Tibetan Buddhist studies and the interface between science and religion. His most recent academic books are The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground(Columbia University Press, 2003), and his latest popular book is Buddhism with an Attitude: The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind-Training (Snow Lion 2001). After leaving UCSB in June 2001, he spent six months in a solitary contemplative retreat in the high desert of California. He now lives in Santa Barbara, where he is the president and founder of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, and he teaches Buddhist philosophy and meditation throughout Europe and North America.

Staying in the Now: Mental Health Through Mindfulness

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, director of the UCSF Depression Center, explores mindfulness as a technique for maintaining mental health. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [2/2010] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 17626]

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Conquering Indecision

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Writing Methods of Henry Miller

In 1932-1933, while working on what would  become his first published novel, Tropic of Cancer, Miller devised and adhered to a stringent daily routine to propel his writing. 

Among it was this list of eleven commandments, found in Henry Miller on Writing — a fine addition to these 9 essential books on reading and writing, part of this year’s resolution to read more and write better.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chronically Busy or Distracted?


Studies show that chronic distraction is a direct cause of unhappiness.

Most of us desire to be productive in life, constantly moving forward towards our goals. We even wear “being too busy” as a badge of honor declaring that we are on our way to some version of success that we have in our minds. A better life we tell ourselves. The simple fact is that this way of life of racing forward (in and of itself) causes unhappiness.

There are many articles out there that speak to this, however here’s a snippet from an article in Psychology Today:

…activities with the most mind wandering included personal grooming, commuting, and, of course, working.

Daydreaming appeared to lead to unhappiness, not unhappiness leading to daydreaming. Unhappiness certainly does not help chronic pain; there are too many studies that can support that conclusion.

The article also mentions what we can do to promote mindfulness and/or focus (that antidote): meditation, exercise, sex, conversation, listening to music, walking, eating, praying, cooking, shopping, caring for children, and reading.

When we get lost in thought we can easily become overwhelmed, and even become anxious about being… anxious.

It’s easy to see how chronic distraction creates conditions for racing thoughts and anxiety, which causes unhappiness.

So how can we still maintain our productive lives and be happy?

Meditation. Plain and simple.

It’s clear to me that meditation is nature’s most powerful anti-depressant in existence for a number of reasons, but most practically it’s because meditation teaches us to focus our minds in a relaxed state, therefore our minds aren’t constantly racing and reacting to the world.

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing undisturbed?

Not planning the next thing, or dwelling on the last thing?

The present moment sounds like a familiar, ordinary place we live. And yet, most of us hardly visit, much less live in this place. The truth is, we spend hardly any time in the present moment.

Oddly enough, the quality of our life has nothing to do with the events that happen to us, as much as how we are conditioned to experience what happens to us. Both the “good” and the “bad.” With meditation practice we can recondition ourselves to let the negative events simply pass through or around us, teaching us along the way. We can equally learn how to amplify and savor the positive moments through mindful living.

There is no right or wrong experience to have while meditating, however we need a basic framework to work from in order to set the stage for a meditative state to occur.

Here’s a tip:

Meditation is not about having any thoughts or emotions enter your awareness because this would entail control, and control is a contracted state. 
Ideally we want to let go, and let Flow. We want to step back and become the Observer of our thoughts and emotions as they come and go, without judgement and with a relaxed, focused mind.


By Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

TODAY books 

Jeff Bridges is an acclaimed, Oscar-winning actor. Bernie Glassman is teacher of Zen Buddhism. Both men are devoted social activists. 

In “The Dude and The Zen Master,” the two friends candidly discuss myriad aspects of life and the importance of doing good in a difficult world. 

Here's an excerpt:
Bernie: People get stuck a lot because they’re afraid to act; in the worst case, like the master bowler, we get so attached to some end result that we can’t function. We need help just to move on, only life doesn’t wait.
Jeff: And it doesn’t help to say, I’ve got to have a mind-set with no expectations, because that’s also an expectation. So you can get into a spinning conundrum.

Bernie: There’s a little ditty that sort of sums this up.

Jeff: Hit me with it.

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. 
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. 
Life is but a dream.
Imagine that you’re rowing down a stream and you’re trying to figure out how to do it. Do I first row with the right oar and then with the left, or is it the other way around? What does my shoulder do, what does my arm do? It’s like Joe, the centipede with a hundred legs, trying to figure out which leg to move first.

Jeff: Art Carney of the centipedes.

He can’t get anywhere, just like the person in the rowboat. And while he’s hung up with all those questions, the stream is pulling him on and on. So you want to row, row, row your boat—gently. Don’t make a whole to-do about it. Don’t get down on yourself because you’re not an expert rower; don’t start reading too many books in order to do it right. Just row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.
Jeff: Merrily, merrily.

Bernie: That’s important.
An English philosopher said that whatever is cosmic is also comic. 
Do the best you can and don’t take it so seriously.

Jeff: When I was really young, my mom enrolled me in dance classes. “Mom, I’m too young to dance,” I told her. She kind of forced me, but I ended up loving it, and after the first lesson I came back and said, “Come on, Mom, I’ll show you the box step.” 

That introduced me not just to dancing but also to working with someone without having a goal; after all, you’re not going anywhere, you’re just dancing. 

Years later, whenever she sent me off to work, she’d always say, “Remember, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously.” So I have this word for much of what I do in life: plorking. I’m not playing and I’m not working, I’m plorking. You know, play doesn’t have to be a frivolous thing. 
You may think of a Beethoven symphony as something serious, but it’s still being played. 
I think Oscar Wilde said that life is too important to be taken seriously. 
Bernie: I always have this red nose in my pocket, and if it looks like I’m taking things too seriously, or the person I’m talking to is taking them too seriously, I put the nose on. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing or talking about, it doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree, the nose changes everything.

Jeff: Clownsville, man. Tightness gets in the way of everything, except tightness.
Bernie: You can’t get arrogant or pompous with a nose. I always tell people that if you get upset over what someone says, imagine him or her with a clown’s nose on and you won’t get so angry. Merrily, merrily. 
Our work may be important, but we don’t take it too seriously. Otherwise, we get attached to one relatively small thing and ignore the rest of life. 
We’re creating a little niche for ourselves instead of working the whole canvas.

Blue Rider Press

Excerpted from THE DUDE AND THE ZEN MASTER by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. Reprinted by arrangement with Blue Rider Press.


Read More at Source:

You can always begin again.

We all have changes we intend to make in life. We make plans to do more exercise, a healthier diet, meditation, save money, or go on romantic dates with our partners. Inevitably for many of us these plans often get derailed. 

The most effective way is for staying on track with your intentions is simple - go by the book
Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler:

“When we stray from our intentions, whether bringing mindfulness to experience or trying to be more forgiving and compassionate with ourselves, thoughts of failure can rain down: Great, I’m back at square one. 
Mindfulness teaches us that no matter what the problem is, it can be worked with. We can always begin again
Let this knowledge support you in the moments of your day.”

When we fall off the wagon our mind starts to kick in with a parade of self-judgment, helplessness and hopelessness about ever succeeding with our intentions.  Such recrimination is pointless.

The moment we recognize we are off course, is a moment we are in a “choice point” when we can decide to begin again. 

The poet Kabir says, “Wherever you are, that’s the entry point.”

And the Turkish proverb says, ”No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.”
So no matter what you’re trying to change in life, every time you stray whether it’s because you got sick, injured, depressed or just strayed for a reason you’re not aware of, you can always begin again.

It’s important to also investigate what brought us off track so we can learn from it and see it sooner the next time.

Take these words into whatever your intentions for change are.


Why you need a total life to-do list

Victory is won not in mile but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.  - Louis L'Amours

The concept of daily or weekly to-do lists is as outdated as rotary phones. Instead we need a total, 360-degree view of everything we want to accomplish, and all the actions required to start any of them, along with access to reminders of those actions whenever we actually might be able to take them.

Most everyone I come across these days is up to their eyeballs in work, and feeling overwhelmed. Strategizing, prioritizing, and triaging are indeed required to address that, but at least as important is the requirement for people to set up their lives to get a lot more efficient about getting a lot more done in a day. 

Setting up a dental appointment may not be comparable to restructuring your company, but on another level, it is just as critical.

To steal from an old Motorola strategy, we need to "mine the bandwidth." That company developed technology utilizing the more discreet areas "between the lines" in the radio frequencies already in place. 

Similarly we need to be ready for, and take advantage of, the weird and uneven time and energy spaces we find ourselves in.

Ever have the attention span of a gnat—either externally imposed (like stuck on the tarmac at the airport) or internally generated (like4:30 PM on a day of six meetings, five of which were brutal)? Ever have a short (but still unknown) time period, with informal distractions, like waiting for a late meeting to start or being delayed in an airport due to weather?

There are very few times and places we really have the appropriate energy level, tools, and uninterrupted time frames to work on some of our "most important" work. The rest of the day, we shouldn't be feeling guilty that we're not working on "job one." Rather, we should be maximizing our productivity by picking things to do (which we're going to do anyway, sometime) that match the situation.

Catch up on the FYI-type read-and-review material while waiting for meetings. Water your plants and fill your stapler when your brain is toast. Call and book the doctor's appointment you need while you're waiting for your take-out order. Problem is, most people don't have all those options already defined and parked in appropriately accessible buckets to rummage through when those situations appear. And mostly when those awkward time slots happen, folks don't have the energy to remember the pending actions or figure them out.

As I said above, there's a fine line you'll be walking, between doing the less important items because you're procrastinating, and doing them because they are the most productive thing you can do right there and then. At worst it's an energizing way to waste time semi-productively. At best, it's keeping the decks clear and optimally utilizing yourself as a resource.